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VOL 02 ISSUE 08 MAY 2012 `40

All new! Cinema Fashion & Travel Food & Fitness ...and lots more!

Naseeruddin Shah: The unconventional hero Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | may 2012 | 1

Welcome to "CHAMIERS", a life-style store Showcasing "Anokhi's line of clothing and furnishing...A gift section with an interesting range of Jewellery & Crafts, Footwear & Photoframes, Accessories & Bags, Cards & Stationery, Table & Desk Accessories.

New # 106, Old # 79, Chamiers Road, Chennai - 600028. Shop: 24311495 CafĂŠ: 42030734 2 | may 2012 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew Mail:


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editor’s note


Dear all,

vol 02 issue 08

Hello! Lots of changes for The Brew, starting this month. To kick off, we have a new addition to the team. Welcome, Aarti Aney! She joins us as the Associate Editor, having previously worked for magazines such as ELLE in Mumbai, and Bandhan and Kohl in Dubai. She was also the Content Director for The Hindu’s first-ever fashion guide, Bridal Mantra, here in Chennai. So, we have every reason to feel confident that The Brew will only get better under her care. We are also experimenting with the layout, and have added new sections to The Brew, so let us know what you think. This issue focuses on cinema, and in a country that’s film-crazy, attempting to coherently present it all in one issue is a tall order! But, we at The Brew, like a challenge, and I hope you find we’ve lived up to it.

Editor Sameer Bharat Ram Associate Editor Aarti Aney Creative Director Mihir Ranganathan Sr. Graphic Designer Ajay Kumar Asst. Editor Abhinav Krishnaswamy Senior Features Writer Poornima Nair Feature Writers Amrutha Anandanathan Zayn Marie Khan

Sameer Bharat Ram Editor

Acclaimed Iranian film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf famously said, “Because there is so little room for expression otherwise, a lot of people love cinema because they find it a way of expressing themselves.” Cinema, as a storytelling medium, speaks a universal language of entertainment, information, and brotherhood.

Operations Tapass Naresh Jai Kumananthaa Raaja Marketing Sriram T.T Circulation & Sales Seeman Ezhumalai

India churns out over a 1000 films a year, and most of them are part of the ‘pure entertainment, take your thinking cap off’ genre. But, the newer crop of film makers are pushing the envelope and experimenting with more realistic cinema. Actors too are making experimental choices, and the audience is beginning to demand better cinematic quality. Given the current mood, The Brew has dedicated this issue to exploring cinema across spheres: actors, countries, cuisines, fitness and mediums.


We have an exclusive interview with the inimitable Naseeruddin Shah, the ‘Amitabh Bachchan of parallel cinema’, sharing his 37-year-old journey as an actor and a man, and his insights on the evolution of the Indian masala film, his serious-actor tag, his childhood, and his pet peeves. Enjoy the read, as the man doesn’t hold back his punches. Edited and Published by Sameer Bharat Ram, and owned by SM BrandMuni Consulting Pvt. Ltd, Published from No.609, Lakshmi Bhavan, Anna salai, Mount Road, Chennai - 600 002. Tel.: +91 44 4208 9392. Printed by K. Srinivasan at Srikals Graphics pvt. Ltd, No.5, Balaji Nagar, 1st street, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai - 600 032. Editor: Sameer Bharat Ram

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TO ADVERTISE: Call: +91 98409 39339 e-mail:

The Brew takes no responsibility for unsolicited photographs or material. All PHOTOGRAPHS, UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED ARE USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSE ONLY.

Do send us feedback on our new layout, and our new sections such as A Little More, CandidSpeak, Pack Your Bags, and Wellness.Your opinion as our reader is very valued. Until June, happy reading! Aarti Aney Associate Editor

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | may 2012 | 5

contributors & advisory board

Kunal Verma He discovered his love for photography when he missed his camera most on a bagpack trip round the country. Some of his favourite campaigns include Sharp, Metro Shoes, Tuscan Verve, Sakhi Sarees, Sattva, Pantene Shampoos, Fevicryl, Jet Airways, Dr. Reddy’s, and Helpage India. Kunal’s fine art photography works have been showcased at “Pleasures with coffee for Barista Creme”, The Ashish Balram Nagpal Gallery (Frame of Mind), Jahangir Art Gallery (Exhibit A – 2002), and Nehru Centre (Exhibit A – 2001). Shot this month’s The Brew cover with Naseeruddin Shah.

Venket Ram Venket Ram is a leading Indian celebrity & fashion photographer, who has shot principal photography stills for several notable films as well as portfolios. He quit his engineering studies to work with cinematographers for a while, then joined a course in Visual Communication at Loyola College. After that, he worked with photographer Sharad Haksar and in 1993, started his own studio. He recently released the first two editions of his annual calendars in 2011 and 2012 with an overwhelming response.

Kavita Baliga The young American Soprano, Kavita Baliga has sung in concerts around the U.S., Switzerland, Italy and India with repertoire ranging from Opera and Oratorio, Musical Theatre to Indian film. In 2008, Ms. Baliga joined A.R Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory as a faculty member and founded the KMMC Chamber Choir. She is presently developing performance programmes in India.

Mallika Sarabhai Educated as an economist and a business manager, Mallika Sarabhai is one of India’s best known Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancers. She has taken her work and her company Darpana to not only over 90 countries around the world, but also to the farthest parts of India.

Ashok Verghese Is one of the youngest education entrepreneurs who is making a great difference in this field in the country. He is the Director of the Hindustan group of Institutions, again one of the pioneering educational groups in the country. He supports the cause of promoting young talent in art and music.

Neeru Nanda A graduate from Delhi University. Passionate about writing, she freelanced as a feature writer for ten years before switching to publishing. Author of a collection of short stories titled “IF” (Rupa & Co), Neeru is now working on two novels and a series of books for children.

Veejay Sai An award-winning writer, editor and a culture critic. He has written and published extensively on Indian classical music, fashion, theatre, food and art, and loves traveling, researching literary and cultural history. He is an editorial consultant with over 40 brands and designers in and outside India and is on the jury for several prestigious awards in the arts across the country.

Dr. M. Lalitha and M. Nandini Internationally acclaimed, award winning Violin Maestros Dr. M. Lalitha and M. Nandini have been widely applauded as the ‘Queens Of Violin’ and have enthralled audiences across the globe. They have been selected as Cultural Ambassadors and dignitaries to the US and UK respectively. They have published books and written numerous articles relating to Music and religion..

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FEATURES The price of justice Round the S-bend A plethora of taste YouTube: The evolution of cinema

22 24 28

LITERATURE Ismat Chughtai: A life in words Prose and cons



30 32

PACK YOUR BAGS The City of Cannes

Putting the act in action by Jai Arjun Singh



IN FOCUS Naseeruddin Shah: An actor’s journey

Pico Iyer: The man within my head



Pig-out! Celebrity style


A LITTLE MORE Cause and effect


CANDID SPEAK Chandan Roy Sanyal


SPOTLIGHT Masaba Gupta: A cut above 8 | may 2012 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew














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calendar Cannes Film Festival On till the 27th Palais des Festivals, France

Christian Louboutin Retrospective On till the 9th of July. At the Design Museum, Shad Thames, Greater London SE1 2YD 020 7940 8753

Maharashtra Food Festival On till the 10th The Orchid, 70 C, Nehru Road, Vile Parle (E), Mumbai 26164040

Shreya Ghoshal live in Bangalore Gayathri Vihar, Palace Grounds 9060030344

The Great Indian Festival of Magic On till the 13th White Petals, Tripuravasi, Palace Grounds, Bangalore 9845042544

Sham-E-Vaisaka by Wadali Brothers Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi

Tribute to Bob Dylan Hard Rock Cafe, Mumbai Men in Black 3 releases nationwide 25th May

New York Indian Film Festival On till 27th Paris Theatre, 4 W 58th St#A, New York City, NY 10019

Fatboy Slim India tour E zone, Marathahalli, Bangalore

Lamb of God, 26th May Palace Cricket Ground, Armane Nagar, Bangalore 560080

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Watch This Space!

A Night To Be Remembered

The Avengers, All Set to Amaze

Adele proved to be the star of the night at the BRIT Awards 2012 where she won the British Female Solo Artist and her multi-platinum album, 21 was named British Album of the Year. Figures show that Adele has sold an album every sixand-a-half seconds since last year’s BRIT awards. Another notable happening of the night was when the young boy band, One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful won Best British Single. An emotional Lana Del Rey, was named International Breakthrough and her debut album Born to Die topped the album charts. Rihanna, Coldplay and Foo Fighters were other artists who walked away with awards. The awards also paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse.

What is better than watching a movie about your favourite superhero? Watching a movie that stars all your favourite superheroes! The Avengers are the Marvel Superhero elite including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow who come together with the help of Nick Fury. In this film Mark Ruffalo, of The Kids are All Right fame replaces Edward Norton as The Incredible Hulk. The film is filled with Oscar nominees like Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo and so on.Will this be enough for The Avengers to enter the action movie hall of fame? We will just have to wait and watch.

The Fairest In All The Land Hollywood seems to be facing a Snow White obsession with two movies loosely based on the fairy tale coming out this year. First up we have Mirror Mirror, the Julia Roberts starrer where Tarsem Singh attempts to retell the tale from The Queen’s perspective. Lily Collins plays Snow White who is trained by the seven dwarves in the martial arts. Collins previously auditioned for the role of Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman, which bring us to the second film. Snow White and the Huntsman showcases Kristen Stewart where she is trained by the huntsman originally sent to kill her. Mirror Mirror on the wall, which of these will prove to be the fairest of them all?

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J.B., Lady Gaga and Tim Burton as Aliens What do Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga have in common? Move over Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and make room for the two newest additions to the Men in Black franchise. Barry Sonnefeld, the director of Men in Black III recently confirmed that Bieber and Gaga would have small roles in the upcoming film. Director Tim Burton will be playing an alien alongside the stars as well. Sonnefeld chose iconic stars that people will remember even in the years to come. The previous Men in Black movie starred Michael Jackson so the popstars and director are not the first celebrities to be a part of the films.

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candid speak

Book Wise

Chandan Roy Sanyal B: Where would you like to live? CRS: New York, definitely. B: What is it you most dislike? CRS: I abhor class divisions.

The Man Within My Head

B: What do you value most in your friends? CRS: They have more faith in me, than I have in myself. B: Which is the motto you live by? CRS: Ho jayega – nothing is impossible, and everything that’s meant to will unfold at the correct time.


handan Roy Sanyal is Bollywood’s wild card entry. Stardom came to him post his coke-fuelled turn as Mikhail in the 2009 hit, Kaminey. Since then, this handome actor has straddled the stage and the screen with seeming ease. Look out for his next two releases, Prague and BMW, later this year. Brew: What is your greatest fear? Chandan Roy Sanyal: I want to buy a home for my mother. I fear her term on earth will end before I can fulfil that wish.

B: What is your current state of mind? CRS: I feel like Nero - destructive, anarchistic, euphoric, and restless. I can’t wait to jump over to the other side. B: What is your favourite preoccupation? CRS: I love building stories in my head, and writing them down. These usually lead to my creating something for the theatre. B: Which historical figure do you most identify with? CRS: Charlie Chaplin. B: Which living person do you most admire? CRS: Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

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B: Who is your favourite fictional hero? CRS: The character of Meursault in Albert Camus’s The Outsider. B: Who are your real-life heroes? CRS: Woody Allen, Leonardo di Caprio, Robert Downey Jr., RD Burman, Guru Dutt, and Hrishikesh Mukherjee. B: When and where were you happiest? CRS: I was happiest during my performance of Tim Supple’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the Round House Theatre in London in 2007. B: Which is the trait you most deplore in yourself? CRS: I find it very difficult to entrust myself to a steady relationship. I’m never successful.

B: Who has been the greatest influence on you? CRS: Two people – my former girlfriend (whom I still love), and my director, Tim Supple. B: What is your take on being an actor, as opposed to a hero? CRS: The times they are a-changing! I’d rather be known as an actor, than a star or hero. B: Which film would you love to do again? CRS: My first Bollywood hit, Kaminey. B: What would you like your epitaph to read? CRS: Here lies a dreamer

Abhinav Krishnaswamy reviews Pico Iyer’s latest offering


or someone who would normally read a half-decent work of fiction, it would not take much to replenish attention. Non-fiction, on the other hand, has to be treated extremely carefully, as the reader, being the volatile little thing that he or she is, can lose interest at the drop of a hat. Pico Iyer has steadily come to be known as a pre-emptive force in non-fiction travel writing in particular. With The Man Within My Head, his obsession with his idol, surrogate mentor and predecessor Graham Greene, is explored further, while the travel writing takes a non-intrusive backseat. Iyer cross-cuts seamlessly between his present situation and his life in the past, and alludes to the faintly disturbing similarities between his and Graham Greene’s life. The two writers’ paths seem so similar; it is as though the gap between them is gossamer-like, and shadowy.

Iyer so generously peppers his book with the works of Graham Greene, that it would not be surprising if Greene’s books sold a little more post The Man Within My Head. Greene’s notable works like The Quiet American, and The Power and The Glory, form the foundations of Iyer’s little cut-scenes that he weaves into each chapter. One moment, Iyer describes a location he is currently at; the next, an allusion to one of Greene’s works. Let it be understood that there is a great deal of actual travel writing that is involved. The book kicks off in La Paz (Bolivia), and moves quickly through Oxford, Japan, and Ethiopia in an ever-changing cycle. As an elucidator, it is pretty difficult to look past Iyer’s definition of his surroundings. Sentences that stutter, and break almost nervously, put forth an image of a place that few people have been to, and yet it’s like they’ve lived there their entire lives.

There are many individual moments in this book, ones that make the reader stop and introspect. Iyer creates this faux-schizophrenia, explaining that the paradox of reading emerges when readers become closer to some character’s voice in their head, rather than the people who surround them everyday. This piece of literature can be treated in many ways. It is an homage because of Iyer’s obsessive yet restrained heroworship of Graham Greene and his work. It is a travelogue, descriptive and beautiful, and adept at transporting the reader. It is a biography, and a documentation of pivotal moments in Iyer’s life that coincide with his current scheme of things. In short, The Man Within My Head is a phenomenal read. Do not rush through it. Savour it Price: Rs. 499/Published by Penguin Books India

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point of view

Putting the “act” in action W

hen we think of masterclasses in film acting, we usually envision performers firing sharply written lines at each other in intense dramatic confrontations, or (less often) comic set-pieces. Or scenes that have little dialogue but where the silences are soaked in meaning; where each pause, each glance, is somehow significant; where it’s all about “understatement”. For a good sense of what is commonly thought of as a performance highlight, look at the short clips chosen when acting nominations are read out at the Oscars. Watch enough of them and you’ll see definite patterns emerging (and that’s without taking into account the Motion Picture Academy’s fondness for certain types of roles – physically or mentally disadvantaged characters, for instance – rather than the performances in them). One thing that is usually not associated with acting chops is the high-voltage action sequence. Fight scenes are usually perceived as fillers or tempo-raisers, and that’s what they often are (in many of them, stuntmen substitute for the actors anyway). But every once in a while, an action scene does afford opportunities for fine performances as well as for character and thematic development within a narrative. Recently I watched the Extras on a DVD of Anurag Kashyap’s masterful film Black Friday, about the investigation that followed the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. Among the movie’s highlights is the superbly choreographed and shot sequence where a group of cops pursue

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a suspect, Imtiaz Ghavate, through a slum area. “Anurag told me he wanted a performance from me in this chase scene,” says the actor Pranay Narayan – who plays Ghavate – in the “Making of” documentary, and a performance it certainly is. Over the course of this long scene, Imtiaz goes from being a menacing bhai figure (the first time we see him he is shot from a low camera angle, looming above us, looking blasé and in control) to a snivelling wreck being bullied around by the police; by the end it’s almost possible to feel sorry for him.

The scene begins on a purposefully energetic note, as you’d expect, but gradually becomes something of a comic routine, as the policemen and their quarry move in circles and get worn out. One hysterically funny shot has an unfit cop calling out “Imtiaz, ruk ja” as both men pant breathlessly – by this point they are lurching rather than running, and the effect is that of two quarrelling lovers trying half-heartedly to make up. It’s a fine depiction of the banality of police-work, humanising both cop and criminal – a remarkable achievement in the context of a true story about terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of people. It’s also a significant step away from the traditional depiction of cops and robbers in Hindi cinema. And the performances help make it compulsively believable. Good acting is even rarer in full-blooded fight sequences. In her book Looking for the Big B: Bollywood, Bachchan and Me, Jessica Hines observes that in Bombay to Goa, made before he settled into the Angry Young Man image, Amitabh Bachchan seemed awkward during much of the film and then came alive in the fight sequences at the end. I’m not sure about this specific example (the fights in Bombay to Goa aren’t so much properly worked out action scenes as vignettes of various people knocking each other about in speeded-up motion), but I don’t think many people would disagree that

Bachchan was extremely convincing in his really well choreographed fight sequences in films like Sholay and Kaala Patthar.

One of my favourite “action performances” in this vein is by the great Japanese actor Tatsuya Nakadai in the climactic scene of the 1966 film Sword of Doom. Nakadai plays a sadistic swordsman named Ryunosuke who spends much of the story killing and plundering. At the end, as he sits alone in a geisha-house, he is visited by the ghosts of his victims as well as by real people who want him dead; turning completely psychotic, he slashes wildly at these phantoms over the course of an extraordinary, bloody 10-minute sequence. Jaw-dropping in its length and persistence, this scene is the perfect apocalyptic finish to a story about a cruel and violent man facing his demons. It’s almost Shakespearean in its suggestion of the past haunting the present, and Nakadai (who would play King Lear for Akira Kurosawa years later) is outstanding in the way he seems to be simultaneously a sentient person and a zombie. At times his movements become so mechanical one gets the impression that his arm is being driven by his “evil” sword; his eyes are hollow and lifeless; he flails unthinkingly at the air; but then he comes alive again and seems briefly conscious of what is happening to him; and then again he retreats into his own private world, while his arm continues slashing away. Nothing in this sequence (or in the Black Friday one) would make it to those smooth Oscar acting clips, but these performances in them are absolutely integral to the films’ effectiveness. They are reminders that some action scenes require a little more from a performer than a grunted, expressionless “I’ll be back”

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in focus


ne would think he doesn’t really need an introduction. Thanks to the media’s portrayal of him, urban legends that surround him, and hearsay, all of us have an opinion on his work, the sort of actor he is, and the man himself. So nothing quite prepares me for the man I meet. Long-limbed, bedroom-eyed, curlymopped, Naseeruddin Shah with his shiver-inducing low-baritone, resembles an aging lion. A content, peaceful aging lion, who has a lot to be happy about. Over the years, this multi-faceted actor has come to be regarded as one of the greatest actors in Indian cinema. His brand of understated, finely-nuanced acting has no rival either in his contemporaries or in the newer crop of performers. So it’s ironic when this ‘serious’ actor says, “I loved watching B-grade Indian films when I was young. I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of them, and I was fascinated by actors such as Dara Singh, Ranjan, Azad, and Mahipal. I knew how dreadful the films they made were, and I was never taken in by them for a second. But, there was something about men like Dara Singh the honesty, the smell of the earth.”

An Actor’s Journey

The one thing that makes Naseeruddin Shah’s life bearable is that someone’s watching.

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when he speaks of his mentor. “Mr Geoffrey Kendal is the guiding light of my life; he showed me the path, and he’s more than my hero. The Kendals visited our school every year to perform Shakespeare. I used to watch him wonderstruck; the magic of his abilities - minimal change of costumes et cetera – as he switched between characters, was dazzling to watch. They made Shakespeare understandable, and I am yet to hear or see Shakespeare performed better. I was fortunate to watch the Kendals throughout my school life.”

So while Naseeruddin harboured fantasies of acting, his grades only got worse. Finally his father decided to pull him out of school in Nainital, and send him to a “less expensive” school in Ajmer where he could keep an eye on him. It was here that Naseeruddin came into his own. Along with three other boys, he took it upon himself to perform scenes from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. “I simply did an imitation of Mr Kendal from what I had seen of him. I was the new guy in the school, and people didn’t know me. So I got a few guys together, and told the school we’ll be putting this

But, growing up films such as these were watched on the sly (he would swipe money from his mother to go watch them). Naseeruddin’s childhood years were spent in Ajmer, where his father was the District Collector, and his schooling was done in Nainital in an Irish RomanCatholic school run by missionaries. “I was a terrible student, and I hated every moment in that damned place, except the times when they screened movies. They showed us the whole range, from Citizen Kane, the Marlon Brando and Spencer Tracey films, to Elia Kazan, and even Mickey Mouse.” Back in Ajmer, his father allowed him and his brothers to watch only the Sunday morning shows of classics like And God Created Woman, La Dolce Vita, The 10 Commandments, and Ben Hur. Watching the magic of cinema unfold would fire up the young boy, and he longed to be a cine-star, or at least be considered for a role in the school plays. “But I never got a bloody role, because I wasn’t even considered!” But there is one gentleman for whom Naseeruddin has only unabashed, unfiltered respect. His face lights up

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up. All I really wanted to do was play Shylock; I had known the lines for five years by then, having imagined playing him for so long! It was the turning point in my life. I cannot explain the alchemy that happened that day. I was an overnight hit at the new school; everyone wanted to talk to me and spend time with me. I was 14-years-old, and I was fortunate all this happened at that age. I knew then that this is where I belong, and I’m not going anywhere from here. I had come home. People find it difficult to believe, but I was certain.” In that year, his grades got better, his father thought he was studying (“I wasn’t; I had just found myself”), and he went on to do six more performances with his troupe. His popularity was such that he earned himself a spot on the school’s cricket team. But the lesson that Naseeruddin learned from his taste of fame at school back then, remains his bedrock even today. “The essence of stardom, then and now, is the same. Everyone wants to know you, like you, listen to you, and be you. I learned early not to take it seriously.” His father and he were never on the greatest terms. In those days, children spoke when they were spoken to, and did what was asked of them. Acting was not a career to be pursued, but that was the only dream Naseeruddin had been nursing for years. Soon after his graduation, he got a scholarship to go to the National School of Drama (NSD), in New Delhi. Since he didn’t need to

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ask his father for the tuition money, “I told him to go fly a kite, because I was going.” The director of NSD at the time was Ebrahim Alkazi, and he exposed the students to music, drama, arts and literature. “Suddenly I was exposed to so much, and my world view was widening. But drama school, and those three years, were over in a trice, and all I could think of was, what now?” Not wanting to join the NSD Repertory, or join the radio, Naseeruddin was at a dead-end of sorts. Getting in to the movies seemed like an impossible dream, but the fascination of acting in cinema was consuming. Then one afternoon, fate played its hand. Regal Cinema in New Delhi happened to be showing a Hindi film called Piya Ke Ghar. Naseeruddin chuckles throatily as he clarifies, “not the sort of film I would have normally chosen to sit through! But, while watching it, I had a brainwave. I realised all the actors, from the lead hero and heroine (Anil Dhawan and Jaya Bhaduri), to the extras, were all from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). That’s when I decided that though I was not mainstream hero-material, I could make some dough playing the other characters.” And that is how he came to enrol in the acting course at FTII, Pune. Arriving with an NSD-chip on his shoulder, Naseeruddin was one among 22 others in the course. But, as he disarmingly admits, his patronising attitude vanished on the first day of his acting class. “Roshan

Taneja was our acting teacher. He did what NSD couldn’t – he taught me the exercise of intention, and gave me the key to open it up. At NSD we were taught to catch the light, stand correctly, wear a costume well et cetera. But, we were never helped to understand the mechanics of acting. I didn’t understand what the actor does. At FTII there was an emphasis on analysing the point of an actor. Today, I wonder if Taneja saab knew the importance of what he was imparting. I learned the tricks of the stage at NSD, but it never proved to be useful. Also, no one can teach you acting; they can only help you learn. And in my class of 22, only two of us learned – Shakti Kapoor and me. We attended the same class, saw the same films, we were taught the same things by the same teachers, and we listened to the same lectures – but we took away completely different things at the end of it.” His brand of acting, both on-stage and in the movies, is well known. He’s type-cast as the serious, thinking actor. And while Naseeruddin himself feels he has broken away from that, he doesn’t mind the tag. “The compensations that come with it are greater than the disadvantages. The people who do feel that way about me are sometimes inclined to watch some of my old work, which I feel gratified about,” he says seriously. “You can’t expect an actor like me to suddenly transform into a larger-than-life persona overnight. I have tried many times, and failed. My whole initiation into acting has been trying to be real. That’s why I’m completely out

of place in the popular movies. Ishqiya is the kind of film I fit into; and Dirty Picture was a satirical performance. I enjoyed doing them, but had I been asked to play the writer (in Dirty Picture) I couldn’t have done it. The role I did allowed me to hide behind a mask. Even today, I wouldn’t be able to play the regular hero. It’s a shortcoming, I admit that.” Quiz Naseeruddin about his famous tetchy temperament, especially when it comes to his exasperation with certain filmmakers and mainstream films that are made in India today, and he breaks into a low chuckle. “In the last few decades, the believability factor in our films hasn’t increased, only the PR scope has widened. There were always a couple of young guys trying to make their own path, and that’s still the same. Now, it’s six or seven because the population has increased. Proportionately the population of those churning out piffle, and those who view film-making as nothing but a money-making venture, have also increased. There are guys like Dibakar (Banarjee) and Anurag (Kashyap), but I detect - and I hope I’m wrong - an uneasy tendency on their part to want to work with stars. They want to reach a wider audience. But will they reach a wider audience? It was a stray off-beat film like Rajnigandha, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Aakrosh, or Masoom that did.” But he’s equally candid about his own directorial venture which failed to create waves at the box-office; Naseeruddin’s quite clear that he doesn’t want to go

down that path again. “I wanted to make a statement, and call the shots. I needed to know if the ideas I had worked or not; I found out to my cost that they don’t. I am much more charitable to filmmakers now because I know what it’s like to be in their shoes. It’s a hellish job to make a film!” Narcissism, widely believed to be an inherent part of an actor’s make-up, is strangely missing in Naseeruddin. The earthiness and honesty that he appreciates in actors such as Dara Singh, is palpable in every word he utters, and the gestures that he makes. “I realised somewhat early in life that I am better off being unnoticed. I guess I have inherited an inhibition about displaying oneself in real life. I wanted to be an actor so I could reveal myself and not reveal myself. I fortunately shed the typical actor-narcissism when I needed to have, when I did films like Sunaina and Tridev. I never got the hang of it; I’m terribly uncomfortable with it. I had my narcissism surgically removed!” But he does admit to a different kind of narcissism that has developed. “In order to play the real characters I got, like in Manthan, Sparsh, or Nishant, my self-love had nothing to do with display. It has to do with enjoyment of the work I do; I don’t hanker after recognition everywhere I go - I wouldn’t be able to live with that. I have been spared major stardom, in order that I am able to do the work I love. I don’t lose sleep over whether my films will do well or not.

And at a time when I’m not dying to do movies, I have a pile of scripts waiting in my office, none of which I have touched yet. So I’m very grateful, I have had a very successful innings.” Naseeruddin doesn’t like to watch his own films, and his sons don’t seem to show an abiding interest in them either. But when he gets nostalgic, he puts on Jalwa (“by no means a great film!”). And if you ask him if he is likely to sit back and watch his old films once all this is done, he bursts into a loud guffaw, “F**k, if I have a prayer, it’s that I can be saved from a fate such as that! Hell, no, I would shoot myself in the head first.” Nature, as Naseeruddin says, has been kind to him. He has done everything he ever dreamt of. Today, he has his theatre, he teaches, goes travelling and scuba diving, and is content knowing he has lived out all his fantasies. The only thing that hurts him is that he didn’t make a good film. The line from Hamlet, ‘the simple assumption that makes our existence bearable is that somebody is watching’ touches Naseeruddin’s life, and summarises the actor and the man better than any superfluous, clichéd words can

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | may 2012 | 21


The Price of Justice

and report rape. They expound on this line of thought further by saying that the procedure of a victim stepping up and going to the police to file a report takes the utmost courage and strength (as she has been humiliated, and will now be further humiliated when asked to take a medical test to confirm the rape). Thus it stands to reason that the real victims suffer in meek, defeated silence!

With the recent spate of rape cases in our country, Amrutha Anandanthan looks into why crime remains the most under reported in our country


ndia, today is witness to a sharp increase in the number of rape cases. But more disturbing is the apparent apathy towards the victim, and the course of justice. In the past month the media has reported extensively on the rapes in Delhi-NCR and other major cities. The distressing part of the stories that are recounted is the lack of sensitivity shown by our police and government toward the plight of the victims. The process of trying to get justice after a crime like this has been committed is in itself a traumatic and humiliating one for the victims and their families; the rampant insensitivity shown by the authorities is not helping either. Questions being raised by the public and the media are focusing on the reason for these crimes being committed, and why the perpetrators remain largely fearless? Experts say that the uncontrolled urge to enact sexual fantasies and to dominate is the primary causes for rape. The majority of rapists belong to the age group of 16 to 24 years. They are usually unskilled workers belonging to a lower income group. In rural areas, rape is a common way for men to establish superiority and dominance. A common occurrence in India is rape for a woman’s hand in marriage. When a man is denied a woman’s hand in marriage, on raping her, she is forced to marry him to preserve hers and her familys’ social standing and respectability. This warped reasoning cannot change unless men and women in India are taught gender-sensitivity, and the archaic notions of male superiority are done away with. April 27th is a day the Bellikatti household will not forget. Ulagappa Ramappa Bellikatti of Vaddar Oni at Belavadi village in Bailhongal Taluk, reported that his 13-year-old daughter

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was kidnapped when she was asleep and then raped. He stated that this was the act of a relative who was interested in marrying his daughter, but who Bellikatti had turned down as he wanted her to complete her education. The girl who was pursuing her education, and trying

apathetic state of our police authorities in Delhi and the National Capital Region. This operation consisted of secretly filming interviews with 30 Station Holders and numerous police officers handling the filing and investigation of the rape cases. A majority of the station

If the police and the authorities are to be believed, it is because of women’s provocation that rape occurs. This is, frighteningly, a common belief of many people the world over. The reasons span the spectrum of skimpy clothing, previous sexual relations, alcohol consumption et cetera. The Slut Walk originated out of a similar situation where a Toronto police officer said that to remain safe “women should stop dressing like sluts”. Thousands of women rallied against this by taking to the streets, and marching in clothing considered provocative to demonstrate against this regressive thought. Many such walks have since been organized all over the world, but they don’t seem to have had any impact on the authorities here. Earlier this year, the Andra Pradesh police chief made a highly insensitive comment when he said that rapes are on the rise because women in villages have started to wear salwar-kameez – apparently an outfit which provokes men. A few months ago when a woman was raped in Kolkatta, she found her morals

to better her life, was raped for choosing it over marriage. Another dismaying fact about this case is that Bellikatti alleged that the local police refused to even register his complaint. On the 28th of April a woman had alleged that three men had kept her in solitary confinement in the Golva police station in Dausa district. During this period she was repeatedly gang raped by these men, she said. The police have begun investigations but whether this woman will get justice is still uncertain. A sting operation performed by one of India’s leading magazines revealed the

holders insisted that most of the time, the rape claims they received were false. One of the policemen even insisted that it is usually not rape at all, but is consensual. With majority of the police disbelieving the claims of these victims, the disturbing consequence is that the accused get off lightly, if charged at all. These same policemen also insist that women are turning rape into a profitable industry; a case of poor women claiming rape as a source of income. Their other theory is that the women who come forward are probably not actual victims as real victims would be too ashamed and bound by their modesty to come forward

being questioned, and politicians and government officials saying that her complaint was fabricated. Minister Madan Mitra made remarks on the woman’s choices by asking why “a mother had to go to a nightclub”. Perhaps he is unaware that according to the Evidence Act (Section 146), courts will not accept any evidence on moral character or past sexual relationships in cases of rape. It is impossible to imagine the trauma these victims are subject to, but a lot of them say that the remarks made by the policemen who investigate their case, and the authorities who speak on them, are so humiliating that filing a complaint is mentally more tortorous than the rape

itself. Their character and morals are often questioned, and despite everything FIRs are not registered in time, and the evidence-collection is shoddy. Rape is sadly the most under reported crime in India. When rapists are not in any way scared of being convicted how is it possible to curb it in our country? How is it that we choose to torture the victims rather than the culprits? When the police and other authoritarian figures in our country’s capital react this way, it is thoroughly disheartening. When people in developed parts of India act this way, it is unsettling to imagine how victims of rape are being treated in the rural areas. We live in a democracy that is constantly evolving, but how much have we really progressed? It is apparent that we have a very long way to go

Information Rescue Foundation Helpline: 1800 180 1000 Telephone: +91 22 28060707 Arpan E-mail:, Telephone: 022 26862444 / 26868444 Indian Women Welfare Foundation

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | may 2012 | 23

Photo Credit: RavikiranVissa

India had always been plagued with budgeting constraints. The amount of time and money it took to send a very hopeful racer for an overseas race was almost always exorbitant. Formula One races would involve astronomical budgets of $10 million a race, per competitor. Manufacturers would not come forward and help out, and sponsors were even more difficult to deal with.

What made Chennai a hotbed of motorsport activity? When did it all begin? Abhinav Krishnaswamy lets us know


otorsport and India have a tumultuous relationship.

One decade, they seemed like lifelong companions, the next, estranged siblings. At first glance, it would seem as though the North, with all its grandeur and the Buddh International Circuit’s inaugural Formula One Grand Prix, should have been responsiblefor the current racing craze. In fact, this affinity towards the sport can be traced back to Chennai (Madras till the 1990s)- a veritable vending machine of race-car drivers - way back to the mid-1950s. What does the Round Table organisation and a World War II airstrip have in common? Both these entities were the fulcrum for the racing culture in the South. While the members of the Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) had cemented their friendships their roots in the Round Table, the airstrip became the beloved Sholavaram Race Course. The races were held in February every year, and which included both cars and bikes in various categories. Although amateur in nature, these races attracted crowds of over 25,000 every year! Even the political fraternity turned up for a day at the races. M.G. Ramachandran, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, was a regular

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Round the S-bend

at the track. He was also always willing to help out in any way possible,. andHe would interact with the organisers in Tamil (he and was replied to in English);, yet somehow, everyone understood each other. Along with the crowd, the races attracted many foreign competitors (who came in from Europe and Southeast Asia), and acted as the backdrop for many great rivalries over the years. Notable ones included those of a much younger Vijay Mallya (Chairman, UB group) and Vicky Chandhok. Foreign competition stretched all the way from Europe and Southeast Asia. Rules were made ad-hoc before every race, until Suresh Patel drafted a very detailed and final account of the rules and regulations -: a standardized list which is in use today. The track was then shifted to Irungattukottai near Sriperumbudur outside Chennai. At first, this seemed to irk the committee, as the clay soil on the new track would perpetually be settling, which would lead to the track being renovated a little too regularly for everyone’s liking. Eventually, the new track became boot camp for eager, wetbehind-the-ears’ drivers, some of whom went on to do great things in the world of motorsport.

In those golden days, the media were present en masse for the races, even dedicating front pages to the victorious. Localised races were lengthily featured, which made these drivers minor heroes. Somewhere in the 1980s, though, the media lost interest.

When they aren’t tearing up the track, drivers are left with little to do, as they have been honed with the idea that all roads lead to Formula One. Some drivers are mixing it up a little now, with the advent of Saloon Car Racing. (Cars that are road-ready, modified and raced). Aditya Patel is a prime example, having raced in the Volkswagen Polo Cup and Scirocco Cup. “I had the opportunity to race saloon cars in Europe in 2009 and obviously I jumped at the offer. After that, there was a new found love for saloon car racing. Yes, Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport but I think I enjoy saloon cars a lot more than single seaters.” Aditya has just signed a threeyear contract with Audi. He plans to move up to GT cars and then compete in the DTM (German Touring Car Masters) series.

Karun Chandhok is another one of these achievers. Following in his father Vicky’s footsteps, he traversed a familiar route. This stretched from Formula 3, the A1 Grand Prix (an international tournament that pits countries against one another), and a stint in Formula One with Lotus and HRT. He is now a commentator for the BBC in London, and competes in endurance races.These races clock in at eight hours, minimum.

Now, we are a country, fresh off her first Formula One race; a race that went according to plan with zero errors. A race that put India on the map of motorsport. The viewership has increased ten-fold; the media are lapping it up. The love affair seems to have begun again. (Vital inputs from B.I. Chandhok.)

The coverage became increasingly erratic. The media complained about lack of amenities at the venue, and other such. trivial issues. Quarrels like these led to an even colder relationship; more and more stories about rally wins and even Formula One races were being pushed to a 50word piece in the back pages. Motorsport took a backseat to the cricket craze (a relationship that is yet to slow down). that will seemingly never die out. “We would have made the cover of Sportstar (a leading sports magazine), had it not been for a double century the same week”, says Shreekant Jha. Shreekant was a prominent part of the 80s, winning two Himalayan Rallies, which includes some of the toughest terrain to traverse in the world. Along with this, the drivers had to face literal roadblocks, with Union Minister George Fernandes blocking rally courses with bullock carts, resulting in accidents. His excuse: India was a poor country; this was just a rich man’s game. Alongside, the motorsport faction in

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | may 2012 | 25

A Plethora of Taste T

ake in the aroma of a south Indian kitchen: inviting, and spicy. An elaborately set platter, promising to whet the appetite of a Pallava emperor. Allow the crispy dosas, spiced tamarind rice, and the cruchy appalams to tantalise your taste buds - unravel the notes of Carnatic music, the sharp ends of Tamil scripture, and the fluidity of a Bharatnatyam dancer, in one mouthful. Nothing exemplifies Chennai better than its food. Chennai, on the map, is as finely rounded as the golden-brown vadai. The colour golden could define everything, right from the nine-yard saris, the sun kissed complexion, to the soft tinge that envelopes this grand city which is the keeper of the sacred Tamil culture. From the beginning of the century, Madras saw no more change than its name, and Chennai was transited with years of history made seemingly alive by the people. This city boasts of a cultural foundation that is deeply rooted, and like a rhythmic drumbeat, it reverberates within you. Today, with an increasing number of expats who have come to identify the city as home, the cultural footprint of Chennai is undergoing a transformation. General geography and language apart, the culinary taste of Chennai is widening. But blending in a cuisine to the one dominant is especially hard in a city like ours because the natives subconsciously work to preserve the numero uno position that the local cuisine holds. Time being the best catalyst of change has brought with it a spirit of experimentation. Cuisines from around the globe have mushroomed across the city, and people are now eager to try out different cuisines. And this involves more than just taste buds, because gourmet food can come at a price. Quality over quantity has become the new mantra. With the growing popularity among the locals, international cuisines are no more only for the elite. Chennai is

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What does the newer Chennai and the older Madras have in common? Poornima Nair takes a look at Chennai’s evolving tastebuds.

slowly beginning to live up to its metro tag. Sophistication has today become an adjective to be associated with. Chennai has caught the eye of many restaurateurs abroad as a potential business landmark. In spite of being tagged as a tea drinking nation, the coffee shops rate high in popularity. Starbucks and Hard Rock cafe are already planning to cash in on this development. As restaurants such as Mainland China, Kebab Factory, Prego, and Ban Thai make into diners’ list of options, we also have Greek, Korean and Mexican kitchens sprouting, and climbing their way up that list. These restaurants are usually themed, almost like a mirror reflection of their country, in the 5000-sq-ft space. A couple of good example would be Texas Fiesta whose interiors depict cowboys and the Wild West, and the cake-shop French

wheat from the chaff. The section that allows a great amount of experimenting in terms of presentation is confectionary, where every ingredient adds up to more than just flavour. People have readily put their traditional payasam aside to indulge in a baklava or a tiramisu, sometimes pairing it with an aperitif! The recent cupcake craze in the city is a testimony to the subject. From a variety of flavours and buttery icing, to exquisite cakes decked out in fondant, the stakes are only getting higher. Confectionaries have roped in chefs exclusively to add value to their food, and a good example in the city would be Mickael Besse, who came from France to established Ecstasy as one of the city’s leading dessert shops. Food is most definitely the best way to experience the world because it instantly connects you to a country or region, bridging cultures, people, and taste into a singular form. Despite the (happy) invasion of a bevy of international cuisines, local foods still rate highly (people still believe that nothing can cure a bad stomach than a good amount of rasam). It is an acceptance of broader food horizons, rather than a battle of

local versus international, that Chennai is witnessing. Texas Fiesta, Thousand lights Francis Arokia Das, restaurant manager Why do you think the interiors of a restaurant add to the overall dining experience of the customer? The interiors decoration is an important factor as it contributes to the atmosphere of the restaurant, and of what they intend to highlight. Our restaurant has a cowboy theme complete with cowboy suits, hats and boots, and this is widely popular with our diners who are free to use them as props in our photo booth. Chennai has been encouraging, and we plan to expand with more outlets within the city range. Kryptos, Greek cuisine, Nungambakkam Head Chef What is it Greek cuisine that appeals most to the Tamilian palate in comparison to their local flavour? We use different types of imported cheese which most people are not familiar with, and they are excited by the new flavours. Another ingredient that sets us apart is red and white

wine. People have become more health conscious, and vegetarianism has now become the new trend that most people are taking to. Our cuisine is impartial to the non-vegetarians and offers a wide range of vegetarian food for the diners to choose from. Prego, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam Giovanna Marson, Head chef, Prego Italian food is synonymous with pizza and pasta. How do you convince people to experiment beyond that, and experience an authentic Italian meal? Pizza is considered a street food in Italy, and is made by a pizzaiolo (a baker of sorts). This is completely different from fine dining. People choose to define cuisines the best way they know it, but how much they know of it is always questionable. Italian cuisine being predominantly about pizzas, pastas and spaghetti is the Americanisation of Italian food when really, there is so much more to it. We offer more varieties, better presentation, and people are now more aware of the varied types of Italian dishes and are willing to try out most things at least once

Loaf whose interiors are designed to resemble a French patisserie. These are add-ons’ to the fancy quotient. The famous Dan Rice once said, “there are three forms of visual art: Painting is art to look at, sculpture is art you can walk around, and architecture is art you can walk through.” In that case, it wouldn’t be wrong to say food is art to taste. Visual appeal is the highest parameter of judgement and in the case of food, it is no less. Food has acquired couture status, and its presentation is high on its appeal-factor. And we aren’t referring to bone-china cutlery and monogrammed napkins. For a city where green plantain leaves and a generous sprinkling of mustard seeds worked fine, Chennaiites are fast learning foodsnobbery. From chocolate tempering, fruity decorations to precision-cut meat, people are learning to distinguish the

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Youtube: the evolution of cinema Zayn Marie Khan takes a look at YouTube, its contribution to cinema, and the change it has brought to film making.


espite its humble origins, YouTube has become the hub for new talent and sudden fame. The website is now a worldwide phenomenon that allows billions of users to connect with each other via video. The years since its origin have seen the cultivation of a niche audience that looks for quality. This niche has been instrumental in encouraging the videos posted by budding filmmakers to embrace this platform to showcase their latest ventures. Amongst the trashy vlogs (video blogs) and posts by millions of people who believe they have something important to tell the world, there are those gems that shine through. Despite its humble origins, YouTube has become the hub for new talent and sudden fame. The website is now a worldwide phenomenon that allows billions of users to connect with each other via video. The years since its origin have seen the cultivation of a niche audience that looks for quality. This niche has been instrumental in encouraging the videos posted by budding filmmakers to embrace this platform to showcase their latest ventures. Amongst the trashy vlogs (video blogs) and posts by millions of people who believe they have something important to tell the world, there are those gems that shine through.

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Essentially, YouTube as a space allows these artists to test their potential and gauge the audiences’ reaction to their ideas. There is also a chance that their product could catch the attention of a producer, waiting to invest in a newbie who shows promise. There are a few notable instances in the Hollywood film industry of this happening. Niell Blomkamp, co-writer and director of the critically acclaimed feature film District 9, was noticed by producers because of his short film Alive in Joburg that had been posted on YouTube. Another YouTube-er to make it big was Rawson Marshall Thurber, creator of the popular Terry Tate: Office Linebacker series. These hilarious short films got him a job making commercials for Reebok. He later went on to direct the box-office hit Dodgeball. Ryan Higa and Sean Fujiyoshi’s YouTube channel is (as of April 2012) the second most-subscribed to channel on YouTube. They created several short films, songs and parodies; the most famous of these were the How to be a Gangster/Ninja/ Nerd/Emo series. As they gathered a cult following, producer Richard Vleet helped them make their first feature-

length film. Among other names are Edward Gould and Dane Boedigheimer. Gould was a popular animator, and created series like Eddsworld and Zanta Claus. The organizers of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference approached him regarding the animation of an episode on climate change; this was then screened at the conference. Boedigheimer animated the Annoying Orange series – a show about various talking vegetables. Due to the response it received, Annoying Orange merchandise, including t-shirts, toys and video games are now available almost everywhere. It also inspired a television series on Cartoon Network. But perhaps the most famous of all talent spotted through YouTube is young musician/singer Justin Bieber. Bieber was spotted by producers after his mother uploaded videos of him singing and dancing on YouTube. Several albums and a major following later, he has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry. Today - more than ever before - we rely on our products going viral. This is the power of YouTube. It takes any video and propagates it, without the creator having to worry too much about

funding, marketing and promotion. If viewers decide a product is worth watching, the product becomes popular without the maker having to put in any extra effort. It gives everyone a fair chance and the products that catch the general public’s attention climb the ladder towards potential success. This advantage has not gone unnoticed, as several filmmaking competitions now require entries to be posted on YouTube so they can track their popularity. In fact, YouTube has shown a growing interest in contributing to the film industry as they coproduced their user-generated film Life In A Day. 80,000 YouTube users all over the world recorded a day in their lives and submitted the footage to be edited. The purpose of the film was to record the ordinary, yet extraordinary things in the everyday, across cultures and civilizations. YouTube has also begun to promote and host the Your Film Festival. This filmmaking competition requires participants to submit short films that will be opened for voting to the rest of the world in June, 2012; the top 10 finalists get to exhibit their short films at the Venice Film Festival. The winner will go on to win a $5oo,ooo grant to work on a movie. All evidence seems to point towards the fact that YouTube will play a big role in the future of films. It has generated entire genres of films, and taken existing ones to a whole new level. Although comedy is generally the most widely explored, certain filmmakers have experimented with documentaries. This has seen some interesting results and has inspired several movements, the most recent being Kony 2012. The film is a documentary on Kony (a Ugandan war criminal) that aims at making him known across the globe for coercive terrorism. The video has spread virally on YouTube with millions supporting the movement. YouTube has changed the perception that films require state-of-the art equipment and large budgets. It has established that a good short film can be made with a regular handycam, as long as the script is well written and executed. In the complicated system that exists today, the audience is detached from the filmmaker. Films are made on a large scale and all final decisions lie with the person who bankrolls it. Numerous distributors, middlemen, critics and advertisers influence the viewers’ opinions. Most times, this dilutes the vision that the filmmaker began with. However, YouTube’s ‘niche, intelligent audience’ marks the beginning of a new era of filmmaking, where power is given not to the corporates, but to the masses; the power to choose what goes and what doesn’t. So what is it that we as an audience can expect? New ideas, new genres, new techniques, yes; But more importantly, we expect a new point of view

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In the Name of those I married Women. . . “whose decked-up bodies atrophied on loveless, deceitful beds”

—Faiz Ahmad Faiz

t was about four, or perhaps half past four in the afternoon, when the doorbell rang loudly. The servant opened the door, and then drew back in fear. ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Police!’ Whenever a theft took place in the mohalla, all the servants were interrogated. ‘Police?’ Shahid got up, peeved. ‘Yes, sir.’ The servant was shaking with fear. ‘I haven’t done anything, Sahib. I swear by God.’ ‘What’s the matter?’ Shahid asked, going up to the door. ‘Summons.’ ‘Summons? But . . . well, where is it?’ ‘Sorry. I can’t give it to you.’ ‘Summons for what? For whom?’ ‘For Ismat Chughtai. Please call her.’ The servant heaved a sigh of relief. ‘But tell me this . . .’ ‘Please call her. The summons is from Lahore.’ I had boiled milk for my two-month-old daughter, Seema, and was waiting for it to cool. ‘Summons from Lahore?’ I asked as I held the feeding bottle in cold water. ‘Yes, from Lahore.’ Shahid had lost his cool by then. Holding the bottle in my hand, I came out barefoot. ‘What is the summons about?’ ‘Read it out,’ said the police inspector dourly. As I read the heading— Ismat Chughtai vs The Crown— I broke into laughter. ‘Good God, what complaint does the exalted king have against me to file the suit?’ ‘It’s no joke,’ the inspector said dourly. ‘Read it first and sign it.’ I read through the summons but could barely make any sense of it. My story ‘Lihaaf ’ had been accused of obscenity.

* Khwaja Ahmad Abbas (1914–1987), the progressive writer and journalist, who wrote both in Urdu and English. ** Writers belonging to the Progressive Writers’ 30 | may 2012 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew

The government had brought a suit against me, and I had to appear before the Lahore High Court in January. Otherwise the government would penalize me severely. ‘Well, I won’t take the summons.’ ‘You have to.’ ‘Why?’ I began to argue as usual. ‘What’s up?’ This was Mohsin Abdullah, sprinting up the stairs. He was returning from somewhere unknown, and his body was covered with dust. ‘Just see, these people want to inflict this summons on me. Why should I take it?’ Mohsin had passed his law exams with a first class. ‘I see. Which story is this?’ he asked after reading the summons. ‘It’s an ill-fated story that has become a source of torment for me.’ ‘You’ll have to take the summons.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Don’t be stubborn,’ Shahid flared

up. ‘I won’t take it.’ ‘If you don’t, you’ll be arrested,’ Mohsin growled. ‘Let them arrest me. I won’t take the summons.’ ‘You’ll be thrown into prison.’ ‘Prison? Good. I’ve a great desire to see a prison house. I’ve urged Yusuf umpteen times to take me to a prison, but he just smiles. Inspector Sahib, please take me to jail. Have you brought handcuffs?’ I asked him endearingly. The inspector was flustered. Barely restraining his anger he said, ‘Don’t joke. Just sign it.’ Shahid and Mohsin railed against me. I was chattering merrily. ‘When my father was a judge in Sambhar, the court used to be held in the mardana, the part of the house meant for menfolk. Through the window we would see thieves and robbers being brought in handcuffs and chains. Once, a band of fearsome robbers was brought in. They had a beautiful woman among them. A stately figure in coat and breeches, she had the eyes of an eagle, her waist was supple as a leopard’s and she had a luxuriant crop of long, black hair on her head. I was captivated by her . . .’ Shahid and Mohsin confused me thoroughly. I had wanted the inspector to hold the feeding bottle so that I could sign, but he retreated with shock as though I had held a gun at him. Mohsin quickly snatched away the bottle from me, and I signed. ‘Come down to the police station to sign the surety document. The surety is five hundred rupees.’ ‘I don’t have five hundred rupees with me now.’ ‘Not you. Someone else must stand surety for you.’ ‘I don’t want to implicate anyone. If I don’t present myself in court, the money will be lost.’ I tried to show off my knowledge of the law. ‘Please arrest me.’ The inspector didn’t get angry this time. He smiled and looked at Shahid, who was sitting on the sofa holding his head in his hands. Then he said to me gently, ‘Please come along. It’ll take a couple of minutes.’ ‘But the surety?’ I asked, pacified. I was ashamed of my stupid behaviour. ‘I’ll stand surety for you,’ said Mohsin. ‘But my child is hungry. Her ayah is young and inexperienced.’ ‘Feed the child,’ said the inspector. ‘Then please come in,’ Mohsin invited the policeman. The inspector turned out to be one of Shahid’s fans and flattered him so much that he forgot his irritation and began to talk pleasantly.

Mohsin, Shahid and I went to the Mahim police station. Having completed the formalities, I asked, ‘Where are the prisoners?’ ‘Want to see them?’ ‘Of course.’ There were ten or twelve men lying huddled behind the railings. ‘These are the accused, not prisoners,’ said the inspector. ‘What crime have they committed?’ ‘Getting into brawls and drunken fights, violence, pickpocketing . . .’ ‘What will be the punishment for them?’ ‘They’ll be fined or imprisoned for a few days.’ I felt sorry that I had got to see only petty thieves. A couple of murderers or highwaymen would have made the visit more exciting. ‘Where would you have put me up?’ ‘We do not have arrangements to house women prisonershere. They are taken either to Grant Road or Matunga.’

appear in the same court on the same day. He and Safiya landed up at our place. Manto was looking very happy, as though he had been awarded the Victoria Cross. Though I put up a courageous front, I felt quite embarrassed . . . I was quite nervous, but Manto encouraged me so much that I forgot all my misgivings. ‘Come on, it’s the only great story you’ve written. Shahid, be a man and come to Lahore with us . . . The winter in Lahore is very severe. Aha! Fried fish with whisky . . . fire in the fireplace like the burning flame in a lover’s heart . . . the blood-red maltas are like a lover’s kiss.’ ‘Be quiet, Manto Sahib,’ Safiya reprimanded him. Then, filthy letters began to arrive. They were filled with such inventive and convoluted obscenities that had they been uttered before a corpse, it would have got up and run for cover. Not only me, but my whole family, including Shahid and my two-month-old child, were dragged through the muck… I am scared of mud, muck and lizards. Many people pretend to be courageous, but they are scared of dead mice. I was scared of my mail as if the envelopes contained snakes, scorpions and dragons. I would read the first few words and then burn the letters. If they fell into Shahid’s hands, he would repeat his threat of divorce.

After returning from the police station, Shahid and Mohsin chided me severely. In fact, Shahid fought with me the whole night, even threatened to divorce me. I silenced Mohsin by saying that if he made too much fuss I would disappear and he would lose his five hundred rupees. Shahid could not bear the disgrace and humiliation of a public suit. His parents and elder brother would be terribly upset if they heard of it. When newspapers published the news, Shahid received a touching letter from my father-in-law, which ran thus: ‘Try to reason with Dulhan. Tell her to chant the names of Allah and the Prophet. A lawsuit is bad enough. That too for obscenity. We are very worried. May God help you.’ Manto phoned us to say that a suit had been filed against him too. He had to

Besides these letters, there were articles published in newspapers and debates in literary and cultural gatherings. Only a hard-hearted person like me could endure them. I never retaliated, nor did I refuse to admit my mistake. I was aware of my fault. Manto was the only person who would get furious at my cowardice. I was against my own self, and he supported me. None of mine or Shahid’s friends attached much importance to it. I am not quite sure, but Abbas* probably had the English translation of ‘Lihaaf ’ published somewhere. The Progressives** neither appreciated nor found fault with me. This suited me well. I was staying with my brother when I wrote ‘Lihaaf’. I had completed the story at night. In the morning I read it out to my sister-inlaw. She didn’t think it was vulgar, though she recognized the characters portrayed in it. Then I read it out to my aunt’s daughter who was fourteen years old. She didn’t understand what the story was about

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question of where one really belongs. But it still is about urban existence in some ways – characters travel a lot, move between countries, between cities, or between village and city. And many of their preoccupations are connected to this peripatetic life.

Prose and Cons

B: A few of the stories in Difficult Pleasures have featured in magazines such as ELLE and Tehelka. On what basis did you choose the stories that now make up Difficult Pleasures? Could you describe the sifting process? AH: Yes, some of these stories were published in magazines and journals before they became part of this book. Putting the collection together was a collaboration between me and my editor at Penguin, Chiki Sarkar. I sent her my published as well as unpublished stories and she picked out the ones she thought would work in a collection. I also rewrote some of the stories based on her feedback.

She has been longlisted for a Man Asian Literary Prize and The Hindu Best Fiction Award for her novel Neti, Neti. Her debut, Lunatic in My Head won rave reviews all round. Acclaimed writer and poet Anjum Hasan sits with The Brew for a tete-atete about her current release Difficult Pleasures, Shillong, and freedom of expression.

Brew: Does Shillong, and the NorthEast, feature in your work consciously, or do your revert to it on a more subconscious level? Anjum Hasan: Writing involves a bit of both. I’ve obviously chosen to write about Shillong in my novels but at the same time the tug, the attraction, the longing to revisit a particular place in your writing – that is perhaps the work of subconscious forces. B: How much poetry do you believe is concealed in prose? AH: Poetry is a more compressed, indirect and oblique form than prose. But the emotion expressed in a poem could also be expressed, in a different way, in prose. So there is a lot of poetry in prose and a lot of prose in poetry.

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B: Do you find it easier to write poetry or prose? AH: I love writing both – both can be difficult pleasures! And both are ultimately ways to say all that has to be said, to lighten the load of what Virginia Woolf called “the enormous burden of the unexpressed”. B: Now that you have made Bangalore your home, do you feel a distancing or a certain disconnect from Shillong? AH: That’s inevitable since I haven’t lived in Shillong for so many years now. But my parents live there and I consider it one of

B: Your husband, Zac O’Yeah, is a writer too. Two writers under one roof, is it a creative force who feed off each other, or are your writings removed from your interactions? Are your writings coloured by each other’s thoughts and ideas? AH: Zac’s being a writer is crucial to my own writing – I can’t imagine a life as a writer without him. We talk about writing a lot of the time. Yes, I think our writings are coloured by each other because we are each other’s first readers and critics. But our sensibilities as writers are completely different so there’s that comfort too – of not needing to worry about being imitative. B: What is your take on reading vis-avis writing? Is the one necessary for the other? AH: It absolutely is! But I don’t mean that in a technical sense, more in a spiritual sense. It’s not as if reading will automatically make you a writer.

More that writing is a conversation with other writing, so how can you have that conversation without reading? B: As a person in the creative field, what is your view on India as a country with relation to freedom of expression and thought? AH: Every time an artist’s freedom is curtailed, it’s a setback for every other artist. What bothers me is that even though art is often accused of having offended people, there is no coherent argument or debate about this offence – simply verbal and physical violence against the artist. I do think it’s possible to be genuinely offended. But how does one express that hurt, what are the ways to redress it, in what ways does an artist’s work become a form of insult? B: What’s next in the offing? AH: I’m working on a novel. It’s a fog at the moment that I’m trying to find my way through

my homes so I visit as often as I can. I still find it a completely fascinating place for its mix of cultures. I do hope to continue writing about it. B: With Lunatic in my Head and Neti, Neti, you wove your novels around Shillong and Bangalore; but with the short stories in Difficult Pleasures, you explore human emotions seemingly disconnected with a city/ place of origin. Is this a deliberate break away? AH: You’re right, Difficult Pleasures isn’t focused on a particular city or the

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Spotlight B: Who would you consider your target clientele? MG: My target would be a woman between 25 and 40.

A cuT above

B: Do your mixed-roots play a big part in your work in general? MG: Yes, they do. The colours mainly have a huge stamp of my mixed race. B: What is the collection you are currently working on? Is there a specific inspiration for it? MG: Nothing new, as of now. I soon begin work on a trousseau line.

Masaba Gupta, termed the Princess of Fashion has been catapulted into the Indian fashion scene with her classic weaves, vibrant colours and bold patchwork. All her outfits channel femininity and boldness saluting the rich culture of India. Zayn Marie Khan talks to the young designer about her craft.

B: What advice would you give to those of our readers who are pursuing a career in fashion designing? MG: I just want to tell them to follow their gut, because somehow there’s a very strong identity down there which will reflect in your work. Otherwise they should just be a little smart about their business plan. I never had one and suffered initially. It sounds boring but it’s worth it. Brew: How and when did you realize that designing was your calling? Masaba Gupta: It was a fluke; I was thrown into it, literally. But it was in my second year of college when Mr. Wendell Rodricks said that I should take this up. That’s when I thought of it seriously. B: Do your designs reflect your personality? If yes, in what way? MG: The only sense in which they are similar is that they are individualistic. I am not as quirky a dresser as my collections. B: For your Summer Collection, you said you were inspired by your culture and roots. Could you elaborate? MG: I have a very contemporary take on fashion but I’ve always felt there are strong Indian elements to it. The summer line was called Sorbet. The colours were icy and pastels. We did jumpsuits, saris with a twist, saris with palazzo pants attached. I found that even though the silhouettes were modern and western based the collection looked very earthy, Indian and had a traditional twist. Since I am half Caribbean, I found that it is because of my roots and my culture that this sort of jugal bandi of fashion is found in my work.

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B: You’re a young, fresh and upcoming designer. Does criticism affect your work? MG: Criticism affects me for about 2 hours after I read it. Then I forget about it. So if it has to, it affects me and never my work. I love and respect my craft. What God has given me has been too much. Also constructive criticism is great! A lot of people said that my finishing was bad, so I worked on it. B: How would you rate the response to your collections in India as opposed to the international market? MG: India is my main market. It is my target market. People have always given it a great response especially with the saris. I found a great response to it in the Middle East too. Unfortunately, not too many takers in Europe though. B: Would you say it was a struggle for you to break away from the family fame and create your own persona in the commercial world? MG: It was never a struggle. I don’t try and break away from it because I will always be that someone’s daughter. It’s an Indian habit to always be in awe of the parent no matter what the child has done. If you think too much about it, it will pressurise you.

B: You’ve recently branched out into costume designing for films. How big is the change and does it stimulate different creative urges? MG: It’s nice to be able to tell a character’s story through costume. Although you have to be selective about what you do because unlike at a fashion week, for example, it’s very different; you get the last creative call. In films there are too many people taking a decision so you have to please everybody.

B: Name three of your favourite movies. Why they are your favourite? MG: Life is Beautiful - It taught me that your perspective in a particular moment matters, nothing else. You can change a negative into a positive. Zubeidaa - I don’t know why, but it had a very lovely charm to it. Udaan- A simple story, so alive in every corner of each city. It was told so beautifully

B: Do you have a muse? MG: No, I don’t B: Which would you say is your favourite city? MG: Mumbai. B: What does your ideal holiday comprise of? MG: My ideal holiday would be anything near the beach with good food.

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Suite Life

Celebrity Getaways

Las Ventanas Al Paraiso

Located in Los Cabos, Mexico, Las Ventanas is the only Five Diamond property in the region. It has been internationally acclaimed (by the likes of Conde Nast Traveler, Trip Advisor and Travel + Leisure) to provide world-class service and an unparalleled attention to detail. It lies along the coast of the Sea of Cortez and is a favourite among celebrities of all kinds. The luxurious rooms, tennis courts, in-room spas and dining areas, a fitness centre and a breath-taking view are the lowest on the list of amenities this resort boasts of. Special services include movie screenings under the stars, tequila tasting and lessons, customised bed sheets, personalised sewing kits, snazzy cars to rent and attentive pool butlers. The resort also offers a personalised video recorded proposal that takes surprise proposals to another level while retaining the charm of romance and intimacy. The Men In White program allows men to cook a romantic, candle-lit dinner 36 | may 2012 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew

for their significant others under the supervision of a chef. One of the most popular departments, however, is the Department of Romance. They organise the most lavish weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries, creating fairytale moments by crafting the entire affair perfectly. It’s no wonder the rich and famous have rated this resort as one of their favourites as they holiday at Las Ventanas repeatedly. The long list of awards received by the resort is well deserved as it truly opens up windows to paradise. Celebrities Spotted at Las Ventanas: ● Jennifer Lopez ● Robin Williams ● Leonardo DiCaprio ● Jessica Alba ● Sheryl Crow ● Jennifer Aniston ● Adam Sandler ● Courteney Cox ● Gerard Butler

Necker Island Zayn Marie Khan takes you through a list of the top hotels where you are most likely to rub shoulders with the who’s who of the film industry.

Necker Island, the home of Sir Richard Branson, is nothing short of brilliance. This holiday destination has become increasingly popular, especially among those wishing to celebrate in style. Situated in the British Virgin Islands, surrounded by clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, it is the perfect getaway from the deafening buzz of everyday life. The private island can be either hired privately or shared with other parties during Celebration Week, held on selected weeks throughout the year. The 74-acre island can accommodate up to 28 guests who are served by a dedicated team of 60 staff members. The water sports team, kitchen staff and housekeepers look after your every need. They work behind the scenes to ensure a smooth and relaxed journey for the guests. Necker Island can be a variety of things for every guest depending on how they spend their vacation. Relaxing afternoons at the beach or a stroll around the island can be complemented with birdwatching, water sports, sailing, Jacuzzis, and a workout at the tennis courts. The real attraction that the island holds, however, is the beautiful ecosystem that surrounds it. In contrast to the plush rooms and exotic food, the island itself has a raw natural charm. With over 200 flamingos gracing the island guests

with an occasional fly past, the reality of nature and her abundance at the island is evident. Celebrities Spotted at Necker Island ● Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo ● Kate Winslet ● David and Victoria Beckham ● Mel Gibson ● Oprah Winfrey ● Steven Spielberg ● Robert De Niro

The Ravine Hotel

Panchgani, Maharashtra, has long been enjoyed as a summer resort. Overlooking the gorgeous Dhom Dam, The Ravine Hotel is burrowed away and is a relaxing break from the bustling market area. Hotel Ravine is equipped with everything necessary for a family holiday – large luxurious rooms, a games room for children and adults alike that includes several arcade games, a swimming pool and a spa to relax in. The resort is the only place to play tennis both in Panchgani and Mahableshwar and boasts of a full-time coach, state-of-the-art ball machines and four official-sized courts that enjoy a beautiful view of the valley. Perhaps the most intriguing amenity that Hotel Ravine offers is Outpost Camping. Luxurious tents are offered to give the feel of a camp-out but are equipped with televisions and telephones for those who cannot live without their gadgets. The

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beautiful surroundings and starry nights with the comfort of a hotel room ensure unforgettable camping holidays. Panchgani is known to be a hot-spot location for Bollywood films. Hotel Ravine has had a large number of superstars (along with entire crews) repeatedly staying with them, thus validating their claim to being one of the best hotels in Panchgani and Mahableshwar. Additionally, Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan celebrated their wedding in 2005 by booking out the entire hotel. Celebrities spotted in Hotel Ravine: ● Shahrukh Khan ● Salman Khan ● Sanjay Dutt ● Rani Mukherji ● The Lagaan Cricket Team ● Om Puri ● Ajay Devgn ● Saif Ali Khan

Acres Wild Farmstay

What happens when you take a successful Bollywood director and change all his views on development, industrialisation, globalisation and mainstream thought? Acres Wild Farmstay is exactly that. Mansoor Khan (of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak fame) was doing perfectly well as a director and writer when he began to uncover the larger truths of life. This eventually led him to open a farmstay in the hills of Coonoor, Nilgiris. It is this journey that he shares with his guests at the farm. Acres Wild Farmstay is a 22-acre farm and residence that allows guests to live in simple but tastefully decorated rooms and experience farm life first-hand. Farm activities include milking cows, making bread and soap, planting vegetables, feeding farm animals and relaxing in a gazebo near the pond. A library, games room and common dinning are part of the facilities available. Although meals are basic and home-cooked, guests enjoy eating vegetables grown on the farm itself. Two things that make this farmstay stand out among the rest are the interactions and conversations with Mansoor Khan and his family, and the in-depth cheesemaking course offered by his wife, Lisa Fonseca. Being a self-taught gourmet cheese-maker, she offers a hands-on cheese-making course; the only one of its kind in India. This course allows guests to

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make a variety of cheeses of their choice. The farmstay provides a refreshing contrast to the over-competitive world. With a largely do-it-yourself attitude, guests are encouraged to work on the farm and share their own holistic experiences. Without any frills, Acres Wild has become a hub for like-minded people who want to give back to the Earth.

The Taj Mahal Palace

The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai has come to be an important political and cultural symbol in India. As one of the best-reputed hotels in the city, it provides a certain old-world charm that cannot be duplicated. Alongside the main structure, the Taj Mahal Tower (a newer addition to the property) is for those with more modern tastes. With hundreds of rave reviews on Trip Advisor and several awards from Conde Nast Traveller, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is a favourite among international businessmen, politicians, celebrities and royalty. Situated on the sea front, the hotel offers a beautiful and incomparable view of the Arabian Sea and Gateway of India. The interiors are as exquisite; the hotel is rich in heritage, elegantly decorated and tells stories of glory and splendour. Among other facilities and services are the Palace Lounge, business centre, state-of-the-art fitness centre, an indulgent salon and shopping experience, and several cruise packages.

The dining options are vast. The Taj Mahal Palace offers 10 top-of-the-line restaurants with culinary experiences from India, the orient, Europe and the Mediterranean. The Japanese restaurant, Wasabi, is said to be the best in the city, where guests can also opt for private dining. An interesting experience is to witness the chef’s skill first-hand in the Chef’s Studio. In spite of the excellence and perfection of every aspect of the building, the real luxury of taking a holiday at this hotel is the exemplary staff. Services provided by the employees include everything from babysitting, booking of tickets and DVD rentals, to recharging phones and repairing laptops. They have been praised by a series of guests on their ready-tohelp attitude. Overall, the hotel has proved to live up to its reputation of being the best in Mumbai city, and among the best in the world. With a building that reflects the glory of a rich history, and a pleasant and courteous staff, there’s no wonder celebrities and business tycoons the

world over choose the Taj Mahal Palace for their visits. Celebrities spotted at Taj Mahal Palace: Hillary Clinton Tom Cruise Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie Salman Khan Shahrukh Khan Priyanka Chopra Amitabh Bachchan Aamir Khan Katrina Kaif Imran Khan Raju Hirani

Celebrities Spotted at Acres Wild: ● Aamir Khan ● Farhan Akhtar ● Imran Khan ● Anurag Kashyap and Kalki Koechlin ● Shobu Yarlagadda ● Tanvi Azmi ● Raageshwari Loomba

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pack your bags tion of Pablo Picasso photographs and it showcases the work of many talented French photographers.

The City Of Cannes


ears of history, luscious vegetation, beaches that look water coloured, villas that hold secrets, museums that reveal them all and still more woven together in a carpet space of 7.58 sqaremiles gives you the grand City of Cannes. It is one thing for a place to have a booming tourism industry but when the tourists are predominantly the world’s finest, it is a whole new story. Cannes speaks of the same story on many different levels. It is that one place that makes you wonder if God ever knew photoshop. From being a pit stop for the Roman trade goods to being the hot spot travel destination, this quaint little fishing village has certainly gone through an image makeover. If anyone knew this was to happen, it had to be Lord Henry Brougham. He was the man who discovered Cannes on a chance visit and fell in love with the place so much that he built a grand mansion Villa Eleonore to call home. The aristocrats of London flocked to see this and were convinced that this was the place to be. This phase that let change take over was first marked with Canna being christened as Cannes.

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Join Poornima Nair as she takes you through the beautiful and mystifying city of cinema, Cannes

If there is one thing that made Cannes a little more significant on the world map, S it is the very fact that this place plays host to the world’s most prestigious film festivals of all ages. Popularly known as Le festival International du film de Cannes in France, it is held annually in the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès which was built exclusively to host the film festival. As many as 27,000established film makers, actors and other pioneers are invited each year to witness the grand celebration of film making and enjoy the exclusivity that comes with it. But that does not make this 12 day long vacation from reality any less enjoyable for the tourists who participate in the movie screenings held at the beach. Even otherwise there is much more to see than just the happenings of the film festival, movie stars throng the streets along with film makers, film critics and aspiring actors almost like props that set the theme ‘Cinema’ all across this Mediterranean town.

Cannes is called the star of the French Riviera and with good reason. After London’s Madame Tussauds and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, the next in line would be

Allée des Étoiles in Cannes. It is an understated landmark of over four hundred celebrity autographs and hand prints in cement slabs that are lined in a street that runs along the Palais des Festivals. Allée des Étoiles or otherwise called the Stars Walk is a favourite among tourists and a great honour for the celebrity as it immortalizes their identity for years to come . Cannes understands celebrity and that perhaps is the factor that catapulted Cannes from its growing town status to that of glamorized cities like Hollywood.

The legend of the Man in the Iron Mask came with the arrival of a new governor of the Bastille, Bénigne d’Auvergne de Saint-Mars who brought with him a masked prisoner who is believed to have been in custody for over 18 years. Surprisingly he was well treated and allowed to go for mass under the one condition that his face had to be covered with a black velvet mask. His secret identity being a mystery to all made them speculate and come up with various theories that were easily believable seeing as nobody was going to justify or wrong their assumptions. He later died and the few remains that he possessed were destroyed, leaving almost no evidence for the people. While some believe he may have been the ruling king Louis XIV’s identical twin brother who was imprisoned to avoid complications at the time of succession, some stories also suggest that he may have been the illegitimate child of the Queen. While the Musée de la Mer is dedicated to the prison system and underwater archaeology system, the cell of the Man in the Iron Mask has garnered much interest where the people have put together pieces of this puzzle. Women dressed head to toe in labels that speak great volumes of fashion, roads adorned with cars that are worthy of exhibitions and hotels right out of a dream would explain a general scene in

Avenue Kruazet, the grand street that covers it all. But if affordability is what you are looking for, take a stroll down the Rue Meynadier and the Rue d’ Antibes, which may not be touristy but then again is a great way associate with the culture of the place. The Cannes La Croisette which stretches from the Palace of festivals upto the Palm Beach Casino is another place bustling with activity. Known as one of the famous promenades in the world, this place gives a picture perfect view of yachts that line the ocean’s horizon. The nightlife here is mostly defined by private beach parties, the famous casinos namely Palm Beach Casino at Pointe de la Croisette, Casino Croisette at the Palais des Festivals and Casino des Princes boulevard de la Croisette. From luxury shopping, eating in fancy French cafes to putting luck to test at the casino, everything happens here. Cannes being very cosmopolitan offers a wide range of cuisine to choose from be it Italian, Creole, Armenian, American, Greek or Mexican food and there is the traditional French cuisine as well. The best would be La Villa des Lys, La Palme d’Or, le Royal Gray and the Belle Otéro, each so fine that food is sure to be an experience. The food breezes through different lands. From dim lit terraces, beneath elaborate frescos to under the palm trees, or even along a street in La Suquet, the restaurants in Cannes tells us that it is not just food but the whole experience that truly counts.

The city of Cannes is an epitome of infinite beauty and has a magnetic pull that makes you want to go out there to be a part of the place. This city is composed of a lifestyle that only glossy magazine pages can rightly define and no amount of travel stories can ever prepare you for! Be it a postcard, a bottle of wine, a tourist map, perfume, cheese or a photograph, there will always be that little bit of solid memory of Cannes that you will always want and a whole lot of an experience that you will always have

FUN FACTS Take a look at the waters of the Cannes from a glass-bottomed boat, the Nautilus The Plage de la Batterie is a quiet and sandy nudist beach, to escape the restraints of clothing The Marche Forville, the best food market in Cannes gives you a peek into the delicacies of France On Mondays, the Marche Forville is converted to a flea market called Marché Brocante where you can rummage through antiques The population of the city triples during the Cannes Film Festival The prestigious yacht parking costs between $130,500 and $400,000 during the film festival

Museums make good landmarks on maps but on an average tourist’s list, not so much. At Cannes on the other hand there is an array of museums worth a day’s excursion, worthy because even an ignorant twenty year old will not give this a miss. There is the nineteenth century Malmaison Museum complete with landscaped gardens and exquisite artwork, the Musee de la Marine, a memorial built for Admirol Francois-Joseph Paul which is a grand exhibition of almost 30 model ships, the Fragonard Museum which is an epitome of perfumery and gives the finest details that go in the process, the Musee de la Photographie boasts of a collec-

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a starspaNgled night out As Babban in the 1988 runaway success Tezaab, Suyash “Chunky” Pandey solidified his place in Bollywood for years to come. In the mid-90s, he moved on to break ground in Bangladeshi cinema which catapulted him into superstardom almost overnight. Chunky continues to work in Bollywood, and his recent turn as Aakhri Pasta in Housefull and Housefull 2 has got the box-office ringing. But when he isn’t working on a film, Chunky focuses on his resto-pub, The Elbo Room, which has become a regular haunt for those who prefer a more laidback evening in Mumbai. Abhinav Krishnaswamy in conversation with the actor. Brew: What was the idea of launching a pub in a city already teeming with pubs? Chunky Pandey: We launched Elbo Room with the idea of not catering to the college crowd. We kept it in a price range that was slightly higher, so that it catered to an empowered youth, between the age of 22 to 30. We have created a laid-back atmosphere, conducive to unwinding. B: Do you have any plans of opening up branches in other cities? CP: Expansion is always an idea, but that extends only to buying out the neighbouring property! There is another branch of Elbo Room in Powai (Mumbai), which I am not affiliated with. So, nothing on the cards for other cities as of now; why derail a moving train? B: What is it about Mumbai that blends together lifestyle with cinema? CP: It’s so much a part and parcel of everything that goes on in this city – work hard, party harder This ‘blend’ is taken for granted, almost.

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B: Do you refresh your menu often? CP: We just introduced a new dish called Aakhri Pasta! Order it if you wish to impress your lady friend, as it’s the most expensive dish on the menu! B: Do bands play at The Elbo Room? CP: Not right now, no. But we’re planning on introducing that sometime later. For now, we primarily play rock and jazz music. B: Congratulations on reprising your role in Housefull 2. Do you have any other films in the pipeline? CP: Yes, two actually. Hum Hain Raahi Car Ke - it’s a road trip film in which i play four characters. And the other is Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum, a sequel to Kya Kool Hai Hum., B: You made a foray into Bangladeshi cinema. What has been your experience there? CP: It was like being in a time-warp, because in the ‘90s, Bangladesh was making films that resembled India’s ‘80s films, in terms of look and feel. I was just happy

that they received me well, and that my films were hits there. I didn’t speak a word of Bengali though - everything was dubbed over. B: 3 of your films you would want to do again. CP: Tezaab, Housefull, and Vishwatma.

B: Which is your favourite cuisine? CP: I love my vegetarian food, and Gujarati food would be at the top. B: If you had only Rs.50 to spend on food, what would your first choice be? CP: Mumbai’s vada paav! B: Do you enjoy cooking? What do you cook best? CP: I can make ice cubes and eggs! But, I bake cakes with my daughter on the weekends. B: In the film world, who do you rate as one of the best chefs? CP: Actors normally don’t cook themelves, but if I had to choose it would be Akshay Kumar, since he has trained as a chef. B: Which is your favourite dish and drink at Elbo Room? CP: It would have to be Akhri Pasta, paired with a Kingfisher Ultra B: Which is your favourite restaurant in Dhaka? CP: I love the meals I eat at people’s homes there. I would put on 5 kilos every time I went there Address: Behind the levi’s store, Linking Road, Khar West, Mumbai Tel: 26483315/16

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Gourmet Outings

Pig Out! Celebrity Style

The popularity of celebrityowned restaurants is growing by the day. Amrutha Anandanathan takes a dive into the rich and famous’ culinary obsession.


ore people today are excited by the prospect of dining at establishments opened by their favourite stars. Be it silver screen actor or pop star, these stars have now made a name for themselves in the restaurant business. The concept is not new; many Hollywood stars started doing this, years ago. It would seem as though the natural progression for celebrities in India today is to semi-establish themselves in their field, and then open up an eatery, a fitness club, or design a clothing line. But while the clothing and fragrance industry has yet to gain celebrity-ground in India, owning a restaurant is definitely on their to-do list. Tendulkar’s in Colaba, Mumbai, is one of the best known celebrity-owned restaurants in our country. Considered one of the finest batsmen of all time, Tendulkar opened this restaurant which claims to be an extension of his tastes. Tendulkar’s offers a clean and polished setting, with blue and white walls that sport (surprise, surprise) cricket memorabilia. For die-hard cricket fans, it’s the place to tuck into their hero’s favourite dishes, while soaking in a little bit of the Master Blaster. Bollywood action hero Sunil Shetty first opened Mishchief Dining Bar, which today has become the famous vegetarian Italian eatery, Little Italy. The actor said that though he closed down the former restaurant, it was his father who encouraged him to give it to the Little Italy group to manage. So while Sunil’s film career seems to have plateaued, his restaurant still has hoards of fans that eat there regularly. In Sunil’s case, his restaurant’s popularity is what still keeps him in people’s thoughts!

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Nagarjuna is another celebrity restauranteur who owns Touch, the multi-cuisine eatery decked out Hyderabadi-style (don’t miss the floralmotif wallpaper, and a picture of the Nizams’ crown which hangs on the wall). This restaurant relies on its novel ambience (there are pockets which have minimal décor, to inspire Zen-like serenity) to keep the customers coming in.

Sea Shell is, by popular opinion, the place to find the best tandoori chicken in Chennai. Owned by Kollywood’s light-

eyed hero Arya, this Arabian restaurant is a great place for a casual lunch or dinner. Though the menu comprises of Chinese, north Indian and continental dishes, it is their Arabian specialties that have Chennaiites drooling. If you do not have the privilege of being invited to Asha Bhonsle’s home for a meal, you can always fly to Dubai and book a table at Asha’s. The crooner’s love for cooking is what brought about the birth of her famous fine-dine eatery, and at Asha’s customers are treated to her culinary specials. The plush interiors and warm colours make for a cozy setting, and their famous kebabs, washed down by the delicious cocktails, are made even more enjoyable as the DJ plays mixes of Asha’s hits. Actors aren’t the only ones who nurture gourmet dreams. Film director, producer and actor Satish Kaushik has yet another feather in his cap. His restaurant Khana Unlimited in Delhi offers home-style vegetarian fare, in an ambience that reflects Kaushik’s love for cinema. The

space is decked out with film posters, with spaces for artists to display their work. The director, known for his romantic movies, confesses to being a softy, and his passion for food ensures a mouth-watering meal. Ad guru, Prahlad Kakkar is also part of the restaurant business with Papa Pancho and Sarso Da Saag in Mumbai. These restaurants offer home style Punjabi cuisine and is aimed at satisfying your North Indian food craving. Papa Pancho plays Punjabi music and has bead curtains, cutlery and bolsters that give you a dhaba-like feel. The mascot, a sardarji flasher in striped underwear adds to the quirkiness of the place. Kakkar says that it is not his name that brings in the patrons but it is the food and value for money that customers get. The esteemed advertisement maker is now set to open outlets in Gujarat and Dubai. Soon after a stint in London, Ritu Dalmia came back to India to open up her restaurant Diva in Greater Kailash, Delhi. Dalmia, the spirited, short-haired chef rose swiftly to stardom after her show Italian Khana ran for three seasons has now started another show called Travelling Diva. The acclaimed chef prides herself at being a purist and will never compromise on Italian cuisine. She now runs a café in Chanakyapuri in the Italian Embassy’s Italian Cultural Centre, Latitude 28 at Khan Market and DIVA Piccola at Hauz Khas village in Delhi. Dalmia also has a catering business and is the consulting chef with Divattra, the spa restaurant in Delhi. With this wide range of eateries and several cookbooks, this Indian maestro of Italian cuisine is on a roll.

to pop into the mind is Sanjeev Kapoor. Khana Khazana, the cookery show hosted by Kapoor was the longest running of its kind on Indian television. His newest endeavour is a television channel called Food Food. The Sanjeev Kapoor restaurant brand builds on the fact that when it comes to the Indian dining experience, food is synonymous with entertainment. There are five signature restaurants under Sanjeev Kapoor’s name. Khazana offers chef-inspired Indian dishes, redefined. It boasts luxurious ambiance, private dining rooms and interactive tables. The Yellow Chilli has a much more relaxed and casual atmosphere. It serves popular Indian food with a twist so people can enjoy these delectable treats at affordable prices. The Pin Yin Café is an oriental restaurant that specializes in Asian cuisine. Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor is a fine dining restaurant that serves this celebrity chef’s signature dishes as well as other authentic Indian

delights. The Sura Vie Lounge is quite different from all the other restaurants under the Sanjeev Kapoor brand name. It offers international comfort food and features contemporary Indian music. The ambiance and events hosted at the Sura Vie Lounge will reflect Indian contemporary music.

Setting up a restaurant is hard enough but here is an entire chain of restaurants under a celebrity chef. When one thinks of a celebrity Indian chef, the first person

While a lot of celebrities prefer eating out a few like to try their hand at cooking tasty morsels themselves. MTV’s favourite VJ, Maria Goretti gave up show business and settled down to become wife to actor Arshad Warsi. But with her show Do It Sweet Goretti made her big comeback to the television circuit six

years later. On her show, she teams up with Chef Vicky Ratnani to whip up some delicious desserts. The show concentrates on helping viewers create guilt free, low calorie sweet treats. Goretti also enjoys Thai, Italian and Lebanese cuisine and hopes to set up a restaurant soon. Like Dalmia, Kapoor and Goretti who have attained star status after popular cooking shows, we have the highly controversial Gordon Ramsay. A chef, television star and restaurateur all packed into one, this chef has a big stake in both the culinary and the entertainment world. A number of celebrities have also taken to hosting cooking shows. Padma Lakshmi for example became a household name after the show, Food Planet and then made a comeback as the host of Top Chef. Chefs like Jamie Oliver, Kylie Kwong, Curtis Stone and Rocco Dispirito have all made names for themselves by hosting a range of cooking shows. With the increased number of lifestyle channels and the growing fan base in our country it sure is looking good for all the chefs out there. From celebrities turning chefs to chefs turning celebrities, there is evidently a connection between the two that is only getting stronger

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | may 2012 | 45

a little more

Cause and Effect

Several celebrities in our country have managed to dedicate their time and effort to do a lot more than just pose for the cameras. Abhinav Krishnaswamy and Amrutha Anandanthan take a look at the popular causes these celebrities support


ctors and actresses across the globe have lent their faces, names and personalities to various products and campaigns over the years. Be it a shampoo commercial, or life insurance, the idea of an actor being thought of as a brand once rarely stretched beyond these parameters. But today, lots of celebrities have started using their clout to raise their hands in support of various causes.


amir Khan: This “thinking man’s hero” leads the cause charge, forging associations with a plethora of causes across the country. Way back in 2006, he participated in the demonstrations organized by the Narmada Bachao Andolan. He, along with committee leader Medha Patkar protested the Gujarat government’s decision to raise the height of the Narmada dam, which would have displaced countless people who lived in the surrounding areas. He did not back down when he faced protests and a partial ban on his movie Fanaa. He has also offered his support to the Janlokpal Bill Movement led by Anna Hazare in 2011. He became part of the nationwide movement to make politicians accountable to a separate tribunal set-up to deal with corruption charges. Currently, he hosts a social issue-based talk show call Satyameva Jayate which debuted on 6th May, 2012. In the first episode, he broached the issue of female infanticide, and analyzed the break-up of the social evil over both rural and urban societies.


uriya: In 2008, Kollywood superstar Suriya began the Agaram Foundation, which provides help to children who are forced to drop-

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about HIV and AIDS. Additionally, she also heads the Shilpa Shetty Foundation which spreads awareness about the HIV in India. She has corresponded with many notable spokespersons such as Richard Gere, who has made several visits to the country to be a part of the cause.


risha Krishnan: Since June 2010, Tamil actor Trisha Krishnan has been the brand ambassador for People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The actor was the star of the Angel for Animals campaign and posed for posters along with a canine friend. She goes by her motto, “Be Indian, Bark India” and encourages people to take pride in adopting Indian community dogs. The star believes that every Indian dog deserves love and respect, and that nded, lying on the side of the road. Ever since, Cadbury has been a constant companion to the actor. Alongside PETA, this petite actress has created a lot of awareness among the public, and continues to fight for the cause.


out of school early. In 2010, the Tamil Nadu-centric organization sponsored 159 underprivileged students for their higher education in various disciplines. It also works towards providing adequate opportunities to the rural population of the state. This is carried out with a belief that an educated mind can eliminate social evils, and aid in the economic and social upbringing of society. In association with the Ministry of Education in Tamil Nadu,

Suriya produced a short commercial titled Herova? Zerova? It outlined child poverty, child labour and lack of education, and starred other celebrities like R. Madhavan, Jyothika, and Vijay. The actor also actively participates in other philanthropic endeavours such as the Save The Tigers campaign, and REACH, a non-profit organization that cures tuberculosis patients for free using supervised medical programs.


hilpa Shetty: The Bollywood actress takes great pains to spread the charity to several causes globally. She is a part of Act Against Bullying, a UK-based organization set up to remotivate victims of bullying, an active contributor to CRY (Child Rights and You), and is one of the faces for the Heroes Project. The former deals with providing relief to underprivileged children in India; the latter is an organization created to spread awareness

lle Breast Cancer Campaign: October, the month dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness, saw the origin of the Elle Breast Cancer Campaign in 2008. The Ogaan Cancer Foundation and the ELLE Breast Cancer Campaign have committed themselves to promoting the awareness of breast cancer. A number of celebrities such as Kareena Kapoor, Poonam Sinha, and Lisa

Haydon have taken up the cause and are seen in the print commercials for the pink ribbon initiative. The campaign began with an advertisement featuring the beautiful supermodel Mehr Jesia; it was targeted at urban Indian women, amongst whom this form of cancer is the most prevalent. Jesia said that she agreed to do the commercial as the cause was close to her heart. The current brand ambassador of the ELLE Breast Cancer Campaign is none other than the vibrant Sonam Kapoor, and has appeared in an advertisement campaign for the magazine as well. Last year, the campaign came up with the Wear

Pink to Work Day, where more than 40 corporate houses participated to show their support.


elina Jaitley: Another celebrity who has dedicated her time to a worthwhile cause is Celina Jaitley. The former Miss World caught the public’s eye when she began campaigning for repealing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality. S he launched the country’s first LGBT magazine, Bombay Dost and vociferously fights for the rights of sexual minorities. Her work with the gay rights issue began after witnessing the trauma that the homosexual faced. A transgender make-up artist who was a close friend of the actor was a victim of gay bashing, and later passed away in an accident. Jaitley was also in a relationship with a closeted homosexual man who passed away because of depression and bulimia as a result of the constant stress he faced. By lending her support to this cause, Jaitley hopes that people in our country will do away with their homophobic attitude and begin to accept people for who they are.


o while more celebrities are being seen throwing their weight behind issues of national, political and human issues, only time will tell if their support helps further the causes they represent.

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Bollywood and the Fitness Phenomenon


India, known for its people’s obsession with cinema, has taken to bodybuilding thanks to its celluloid heroes. For every chiseled hero, there is a dutiful trainer on the sidelines. Abhinav Krishnaswamy takes an inside look at the training methods used by the stars, and even tries things out for himself.

he elderly statesman in Bollywood had it relatively easy: no one thought twice about how he looked without his shirt. His last concern was his physique; he was either born with it, or made up for his lack of it by flexing his acting chops. Thus, heartthrobs were made not from muscle, but gesticular fortitude. Today’s actors have a whole lot more to deal with. Skin, from both parties, is definitely in. Stars have to strive harder and harder to maintain an enviable physique, a physique worth emulating. This phenomenon has rubbed off onto their audience, lots of whom crave a sculpted exterior much like their heroes. And this where celebrity trainers step in. They are vital to the actor as they help them get and stay fit. Trainers are equipped with extensive knowledge to craft a workout plan catered to the individual’s needs, so that they reach their fitness goals. Inn the world of

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Day 1: Shoulder, obliques, chest Clean press super-setted with overhead side lateral raises with a resistance band; bent over dumbbell rear deltoid raises super-setted with shrugs. Lots of incline presses, swiss-ball, bosu-ball pushups. Day 2: Legs and calves Weighted squats super-setted with dumbbell jumping squats, dumbbell lunges super-setted with leg-press, leg extension and leg

curls, and calf raises. Day 3: Back, forearms and abs 100 chinups, lateral pull-down on the pulley;

Gethin also uses techniques that he has designed himself, like the Dramatic Transformation Principle or DTP. This training program also assists a person with nutritional and supplementation information. All of this is captured over 84 videos, where one transforms along with him. Here’s an example of a day in his training regime:

Gethin is also responsible for a small fitness craze that is gestating in the country among the fitness-conscious.

Hamstring Curl: 2 warm-up sets of 15 reps, 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Week One, Day One: Leg Press: 4-5 warm-up sets of 10-12 reps, 3 sets of 12-20 reps

and seated rowing super-setted with dumbbell rowing. Reverse easy-bar curls and wrist curls. Day 4: Biceps and triceps Barbell curl superset with cable rope overhead triceps extension. Incline dumbbell curls super-setted with lying triceps extension. Concentration or hammer-curl supersetted with cable triceps extension. Day 5: Rest. (A Super-Set refers to a combination of two exercises with no rest in between.) Along with this, Suriya was made to do regular cardio in the form of a 6 to 8 kilometer run. Welsh trainer Kris Gethin is a worldwide legend in the arena of fitness training. He is the editor-in-chief of www., and is in India at the moment, training Hrithik Roshan for the next installment of the Krrish series. He is also participating in Sheru Classic, a bodybuilding expo that takes place in Mumbai in October, where he will be conducting a guest seminar.

fitness training there are two men who are the go-to guys for all our stars Alkhas Joseph and Kris Gethin. Alkhas, widely known as the man responsible for Suriya’s six-pack physique in Ghajini, is currently in the United Kingdom, where he has been called on set to train Vikram for his upcoming release Thaandavam. Here is a snippet of his training program, designed for Suriya prior to his transformation in Ghajini:

Gethin’s popularity in India is due in large part to Roshan. The Bollywood heartthrob had been tracked down by Roshan, who was recovering from an injury to his back at the time. This injury had put him out of physical activity for a long time. Kris had no idea who he was, and did not really care. He looked to help anyone who was in it for the long haul. Within weeks, he had Roshan back up to fighting form, and the media splashed the story of Roshan’s transformation for weeks on end, making Gethin a household name in India.

Through his hardcore 12-week trainer that is up for perusal on www., he teaches people to get in shape without spending a bomb. Gethin never sticks to the same exercises, changing them up every week, and uses methods taught to him by fellow bodybuilding icons like Neil ‘Yoda’ Hill (the developer of the YT3 - Yoda 3 Weeks Training).

Lying Hamstring Curl: 2 warm-up sets, 3 sets of 15 reps, in 12-15 reps Leg Extensions: 2 warm-up sets of 15-20 reps, half 2 sets of 15-20 reps Hack Squat: 2 warm-up sets of 15-20 reps, 3 sets of 20-30 reps Cardio: 20 minutes Kris Gethin is also active on his Twitter page, @kagedmuscle, where he answers queries and provides motivation.

The Brew Tries It Out I have been on the 12-week trainer for ten weeks now. During the first few weeks, I found it very difficult to adapt, having not been remotely close to a gym in years. As the program progressed, I did too. Now, with two weeks to go, I have shed over 12 kilograms, lost three inches off my waist, and my lifting strength has doubled. As I was not a fan of supplements, I chose to stay away from them. This program also taught me to discipline myself when it came to nutrition, thanks to the very specific instructions on meal timings, and a foolproof diet plan. My motivation levels have increased and I now look forward to working out at the gym everyday.

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by Pankhuri Agarwal

Aries: This is a fabulous month for the strong-willed Arian. It’s a great time for business opportunities, and travel - possibly overseas for work and leisure. Arian women will find abundance in their lives, and the men will take on added responsibilities. Watch out for lack of gratitude towards the self and the universe; it may reduce the magnitude of all that you are capable of receiving. Selflove seems to come easily to you this month, and it brings with it a sense of fulfilment.

Gemini: Your potential is at its best, and you are blessed with the highest creative energies. New beginnings come with the fire to enable you to complete them, and you can look forward to stable relationships, material comforts and celebrations. For those in relationships, sex is on the cards. The only thing to watch out for is a rigid thinking pattern and obligatory meetings as they hinder your growth.

Leo: You may feel bored and stagnated in the beginning of the month with the necessity to keep to yourself, and you may even feeling like you are sitting on a secret. Finances may not seem optimal, but be patient and have faith. All your hard work will pay off. Towards the end of the month you will find yourself in an abundance of money and contentment.

Libra: A tough month, but in the long run it’ll prove to be good for you. You may find yourself upset emotionally, so keep loved ones close to you. They will be able to keep you stable and show you the real light of the issue. Materialism may rule your head, so try and see other sides of an issue before pronouncing any verdict. Do not make or expect unnecessary sacrifices.

Sagittarius: Great power comes to you this month for you to utilise in any manner that you please. Though it will make you extremely happy, it’ll also make you question if you’re capable of handling this power. Do a little introspection and keep your thoughts within you and you will find yourself at the receiving end of riches beyond measure.

Aquarius: Try and work by yourself this month as being around people will make u anti-social, defensive or reclusive. Do not try to do others’ work as you will miss out on your own. As you work by yourself, you will discover great potential, dimensions, and talents within you that were hidden for so long.

Taurus: A mixed month for the Taurian. It may begin with you feeling emotionally imbalanced - take regular leisurely walks barefoot on the grass, and watch out for water retention. Travel is on the cards, but might prove to be a little inconvenient. Towards the end of the month family time will make for fond memories that will keep you smiling. A childhood issue may get resolved.

Cancer: You’ve carried the burden of your own thoughts and others’ opinions too long. It’s time for you to reach the end of that journey and let go of all burdens, and become carefree. Beware of becoming careless though; do not take your inner voice for granted. This will bring new growth in your life that is both pleasant and hopeful. Your health will improve, and you will begin to look and feel younger.

Virgo: This looks to be a fairly good month. Meeting up with loved ones, parties, gettogethers’ and socialising is on the cards. There may be minor internal conflicts, but overall you’ll have a good time. Your career may slow down, but your finances won’t. It’s a good time for romance, but don’t let your ego and eccentricity ruin it.

Scorpio: Something that you were craving for, or was lost, is coming back to you. It brings with it great joy, warmth and completeness. Your soul has been put back on your life purpose, and will be content. Do not take what has been returned to you for granted, and get tempted into other things that are not yours.

Capricorn: A month of indecision, as you may find yourself in the midst of too many options. Saying yes or no may seem to be the toughest thing to you. If you can trust that fate and time will do the best for you, you’ll be able to make the best decisions of your life. Also forget the mistakes of your past, they do not affect or shadow decisions of the future.

Pisces: This is a month to toughen up and rule the roost. Tap into your inner strength to calm, cajole and even control others around you. This month finds you in a role of authority; a lot of mental work will require strength of character as well. Keep loved ones close, but refrain from sexual activities as they clash with your agenda this month. Pray regularly to maintain strength and keep your purpose intact.

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