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talk Volume 1 | Issue 27 | February 14, 2013 | Rs 10


the intelligent bangalorean’s must-read weekly

VISHWAROOPAM Kamal’s movie is racist, and panders to American interests 8 MEAL DEALS Budget fast food deals that are worth it, and those that are not 16

Things are finally looking up for India’s light combat aircraft Tejas, in the making for three decades. Sridhar K Chari gets an exciting update from test pilot Suneet Krishna 12-14

VALENTINE’S DAY A features writer’s mushy ordeal 23

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Enjoyed feature on secretive BJP leader BL Santosh I followed a link on the popular blog Churumuri to the Talk website and quite enjoyed reading some of the features in your magazine, especially the one on the secretive BJP leader BL Santosh. Congratulations to the editor and the team on this very readable publication. Uma Vishnu by email The right to play I was going through the latest issue of Talk and found the playground story (Demand the right to play, Issue 26) by Dev S Sukumar particularly interesting. This is a subject that is little talked about, and tackles an important but largely unarticulated requirement of the city. The anecdote given by the writer to illustrate his point added to the readability of the story. My congratulations to Talk and

the writer for highlighting this issue. Sanjana B via email Consistent on quality The articles in Talk magazine are informative, and keep me updated on areas as diverse as politics, health and entertainment. But what is more important for me is that it is an interesting and fun read. I read your latest issue (Issue 26) and found that it nicely balances the heavier stories with lighter ones. Your Ayyotoons on Shah Rukh Khan had me in splits — the poor guy is having a rough time lately. It was also interesting to read about the ‘bento box’ concept. Who knew people ordered such expensive dabbas for lunch! Overall, I’m glad to see that you are still maintaining the quality of your content, which had

team talk EDITORIAL


SR Ramakrishna Editor Sridhar Chari Consulting Editor Prashanth GN Senior Editor Sajai Jose Chief Copy Editor Savie Karnel Principal Correspondent Basu Megalkeri Principal Correspondent Prachi Sibal Senior Features Writer Sandra Fernandes and Maria Laveena Reporters and Copy Editors Anand Kumar K Chief of Design Shridhar G Kulkarni Graphic Designer Ramesh Hunsur Senior Photographer Vivek Arun Graphics Artist

Sumith Kombra Founder, CEO and Publisher Ralph Fernandez Manager - Marketing Aaron Jones Asst Manager Marketing Abhay Sebastian Asst Manager - Sales Mithun Sudhakar Asst Manager - Sales Kishore Kumar N Head - Circulation Vinayadathan KV Area Manager - Trade Yadhu Kalyani Sr Executive Corporate Sales Lokesh KN Sr Executive Subscriptions Prabhavathi Executive Circulation Sowmya Kombra Asst Process Manager

Printed and published by Sumith Kombra on behalf of Shakthi Media Ventures India Pvt Ltd FF70, Gold Towers, Residency Road, Bangalore -560025 and printed at Lavanya Mudranalaya, Chamarajpet, Bangalore-560018. Editor: SR Ramakrishna. Editorial Office: FF70, Gold Towers, Residency Road, Bangalore 560025 Email: Phone: 08040926658. © All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited.

impressed me right from the start. I hope it won’t be considered an exaggeration if I say that I look forward to reading Talk every week. Shaista Khatoon via mail

Spice missing in Chutney! I am a regular reader of Talk and find your features pages interesting. Your gossip column on the back page could do with some more catchy content. I have rarely come across anything about

Bollywood and cricket in it. That would add some much needed spice to your Chutney! Sasha Nagaraj via mail Write to

around town

talk|14 feb 2013| RAMESH HUNSUR

editor talk Aero India, the air show that dazzles Bangalore every two years, is in progress, and we thought we should check out the progress on Tejas, the light combat aircraft India has been building since the 1980s. Sridhar Chari was impressed by a flamboyant display on Wednesday, and pursued the pilot for a first-hand take on the plane’s status. On Thursday, as Ramesh Hunsur got clicking on the tarmac, he got a story that brings hope.

OUR HERO Laxminarayana with children of the Asare Seva Trust, the orphanage he runs with his real estate riches

Rajnikanth the Second In a city that does not lack in businessmen who became rich overnight, bus conductor-turnedrealtor Laxminarayana Raj Urs still stands out for the unusual way he has gone about handling his fortune


ne-time bus conductor Shivaji Rao Gaikwad’s journey from anonymity in Bangalore to demigod status in Tamil Nadu is familiar enough. But Rajnikanth’s film world is not the only one where such dreams come true. In today’s Bangalore, and in the world of real estate —often described as ‘murky’ by the media—many such stories abound. And Laxminarayana Raj


Urs’ story mirrors that of with many siblings. We owned Rajnikanth’s not just because he is land, but didn’t have much money. a bus conductor who made it big, Our father was a mechanic in the but also because he has handled BTS (Bangalore Transport Service, predecessor of the BMTC),” he his success with sobriety. For all the wealth he has says. When his father passed away amassed and the influence he wields, this 40-year-old remains in 1987, Laxminarayana was a down to earth. He doesn’t own young boy. On compassionate imported cars, wear heavy gold grounds, the government offered a chains or shades, or drape himself job to one of the children. But in white, the unofficial uniform there was a problem—none of for realtors in the city. Nor does he them had cleared the SSLC. Afraid entertain hangers-on, as real that a secure government job may slip away, Laxminarayana, who estate dealers are wont to do. until then hadn’t Instead, he paid much attengoes about his His constant tion to studies, business like anyworked hard and one else in his hunt for the managed to pass neighbourhood. big deal cost the board exams. The only thing that him his job Three years after is extraordinary his father’s death, about him is his height: he is six-and-a-half feet Laxminarayana joined the BTS as a bus conductor, and was assigned tall. Lakshmi-narayana, who hails to Depot 11 in Yelahanka. from Ramohalli, a village close to the famed Big Banyan Tree off Wheel of fortune Mysore Road, completed his tenth He worked as a conductor from standard and was forced to take up 1991 to 1998. “While travelling a job as a bus conductor. As he through the city, I got into the puts it, “I come from a large family business of brokering property

Thirty years is a long time to develop any craft, and the Tejas, as our light combat aircraft is called, has been a laggard. Consider the car parallel. Before the Maruti 800 came on the scene in 1983, Indians had few options when it came to buying cars. We only had the plump Ambassador, and the Fiat in its avatar as Premier Padmini. All that changed when Maruti Udyog got down to business. The government-run company began manufacturing the quiet, fuelefficent 800, which soon became the country’s best-selling car. Maruti-Suzuki still holds the highest market share in the country. If there is a lesson our aircraft builders can learn from the success of the Maruti Suzuki, it is that 30 years can transform a sector, and a government-owned company can do spectacularly well. True, fighter planes are a defence matter, but isn’t it high time Tejas fulfilled its promise? This week, I got to watch Mani Ratnam’s Kadal (Ocean). It has received bad press and his fans aren’t raving about it either. I found it better than his slick, formulaic cops-versus-robbers films (even Raavan is one). In Kadal, he contemplates the power of faith in a Christian village on the Tamil Nadu coast. Don’t expect Dabangg-style masala, but this is a gentle film that shows a more contemplative Mani Ratnam. Catch it if you can. SR Ramakrishna


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GIVING BACK Asare Seva Trust is funded by money earned from a kalyana mantapa owned by Laxminarayana. (Left) Impressed by his philanthropy, S Visweswaraiah volunteers as the manager of his school

deals. I didn’t even know it was called real estate. It was simply a way for me to earn some extra money,” he says. He would take time off from work and show properties to people, most of the time without earning a rupee. His frequent absence from work eventually cost him his job. For the next eight years, he stuck to the real estate business, but without getting a single deal that was worthwhile. “Things at home were not good either. I felt frustrated,” he recalls. In 2002, a friend approached him saying a relative wanted to sell a plot in Vinayakanagar. Laxminarayana went around looking for a buyer, but even after much effort, didn’t find one. He was disappointed, but since it was a good deal, decided to buy the plot himself. He took a loan of Rs 8,000 and made the purchase. “That was my first real estate deal,” he says. Within eight months, he got a buyer willing to pay as much as Rs 40,000 for the same plot. “What I didn’t get after eight long years of struggle, I got within eight months,” he says of his turn of fate. Soon after, a person from his village approached him, asking if he was interested in a one-acre plot he owned. Laxminarayana sensed an opportunity and agreed. “It was new moon’s day. People usually don’t talk business on that day, but

I didn’t bother and finalised the deal for Rs 1.9 lakh. I handed over the Rs 40,000 I got from the sale of my plot as advance and signed an agreement. After six months, I sold the same land for Rs 6 lakh. My capital had suddenly jumped from Rs 40,000 to Rs 4 lakh,” he says. From then, Laxminarayana has only seen the rise and rise of his fortunes, and is today referred to as a ‘king’ in real estate circles. While he buys and sells land on his own, he still brokers deals for others. To show how the business brings in windfall profits, he cites the example of a property in Vinayakanagar. The plot changed hands seven times, and for all seven transactions, Laxminarayana was the mediator. The deals happened over many years, during which time the value of the site rose steadily. The amount at which he had first sold the site is the same he earned as commission on the latest deal. “For any deal between Rs 25,000 to 50,000, we get 2 per cent as commission. For anything above Rs 50,000, it is 1 per cent,” he explains.

‘Land is gold’ Lakshminarayana calls the land around Bangalore “gold.” What he has observed: irrespective of their financial and social status, people want to get into the real estate business. “From a sweeper to an IAS officer, from a pushcart vendor to a politician, everyone wants a share in the business. It is such that even a beggar can become a millionaire. But it is also true that not all can get rich, and not all can do this business,” he says.


bouring villages. That Laxminarayana takes a personal interest in the school is clear, and the students do not hesitate to approach him and talk to him. S Visweswaraiah, a retired professional from Bangalore, volunteers as the school manager. He first met Laxminarayana as the broker of a house he bought in Ramohalli. Visweswaraiah says, “He is a hard worker, and has struggled to reach where he is. What I appreciate about him is that he understands the value of money, and also its ethical dimension.” A few years ago, when Laxminarayana decided he could afford to spend some money on himself, he bought a plot near Ramohalli. There he had built a farmhouse, equipped with all modern amenities, including a swimming pool. But soon his charitable instincts took over and he converted it into an orphanage. Registered under the Asare Seva Trust, the orphanage is now home to 21 children from all over the state. It provides them with free food, clothes, and education. The expenditure of the home comes to about Rs 40,000 a month, and to fund it, Laxminarayana has built a marriage hall in Ramohalli. The hall charges Rs 25,000 for two days, and half its income is set aside for the orphanage. “At one point I didn’t have anything. I never thought that I would become so rich one day. Whatever I am is all because of the people here, and I want to give it back to them,” he says. Laxminarayana still lives in the old house his father built. It remains like before. For instance, his family still uses a grinding stone and not a mixie. “You have to live like village folk in a village. This life makes me happy,” he says.

Of 25 people from his village who got into real estate, only one has succeeded. The others didn’t last. “There is a lot of money here, and also a lot of risk,” he says. Laxminarayana pauses to reveal the ‘secret of his success’. He says unlike most real estate dealers who fritter away their fortunes, he is frugal. “I had seen poverty and so didn’t spend the money I earned. Instead, I invested it in property,” he says. He believes success is also a matter of being at the right place at the right time. “The period between 2003 and 2007 was prime time in real estate. The boom helped me rise, and become a ‘king,’ as people call me,” he recalls. He believes he is lucky in other ways. “In the real estate business, court cases are Dabbling in politics common, and rowdies, lawyers and police- Laxminarayana is so respected in the area men are all interfering in it. I don’t say that if there is any land-related problem in deals I take up have no the vicinity, people come issues, but they are very to him for a solution. ‘Businessmen, rare,” he says. Naturally, the next step He laments people in for him was politics. But politicians and villages are losing their land Laxminarayana went swamijis control to real estate sharks. there in his own way, real estate now’ “Businessmen, politicians refusing to join any of the and swamijis run the show established parties. He now. They don’t come out openly. They contested the Ramohalli panchayat buy land in somebody else’s name and sell elctions as an independent. it. Many people get cheated,” he says. He won by a big margin, and was a panchayat member from 2005 to 2010. He says people forced him to contest, and he Charitable turn In 2009, he had bought three-and-a-half does not want a career in politics. “To be in acres of land near Ramohalli for Rs 18 lakh. politics you need money, muscle, caste and After a year, he sold half-an-acre for Rs 20 other things. Vokkaligas are a majority in lakh. He used this money to build a school our village. Only 10 houses belong to peoin the three acres, which he has registered ple of my caste,” he says. His village lives in relative harmony. under the LNR Education Trust. Recognised by the Karnataka govern- He helps people in whatever way he can. ment, the school offers education up to the Villagers send their children to his school. tenth standard. It has experienced teachers If the parents are poor, he doesn’t insist on and clean classrooms, and the fee is rea- full fees. “More than being in politics, I sonable. Three years old, the school has wish to carry on my social service well,” he 600 students, most of them from neigh- says.

political diary

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Angry bosses Housing Minister V Somanna's famed PR skills are being put to the test as he comes under fire from former mentor BS Yeddyurappa and current party colleague Ananthkumar V Somanna is also known as Janatha Bazaar Somanna or Vijaynagar Somanna. He has the ability to identify almost all voters of his constituency by name, and has built a reputation as a people’s politician. That means his party is irrelevant: he has won from the Congress, JD(S) and the BJP. He has also won as an independent candidate. Insiders say he is also influential in getting corporators elected. A Lingayat in a constituency populated by few of his community, Somanna is well connected to politically active religious institutions, cutting across caste-barriers. All this has ensured him a ministership in

the reign of all the three major parties in Karnataka. At various points, he has been close to SM Krishna, HD Deve Gowda and BS Yeddyurappa. When the BJP came to power, Yeddyurappa brought Sommana into the party fold, despite stiff opposition from Ananthkumar and Ashok. Somanna was defeated in the election, yet Yeddyurappa made him a minister, finding a workaround for Constitutional hurdles. Somanna too worked tirelessly for Yeddyurappa, and joined the leader’s inner circle. After Yeddyurappa quit the BJP and formed the KJP, Somanna has stayed back. He now faces the anger of both Yeddyurappa and Ananthkumar. Somanna’s famous negotiating skills are being put to the test. His own political career is at stake. Will he come out on top again?


Is Rakshita ditching Sriramulu? One-time Kannada movie star Rakshita, who added glamour to Sriramulu’s BSR Congress, secretly met Yeddyurappa of the KJP and R Ashok of the BJP last week. Or so the grapevine claims. Does that mean Rakshita and her director-husband Prem have abandoned the BSR Congress? “It has been a month since she turned up at the party office,” said a party source. She is supposedly working from home, but from all accounts, she has lost interest in its affairs. From the day she joined the BSR Congress, Rakshita has been the

president of its women’s wing. She toured the state with Sriramulu and was a crowd puller at many meetings. She had also announced she would contest from Mandya, Malavalli or Rajarajeshwarinagar. With zero experience in politics, the retired celluloid eye candy was still riding high in the fledgling party. Sriramulu has been steadfast in his support of Rakshita, despite complaints from party colleagues against her high-handed behaviour. All very well. But, ask sceptics, how much longer is the retired heroine going to be around?

GOTCHA! Shobha is targeting minister DN Jeevaraj (below)

Rice and shine After she resigned from the BJP, Shobha Karandlaje complained about intelligence agents trailing her. “Why don’t you use them instead to keep an eye on the rice black market?” she taunted the government. With a single shot, Shobha has killed two birds with one stone. She not only sent out the message that the government was being vindictive, but that they were too busy with internal tussles to attend to the people’s welfare. She has also managed to target DN Jeevaraj, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, known to be anti-Yeddy.

Immediately a Kannada newspaper, owned by a Yeddyurappa supporter, got the hint and published a detailed series on why rice is getting so unaffordable in Karnataka. Reasons: Illegal export of rice to Tamil Nadu, and hoarding by traders in Karnataka.

Shettar bugs The BJP party high command has finally said Jagadish Shettar would lead the party in the coming assembly polls. The Lingayat community had supported the BJP in the last elections and the calculation is that they will remain with the party if a Lingayat spearheads its campaign. Handling the elections means spending at least Rs 500 crore, estimate insiders. Now that Shettar has received the high command’s endorsement, party rivals like Ananthkumar and Eshwarappa have gone dormant and tightened their purse strings.

Jagadish Shettar

Shettar has to find the money. How is he going to do that? “Can’t you see the slew of transfers of government officers?” a senior BJP leader said, sadly.



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Malls are holding their own in the slowdown, with vacancy levels falling from 11 per cent to 8.3 per cent

Inside the mall biz PRASHANTH GN

or old timers as well as new residents, malls have become a part of the Bangalore landscape. The first full-fledged mall in the city, Forum, opened in 2004, and is just six years old. Overall, business has been uneven, but not bad. Occupancy levels show that malls have not only held steady in 2012, but even managed to grow marginally, with vacancy levels falling from 11 per cent in 2011 to 8.3 per cent in 2012. And while rents have not gone up, they have not fallen either. Malls in the central business district (CBD) saw 100 per cent occupancy the entire year. Vacancy in the secondary business district (SBD) of Indiranagar, Koramangala and Jayanagar fell from 5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, while it fell from 21.5 per cent to 16.7 per cent in the suburbs of Hebbal, Whitefield, Marathahalli and Sarjapur from 21.5 per cent to 16.7 per cent. Karun Varma, managing director of real estate research consultancy


SHOPPERS DON’T STOP (Top left) Garuda Mall on Magrath Road and Forum Mall in Koramangala enjoy full occupancy

Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), Bangalore in any mall,” he said. Shoppers Stop of the K Raheja explains the role of malls in the life of the Bangalorean. “The most signifi- Corp group is among the many retailcant development in organised retail ers at Garuda Mall, Magrath Road in the last three to five years is the and Inorbit Mall, Whitefield, among rise of malls. All experiences are other locations. The store is witnessoffered at one place—entertainment, ing 30 per cent growth year on year at shopping, leisure and relaxation and Garuda Mall Magrath Road and is now set to take off at Whitefield, fine dining.” Even with the rise of secondary their seventh store in town, and 53rd and peripheral business districts, life in the country. for mall owners in the CBD is particGovind Shrikhande, Managing ularly good. Uday Garudachar, owner Director of Shoppers Stop, said: “We of Garuda Malls, have received an admits his mall on overwhelming Analysts say Magrath Road, close response from our to Brigade Road and customers in malls in suburbs Residency Road, is Bengaluru and this will soon catch doing better than has encouraged us to up with others the one in Jayanagar. extend our presence “Location is the key in the city. factor in a mall’s performance,” he Whitefield is a great location given its said. IT environment and youthful popuLandmark book store shut shop lace.” in Garuda Mall in Jayanagar, creating Soles, a Bangalore-based compasome negative buzz. “We had to ask ny is an exclusive dealer in ladies them to go because they were not footwear. A Ahmed, manager of Soles paying rent. They were not doing at Garuda Magrath, said: “We are well. But that had to do more with doing well at Garuda Mall. We get the nature of the book industry. back what we invest and a little more. Landmark’s performance cannot be We are also located at Forum, Mantri blamed on the mall. There is always a and Orion malls. People now have a churning of retailers which is normal choice to go to different locations, so

the earnings at any one location may not be exponentially high over any other location.” Bangalore Central and Lifestyle call themselves stores rather than malls. “We are a seamless store where one brand stands right next to the other. So we don’t have concerns of occupancy or non-occupancy,” a Bangalore Central official said. A Lifestyle official said: “We’re just one big shop. We buy things from elsewhere and sell them under one roof. We’re a retailer or shop like any other.” Bangalore has three Gopalan Malls. Seema Singh, corporate relations, said: “The mall at Rajarajeshwarinagar is 100 per cent occupied and sees residents from all around the area. The one on Old Madras Road is 90 per cent full and we expect to sell all space soon. The one at Sirsi Circle is 60 per cent full. We’re planning a revamp at this unit to offer more entertainment, retail and dining options. We expect things will be better after the revamp.” Phoneix Mall is a major hub for Whitefield residents. Manager Mukesh says weekends are full. “We have about 300 shops and occupancy is around 90 per cent. The mall has

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people mostly on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,” he said. Rajajinagar now has a major hub in the Orion Mall bordering the Yeshwantpur Circle. The Brigade Group’s flagship venture, Orion Mall, has been designed by New York architectural firm HOK. “Orion is part of the Brigade Gateway campus. It is an effort to bring high lifestyle to Rajajinagar and offer multiple facilities within one space,” said a Brigade official. Chandan of Orion Mall, Rajajinagar, said international brands were selling. “Puma, Tommy Hilfiger and Jack and Jones are doing very well at Orion. This mall is brand new and in this part of town, it’s a tremendous value addition,” he said. Meenakshi Mall on Bannerghatta road serves people all around the area. “The road, dotted with major IT companies, has hundreds of residential apartments within a radius of 3 kms. This has made Meenakshi Mall a major shopping and entertainment hub for this region including JP Nagar,” says a resident of the area. Malleswaram Mantri Mall’s CEO Jonathan Yach says it has 100 per cent occupancy. “Within Mantri Square, there has been no vacancy,” he said. What factors help a mall perform well?


NO WORRIES Bangalore Central outlets see themselves as seamless stores, and have no space to spare. Malls in the suburbs are gradually filling up, too.

“Location, access, parking, tenant mix and entertainment quotient are the key for a successful mall,” Yach said. “In well managed malls, we have seen that vacancy and the time taken to get new shops to open has declined.” Real estate analysts say malls in suburbs will fill up soon.

“People realise it takes time and effort to reach the central areas of the city. This realisation has to translate into movement towards malls in suburbs,” says Varma of JLL. Garudachar of Garuda Malls puts the decreasing vacancy levels in perspective. “At the macro level there may be talk

of a slowdown and high prices. But at the everyday level, people look to enjoy the pleasures of modern life—they want to shop well, watch good movies, spend time drinking coffee or eating ice cream or having hot lunch with their near and loved ones.”

film matters

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A BIT TOO RAW In Vishwaroopam, Kamal plays a RAW agent who infiltrates a jihadi group

Vishwaroopam: India in the service of the US Our globalised elite think what is good for America is good for us, and that is the defining emotion of Kamal Haasan's spy blockbuster

MK Raghavendra is the author of Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema (Oxford, 2008), 50 Indian Film Classics (HarperCollins, 2009) and Bipolar Identity: Region, Nation and the Kannada Language Film (Oxford, 2011).

spate of movies feature RAW agents and, considering that intelligence is not particularly topical in the sub-continent right now, the causes for the popularity of the Indian secret agent are difficult to fathom. It is, of course, difficult to say how effective a spy agency has been because its never being in the news can either be a confirmation


of how watertight its operations are, or an account of its ineffectuality. But one thing that makes us suspect that the RAW has little credit to claim for itself is that India contemplates and threatens only direct military engagement at every provocation—as though espionage might not solve a few of its problems instead. Known terrorists also remain perpetually at large and vocal in Pakistan with little or no threat to their lives. If this is confirmation of RAW’s innocuousness, the last film to feature a RAW hero—Ek Tha Tiger— is about a RAW agent abandoning his profession and living happily ever after with his female counterpart from Pakistan’s ISI. Into this genre in which angels should fear to tread the latest filmmaker to rush is Kamal Haasan, whose film Vishwaroopam has attracted controversy. Like many of Kamal Haasan’s earlier films, Vishwaroopam relies on Hollywood for inspiration, this time

True Lies (1994). An Indian woman suicide bombing. The highpoint is scientist (Pooja Kumar) doing oncolo- perhaps a man’s twitching torso after gy research in the US is dissatisfied a bombing has left only half of him with her effete husband—who teach- intact. The Jihadis are ‘pan-Islamic’ es Kathak to young damsels—and and happy with American attacks takes up with her boss. Unknown to because it helps persuade more young her, her boss Dipankar is actually in men to blow themselves up. When a woman is in great the pay of Jihadis and pain from some ailhe is supplying them Kamal emerges ment, her husband, with cesium to make the one-eyed Omar, a dirty bomb. while narcissistic, will not have her her husband (Kamal flaccid, sluggish treated. Haasan) is actually and reptilian There is also an Indian RAW agent much more viowho has infiltrated the Jihadis ten years ago, just after lence here than Hollywood or 9/11. The leader of the Jihadis is the Bollywood accustoms us to but what one-eyed Omar (Rahul Bose), appar- makes it offensive is that it is played ently modelled after Mullah Omar, out flippantly—by South Indian men the reclusive leader of the Taliban. in phony beards speaking an ‘Arabic’ The action takes place in Afghanistan one might hear in Chennai or and New York—with India being of Bangalore. Perhaps the visceral nature of the violence becomes all the little or no concern. Vishwaroopam is a deeply dis- more unacceptable since the hero is tasteful film overflowing with point- portrayed as a devout Muslim! Kamal less violence-beheading, hanging, and Haasan, South India’s film ‘intellectu-

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al’, emerges as narcissistic, flaccid, sluggish and reptilian, and hardly the sex symbol the film would like him to be. But all this pales in comparison with the film’s central ploy, which also tells us something about its audiences.

Bond and national cinema One of the primary aspects of the espionage film is that it belongs to a ‘national’ cinema. James Bond, for instance, works to save English lives-or to save British policy from being undermined. Regardless of the fact that the British and the Americans are allies, Bond will not work to save American lives unless, in the process, Britain or British interests are also assisted. The most disturbing aspect of Vishwaroopam is not that it shows Islamists in prejudiced light but that a RAW agent should work so hard in America for Americans—with India itself not being a credible consideration.

Kamal’s racist attitude The whole conspiracy in the film revolves around an attack on New York and one does not see why an Indian hero should take sides here. The US has its own history of political and military intervention in which India is not implicated, and there is no reason for an Indian superman to be

concerned with protecting America unless it impinges upon India in some way - for example, if American lives are being taken in India. To make matters worse, the hero played by Kamal Haasan is deferential towards the FBI—as though they were his bosses and not RAW functionaries back in India. There is also the fact that when he kills a Jihadi in the US, the man is not a white American but black and Nigerian. A large number of white Americans have embraced Jihad and these people have become characters in Hollywood thrillers but Kamal Haasan apparently believes that

it would not be okay for an Indian hero to kill a white man in the US, but black Nigerians are fair game. I term this attitude racist.

Globalised education Tamil cinema, I believe, is split down the middle with Kamal Hasaan and Rajnikanth catering to the upper and lower segments respectively. This suggests that Kamal Haasan is pitched at a ‘sophisticated’ Anglophone audience and that may give us clues with regard to the film’s concern for America. Gradually, it would seem, the


globalisation of education has brought the elite Indian classes closer to the US and India’s most powerful people send their children to be educated there—partly because it is impossible to get into the IITs and IIMs. In the government at the centre it is easy to see that the ministers with Western education seem most eager to please America at every juncture and others follow their example. Commerce Minister Anand Sharma (BCom, LLB; Shimla) even assured the US that, regardless of the opposition, the FDI in retail bill would be passed by parliament. Our American-educated elite apparently believe that what is good for America is good for India because the US is the seat of the best liberal values. But I think Kamal Haasan would do well to see Roman Polanski’s The Ghostwriter (2010), in which the British prime minister (modelled after Tony Blair) is an agent for the US with his Harvard-educated wife as his ‘handler’. If, being a self-professed cinephile, Kamal Haasan has already seen it, he should pay more attention to its import before he makes Vishwaroopam II, which could perhaps be renamed ‘E Pluribus Unum’ (‘one from many’), after America’s unofficial national motto.

film matters

talk|14 feb 2013|


The bogey of 'public sentiment' Leaders who hold film-makers and writers to ransom are often mischief mongers out to demonstrate their strength to their constituencies. By letting them get away, the state exposes its own weakness MK RAGHAVENDRA ishwaroopam makes us uncomfortable with its caricature of Islamic militancy in the same way that Pakistani television makes us uncomfortable with its portrayal of the Indian army, but that is not enough reason for it to be banned —or even cut, except by the censors. We need to ask why public outcries and those who are supported by have become so common nowadays them, because the latter are often no that not only Kamal Haasan but also more than miscreants. It is one thing sociologist Ashis Nandy is targeted by for someone to deliberately incite guardians of ‘public sentiment’, and riots and civil unrest publicly and Salman Rushdie is not permitted to another to simply express feelings or opinions—even if they are not defenenter Kolkata. Tamil Nadu chief minister J sible. If one looks at the leaders who Jayalalithaa has clarified that whip up ‘sentiments’ (religious, Vishwaroopam might create law and regional, caste, and so on) as responsorder problems and that is the most es to films and utterances, one often truthful reason that can be offered— finds that they have a history of mislaw and order—but isn’t it the busi- chief. My proposition here is that the ness of the state to ensure law and order when a film cleared by the smaller the capacity of the state to enforce the rule of law, the greater empowered authority is released? A daily routine in the Indian the number of people or interested metropolises today constitutes issue- groups whose ‘sentiments are hurt’. based protests and disruptions of And the people’s sentiments often activity. India does not lack causes, have no rhyme or reason and are easand a huge number of them—revolv- ily invoked by leaders with the ability ing around groups which are either to mobilise people. One has to compare India with disadvantaged or Pakistan to get a imagine themselves Their strength sense of how far the disadvantaged—have will be used for two nations have been deliberately crebeen proceeding on ated. Activism is extortion, and to the same road and intended to fight the build muscle how dangerously unjust action of the close both their state but the state is losing ground and may actually need states are to collapse. In 2011, Punjab Governor strengthening, because only a strong enough state can ensure justice. As an Salman Taseer was assassinated by his instance, extra-judicial killings are own guard because he had spoken out signs of the weakening state because against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws a strong state would be able to and defended a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. enforce its laws legally. To come to the creation of The assassin was apparently show‘opinion’, one must still distinguish ered with rose petals by thousands. between activists who support causes When he was sentenced to death,


HURT? Muslim organisations in Tamil Nadu, which protested against Vishwaroopam, claim some of its scenes were offensive

some politicians were very guarded about condemning the assassination. “Salmaan Taseer never demanded that the blasphemy laws be repealed; rather he spoke against their misuse. He was gunned down because of the misperception that he is anti-Islamic and anti-blasphemy laws,” Imran Khan said. In India, there is a move to install a memorial inside the Golden Temple Complex for the victims of Operation Blue Star and the centre, which regards this a ‘state subject’, is refusing to intervene. Operation Blue Star was based on a decision by the central government. Regardless of one’s personal opinion about the good sense of such a decision, the state has to stand by it. The muted response by the Congress government may arise out of a report in the Punjab press that opposing a ‘martyr’s memorial’ at the Golden Temple will spell the doom of the Congress in Punjab. To understand how the reaction of the central government is contemptible, one has to ask if a memorial to John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, would be allowed by the Federal Government to come up in Maryland, where he belonged, or in the South. There is a significant public in the US still resentful of Lincoln but the move would hardly be tolerated because this would be seen as anti-state. And because such a move will not be tolerated by the strong state, the demand is not even made. It would therefore appear that

the indulgent government—for fear of displeasing the electorate—has gradually weakened the state such an extent in the past two decades to that any miscreant claiming to represent ‘opinion’ can hold law and order to ransom. But these ‘leaders of opinion’ depend on constituencies to which they constantly need to demonstrate their strength. Every protest or civil disturbance is a way of mobilising a constituency which has to be nurtured and expanded. What is not acted upon—or perhaps even understood—is that negotiating with these leaders becomes an acknowledgement of their strength to their respective constituencies, and this only makes them stronger. One may be certain that their strength will be used to raise funds through extortion and to build the muscle to cause more unrest, which will make the state weaker. Successive governments have endorsed the withdrawal of the state from the public space to make way for private agencies. The state is so weak that Kamal Haasan appeals to Salman Khan, rather than the government, to assist in the release of the film. According to reports, he has since negotiated with private agencies and accepted seven cuts. If there is a lesson in this, it is that if the state does not exercise its authority, it will be ceding power to private agencies to act in their own interests—in the guise of serving the public good.

film matters

talk|14 feb 2013|


Mass hero vs class hero Rajnikanth started by playing villain to Kamal Haasan in a K Balachander film—and their careers then took divergent trajectories. Today, is Rajni trying to be like Kamal, or Kamal like Rajni?

irca 1975. Let’s go down a nostalgic path on a journey in black and white— colours of a cinematic past that perfectly capture the essence of the scene. There’s the celebrated director in the corner, seamlessly stitching together scenes of a movie that would mark the birth of not just one superstar, but two: Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth, stars of the future in K Balachander’s Apoorva Raagangal. This was a breakthrough film for both, it being Kamal’s first lead role, and Rajni’s debut, albeit as the villain. In hindsight, it seems the roles held particular significance in the way their careers would shape up. Eventually, their star quotients grew to the proportion required to forge a new cinematic rivalry, one that replaced the yesteryear star wars between MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. Kamal and Rajni’s divergent career trajectories post the 1970s—after which both actors rose rapidly to fame—has me questioning as to what exactly the star phenomenon is all about. Most of Rajni’s movies have his trademark dialogues, and bizarre, yet

C Varshini Murali Once-upon-a-time lawyer, who jumped ship to make her case with the written word

RISING STARS (Below) Kamal and Rajni in the 1978 film Ilamai Oonjal Aadukirathu

stylish, fight sequences that his fans have grown to love and expect. In fact, it would be difficult to picture a ‘Rajnikanth movie’ without these elements. Kamal, on the other hand, is one who dares to experiment. You would be hard-pressed to find any of Kamal’s roles repetitive, and not all his films are commercial entertainers. Most of Rajni’s characters have a Robin Hood touch, thus speaking to a particular category of the Indian audience, one that forms an overwhelming majority. His superhero antics may not make his movies realistic, but they draw the masses to the movie halls. Such roles give the audience a few moments of respite from their own dreary reality, and an opportunity to live the sort of life being enacted by Rajni onscreen. This is true for most Rajni characters, from

Manikkam, the helpful auto driver in Birju Maharaj to perfect his role as a Baashha who turns out to be an dancer and dance-teacher in underworld don, the milkman in Vishwaroopam. That said, there is a Annamalai who transforms into a slight hint of elitism in what he does, successful businessman, and the ser- be it on screen or off it. It was recently posed to me that vant in Muthu who is revealed to be a perhaps Kamal has been refashioning zamindar. Rajni’s magnetism onscreen is his screen persona to appeal to a balanced by his off-screen ‘humility.’ wider class of people—to be seen as a mass hero, much Tamil cinema audilike Rajni. While ences comprise the Their cinematic Kamal has dabbled working classes, in commercial something that Sarah rivalry replaced entertainers—the Dickey has explored that of MGR and genre that forms in her book, Cinema Sivaji Ganesan the bulk of Rajni’s and the Urban Poor in work—that hardly South India. Perhaps what makes Rajni’s movies even more makes the case that he has been deliblikable is that he has a working class erately choosing crowd-pleasing background. He is the typical under- roles. In fact, it could be said Rajni is dog, having made the impossible journey from being a bus conductor, making a transition—his Sivaji and Endhiran saw him deploy technical and he is clearly a symbol of hope. Kamal’s roles, on the other hand, effects the likes of which Tamil cineoften show a slice of reality. It is his ma hadn’t witnessed earlier. While near perfect execution that testify to Rajni’s acting may still leave much to his talent as an actor. The effortless be desired, the increasingly suave manner in which he manages to pull packaging of his films marks a shift off his roles—be it the iconic role of from the days when he was hailed as a Velu Nayakan in Nayagan or poor man’s superstar. Looking back at how both Rajni Shaktivelu in Thevar Magan—is what and Kamal have approached cinema, sets him apart from the rest. His attention to detail, particu- the distinction lies in how each has larly in the make-up department, is conquered it. Where Rajni’s tryst with no secret—as can be seen in his roles cinema has resulted in his being in Nayagan, Indian, Anbe Sivam, tagged with a god-like status, playing Dasavatharam, and, for that matter, roles that often went from being ‘a in the recent Vishwaroopam. He zero to a hero’, Kamal, it would be worked with Kathak legend Pandit seem, has emerged a true artist.

air show

talk|14 feb 2013|


INDIA'S OWN FIGHTER STORY Tejas, the light combat aircraft being developed in Bangalore, is making heartening progress, and can’t be dismissed as a laggard. ver the years, Aero India has featured some of the most intriguing fighting aircraft in the world, both Western and Russian, and many have, or will, find their way into the Indian Air Force. Tejas, the Bangalore-built light combat aircraft, has never been the focus at this biannual plane mela. Regarded a laggard—the Tejas has been in development since the 1980s—it has always been treated as a plane with doubtful potential rather than the outstanding combat platform that India needs. The majestically impressive Sukhoi30 is always a special favourite, and air


show enthusiasts have also seen the Eurofighter, the Rafale, the F-16, and the F-15, not to mention the MiG and the Mirage 2000. All foreign fighters, bought, serviced and flown at great cost. When Aero India 2013 opened on February 6 at the Yelahanka Air Force Base, with the customary inaugural speech by Defence Minister AK Antony, there was the usual buzz about what we were going to see this time. The muchawaited Russian Knights aerobatic team, flying the Sukhoi-27s, hadn’t turned up. After a simple flypast by a couple of Mi-8 helicopters, a sleek single-engine fighter took-off. The announcer proclaimed its name with all the necessary enthusiasm, but the fact was, expectations were low. It was the Tejas. Being test flown for over a decade, it had featured in earlier air shows, doing a few manoeuvres to polite

development since 1980s, it is now coming into its own * InProduction likely to begin in June if it gets operational okay * In a year, HAL can manufacture up to 16 such fighters * ‘It’s very contemporary,’ says its test pilot *

applause. Everyone knew the Tejas, being developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in Bangalore, has had problems with its engine, its performance, and its acceptability to the Indian Air Force. But the second that Group Captain (Retd) Suneet Krishna pulled the aircraft up into the sky after take-off, afterburners thundering, there was an undeniable sense that we were going to see something special. And over the next seven minutes, the plane went through vertical loops, wing-overs, an inverted fly by, and slow and high speed passes. Standard airshow stuff. No spectacular turns, no ‘cobra’ manuevres, nothing fancy. Air enthusiasts, at least, knew that the twin-engine Rafale to follow later would best it in

Just before a stylish flight, pilot Suneet Krishna drives Talk to the light combat aircraft hoping to do India proud, and takes us through the story so far SRIDHAR K CHARI


DARE Suneet Krishna strides up to the waiting Tejas

The ‘walk-around’ check

every way. But did it? The Rafale, a different category of fighter, would be an unfair comparison in any case. But what Suneet Krishna and the Tejas did was simply, ‘quietly,’ win hearts. As he faithfully put up the same display twice a day, people would walk up to him, saying things like, “Sir, that was breathtaking.” A 70-year-old defence and aerospace industry veteran missed the inaugural display because of some confusion with passes. He had only one regret: “Hey, I heard Suneet Krishna put up a great display. Damn, I missed it.” Something special had indeed happened. Worth delving into. Which is why Talk decided to fix up a date with him, and find out what the excitement was all about.

n the dot at 2.15 pm, Suneet Krishna, 45 but much younger looking, picks us up in his car just before his flight on Thursday. The driver swings us out and around the airstrip, to the ‘airside’ where the aircraft are parked and prepared for their displays through the course of Aero India. As we drive around the runway, a Sukhoi-30 is performing in the air. Do you


know the pilot, I ask Suneet. No. “New kids,” he smiles. Suneet first flew a Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) in 2002, just a year after its first flight, when there was still enormous uncertainty about the Bangalore-made plane. Since then, the LCA seat have become as familiar as his sofa back home, except that you can never take a fighter plane for granted. But the several hundred flights (he was the first in the test flying team to notch up a hundred flights, by the way), and a career that has seen him fly fighters like the Mirage and even the F-16, sit lightly on his shoulders. In the simply furnished airside pilot’s

Into the cockpit

talk|14 feb 2013|



lounge, Suneet puts on his ‘G-Suit.’ In a fighter plane, given the speeds and manoeuvres it is capable of, a pilot can be subjected to several times the force of gravity we experience while moving about on ground. Think of it as a far more severe version of what you might experience if the car you are sitting in is turned fast and tight. And that is not even 2G, two times the gravitational force. In a fighter plane a pilot can face 9G—a little more and he loses consciousness. A good G-suit helps keep the pilot’s blood flow in place. The G-force is one of several metrics a layman can zero in on to understand the progress the Tejas is making. When it first flew at the air show in 2003, test pilots had gone up to a mere 2G. So where is he taking it these days? “6G. It is cleared up to that. And the alpha is about 20 degrees,” explains Sunit. Pilot talk. Another metric. Alpha. The alpha angle is what is known as the ‘angle of attack.’ Not, as you might imagine, the angle at which the plane is attacking something on the ground, but the angle at which the air flow is meeting the control surfaces of the airframe. If the angle exceeds the maximum a plane is capable of, it stalls. Read that as ‘begins to fall from the sky.’ A fighter plane is not stable enough just to glide. (Even a massive Boeing can actually glide.) Turn off the engine, and a fighter will fall like a rock. But with modern, digital, flight control systems (FCS), inputs from the joystick are converted by computer to signals that keep the plane stable and in control during complex manoeuvres at high angles of attack. That’s enough of the (crude) aero-engineering lesson. “When we first flew the

Helmet on

Tejas, it was the first time we were testing a fly-by-wire (the FCS) system with no manual backup. There was a lot of apprehension. Even with the F-16 there were major issues, with all their decades of development experience. People were critical, there were worries about what could go wrong. It took a lot of effort to get it off the ground,” he recalls. On February 5, the LCA completed more than 2,000 flights. So how does the plane handle? Its test pilots have often compared it to the Mirage, another single-engine, delta wing aircraft. “It is very contemporary,” he says, cautiously. “After the inaugural display, there were heartening reactions of ‘why is this not already in the Air Force?’ The plane will evolve.” He sees the LCA successfully entering the IAF at the ‘light end’ of the fleet, in both ground attack and air superiority roles. “It is also a platform for the future,” he stresses. There is a Mark II with a more powerful engine to come, and an advanced medium combat aircraft (MCA) in the wings. In his G-suit, Suneet walks up to the waiting LCA. It is the LSP-4, LSP standing for Limited Series Production, and is one of the dozen planes flying. Some of the variants have already had weapons integrated into them. Suneet has fired laser guided bombs and the R-73 missile from such variants on weapons testing flights. There are no weapons on this one. He chats with the ground crew, and completes the standard ‘walk-around’ test, as old as aviation. No pilot skips that. You walk around, eye-balling the plane and giving it a few taps, whacks and yanks here and there, to ensure

All systems go

MAN AND MACHINE Group Captain (retd) Suneet Krishna poses for Talk at Aero India 2013

The plane will evolve further, he says

air show

talk|14 feb 2013|


Your chance to fly A Russian simulator at Aero India gives you the experience of flying a fighter aircraft. It’s as real as it can get on the ground SOARING SPIRIT Suneet does a stylish loop, and (below) with Group Director Wg Cdr (retd) PK Raveendran, who leads the test development efforts

in June this year, production can begin. that there is nothing obviously wrong. HAL can start off making eight LCAs And then he signs papers that the ground crew hold out. Lots of them. There a year, and can go up to 16, he said. Tejas will feature in the IAF’s armais always paper work, you see. We get him to pose in front of the aircraft, and he ment exercise later this year, called sportingly agrees. It is the picture you see Livewire, where it will get to show off its combat capability. “It is an indigenous on the cover. Then up the ladder, into the cockpit. project, we have to support it. Sometimes Over the next few minutes, he powers up we are critical, because we have to get it the plane, and to his signals, ground crew right. But I am very hopeful,” Browne said. Mark-II will have a more powerful withdraw the fuelling line and other rigs, and remove the tyre stoppers. But take-off engine, the GE-414. The current one flies takes more time as several birds in the sky with a less powerful version, the F-404. So how indigenous is it, with an have halted the show. Birds can be dangerous. The planes American engine? Engine development is don’t scare them, and there is always the one of the most complex projects in aerohazard of a bird hit. Suck one into your air- space. India’s attempt with the Kaveri project, at DRDO’s Gas intakes, and you might Turbine Research have serious trouble. If all goes well, Establishment (GTRE) in Flares are fired to scare Bangalore, has practically them off, and the display Tejas could be fallen through. Few talk resumes. The French inducted into about it now. Rafale, made by Dassault, the IAF by 2015 “Even the 404 is roars into the sky and good enough in many struts its stuff. India is negotiating a multi-billion dollar deal with ways,” points out Group Director (Flight Dassault to buy 18 aircraft and manufac- Test) Wg Cdr (retd) PK Raveendran. Of ture under license 108 more at HAL in course, air warfare has changed from the old ‘dogfight’ days, when extreme manoeuBangalore. Finally, the Tejas is cleared for take- vrability was the key to winning. Today, as off. Thumbs-up signs are exchanged with Suneet points out, it is more about the systhe ground crew, and Suneet taxies down tems and the network, and advanced misthe runway. He takes off, and there it is siles that can engage and fire at targets again. That neat little flight, which the IAF beyond visual range. And in any case, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK engine integration is one of the things the Browne, referred to as “a very attractive team is proud about. “It is very well settled,” as Suneet puts it. display.” Suneet Krishna has landed, and the Earlier in the day, Browne told reporters the LCA should be in the IAF by LCA cruises past, with the break parachute 2015. RK Tyagi, Chairman of Hindustan unfurling behind it. Another day at work Aeronautics Ltd, says once ADA completes for man and machine. It is impossible not to wish the best the initial operational clearance-2 (IOC-2)

fter watching fighter aircraft perform breathtaking aerobatics, you would want to fly



for them. But is it just idle indulgence to revel in the “joy of having our very own fighter in the air,” as Raveendran puts it? Is it just wishful thinking if you feel that the LCA is actually going to make the cut? Nobody denies that continued dependence on external imports for our defence needs is a poor situation to be in, even in today’s world where technological partnerships are the order of the day and it makes little sense to want to go it alone completely. And even the LCA clearly has benefited from many partnerships over the years. But there can be no compromises either. For clearly, there is some way to go, and things need to move faster, as both the ADA and the flight test teams acknowledge. In spite of all that, it is difficult to deny the feeling that the Tejas is going to surprise everyone and become a very potent platform indeed. For as the LCA stands quietly against the setting sun, and the ground crew gets ready to tuck it in for the night, there is belief in the air.

At Aero India 2013 you can fly the Russian Mig-29 MK, a naval fighter operated off the INS Vikramaditya, the aircraft carrier being readied in Russia. Well, you can fly it on a simulator, and the experience is very real. Get to the Russian United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) stall in Hall A and ask for a flight on their Mig simulator. If you are lucky, they will let you have one. Once you enter the room, behind curtains, you see the simulator with a large video screen in front. You sit in the pilot’s seat, just like in a real cockpit. The pilot’s joystick as well as the thrust lever on the left, both of which you get to operate, give you an adrenaline rush. Push a button on the left and the aircraft begins to take off from the ship. A thrilling moment follows when the aircraft reaches the end of the deck. Just when you think it might plunge into the water, you’re airborne. You can see all this on the video screen in front. Push the joystick forward and you experience a plunge. Pull it back, you soar high into the sky. Push it sideways, and you experience the aircraft turning left and right. The thrill of the flight then lies in tracking the deck in the ocean and landing on it. Many who tried crashed. If you can, you might make a pilot someday. Give the Mig 29 MK a try.


talk|14 feb 2013|


The one line you’d rather not cross


ll of us dread deadlines. This imaginary line seems to have the power to make us behave in unusual ways. When a deadline looms, we wake up early, give up partying, and concentrate on doing something or getting something done. And we complain about how it is killing us. But while we may not actually end up dead if we fail to abide by it, two centuries W ago, that is exactly what would have ensued. During the American Civil War, military prisons had a line drawn around them. Any prisoner who escaped and crossed the line was shot dead. This line was called the deadline. American Historian The Talk Benson J Lossing writes column on word origins in his 1868 book


History of the Civil War: “Seventeen feet from the inner stockade was the ‘dead-line’, over which no man could pass and live.” With the end of the war, the practice of killing people who crossed the deadline was abandoned. But the term continued to live. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the word was used for any boundary or cordon. With this meaning, sentences could be on the lines of “The protesters crossed the deadline to enter the Commissioner’s office.” We have something similar in our culture—the Lakshmana-rekha. In the Ramayana, Rama’s brother Lakshmana draws a line around the cottage in the forest where they are camping, requesting Sita not to cross it in his absence. She is lured into doing so, and abducted by Ravana. For a while, deadline was used metaphorically to mean restrictions. For instance, you could say: “We have drawn a deadline between the two businesses. Though owned by the same person, they will have nothing to do with each other.” The term deadline was also used to indicate the retirement age. “The old man is approaching his deadline. It’s just two



A Madhubani painting of Ravana and Sita before she crosses the Lakshman-rekha

months before he can hang up his boots.” In the early 20th century, deadline was used as a printing term. The plate of a printing press had a guideline, beyond which text could not be printed. This was called the deadline. In Frank S Henry’s 1917 textbook for printers’ apprentices, Printing for School and Shop, he writes: “Make certain that the type does not come outside of the dead-line on the press” Around the same time, the term began to be used in newspaper offices. Here, it was used to indicate a time limit beyond which the paper could not go to print. The editors had to stick to a deadline

to ensure that their newspaper was published on time. It began to be widely used in newspaper circles, when writers too were asked to stick to a deadline to submit their stories. The deadline given to writers was obviously ahead of the deadline of the paper going to print. Journalists began using this term in their articles to indicate a time limit for any kind of task. They wrote sentences like, “The parliament has a deadline to pass the bill.” Gradually, this new meaning made its way into common parlance. Now, we say we have a deadline to finish our projects or submit our assignments.

meal deals

talk|14 feb 2013| COURTESY: HARSHA KR


range does one better. The 'Wow' Kentucky Fried Chicken, the ‘so good’ range feature two sets of items that cost Rs 22 and Rs 31 each. It’s fast food chain, had always taken targets college goers and teens who blame for being ridiculously overpriced. Now, they finally seem to seek a cool place to hang-out with their friends, but at rates comparable have taken the hint, and have to college canteens. The ones we launched 'Wow' prices in all their spotted were picking up five to six outlets. The chain had earlier positioned itself as the new adda for items that together figured in the youngsters with its 'Streetwise' range range of Rs 100 for a group of as featuring fried chicken items between many people. The prices here are Rs 25 and Rs 100, but the new price exclusive of tax.

Without a doubt, this is one of the best deals any fast food chain can offer you. Its thick crunchy batter on the outside gives way to succulent and juicy meat inside. The wings are

certainly small in size, but sufficiently tender for you to pick them clean all the way to bone. This price is relatively good value-for-money as most fast food outlets don't offer as good a deal on chicken wings as KFC.

KZ Rolette is a very tiny paratha, which is filled with a few chunks of chicken and some lettuce. Not really an option if you are looking for something to kill hunger. Clearly not the 'small on price and big on value' offering they claim it to be.

Achari Aloo Rs 50

Apart from its standard rectangular sesame bun, at first sight this burger looked almost like rival McDonald's Aloo Tikki. It's certainly not as 'krispy' as the name suggests and the spiced potato patty with onions and lettuce tasted like it was trying too hard to get an Indian flavor along the lines of the regular vada pav that you get on the streets. Certainly not worth it.

Chicken Krisper Rs 31

Veg Krisper Rs 31

If your stomach is grumbling and you want to have a quick bite that is (relatively) healthy as well as filling, then the 'Chicken Krisper' is a good option. We were taken aback to find more than 20 people standing in the queue at 9:30 pm to buy this particular burger at the Indiranagar KFC outlet. Though their crunchy batter on the outside seems to be excessive when compared to the amount of meat in it, it is still a good deal when you consider the price.

Well, at first the looks might deceive you as it looks exactly like their Chicken Krisper. But if you're vegetarian and would like to try something other than the ordinary potato patty, then this is it. The patty inside is filled with channa and topped up with onions, lettuce and a drizzle of their secret 'Thousand Island' sauce. But those who are used to the taste of Chicken Krisper would do well to stay away from this one.

Sticky finger time

Vegetables don't have wings, but this one is KFC trying to cash in on the popularity of their hot chicken wings. But if you are open to trying something different from the regular veggie burgers, this is surely worth a try. Three pieces of crispy golden strips filled with peas, potato and corn are what's on offer here.

Chicken Fried Roll Rs 40 This is one place where you can get a minced chicken roll for a decent price. The fried roll looks very appetising as they have a yellow drizzle of a secret sauce made out of cheese. And the quantity of kheema that fills it is sure to be more than what you'd expect. Definitely worth a try.


When it comes to burgers and meals, McDonald's offers the best deals, as befits the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants.

Chicken McGrill Rs 35

They also seems to have the largest fan following among fast food outlets in the city, especially among collegegoers, and price plays a big factor in this. The prices are inclusive of tax.

This is the only chicken burger that you get for under Rs 50 at McDonald's. With just tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise and a rather ordinary chicken cutlet posing as burger patty, it is no surprise that this bland offering hasn't gone down well with their customers.

McEgg Burger Rs 25 Veg Fried Roll Rs 35 The roll has an assortment of vegetables like carrot, beans, potato etc, and the stuffing comes with a portion of cheese as well, but we found that all of it did not add up to much. This one's better avoided. Prices inclusive of tax.

Having tasted so much of standard fast food fare at reasonable prices, we thought achaari aloo would be something different and worth a try. We were in for an unpleasant surprise though. What we got was an awful paratha filled with potato cubes, which was one notch lower than the dry chapathi with aloo sagu combo that you get at standand-eat stalls on the street. To make things worse, the potato filling inside was salty too. Stay away from this one. Prices inclusive of tax.

With most fast food chains in town offering new budget meals or slashed prices, Maria Laveena finds out which ones actually deliver on quality

Veg Wings Rs 31

Just Bake

Kaati Zone KZ Rolette Rs 40

Potato Krisper Rs 22

Hot Wings Rs 22


The McEgg burger would definitely tickle anyone's curiosity. If you thought it would be like the bun and anda sort your mother used to feed you to deal with hunger pangs, you'd be proven wrong quickly. Here the bun is steamed with a poached egg and served with a gentle lashing of mayonnaise and thinly sliced onions. The egg is very soft and round and sticks to the burger like any other patty. This was introduced as part of their breakfast menu from 7 am to 11 am recently, and has proven to be their bestselling breakfast burger since then.

McAloo Tikki Burger Rs 25 This has been one of McDonald's best selling items since their launch. Aloo tikki means potato croquette, and is common street food all over north India. The McD version is a spicy potato patty covered with a layer of tomatoes and onions. After it turned out to be a hit, they are planning to come up with other versions of it soon.

Café Coffee Day Hot beverage + Veg samosa Rs 49 The only deal that's available for under Rs 50 at Café Coffee Day is the Hot Beverage + Samosa combo. In hot beverages, you have a choice between filter coffee or kadak chai. We ordered coffee and found it to be nothing special, and the samosa too was not worth the money. Overall, it's a thumbs down for CCD when it comes to a cheap but filling meal. The price excludes tax.

meal deals

talk|14 feb 2013| COURTESY: HARSHA KR


range does one better. The 'Wow' Kentucky Fried Chicken, the ‘so good’ range feature two sets of items that cost Rs 22 and Rs 31 each. It’s fast food chain, had always taken targets college goers and teens who blame for being ridiculously overpriced. Now, they finally seem to seek a cool place to hang-out with their friends, but at rates comparable have taken the hint, and have to college canteens. The ones we launched 'Wow' prices in all their spotted were picking up five to six outlets. The chain had earlier positioned itself as the new adda for items that together figured in the youngsters with its 'Streetwise' range range of Rs 100 for a group of as featuring fried chicken items between many people. The prices here are Rs 25 and Rs 100, but the new price exclusive of tax.

Without a doubt, this is one of the best deals any fast food chain can offer you. Its thick crunchy batter on the outside gives way to succulent and juicy meat inside. The wings are

certainly small in size, but sufficiently tender for you to pick them clean all the way to bone. This price is relatively good value-for-money as most fast food outlets don't offer as good a deal on chicken wings as KFC.

KZ Rolette is a very tiny paratha, which is filled with a few chunks of chicken and some lettuce. Not really an option if you are looking for something to kill hunger. Clearly not the 'small on price and big on value' offering they claim it to be.

Achari Aloo Rs 50

Apart from its standard rectangular sesame bun, at first sight this burger looked almost like rival McDonald's Aloo Tikki. It's certainly not as 'krispy' as the name suggests and the spiced potato patty with onions and lettuce tasted like it was trying too hard to get an Indian flavor along the lines of the regular vada pav that you get on the streets. Certainly not worth it.

Chicken Krisper Rs 31

Veg Krisper Rs 31

If your stomach is grumbling and you want to have a quick bite that is (relatively) healthy as well as filling, then the 'Chicken Krisper' is a good option. We were taken aback to find more than 20 people standing in the queue at 9:30 pm to buy this particular burger at the Indiranagar KFC outlet. Though their crunchy batter on the outside seems to be excessive when compared to the amount of meat in it, it is still a good deal when you consider the price.

Well, at first the looks might deceive you as it looks exactly like their Chicken Krisper. But if you're vegetarian and would like to try something other than the ordinary potato patty, then this is it. The patty inside is filled with channa and topped up with onions, lettuce and a drizzle of their secret 'Thousand Island' sauce. But those who are used to the taste of Chicken Krisper would do well to stay away from this one.

Sticky finger time

Vegetables don't have wings, but this one is KFC trying to cash in on the popularity of their hot chicken wings. But if you are open to trying something different from the regular veggie burgers, this is surely worth a try. Three pieces of crispy golden strips filled with peas, potato and corn are what's on offer here.

Chicken Fried Roll Rs 40 This is one place where you can get a minced chicken roll for a decent price. The fried roll looks very appetising as they have a yellow drizzle of a secret sauce made out of cheese. And the quantity of kheema that fills it is sure to be more than what you'd expect. Definitely worth a try.


When it comes to burgers and meals, McDonald's offers the best deals, as befits the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants.

Chicken McGrill Rs 35

They also seems to have the largest fan following among fast food outlets in the city, especially among collegegoers, and price plays a big factor in this. The prices are inclusive of tax.

This is the only chicken burger that you get for under Rs 50 at McDonald's. With just tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise and a rather ordinary chicken cutlet posing as burger patty, it is no surprise that this bland offering hasn't gone down well with their customers.

McEgg Burger Rs 25 Veg Fried Roll Rs 35 The roll has an assortment of vegetables like carrot, beans, potato etc, and the stuffing comes with a portion of cheese as well, but we found that all of it did not add up to much. This one's better avoided. Prices inclusive of tax.

Having tasted so much of standard fast food fare at reasonable prices, we thought achaari aloo would be something different and worth a try. We were in for an unpleasant surprise though. What we got was an awful paratha filled with potato cubes, which was one notch lower than the dry chapathi with aloo sagu combo that you get at standand-eat stalls on the street. To make things worse, the potato filling inside was salty too. Stay away from this one. Prices inclusive of tax.

With most fast food chains in town offering new budget meals or slashed prices, Maria Laveena finds out which ones actually deliver on quality

Veg Wings Rs 31

Just Bake

Kaati Zone KZ Rolette Rs 40

Potato Krisper Rs 22

Hot Wings Rs 22


The McEgg burger would definitely tickle anyone's curiosity. If you thought it would be like the bun and anda sort your mother used to feed you to deal with hunger pangs, you'd be proven wrong quickly. Here the bun is steamed with a poached egg and served with a gentle lashing of mayonnaise and thinly sliced onions. The egg is very soft and round and sticks to the burger like any other patty. This was introduced as part of their breakfast menu from 7 am to 11 am recently, and has proven to be their bestselling breakfast burger since then.

McAloo Tikki Burger Rs 25 This has been one of McDonald's best selling items since their launch. Aloo tikki means potato croquette, and is common street food all over north India. The McD version is a spicy potato patty covered with a layer of tomatoes and onions. After it turned out to be a hit, they are planning to come up with other versions of it soon.

Café Coffee Day Hot beverage + Veg samosa Rs 49 The only deal that's available for under Rs 50 at Café Coffee Day is the Hot Beverage + Samosa combo. In hot beverages, you have a choice between filter coffee or kadak chai. We ordered coffee and found it to be nothing special, and the samosa too was not worth the money. Overall, it's a thumbs down for CCD when it comes to a cheap but filling meal. The price excludes tax.

on air

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To keep herself from catching a cold, that is. RJ of the Year (South) Michelle Patrao of Radio Indigo clearly cannot imagine life without radio

‘I microwave my soft drinks!’ sensitive and which we can’t talk about, but there are always lighter ways to go about it. When I want to make a point, I do it in a subtle way and try to be light about it. For example, the incident in Mangalore where n the website of her radio boys and girls at a homestay in Padil channel, Indigo 91.9 FM, were attacked, I was absolutely mortiMichelle Patrao is fied about it. There was a fear in peodescribed as ‘the fairy of ple and parents didn’t want to send all things radio.’ For regtheir kids there for studies. Since I’m ular listeners of her popular afterfrom Mangalore, I know it’s a very noon show, which runs from 1 to 5 peaceful place and I tried to convey pm on weekdays, that may not sound like an exaggeration. And now, offi- You always sound so excited and peppy? my message in a subtle manner. How do you manage cial acclaim has to keep the energy up An RJ’s identity is his or her voice. How come her way: she ‘The energy do you take care of your vocal chords? all the time? was recently comes to you It comes to you natu- What precautions do you take against declared RJ of the rally when you love illness, for instance? Year (South) at the naturally if you your job. I like music Last year in particular was the toughGolden Mike Radio love your job’ and I love being an est for me because I fell ill so many Advertising Awards. RJ, but it’s not always times. I would end up with cough or Michelle shares the award with RJ Blade Shankar of so easy for us to maintain that energy. cold every month. The best way I Suryan FM, Chennai. Excerpts from You can be in tears off air, but the found out to prevent illness is not to moment you come on air, you have to drink anything cold. I haven’t had ice the interview: let it go. You must know what you are cream for over a year now. (Laughs) I doing on air. You can’t go blank and practically microwave everything How does it feel to be ‘RJ of the year’? including the soft drinks! It feels good, but it still hasn’t sunk in. waste precious air time. This is my first award, and I didn’t see it coming. It’s nice to win the award Do you feel the need to take a stand on What preparations do you make before going on air every day? because there were a lot of jockeys public issues? Are you allowed to do Since I do the afternoon show, the who deserved it as well and it is that on air? recognised at the national level, too. There are a few issues that are too content is always light in nature. I



LOVIN’ IT Michelle wanted to get into radio so badly she spent 10 straight days trying to get auditioned at Radio Indigo

Did you always want to be an RJ? Yes, I was always attracted to radio. I did my mass communication and specialised in radio. I didn’t like the TV industry because it was too hectic. I found radio very chilled out. Ever since Radio Indigo came to Bangalore, I was eager to work for it. I used to come to Indigo every day for ten days to get an audition. Finally, I got a call and three-and-a-half years later, I’m still here!

cannot have any heated debate but I do read up a lot about artistes and music. I am constantly thinking about what I should do tomorrow. Certain segments like the Yes or No Game and such things are standard, so I have the liberty to juggle my content a bit. When I was in Dubai, I used to work for a Hindi FM channel there. Since I’m not fluent in Hindi I used to make a fool of myself, but even that sort of helped me because it kept the listeners entertained! How different is RJing in Bangalore, as compared to Dubai? It is a lot different. There each and every thing is monitored. You cannot talk about religion or politics over there. Even in India these are sensitive issues, but here you at least have basic freedom of speech. Many listeners complain that there are too many ads on radio… Sometimes, it’s because of the season that so many ads are on air. Like the sale season in January, for example. Often, we have to juggle programmes around due to a sudden flow of ads. As an RJ, you are constantly interacting with your listeners. How personal do

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you get with your listeners on air? Are there any rules that you must follow? I’ve never had the kind of listener that I wanted to cut off. When I’m on air, I make sure that I don’t cross the line. I never talk about my friends, family or for that matter, my love life. If someone asks about my personal life, I slowly brush them off.

mornings needs to be very peppy and must make the listeners laugh; they should enjoy every bit of it because they are on their way to their work place.

Have you ever had fans complain, saying they want the original RJ back on air? (Laughs) Well, there are a few people who are like loyal fans. Some always welcome the change whereas some do not appreciate it How do you handle competition with other much. When I’m on air filling in for someRJs, at Indigo and other stations as well? There are ways to look at it. You can be one, I try not to put the listeners to sleep. insecure about it or do a good job and don’t care about it. I prefer the latter. I don’t look There is a notion that anyone who talks a lot at competition. For me it’s important to can become an RJ. Do you agree? stay grounded. I know where I want to get Well, that statement is partially correct, in my profession, and that’s all I want to do. because you do need talk a lot if you have to be an RJ, although you need to work on it. It’s a really tough job. I have struggled very Do you idolise any RJ or Radio station? I look up to radio stations like Kiss FM and hard to put on a good show for the past three-and-a-half years at Indigo. You have BBC Radio. No RJs in particular. to start off somewhere, and it’s ironic because as an RJ you are talking to a huge You have sometimes filled in for RJ Sriram crowd and trying to maintain a relationship and RJ Melodee. How difficult is it to get in but actually you are talking to yourself as another RJ’s shoes? It is a challenge for me because every show you are the only person in the studio! has its own respective benchmark. I try to make sure that I maintain that level when I What does Michelle Patrao like to do when substitute for someone else. It is very diffi- not on air? cult because the format of each show is dif- As a complete TV buff, I’m practically glued ferent. For example, Sriram’s show in the to my television set. I love watching soaps

The award

like Homeland, Vampire Diaries and others. If there’s any new series that is aired, I’m glued to it. Is it RJing all the way for you or do you have something else in mind? I have absolutely no clue because I love radio so much. But soon I could be doing something else on radio itself though. I don’t like saturation to set in in any form.


The Golden Mike awards are given by exchange4media, a special interest publishing company that deals with content on media advertising and marketing both online and offline. The award is primarily intended to recognise talent in radio advertising and promotion, but includes an award for the best RJ. This year, the third edition of the awards, they received about 40 entries from RJs across the nation in the RJ of the year category. Due to the high number of applicants, the category was divided into four zones North, East, West and South. The RJs were required to send in a short montage of their show along with a list of their achievements. The jury members consisted of prominent media personalities including Sandeep Sharma, president of the RK Swamy Media Group, Meeta Vasisht, film and theatre actress, Mantra, radio professional and actor and MK Anand, head of Disney Media Network (Broadcast).

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Rewind The week that was  French push: French and Mali troops clashed with Islamist militants in northern Mali.  Korea video: North Korea has posted a video on YouTube depicting a US city resembling New York engulfed in flames after an apparent missile attack, triggering a controversy.  Kerry calls China: Newly appointed US secretary of state John Kerry called his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi to discuss Iran and possible North Korean atomic tests.  Nasa shot: Nasa spacecraft Deep Impact was the first to shoot a comet with a 64,000 kilometer long tail hurtling towards the Sun.  SP warning: The Samajwadi Party has warned the BJP against using the Mahakumbh, happening in Allahabad, as a platform for politics.  Modi in Delhi: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi addressed students and faculty of Delhi University's Shri Ram College of Commerce in his first public address in the national capital after winning the Gujarat assembly elections.  Hate speech: An FIR has been filed against Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia for making a hate speech at Nanded, Maharashtra last month.  T20 rankings: India managed to retain their third rank among T20 teams, while Virat Kohli has held on to his sixth spot in the International Cricket Council Rankings for Twenty20 batsmen issued on Thursday.  Threat: Founder president of Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) Padmanabha Prassana Kumar alleged he faced threats to his life from party chief BS Yeddyurappa.

Seminar notes: Aghast in translation same time. A young Dalit boy is mistaken for an upper caste boy, and gets a bath and fresh clothes. When he realises he is being taken inside for a ritual, he develops cold feet and flees to his village, abandoning the town and his schooling for ever. But the family knows nothing of the boy's mortification: they send along some ritual gifts to where he has run away.

Devanoor Mahadeva, the celebrated Kannada writer, had a funny story to tell. In one his fictional narratives, he had described at some length a woman's fondness for a rooster. In place of 'rooster', his translator used 'cock', unaware of what that word means in contemporary usage. Obliviousness to changing meaning, Mahadeva suggested, is a major problem in the translation of Dalit literary texts. Many translation-related questions came up for discussion on the third day of a seminar at the National Law School of India University in Bangalore. Organised by the university's Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusion Policy, it was titled Dalit Movement and Literature: A Critical Introspection. Mahadeva responded to the many presentations with two questions, which he called dilemmas. The first was about the very definition of Dalit writing. Does writing become Dalit before, during, or after writing? His second question challenged the proposition that only Dalits

MAGICAL Devanoor Mahadeva reads from his novel Kusumabaale

could write about the Dalit experience. Is it impossible, he asked, for non-Dalits to write about the Dalit world? Should Dalits write about no experience other than their own? And if we accept such a division, aren't we going against the very 'dynamism of creativity'? Mahadeva's remarks came after two days of heated debate on the connections between Dalit writing and activism. Just before he spoke, young writers from different parts of Karnataka told their life stories, and how they had begun writing. Their

Buying gold? Carry PAN Attempting to check the booming demand for gold, a Reserve Bank committee has proposed a new set of rules like mandatory quoting of PAN card numbers for high-value purchases, restriction on gold loans, and curbs on nonbanking companies dealing with gold loans. The committee also recommends cheque payment for gold purchases beyond a threshold, attractive

savings schemes to reduce investment in physical gold, and stopping bank finance for gold purchases.

experiences were as varied as they were eye-opening, and VS Sreedhara and Rahmat Tarikere, moderating the discussions, felt the need for a full-fledged conference just to hear out such accounts. Among the young writers, Ramappa Madara, Basavaraj Sirivara, Lakkur Anand, TK Dayanand, Anasuya Kamble and Du Saraswati told such fascinating stories that someone could just get them pen it all down and publish a book. They have experienced caste violence first hand, and some of their accounts were ironic and poignant at the

In another case, student after student drops out of school at a place described by the government as a slum. (People living there hate the signboard; they see nothing of the dirtiness associated with the word 'slum' around them, and moreover, the description demeans them). The highschool dropouts go on to become pickpockets, developing their skill with systematic training. They are proud of the boys who stay back and continue their studies, and even fund their schooling. Many texts, stories and ideas were discussed at the seminar. Literature lovers, activists and researchers would benefit if the deliberations could be compiled in a book.

Give a book to a child The International Book Giving Day, which aims to make books available to children who don’t own any, falls on February 14. A volunteer-driven initiative, it was inspired by a study that showed that most children in developing countries don’t own books, and one-third of children living in poverty in the UK, and twothirds in the USA, don’t own books. You can participate by giving a book to a family member, donating some

to a local library or to organisations that help distribute books to children internationally, or directly to children who need them at their homes or schools. In 2012, the Book Giving Day was celebrated in Australia, Canada, South Africa, France, India, Ireland, Japan, the Phillippines, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US. To participate in the initiative and be a part of this international chain, log on to bookgivingday .com

talk|14 feb 2013|



Learn innovation from Stanford

Sa Re Ga Blah Sandalwood Sa Re Ga Ma, a debutant effort by young movie enthusiasts, saw the light of day on February 1. Debutant director Sharat Khadri and his wife Gauri play the lead roles. The film draws on their frustrating experience, some years ago, of trying to make a film. The credits said “Everything by newcomers.” Perhaps they shouldn’t have taken that so seriously. Shot only in Bangalore, it is filled with computer-generated scenes. The camera is shaky, and delivers blurred

images. Perhaps the team could have learnt a bit if it had got some experienced hands on the crew. As it

stands, this one is more student documentary than a movie. Better luck next time, guys.

Calling all book worms

After promoting visual artists and designers in its earlier editions, the new age flea market Kitsch Mandi is back with a new theme: books. Bookworms in town are in

for a treat as the market will have many sellers offering books across genres like fiction, comics, cook books and more. Those who wish to donate books will find

ready takers here. There will also be a bookmaking workshop as part of the event. And just so that the little ones are not left out when parents shop, the organisers have arranged a workshop, a storytelling session, a robotics corner and a pottery session for them. In addition, there will be an open poetry jam, where you can recite your poems, and live music performances. At Pebble, Palace Grounds, February 10, 1 pm onwards.

Admissions for the Bangalore Innovation Program for non-business professionals are now open. It is run by Stanford Ignite, and is intended for individuals keen on starting a business but lacking in business education qualifications. Applicants should have enrolled for a master’s degree, PhD, MD or any post-doctoral course in a non-business field. They could also be professionals with a deemed bachelor’s degree, though advanced degrees are preferred. Of the applicants, 30 will be selected to pursue the course conducted by corporate, venture, and angel investors as guest speakers. Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday, 6 pm to 10 pm, dinner included, and on Saturdays, 9 am to 4 pm, lunch included. The last date to apply is May 15, 2013 for the course from August 10 to October 12. The course fee is US$ 8,350 (about Rs 4.44 lakh). For more information, visit

Excel in journalism Computing meets humanities In one line, Digital Humanities is the intersection of the academic disciplines of computing and humanities. What that means is an application of computational and digital technologies to research in a wide range of academic fields like literature, history, philosophy and even music. The Centre of Public History of

Bangalore’s Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, in collaboration with Trinity College, Dublin, held a talk on the subject on February 4 at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technology Museum auditorium. The speaker was Dr Susan Schreibman, faculty at Trinity College. She is a prominent researcher in this

emerging field and her publications on the subject have helped define it. Her lecturedemonstration revealed how the virtual reality, data mining, data visualisation and computational analysis are changing the way we approach humanities. She said the subject had evoked considerable interest among academics in India, especially from Kolkata, and could soon become available in Indian universities.

JM Foundation for Excellence in Journalism is inviting applications for its Journalism Mentor programme. Initiated in Mumbai, the not-for-profit organisation coaches aspiring journalists and promotes media research. The 14month intensive programme takes 25 graduate students, and awards a diploma. The course fee is Rs 2 lakh, but the foundation encourages all aspirants to apply, and will do its bit to help deserving candidates. Visit for more details.

The week ahead  Nuclear tests: North Korea is set to conduct nuclear tests anytime now. It has been signalling to the US and the UN that it is ready to face sanctions.  Academic move: US President Obama's top science official and Padma Shri awardee Dr Subra Suresh will join Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) as its President, moving away from directorship of National Science Foundation.  Tensions: China-Japan relations are set to get edgy with Japan complaining to China that it targeted a Japanese maritime escort ship using a fire-controlled radar.  Negotiations: The French authorities are set for negotiations with pirates who have hijacked a Frenchowned fuel tanker off Ivory Coast, abducting 17 sailors.  Resignation: Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien faces the prospect of being forced to quit office as pressure builds over his alleged involvement in the Suryanelli gang-rape case.  Rail line: In a bid to connect coal fields to power plants, railways has sought Cabinet approval for construction of two crucial rail links in Chhattisgarh.  Cauvery: Karnataka is unlikely to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu immediately though the Supreme Court on Thursday directed it to do so, chief minister Jagadish Shettar indicated.  Air display: Aero India 2013 on the weekend will be a much awaited outing for Bangaloreans who can watch aircrafts in aerobatic mode and the latest international technology in military and civil aircraft and avionics.  Budget: Chief minister Jagadish Shettar may present his maiden budget and the last one of the BJP govt

food path

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Soft-centre chocolates Ingredients: Compound milk chocolate 100 gms, rum- 2-4 tsp (depending on how strong a flavour you need) Method: Make ganache with rum as in the cake recipe. Set aside. Melt milk chocolate in the microwave with 10 second-intervals, stirring well in between, till all the chocolate melts. With a pastry brush, paint the chocolate onto the mould. Gently tap the mould on your table-top to remove air bubbles. Put the mould in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and paint another layer of chocolate. Invert this onto a butter paper sheet to allow excess chocolate to drop away. Freeze for 5 minutes or so. Remove the mould, fill with the choco-rum ganache (make sure it doesn’t overflow). Put it back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Remove and paint another thick layer of chocolate over the ganache. Freeze for about 10 minutes. Remove and invert tray and gently rap it over your counter or table. The chocolates should fall out. Cover with your choice of wrapping paper.

Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache

Ingredients: Flour - 50 gms, cocoa powder - 50 gms, a pinch of salt, baking powder- 3/4 tsp, caster sugar - 125 gms, butter - 100 gms, 2 eggs, milk - 2 tsp, vanilla essence - 1 tsp

Love and cocoa We'll leave it to the pundits to decide whether amour has anything to do with chocolate, but these mouth-watering recipes compiled by Sandra M Fernandes might just help you make up your mind Midnight chocolate tart For short crust pastry Flour - 250 gms, Powdered sugar - 75 gms, Chill butter 125 gms, Water - 30 ml

For filling 3/4 cup cooking chocolate (dark/milk) as per your choice, 1/4 cup Amul cream, 4 tbsp rum soaked

make the tart shell. Line the tart shells in a mini pastry pan and blind bake for 15 minutes at 180ÂşC. Now melt Method: Rub cold butter into chocolate and cream the flour with your finger tips together in a pan, on till the mixture resembles medium flame. Once warm, bread crumbs. Add water mix the nuts and raisins in and turn the mixture into it. Pour the chocolate and soft dough. Cool the dough in the fridge for half an hour. nut mixture into the baked empty tart shells and Roll it into balls and flatten decorate with strawberries. them into thin pastries to raisins (should be soaked overnight), 4 tbsp toasted and sliced almonds

with parchment and set Ingredients: Dark chocolate aside. Melt crushed chocolate in a large, dry (Morde/Selbourne) - 250 microwave-safe bowl. Melt gms; mini-marshmallows the chocolate in bursts of 1/2 cup heaped (chopped 30 seconds till it is into 1/2-inch cubes); walnuts - 1/2 cup, chopped; completely molten and has a shiny glaze. Stir after black currants - 1/4 cup; every 30 seconds to make rice crisps - 1/2 cup; butterscotch chips - 2 tbsps sure it doesn't seize. While coarsely powdered/crushed; the chocolate is melting, assemble the rest of the oil-based strawberry ingredients except the essence (optional) - 1 tsp; white rum (optional) - 1 tbsp strawberry essence and rum (if using) in a bowl. Once the Method: Line a baking sheet chocolate has melted, stir

Rocky road bites

Method: Prepare a five-inch baking pan (butter and line bottom with parchment). Pre-heat oven to 160ÂşC. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and set aside. Mix cream, butter and sugar with hand mixer (on medium speed) for 12 minutes. Add eggs one by one. Beat for one minute between each egg on high speed. Then add essence and milk and beat for 1-2 minutes on high speed. Fold in flour mixture gently. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake for about 1825 minutes. Do the toothpick test. (Poke the cake with a toothpick, if it comes out clean, cake is done. If not, bake a few more minutes and check again) Depending on the type of oven, baking time will vary. So, make sure you check after 18-20 minutes. Once the cake is done, allow it to cool completely before removing from the pan.

For the ganache Chocolate - 150 gms, cream- 200 ml, butter- 2 tbsps

the essence and rum into the molten chocolate. Stir in the mixture of the remaining ingredients, and toss in the melted chocolate until well covered. Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator until set, and then carefully remove from the baking sheet. When partially set, roll them into uniform-sized bites and return to the refrigerator to set completely (about a half hour).

Method: Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 10 seconds. (It's best to use a microwave-safe glass bowl). Stir well and pop it back in for another 10 seconds. When it has mostly melted, add the butter and reheat in the microwave for another 10 seconds. Stir well till the butter melts and you have a nice shiny sauce. Pour the cream on the melted chocolate, put it back in the microwave for another 10-20 seconds. Stir well till the cream and the chocolate combines. Remove the cake from the baking pan and place on a serving platter. Ladle the ganache over the cake and quickly spread it around. Decorate with toasted almond slivers or fresh strawberries. Recipes by Heena Awasthi, owner of Do It Sweet, Madhuri Kumar of Sweet Somethings and Geetha Krishnan, a home baker

reporter’s diary

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My not-so-funny Valentine's For a features writer, Valentine's Day is that time of the year where she must control the urge to burst those dreadful red balloons and return to her desk to type out syrupy sweet nothings. An inside view from someone who's reported from the mush trenches and lived to tell the tale


or me, Valentine’s Day wasn’t always the nightmare it is now. But that was then, the teen years when I could still shut my eyes to the mush deluge. Not anymore. My world changed when I was forced to cover this lovesick ‘festival’ as a cub reporter at a newspaper. Six years on, I have turned into a confirmed Valentine’s cynic, to the extent that I start getting palpitations as early as the first week of February. For, as any features writer would know, there’s only a week left before the most dreaded editorial question of the year comes your way, “How can


we make V Day different this year?” To be honest, the first time around, I bit back the cynicism and approached the topic with all the earnestness that could be expected of a spirited journalism school graduate. That year, after several ‘brainstorming sessions’ over endless cups of coffee, it was decided by the powers that be that we should cover people who were out to celebrate V Day with somebody other than a romantic partner. They thought it was ‘different,’ but needless to say, it left me distraught. The next few days were a blur, and all my waking hours were spent chasing fathers who gave V Day gifts to their daughters, children who wished their grandparents on V Day, and


Fixated on the rising sun, the others who simply used it as an excuse to party. And just in case I had photographer turned to me and asked forgotten, repeated briefs were sent if I could pose instead. In fact, he out instructing me to make the story pleaded, and even promised a silhouette that would conceal my identity. I as ‘heartfelt’ as possible. The story, painfully gained by could see that there simply was no wading through whole rivers of option. But there was another problem. mush, finally appeared on a supplement in the country’s leading pink The boy was six feet tall, and I, all of paper. But to my horror, it was illus- five. We simply wouldn’t fit into the trated with a picture of two women, frame at any angle. As we got down to evidently a couple, posing with the building a mound of sand for me to predictable red heart-shaped bal- stand on, morning walkers stared. loons. When I asked about it, I was The mound had to be built at a distold by the sub-editor it hadn’t tance from the boy so as to prevent occurred to him that the two could be me from gradually sliding down into a couple, and he had failed to detect the ditch that was dug for him to any irony whatsoever in the choice. stand in. The photographer was to As it turned out, the joke was now on take a perspective shot, with me pouting closer to the camera and he me. Come V Day the year after that, I farther away in the same plane, to was with another daily, where things create the effect of a kiss. It was a success, as they say, were a lot subtler, and the editors not quite obsessed with the idea of flood- except for the fact that the two proing the edition with V Day nothings. tagonists were clearly recognisable to A relief, considering that the media anyone who knew them. For his part, had been on an overdrive through the page designer had decided to add that week, suggesting holidays, gifts, a border of flowers and red hearts, and other ‘must-do’s. In fact, one of just in case the reader didn’t get the the stories that year, about a boy point. There was no escaping months crafting a wall clock for his girlfriend of V Day jokes centred around me where every numeral was replaced that followed this disaster, and to this with pictures of the couple, still gets very day, the boy’s parents look at me my bile up whenever it flashes back to disapprovingly as the ‘V Day reporter.’ Yet, worse things lay ahead in me. My outbursts at these excesses my career. Now working for a nationhad an unintentional effect: I was al tabloid, I was subjected to endless excused from doing any mushy sto- meetings that discussed ‘out-of-theries and was instead charged with the box’ V Day ideas—read aphrodisiacs, simple task of organising a cover glow-in-the-dark lingerie and condoms and shoot. At the time, I Kamasutra tarts. was so relieved that I At sunrise, we Another idea was for didn’t bother with the fact that the pouted from afar us to track down helicopter and limimage was to be the to create the ousine rides being clichéd boy-andeffect of a kiss offered for the day. girl-by-the-sea variBored and exhaustety. My job was to arrange for a ‘real-looking’ boy and ed, I decided to turn in a piece trashgirl to be present at the beach at 5 am, ing V Day, which to my surprise was so that the photographer could shoot accepted. That was an indignant a silhouette with the exact amount of tirade, but what follows, dear reader, is considered opinion. light that he insisted on. Valentine’s Day is to the features A 17-year-old male theatre artiste friend was obliging enough, writer what elections are to a news but there wasn’t a single girl who was reporter, only more predictable. It interested. Many phone calls and means sleepless nights and tired days favours later, one agreed. We were all controlling a strong urge to charge at set the next morning—the boy, the heart-shaped balloons armed with a photographer, the camera, an old pin. All of it, with the painful knowlboat and a groggy me in pajamas. edge that you will instead return to Only, the girl was missing. As phone your desk to type out syrupy sweet calls went unanswered, it began to nothings that will appear most likely bordered with red hearts. look increasingly like a crisis.

back stage

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SAY THAT AGAIN? In God of Carnage, French writer Yasmina Reza’s award-winning play, two couples meet for a conversation, and it spins out of control

Living room riot A laugh-out-loud funny look at marriage and morals, God of Carnage is a fitting comeback production for director Preetam Koilpillai


he inaugural play at Jagriti Theatre’s festival season was much talked about even before it was staged. For one, it marked the return of director Preetam Koilpillai with his company Black Coffee Productions. And the play itself is an acknowledged modern classic, the Tony Award-winning God of Carnage by French playwright and novelist Yasmina Reza.


The play has been widely presented in English translation, and even has a movie adaptation by Roman Polanski titled Carnage. Koilpillai has previously directed Reza’s equally acclaimed Art. All of this created enough curiosity for Jagriti to have a nearly full house on a Sunday afternoon. As the play opens, we see the living room of Véronique and Michel Houllié (played by Deepika Arwind and Kanchan Bhattacharyya), where they are engaged in a slightly uneasy conversation with another couple. The visitors, Alan and Annette Reille (played by Rajeev Ravindranathan and Sharanya Ramprakash), are there to discuss the matter of a schoolyard fight, during which their 11-year-old son Ferdinand had hit the Houllié’s child Bruno with a stick, causing him to lose two teeth. What initially seems like a civil conversation aimed at bridging the gap between the two children slowly begins to take a nasty edge. Tension builds up as details of the fight

between the two children emerge, splitting moments and end with a and the parents retreat to partisan harried Annette taking matters into positions. At this point, the last thing her own hands. Every time the Reilles attempt to the viewer expects is for the story to take a humorous turn, but that’s leave, promising to bring Ferdinand exactly what happens. The conversa- back in the evening to resolve differtion then proceeds to reveal not just ences with Bruno, something untothe couples’ professions, interests and ward happens and the meeting conlifestyles, but also their insecurities, tinues, and so do Alain’s untimely and the troubled relationships they phone calls. This talkathon is fuelled share with their spouses. All this is by several cups of coffee, followed by a bottle or two of punctuated with rum, which adds to revealing and funny What begins as a the frenzy. Needless asides. to say, much pours Alain is a civil meeting out, even the funny lawyer and is repeatsoon takes on a nicknames the two edly interrupted by nasty edge men choose to call phone calls, much their wives by. to the irritation of Physical expression overrides his wife at first, and then the others. But his phone conversations reveal he the lines as the couples get more is dealing with a pharmaceutical comfortable in the space and the company which has got into trouble effect of alcohol takes grip. after some unexpected side-effects of Underlying emotions are laid bare one of their drugs has been exposed, and pleasantries begin to disappear. and wants to cover it up. Alain’s reac- Ferdinand and Bruno, the boys who tions to the calls, and the others’ reac- prompted the couples’ meeting, are tions to him, make for some side- forgotten as the conversation strays

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into weightier (and lighter) issues, including a particularly hilarious incident involving an abandoned hamster. The more they talk, the further the mask of camaraderie slips, and not just between the couples but between spouses as well. The troubles in both the marriages are exposed, and the unknown sides of the characters are brought out, laced with much humour, physical action, and small proportions of malice. As the conversation heats up, we see unexpected alliances form and loyalties shift, whether for the sake of winning an argument or out of perceived empathy, but nothing lasts. The script is full of witty exchanges and the lines were delivered coherently enough, which made sure that few laughs were lost on the audience. It did take some warming up time before the audience understood what was really going on behind the affected conversation and overblown manners. The unsure smiles then gave way to loud

laughter, which continued all the way till the end. Much of the humour in the latter half comes through a phone (Alain’s) drowned in a flower vase, flowers being scattered, some actual violence, and of course, the unforgettable hamster. Rajeev Ravindranathan as Alain is effortlessly funny, making you laugh out loud even with a frozen expression of despair. The yellow striped socks he sported—with a full suit—was just the kind of touch I enjoy. Kanchan Bhattacharyya plays a convincing Michel, understated yet funny. Sharanya as Annette and Deepika as Veronique both have their moments with the former feigning sickness and the latter obsessing over her coffee table books, but hardly take the attention away from the male characters, who clearly had a better run throughout. With no set changes, a fully lit-up stage, and barely any exits and entries, God of Carnage was yet engrossing, and without a dull moment.


'The challenge was to keep people engaged for 90 whole minutes of pure conversation’ have a lot of fun at the rehearsals.

Preetam Koilpillai, director of God of Carnage, on what it took to put his second production of a Yasmina Reza play on stage Why did you decide to make your comeback with God of Carnage? Was it part of a plan? There was no such plan initially. The truth is that I have wanted to do something for the last few months. Rajeev (Ravindranathan) suggested that we read God of Carnage, since he had watched the film too. Did you consider adapting the play to an Indian context? It did cross my mind, but I decided against it. I am wary of adapting something for the heck of it. I'd adapt a script if it would take the characters closer to an Indian audience.

Preetam Koilpillai

After your first reading, how long did it take to put the play together? We started in October last year, meeting four times a week initially. But, we took several long breaks because of my travel schedules, and the actors were travelling too. If I remember correctly, it took four months of serious rehearsal time.

Was it tough to stage a play with no set changes and minimal entries and exits? The challenge was to keep people engaged for 90 whole minutes of pure conversation. With a comedy like this, rehearsals must have been a It required strong performers. During the rehearsals, we laugh riot… tried to see the spikes in the We understood that the play wasn't an out and out comedy, script as if on a graph and worked towards building up but a combination of satire these moments. and wit. That said, we did

But for God of Carnage, the adaptation had to be literal. The relationships in the play would be the same anyway.


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music Allegro Fudge  Go Punjabi: Craving some authentic Punjabi cuisine? Head to this Punjabi food festival where you can choose from a variety of salads, soups, kebabs, tikkis, curries, and chats and also savour some of the special sarson ka saag ,makki di roti and jalebi with rabri. 24 Carats (The Capitol), Raj Bhavan Road, till February 10 22281234

 Have fun while you learn: This weekend learn how to cook prawns with chef Ramasamy Selvaraju. Following the demonstration you can have lunch that has dishes like oven-roasted chicken with truffle sauce, gnocchi with asparagus and for dessert dig into strawberry frangipane with chocolate sabayon. Graze, Vivanta by Taj, MG Road, February 9 9844707517  Taste of Italy: Treat your taste buds to some Italian food like fresh salads, pastas, lasagna and desserts like chocolate bomb and more. Priced at Rs 599 excluding taxes. Little Italy, No. 32, Krishna Nagar Industrial Layout, Behind SKC Mall, Hosur Road, Koramangala, February 10 25207272

 Desi fest: For all Indian food lovers, here is something you might want to try out during the weekend. Savour some chaats like dahi bhalla and Amritsari kachori. For starters you can choose from fish and chicken and for your main course have a wide variety of mutton and chicken dishes followed by dessert. Khansama, UB City, Vittal Mallya Road, February 9 41114499

1,500 inclusive of cocktails and Rs 1,700 inclusive of sparkling wine. Alila, 100/6, HAL-Varthur Main Road, Whitefield, February 9 28544444  Chinese cuisine: Savour some barbeque pork belly, Cauchi trao prawns, Buddha's delight, nian gao, lobster spring rolls, Chinese roast suckling pig and more. Zen, Airport Road, February 9 25211520

 Get head banging: Local talent Allergo Fudge, a rock band, will be playing a set this weekend. Their music crosses the lines of blues, pop, country, jazz, Celtic and classical. Watch Saahas Patil on vocals, Shalini Mohan on bass, Anish Nadh on guitar, Jason Zachariahon piano and Shreyas Dipali on drums. bFlat, 100 Feet Road, Above ING Bank, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, February 9, 8.30 pm 41739250  Funky blues: This weekend lend your ears to Rasgulloids. The band's music is a mix of jazz fusion, funk and blues. Watch Debashish Bannerji on drums, Karan Joseph on keyboard and Floyd Fernandes on guitar. Debashish Bannerji has shared the stage with artists like Matthew Garrison, Seamus Blake, Scott Kinsey, Kirk Covington and more. bFlat, 100 Feet Road, Above ING Bank, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, February 8, 8.30 pm 41739250  Say Wah Ustad: Watch Ustad Zakir Hussain, Bla Fleck and Edgar Meyer perform live. They will spin some of their musical magic that has a touch of classical, bluegrass and world music. The trio came together for the first time on 2009 for a

 Spirited indulgence: Indulge in some Latino flavours. Choose from sangrias, caipirinhas, seasonal daiquiris, tortillas, a variety of salsas and more. Priced at Rs

performance. Tickets are priced at Rs 750 and Rs 3,000. For tickets log onto Bishop Cotton's Boys School Auditorium, St Mark's Road, February 10, 6.30 pm  African beats: Roots of the Rhythm are set to perform live in the city. Watch Kem Brian on acoustic guitar and vocals, Audrey on shaker and vocals, Brice on jembe and vocals and Patrick on acoustic guitar. Apart from the originals they will be performing covers of Bob Marley, Colbie Caillat, Ray Charles,

Elvis Presley, Tracy Chapman, Seal, Boyz 2 Men and others. Phoenix Market City, Whitefield Road, Mahadevpura, February 10, 6.30 pm 9900109871  Dutch magic: Performing all the way from Holland is Spinifex. Watch Gijs Levelt on trumpet and Tobias Klein on the saxophone as they perform some heavy metal, rock, R&B and some of their original solos. CounterCulture, 2D2 , 4th cross, Dyavasandra Industrial Area, Whitefield, February 9, 8.30 pm 4140079

valentine’s day Available at  When diamonds speak: Surprise your loved one with diamonds. Gift your lady earrings, necklaces and diamond pendants while the ladies can gift diamond studded cufflinks, rings and tie pins to their men. Priced at Rs 798 and above. Available at  Chocolatey surprise: Celebrate Valentine's Day the traditional way. Profess your love with chocolates. Choose from almond rocks, Belgian chocolates, white chocolate, caramel nutties, soft centered chocolates and more. Deli Counter, #66, Gateway Hotel, Residency Road, till February 14 66604545

 Dressed to kill?: This Valentine's Day, ladies can be spotted in flowing dresses, printed skirts and leggings that feature asymmetric hemlines, optical illusion silhouettes, neon pops and abstract prints while men can choose from denim casual jackets, patterned zip hoodies, biker jackets, classic jackets and more.

Available at all Max retail outlets  Inner beauty: Shed all your inhibitions as you choose from lingerie ranging from baby doll dresses, bras, briefs and nightwear. They are available in three colours ; black, pink and red. Ladies can shop for them or men can buy them for someone special.

 Love is in the air: For those who want to spend some alone time with their loved ones, this is the place to be. The chef has prepared some special dishes to offer such as buttermilk fried Cochin oyster salad, seared jumbo sea scallops, baked brie, grilled lobster, wild mushroom ravioli and more. The desserts include red

velvet cheesecake and chocolate mille feuille. Olive Beach, # 16, Wood Street, Ashoknagar, February 14 9945565483  Hearty meals: Enjoy an eight course meal with your valentine this week. You can feast on dishes like amuse bouche of tomato noodles with mozzarella and fresh basil, heart shaped salmon starter roll, smoked foie gras, strawberry and port reduction, sand lobster roulade brulee and more. likethatonly, #14/31A, Behind Forum Value Mall, Whitefield, February 14 65475610  Sweetness galore: Gift your loved one something sweet this Valentine's Day. You can choose from heart shaped rainbow cake, cupcake bouquet, heart shaped brownies and more. The cupcake bouquet is priced at Rs 1,700, Heart shaped brownies at Rs 250 for three. The Cupcake Company, #298,

licensed from Elite Fashion Model agency in France and come in different patterns. Priced at Rs 6,700. Available at  Go nuts with doughnuts: If your valentine loves doughnuts then share this Valentine's with them at Donut Baker. Indulge in their Valentine offering Love Struck, a plain doughnut with strawberry fruit filling and coated with sugar glaze or choose Soul mate, a duo of white chocolate and strawberry in a decadent doughnut. Available at Donut baker outlets

100ft road, Indiranagar 9900515355

 Confession time: This Valentine's Day gift your love a watch that will take her by surprise. The watches are

 Funky accessories: Make your valentine feel special this Valentine's Day. Choose from toniQ's cupid heart rings, heart hairbands, quilted bags, corsages cum brooches and some valentine jewellery. Starting at Rs 200. Available at all Lifestyle stores

L I S T I NGS theatre

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retail therapy

The Ugly One and he is banned from presenting his newly invented plug at a convention. Heartbroken, he turns to a plastic surgeon for help. Will things be alright after his surgery? Jagriti Theatre, Varthur Road, Ramagondanahalli, Whitefield, February 8 and 9, 8 pm, February 10, 3 pm and 6.30 pm41248298

 Closer: The play is about Dan and Alice and often touches the lines of confusing love. Dan stands to cross the road on a busy Monday afternoon. While on the other side of the road is Alice, who looks at Dan for the first time and without realising comes in front of a vehicle. In a semiconscious state on the road, she looks at Dan and says,

talk picks

‘Hello stranger’. The play is directed by Siddhanth KS. Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, 16th Cross, Malleshwaram, February 8, 7.30 pm 23445810  The Ugly One: The play is about K, who thinks everything is fine with him and things are okay but that is far from the truth. His wife thinks that he is ugly


 The Sketches: Five stories of romance, drama, comedy, action and science fiction will be enacted by 20 performers. This is sure to be a visual treat. The play is directed by Vishal Khimraj and Kenneth Sebastian. Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, # 16 GMT Road, Vasanthnagar, February 9, 5.30 and 7.30 pm 41231340  Dasha: An evening of four stories by renowned writers like Premchand, Shrilal Shukl and Mathura Kalouny. The play is about people who are trapped in poverty. It has Sudarshan Rajgopal, Faria

Revisit some old favourites this Valentine’s Day

Fatma, Anish Singh, Srinivas Naidu, Mayuresh Nirhali, Daisy Hookens, Anirudh Katoch, Shefali Chaturvedi, Sarat Nair, Nikhil Budhwani, Chirag Jain and others. Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, # 16 GMT Road, Vasanthnagar, till February 10, 3.30 and 7.15 pm 41231340  Miss Sadarame: The play is about a girl belonging to the middle class. A prince gets attracted to her and wants to marry her. The girl's father is very greedy and wants more. in order to do that he leaves his kingdom and sets off with his wife. The girl is exposed to the difficult circumstances from the cunning travelers of the story but overcomes these difficulties. Ranga Shankara, #36/2, 8th Cross, 2nd Phase, JP Nagar, February 8, 7.30 pm 26592777

To get your event listed, write to us at

 Sarees from Gujarat: Weavers from Gujarat are here to display some of their finest sarees this weekend. Narshi Bhai’s family has been producing Patolas for the past 20 years and this limited edition of sarees is a product of their hard work. Basava Ambara, 93, Kanakapura Road, Near Gunasheela Nursing Home, Basavangudi, till February 10 65461856  Comfortable living: Give your home a complete makeover with Maishaa's bed linen and home furnishings. Choose your bed linen in different colours like blue, beige, white and cream. Priced at Rs 5,400 for

bed sheets and pillow cover sets and Rs 5,952 for duvets. Buy now and you can be sure that you house looks elegant. Available at Maishaa, No. 32, Ground Floor, RBANMS Building, Dickenson Road in Bangalore and other Maishaa outlets  Shopping galore: Do not miss some of the biggest deals this sale season. Grab your shopping bags and head to Tommy Hilfiger outlets where you can avail flat 50 percent of discount on your purchase. Choose from jackets, ruffled shirts, plaid shorts cardigans, t-shirts and scarves. Available at all Tommy Hilfiger outlets till February 10

film ABCD

Casablanca (English) One of the classics, this film could still make you feel mushy and is a favourite on Valentine's Day. Directed by: Michael Curtiz Starring: Rains Claude and Humphrey Bogart Price: Rs 479 French Kiss (English) The movie is about a lady who flies to visit her fiancé but gets into trouble with the good looking crook sitting next to her on the flight. Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan Starring: Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline Price: Rs 399 Top Gun (English) The film is about a pilot who is out to prove himself. Take my breath away, the track from the film is still popular on romantic charts.

Road- 10.15 am, 12.50 pm, 10 INOX, Jayanagar- 1 pm INOX, JP Nagar- 10 am, 10 pm Fame Forum Value Mall12.50 pm, 10

A Lot Like Love (English) The movie is about a boy and a girl who meet on a flight. After a few years they meet again but are not able to figure out whether they are just friends or are in love. Directed by: Nigel Cole Starring: Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher Price: Rs 299 Valentine's Day (English) The movie revolves around different couples reflecting their love lives and what importance love has in each individual's life. Directed by: Garry Marshall Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Garner Ashton Kutcher and Taylor Lautner Price: Rs 479 Directed by: Tony Scott Starring: Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis Price: Rs 499

Prices courtesy

 Special 26 Hindi The film is based on a real life heist that took place on March 19, 1987. Directed by Neeraj Pandey, it stars Akshay Kumar, Kajal Aggarwal, Jimmy Shergill, Manoj Bajpai and Anupam Kher in the lead. Rex theatre- 2 pm, 7.20 Innovative Multiplex, Marathahalli- 11.30 am, 5 pm, 7.30, 10 CineMax, Total Mall, Outer Ring Road- 10.15 am 1 pm, 4, 5, 6.30, 7, 9, 9.45 Fame Forum Value Mall, Whitefield- 10 am, 12.40 pm, 2.55, 3.35, 5.50, 6.25, 9, 9.15 INOX, Garuda Mall, Magrath Road, - 10.10 am, 12.25 pm, 3.20, 4.10, 6.15, 7.05, 9.10 INOX, Jayanagar10.05 am, 3.10 pm, 6.05, 9 INOX, JP Nagar- 10.20 am, 12.10 pm, 3.05, 6.05, 7.05, 9.05 INOX, Malleswaram -

10.10 am 12.45 pm, 3.20, 6.15, 7.05  ABCD- Any Body Can Dance Hindi ABCD is about a dancer who is thrown out of his own dance academy, which he set up. He takes this incident as a challenge and brings together some untrained dancers from Mumbai. Directed by Remo D'Souza, the film has Prabhu Deva, Salman Khan, Lauren Gottlieb and Prince Gupta in the lead. Eshwari Cinema, Banashankari- 6.15 pm, 9.15 INOX, Garuda Mall, Magrath Road- 10 am, 12.35 pm, 3.25, 5.50, 6.20, 9.15 Fame Lido, Off MG Road- 10 am, 12.50 pm, 3.40, 6.30, 9.20 Rex theatre- 11.20 am, 4.40 pm, 9.55 INOX, Jayanagar,

Garuda, Swagath Mall- 10 am, 12.50 pm, 6.30, 9.20 INOX, JP Nagar- 10 am, 3.40 pm, 6.30, 9.20 INOX, Malleswaram- 10 am, 12.50 pm, 3.10, 3.40, 6, 6.30, 9.20  Mama English The movie is about two girls who disappeared into the woods the day their mother was murdered. When they are rescued many years later by their uncle Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel, they still feel the presence of someone. Directed by Andy Muschietti, the film stars Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nelisse. Fame Lido, off MG Road- 10 am, 9.55 pm INOX, Malleswaram- 1.10 pm, 10 INOX, Gaurda Mall, Magrath

 Lincoln English Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film is about Abraham Lincoln’s last few days in office. This biopic stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and David Strathairn in the lead. INOX, Garuda Mall, Magrath Road- 1.05 pm, 2.50, 9 INOX, Malleswaram- 4.05 pm, 8.50 Cinemax, Total Mall- 11 am 10 pm Fame Forum Value Mall12.55 pm, 6.55 Cinepolis, Bannerghatta Road- 12.55 pm, 6.55  Charminar Kannada Directed by R Chandru this romantic drama stars Prem Kumar and Meghana Gaonkar. The film compares the life of a guy to the monument Charminar depicting four important aspects of his life. Eshwari Cinema, Banashankari- 11.15 pm, 2.30 INOX, Jayanagar- 12.45 pm, 3.30 INOX, JP Nagar- 12.50 pm, 6.30 INOX, Malleswaram- 10 am, 3.35 pm, 6.35 Eshawari Cinemas11.15 am, 2.30 pm Navrang theatre- 10 am, 1 pm, 4, 7 Rockline Cinemas- 10.30 am, 1.15 pm, 6.50 Cinepolis, Bannerghatta Road- 10 am, 3.50 pm

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How to repulse a sexual assault ince the rape and death of a 23-year-old student in Delhi became news, I have been approached by various organisations to conduct short courses on “self-defence for women using martial arts.” Can such a course be useful in a molestation or rape situation? Unfortunately, no. If you need to use martial arts to survive molestation or rape, you need to train for several years. You need to acquire, among other qualities, a conditioned body, acute awareness, power, speed, focus and agility. Even if you learn, over a month, how to punch, kick, lock and throw, can you survive an assailant who is violent, indifferent to the police and the law, and perhaps carrying a weapon? Even a gym-going, reasonably strong man cannot face up to such an assault. As far as possible avoid potentially dangerous situations rather than risking an encounter. I am not saying women should not live free. But know that even when the modern world talks of recognising


Way of Budo 20 An alert and decisive mind counts more than physical technique in countering rape and violence, says Sensei Avinash Subramanyam

women for their intelligence and inner qualities, man essentially sees a woman in bodily and sexual terms. It is a nasty world, so be careful. If you have to go out at night, take one or two people along with you. If you are alone walk on a lit, peopled road rather than a lonely, dark road. Ensure you are protected. Save on speed dial five numbers of relatives or friends who will respond immediately and that of the police. Carry a pepper spray and close at hand. Wear a jacket: you’ll feel safer and when someone grabs you the jacket can take the impact. If in a dangerous situation, attempt to escape, not fight it out. Learn not to become paralysed by a surprise attack.Practise ways of controlling your adrenalin and nervous energy. Recollect your anxiety before an exam, interview or audition. Women trained to give the perfect answer in a Miss World contest are often stumped by a surprise question. Imagine what a surprise assault can do to you.Train to have a tranquil mind. Acknowledge your ability

for violence. Most women turn away from seeing and inflicting violence. It is important to understand the efficacy of counter violence in a situation of harassment. You need to be able to put a finger into the assailant’s eye and dig it out, grab his groin and squeeze his testicles, thrust a fork to a man’s throat and rip it. Psychologically work towards that. Spend a year to know and train the body. Understand a man’s body. Learn acupressure points that can bring a big, enraged man down. Train your body to develop an internal awareness of combat. Practise to use your body well so that anything you do becomes an effective tool. Force is generated from knowledge of the body, not technique alone. Technique involves conditioned fists, strong punches, deadly kicks and even some movements that might fail. Learn to mobilise the force within your body so that whatever you do is effective. Be fit so that you can sustain yourself in a combat situation. No fancy push-ups and lifting weights are required. Follow

a fit life generally and incorporate comfortable modules of fitness into it. Keep your eyes open . When we trained, our teachers told us mi wa akira kani or ‘open eyes’ could protect us and kill our opponents. With open eyes, we develop the ability to spot danger and identify where to strike the opponent. It is also important to be aware without seeing. It is to know the world and how to navigate it. Such a woman (or man) can avoid any dangerous situation. Lastly, understand that you encounter things in life that are beyond your control—an accident, a life-endangering situation, likewise a sexual assault. Nobody wishes for it. But if it happens, understand it for what it is worth and move on. Do not respond with ideas of honour and modesty to sexual assault. These are values created by society, not absolute truths. You are not responsible for the ugliness in the world. Don’t live a life of guilt and shame. Be pragmatic and look ahead.




Starting Posture: Stand erect with feet shoulder width apart and parallel to each other. Back straight and body relaxed. 2

Close arms as shown in the picture. Fingers point outward.


Elbow to the side softly. Elbow outward not backward. Exhale in the process. 4

Pic 3 & Pic 4: Open arms out strongly. Inhale while opening.


Close arms as in PIc 2


Close arms with palms touching the body.

Open arms out as before. Repeat the entire sequence 12 times. This technique strengthens and relaxes the chest, rib and shoulder region.


The snake lover A Jordanian student's obsession for an eight-foot long Indian black cobra lands him in jail

got acquainted with PB Suresh, who had political interests, through a case he referred to me. It was the case of a Christian boy. When I won it, Suresh was happier than the client. I still remember the way he celebrated the victory. He had no personal interest in the case, and didn’t expect anything from the boy, but was so jubilant that he hosted a dinner at Hotel Sarovar for about 150 lawyer-friends of mine. He presented an idol of Krishna and Arjuna to me. I still treasure this memento. I became curious about Suresh’s activities. He was a student leader at Bangalore University during his years there, and had many supporters among the Christian and Muslim students. This had groomed him as a secular person. When he later became a Senate member at the university, he worked for the cause of minority students



After a while, Wasim decided to and did all he could to further their go to Jordan for Ramzan. Once he interests. A few days after the Sarovar booked his air ticket, he went to party, Suresh came to my office with Kollegal and bought the black cobra some foreign students. The students by paying the snake charmer Rs 600. The snake charmer had put the repwere from Jordan. He told me, “The police have tile in a round cane basket, and arrested a Jordanian student at the Wasim stashed it in his airbag. Wasim had never seen such big airport. His name is Wasim, he is a good boy. He has been detained snakes in the deserts of Jordan. All he because of his fondness for snakes. had known were sand snakes that Please help us get him released,” said were at best a couple of feet in length. He thought he would give his Suresh. Wasim had come to India to parents and the village folk back study BCom in Mysore. His father home a surprise by showing them the Abdullah was a teacher in Sharjah. black cobra. The security He regarded Indian officers at the aireducation highly, Wasim had never port were horrified and wanted his son to find a moving to pursue his studies seen such a big object in Wasim’s in Mysore. snake in Jordan luggage. They Once, Wasim asked him to open and his friends went to Kollegal on a picnic, where he hap- the bag, and when they saw the baspened to see a snake charmer. He was ket, they asked him to open that, too. thrilled at the sight of an eight-foot- Wasim opened it partially, and the long black cobra, and asked the snake snake’s tail popped out. The security officers were starcharmer whether he would sell it to him. The snake charmer said he was tled. The airport police arrested him, willing, provided he was given so and booked him under the Wildlife much money. Wasim promised to Protection Act. As Suresh narrated the story, all bring the money before he returned to his country, and took the snake of us laughed heartily at Wasim’s fascination for snakes that had landed charmer’s address.

crime folio

talk|14 feb 2013|


Fabled ranconteur and Bangalore’s top-notch criminal lawyer brings you moving, sensational and bizarre stories from 40 years of his practice


him in the lockup. Taking the case files, I assured Suresh I would secure Wasim’s release. The case came up in a metropolitan magistrate court at Mayo Hall. The investigative officer was the main witness. I cross-examined the airport security officer, who failed to prove that the cane basket belonged to Wasim. I saw to it that Wasim’s confession that he had owned the snake could not be considered under law. I made out the case that it could have belonged to anybody. The police could not produce Wasim’s air ticket, and his baggage slip. Wasim was finally released, but he had celebrated Ramzan in jail that year. On his release, Wasim’s father Abdullah invited me to Jordan for the next Ramzan. I could not make it, and I requested Suresh to go in my place.


talk|14 feb 2013|

30 Prof Good Sense

 I am a 36-year-old software engineer. I am married. My wife is nice, and we have a six-year-old son. I have everything in the world to be happy and cheerful about, but am still disturbed by feelings of insecurity. How do I overcome them? How can I be happy always? Please help. Nayan Gurjar, Mysore These days I get letters and calls from people complaining the world is changing too fast. They feel they just can’t cope. Many who seek my help say there is no solid ground; no aspect of life is reliable anymore. For them, the world has become absurd and frightening. They see no career security, no emotional security, no financial security. Jobs and marriages don’t last, nor do savings. The economy seems to run on hot air, and the government can’t can be trusted. Nothing feels permanent, your house isn’t a joyful place, and the streets are not safe... In fact, the gripes I hear are endless.

1st Cross

Talk’s weekly crossword for Bangaloreans who know their way about town Karnataka (15) 15 According to BBMP commissioner Siddaiah, this is what the BBMP needs to sort out the garbage crisis (4,4) 16 Karnataka Rajyotsava is celebrated on the 1st of ____ (8) 17 Indian paceman bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the last auction (1,1,5)

2 3

DOWN Government offices facing a major staff shortage (8) Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (12)

Last week’s solution Across: 3 Bhavan, 4 Shilpa, 7 Gulbarga, 12 AIDS, 13 Kidney, 14 Jyothi Prakash, 16 Castration, 18 Vanitha.


Area in the news when 3 men gangraped a 19-year-old (14) 6 Venue of the recently held "Kids For Tigers" festival (3,6) 9 According to a recent Karnataka High Court ruling a lawyer cannot be depicted as this famous fictional character (6) 10 His statue has been in the news off late (8) 12 Our planetarium is named after him (5) 13 Number of BSY loyalist MLAs who recently resigned their assembly membership (8)

Common sense tells us that the way think can affect the way we feel. Learn to accept the fundamental insecurity of life. Why do you expect things to be happy always? Why do you expect to be secure always? Where does the fantasy of stability for a lifetime come from—fairy tales? The world has always been a shifting, changing place. You will be truly happy when you give up the idea of chasing happiness and ‘live’ in the moment to deal with what is happening around you with a cheerful disposition. Don’t pursue happiness in the manner of an Olympian athlete. People can live in paradise and still be unhappy because they make themselves unhappy. Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness. It is about having someone to love, something to work at. These are under your control. May you never experience loss of hope. Accept the truth that no one is assured continuous happiness. Prof M Sreedhara Murthy teaches psychology at NMKRV First Grade College. He is also a well-known photographer. Mail queries to

talk the intelligent bangalorean’s must-read weekly

1 3 4 5

Across Falls near Rajiv Gandhi National Park (6) _ ___ Road: Hard rock cafe locale (2,5) Theatre in Frazer town (7) Malleswaram police recently arrested four people for making fake ___ death claims (3)


Aerospace exhibition held at Yelahanka this past week (4,5) 8 Road home to the United Theological College (7) 11 Landfill which recently caught fire (6) 14 ________ Math: Charitable organization which handed over 160 hours to flood victims in North

Down: 1 Pavagada, 2 T M Dilshan, 3 Bus Day, 5 Courtesy, 6 Sandalwood, 8 K M Shivalinge, 9 Maddur, 10 Chinchansur, 11 Krishna Rao, 15 Fun, 17 Tipu.

How do advertisers talk to Bangalore’s most intelligent readers? They call these numbers Abhay: 95388 92618 Mithun: 98864 69787

talk|14 feb 2013|

Anda Pradesh


France vs pants

There’s some bad news for adivasis in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district, who have been earning their kadhi-chawal by selling dinosaur eggs (that’s right) to smugglers for Rs 500 apiece. Apparently, these eggs which date back to the Cretaceous period (145 to 66 million years ago), fetch as much as Rs 1 crore each in ‘the international market’— a polite term for shady foreign places where they trade in dodgy stuff and pay in dollars. Padlya in Dhar is the only

notified site of dinosaur nesting in the state, and has been lying unprotected for years, making it a popular haunt for dino egg smugglers. Now it seems the MP government wants a share of the action, and is making plans to introduce a Fossils Preservation Act, so as to ‘put an end to the dubious trade’. Knowing our babus, we can rest assured the proceeds from the proper and legal sale of the abovementioned dino eggs shall henceforth be promptly deposited in the state’s treasury.

Yuvraj's cancer bonanza Yuvraj Singh is a true icon of our times. Since these days nothing that can be cashed is ever wasted—be it a talent for eating cockroaches or a bout with cancer—the cricketer is going all out to ‘monetise his illness,’ as a recent TV show put it. A Birla Sun Life commercial featuring a post-recovery Yuvraj proved so successful that it increased ‘spontaneous awareness’ of the brand from 3 to 5 per cent, higher than any

other brand in the category. This success has since led the firm that manages the cricketer to announce an autobiography and a movie based on his life, with special emphasis on the cancer-story. Since his recovery, Yuvraj has also been making popular appearances, mouthing lines like ‘Cancer is like a yorker, you have to hit it for a six!’ According to the same TV show, all this is part of a PR effort to use

the cancer-story to transform the cricketer from ‘flamboyant party animal’ to ‘mature sportsperson,’ a strategy that is already paying rich dividends. Consider this: since his recovery, Yuvraj’s endorsement rates have doubled—from Rs 25 lakh a day to Rs 50 lakh a day. In other words, what took cricket 12 years to achieve, cancer did overnight.

Finally, the French are done with their Revolution. If you thought the whole bloody affair was brought to a close back in 1857, you’d be wrong. In fact, one of the biggest demands of the revolutionaries has only been met last week—the right for women to wear pants, which had been prohibited since November 17, 1800. A municipal order issued on that day required that Parisian women seek permission from the local police if they wanted to “dress like a man” by wearing trousers. In effect, for the last 200 years, the brave fashionistas of this city have been risking criminal prosecution every time they stepped out in their pants. Repealing the law, France’s Minister of Women’s Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (here looking criminally elegant in black pants) said the ban was “incompatible with modern French values and laws.” Meanwhile, there’s some bad news from the former French colony of Syria, also concerning women’s pants. Rebels aligned with the Al Qaeda have prohibited women from wearing pants at Mayadin, a town they now control. But did they have to do it the same week that France, that beacon of civilisation, decided to show us the way forward? Tsk tsk.

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