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SQUARES & CHAIRS Designer Rooshad Shroff goes geometric

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AN ETHNIC AESTHETIC Urvashi Kaur’s haven on earth

5 INDIA’S MAD HATTER Shilpa Chavan

design

SABYASACHI Poised to go global

3 9 LISA RAY Unbreakable Spirit S.H. RAZA On his point of reference

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SHOOTING STARS Where are B'wood's dream debutantes today?

DAVID AND GOLIATH Neil Nitin Mukesh, the potential giant killer

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CONTROVERSY'S CHILDREN Deepa Mehta on working with Rushdie ����������

GANGSTER RAP Amitabh goes to Hollywood


GUILT-FREE INDULGENCE Divya Burman’s designer chocolates

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SEDUCE THE SENSES Joey Mathew cooks up a V-Day treat

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HIGHER, FASTER, STRONGER India’s first Olympian Milkha Singh talks about his biopic

SONAM KAPOOR Love Guru

47 SHOCK VALUE Shobhaa De says it as it is in Sethji THE MUSICIAN AND HIS MENTOR A.R. Rahman in a touching tribute to Mani Ratnam

108 KING OF HEARTSSALMAN KHAN Shabinaa Khan on friendships in Bollywood

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SOUND ADVICE Rujuta Diwekar on how to keep fit

93 FROM CHUBBY TO CHIC Divya Dutta shares her detox diet

DATE WITH DESTINY Sheetal Dewan’s Love Predictions

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wellness

PAINTING DUBAI RED Sameera Reddy’s favourite holiday destination

96 IN TOO DEEP Parvin Dabas’ romance with underwater photography

variety

NOTCH LIT In our digital library

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CLONK MARRY BONK - MAYAWATI, SUSHMA AND SHEILA DIKSHIT There are only three courses of action one can take.

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NOTCH ���� INDIAN VOICE GLOBAL ACCENT

EDITORIAL

DESIGN

MARKETING

Yagna Balaji Editor

Majid Rehman Creative Director

Bruce Schwack Executive Director

Bijoy Bharathan Assistant Editor

Matha-Ul-Ameen, Karishma Menon Rityka Venessa Edwin M. Saravanan Kalyani Graphic Design

Manoj Kumar Online Marketing Manager

Rohit Panikker Senior Sub-Editor Asmita Aggarwal Bureau Chief - Delhi Tushar A. Amin Entertainment Editor Arpita Chatterjee Spl Correspondent Mumbai

Gayathri K Sornavel Animation Jegannathan.S Illustration

BOARD OF ADVISORS

Advait Pandit Anand Pathak Ravi Krishnan Yathin Reddy

CT. Ramasamy Design Consultant

Anupriya D Content Manager

Hema Sethuraman Director & Publisher Pradeep Dadha Chairman, NOTCH Media Pvt. Ltd. PRADEEP DADHA GROUP OF COMPANIES NOTCH Media Pvt. Ltd. 5th floor, Express Chambers, Express Avenue, No. 2, Club House Road, Mount Road, Chennai 600 014 Tel: +91 44 30254141/42 Fax: +91 44 30254158 www.notchmag.com COPYRIGHT © NOTCH MEDIA PVT. LTD. 2012 The published, written and visual contents of this magazine are protected by copyright laws, you may not reproduce our articles, content, images, videos and audio, online or in print in any format without first obtaining written permission. Please contact the publisher to obtain his or her written consent. Reproduction in whole or part without obtaining publisher permission and notifying the magazine is strictly prohibited.


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he NOTCH team edit meetings are as action-packed as the magazine itself. Ideas fly back and forth; content is always at loggerheads with design for word count and some of the animation concepts would make the folks at Dreamworks shake their collective heads in despair. However, when someone proposed the idea of featuring a lovey-dovey duo for the February cover – there was a collective groan! Couples in love for Valentine’s Day is so 80’s! A concept as outdated as two roses coming together against the backdrop of a park in Ooty! We believe 2013 is the year of successful singles - men and women who play the dating game, but on their own terms. And a perfect example of this is our February cover girl Sonam Kapoor. Beauty, brains, a famous family and legions of fans- she has it all. But is there someone special? No. Unapologetically single and sorted, Sonam played love guru for our Valentine special. Her almost ethereal cover shoot with photographer Suresh Natarajan shows her in

a delicate princess persona; a perfect foil to the outspoken interview where she makes no bones about why relationships are important, and what a man needs to do to woo her. We also examined the anatomy of starry relationships. Lil’ Black Book is a NOTCH Insider feature on the dating history and patterns of Bollywood stars. What we discovered was that while actors rarely venture out of the comfort zone of the film fraternity when looking for love, they also don’t waste too much time nursing broken hearts and mending bruised egos. They teach us that there are times when you finally need to look past finding ‘the one’, and move toward loving one’s self. Instead of looking for someone to put on a pedestal, step up there and enjoy the view for yourself! So this year, we decided to dedicate our Valentine Day special to being single and happy. And nothing sums it up better that the iconic Samantha Jones of Sex and the City who said, “I love you, but I love me more!”


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Kolkata’s wunderkind Sabyasachi Mukherjee talks about his collaboration with international fashion giant L Capital that’s set to catapult him to the global arena Asmita Aggarwal

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Gauri Shinde,Sabyasachi and Sridevi

he first time Sabyasachi Mukherjee came to Kolkata 12 years ago, it was like a whole new world had opened up. He had never travelled out of his home 80 km north of the main city. He used to take bus number 85 back then - the only one that would ferry him back home as there was no other mode of transport. Little did he realise that one day, he would be hailed as the Prince of Kolkata with L Capital (which funds Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy-LVMH) looking at investing in his company - bringing him a step closer to becoming a global phenomenon!

Sabyasachi and Vidya Balan

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But humility is one thing that Sabya hasn’t lost. “Yes, we are in talks with L Capital and we will sign on the dotted line soon. We are agreeing on a business plan that will fulfil all my dreams - well almost,” he smiles. One of the few designers to have given the established bigwigs a serious run for their money, Sabya admits he is a ‘businessman’ who makes sensible, affordable clothing for real women. “If you do a comparative study, my prices are the lowest. For me the customer is king and I want him to be a loyal follower rather than a one-time buyer,” he says. Maybe that’s why Sabya nurtures his brand, so that it has repeat value - much like his clothes that he calls ‘classics’ or ‘investment clothing’. “What you will get from a top designer for Rs 6 lakh you will get from me for Rs 2-3 lakhs. I live in the real world and don’t believe in fantasy creations,” he confesses. That’s probably the reason why Sabya’s company

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reports growth figures of between 20 to 30 per cent per year and has an illustrious client list ranging from talk show queen Oprah Winfrey to the newlymarried Vidya Balan. “Vidya has discovered the treasure called a sari - there is no one who can carry it off like her,” he says. And Oprah? “Oh! she’s a marvel. Was such a delight! We spoke a good 45 minutes on Indian society and the relevance of the sari. Styling her was a feather in my cap,” he says. Sabya feels that the `real’ India is not blinded by brands, and if there is no correlation between price, product and quality, business is bound to suffer. “Don’t stay small is my mantra. I am primarily a businessman, I need to grow but I don’t have to be exclusive to be the best. However, you do have to be superior and appeal to the masses to be successful.

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There is a lot of intolerance in fashion today - people travel, women are brimming over with self-confidence, but they are still so fussy that they won’t let me increase the length of their sleeves by half an inch!” he says wistfully. What Sabya believes in is to be truthful to the Indian identity, unlike the Western one which is like a chameleon, “in India we sell our parampara (tradition), in some ways clothes reflect our social architecture” - and that is what he holds dear. “My garments celebrate India, there is cohesiveness in each element that I blend to create a piece of clothing – whether it is mirror work from Gujarat or threadwork from Lucknow,” he says. It was for this aspect of his that acclaimed director Sanjay Leela Bhansali hand-picked Sabya for the critically applauded film Black for which the latter won a National Award for costume design. Stalwarts like Mani Ratnam, Pradeep Sarkar

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and R. Balki who admire Sabya’s design aesthetic also signed him on for their films. “I am not doing any more films unless the offers are so fantastic that I can’t refuse them. I don’t want to work for money, but I won’t disagree that money is empowering as it gives you the freedom to do what your heart desires,” he laughs. Money is just a means for Sabya and not an end. He is quick to add that India Fashion Week 2002 changed his life and made him a somebody from a nobody. It was a new high when, for the first time, he was the only style guru to make it to the news section and not be restricted to the colour supplements. “I never wasted my time with the fashion crowd, I have no friends there. My real buddies are the people I grew up with - those who criticize me and don’t treat me like God. I invested what I earned in

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factories and standalone stores as I didn’t like the retail structure in India and that’s the reason I was and am successful,” he says. Sabya’s latest is a store in Hyderabad designed by him. Spread over 4,000 sq ft of grandness it is an addition to the four others he has already opened. “In fact, if you look closely only 800 sq ft of the store is used for clothes, the rest is used to display unique textiles, old paintings, antiquities – it is almost like a museum. Textiles are my mainstay, they energise me,” he adds. Not one to rest on his laurels Sabya has much more to dream about – he wants to open boutique hotels with a ‘Sabya sensibility’, food, décor, the works…He is financially helping the impoverished artists in West Bengal to be rehabilitated. “I want to start a line of Ayurvedicbased cosmetics for the global market and of course do food. I love food – in fact I am a foodie!’’ he declares.

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ou would never think that a science graduate, who loved biology in school, would end up creating exquisite headgear for Lady Gaga. But that’s exactly what Little Shilpa or Shilpa Chavan did! This petite milliner who has converted empty plastic bottles, rubber chappals (slippers) and toys into stunning hats has also created a piece for the Stephen Jones exhibition in London entitled ‘Headonism’. Shilpa was commissioned by Lady Gaga’s stylist Nicola Formichetti to craft a headpiece in silver and/or white. Shilpa created a Swarovski crystal bob, which Lady Gaga later wore on the cover of Flare magazine. “That’s how I started with Lady Gaga – then she came to India and wore my black lace headpiece, which was black stretched stocking and lace inspired by the poem Invitation to Voyage by Charles Baudelaire. And then again she picked up my headpiece for a trip to Hong Kong. This was my ‘circle’ headpiece done in collaboration with Walt Disney titled `Memories of Mickey & Minnie.’ I guess Gaga is always looking for something that is bold and dramatic, which is probably why she wears my pieces,” explains Shilpa. The bob for Flare magazine was executed in moulded acrylic with a little bow and a crown in crystals with white feathers. “I used more than 800 small and 40 large Swarovski crystals and putting it all together was a laborious, painstaking process,” says Shilpa. But that’s not all.

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“I guess Gaga is always looking for something that is bold and dramatic, which is probably why she wears my pieces.” 6


Shilpa also worked with Argentinean designer Martin Churba on a collaboration that was part of the BBC’s culture series. Shilpa who was short-listed amongst 14 designers across the globe for this particular project explains, “Martin and I were given three days to do the assignment. We ended up shooting a look book using his clothes and my accessories.” Interestingly, the journey didn’t look so rosy in the beginning. After SNDT, Mumbai, Shilpa went to Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion.

She then decided to work as an independent designer, which she did for two years before moving on to work as a fashion stylist for magazines as well as for Channel V, whilst making headpieces for shows directed by veteran style guru Hemant Trivedi. “I wanted to do more beyond just designing and creating clothes. With the onset of music channels, this was an opportunity to do a lot more. I could create one look with hundreds of pieces gathered from various stores! The possibilities were endless. I would create my own accessories and headpieces while I styled shoots. But I noticed a few models would like them so much that they would take some pieces and wear them. I had all these designs and samples just lying about that I would gift my friends,” says Shilpa. On an impulse, Shilpa made a small collection, shot her own look book, packed her bags and went to London. She signed up with a PR company, got loads of feedback on the collection from agencies in London and voila! she was a hit. “I wanted to come back to India, and present the collection in the form of a show, so I got in touch with Lakme and convinced them they needed to do an accessory show. It all started from there,” she adds.

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Shilpa works mostly with perspex and she has discovered some ingenious moulding processes while she was building pieces. “I primarily work as a milliner hence headpieces are my main stream of work. I must admit that it is gradually becoming an important market. Recently there has been a lot of stress on individual style and a headpiece is a very obvious and bold choice,” she says.

that people have become a lot more experimental and daring. “And I’m only too happy to oblige,” she smiles.

Training and working with Irish milliner Philip Tracey who created hats for Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld and Givenchy honed Shilpa’s skills during her apprenticeship in the UK. She learnt to finish her pieces to perfection and understood how everything worked especially when pieces were Shilpa had always thought created for sale as opposed that people preferred to shows. “I also learnt smaller, wearable pieces, ‘humility’ from Philip, he is so but having done a pop-up unbelievably creative and yet shop recently and judging so grounded - it’s unreal,” by the orders that she has she says. been getting from across the world, she’s realised Her restless creative energy that people have become a saw Shilpa starting a range of headbands and necklaces, but the challenge was to do them right. “What can be better than a headpiece that catches everyone’s attention?” she asks. Interestingly, if you inquire about her future plans, Shilpa is quite clear that because her craft is exclusive, mass production is not an option, “so I guess this doesn’t call for a hectic business plan in a boring board room! Now I can let my imagination fly!”

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NOTCH ������

HOPE RAY OF

Lisa Ray found a unique way to document her journey from battling to beating cancer – through a line of limited edition saris that symbolize hope, faith and love Asmita Aggarwal

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f you are blessed with hybrid genes — Bengali father and Polish mother, you are bound to be a sizzler. But as they say fate is nobody’s friend and that proved true with Indo-Canadian actress Lisa Ray who collapsed during a yoga retreat in Kerala and was diagnosed with multiple myeloma three years ago.

Unlike others, who would have plunged into the depths of darkness, Lisa took the disease head on and today she is cancer-free and happily married. “My husband Jason is a banking executive with Scotiabank, currently working in International Wealth Management. We were married in the Napa Valley. He stood by me like a rock and that’s what clinched it,” she says. Every experience teaches you a lesson — cancer changed Lisa forever. It made her think about grappling with the unknown surprises that life springs at you and maybe that’s why the Satya Paul sari she wore on her wedding day made her want to create a capsule collection for the brand. “The sari is in silver and gold, two contrasting spectrums, which captured the day so beautifully. It was a bit like me, a blend of two worlds — East and West, it also ��������

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symbolised a celebration of my new life, of overcoming unseen obstacles,” she adds. The line, which Lisa has called ‘Unbreakable’ will see 10 limited edition saris, (five printed and the rest embellished wedding saris), that for her express confidence, the power of love and above all, victory. “I got such overwhelming support from everyone in India when I was ill — it was heartening. So for me, fashion is all about expressing emotion through fabric and form. And the colours represent the different shades of life from pain to exhilaration,” she adds. Lisa has decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the saris to the organisation, Living with Cancer and is also working closely with the India Innovation Research Centre to conduct a better and more detailed study into finding a cure for the disease. “I did this as I remember sometimes during my ��������

illness that the tunnel seemed so long and dark. There were times that I thought it would never end. I reached out for support and I touched the darkness to see the light,” she adds. That’s another reason why Lisa decided to start her blog that encapsulates the struggle she went through and how she came to terms with it. “I decided to make a public announcement of my illness during the Toronto Film Festival on the red carpet, which is traditionally known to be a place where you are judged on your appearance, beauty and glamour quotient. Cancer made me ask uncomfortable questions, which I had never asked before — things which were boiling in my mind,” she adds. Though Lisa does have her beauty icons, she is a great admirer of Hollywood dreamboat Sophia Loren, a global favourite whose classic style she admires. And in India it’s Sridevi whose films she grew up watching, like the unforgettable Mr India. “But more than celebs it is real life people whom I consider worth

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mentioning like filmmaker Deepa Mehta whose fiercely individualistic style shines through what she chooses to wear. I love Masaba, we have a mutual admiration society going,” she laughs. Living in Canada has made Lisa appreciate her roots more than when she lived and worked in India — and she now prefers to wear a sari for most formal occasions than ever before. “Many young girls are now embracing Western styles, but the sari is our legacy; we must not abandon it. I have had a passion for traditional crafts and textiles and maybe that’s why I was elated when my friend Wendell Rodricks decided to revive the Goan Kunbi sari. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who are textile revivalists,” she adds. And this is where Lisa’s heart lies now. She has observed that the sari is seeing a metamorphosis. It has more choices that fit different body types and has become more playful than it was before. Overcoming the hurdles and settling down, Lisa admits that more than being in a happy or in a euphoric state she is ‘satisfied’. “I am calm, comfortable and I know I won’t lose my footing no matter what is thrown my way. I can dodge anything as I know my spirit is still alive,” she concludes.

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t a h t a t n i Z y t i e r P l l e t e n e h T ill someo ? h t e k a e r b r o h t e k a m t ’ n o d p c i n e r make-u h p o z i h c s t s o m l a s y a l p e s r i u d t s p s a e c r s g act u b r e t t u h s e h t n e h w e t s e e l i p c n m e o d c n n i te e c a f r e h g n i d i h l a r u t a d e r e v o c her au n y l e f a s s ’ e h s n e h w t u b , a i o n s r a para e p p a s s e r t c a e h t , t n i ! g n i m r in greasepa a h c . . t s o m l a d n a d e x a l e r , y e l happ i h w i z z a r a p a p y b e r e h y a Snapped d b ’ e s i r p r u s ‘ s ’ u g g u going for D d n a s e l i m s l l a s a w y t i e r P bash, o t t s a o t a even raised . s a r e m a c the

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PREITY ZINTA d e r a p e r p e t i u q t ’ n s i e h s n e h w But . r e h t e g o t l a e l a t t n e r e f f i d a s ’ t i for it, f o s t e s r e h t o e s e Take a look at th . t r o p r i a e h t t a t o h s y t i e r P f o s pic r o g n i g d o d n i a l It’s not just p t u o l l a g n i o g s i y t i e r P , g n i r e p m sca n i t h g i r s d n a h r by placing he g n i d l e i h s , s n e l front of the . e r a l g a i d e m e h herself from t a t o g s s e r t c a e h t The buzz is , t e e f s w o r c r e quick fix for h t i o t p u e c a f , y a but we s l l i t s a r e m a c e h t Preityloves you. Images courtesy: Yogen Shah

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You recently brought in your 31st birthday… Are you a birthday person? By that if you mean did I have a big bash, the answer is no. I believe birthdays are a time to spend with the most important people in your life - your family. Some of my colleagues and very old friends dropped by to wish me. It was a quiet and intimate celebration at home. With three films lined up in the coming months, I guess it’s the first time that you’ve had so many films releasing in a year. In 2012 particularly, I haven’t been in the public eye since the release of Abbas-Mustan’s Players. That was because I was travelling and working. Now, my films are ready for release back-to-back. The first is, of course, Bejoy Nambiar’s David that releases this month. Then I have 3G, an Eros production releasing mid-March. And then there is Shortcut Romeo, which will release in April. So, these three films will release in quick succession. This is a huge change from your former approach of one or two selective releases. I have always believed in doing films that I would love being a part of; films that are slightly different and engage my attention. So, that continues to be my approach. If you’ve seen the promos of David, you will understand that it was not an opportunity I could afford to miss. 3G is a psychological horror film. Horror is one genre that I love. I find the spirit world

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fascinating. Despite my round-the-clock schedule, whatever I get into bed, I turn on the TV or put on a DVD and start watching a horror film or show! Does that mean your attitude towards selecting films has changed in recent times? Films are my bread and butter. I cannot fool around with them. I am also the third generation from my family in the industry. So, I carry two very big and respected names on my shoulders. It is but obvious that I have to be very careful about the kind of films that I do. At the risk of boasting, I am the only young actor who has worked with seven national awardwinning filmmakers back-to-back! The two people who help me with my decisions are my father and my brother Naman Nitin Mukesh, who has been assisting some of the most respected filmmakers and is looking forward to becoming a director himself. And then there are some close friends who are privy to what kind of films I am doing. Some of them think I am doing awesome work and some think I should also be out there doing romantic comedies and more populist films.

You’re doing Shortcut Romeo. Is it a romantic comedy? No! It’s a hardcore action thriller. It is one film that is really close to my heart and that is why we have kept it under wraps. Soon we will be launching the first look of the film and I am hoping that clears up the confusion. It’s an out-and-out action film revolving around blackmail. Ameesha Patel plays a negative role in the film and she is really good. The film is a full-on masala entertainer in the tradition of south Indian films. But it is also performance driven. ��������

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What are your thoughts on the emerging new Hindi cinema? I love young filmmakers; they are brilliant. At the same time, I have my doubts about some of the films that are being made out there. Are you tempted to dabble in direction and production? I would like to direct in the near future. I will get into production very soon. I also write and I recently finished the script for a romantic thriller that I would like to produce. Thrillers are one genre that keep me going. However, apart from acting, I am also a pianist and I compose music. So whenever I sit at the piano and start playing, I only compose romantic tunes. Similarly, when it comes to writing, I end up writing more love stories than say, horror stories or thrillers. What gives you a high? When kids and fans come up to me and address me not as Neil Nitin Mukesh but as one of the characters from my films - that is the ultimate high for me. And is everyone at home happy with where you are now? I feel I am really fortunate to have a family like mine. I must have done something really good in my previous life! My parents, especially my father, are extremely proud that both my brother and I are doing work that is worthy of the family name. I cannot ask for anything more. ��������

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The comeback

queen “You have to be the best. There is no point in being here otherwise,’’ says Sridevi as she talks about her plans post English Vinglish, how Bollywood is a no-no for her daughter just yet � Lipika Varma

Images courtesy: Yogen Shah

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15-year hiatus from acting later, Sridevi has made a fabulous comeback with English Vinglish (EV) and she plans to work in Bollywood for a while. “I am thrilled that my film

appreciated on television. My husband liked the movie as well. He is an emotional person and his love and respect for women has always ranked high. But with this film I am sure that the attitude of husbands, who thought about their wives differently, will change. Many of my friends and their kids have also been so positive in their views about my role.” Sridevi says that she is delighted that an actor of the calibre of Anil Kapoor praised her work. “I am happy that Anil Kapoor was appreciative about my acting. Praiseworthy words coming from a sincere, dedicated and meticulous actor like him makes me feel great. We are looking forward to remaking Mr India but No Entry 2 will come first. If the script permits a role for both of us, why not? I would like to work with him but at the moment everything is at the scripting level, so nothing can be confirmed.”

English Vinglish has received such a fabulous response. After the stupendous success of EV the film was also seen and ��������

Enjoying her free time she explains, “There are so many things for me to do during my leisure time.

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I enjoy reading and being a mother, a wife and daughter-in law. I love spending time with my kids and we discuss many things. I take my daughters with me everywhere – we share a very good rapport. Now, since my film English Vinglish has released I take them with me to all the events too but this does not mean that I am promoting my elder daughter. She has a long life ahead of her and right now she is busy completing her studies.” Asked how her comeback feels, Sridevi says that she was never out of the industry so she doesn’t feel like it’s a comeback at all. “I was at fashion shows and many film events. Of course I got a number of offers. But as a mother I felt I had to take care of my growing kids. I don’t know why I didn’t come back to films earlier. I wish Gauri and I had met earlier. I would have loved to do this film at any point in time. I wanted a good script and when I heard this script I immediately agreed to do it. My kids have seen the film and loved it. They encouraged me a lot and so did Boney. In fact all of them liked seeing me back on screen,” says the actor. Sridevi feels that the character she played in EV was one many women can relate to. “I related to the film as a woman and a mother. Not knowing a language is not a problem only with Indian women. There are people all over the world who can’t speak English. Every wife, mother – every woman will relate to this character and to the film.’’ ��������

Getting a standing ovation at the Toronto film festival is something the actor will not forget in a hurry. “A standing ovation for your film and your performance is always an overwhelming experience. I was hugged by many women from different countries who told me that they faced such problems all the time. I was very touched. My children were very surprised – they’ve seen my films but this was the first time they watched a film of mine with an audience and saw how the viewer’s reacted to my performance,” says the actor emotionally. Today, with everyone appreciating the way Sridevi looks and how elegantly she carries herself, the actor reveals that a positive attitude is the road to being happy and looking good.” When you are positive and happy it shows on your face. I find happiness in everything I do, be it giving my family breakfast or dropping my children off at school. Yoga, a proper diet, exercise and a systematic lifestyle are important, but what is more important is doing what

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you love. One must be able to find happiness even in the smallest things,” she explains. Sridevi’s closest competitor and the girl who displaced her, Madhuri Dixit is also back in Bollywood but that doesn’t seem to phase the actor who admits to looking `”forward to working with Madhuri for sure.” Making a comeback after a decade-and-a-half, Sridevi acknowledges that Indian cinema has advanced technically. “Now there is sync sound, 3D, and more. Even the style of filmmaking has changed. Above all, the newcomers seem to have great zeal and talent. Our industry is treated as any other profession – earlier there were very few entrants to Bollywood,” she says. “I have watched many of the newer films and I loved Kahaani, The Dirty Picture and No one Killed Jessica. Vidya Balan and Rani Mukherji were superb in those films. They are both very talented girls. These days young people know what they want – they are aware of the new technologies and are a totally different breed of actors.”

up acting and Sridevi gets a bit defensive. “My girls are very young. Jhanvi changes her mind every day. She has not decided what she wants to do. I want her to study as of now and I want her to get married soon. I have worked in Bollywood and what I am today is because of this industry, but it is not easy here. You have to be devoted and you have to be the best. There is no point in being here otherwise,” she smiles. Sridevi is optimistic about the future. “I am looking forward to a happening 2013. Now since I have made a comeback to celluloid after a gap of 15 years, I am looking forward to working in the south as well as in Hindi films. How can I not opt for a southern film? After all I started my career from the south. Given half a chance I would strike a balance doing both Hindi and southern films. There would be no clash as I don’t intend to take on too many films,’’ she says. And holding her breath for a while she adds, “I would be 100 per cent jealous if Gauri Shinde made her next film with another heroine. In fact I would never allow her to do a film without me!”

But quiz her on whether she wants her daughters to take ��������

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“Today, I raise a toast to the biggest superstar in my life — my friend Salman Khan,’’ says Shabinaa Khan as she takes a trip down memory lane 22


F

riendship is one of the most precious gifts of life. It’s a feeling of love, sharing and caring, feeling that someone understands and appreciates you for what you are. Good friends are like pillars — they help you stand tall. It’s not about how often you meet your friends it’s about how much you care during the good times as well as the bad times. In this edition, I’d like to introduce my friend, the heartthrob of millions of women and the envy of men — the one and only, Salman Khan!

d n u o r a g n d a n h a d l y u a o d w o l l h e a w W s b o n j a t m u l o a h t i S h t w i n w e h g w n i s ’ m l t i f s i d tha h e t r r o f a t I a s t y t a h a j t had r d a e B t j s a e r g g u s Soo , m l i e f m u t u t s b o e c d s i h e m o c be . r e n g i s de

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Salman and I have known each other since our school days. He was in the all-boys school opposite mine. I still remember him as the kid who had a silver ‘BMX’ cycle in the late ‘70s, which was a pretty cool thing those days. We would always cross each other’s paths while going to school, but we finally got talking only during the SSC exams. We bonded over the infamous exam paper leaks that happened at night (of course we realised soon enough that the examination papers were fake and didn’t help us at all!). After Class 10, we ended up going to the same college — Elphinstone. I still remember those lazy, hazy days when we used to sit in front of each other in class during the exams since our initials were both ‘S.K.’ and Salman would be asleep in the first hour during the exams because he had to wait for me to finish writing my supplement of eight pages — which he would take from me. I can’t help but smile when I recall those auto rides to the station, the 9.36 BadaFast as it was called, which was the non-stop train from Bandra to Churchgate.

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Churchgate. You know, everyone who is someone today was on that train. I went on to complete my graduation, but Salman dropped out after the second year. I got a job as a flight attendant with Saudi Airlines and had to train in Jeddah. However, the decision to join proved disastrous for me — I hated it so much that I resigned on the first day of training and took the next flight back to Mumbai. Having given up a lucrative salary and with no form of employment, I was in a depression. Arbaaz (Salman’s brother) who was a friend of mine suggested that he and I join Mazhar Khan as assistant directors on a new film titled Gang. We started as rookies, but luck ran out and the film got stuck for financial reasons. Once again we were back to square one — unemployed and frustrated!

We would hang around without jobs all day and that’s when Salman — who had started filming with Sooraj Barjatya for his debut film, suggested that I become his costume designer. Me! And even though I didn’t know the ABC of designing, I took up the offer because Salman assured me that it would be a cakewalk. Maine Pyar Kiya was a humungous hit — a star was born and I was baptised as a costume designer by the film industry. Salman and I would spend most of our time together at shoots, at their fabulous farm house in Panvel, hanging about in each other’s homes or just chilling on Bandstand in the evenings. Salman used to have an old, red, open dilapidated car that he would drive around Bandstand to impress the girls. And the funniest thing was that whenever a pretty young thing would walk past, his car would breakdown! You know the biggest irony? We would often sit on a green, grassy patch outside a bungalow. That bungalow today is Mannat — Shah Rukh’s house and this was in the days SRK hadn’t even come from Delhi to Mumbai! During those days there was a very cool club called the Playmate Club at the Sea Rock hotel which we were all members of. Rekhaji, who was a superstar then, would conduct aerobic classes at the Mind and Body Temple in that club. Salman would come to class only to check Rekhaji out in her leotards and leg warmers! It was also at this club

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that Salman taught me how to swim — even though I was petrified of water — by throwing me into the pool! Every Sunday was spent swimming, followed by the buffet brunch.

I know that he will always think kindly of me and that he will always be there if I needed him. I can honestly write a whole book on him as I literally grew up with him - my best memories are with him.

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By 1990, Salman had become the heartthrob of millions of girls. Every film of his was a huge success. The world tours and foreign outdoor location shoots were unreal — we travelled all over the world. London was where we always had a blast. Shooting by day, partying by night, sleeping for just a few hours and then back on the sets, feeling sick and groggy… Now I wonder how we got all that energy. Today I need a whole day to recover from a night of partying! I remember this one time, we were in London shooting for Janam Samjha Karo and we went to a club that had a strict dress code comprising formals. Salman wasn’t wearing a jacket that night and they refused to let him in. Salman being Salman just ran across to Planet Hollywood, the only store open at that unearthly hour and bought a really expensive leather jacket, wore it and was allowed inside the club! The story doesn’t end here. As soon as Salman entered the club he took the jacket off, handed it over to the bouncer who’d refused him entry and said, “Keep it!” I still remember the look on the bouncer’s face! I learnt so much from Salman, he taught me the nuances of designing. I would get loads of compliments for his look in the films he acted in — be it his red lace shirt in Khamoshi, his open red jacket with dhoti pants in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam or his bright coloured jeans in Judwa. Actually for me it was extremely easy, because anything and everything looked good on him.

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From him I learnt the meaning of being large-hearted. After every outdoor shoot he would take the unit to any one store and buy them whatever they wanted. Once in Mauritius, the unit ended up emptying the store of its stocks! I used to be in Galaxy Apartments (Salman’s home) all the time. It is one of the most endearing homes ever. The front door is never ever locked. It’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. You can walk in without ringing the doorbell and you’ll always be welcome. Salim uncle and Salma aunty are two of the warmest souls you could ever meet and I am so fortunate to have them in my life.

film called Karan Arjun — this film marked the era of body-hugging tees and toned bodies. Salman worked on his physique and I made him wear tee-shirts that were for five-year-olds! The formula worked and he was back on top again. This time he made the transition from lover boy to action hero. I received many compliments for his looks — Salman was back with a bang!

But stardom always comes with a price and life throws unexpected curveballs your way. Salman soon started going through a low phase in his career and his films began to flop. It was at this time that Shah Rukh Khan came to Mumbai to make a career in films after dabbling in television, and I met Gauri at a fashion show on the third day of their arrival. Soon Shah Rukh and Gauri started hanging out at Galaxy playing Pictionary, which was the rage in those days. Sometimes we would drive around town in Salman’s white Gypsy. It may sound unbelievable now, but we went in that very Gypsy to watch the first show of SRK’s film Deewana. Those were the days of simpler friendships.

As time went by we grew very, very close — I was his only confidante. However, after 15 years of professional togetherness and a deep friendship, we started to have loads of differences. Sadly, one day we had a huge fight as a result of which we didn’t speak to each other for almost five years. Around this time I was down in the dumps, doing small jobs for television. I was also going through a rough time financially. But then just like that — from nowhere — Ajay Devgan and Shahid Kapoor asked me to design for them and I pulled myself out of the slump I was in. But life had bigger challenges in store for me. My father suffered a major heart attack and I was devastated. I still remember vividly how Salman was the first person to land up at Lilavati Hospital. He called the doctors and took charge of the situation completely. That’s Salman and that’s what makes him so special. After that we spoke casually whenever we met even though I don’t frequent Galaxy anymore.

Salman in the meantime was still struggling with his downswing and didn’t know how to bounce back. Then came a

However, I have a deep bond with his entire family which will never break. Even though Salman and I were going through

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our ego battles, I continued meeting Arbaaz and Sohail and attended both their weddings. Today, Arbaaz, Malaika, Seema and Sohail are amongst my closest friends and I frequent their homes all the time. When I got into production and made Rowdy Rathore, the first two people who came to see my movie after Akshay and I saw it were Salim uncle and Salma aunty. I had a special screening for the entire family and they were so happy for me. Salma aunty couldn’t believe that I had done all this on my own. I remember sending Salman an emotional message one day before the release thanking him for having introduced me to the film industry. A few days later I bumped into him and he congratulated me warmly on the success of my film. Love and affection in a friendship must be mutual if the friendship is to exist. I know that things are not the same between us, but I also know that this feeling of love and affection is real. I know that he will always think kindly of me and that he will always be there if I needed him. I can honestly write a whole book on him as I literally grew up with him — my best memories are with him. Today, I raise a toast to the biggest superstar in my life — my friend Salman Khan and I hope and pray that success, happiness and good health remain his companions always.

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Pipe Dream Girls I

n an industry where fortune changes every Friday a Dream debuts debut film with one of the leading production houses, with Bollywood’s actors or directors is a dream come true for any aspirant. best and yet these However, a dream debut can also be just that - a first actresses don’t film. In a world besotted with 100-crore films and superstar presences, even a spectacular launch could do seem to have nothing more than just get you noticed. It has been any takers. What proven time and again that stardom is not the result happened to them of an actor’s film being successful. It is the result of once the arc lights what an actor does with that successful film. Some succeed in making a mark even in a supporting role dimmed? while others make a hash of it. Here’s looking at Tushar A Amin some of the dream debuts and how the debutantes have fared beyond the first impact.

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A

chingly beautiful looks, a central role, a big-name director, the best co-star possible, a Kingfisher swimsuit calendar appearance (next Deepika Padukone?) and Bollywood’s muchsought-after international pedigree (erm, next Katrina Kaif anyone?!) Nargis Fakhri had everything going for her in Rockstar. Unfortunately, the one department she had to work on acting, proved to be a tall order for this half-Czech, half-Pakistani model from Queens, New York. While Ranbir stunned us all with his angst-ridden portrayal, Nargis received universal flak for her lacklustre performance and stilted diction. With Rockstar failing to brighten her prospects, Nargis is said to have found comfort in the arms of someone who, we are sure, understands her situation better than most - Uday Chopra. The two have been spotted together at private and family events sparking rumours of an imminent marriage.

On the career front, Nargis Fakhri has finally been signed on by Shoojit Sircar for Madras Café, a political thriller with producer John Abraham also playing the lead role - that of an intelligence agent. Nargis is slated to play the part of an international journalist. What better way to camouflage that diction discomfort? With Priyanka Chopra and Abhishek Bachchan being considered for roles in the film, Nargis might just have to bask in reflected publicity this time. On the plus side, with Abhishek, John and Sheetal Mallar in the film, emerging the worst of the lot would take some doing! ��������

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T

his dusky Goan beauty from Mumbai was pushed into the modelling limelight when a hotel manager in Goa convinced her mother that Ileana should meet Goa’s resident model hunter, Marc Robinson. Ileana took the long road to Bollywood, cutting her teeth on south Indian films before being offered a Bollywood debut in the form of Anurag Basu’s Barfi! Despite her star status down south, she had to make do with playing the third wheel to the RanbirPriyanka love story in the film. And though the film’s author-backed roles went to Ranbir and Priyanka, unlike Nargis Fakhri, Ileana made the opportunity count. Her expressive face and stunning looks earned her applause from the critics and masses alike. With the success of Barfi! Ileana has moved back to Mumbai, her hometown. But like all newcomers, Ileana seems to be at the receiving end of Bollywood’s fixation with the reigning Katrina-Priyanka-DeepikaKareena quartet. Or it might be Ileana’s selectiveness that has translated into her having just one film in her kitty. She has been signed on for Rajkumar Santoshi’s Shahid Kapur starrer Phata Poster Nikla Hero slated for an August 2013 release. The full-on commercial entertainer will be in stark contrast to the almost European sensibilities of Barfi! But Ileana seems to be up for the game. After all, she has south Indian potboilers like Pokiri and Kick to prove her masala mettle! ��������

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few newcomers who have carved a niche for themselves through sheer grit and determination. Her debut film - Ladies VS Ricky Bahl - was tailored to shine the spotlight on Yash Raj Films’ home grown stars - Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh. But her feisty “LOL” portrayal in the film forced the powers that be to sit up and take notice.

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riyanka Chopra’s (then) chubby cousin has emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the new Hindi cinema movement where scripts and characters are taking precedence over looks and fluff. It is not everyday that a London-educated, business finance professional who took up a job as a publicist due to the economic recession, ends up becoming a film star. Parineeti is one of the ��������

Encouraged by the response, Parineeti put in the effort required to transform herself from a character actor to a star (read, lost weight and gained the glam quotient). And while her solo debut Ishaqzaade turned out to be just an extended version of her character in the first film, she did enough to prove that she could carry a film on her own. The sincerity and rootedness that Parineeti lends to her characters has resulted in her bagging some plum assignments. She has been signed on for Dharma Productions’ joint venture with Anurag Kashyap. She will also be seen in Manish Sharma’s next production for Yash Raj Films and Shaad Ali’s comeback venture Kill Dill alongside Ranveer Singh and Ali Zafar. No mean feat in an industry where pretty faces are proving to be just one film wonders. Now, if she just proves her range in acting, cousin Priyanka might just have competition from the home front!

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A

nother of Imtiaz Ali’s discoveries, Diana Penty was slated for a debut with Rockstar but had to opt out because of her modelling commitments. Her actual debut in Homi Adajania’s Cocktail suggests that she might just have been a better choice. Despite Deepika’s superlative performance in the film, Diana managed to stand her ground by being the perfect foil for Deepika’s edgy character.

Her resemblance to Deepika might prove to be a double-edged sword for Diana. On the one hand, she might end up being a default choice for all the films Deepika does not have the time for. But she also has to prove her acting mettle and improve on that deercaught-in-the-headlights presence to convince filmmakers that she can deliver solo successes. So far she hasn’t had producers queuing up to sign her. The only film she has been signed on for is Salman Khan’s Radhe, rumoured to be a remake of the south Indian film Stalin. But then, it is a Salman Khan film. A certain Katrina Kaif can vouch for the impact Salman can have on your career if you play your cards right while Sneha Ullal (who?) and Zarine Khan could serve as caution signs. ��������

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T

here hasn’t been a single television-to-films breakthrough since Shah Rukh Khan. So, you could say the odds are heavily stacked against Yami Gautam who started her career as a television star and graduated to south Indian films. The 2012 sleeper hit Vicky Donor served as the perfect under-the-radar debut vehicle for Yami. The unexpected success of the film put the spotlight firmly on Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam. However, Yami Gautam is playing it by the ear and continuing to juggle Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films. While she has three films slated for release down south, her Bollywood presence is restricted to small films like the John Abraham-produced Hamara Bajaj (opposite her Vicky Donor co-star, Ayushmann) and E. Niwas’ cross-border love story Aman Ki Asha opposite Ali Zafar.

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Vanita D’Souza

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Amitabh Bachchan

“A

year-and-a-half ago, Baz Luhrmann called me and said, ‘Amitabh I have just a small role for you. I know it’s not worthy enough for you.’ I think he was being modest. But I got ready for the role,” says Amitabh Bachchan. Today, he is brutally honest when it comes to giving answers as opposed to being the more politically correct actor that he was at the peak of his legendary movie career. Bachchan Sr. plays the part of the notorious gangster, Meyer Wolfsheim in the cinematic adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, due for release on May 10 in the US. Commenting on the fact that his role in the film is rather small and that he hadn’t even charged any money for his work, Bachchan remarks, “My role, as you know, lasts for practically a minute. It is more a cameo of sorts. It’s just that director Luhrmann (of Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet fame) had a friend who had done some paintings of me. So when Luhrmann was travelling around India a couple of years ago on a motor cycle, he asked to meet me at my office. It was a casual visit – I don’t know why he just dropped by but we had a very informal conversation. I served him some tea and then he left.” Opening up about his debut in Hollywood, through a film based on the book that is widely regarded as the ‘Great American Novel’, Amitabh explains, “It was a great experience, working with Baz Luhrmann and greats like Leonardo Di Caprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. Contractually, I am not allowed to talk about the film, but I can tell you that the amount of detailing ��������

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Leonardo Di Caprio

and research that goes into subjects like this is immense and I was happy that I was even asked to be a part of the film. The literary genius of F. Scott Fitzgerald is known all over the West. Almost every home, every student has read The Great Gatsby. And while this might be the most famous film based on his classic work, this isn’t the first. I think it might be the third.” Talking about Shoe Bite, one of his upcoming projects, Amitabh says that it was an idea he thinks Percept first brought to him. “It was just a thought that had come out of an idea on the net which was put across by Manoj Night Shyamalan. They bought the rights and said we could develop this thought. Then UTV, which wanted to make the film, took over.” “I asked Shoojit Sircar, with whom I had worked previously, if he would be interested in this subject. He agreed.” But the film faced a lot of legal issues. “We shot the entire film and then UTV said they had some legal problems with 20th Century Fox because Fox said that this property belonged to them and that they were going ahead and shooting the film with Denzel Washington. We told them that we were almost through with the shooting. This is where the matter now rests with UTV – Ronnie Screwvala. I don’t know what the outcome is or will be, but from my end all our work is over and we hope that the film can be released soon.”

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Amitabh Bachchan

When probed about the status of Shantaram, Amitabh admits that he is quite clueless. “Shantaram never went on the floors. Mira Nair came to me and said there was a role that she’d like me to do. She had spoken to Johnny Depp who was very excited and she wanted me to play the role of Khan in the film. I agreed and we were to work on dates. After that Nair said it looked like the film was not materialising. I don’t know what’s happening to the film now.” Speaking about the gyan (knowledge) he gets from India’s biggest reality show KBC he says, “Gyan mujhe jitna KBC se milta hai woh shayad bahar nahi milta. Main bahut abaari hoon KBC ka ki mere ��������

gyan ki badhotri hue hai (I would never have got the kind of knowledge I gained from KBC anywhere else. I am very grateful to them for this).’’ Amitabh fell ill and was hospitalised a while ago after which he took a breather and started shooting for Kaun Banega Crorepati only recently. “I had surgery, so I took six months off as I knew I was going to start Kaun Banega Crorepati,” explains Amitabh. “Now, apart from a few other films I will be shooting for Satyagrah, a movie by Prakash Jha with Kareena Kapoor and Mehrunissa with Rishi Kapoor directed by Sudhir Mishra,” he concludes.

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Cover Photography- Suresh Natarajan Stylist- Rhea Kapoor & Tanya Ghavri Hair & Make Up- Namrata Soni

CLICK TO SEE MAKING OF COVER

LOVE, SEX &

SONAM “I think sex is an expression of love. I think it’s a beautiful way of expressing your love,’’ says Sonam Kapoor as she talks about love, relationships and men � Tushar A Amin

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Gown- Vizyon Jewellery- Sunita Kapoor signature line & Amrapali

Let’s start with simple things, first. What does ‘love’ mean to you? That’s a really complicated question. (Thinks) Love is finding someone to be with, someone who is your partner for life and stuff like that. But love just doesn’t mean romantic love you know. Love has different manifestations. It can range from maternal love to friendship. For me, it means a really strong emotion that makes you act in a selfless way. And ‘hate’? Hate is the other side of love. I think when you hate someone it is just misguided love. How would you describe the feeling of being in love? I don’t know. I have rarely been in love. Honestly, I have never met somebody that I have completely been in love with. Obviously, I have been in relationships. Of course, every relationship starts off with attraction and eventually you do love the person. I have always loved the guy I was in a relationship with but I don’t know if I was ever in love with anybody. That hasn’t happened to me — yet. Does falling for someone happen to you often? And easily? It doesn’t happen often. Nor easily. But when I do fall for someone, I fall real hard. At the same time if I am over someone I can just snap out of it. I don’t carry too many residual feelings.

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I NEED MY PRIVATE LIFE TO BE PRIVATE — EVERYTHING ELSE IS SO PUBLIC. Your known relationships have been with really low-profile, behind-the-scenes guys. Is there any particular `Sonam type’? Honestly, I have made it a rule since I started working that I would not talk about my relationships because I need my private life to be private — everything else is so public. Once everyone starts talking about relationships, they want to know where you are going on a holiday and which side of the bed you sleep on… I don’t want that to be my life. Moreover, it takes the focus away not just from my work but from me as a person as well. So, it is not about low profile guys. I have dated high profile guys as well. It is just that I have made it very clear to them that if I am dating them, telling our friends and family is fine but making it into a public statement is not okay. I need the guy to respect that about me. The day I decide to get married, everyone will know.

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Gown- Falguni and Shane Peacock Shoes- Christian Louboutin Jewellery- Sunita Kapoor signature line

Have you ever consciously broken someone’s heart? I haven’t consciously broken anyone’s heart, but I have never been dumped. So, whenever you break-up with someone, you eventually break their hearts. I hope that has not been the case. I don’t ever want to hurt someone I love or who loves me. But I have never been at the receiving end, so I guess I must have. I really feel bad about that happening but there’s always been a point where both of us have realised that things were not going to work out. Most of the time the break-ups have been mutual — but I don’t know… All I can say is, I have never consciously broken anyone’s heart or intended to hurt anyone. I don’t want to be that kind of person. When you break-up with someone, ��������

do you still stay friends with the other person? Oh, yes… I am friends with all my ex-boyfriends. Have you ever said ‘I love you’ without meaning it? Off-screen, of course! Yes. Lots of times — lots! Has anyone told you that they would always be there for you? Do you believe they would? Yes. All my ex-boyfriends have told me that they would always be there for me. And they are. I don’t think there has been a person whom I have called and he hasn’t been there for me — to help me out of a tricky situation or be my date when I needed one. I am fortunate that there have always been people who have been there for me.

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Does anyone have something intimate belonging to you… like a lock of hair or a photograph in a wallet? No! No! That’s freaky — unless, of course, someone has secretly taken something intimate belonging to me. That to my mind is a stalker-like tendency and I hope I haven’t dated someone like that! But I haven’t voluntarily given a lock of hair or something to anyone. I have a little bit of a commitment phobia you know. So, I don’t think I will ever part with something that intimate belonging to me. I think I need to find somebody who I fall really hard for to get that kind of freakiness out from me. But I haven’t found anyone yet. Whom do you miss from your past? Have you ever tried to get in touch with them?’ Of course, when you are dating someone you spend so much time with that person. And then suddenly when you break it off that presence is missed. But it is always in a good way. I don’t have regrets so I have never wanted that person back. If a relationship has ended, it has ended for a reason. If there were a future, I would never have ended it. Of course I miss the friendship but I have always made it a point to stay friends with my exes. So, they are all present in my life. ��������

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When was the last time you actually wrote a letter? In this age of SMS and BBM what’s the need to write a letter? And a love-note/poem? No. I am the one who gets love notes and poems. I am always at the receiving end of the good stuff (laughs). I am

they are telling you how they feel? I don’t think that has ever been a problem for me. That’s why I am an actor. That’s my job. I am doing this on a daily basis. But even in real life, I am very expressive and I am an honest and direct person. So, I never have any problems looking into anybody’s eyes for

I THINK SEX IS AN EXPRESSION OF LOVE. I HAVE�� VERY HEALTHY ATTITUDE TOWARDS IT. blessed that way. I think I will fall hard for a person who makes me work hard to gain his affection. I have always had it slightly easy, so when it’s the other way round — when I have to run after a guy maybe… I need someone who is hard to get. What is more difficult for you, looking into someone’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into someone’s eyes when

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whatever reasons. Does love = sex? Yes, for sure. I don’t look at sex as an exercise. I think sex is an expression of love. I think it’s a beautiful way of expressing your love. I have very healthy attitude towards it. But I honestly equate it with love. I am not a promiscuous person. I won’t judge anyone else who does, but I personally don’t believe in casual sex. There has to be love and commitment involved.

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ROMANCE IS IN THE SMALL THINGS. IT IS NOT IN THE BIG, GRAND GESTURES AT ALL. What is harder for you to tell a guy — that you love him or that you do not love him back? For me, both are hard. I don’t think either are easy statements to express. You are either hurting someone or you are risking getting hurt. What makes someone a best friend? Loyalty. That’s about it. I am fortunate to have extremely loyal friends and I really love them a lot. Have you ever risked a friendship by telling someone you liked them? No. It is strange but I don’t think of guys who are my friends in that light. It is freaky and weird. Did you try to change for a person? No, I don’t have Julia Roberts’ syndrome from Runaway Bride. I know a lot of girls who do stupid things. I am a really strong individual. I have always been like that. I think you need to find someone who complements your personality. Who makes you laugh the most? My dad. My family. If they make a reality show around my family, it would be hilarious (laughs). What makes you angry? Dishonesty, unprofessionalism and mediocrity. ��������

When you’re angry do you get loud or quiet? Depends. I am a Gemini. I have like seven people hidden in me. So, even I cannot predict how I would react! Would you get someone’s name tattooed on your body? No. I have my own name tattooed on my body. They can go and get my name tattooed on theirs! What’s the most romantic thing a special someone has done for you? A lot of people have done a lot of romantic things for me – like flying down at a moment’s notice, or asking my sister what I would like and getting it for me. But I believe the most romantic thing anyone can do for you is actually become close to the people you are close to so that they can be a part of your life. Romance is in the small things. It is not in the big, grand gestures at all. Whose opinion about you do you value the most? My sister Rhea’s. Five words of advice on love. Commitment. Honesty. Sex. Food and travel. These five things can make or break a relationship. For me at least (laughs).

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Boyfriends, a Birkin bag or beach bumming? Boyfriends

Nina Simone, The Beatles or Green Day? Nina Simone

Red, Pink or Black Red

Gone With The Wind, Casablanca or Pretty Woman? Gone With The Wind

Chocolates, flowers or a voucher (from a luxury outlet)? A voucher

George Clooney, Will Smith or James Franco? James Franco

A long drive, candle-lit dinner or bungee jumping? Bungee jumping

What is one thing you could never forgive? Cheating.

A Versace gown, lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, Jimmy Choo shoes or a Chanel bag? All of them

What’s the best route to your heart? Food. You feed me and you are gonna be a lucky guy.

Chanel No. 5, Anais Anais or Tom Ford’s Black Orchid? Michael by Michael Kors

Do you like to cuddle? Yes. Doesn’t everyone?

A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS Dress - Gauri and Nainika Jewellery- Sunita Kapoor signature line

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HIS MENTOR’S CHOICE

Two-time Academy Award winner A.R. Rahman talks about his latest venture and why he saves his best for Mani Ratnam Bijoy Bharathan

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A

t a recent gathering, A.R. Rahman was asked by his friends to play a few notes from what he considered to be his best work with mentor and frequent collaborator, legendary director Mani Ratnam. It came as no surprise as the Oscar winning composer’s nimble fingers glided across the keys of the Steinway grand piano and the lilting melody of Chinna Chinna Aasai (Dil Hai Chota Sa) from Roja handheld the audiences into rapture. 2013 marks 21 years since the release of that film. Rahman, who has reteamed with Mani to compose the music for the auteur’s upcoming Tamil film Kadal (The Sea), gives us a peek into the latest offering and Mani’s mind as well.

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Mani Ratnam

Speaking about the musical influences he brought to the film, Rahman begins, “The story revolves around a Christian fisherman. So I drew a parallel. Western Christian culture has joyful hymns, carols and upbeat gospel songs, but you don’t get to hear them in Tamil. The Tamil church has an entirely different culture. So incorporating these two sensibilities in the film, retaining the upbeat mood of Gospel while having that local Tamil flavour – that’s what we were trying to do. I think it came as a surprise to Mani.”

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A still from Kadal

A HIGHER POWER Surprises and coincidences seem to follow the composer wherever he goes. Narrating an incident that occurred while working on the new film, Rahman says, “While I was composing a certain song for Kadal, the lyricist was not in town. The only way to do the song was by referring to his book of poems, which contained the lyrics to the song. The book was right there on a shelf in my library. I picked it up, closed my eyes and opened a page at random. It was the same song that I’d been working on, which came up. That was a lovely coincidence.”. ��������

NO EXPECTATIONS Talking about the Oscar win, A.R.R says, “At that moment, I was numb. I had rehearsed for that one moment for one week. I had trained my mind into believing that ‘I won’t get it. I won’t get it. I won’t get it.’ If I get it, it would be a surprise. If I didn’t get it, it would still be cool. I guess we are only human. But I’ll never forget the love which everybody gave, their encouragement and their prayers.”

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Mani Ratnam revealed When asked about the later that when he had long standing heard the full song for the collaboration he’s had first time, he was too with Mani Ratnam, stunned to react. Hinting Rahman tells us, “Mani at the director’s and I have been working demanding work ethic with each other for so long, I think I have almost A.R.R comes clean, “It doesn’t matter if I am out figured out the way his promoting our film, Mani mind works. He has this would still check up on me typical habit of asking me and ask me if I have to compose a tune “completed that without even visually explaining the story to me. background score I was However, this time around, supposed to finish. There are times when after a Mani did tell me the story flight, I’d play him a of Kadal. That’s the only recording and tell him, ‘I difference. We just recorded the chorus of the just did that on the aeroplane,’” (laughs). “But song Adiye and played it jokes apart, I should be to him. And he didn’t thanking him. He is my react to it at all. Then he guru,” Rahman adds. got used to it.”

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YOU MUST Be JOKING!!

Barfi!

y l e t a r e p s e D g n i k See

r a c Os Devd

as

Jeans

S

o Barfi! is out the Oscar race- surprise surprise.. And while the purists are heaving a sigh of relief that a ‘not-so-original’ film didn’t make it, we decided to take a look at India’s past entries. The list of our official entries to the Best Foreign Language Film category literally had us in splits, when viewed in hindsight. Seriously, what nerve to send across a film like Jeans, way back in 1998 when the competition boasted of such strong dramatic features like Life is Beautiful (Italy), Central Station (Brazil) and Children of Heaven (Iran). You might think that we’d have learned a valuable lesson back then. But no, we go right ahead and turn repeat offender by pitching Devdas to the AMPAS. Even Madhuri and Ash’s Dil-do la re couldn’t convince the voters, who seemed to be on a trip of sobriety. And just when you think we’ve gotten our act together, Paheli is sent, followed by Eklavya! It’s no wonder that when we flung regurgitated Barfi! on audiences around the world, the Academy said, “You had us at BARF!”

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e h t k c u r t s s a s h i h e t m o o s r , d d n o y a o s d w e l y e l l g l i n o p i B s m s ’ o n e i a c i h s d T s r n a a I t h r s r o t f e s r d e i e bigg Notch Ins y Reckon , d y a a e … s V-d onship R e l g n i s r i t e t a f l a Re t h g u o s t s mo

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Salman Khan The Lover Good: Generous, passionate and all heart. He will ensure that his girl is pampered, protected and enveloped in the love and security of his LARGE family and coterie of friends. Bad: A jealous and possessive lover, he demands complete and undivided love, attention and loyalty. Not only will he ensure that no one looks at his woman, but he will also be most unappreciative of her flaunting her body or even flirting, albeit in a light-hearted vein.

The Persona Arguably India’s biggest star today, this mercurial muscle man is known to be a very good friend and a very bad enemy. Stand by him and he’s a friend for life but, give him a hard time and he’ll made your life twice as miserable!

Ugly: He will do whatever it takes to get the woman who has caught his fancy, and this includes a lot of manipulation. Later he’ll regret the relationship wondering, “Why is it so hard to find a woman to love me for myself and not the person I lied and manipulated her into thinking I was?” Go figure!

Past relationships — real and rumoured: Somy Ali, Sangeeta Bijlani, Neelam Kothari, Aishwarya Rai, Asin, Katrina Kaif. Notch Insider whisper He drinks a bottle of vodka every night followed by an elaborate meal, usually way past midnight. A certain south Indian actress once complained that she had to stand and serve him and also mix all his food. Apparently if there are five dishes, he likes all five mixed together and served to him! ���������

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Shahid Kapoor The Persona

Best known for being the man Kareena Kapoor gave up meat for, Shahid is notoriously private and squeaky clean about his personal habits and lifestyle. The opposite of Ranbir, he’s known to be attracted to women who intrigue him.

The Lover Good: A rare breed, Shahid is actually more attracted to a women’s mind and talent rather than to her body or appearance. And once he’s hooked, he will go to great lengths to unravel the many layers that make his girl tick. Bad: Shahid has never been a popular choice with B’town beauties — simply because he’s dull! Early to bed, early to rise, exercise and healthy living, all take precedence over fun times. Ugly: Post Bebo, the man is notoriously commitment-phobic and will never go public, making the woman insecure and cranky!

Past relationships — real and rumoured: Amrita Rao, Kareena Kapoor, Sania Mirza, Vidya Balan, Priyanka Notch Insider whisper Chopra, Bipasha Basu. A Radha Swami bhakt (disciple), Shahid is

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rumoured to have a massive picture of his guruji by his bedside. A former girlfriend complained that it was very distracting to get amorous under his baba’s glare!

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The Persona He’s the one your mother warned you about! Good looking, charming and incredibly talented. A well brought up boy, his lineage is impeccable as well. His greatest strength is a disarming quality that doesn’t allow his detractors to stay angry with him for too long.

Ranbir Kapoor The Lover

Past relationships — real and rumoured: Avanti Mallik (Imran Khan’s wife), Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Angela Johnson, Nandita Mahtani, Nargis Fakhri, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma.

Good: A dedicated boyfriend, he will follow his girl to shooting locations overseas, have home cooked food delivered and always make time for the lady, despite busy schedules and public appearances. Bad: He is capable of showing the same kind of devotion to five women all at the same time! Ugly: Essentially a hunter, for him it’s all about the thrill of the chase. And when he starts to lose interest, he’s capable of switching on and off with almost cold-blooded ease. Often, the girl doesn’t even realise she’s been dumped and he’s moved on!

Notch Insider whisper ���������

Ranbir is no keeper of women — well, simply because he just doesn’t stay around! RK Jr. has one of the sharpest minds going, and his women have simply not held his attention long enough.

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RanveerSingh The Persona He’s Bollywood’s surprise package — making an explosive debut with Band Baaja Baarat, he made sure that he was impossible to ignore. An over-the-top personality, Ranveer is hanging onto his new found fame with both hands and feet and will give his all to succeed!

The Lover Good: An enthusiastic puppy dog, the women he’s pursuing find it impossible to ignore his devotion, adulation and constant praise. He makes his woman feel like the most beautiful girl in the world! Bad: Ranveer is still a little boy at heart and at times his constant endeavours to please make him seem immature. Ugly: The small town boy, who was backed by one of the biggest production houses in India, is considered a bit infra-dig by the leading ladies. His women never admit to dating him — and that makes for a change!

Notch Insider whisper He tried to make it to the big league by desperately wooing a lonely Deepika Padukone, but after her past relationships, she too couldn’t relate to his rustic charm and he got the boot! ��������� ���������

Past relationships — real and rumoured: Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha. 57


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Sonakshi Sinha

The Persona

The Lover Good: Fuss-free and low maintenance, Sonakshi is the ideal girl you want to take home to mom. She’s known to be giving, down to sharing her dabba (box/ tiffin carrier) of homecooked food with special co-stars. Bad: Sonakshi had her heart broken as a teenager and still remains gun-shy of serious relationships. Ugly: This is not a girl who can be taken for granted. Date her and you’ll have her whole family to deal with!

She’s been called Bollywood’s most desirable newbie and has a string of successes behind her. Sona’s been in the news more for her fluctuating weight and less for her acting talent, but that hasn’t stopped her wellwishers from promoting this sweet-natured young star.

Past relationships — real and rumoured: Aditya Shroff (multiplex owner), Bunty Sachdeva, Ranveer Kapoor.

Notch Insider whisper Despite Sonakshi’s guard being up, she succumbed to the charms of a much-married co-star and the unit was abuzz with the talk of their noisy and passionate off-screen chemistry! ���������

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Anushka Sharma

Past relationships — real and rumoured: Zoheb Yusuf (BangaloreThe Lover based model from Good: Smart, sharp and her modelling chatters nineteen to the days), Ranveer dozen. From an army background, she’s always Singh, Ranbir held her head high and Kapoor.

The Persona This is the story of an explosive debut followed by the usual ramifications of stardom. Anushka Sharma had a dream debut with SRK, but it was her second film where she came into her own — as a bubbly Punjabi girl. A tag she’s struggling to shake off!

will demand respect from her man. Bad: Constantly striving for perfection, Anushka is impossible to please. Her man can’t do anything right, or even good enough for her. Get her the moon and she’ll demand the sun and a couple of planets as well! Ugly: This girl has a razor sharp tongue and is not above hitting below the belt when she’s angry. She’s constantly fighting with the men in her life, blaming them for not being up to scratch

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Notch Insider whisper Anushka is believed to have caught the fancy of a very prominent industrialist who is secretly backing her career and pampering her. Known for his penchant for actresses, (he was earlier involved with another leggy beauty queen also from an army background) he is said to have influenced her break-up with Ranveer.

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Katrina Kaif

The Persona

The Lover Good: She knows how to keep her man happy. She will mould herself to fit into his life and lifestyle. Be a daughter to his mummy, a bestie to his sister and a buddy to his best friend — that’s Katrina’s charm as a girlfriend. Of course, it helps that she’s beautiful without make-up as well and has a charming Brit accent to boot!

Despite a `Boom’ debut, Katrina Kaif is one of the most soughtafter actresses in the country today. An unconventional debut in a Telugu film was followed by a few duds, but the right backing in the industry coupled with her desire to succeed has ensure that the Kat has definitely got the cream today!

Bad: Katrina may appear pliable and soft-spoken but the girl is like steel. Unbending and unbreakable — her quiet exterior masks the kind of naked ambition that is best described in Sidney Sheldon’s novels! Ugly: A hard, hard past in a matriarchal household has ensured that Katrina will put herself and her need to succeed ahead of her relationships. This is why she works hard to stay in the good books of both the Khan and Kapoor families.

Past relationships — real and rumoured: Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor. Notch Insider whisper She drives around in the Audi that Salman gifted her — even if it’s to go to Ranbir’s home for a couple of hours late at night. Like 16-year-olds, he too will sneak out of home at night to spend a couple of hours with her or fly out of the country for her shoots. But both fear the wrath of Dabangg Khan, so they’re not going to come clean anytime soon. ���������

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DeepikaPadukone

The Persona

Top model to successful actress with a dream launch pad, Deepika’s career has been sprinkled with fairy dust. But unfortunately, the same can’t be said about her love life. Be it the Prince of Bollywood or the motor-mouth son of a liquor baron — her romances never translated to the `happily ever after.’

Past relationships The Lover Good: She’s a loving and — real and giving girlfriend who is rumoured: open about her Nihar Pandya, Yuvraj relationships. She will put Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, her man above her career, making him the centre of Siddharth Mallya, her universe. She showers Ranveer Singh. her man with gifts that

Notch Insider whisper

include gizmos, clothes and shoes. Bad: Her intensity has scared quite a few men away. Not too many guys can handle the depth of Deepika’s affections. Ugly: Her parents’ perfect marriage has set Deepika’s expectations at an unrealistic high. In her world, lil’ blue bunnies hop around sunflowers with candy floss clouds wafting in the background. And she believes her knight in shining armour will arrive on his steed to carry her off to a castle in dreamland.

Her relationship with Ranbir kept her believing in old-fashioned romances, especially after he gave her a piano as a gift! However, a subsequent boyfriend was rumoured to be a bi-sexual and his wanting to have an open relationship that involved other men scarred Deepika considerably! ���������

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Past relationships — real and rumoured: Dino Morea, John Abraham, Shahid Kapoor, Rana Daggubati, Harman Baweja.

Bipasha Basu The Persona

Secure in a long-term relationship with John Abraham, Bipasha Basu let her career take a backseat. However, the break-up proved to be a harsh wake-up call and the actress has worked hard to reinvent herself, focusing all her energy on staying fit and healthy.

The Lover Good: An open-hearted girl, Bipasha plunges headlong into relationships making the guy a part of her family and intimate circle of friends. Bad: Attracted to a stereotypical kind of guy, Bipasha always falls for muscle-bound himbos. Not a girl who would go for an intellectual, she is content with a man who would double up as a movie and gym buddy. Ugly: Single and in her 30’s, Bipasha is desperate to get hitched and settle down. And while several actors are taking advantage of her desperation, sadly there is no diamond ring glinting in the horizon.

Notch Insider whisper Bipasha was dumped on New Year’s eve in Goa by then boyfriend Rana just before the clock struck 12! The actress went to pieces and publicly rolled around in grief, crying like a child! One hopes that present squeeze Harman is in the relationship for the long haul! ���������

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Priyanka Chopra

The Persona

The Lover

Good: She’s intelligent. A real smart cookie, Priyanka is a lethal combo of beauty with brains and that makes her an interesting girlfriend. Bad: She thinks first with her head and then with her heart. And while she’s cultivated associations of convenience, she gets attracted to guys with an edge. Sadly for her, the edgy boys make for great lovers and lousy boyfriends, leaving PC with a string of boring men in public and exciting lovers in private. Ugly: Will the real Priyanka please stand up? In the past, she has been known to bat her eyelashes and say all the right things to keep her men happy, even at the risk of being insincere.

Piggy Chops sauntered her way into Bollywood, with a Miss World crown and a never-say-die attitude. A couple of surgeries (nose, lips) and the right associations saw her get roles with A-listers making her career graph surge. She continues to rule the roost with plum projects in hand, but Piggy Chops still needs to work on her PR skills because she just doesn’t make it to guest lists when people are having friends over!

Past relationships — real and rumoured: Aseem Merchant, Harman Baweja, Akshay Kumar, Shahid Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan.

Notch Insider whisper It was always SRK for Priyanka. They are the perfect intellectual match and this time King Khan is not masking his affections for her. After his alleged affair with Juhi Chawla for many years, this is the only other time he’s gone public with his ��������� relationship. As a result PC is on the hate list of the First Wives Club (Gauri, Sussanne, et al). Sources swear that this is not just another affair — SRK and PC truly love each other! ���������

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Shriya Saran and Satya Bhabha

I

t was after a hearty dinner that Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta approached acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie. “I want to make a film on your Booker Award winning novel Midnight’s Children,” she said. And he quickly agreed, but here’s the catch. She also wanted him to write the script for the film, something he hesitated in doing. “He said, `I’ve done the book, now I don’t want to do this.’ I told him, let’s find a middle path. Let’s pen down our thoughts and

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meet after two weeks. When we compared each other’s thoughts, we realised we were on the same page,” she laughs.

to match. He loved the film and was happy we made it,” she adds.

That was just the beginning! The film braved many controversies It was a 600 page novel before it was finally aired that had to be converted and don’t be fooled by into a screenplay, but Deepa’s petite appearance Rushdie was not intimidated by the process. – a strong resolve hides behind that diminutive In fact, in many ways frame! Despite Deepa was relieved that uncomfortable questions Rushdie wrote it. “We did about former Prime have a few disagreements in the creative process, but Minister Indira Gandhi being shown in a bad light it was a great experience and protests about filming to work with him. Rushdie not being allowed in India, is very cinematic in his Deepa remained stoic. presentations and has a fabulous sense of humour “There is nothing in the

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she didn’t have budgets like Gladiator to recreate those sets. “So we shot in Sri Lanka which was as if caught in a time warp, as industrialisation hit the country much later, unlike India. We found nooks and corners that looked like Curzon Road in the 40s and 50s,” says Deepa. Anita Majundar and Rahul Bose

“Rushdie is very cinematic in his presentations and has a fabulous sense of humour”

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film that is not historically accurate. The Emergency was a reality. And in the credits, I’ve rectified the map of India to show Jammu and Kashmir. It was an honest mistake,” she confesses. A Delhi girl who graduated from Lady Shri Ram College for Women and enjoyed golgappas in Bengali Market, Deepa moved to Canada after she was married. Deepa admits that she never wanted to shoot in Delhi – in fact when she came scouting around for locations to shoot the film in, Delhi had changed. It was now a city of imposing skyscrapers and flyovers – not the city that Rushdie had mirrored in his book. Deepa admits

But this wasn’t the end of her troubles. Three days into the shooting, a row broke out with the Iranian Foreign Ministry writing to the Sri Lankan Prime Minister stating that Rushdie’s novel should not be given permission to be shot in Sri Lanka. “The Prime Minister refused to be bullied so shooting resumed,” Deepa clarifies. With few distributors willing to touch the film PVR Pictures, a supporter of independent cinema, picked up the film for distribution in India. It was a brave move but with an aggressive Censor Board Deepa feared that the film would be allowed in India only after severe cuts. “It was a victory when we heard there was not even a single cut in Midnight’s Children! Fire went

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through without any cuts as well many years ago. But Midnight’s Children was a window to great enlightenment and I was truly impressed by the Censor Board’s maturity and felt they did the civilised thing – the film is being shown in its entirety,” she says. Based in Canada, like all NRIs, Deepa gets nostalgic about India, maybe that’s why Midnight’s Children in many ways reflects Rushdie’s and her journey to find themselves. The protagonist Saleem Sinai is an ‘every man’ – a sort of plain Joe who is looking for love, is vulnerable and is born at the stroke of midnight when India is partitioned.

had never faced the camera before – Satya Bhabha who plays Saleem Sinai, after she saw him in a play in New York. “I don’t cast somebody because he is a million dollar star or is fiercely popular. If a person resonates with a character, I go with him. My mom and I watch many serials at night, and she was the one who told me about TV star Ronit Roy who acted

I don’t cast somebody because he is a million dollar star or is fiercely popular. If a person resonates with a character, I go with him Known to be a nonconformist, Deepa goes by her gut instinct. So she cast a young actor, who ��������

in the serial Adalat – I had not seen him. She also told me about John Abraham whom I cast in

Water on her recommendation. I have always admired Seema Biswas – I think she’s terrific. Some actors have made a debut in this film and there are some I haven’t worked with before like southern stars Siddharth and Shriya Saran whom I first saw in Cooking with Stella,” she admits. And Deepa will not be pushed into playing favourites, she loves all her

characters, much like a mom who can’t chose between her kids. Deepa loves India and considers it her inspiration, but she also feels that Canada lets her tell stories that are dear to her. “Canada unlike the US lets you retain your individuality and heritage

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Deepa Mehta

unlike the latter which hopes you will become an American if you make the country your home,” she laughs. Deepa is convinced that if you make a film that satisfies you and it hits the jackpot you should consider yourself lucky. “I like Vishal Bhardwaj’s films and I am looking forward to Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, he is turning the concept of cinema upside down with his unconventional approach. Gangs of Wasseypur, Shanghai and Anand Gandhi’s Ships of Theseus, which explores the Greek paradox, are conceptually divine. There is an increasing need and desire for the consumption of good cinema and I am glad that new age filmmakers are taking the lead,” she adds. Another film that made Deepa sit up and take notice was Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli Live and she is delighted that Anusha is adapting Amitav Ghosh’s novel Sea of Poppies on 70 mm as Opium much like Deepa converted her favourite book by Bapsi

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Sidhwa, Ice Candy Man into Earth. “I am going to watch Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist based on the novel by Mohsin Hamid. Mira is a marvellous director and her magic will work again this time,” says Deepa. Few know that Deepa has embarked on another ambitious project, a film on painter Henri Matisse and his muse Monique Bourgeois. In fact it is rumoured that Al Pacino is set to star in the film which is called Masterpiece. “It is a lovely story about the French artist’s relationship with a 25-year-old nun, Sister Jacques-Marie and how she inspired him to paint the Chapelle du Rosaire, in the south of France. It is not a sexual affair, as I tried to explore their multi-layered relationship. Matisse helped her get over her childhood insecurities – he was 70, she was 21 and his nurse. Pacino is a fabulous actor, a star who has taken risks in his career and succeeded. There is nobody better than him to play the painter, as he has Matisse’s intensity and quietness,” she concludes.

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Circle of Li Legendary painter S.H. Raza, who celebrates his 91st — birthday this month, talks about his life, the iconic bindu and the philosophy of his art Asmita Aggarwal

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Raza’s studio

“It doesn’t matter where you live — in India or France, what counts is what you convey through your paintings. That is what will live forever,”

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B

attling a nasty cold, just off an intravenous drip and barely able to walk without the help of two assistants, Syed Haider Raza sings Hafeez Jalandhari’s classic hit Abhi toh main jawan hoon, when you apologise for making him get up from his cosy chair to pose in front of his iconic bindu (point or dot central to Indian spiritual iconography) canvas. The room is strewn with his paintings - some half finished, some complete and some ready to fly off to a gallery in New York for a luxe wine and cheese showing. But success for Raza sahib is

not defined by the materialistic world. Even though his painting Saurashtra went under the hammer at a Christie’s auction for Rs 16.42 crore, success for him “is the extent to which you can discover your potential and take it inwards. Ultimately, if you have something original to offer the world you will be recognised.” As the world celebrates his 91st birthday with much fanfare in February, all that Raza sahib asks for is better physical health. “If only I could turn back the clock I would ask for Herculean

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strength. Now I paint for formation and geometry up to four-five hours a day tinted with Indian but I wish I could do more. iconography and perhaps The body is weak, but the that’s why the bindu, the spirit is strong,” he says Pancha Tatava (air, water, with a smile. And maybe it air, fire and ether) divinity was this spirit that carried and the eternal quest that a young boy from a small all these elements town in Mandla, Madhya represented dazzled him. “We all live double lives; Pradesh to France in the

1950s making him the first Indian artist to break into the tough European art market. “It doesn’t matter where you live - in India or France, what counts is what you convey through your paintings. That is what will live forever,” he confirms. Raza sahib’s was a seminal search for colour,

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urbanisation has corroded our souls. That is why peace is so important for me - it is what gave birth to the bindu, the seed, the sperm... The bindu is radiation - it represents the mysteries of life. This has been the basis of my 80-year-long journey,” he explains. The artist’s quest began as

a child when due to his lack of concentration he was punished by his teacher. “My teacher’s punishment was actually a gift in disguise. My mind used to wander so my teacher took a pencil and drew a bindu on the blackboard and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, just keep looking at it’. It was a life-altering experience as the bindu became embedded in my young psyche. It became a shanti bindu much later on and Hindu philosophy became the basis of my work,” says Raza who uses only primary colours to represent something so dear to him. But, says the artist, “I also painted the cross, you can see it just there (he points towards the far end of the room). My wife was Christian and the cross

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was pictorially extremely fascinating for someone like me. Janine was a wonderful person. She always respected my desire to be alone so we had two different apartments and studios but we had the same friends and we loved to meet them together as a couple. She is gone physically but spiritually she is right here next to me. I can feel her presence,” he adds. Continuing down memory lane, Raza sahib talks about his mother whom he says “was a caregiver who was tolerant of my errant ways. I miss her the warmth of her

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embrace and her unadulterated love that wasn’t guided by the diktats of society.” Known as a mildmannered, shy and almost reticent artist, the only thing that gets Raza sahib upset is when he sees a fake - especially a fake copy of his work. “It is deeply disturbing and it saddens me. One has to be original. It is so easy to copy but ultimately fakes have no soul. We have tried to establish a sort of legitimate process to make sure they don’t happen. We hope to ensure that art lovers see the real thing, something

authentic which was born for a purpose,” he adds. Hoping to give back to society Raza sahib started the Raza Foundation in 2001. This not only promotes artists from humble backgrounds but also gives annual awards of Rs 1 lakh each to visual artists, poets, musicians and dancers. “I have worked all my life, searching for the truth, looking for answers through my paintings. I had no help monetary or otherwise. The Foundation is not a business venture, it will help give the next generation of painters some skill sets and a platform,” he concludes.

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The beauty of Urvashi Kaur’s home lies in the detail and she has carefully created each space keeping the aesthetics in mind Asmita Aggarwal

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Urvashi Kaur

H

ome for Urvashi Kaur, daughter of ex-army chief J.J. Singh shifted every eight to 12 months. So Urvashi grew up practically all over the world. But when she married businessman Gagan Dugal, head of Matrix Cellular Services, 16 years ago, she knew her home had to be a celebration of togetherness. Sultanpur in the Chattarpur area of Delhi served as the perfect location and with Urvashi being a fashion designer the home reflects her style aesthetics.

Three kids aged between 13 and 2 keep Urvashi fairly occupied but the house provides the perfect place to bring up a family - it is part of a gated community that has 33 other cottage-like homes. “We wanted to stay here as it is close to the heart of the city, yet it doesn’t have the usual big city problems - traffic, chaos, jams and malls. It ensures our privacy and yet lets us be part of a community,” she beams.

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The first thing that strikes you about the house is the natural light - it is full of it, pouring in from almost everywhere especially the French-style bay windows. “My husband took care of the construction, flooring, wood, finishes and he left the interiors to me,” she says. Just back from Maldives, with a lovely tan, Urvashi says she loves coming back home if only to relax. Granddaughter of Punjabi poet Prabjot Kaur and celebrated writer Narendra Pal Singh, creativity seems to run in her genes. Her mom, Anupama is a painter, so most of the art, besides the occasional Vaikuntam and Sakti Burman is done by her. The two-level home with an indoor, heated, swimming pool has the drawing room, dining and guest room along with her father-in-law’s room on the ground floor. The first floor is restricted to the bedrooms - her two sons and daughter’s room as well as the master bedroom and an incredible terrace garden.

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As you enter the house, hand-made tiles on the front porch greet you and the jharokas (wooden trellised window) from Jaipur take you back in time as do the two antique doors from Rajasthan that stand at the entrance. “I love glass in the form of mirrors, so you will see a lot of it everywhere - it creates an illusion of space, an Art Deco feel. The tiles used have Indian motifs on them so they look as if they are juxtaposed against the ochre and green walls,” she explains. The staircase from the ground floor leads up to the family area on the first floor that has a fabulous lounge. The guest room on the ground floor is done in fuchsia, which Urvashi has given a romantic feel to with white sofas, a bed in black wood with an ornate design carved on the headboard that supports Moroccan side tables and lamps. The jumbo-sized bed from Good Earth has matching cabinets customised for the TV and books. The antique chandelier, tall mirrors and renaissance chairs upholstered in green silk add an undeniable touch of glamour. ��������

While the windows that overlook the garden bring nature indoors. The drawing room is representative of India in its colours and motifs. Large table lamps, cylindrical in shape and dark black in colour, are perfect soul mates for the centre coffee table that sports a silver base and intricately executed inlay work from Agra. “I got it from Raseel Gujral’s Casa Paradox and it came with velvet chairs. The paintings in this room are done by a Pakistani artist called Sidhu, my mom whose work is called ‘Women of Beneras’ and there is also a Sakti Burman displayed here,” Urvashi explains. An avid traveller, Urvashi’s home has an impressive array of artefacts like a vase that is almost five feet tall that stands majestically in one corner. “It was picked up from Morocco, as I loved the silver inlay work - the white pottery mixed with silver makes it look stupendous,” she says. The outside of the house has some wonderful artefacts as well - a giant reclining Buddha which lights up after dark. “Most of the artefacts are designed

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by my mom of course, besides a few Balmain sculptures. So you will see table tops showcasing quaint elephants, made out of brass with a silver effect,” she says. And if you thought the famous Kerala race was only restricted to the backwaters, you would be mistaken for Urvashi has an actual boat from Kerala in her dining room (shortened to fit in) with gold leaf work on it! “I also have a mirror placed on a table which I use as a tray on the dining table, with 12 carved wooden chairs that add a charming touch,” she says.

Many of the carpets are replicas of old Mughal designs while there are some Kashmiri carpets worked in pure wool. Urvashi feels they add depth to a room. The beauty of Urvashi’s home lies in the detail and she has carefully created each space keeping the aesthetics in mind. “There was a huge wall in the drawing room, behind the staircase that needed,well, a bit of a colour infusion. That’s how the Pichhwai (painting on

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cloth) landed there. It is 9 X 6 feet so you can see how lovely it looks. Look at Radha and Krishna frolicking with the gopis,” she laughs. But that’s not all. A lover of textiles, ikkat from Bali gets pride of place under the staircase, right next to the family portraits. “The raw energy of traditional crafts has fascinated me for years,” Urvashi admits. The first floor of the house resonates with the laughter of Urvashi’s youngest son. Urvashi says he loves the outdoors which is perhaps the reason for the sun roof in his room. He clutches his mom’s hand asking her to come and play. “You know having three kids can be a handful, so I have a small studio here from where I work,’’ explains this fond mother. Urvashi’s daughter Seerat’s room, which is done up in lavender and lime, is more French than Indian and is replete with patchwork cushion covers, quilts and Indian fabrics used for the upholstery. Lace adds a delicate touch. “The wallpaper is European in design and a painting Seerat picked up from Sicily, of a young girl adds cheer to the space,” explains Urvashi.

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The lounge on the first floor is where Urvashi mostly entertains, with its glass racks on the bar, antique Chinese ceramic vases that she inherited from her husband’s family and ornate Thangkas (Tibetan wall hangings) hung alongside an antique calendar and Pichhwai. You can’t miss a painting of Christ and the Virgin hanging right next to miniature paintings from different parts of India and the 120-year-old sculpture of Krishna from an old temple. “It is really an amalgamation of various religious beliefs and they all find a place here, in this room,” Urvashi says. The room has touches of rock and wood with all the door knobs sourced from an antique store. “I only sit on the love seats here. I’ve added tiger print cushions for some raw power,” Urvashi smiles.

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Urvashi, who studied fashion from Paris’ reputed Esmod, one of the 10 best fashion schools in the world and speaks fluent French, wanted to her master bedroom to be a quiet getaway. The four-poster bed was tapered so that it fits perfectly into the room and an ochre silk fabric was added onto the headboard to accompany the mustard curtains. “I have a lot of candles and coffee table books in the room, but my favourite piece of furniture is the leather chair where I sit and enjoy the view in the mornings over a cuppa. The bedroom opens onto the terrace garden where we have a lotus pond, so you can see it flowering and fading away - the circle of life,” Urvashi says as she smiles reflectively.

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Architect Rooshad Shroff’s focus on ‘the handmade’ was instrumental in Christian Louboutin selecting the young designer to work on the brand’s India store Deepti Zachariah

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H

arvard graduate Rooshad Shroff is an unlikely mascot for a craft revivalist trend in design in India. Born into a family of architects, Rooshad travelled the world learning architecture and eventually worked in high profile design houses like Zaha Hadid’s studio in London and at the office of OMA/REX in New York. When he returned to his native Mumbai, however, he chose to work on furniture with an emphasis on handcraft instead of plunging into the world of shiny mega-structures. “In all this time, though my primary interest was architecture, I was always drawn towards other fields

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of design, so I experimented with products/furniture as well as fashion. It was the absolute freedom in design as well as the short time span for the design to be realised that made my interest in furniture and product design grow,” explains Rooshad. India’s textile and jewellery heritage have long been a resource for the booming international fashion industry. Our crafts in interiors and architecture like woodwork or stone carving are however ignored. To find a carpenter with the time and knowledge of traditional methods is becoming extremely

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difficult. One wonders where this crusade will lead in a market that gorges on the less time-consuming, more lucrative alternatives using plywood or gypsum. And while Rooshad admits that “no one table is going to save the world,” there is pleasure in re-discovering the joy of knowing your craft. So, when he recalls the day a carpenter from his team came up with a study model of a hinge for a chair design from the

studio, he can’t help but gush about the hope of reviving those glory days of Indian craft. Rooshad has facilitated a craft and designer workshop at the Centre for ��������

Environmental Planning and Technology University, Ahmedabad. Twenty designers and 20 craftsmen work one-onone on design ideas. This back and forth movement always comes up with better-informed solutions, while pushing both the designer and the craftsmen out of their comfort zones. This exploration into craft does not stop with wood. Rooshad works with marble and embroidery as well. Granted that India’s design appreciation is at a very nascent stage, Rooshad still sees a silver lining in the dark sky. “It’s a good time to be here,’’ he says. “The market is not saturated with talent like New York is. This gives one room to define one’s space as a designer and re-invent one’s craft.’’ Beginning with the C-series chairs, Rooshad’s furniture lines have been quick to appeal to the imagination of both fashion followers and design connoisseurs alike. The C-series is made from recycled Burma teak and crafted with traditional wood joints. With not a

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rivet in sight, these pieces are a refreshing change from the run-of-the-mill industrial output that bombards our markets. Ever since Rooshad put a dramatic cantilever into the C-bench, the C-Series has broken out of the mould in its play of material, form, structure and most of all its elegance. Having been hands-on in finest computeraided workshops in the world, Rooshad feels that the click-of-a-button solutions can be placed anywhere and are really built by no one. “So it is this loss of authorship – of the craftsmen and of place that prompted me to move in a direction quite against the `flavour of the month’ and focus on ‘the handmade’,” he says of his choice in a world that is busy with Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) milling solutions. Rooshad conceptualised and crafted an embroidered chair and embroidered screen together with the expertise of his close friend and embroidery designer, Maximiliano Modesti, the creative mind behind the Ateliers 2M in Paris and Mumbai. Thirty two pieces of wood are joined together, devoid of metal fasteners, to make the exquisite embroidered sofa. The carefully researched ideas tread amidst blurring boundaries of textile and furniture design. With over 50,000 hand-drilled holes, the seating area is hand-embroidered with French knots. The big flower pattern references 15th century upholstery with a contemporary

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twist. The slight variations achieved in the sizes of knots, the thickness of the thread and colours make the pattern appear three-dimensional. The 750 man-hours taken for the wood work and 550 man-hours spent on the embroidery come together to create an awe-inspiring end result. Rooshad has recently patented this unique technique. Rooshad is currently working on Christian Louboutin’s Mumbai store as the local architect. Louboutin who is no stranger to India’s rich embroidery tradition has been working with Indian craftsmen on selected projects. It comes as no surprise then that the New York-based, design architect’s 212 Box has commissioned a special wooden embroidered feature wall. Understandably tight-lipped on what we can expect in the famed footwear designer’s store, Rooshad reveals, “There is further development on the embroidery technique. Here we are working with three-dimensional tiles.” The conscious choice of working with furniture has helped Rooshad as an architect to project his vision to the world in its totality. In the on-going battle between market forces and the designer, it’s refreshing to see passion for the field prevail. Using the strength of local knowledge with international design processes Rooshad Shroff is bound to make an indelible mark on the nation’s design identity.


NOTCH ����

Model-turned-television host Joey Matthew shares her special recipe for the perfect Valentine Day dessert Rohit Panikker

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J

oey Matthew made an interesting transition from lawyer to jet-setting supermodel for over a decade. The south Indian stunner has now turned TV show host with a successful show Love Bites With Joey on NDTV Good Times. And remaining true to her ‘love goddess’ avatar, she charts out the best route to winning hearts this Valentine’s day with her choice of the best cuisine for romance. “For me, a romantic dinner would be loaded with aphrodisiacs,” she shares. “I’d prepare a menu that would ideally get a couple in the mood for love. Oysters (if you are not allergic to them) are powerful aphrodisiacs. They serve well as starters.” Joey feels that a light meal is always the most romantic.“You wouldn’t really feel like romancing someone if your stomach is full, would you? So, I’d go for something that’s not too heavy like some light chicken; and to complete the meal, there should be some chocolates definitely as well as lots of strawberries for dessert, as both are powerful aphrodisiacs too!”

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Joey feels that French cuisine is overrated as the ‘most romantic cuisine’. “I’m a little weird that way, but I think Japanese food is the most romantic. If you feel like going out to party after dinner, you wouldn’t feel like you’ve been overfed! Japanese cuisine is easily digestible, is not heavy and does not leave you feeling bloated or too full unlike French food, which would kill you with all the sauces and condiments! “ Hailing from the south Indian state of Kerala, Joey says that Malayali (sic) cuisine is her favourite, although she always loves to give it a little twist of her own. “I usually try fusion cuisine. Not many people think of using ingredients from two different types of cuisine and blend it into one dish,” she explains. “So, I try ingredients and spices from Malayali food on variations of other cuisine and that usually works!”

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Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries CLICK FOR VIDEO

Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries Ingredients For meringue 4 egg whites - 4 Caster sugar - 1 cup Cornflour - 3 tablespoons Cocoa powder, sieved - 3 Double cream - 500 ml Sliced strawberries - 500gm Vanilla pod - 1 Method � Whisk the egg whites until satiny smooth peaks form, beat the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is still and shiny. � Add cornflour, chocolate powder and vanilla seeds and fold gently. � Mount onto a baking tray and place into the oven at 180 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes. To serve � Whisk the double cream till thick but still soft and pile it over the meringue. � Garnish with sliced strawberries.

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NOTCH ����

Sweet

nothings This Valentine’s Day splurge on chocolates that are rich, creamy and totally sugar free! Asmita Aggarwal

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t’s that time of the year again (yes, we are talking about V-Day and not D-Day just yet!), when you can woo your loved one, with more than just a classic Dior Saddle bag. You can now give her a box of chocolates that won’t add those extra calories to her svelte figure!

Divya Burman, wife of industrialist Amit Burman of Dabur fame, who likes to keep in top shape has created these dark delights for sweet lovers who want their chocolates and are able to eat them too! With enticing names like Bailey’s Fudge and Whisky Ganache, Divya says that her obsession with keeping trim stems from her adolescent experiences. She often saw her father “polish off an entire chocolate cake at one go”. This led to diabetes and as Divya says, “I watched him crave for desserts. Chocolates were his favourites but he wasn’t allowed to touch them.” That’s how the idea of Guilt Free was born – a line of dark chocolates that are sugarless, dark and creamy.

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Divya feels that India lacks good desserts and chocolates and the ones available often result in obesity and related illnesses. “When I say good I mean, good for the health. Guilt Free chocolates enable people to enjoy sweets without worrying about cholesterol or weight gain. We don’t compromise on taste or flavour,” she says. A two-month intensive course with renowned chocolatier Amy Levin, in England’s Etchingham area, left Divya mesmerised by the endless

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possibilities which remained unexplored in the Indian market, so she mastered the art only to come back and launch her own line. “I learnt that dark chocolate is an antioxidant powerhouse – it’s good for the heart and increases the metabolism too!” she smiles. Quality-conscious Divya uses only Belgian chocolate and has introduced sugar-free dark chocolate that is sweetened with xylitol (a plant sugar), which is very safe for diabetics as well.

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H

R FO E H T

F O E V LO D O FO

e might be giving ladies reasons to spend an extra few hours in the kitchen, rather than the gym. Not that they’re complaining, considering that it’s Chef Vikas Khanna, the ‘hottest chef in the world’ who is urging them to do so. Quite a dish himself, Vikas recently treated Delhiites to an amorous offering in the run up to Valentine’s Day. The Michelin-starred mamma’s boy unveiled the cover of his latest book Khanna Sutra – Food Lessons in Love to eager foodies. Vikas had, in fact, presented a copy of the book to US President Obama and First Lady Michelle at the White House reception. The unveiling here was held during the launch of Celeste Chocolates’ fourth boutique in New Delhi. Well, we guess chocolates and Vikas certainly raised the mercury and provided much needed relief from the cold weather of Dilli. Love it up, folks!

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THE FOUR FOLD PATH Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, whose premier clientele includes actors Kareena Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Anupam Kher and industrialist Anil Ambani, shares valuable pointers in this special audio feature

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eight loss is about improving your health, not about winning approval from your peers, or because you want to fit into that pair of jeans. Your focus should be on getting healthy and fitter, losing weight is a bi-product of these. Don’t start off thinking that you want“Today, to lose I raise a toast to the biggest weight, because then you are bound to superstar in my life — my friend Salman try those crash diets and harmful exercise, Khan,’’ ruining a lot of things in your body like says Shabinaa Khan as she takes hormones, tendons, etc. a trip down memory lane

BEING S A L M A N CLICK TO START FOR AUDIO

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When you take that step to getting fitter, these should not be the reasons. 1. I need to lose weight to wear good clothes 2. “I have such a pretty face. Now if I could only lose weight, I can give Ash-ji some competition,” a 15-year old aspiring actress from Agra once said this to me. 3. My jeans fit me from the butt, not from the waist. 4. If I am not scoring well, I should at least be thin. 5. I just want to look glamorous and skinny in college. 6. My boyfriend likes me thin. 7. My father/mother is a fitness freak. 8. I am getting stretch marks on my butt and thigh. 9. I wanna show them. 10. Thin is in. Here’s a summary of the four strategies of nutrition, exercise, sleep and relationships.

Nutrition Strategies Exercise Strategies Sleep Strategies Relationship Strategies Rujuta Diwekar is the author of the bestselling book Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha, excerpts from which were used in this feature. Audio Courtesy: Bookstalk.in Image Courtesy: Westland Books

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Exercise Strategies

Learn a classical art form – dance, music or painting – whatever may be your calling. It works at expressing many emotions which you may not have developed the tact to verbalise in the adult world. It leads to fewer big deals and storm out sessions with parents.

Nutrition Strategies

Learn to identify junk food so that you do not make the mistake of consuming it every day. Don’t use food as something you will eat or not eat to get back at your mum or to prove a point to others.

Learn a sport which requires you to be outdoors to develop your kinaesthetic intelligence.

Canteen food is not a healthy option. Carry food from home on most days and if you do it, it becomes cool right?

Learn inversions like headstand, handstand, shoulderstand to develop the strength – mental and physical – to go against convention and social conditioning.

Sleep Strategies

Relationship Strategies

You don’t need to listen to anybody just because they are older than you but it helps to know their point of view. Learn to listen to yourself and to your reasonable self.

Late nights are cool as long as they are not an everyday affair. Just like learning to identify junk food, learn to identify toxic or junk night outs. Self regulating the frequency of night outs is best way to look skinny. Too many late nights, whether pyjama parties, studying, staying over, flirting on the phone, chatting on the Net – equals fat thighs. Deal with it!

Don’t take decisions big or small, when you’re crying, angry, upset or laughing beyond control. Take them when you’re calm.

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Chak de Divya

Divya Dutta confesses how green tea and detoxing helped her shed oodles of weight

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B

ollywood actress Divya Dutta was always known as a cute Punjaban all her life, and the extra weight and love handles added to her charm. But when she met Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit on the sets of Aaja Nach Le, life took a 180 degree turn.

“She pushed me to lose weight and get into shape as Madhuri is a fitness freak and likes to keep a toned body. She motivated me to lose almost 10 kilos,” says Divya who has recently won rave reviews for her role in Madhur Bhandarkar’s blockbuster Heroine. She says that post the weight loss, which was brought about by a strict regime of detoxing, and green tea as well, people’s perception of her within the industry has changed and now they want to give her glamorous roles, which is a pleasant change.

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“I was to play an ambitious PR executive in Heroine, so I had to look the part. I understand my body well now, so I eat, but am careful to flush out the toxins, when needed,” she smiles. As an actress, Divya has a hectic schedule. So it is tough to follow a strict diet, but she aspired to feel healthier. That’s why she visited a nutritionist and a dietician, and decided to balance her intake of calories. “I know my body, so sometimes I do break the rules, and just eat and eat. Whenever I visit New Delhi which is known for the best eating joints, it is so hard to resist the temptations of chaat and dahi bhallas!” she smiles adding that green tea was a big saviour, as it improved her digestion and metabolism.

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The following programme outlines the benefits of drinking 4 cups of green tea a day - a practice that is recommended by experts to help with detox and weight loss

The

Tea Green Morning

Drink a cup of green tea before lunch to help your body burn more fat and calories and to also fill you up so that you do not feel as hungry. You will eat less at lunch which will help your diet.

t e i D

Drink a cup of green tea when you wake up. You can drink it hot or cold. Cold green tea is recommended for added fat burning effects, because a cold beverage forces your body to use more energy to warm it up the drink to an ambient temperature. If you start off your morning with green tea, you will be giving your body an immunity boost against disease causing elements. By now your body will be set for increased fat and calorie burning capabilities because green tea has natural elements that help your body burn more fat. Drink another cup before breakfast. You are now at the half-way mark to the recommended minimum of four cups a day. Your food cravings should also reduce as you will have a stomach full of green tea. ����������

Afternoon

Always drink water regularly even when you are drinking a lot of green tea throughout your day. You should not count drinking tea as your water intake. Green tea, like all teas, is dehydrating, making your body require more water. Drink eight to twelve glasses of water per day.

Evening Drink your fourth cup of green tea before dinner. The benefits of green tea include increased longevity, weight loss, better metabolism, immune protection and several others.

Disclaimer: Please check with a registered medical practitioner before embarking on any diet or weight-loss programme.

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Into the blue Actor Parvin Dabas’ passion for underwater photography finds him swimming with the sharks in some of the world’s most exotic waters � Asmita Aggarwal

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T

here was a leak in the scuba tank and Parvin Dabas could hear a hissing sound. The needle had touched zero in the air compartment — the tank had burst and Parvin was already 40 feet deep in the ocean at Havelock Island in the Andamans. But what Parvin learnt at the Australian Scuba Diving School stayed with him and even though his lungs were bursting for want of air, he signalled to his companion who had taken the dive with him and they swam up together sharing a common gas cylinder. Parvin was back again in the water in 10 minutes after fixing the leak. “It is like falling off a horse. But to combat fear, they tell you to get on the horse and ride again and that’s just what I did,” says Parvin. However, this is only one of the incidents that Parvin recounts as he talks about his tryst with underwater photography — a hobby that turned into the Monsoon Wedding actor’s addiction. It started in 2000, when Parvin went on a recreational trip to Koh Samui, Thailand, where he discovered the pleasures of a whole new world, under the water. He decided to learn the craft and travelled to Australia to hone his skills and then did an extensive course in scuba diving in Thailand. But for a hobby that requires ��������

swimming with the sharks, quite literally, Parvin had to buy the right equipment. And this means carrying a 10 kg load underwater, which includes his Nikon D 200 camera complete with a housing or a protective waterproof case that covers the camera and comes equipped with buttons, which allow you to operate it like any other camera underwater with a flashlight and cable. Parvin has travelled with it to Malaysia, Thailand, South Africa, Lakshadweep, Goa and the Andamans. “It is tough to stay underwater, but what makes it thrilling for me is that while you are swimming with the most exotic creatures, you are also taking pictures, trying to maintain your balance, dodging danger and constantly moving at the same time,” he explains. Fortunately Parvin is someone who isn’t easily intimidated — while trying to capture the Great White Shark on film in South Africa he got knocked by its enormous tail! “Once they see you swimming with them they get comfortable around you and will not harm you unless provoked. But these beautiful, strong creatures are extremely unpredictable, so you have to be cautious — you simply cannot afford to lower your guard. And that for me is part of the excitement. It gets my adrenaline pumping,” he confesses.

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A great white shark Taken from a steel cage in Gansbaai, South Africa

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A school of Glass Sweepers hiding in a shipwreck in the Red Sea, Egypt

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A close-up of a mushroom coral shot in Koh Tao, Thailand

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An abstract shot of a feather star from the Philippines

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A fish hiding in some hard coral at the Red Sea, Egypt

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A shot of a Blacktip shark in Umkomaas, South Africa

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An eel in Sipadan, Malaysia

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“Believe me, when I come to Dubai, I just hop onto a flight with an empty suitcase,’’ says actor and shopaholic, Sameera Reddy who talks about Dubai and the fascination the city holds for her � as told to Lipika Varma

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he spectacular scenario, refreshing sights and the incredible infrastructure that includes high-rises, superhighways and sprawling villas is what keeps attracting me to Dubai. It’s all about high living with simple thinking in this desert city. I remember visiting Dubai for the first time when I was shooting for a film. It used to be work and only work for me in those days. Today, Dubai means no work - just a peaceful and relaxing holiday. One of the things I also love here is the shopping. The city opens its arms to

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shoppers and one is able to find everything from a safety pin to an elephant - well, almost! Believe me, when I come to Dubai, I just hop onto a flight with an empty suitcase. My mother bids me farewell with a huge grin on her face - she knows where I’m headed as soon as she looks at my luggage. And I return with all sorts of goodies and my cases packed to capacity!

cosmopolitan population, business travellers and shoppers like me, the city also ensures that there is plenty for all of us to do and see.

Apart from shoppers, Dubai attracts a load of commercial travellers. Business has flourished here over the years. So, with a vibrant

The people in this city seem to be `energy driven’. Attired in the most modern outfits, they seem to almost rush about their business during the day

My favourite shopping mall is Burjuman where you get everything. I’ve shopped all over - Spain, Hong Kong and London but Dubai is different because you get everything under one roof.

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and let their hair down after sunset. As soon as the lights come alive at night, Dubai begins to rock. Buddha Bar is my favourite restaurant. I make it a point to visit the place and eat their delicious Asian cuisines. Vegetable Tempura, Vegetable Mussuman Curry with steamed rice remain my favourite choices for a meal. I normally visit the Royal Mirage Spa - a spa that caters to every treatment under one roof. The hot steam therapy is a favourite with me as it energises and completely refreshes you. In fact I feel so comfortable and relaxed in this city that I wander around with oiled hair, dressed very simply in jeans and a top. No one ��������

disturbs you here. It is possible to go about your business without being talked to or recognised. And if someone does recognise me they ask permission before they strike up a conversation. What could be better? Dubai’s beaches are surely its centre of attraction. I’ve shot here amidst the golden sand and azure waters. In Race there is a scene on the beach where Anil Kapoor and I have an exchange of dialogues. Most people did not realise that this was shot in Dubai and asked me if we had shot this sequence in Mumbai.

and I will soon be buying a place here. Since I love the city, having a place of my own will really be a pleasure. I have also coaxed a well-known Bollywood designer to open her boutique in this wonderful city - and she has agreed. For the curious, her name is Neeta Lulla! And for those who want to know if my love for the city of Dubai is also associated with that someone extra special? Well...

Dubai has created such a positive place in my heart that I have decided to make it my second home

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INDIA EXPOSED! Shobhaa De talks about how her new book on politics has been received, her take on sex and her only superstition Arpita Chatterjee

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ethji is a bold statement on the sleazy politicians in India. What kind of response have you been getting from the people you have written about? Mercifully, I don’t live in Delhi! In any case I have always avoided ‘hanging around’ and politicians. It has been a very conscious decision over the years to stay miles away from such types. This is another reason why I can afford to express myself as freely as I do, whether through my columns or via fiction.

You’ve said several times that you identify with Amrita, the female protagonist in Sethji. What aspects of her do you identify with? Amrita is a gutsy, strong, practical and rooted woman. She is a survivor, like most women are. She manages relationships as best she can – even very demanding ones. And she comes out on top no matter what. These are qualities I find attractive in women. I don’t like to project women as victims.

Sex is not a taboo subject for me. It is as important to tackle issues about sex as it is to tackle political ones.

Do you believe that India is doomed because of the kind of leaders we are breeding? Not at all. The power to change those leaders is in our hands. It is up to us to use our vote. It is also up to us to make politicians accountable. We can demand transparency. What stops us as voters from exercising our constitutional rights more aggressively and demanding change?

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What according to you is the way forward for India when the whole system seems to be rotten to the core? The only way forward is to get more involved ourselves. Unless citizens get pro-active and push for reforms, nothing will change. We cannot keep cribbing from the sidelines. That’s pretty counter-productive. Why do all your books start with the letter ‘S’? Are you superstitious? I am superstitious about the letter ‘S’, yes! But not much else! Why do you use sex as a literary device when you actually write about serious topics? Because sex is an equally serious topic and it is time to stop being so hypocritical about it. Sex is not a taboo subject for me. It is as important to tackle issues about sex as it is to tackle political ones. You have written 17 books. How do you make time to write, being busy with a hectic social, column writing and domestic life? ��������

Let’s just say I know my priorities and that I manage my time efficiently. I try not to short-change either my family life or my career. It’s a lot of hard work, but I love it! Columnist, author, wife, socialite, mother, editor… which role is your favourite? Do I have to choose? I am a composite of all the various roles - as are all of us. I lead a rich and fulfilling life. I feel blessed. What is Shobhaa De’s secret to remaining young and energetic? An insatiable appetite for life! I have a child’s curiosity and an intense love for beauty as well. We love your outfits. Where do you buy your saris from? I design most of my saris myself and I have a pretty good personal collection going back 30 years that is from the master weavers across India. A sari is a classic that never goes out of style.

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NOTCH ������

in in the the

long run run

The original ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh is all praise for Farhan Akhtar’s portrayal of his inspiring life story in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Asmita Aggarwal

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Milkha Singh(Right) hands over his running shoes to Farhan Akhtar

I

t was 7 am and all the jawans (soldiers) in the army were told to run cross-country as part of their training. Twenty one-year-old Milkha Singh was one of them and he finished sixth amongst a hundred jawans! When he went back to his barracks that night he was hailed as a hero. “I didn’t know I had become a star - people looked at me with such respect. Only a few knew that my stomach hurt and every muscle in my body ached when I ran that day,” he remembers. ��������

If you look at the po s t e r s , h e looks just like me. He did t h e s a m e things I did to get into the character Interestingly, Milkha participated in the ‘Centre’ race once again and much to his surprise he came second. “That’s the time I knew I had something which the others didn’t. So, every night when the jawans came back I would go out and run,” he says. And it is this indomitable spirit that has been portrayed by Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag that stars Farhan Akhtar. “Farhan has done a fabulous job. When I met

him in Mumbai to brief him about my life, he listened intently. If you look at the posters, he looks just like me. He did the same things I did to get into the character – hill and sand running, weight training and has imbibed my style of running perfectly,” says the ‘Flying Sikh’. But few know that Milkha Singh was approached by several directors who offered him money to reveal his story. It was only after several meetings, however that he decided on Om Prakash Mehra.

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“Mehra is an honest filmmaker who makes movies from the heart. Jeev, my son, convinced me to give him the rights to the film. I had seen Rang De Basanti and we were all impressed by the way he handled the subject. I did not charge a penny for my story - the idea was to send a message to the youth that hard work and determination is the key to success. You can be number one only if you have a

burning desire and the fire in your belly to succeed,” he says. Milkha Singh may have won many medals, but what he regrets most is the Rome Olympics where he lost by a whisker. “I will never forget this as long as I live! I should have run the 200 metres as well but my muscles were sore. My coach was worried that if I ran both, I would lose out on the 400 metres. It was the saddest moment of my life,” he says.

Milkha Singh

Farhan Akhtar in a still from Bhag Milkha Bhag

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Joined by his wife Nirmal, whose quiet presence has a calming effect on Milkha, he says her contribution to his life is invaluable. “Whatever I am today is because of her. She gave me moral, mental, spiritual and physical support. She has been a good wife and a fabulous mother. My daughters are all doing so well – one is a doctor, another one is finishing her Ph.D. and the third one is a textile designer. Jeev, as you know is an ace golfer. I was away from home most of the time and it was Nirmal who kept it all together,” he says. And what a romantic story they had! Nirmal being a Hindu was not allowed to marry Milkha who was a Sikh. But they were in love. Being sportspersons they shared an invisible bond. “Nirmal’s father who was an eminent advocate and a staunch Jan Sanghi didn’t like the idea of his daughter marrying a Sikh. We thought we would elope and have a civil marriage but then the Chief Minister of Punjab intervened and convinced my father-in-law to let us marry,” he says with a smile.

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NOTCH ������� Aries Taurus Pisces Aquarius

Capricorn

Gemini

Cancer

Sagittarius

Scorpio Leo

Virgo Libra

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Y

our perceptive nature will allow you to get ahead of the pack this month. Opportunities that were once thought of as blocked endeavours should open up as well. The first half of this month is when you should focus on your intuition and allow yourself to flow with the energy of love, compassion and sensitivity. The period between the 12th and the 18th is when you will have to be careful about what you say. So weigh your words well. Insensitivity from a partner may bother you but there is no point in being unduly hurt — tackle such instances with humour. The latter part of this month will enable you to get past all those financial issues that have been bothering you for a while.

Romantic Relationship compatibility

To attract a relationship Light a red candle in the south-western direction of the house. This will help you attract the right partner.

In a relationship

Scorpio Virgo Leo Sagittarius Gemini Taurus Libra

A bottle of red wine, some spicy broth and cubes of rich, dark chocolate — all combined with some witty conversation is one way to celebrate this Valentine’s Day and strengthen your relationship.

Cancer Capricorn Aquarius Pisces ���������

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Tauru

T

his is a month that enables you to start something new. The first 15 days of the month could bring a bit of unrest into your emotional space — but there will also be some wonderful surprises. Your communication skills will be tested in areas where your partnership is concerned — your partner may ask you to spell out the words and perhaps it’s time to do so. On the work front there are stronger networking associations coming your way that will help you gain stronger perspectives and also allow you to make profits in the long term.

Romantic Relationship compatibility

Virgo

To attract a relationship Light the fragrance of a mixture of orange and lavender in a diffuser and place this in the north-western side of your room.

In a relationship Capricorn Aries

Bring the harmony back by spending time with each other. You need to bring the laughter back into your relationship. So have fun this Valentine’s Day!

Pisces Cancer

Sagittarius Libra ���������

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T

oo much dissection coupled with an overly emotional nature are both facets that do not allow you to be free. You need to exercise letting go and for your own sake stop turning every sign the universe gives you into a definite decision. Your work life will improve this month and the period between the 8th leading to the 22nd denotes abundance in relationships. You will receive everything your heart desires. All you have to do is ask and not doubt.

Romantic Relationship compatibility

Libra Aquarius

Virgo

Cancer Pisces Capricorn Scorpio ���������

To attract a relationship Immerse some rock salt in a bowl of water, place this near your bed for three nights and repeat these words: “I attract my most compatible partner with joy.” Pour the salt and water mixture into a water body near your house on the fourth night.

In a relationship Take an assertive stand in your sensual and sexual life with your partner. In doing so you will not only be able to increase communication levels but also develop a form of respect that is vital for the relationship.

love signs 117


Cancer

M

Romantic Relationship compatibility

Pisces

oonchild, it is time that you stopped acting like an adolescent. Acknowledge you are an adult. Your desires may be different from what the universe is offering you at this stage, but it’s time to take note and look at things from the standpoint of stability. Only then will romance follow. Creatively you are getting into a space of celebration. Those who yearn for commitment will have the opportunity to tie the knot this month. On the financial front you should be cautious of your spending as finances may get slightly tight.

To attract a relationship Get yourself a rose quartz ball, hold onto it and meditate on it keeping your most compatible soul mate in mind. Keep this ball next to your bed and let it work for you!

In a relationship Scorpio

Cancer Capricorn

Laughter, humour and a touch of romance is what you require. Allow dance and music to hold your attention this Valentine’s Day. You’re in for a wondrous joyride.

Aquarius Libra ���������

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T

Leo

here is a sense of betrayal floating around your environment. You may feel a little lost till the 10th of this month after which you will enter a recovery phase. While you’re in this period do not allow any ‘drama queens’ to take over your life. Look at relationships from a practical standpoint. You are also required to take care of your health from the 18th to the 21st. Do not allow any minor issues to turn into major ones.

Romantic Relationship compatibility

To attract a relationship You have the innate ability to attract via the colours you wear so include green, blue and white into your wardrobe.

In a relationship Aries Virgo

Surprise yourself this month and do something totally out of character. A trip is on your chart Leo. You need to get a bit of adventure into your relationship.

Sagittarius

Capricorn Taurus ���������

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Virgo

R

omantically you are getting into a better phase. There is prosperity all around you. All you have to do is to receive it. You enter a phase of decisionmaking from the 5th to the 19th that will enable you to see your relationships in a clearer light. Between the 23rd and 25th certain delays in work could pull you back — but they will not deter you from achieving your goals and having some spontaneous fun this month.

Romantic Relationship compatibility Sagittarius Aries

To attract a relationship Positive affirmation and clarity of thought is important so, light a white candle in the north-eastern side of your room and allow the divinity to work for you.

In a relationship Libra

Scorpio Taurus

This Valentine’s Day allow yourself to relax, unwind and explore your emotional vulnerability with your partner in a personal setting. This will allow you to nurture the relationship.

Cancer Aquarius ���������

love signs120


Libra

Y

ou may yearn to be in charge of a particular relationship but, unfortunately you have no control over it and it will go nowhere — accept this fact. If you try slowing down a little and stop pushing just a teeny bit, you may begin to enjoy life for what it actually is. From the 2nd to the 17th is a time of opportunity professionally and personally. Take heart and focus on what you are presented with and not what you identify with — for only then will you get the happiness you are constantly searching for.

Romantic Relationship compatibility

To attract a relationship Frankincense is to be lit in a diffuser in your bedroom for 21 days.

In a relationship Aries Gemini

Aquarius Virgo

Allow your partner to speak to you in an atmosphere of trust. Mental compatibility and communication is important and your actions will prove to be more meaningful than your speech. Allow your actions to take control this Valentine’s Day and express yourself with love.

Pisces Cancer ���������

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Scorpio

T

Romantic Relationship compatibility

Cancer Virgo

Libra

Capricorn Pisces ���������

his month will not only be busy for you but also productive. Scorpios in business could attract work from another city and people in professional spaces could take impromptu risks that prove to be productive for them. Your sensitivity and intuitive nature however, will start working for you from the 12th to the 27th of the month. This period will enable you to attract new relationships and mend old fences. You have been rigid in the past regarding decisions of the heart. But now is the time for you to compromise a bit — you will receive far more when you do so.

To attract a relationship Energise yourself. Stand next to a water body and breathe deeply 10 times. With each breath you will find yourself releasing all the fears that have prevented you from entering a harmonious relationship. Do this three times.

In a relationship Wining and dining is what you require — an evening where you can be at ease near a beach or swimming pool. Let your guard down and enjoy the moment.

Aries Gemini

love signs122


Sagittarius Romantic Relationship compatibility

A

month that allows you to feel energised. New associations in relationships may keep you on your toes, flirtatious messages and stimulating conversations will make sure that you enjoy February to the maximum. The 11th to the 23rd is a period that enables you to access your magnetic appeal through which you will attract a whole host of compliments from the opposite sex. How you choose to use that is entirely up to you. On the work front, things might get a little sticky around the last week of the month. But you will be able to avoid this by displaying your charm.

To attract a relationship Place a banana plant in the eastern side of the house and light a candle near it for 16 Thursdays.

In a relationship

Aries Leo

It’s time that you eased your body of all tensions. You and your partner should plan a day at the spa where you can sit at ease and spend some quality time with each other this Valentine’s Day.

Virgo

Taurus Capricorn ���������

love signs123


Capricorn

T

Romantic Relationship compatibility

here is a certain sense of irritation that keeps cropping up in your personal space. You feel you have complete control over a relationship but in reality it is controlling you! It’s time you refrained from reacting like a child and saw the situation with a long term perspective in mind. From the 13th to the 24th of this month, you will enter a period which will allow you to make concrete decisions for yourself. If you are in the process of setting a date for your marriage — go right ahead!

To attract a relationship Place a rose quartz and a clear quartz in the south-eastern position of your room and light a candle near them.

In a relationship

Virgo Taurus

Gemini

Touch and taste are two elements that you identify with the most — so indulge them. Spend some quality time with your partner identifying these two elements and bring some sparkle back into your life.

Aquarius Sagittarius ���������

love signs124


Aquarius

Y

ou are entering a new cycle of creativity, abundance and decisionmaking as far as a relationship is concerned. In order to use this period to the fullest do something constructive and new with your time, money and energy as this will prove to be fruitful for you. In matters of the heart, there is a certain individual who has entered your personal space and who wants to make things `happen’ with you. But, it is for you to take this opportunity forward. From the 1st to the 15th comes an occasion that allows you to make strong decisions regarding marriage and prosperity. Make the most of this!

Romantic Relationship compatibility

To attract a relationship Light a blue and green candle in the northern side of your room for 11 days keeping in mind what you require from a partner and not what you want.

In a relationship

Libra Gemini

Sagittarius

Spending an afternoon with someone you love under a shady tree, looking deep into each other’s eyes is what you really want to do. But you’ve chosen to ignore these feelings. This time around exhibit your emotions — allow your romantic side to come out and don’t judge yourself.

Cancer Pisces Leo ���������

love signs125


Pisces

T

Romantic Relationship compatibility

his is a time where you must allow yourself to shine Pisces. You are gaining attention and applause in your environment. You are on the verge of embarking upon a new journey that will lead you into a far more promising land of opportunity. One thing though — tone down your attitude towards a loved one and work on your inability to stick to a decision. From the 14th to the 26th you will be entering a period of travel and prosperity, so use this time wisely.

To attract a relationship Place some sea salt around a white candle and light it for three days. On the fourth day, remove the ingredients and feel the release of all the obstacles that are keeping your partner away from you.

Cancer Scorpio

Aquarius

In a relationship Do not let boredom set into this relationship now. It’s time that you charm your partner away into a mystical and sensual journey that allows both of you to strengthen your communication — this will lead to an easy flow of unconditional love for you both.

Virgo Taurus ���������

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NOTCH ���

WORD UP! Wondering what to read? Here’s a selection of some of the e-books making waves in the subcontinent

Publisher: Random House, India

Narrating the story of a Bengali woman who was captivated by a wandering minstrel and his music, Mimlu Sen’s book takes on the roles of social history, cultural exploration and even serves as a personal account of her experiences. After years in France, the author returns home to be re-introduced to the magic of Baul music. And there begins an unlikely love story with Paban Das, an exponent of this least-explored genre of Indian folk music, as she travels with him from town to town, festival to festival and experiences a cross-section of India and Indians that are not really part of the guide books.

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Publisher: Random House, India

The year is 1888 and the world’s favourite detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr Watson sail to India on a secret mission in the service of the British Empire, investigating the murder of the accountant of a Hindu monastery, the story takes a twisted turn when the head priest is named the prime suspect. Both detective and the doctor are plunged into a series of adventures that take them from Madras and Pondicherry to the princely courts of Hyderabad, the uncharted jungles of the Central Provinces, pine-scented Nainital, and the bustling metropolis of Calcutta. The six stories in Holmes of the Raj are delightful vignettes of life and politics in colonial India.

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Publisher: Penguin Books, India

Today’s teenagers are our smartest generation yet. They are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, investors, managers, policy makers, watchdogs and of course, consumers. But do you know what the corporate and business world is all about? How do businesses touch everyone’s lives? What really makes an entrepreneur tick? And why do we need the world of business – is business good or bad for us? Subroto Bagchi takes on a previously unexplored demography of businessmen or business-teens and introduces them to the world of business and finance!

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Publisher: Penguin Books, India Everyone is a self-confessed relationship expert in this day and age where every experience does seem to count while trying to decipher the complicated line between expectations in a relationship and the real deal! When Amrita Sharma finds more and more women friends sharing their relationship secrets with her – their fears and deepest insecurities, their petty squabbles and extra-marital affairs – she realizes that their problems are vast and varied. When in love, even strong-willed, independent women become emotional fools. Candid, wise and brutally honest, What Did I Ever See in Him is the modern woman’s guide to having the perfect love life.

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Publisher: Harper Collins, India

The wave of liberalization in the 1990s changed forever the face of India. While it did bolster the economy, it also led to several lifestyle changes. You were either watching sitcoms or starting dotcoms. News became entertainment. Entertainment became news. Blogger Arnab Ray of greatbong.net takes a funny, sarcastic, politically incorrect and totally irreverent look at assorted random stuff including Bollywood C-grade revenge masalas, ribald songs of the people, movie punching, fake educational institutes, stubborn bathroom flushes, unreal reality shows, the benefits of corruption, opulent weddings, brains in toaster ovens, seedy theatres and pompous non-resident Indians.

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Publisher: Harper Collins, India

TV personality Karan Thapar, known for his relentless grilling of politicians on his current affairs shows, brings a sense of humour and a sharp incisive eye to his newspaper columns. More Salt Than Pepper is a selection of the best columns written by him over the decade and range from the author’s perceptive portraits of politicians and celebrities to his reflections on the state of the media and the peculiarities of the English language. He also turns the gaze on himself – sharing with us his eccentricities, his foibles and anecdotes about himself and his family, including his late wife Nisha.

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11, Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110017 T: +91 11 26494401/02/05/07 Random House Publishers India Pvt. Ltd. Windsor IT Park, 7th Floor Tower– B, A– 1, Sector– 125 Noida– 201301, Uttar Pradesh T: +91 120 4607500 F: +91 120 4607518 E: contact@randomhouse. co.in Rooshad Shroof 302, Dalamal Chambers 29 New Marine Lines Mumbai- 400 020 T: +91 22 2203 7745 F: +91 22 2200 7229 E: info@rooshadshroff.com Rujuta Diwekar www.rujutadiwekar.com Sabyasachi Couture P- 545 Lake Road Kolkata- 700029 T: (033) 40648239 E: sabyasachiretail.kolkata@ gmail.com

Bridal Store 80/ 1 & 2 Topsia Road Kolkata – 700046 T: (033) 22852381 E: sabyasachibridalkol@gmail. com Carma H-5/11, Mehrauli Road, New Delhi- 110030 T: (011) 26644352 E:sabyasachi.carma@gmail. com Elahe 476 Milestone Road No.10, Banjara Hills Hyderabad - 500034 T: (040) 23350130 E: elahe@elahe.in Shilpa Chavan www.littleshilpa.com Shobhaa De shobhaade.blogspot.in Suresh Natarajan www.sureshnatarajan.com

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