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COVER STORY REEL LIFE & REAL LIFE SURVIVOR

CINE PATIALA HOUSE

LOVE LOUNGE PRIDE AND PREJUDICE BEING SOUTH ASIAN & GAY

FOOD MAHARAJA MAC AND HIS CHEESY FRIENDS

SPOTLIGHT TINA SUGANDH: HOTTER THAN EVER!

EVENTS SONG OF INDIA:

CINE THE ARTIST INSIDER CHATS UP

SPOTLIGHT NIDA KHAN MODEL & ROLE MODEL

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Executive Director SUNIL PATEL Sunil.Patel@MastiMagazine.com Editor MINI KOLLURI, Mini.Kolluri@MastiMagazine.com Creative Head FAIZ-UR-REHMAN Creartive team SERFRAZ QADIR, AWAIS ASHRAF Editorial Contributors REENA MUMBAI, PRIYA MULJI, AMBREEN ALI, DR. AMARPREET JASWAL Accounts Manager (UK) RAV BRAR, (CAN) IMELDA ORTEGA SUZARA PUBLISHER: Agni Creative Inc. 39 Saffron Cres. Brampton, ON Tel: (647) 962-2464 Contact: Info/Sales: Info@MastiMagazine.com Web: www.MastiMagazine.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/MastiMagazine Twitter: www.twitter.com/MastiMagazine


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EDITOR’S LETTER It’s absolutely thrilling that the third issue of Masti Magazine comes out during the Canadian South Asian Heritage Month. As we gear up to immerse ourselves in desiFEST and International Indian Film Academy Awards, it is easy to forget what a phenomenal experience putting together the third issue has been, especially because of the long list of “firsts”. We have an actress on the cover for the first time. Canadian Sri Lankan Kalista Zackhariyas, has lit up many screens and now she lights up our cover! Not only is Kalista stunning, she’s insanely talented. We highly recommend her new film Snow, a poignant tale of a Sri Lankan tsunami survivor who immigrates to Canada, to all our readers who want to see Kalista playing the lead and giving the performance of a lifetime. We also feature a comedian for the first time. Our outspoken and witty New York correspondent Reena Mumbai was the perfect person to interview another outspoken person, the “Unladylike”, and super-funny Radhika Vaz. Rad’s not your typical Desi comic relying on accents and the typical Indian sensibility. She draws from her journey from adolescence to womanhood to produce comedy with a razor-sharp edge. Another amazing thing about this issue is our line up of musicians – Tina Sugandh, Ajaxxx, Blitz. Can you handle their collective star power? We have to give credit where it is due – to our new music correspondent Tirusha Patwa who landed us the awesome interview with Ajaxxx. Two other writers also debut with Masti Magazine this issue – our film correspondent Pratik Narula with the review of the Bollywood flick Patiala House and Maleeha Sheikh with a profile of the stunning Toronto model Nida Khan. There’s another interesting aspect to this issue. If you remember, in the second issue, we profiled artists who used their talent to address social needs. In this issue, Reena interviews Daniel Pillai, a gay South Asian who opens up about what he had to go through given his Desi and South Asian identities. We can’t thank Reena enough for addressing this elephant in the room!

Yours truly, Mini Kolluri mini.kolluri@mastimagazine.com

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SPOT LIGHT

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SPOTLIGHT

Canadian urban Asian artist Blitzkrieg (Blitz) now has a new album Get Blitz, on which he has collaborated with a range of artists to produce tracks that are both dynamic and haunting.

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SPOTLIGHT

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wo decades after the Bollywood anthem “Jumma Chumma De De” sprung life in to the step of Bollywood fans across the world, there’s a new song – “Kiss (Chumma)” by Canadian rapper Blitzkrieg (Blitz) and RDB – that is just as infectious! The song, a fusion of Blitz’s urban Toronto Rhyme style and RDB’s urban Bollywood music, is from the rapper’s amazing new sophomore album Get Blitz, which comes about three years after his first The Rhyme Book! Blitz says his new release is a “collaborations album” which focuses on diversity. “Every single song on the album sounds unique and has its own sound and vibe,” he says. “With features such as Juggy D, RDB, Tigerstyle, Navin Kundra , Choclair, Saukrates , Mentor, Rafaqat Ali Khan and more, there is something for everyone on this album.” Blitz has always been big on collaborations and says he respects every single artist he has teamed up with, but with Tigerstyle and Mentor, he says, he usually has the most fun. “I've known them (Tigerstyle and Mentor) the longest and have a family vibe with them. The chemistry in the studio is natural and effortless,” he says. The fun that the UK production duo Tigerstyle and Blitz have when they collaborate translates into some terrific music. A case in point -- “TT Tigerstyle”, a part of Tigerstyle’s album Mystics Martyrs Maharajas – rockin’ beats set to captivating lyrics! And then,

It was a fun experience to watch Saif Ali Khan lip synch to some of my vocals on the big screen. I would definitely love to work on more Bollywood projects,” says Blitz.


SPOTLIGHT

of course there is the fabulous Blitz and Juggy D song “Take Your Picture” from Get Blitz, which is produced by Tigerstyle. The duo and Blitz also worked together to contribute to “Twist”, a pacy Bollywood number from the Saif Ali Khan starring 2009 Hindi movie Love Aaj Kal, an experience Blitz says he thoroughly enjoyed. “Tigerstyle helped produced parts of the arrangement and asked me to provide some backup vocals,” he says. “It was a fun experience to watch Saif Ali Khan lip synch to some of my vocals on the big screen. I would definitely love to work on more Bollywood projects. ” Blitz’s love for Bollywood and Desi music is not surprising at all considering that he grew up Tony Sidhu in the Mississauga and Brampton, both areas in the Greater Toronto Area with large Punjabi populations. Growing up there, he listened to late 90s New York rappers such as Nas, Mos Def and Mobb Deep and fell in love with music genre. “I love the fact that rap is spoken word, a form of poetry. Now it has grown beyond rap and hip-hop is a lifestyle,” he says. And for all those young hoodiedonning Desis dreaming of growing up and following in his footsteps, Bitiz’s has some advice – “Nothing happens overnight. Whether you want to be an artist, doctor, lawyer or athlete, you have to be willing to work hard and pay your dues. God only helps those who help themselves.” Information on Blitz, his tours, his videos and music can be obtained on www.getblitz.com.

With features such as Juggy D, RDB, Tigerstyle, Navin Kundra , Choclair, Saukrates , Mentor, Rafaqat Ali Khan and more, there is something for everyone on this album (Get Blitz),” Blitz says.

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SPOT LIGHT

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he n s, t a iya Roh r a e h h k t as Zac ss of ow, h ical a t t e n alis actr lm S ch cri itive s d fi u n a le ando lf m r se l of r e e Fer hers ith h rtraya urvivo e n wo laim w tic po ami s es th o s acc reali n tsun film d tival d a s e n e k a Lan s th lm f ine ta Sri vati. A the fi agaz Kalis s t Par nds in asti M ght on face s i l u M u t d ro uit, spo ario l an circ s the the v mode e n tur xplor tress, a is to e his ac two. alist nt f K of t her o rvati, migra ugh t mo ke Pa an im altho s Li Lank And ista’ lly ta al ri a. a S anad and K ed to sta is w i to C vati’s follo , Kal le and s Par s have script trugg s live erent er to f g f di tran s no ival! v u s r

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Photo by : Ken Shultz

SPOTLIGHT

At a very early age, a tumultuous home life forced young Kalista to assume responsibility beyond her years. During her teen years, she had to go to school and work part time jobs to support herself. She travelled extensively and even lived in Europe for a few years, where she kick-started her screen career by briefly co-hosting a morning talk show and working as a cover model for the Slovenian magazine “MAG�. Since then, Kalista has experienced a difficult marriage, motherhood and divorce. She took a break from the entertainment industry, worked as a designer, trained as a martial artist and won the

ROHAN FERNANDO, THE DIRECTOR O WORK WITH BECAUSE HE GAVE ME S GRIEF AND WHAT THAT LOOKED LIK

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title of Miss Vaughan in the 2003 Miss Canada pageant. In 2009, she ended her hiatus to resume her career as a model and actress. And thank god for that because whether she is roaming the jungle dreamily trying to sell BedHead pajamas or playing a more serious role such as Parvati in Snow, the brown-eyed dusky beauty lights up the screen. Her powerful performance in Snow, might have stemmed from her empathy and admiration for her character who she describes as being “brave and strong yet quiet and humble.” She also seems to have had other help. “I went back home to Sri Lanka in 2008 and had the chance to speak with a few survivors but that was long before I knew this role even existed. That definitely helped

on Snow, but she is already working feverishly on her other projects, one of them being a six minute short film about a homeless man. “Not quite as depressing as it sounds and it’s a huge learning curve,” says the actress about her film. She also admits to be smitten by all aspects of filmmaking process, “Whether you’re in front of the camera or behind it, I love that I can be a part of that journey that the viewers’ experience. That ability to transport the viewer to another place in time and to be there in that moment with them…it’s a rush!” Kalista has also been developing a foundation that helps women and children who survive abuse. The actress says she is as passionate about the cause as she is about her work.

OF SNOW WAS GREAT TO SPACE TO REALLY EXPLORE KE FOR ME,” KALISTA SAYS but I don’t think I could ever fully comprehend that kind of loss,” she says. “Rohan Fernando, the director of Snow was great to work with because he gave me space to really explore grief and what that looked like for me.” Kalista may still be reeling from all the accolades showered on her and Rohan for their work

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“I know I want to perform and I know I have a deep desire to create stories about the human conditions around the world and I want to tie both of my passions in with my sense of purpose, my work with survivors of abuse,” she says.

Photo by: AV Randhawa

SPOTLIGHT

RAPID FIRE WITH

KALISTA ZACKHARIYAS Favourite movie? I have a few…The Matrix, Amal, etc. Favourite cuisine? Thai or a really good seafood restaurant Ideal date? What’s the budget…LOL! Celebrity crush? Keanu Reeves An actor you are dying to work with? Ben Kingsley A director you are dying to work with? Oh my goodness…so many to choose from… Quentin Tarantino comes to mind first. Favourite vacation spot? Without a doubt…Dubrovnik, Croatia What’s on your iPod? Everything from Guns N’ roses to Jay Sean, K’naan, Prita Chhabra…I enjoy a wide variety depending on my mood. Your guilty pleasure? Hershey’s Cookies n’ Crème chocolate How would you describe your fashion sense? At home…PJ’s but I have two very different sides to me. One is quite feminine and the other is a total tomboy. Comfort is key!

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Gurtej’s oppression keeps each member of the Patiala Household from pursuing their dreams, as he continues to remind them about Gattu, an ideal son who follows his father’s command. However, circumstances offer Gattu a second chance in life, to live his dream,

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Gattu (Akshay Kumar), a young, uninspired, British born family man is forced to give up his passion of playing cricket, at a very young age in order to follow the orders instructed by his father, Gurtej Kahlon (Rishi Kapoor), an Indian living in England, who constantly is seen revolting against racial incidents faced by his family.

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As a screenwriter and director, I can see why the particular month of February maybe intriguing to release a sports movie, on the

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Akshay Kumar, Nikhil Advani, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, and Anushka Sharma combine their talents to bring you a film that surely entertains, makes you laugh, and leaves you teary-eyed. However, there are two primary reasons why this film fails at the box-office: the release date and genre diversification.

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to fight for his family’s freedom, and to find happiness again. Does he continue to live his father’s life or will he fight for his passion?

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CAST: Akshay Kumar, Anushka Sharma and Rishi Kapoor DIRECTOR: Nikhil Advani MASTI RATING : 2.7 / 5

t.

PATIALA HOUSE

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topic of cricket, due to the ICC 2011 Cricket World Cup taking place in India. However, as a distributor or company, I fail to understand why this film was released during the World Cup, because the primary market for this film is going to be in India or England at the most. Cricket is like a religion in India, everyone is glued to their television sets so what would make Indian audiences come watch another film or topic relating to cricket? Secondly, Bollywood films today, continue to diversify the quality and genre of the films witnessed by audiences around the world. With films like Udaan, Guzzarish, My Name Is Khan, Dhobi Ghat, Paa, people are becoming accustomed to watching films that are different and technically very sound in the five aspects of filmmaking: Script/Story, Cinematography, Editing, Music, and Acting/Direction. Here is how Patiala House fares:

1 SCRIPT/STORY: 1.5 STARS OUT OF 5 The biggest failure of the film lies in the script, because the story itself is not bad, but the characterizations and the writing of the scenes and dialogues are very poor. Let’s start with the most important character of the film, Gattu (Akshay Kumar). As the main protagonist, at a basic level, it is important to make sure he or she has a clear goal defined by obstacles in life that is identified by the audiences, and in this case, the screenwriters Nikhil Advani and Anvita Dutt Guptan, make sure that Gattu’s character contains these aspects. However, they don’t realize the difference between making your character sympathetic towards the audiences versus pathetic. The audience feels sympathetic towards Gattu, because they can relate to his pain of not being able to pursue his passion, due to family constraints. But the writers make Gattu’s character pathetic by portraying him as a complete loser, in terms of having no respect from his family or peers,

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SCREENPLAY = 1.5/5 CINEMATOGRAPHY = 3/5 EDITING = 3/5 MUSIC = 2.5/5 ACTIN

which make him completely lackluster. It is important for your main protagonist to have a flaw, but not too many, that it makes the audience not support him on his journey to success. As a sports movie this becomes extremely crucial because a sports movie is very predictable, we know that success will be achieved at the end, but it’s the drive of passionate characters and their decisions in tough circumstances that makes it appealing for the audience. Secondly, the first half of the film is way too long, which makes the ending unconvincing. The script focuses too much on Gattu’s decision to play cricket again instead of the journey of him doing so. The flashback scene of the racial incidents also adds no value to the screenplay and just stretches his decision making process even more. The impact of a longer first half, is enormous towards the ending, and without spoiling it, the problems are so easily resolved, as if it wasn’t a big deal for Gattu to play cricket in the first place.

2 CINEMATOGRAPHY: 3 OUT OF 5 STARS Santosh Thundiyil, the director of photography for Patiala House, must be acknowledged for his camera work and lighting within the film, as he was given the job to portray London, England. It is also very difficult in a sports film to capture the action within the game of cricket, as he does, because audiences are so used to watching it on television, that the technical camera work has to

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be on that level, but at the same time, it has to be cinematic, because it’s movie, and not a real cricket match. Overall, Thundiyil does a great job as the director of photography, but as a film taking place abroad, as a cinematographer your job becomes twice as difficult, because audiences want to see the landscape of London, as a spectator you want to travel through the film, and that’s where he could have done a better job, by capturing the landscape of England.

3 EDITING: 3 OUT OF 5 STARS Manan Sagar (Dostana, Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai), the editor of Patiala House, was given the job for this film. Sagar’s biggest challenge in the film was composing the cricket match sequences and the flashback sequence. As discussed earlier, the cricket matches have to be executed as well as audiences are use to seeing them on television, and unfortunately they come at as unrealistic. Chak De India is a sports film that really captures the field hockey matches efficiently, because they get the audience involved with the drama associated within match itself. Again this all goes back to the screenplay of the film, but Sagar doesn’t help the sequence in anyway. Secondly, I

completely disagree with inclusion of the flashback scene that takes place in the beginning of the film, as discussed above, because it stretches the film for no reason.

4 MUSIC: 2.5 OUT OF 5 STARS How crucial is music in Bollywood films? Just take a look at the recent success of Dabangg or Love Aaj Kal, films that lack in the story department, but make sure that audiences can blast the tunes in their cars, well before the film is released. Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonca are the co-music directors for Patiala House, and produce two decent soundtracks of: Rola Pe Gaya and Laung da Lashkara, which are two Punjabi dance numbers that make you want to party! The slower tracks are also nice to listen to but are nothing compared to the soundtrack of Kal Ho

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NG/DIRECTION = 3.5/5 TOTAL = 1.5 +3+3+2.5+3.5 = 13.5/5 = 2.7 OUT OF 5 STARS Naa Ho, previously composed by Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy music.

5

Akshay Kumar, Nikhil Advani, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, and Anushka Sharma combine their talents to bring you a film that surely entertains, makes you laugh, and leaves you teary-eyed. | www.mastimagazine.com |

ACTING/ DIRECTION: 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS Akshay Kumar is trying everything possible to get a hit, and it just isn’t working for the Tom Cruise of Bollywood, who has had recent failures such as the likes of Tees Maar Khan, Action Replayy, and Khatta Meetha. But in Patiala House, as Gattu, he performs with such familiarity and ease that makes you wonder, why Akshay isn’t compared to the actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan, and Aamir Khan. Akshay is definitely a talented actor as he proves in this film, and this is evident by the continual support he receives through his directors and colleagues, who praise him on his discipline and efficiency on set, but I wish he was more selective with his work, as Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan have started to be known for, and it really shows in the quality of films that they deliver. Anushka Sharma makes it four out of four films (Rab Ne Bana Di

Jodi, Badmaash Company, Band Baaja Baaraat, Patiala House) where audiences, have appreciated her with her work. In Patiala House, as the mentor figure, Sharma’s character really challenges Gattu to find success in cricket once again. Rishi Kapoor is great in the negative role, and his pairing with Dimple Kapadia is exhilarating, but both of those characters remind you a lot of Amitabh Bachchan and Jai Bachchan in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. The fact that Nikhil Advani, continues to find money for his films is quite impressive to me, because with films like Chandni Chowk To China and Salaam-E-Ishq, I’m not sure how you attract big actors to sign your films. But to his credit he did deliver in his debut film, Kal Ho Naa Ho. In Patiala House, he does a much better job compared to his last two films, but he just has too many characters to work with in this film. The film should have been focused on primarily the success of Akshay Kumar, but it’s about the Patiala Household, which is just too complex, in terms of the number of characters within the household. However, he does execute great performances by Akshay and Anushka, who look great in their pairing together. Patiala House, as a commercial film, fails at the box-office because of many reasons: a weak screenplay, timing of the release, and a mediocre soundtrack. For Akshay fans, it’s a decent start to the year, especially after last year’s failures, and he does a great job performing his role, but audiences want diversification in genre, and as a family drama dealing with cricket, this won’t get the job done!

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ON OUR RADAR

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Daniel Pillai

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE BEING SOUTH ASIAN AND GAY

Homosexuality has been a part of mythology and temple architecture in India for centuries. Yet, there is much prejudice and denial surrounding gayness in the South Asian community. say Reena Mumbai talks to Daniel Pillai, a young South Asian gay man about his experiences.

Reena Mumbai

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In 2009, India became the 127th country to decriminalize a 149-year old ban on homosexuality, which came about during British colonization. Homosexual acts in India have been quietly tolerated for centuries, whereas the existence of homosexuality is frankly denied. Seemingly contradictory, there is an explanation for this dichotomous thinking, deeply rooted in the paradigm paralysis of the social construct in India. In India, there is a distinction between gender and sexuality. Men sleeping with men do not threaten the societal

construct. It’s only when a man declares he is gay and will not fulfill his perceived duty to marry and procreate, that a threat is posed to society. The overturning of the ban is wonderful news, of course, but action comes through awareness, and there is no better way to spread awareness than to open the gates of conversation. I was fortunate enough to speak with Daniel Pillai, a South Asian in his twenties, about what his experience as a gay South Asian man is | www.mastimagazine.com |


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ON OUR RADAR

I have always known who I am – it was just a matter of deciding when I was comfortable enough to share this with those around me,” says Daniel.

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like. Reena -- Did you always know, or was it a “Eureka!” moment? I’m talking, of course, about knowing that you were gay. Daniel — Well, I don’t think I always knew that it was the word “gay”, but I always knew I was different. I was teased in school for being “girly” -- people called me a “fag” as early as grade two. I didn’t realize it was derogatory until I grew a little older. The question came up a few times in high school, but I suppressed it because I knew if I began to address the issue, it would cause a lot of stress to my family. Reena – Did you then feel the pressure to have heterosexual relationships in school and college, to prevent gossip? Daniel -- I never once changed the way I acted because I found that as much as people could be judgmental about my sexuality, I was surrounded by a lot of accepting women; my mother, my sister, my aunts, and a few, very close friends in high school. I never explored heterosexuality because I knew that, even though I wasn’t ready to say it out loud, I would come into my homosexuality. Reena – So does this mean your mom knew early on? Daniel – No. My mom and I were really close throughout my childhood, so I was worried about letting her down. When people teased me about being “girly” she just chalked it up to me being surrounded by women. She never suspected I could be gay. My dad had strong suspicions. He would try to pressure me into behaving more like a “boy”. Reena – I can imagine that only made it harder to come out to your family. How did you finally decide it was time? Daniel – I think I realized my self-value. I went to University, got a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree, and realized that I had nothing to fear. My father didn’t take it well. His threats were dramatic. We’ve had a strained relationship for years and I think I told him more out of respect than out of

necessity. It didn’t matter to me what he thought, and we don’t talk much as it is. Telling my mother wasn’t scary because I was confident by then. Confident in whom I was. My mom took it all in. Her immediate concern was, “What will people say?” When my mom saw that her sisters and my grandmother were accepting of me, I think she was able to feel a little better about the situation. I think, to some extent, they all still hold out some hope that I may “change.” I don’t know that she’ll ever truly be okay with it, but she doesn’t shun me for it. Reena – Do you have any regrets about coming out? Daniel – I don’t believe in the idea of “coming out”. I have always known who I am – it was just a matter of deciding when I was comfortable enough to share this with those around me. My one regret is that I wish it happened sooner. I feel like a lot of my pain and insecurities may have been dealt with sooner. Reena – What is your advice for other South Asian people who are gay but afraid of sharing this with their friends and families? Daniel – It’s hard to call this advice, because it has to come from within, but I would say be as honest with yourself as possible. And, once you’ve done that, share your story. As vulnerable as you feel, it will inspire you as you inspire others. You don’t know whom your words will affect. South Asians, gays, South Asian gays -- we all have stories to share and we owe it to ourselves and each other to keep the dialogue flowing. Reena – Daniel, I couldn’t agree with you more. Reena – Do you think you might someday want a family? Daniel – I do hope to get married some day. I also want to have children through the many options available to gay couples. I want to have children that I can nurture and love. Daniel Pillai invites feedback through his twitter account @Daniel_Pillai.

| www.mastimagazine.com |


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CHEAP EATS

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MAHARAJA MAC AND H

When American fast food chains set shop in India, they are forced to change their menus to reflect the Indian

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he Maharaja Mac resembles his American cousin Big Mac, except he’s chicken! But he more than makes up for it with his robust flavour and enviable juiciness. Basking in the glory of the MacDonald India’s golden arches, he gives Indians a bite of Americana for a

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price that makes him very accessible. There’s also this other attribute that makes him endearing -- sensitivity he shows to Hindu religious beliefs by opting for chicken instead of beef. It’s not just the Maharaja’s home McDonald’s. All the other American fast food chains that have set shop in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata,

Bangalore and the other Indian cities have adapted their menus to the Indian palate and religious beliefs, thus making dining at them a unique, delightful and intercultural experience. It’s East meets West and in this case, it’s all for the best! McDonald’s India’s smash hit the McAloo Tikki is a result of the company taking a | www.mastimagazine.com |


CHEAP EATS

Paneer El Rancho at a Pizza Hut in Bangalore

Taco Bell’s Fajita and Paneer Grilled Stuft Burrito

MaAloo Tikki

HIS CHEESY FRIENDS

n palate. Over the years, this resulted in some amazing creations – delightfully flavourful and charmingly unique. traditional North Indian snack (Aloo Tikki) and pairing it with a Chipotle-ish mayonnaise in a burger format. While potatoes are omnipresent in fast food menus across India, paneer is a also a popular choice, especially in wraps and pizzas. Not surprising at all, given India’s large vegetarian population. There’s McDonald’s | www.mastimagazine.com |

Paneer Salsa Wrap and Taco Bell’s Fajita and Paneer Grilled Stuft Burrito but Pizza Hut’s Teeka Paneer Makhani comes out on top! Pizza Hut’s Kadai Chicken Pizza is another winner and a sizzling example of fusion cuisine gone right. Fast food chains in India offer an ambience way more swank than the

ones in North America and also offer an array of drinks and desserts. A nonalcoholic Sangria in Pizza Hut India – Can you believe that! And the Frutista Freeze in a Taco Bell in India is an orange sorbet with fresh strawberries. What we would give to have our fast food joints go that route!

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SPOT LIGHT

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TINA SUG

TINA SUGANDH, WHO HAS A BILLBOARD CHART TOPPER UNDER HER BELT, MAY BE A B

HOTTER T

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SPOTLIGHT

GANDH:

BOLLYWOOD GIRL AT HEART BUT SHE’S ROCKING HER NEW URBAN SLICK AVATAR!

THAN EVER! | www.mastimagazine.com |

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SPOTLIGHT

Remember Tina Sugandh a.k.a. Tabla Girl from her 2008 Billboard Dance Chart topping remix of “Break Me”? Now, she has teamed up with Team Timbaland, shed her overtly Desi avatar and donned the role of a sultry diva who can give Beyonce a run for her money. The new and improved Tina emerged in November 2010 with a killer new single “So Good” featuring rapper Fat Joe. The Charlie Hype / Jim Beanz creation effortlessly combines Indian and Western beats to become the perfect vehicle for the New Jersey girl to bounce back in style. In the raunchy video accompanying the song, Tina plays a jewel thief dressed in a dominatrixish outfit. A quick flashback – In the “Break Me” video, Tina wears a ghaghra-choli and plays the tabla. She also busts some Bollywood dance

I HAVE A MORE SLICK URBAN LOOK RIGHT NOW FOR THIS NEW SINGLE, BUT I’M STILL A BOLLYWOOD GIRL AT HEART. ANYTHING SPARKLY AND COLOURFUL AND I’M SOLD!” SAYS TINA. moves. Why the change? We asked Tina. “I grew up singing, writing, playing tabla, playing guitar, playing drums, dancing, acting, and going back and forth between several genres such as pop, hip-hop, hard rock, Bollywood film music, ghazals, bhangra, etc! I loved it all, and I wanted to incorporate it all in my older music,” she said. “Now I am going for “simple but infectious” in order to break out into the mainstream.” With her musical and dancing prowess, Tina seems to have what it takes to capture the hearts and wallets of mainstream Americans. She recently co-starred on Style Network’s Jerseylicious during the episode titled “Glam Fairy Fallout” and opened for Ludacris, Ying Yang Twins, B.o.B and New Boyz. Back in 2009, Tina collaborated with Ringo Starr, the former drummer of The Beatles, on his album “Why Not”. Masti Magazine caught up with the singing sensation and asked her questions to help us get a glimpse of the girl behind the glamour. 26 MASTI | ISSUE 3 |


SPOTLIGHT

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TINA SUGANDH, WHO HAS A BILLBOARD CHART TOPPER UNDER HER BELT, MAY BE A BOLLYWOOD GIRL AT HEART BUT SHE’S ROCKING HER NEW URBAN SLICK AVATAR! How was it to be born and raised in a family of performers? I started performing professionally with my family, The Sugandh Family, when I was five years old. Me, my mom, Geeta, my dad, Kanaiya, and my sister, Seema all had fulltime jobs and school during the week and would travel during the weekends to perform. We sang in 7 different languages and all played instruments, and my dad would MC as well with his hysterical mimicry and comedy. Musical performances were always incredibly fun for us, and music itself was simply a way of life. If you stood in the center of our house, you would just hear absolute chaos since it would be four different music lovers, singing four different songs, in four different areas of the house! Even our peaceful family time consisted of just laying sheets and pillows on the floor and laying down and listening 28 MASTI | ISSUE 3 |

to some beautiful ghazals together. So basically, most of the training I’ve had was just very organic and natural. Which Indian / South Asian artist is your inspiration? I love the voices of my family the most. Playing tabla to my mom and sister singing ghazals was incredibly soothing and inspiring. Which Western artist do you love most? It truly depends on my mood! I love absolutely everyone from Ludacris to System of A Down! What’s your favourite cuisine? I could always do some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. ALWAYS! But I love Indian, Mexican, and Italian cuisines. How do you like to unwind? Jack on the rocks, lifting weights -- just not at the same time. How would you describe your fashion sense? I have a more slick urban look

right now for this new single, but I’m still a Bollywood girl at heart. Anything sparkly and colourful and I’m sold! What do you look for in a man? I love a guy that is open-minded and non-judgemental, and that is confident enough to be himself. That’s a total turn-on. I love a guy that can be a total goofball without worrying about how those around him will perceive him, since I tend to get very silly myself! That whole “cool” and “tough” act is just annoying and kind of sad actually! I also look for very affectionate, positive, intelligent, and very strong family values. What’s your ideal date? A football or basketball game is always great, or a Bollywood movie but I can really have fun anywhere! A Laundromat, a grocery store, whatever! It’s all about who I’m with, rather than what we do! What are your New Year resolutions? I need to eat a bit healthier. I am a total foodie, but that does not work well with the career I have! Any celebrity crushes? Hmm, Shahid Kapoor is adorable, Kathy Grifin and Conan for their self-deprecating comedy, Christian Kane, Johnny Depp is just plain hot, love watching Ciarra move, Vanessa Marcil, and the list goes on and on…. Any guilty pleasures? Really corny old Bollywood songs. Sometimes I put on soundtracks that my parents raised me on (like old Amitabh-movie soundtracks) and dance around like an idiot with my family. I think it’s very important to be an idiot every now and then. Life’s too short to take yourself too seriously!

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BOOK

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SONG OF INDIA: Tales of Travel and Transformation

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MASTI RATING: EXCELLENT ravelers’ tales centered on India often talk of transformation, particularly of the spiritual kind. But what makes Mariellen Ward’s narration so fascinating and admirable is her ability to don the Indian frame of mind. She slows down and lets the cultural cauldron that is India churn her around till she begins to align herself with the poor Indian masses who manage to maintain unwavering faith in the face of pressing hardships. Mariellen’s new book “Song of India: Tales of Travel and Transformation” is a compilation of articles which have appeared in different publications. Two of them, “The Crossing” and “Morning is Golden: Life in an Ashram” were published in the leading Canadian newspaper the Toronto Star. In the course of the book, Mariellen finds the Orient of her childhood fantasies in the architecturally rich desert town of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. She also

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comes face to face with death as a part of the life-death-rebirth cycle in Benares, the holiest Hindu pilgrimage site. The writer also experiences the vitality of river Ganga, the lifeline of North India, the therapeutic nature of simple ashram life, the love and warmth of Tibetans and the butterfly season in Dharmasala, the seat of the Dalai Lama, the dynamism of new Bengaluru’s (Bangalore’s) Electronic City and the relaxing charm of old Bengaluru’s gardens, café’s, markets and godmen. But some of the Mariellen’s most compelling writings are those inspired by India’s amazing people. For example, when she takes a public bus in Rajasthan, a mode of transport she had avoided in the past, she sees crushing poverty and the generosity and friendliness that survive it. Towards the end of her piece about the bus journey, she writes –“I turned away to look out of the window at the

dry desert landscape, baking under the scorching sun, and dotted with mud huts and women walking with huge bundles of twigs and branches on their heads, or almost as equally large jugs of water. My eyes filled with tears as I realized the real reason I had avoided taking the bus.” Of course there are other dimensions to travel, for example, food, adventure sports, shopping, etc. But as far selfdiscovery goes, Mariellen, who took to yoga to overcome pain caused by personal tragedy and traveled to India to find peace, gives us a wonderful book that could serve as a template to anyone looking to explore themselves by exploring the world. Mariellen’s writings can be accessed and her book can be bought on her website BreatheDreamGo.com. -- Mini Kolluri Mariellen Ward at Aurovalley Ashram 2010

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CINE

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32 MASTI | JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2011 |

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TUNE IN/

ARTIST INSIDER

34

WHA 34 MASTI | ISSUE 3 |

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TUNE IN / ARTIST INSIDER

ATS UP WITH THE AJAXXX!

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| Tirusha Patwa | Alright readers of Masti Magazine! Remember this name, because you're going to be reading a lot from me! My name's Tirusha Patwa and I'm the latest addition to the Masti Magazine crew! I've written for several print publications, am a published writer in seven different countries and Editor-in-Chief of my own publication, Bravura Artist, as well! In addition to that, I work handin-hand with some of the biggest

AJAXXX'S AFTERMATH

names in the music industry such as

ith all the music that surrounds us every day, Hip-Hop seems the one that all music lovers gravitate towards. Whether they're into Country, Pop, Rock, you can always find a little Hip-Hop in their soul...and their cars! Today's 'Artist Insider' focuses on Orlando-based artist Ajaxxx, who recently released his debut music video, “Blow�. With a handful of mix tapes already released and numerous collaborations already streaming the sound waves, this artist is one to keep your eyes on! I recently had the chance to catch up with him at the India International Film Festival in Tampa where his video debuted!

RDB and Nindy Kaur! But right now, I'm just a girl who loves to write and loves to interview artists -- getting into the nitty-gritty of their daily lifestyles, passion towards music, inspiration of songs and much more! So sit back, relax, and enjoy my column, Artist Insider! And if you have an artist you'd like to know more about, e-mail me at tirusha. patwa@MastiMagazine.com! Enjoy my masti-filled readers!

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TUNE IN / ARTIST INSIDER

Okay Ajaxxx, we're going to keep this simple! First for the readers of Masti Magazine, tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're from. Not a problem. My name is Ajaxxx, I'm a Desi hip hop artist and I'm from Orlando, Florida. What a combination, right? (Laughs) To date, I've released three CDs, performed up and down the east coast, and performed with artists globally.

2. Can you share with us your road to becoming an artist? What bumps have you faced? What heights have you climbed? What has helped to pave the path of where you are right now? The road's been nothing short of eventful, but I think that's life in general, isn't it? When we're talking about heights, there's been lots. Releasing my own CD and my own video are big.

“IT’S A STREET VIDEO. IT’S EDGY AND GRIMY MEETS CLEAN AND FLUID. MORE THAN ANYTHING, IT WAS A BACKDROP THAT SUPPORTED THE SONG,” SAYS AJAXXX ABOUT HIS NEW VIDEO “BLOW” 36 MASTI | ISSUE 3 |

Being on TV is up there too. As far as obstacles go, it does seem like pursuing a career in music presents problems you just don't encounter anywhere else. From shady promoters to disloyal artists to unmotivated producers, I think the hardest thing is dealing with so many people and trying to make it work on all fronts. You can't do everything, so you have to work with others. It's not easy to have this grand plan with all that in your way. At the same time though, the drama has given me thicker skin and more patience. But I guess that lends itself to that saying, "It's about the journey and not the destination."

3.You've recently released your debut music video, "Blow." Tell us about this experience. How much of "Ajaxxx" is in the video? What do you want music enthusiasts to gain from the song? Ah yes, “Blow”. Well, when I wrote the song, I wanted to do something that returned me to my roots. I wanted to write a song that really flexed my talents and showcase my skills on the mic. I wanted to do a song that reminded people, "hey, this guy can really rap." The video is definitely me. It's a street video. It's edgy and grimy meets clean | www.mastimagazine.com |


         | www.mastimagazine.com |

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“I’LL BE SHOOTING ANOTHER VIDEO SOON AND I’LL ALSO BE RELEASING MY NEWEST CD TOO. THE MOST EXCITING THING ABOUT THE CD IS THAT IT’S ALL ORIGINAL MATERIAL. IT’S MY FIRST CD THAT DOESN’T USE INDUSTRY BEATS.” – AJAXXX in the future? Lots and lots and lots. I think if I talk about everything, we'll need a part 2 (Laughs). As far as highlights though, I'll be shooting another video soon and I'll also be releasing my newest CD too. The most exciting thing about the CD is that it's all original material. It's my first CD that doesn't use industry beats. and fluid. More than anything, it was a backdrop that supported the song. So is this the part where I tell everyone reading to go on Youtube and watch the video? (Laughs)

4. Competition. Being a Hip-Hop artist, there are a lot of "fish in the sea." What separates you from other "Desi rappers"? Why should people listen to you? Well, honestly, I don't look at anyone as competition. Not being cocky or anything, but I just focus on myself and staying in my lane. I think if you 38 MASTI | ISSUE 3 |

get caught up with everyone else, you'll drive yourself insane. Plus, those people don't dictate my success, I do. So I mean, that's my take on it. As far as what separates myself from other Desi rappers, that's hard to say because I don't want to stereotype everyone. That's unfair. But I will say I'm probably in another league lyrically. Sometimes I feel like these artists focus more on being popular versus perfecting their craft. With me, I've always placed emphasis on the music. Again, I'm not saying everyone, but I will say a lot.

6. Do you have any final words for the readers of Masti Magazine? I definitely wanna' say thanks to all the readers for taking the time to read this, and for taking interest in Ajaxxx. And of course, I'd like to say thanks to Masti Magazine for allowing me this opportunity. Make sure you visit my site ajaxxx.com where you can hear more from me, and of course see the video for Blow too. Appreciate the love everyone!

5.What's in store for Ajaxxx | www.mastimagazine.com |


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14

©Katarina Kojic. All rights reserved.

SPOT LIGHT

HIGH TEA WITH THE

“UNLADYLIKE” RADHIKA VAZ

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Our New York correspondent Reena Mumbai reviews the hilarious comedy show “Unladylike: The Pitfalls of Propriety” and chats up with its performer, the fascinating Radhika Vaz. hen you hear South Asian comedian, you may think comedy a la Russell Peters, who aims to caricaturize our culture. In Radhika’s case you would be dead wrong. The comedienne’s performance is a witty narrative of her navigation from adolescence to womanhood. At each pit stop on her journey she comes to the conclusion that, on so many levels, women are just screwed seven ways from Sunday. There is no topic too taboo for this woman to broach. You want to know what topics, of course. Lesbian lies? Covered. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say, trust me ladies, we have either all done this, or

know women who have. Blow jobs? Affirmative. She covers the topic in depth (no pun intended). Radhika confidently reveals the truth about how she feels about giving head. She hilariously describes her typical encounter, acknowledging that she sucks at giving them. Man, I am on a roll with these puns. Secrets that come undone upon marriage? Nailed. Radhika had the women in stitches as she discussed the vast landscape of female body hair, including the less known areas where women can sprout hair, while the men gaped in horror. Good times. What makes Radhika’s act land is

the polarity between what is seen and what is heard. There she is, prim and pixie-like in appearance, in a pristine, perfectly pressed dress; a scarf tied neatly to one side of her thin neck; her pinky held high as she sips tea from a teacup. Now picture this same woman talking about the things I’ve mentioned above, and the portrait of contradiction becomes comically evident. A few weeks after seeing her show, I had the pleasure of meeting Radhika for coffee at a cupcake shop on Manhattan’s west side. Neither of us ate a cupcake, although, afterwards I desperately regretted that. REENA: So, I’ll get right to it. When

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ŠKatarina Kojic. All rights reserved.

CINE

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CINE did you realize you were hilarious? RADHIKA: I think most people are funny. It’s a question of taking that and standing on stage with it. So many of my friends are the most hilarious people and they’re so much funnier than I am, on the fly, but they just can’t get up on stage. REENA: I think you’re being modest. How did you start down this path? RADHIKA: I took an improv(isation) class. It was free. I went and it was amazing. The improv is amazing and it’s helped me tremendously in my ability to perform. It’s very organic and you, sort of, learn audience reaction really well. REENA: So, where did this character come from? I mean I feel like she’s a bit of a character, no? RADHIKA: She’s a little bit of a character. She’s pretty much who I’d like to really be. I wanna be the person who’s like, “I’m just gonna fart really loudly, I don’t give a fuck.” So she’s whom I’d really like to be -- I just don’t have the balls. REENA: Do you feed off your audience a lot? RADHIKA: All the way, man. I do feed off their energy. I have to. Though, sometimes you get a quieter audience

...AND I FEEL LIKE MY DIRECTOR, BROCK SAVAGE, REALLY DIRECTION, RATHER THAN PULLING ME AWAY FROM IT,” SAYS RADHIKA. that’s not vocal, but you get a sense -- you have to pick out the few. There will always be one or two who are laughing and you just have to play with them because otherwise it’s just fucking depressing. REENA: So, ok, you realized this was something you wanted to do. Your material is somewhat salacious, for a desi crowd. Why that material? Was that stuff that was bottled inside of you because of being brought up in India? RADHIKA: No, no. I have to say that my crowd in India, including my parents, is a little bit more liberal. Nobody is surprised by my material. None of my Indian friends nor my family. REENA: Have your parents and / or their friends seen the show? RADHIKA: Oh yes. My dad loves filthy humor. I’m surprised; actually, that so many men are coming. It hasn’t yet caught on as a “woman’s” show, like I had wanted it to be. I mean, I intended for this to be aimed more at women, but guys are enjoying it, and if they wanna come along, then that’s great. REENA: Your diction is amazing on stage and it’s a little caricature-ish, if I may employ some neologism here. It’s an 42 MASTI | ISSUE 3 |


©Katarina Kojic. All rights reserved.

PUSHED ME HARD IN THAT

exaggerated Mumbai-British accent, and you’re this proper lady who talks about sex and blowjobs. RADHIKA: Well, take the blowjob piece, for example. If I were to do it as Radhika, myself, I probably would swear a lot more. But I like sketch comedies, and I like characters, so I knew that I was going to do something a little bit different. So this character, is, sort of, this straight-backed, in my mind, sort of this Anglo-Indian schoolteacher. She’s left over from the British Raj and she really wants to teach these “bloody Indians” how to speak. It’s an extreme version of me. REENA: I think it lends so much to the humor of the piece. You could have done this in such a crass way, but as you do it, as a prim and proper appearing lady, it’s so funny and the dichotomy is amazing. RADHIKA: Definitely. And I feel like my director, Brock Savage, really pushed me hard in that direction, rather than pulling me away from it. He pushed my diction, telling me when I land to land the line even harder, and so on. He had visions, saying, “We definitely want to take the word ‘fuck’ out of here, here, and here”. So we’ve tweaked it and now I think I say ‘fuck’ in two places, but it when I do, it lands. REENA: Who are some of your favorite comedians? RADHIKA: I like Wanda Sykes and Chelsea Handler. I love Bill Cosby and George Carlin. My dad used to listen to Carlin back in India, so that’s why he appreciates my raunchy humor. REENA: Where would you like to see this go? This ride you’re on. RADHIKA: My number one goal is to secure an agent within New York who can get me in for auditions that I would otherwise get cut out from. What I found, in dealing with agents early on, is that most of them would send me out for any role that was casting for an Indian character. The problem is I don’t read desi 100% of the time. I don’t have a “typical” Indian look, which is what, a lot of times, casting directors are looking for. So I need to get an agent who can see my ethnic ambiguity as an asset. I am also working on expanding my show so that I can take it on the road and tour. I have some contacts in India, so I’m really excited about taking my show there. I’m hoping to go in April or May. It’s a work in progress, but I’m loving every minute of it. I’d love to go everywhere though; India, Canada, San Francisco, Chicago. Everywhere. For tickets to “Unladylike: The Pitfalls of Propriety” go to www.unladylike.eventbrite.com. Follow Radhika Vaz on Twitter @radvaz Check out Radhika’s website at radvaz.com

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SPOT LIGHT

44

| By Maleeha Sheikh |

Model: Nida Khan Hair & Make Up: Jessica Grant Mobile Beauty Services Photographer: Michael Zahra www.michaelzahra.com

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oronto model Nida Khan is not your average Pakistani Canadian chic! One would assume the average 29-year-old Desi girl would be married with two kids but Nida doesn’t want to fit that stereotype. Nida absolutely adores kids and gets her daily fix at school, where she teaches grade 2 children. Nida got into teaching because she loved the idea of being a lifelong learner and having the ability to make students lifelong learners and global, critical thinking citizens.

Although Nida always found her life to be fulfilling for the most part, she found something was missing inside of her, and that missing piece was found when she discovered modelling. Nida first started modelling as a favour to a friend who had just started a makeup artistry company and needed a model to test her looks out on. Nida admits she really enjoyed the whole experience from getting her hair and makeup done, to posing for all of the pictures. It was

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SPOTLIGHT

something she could see herself getting used to. After all, what girl doesn’t enjoy some pampering? Something changed for Nida when she started modelling. She became a lot more confident and she began believing in herself. She eventually began working with SAMA Models and has been in numerous fashion shows, and magazines. Although Nida doesn’t plan on leaving her daytime job for this new found passion, it is definitely been a gratifying hobby.

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SPOTLIGHT

BUT NIDA DOESN’T LET NEGATIVE COMMENTS GET TO STRONGER MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY AND THOSE

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SPOTLIGHT

When asked what Nida’s family and friends thought of her new passion, she said the reactions were mixed. “My family and friends were supportive of my modeling decision. They believe if it makes me happy, that is the most important thing. However relatives and other family friends were critical of my choice to model.” This isn’t surprising considering Nida Khan is Muslim and people have certain notions of what a Muslim girl should behave like. But Nida doesn’t let negative comments get to her because she feels modelling has made her stronger mentally and emotionally and those who really know her, see the positive change.

that person into your life completely. From past experiences, Nida says, she has learned people aren’t always what they seem. She has learned to be cautious and suggests other women to be as well. “Before loving someone, you need to love yourself because then you will not allow anyone to mistreat you.” Nida doesn’t oppose marriage. In fact she would love to be married but there are certain conditions. She is looking for an honest, respectful, and kind partner. He needs to know and love himself, be a complete person, and he needs to know how to deal with conflict, stress, and difficult situations.

O HER BECAUSE SHE FEELS MODELLING HAS MADE HER E WHO REALLY KNOW HER, SEE THE POSITIVE CHANGE. Other than modelling, Nida has many other passions. She is the eldest of six siblings and loves spending time with her family. Nida feels being a good role model to her brothers and sisters is extremely important and whenever they are in need of something, she is always willing to support them whether it is helping with homework or even lending some cash! So why isn’t this beautiful, intelligent girl married? Well finding love wasn’t as easy for Nida as it was for her to pose for the cameras. Nida hasn’t found the love of her life just yet. She says it is really important to get to know and trust someone before letting | www.mastimagazine.com |

Nida is definitely a girl who knows what she wants and doesn’t seem to be living in ‘La la land.’ Sure looks are important but Nida feels there are so many more things that come before the materialistic factors. When Nida gets time away from teaching, modelling, and spending time with family and friends, Nida enjoys reading motivational books and magazines. She loves to listen to music and can’t help bopping her head when her favourite song comes on the radio. This may be surprising, but Nida loves praying to God as well. She feels it is a time where she can simply reflect on life and be herself. And she always says, “Only God can

judge me.” Her message to South Asian women is: “Don’t let any men, parents, or community let you down. Love and respect yourself. Do what you want and work hard to achieve your goals. Cut off negative people and do not take anyone’s crap!” On a side note, Nida’s number one pet peeve is when people don’t call or text back (unless it’s an emergency). Her favourite movie is ‘The Notebook,’ and her favourite food is pizza, fries, and wings. She also loves Versace and Roberto Cavalli clothing and hopes to model for those designers in the future.

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Masti Magazine Issue 3  

Issue 3 of Masti focuses on the some amazing artists. We've reached out to bring you more intriguing articles, with even more yet to come.

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