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DECEMBER 2012 VOL 03 ISSUE 03 ` 40

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Dear Readers An interesting tale unfolds as you go through this month’s exclusive Brew interviews done just for its readers. We have Korean living legend’s earworm “Gangnam Style’d” for you as our cover this month. More than just a Youtube sensation, you will be pleasantly surprised that there’s a lot more to Psy than meets the eye. This month, we partner with Nefertari and Universal Music to do the “Official” Gangnam parties in the country. Browse through the issue to find a chat with Ms.Anusha Dhayanidhi, the young entrepreneur who runs Nefertari. Finally, this month we pay a delayed tribute to late Mr Rajesh Khanna and Industrylegend Yash Chopra Saab and follow the amazing journey they both took to shape Bollywood through brilliant cinema. Last but not least, we take you to the lush green valleys of north east India, to the tunes of Dylan-inspired Mr. Lou Majaw. I could go on, but I wouldn’t want you to wait any longer. It’s your magazine as much as it is ours. Let’s brew through the pages together. Until next time. Sameer Bharat Ram Editor

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CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE

Creative Director 01 Mihir Ranganathan Art Director 02 Sibiraj Bastin Graphic Designer 03 Abhilasha Kushwaha 01

02

03 Sub-Editor 04 Sanchayan Deka

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06

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Operations 05 Nishant Chopra Marketing 06 Praveen Khanna M. V. 07 Niteesh Menon

07

Circulation & Sales 08 Seeman Ezhumalai

08 BRAND PARTNERS

Contributors Cover Page Ramesh Acharya Photographers Rahul Dev S.SriiramaSanthosh

www.thebrewmagazine.com 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

CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW | DECEMBER 2012 | 5


CONTRIBUTORS AND ADVISORY BOARD Sethumadhavan N. Sethumadhavan.N holds an MBA from XLRI-Jamshedpur and has a background in the FMCG & Retail sectors. It was while leading the editorial team at PassionForCinema.com ( a popular movie portal that’s now defunct ) that Sethu realized that his true passion was Cinema and everything connected to it, including the business side of it. Currently based in Mumbai,Sethu works in the education sector and also runs www.madaboutmoviez.com, a portal dedicated to Indie/Small films,Regional Cinema and World Cinema. Sethu has also been associated with filmmaking workshops and film festivals.

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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CONTENTS

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VOL 03 ISSUE 03

FEATURES

COVER STORY

13 14

25

THE AUDI Q - DRIVE

CONFESSION OF AN ARTIST

RAMESH ACHARYA

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ZINDAGI EK SAFAR...

RAJESH KHANNA

34

NEELA AASMAN SO GAYA

YASH CHOPRA 25

38

KNOCKING ON DYLAN’S DOOR

LOU MAJAW

PSY - CHOLOGY

INTERVIEW

10

VIR DAS

THE REAL VIR DAS PLEASE STAND UP

18

GAYATRI SHANTARAM

TAKING FLIGHT

22

ANUSHA DHAYANIDHI

ORDINARY TO EXTRAORDINARY

42

BREW’S 2ND ANNIVERSARY

46

BOM

ONE DAY AHEAD OF DEMOCRACY

49

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CINEMA

IN CONVERSATION WITH VIR ON STAND-UP, MOVIES AND MUSIC

T

he acclaimed stand-up comedian, Mr. Vir Das performed in Chennai on 20th Oct 2012. This show was brought to Chennai in aid of charity by Madras Mylapore Ladies Circle # 4 (MMLC4) and Basics Life (Shop Like a Man). Mr. Vir Das has a distinguished background having studied theatre at both the Knox and Harvard Universities in the US. These were the formative

— NISHANT CHOPRA

years, which honed his enthusiasm for comedy. He is today, India’s most loved and foremost stand-up comedian. He also runs ALIEN CHUTNEY, a music band which produces foot-tapping music with humorous lyrics - another first by this iconic funny man! His good looks and naughty smile combined with exceptional acting talent have not gone unnoticed by Bollywood. He has featured in several Hindi movies, the most popular being Delhi Belly.

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Q. How did you start? I have read you went abroad to study.

A. I started like how all good kids do, by lying to my parents. (Laughs) So, I went abroad on heavy scholarships. My family is middle class from UP. My dad was the black sheep of the family because he got into business. I went to study Economics on heavy scholarships. I was looking at 90-95% scholarships. So the 4000 dollars spent a year, was spent towards


economics. Very quickly one semester in, I switched to Theater. I didn’t tell my parents about it for 3 years until the final year, I called my dad and said “Please sit down, I have been studying Theater and I want to be an actor.” He said “Okay, Screw you! Please complete your Economics Degree.” So in a year and a half I had to do two majors, one in Economics and one in Theater. Stand-up took route because I had done four years of heavy training in acting. My program was about stand-up laughs. It had very heavy method acting and lots of Shakespeare, Chekov, Miller, Simon, etc. Four years of that and I really wanted something which is more organic, a little more improvisation. So, I started writing and listening to stand-up comedy. Q. When and which was your first stand-up show?

A. I wrote my first show in my senior year, just before I graduated. It was called “Brown Men Can’t Hump”. It was for 90 minutes, probably 2 minutes of jokes and 88 minutes of cursing.

than I was. They were dedicated to an older and refined audience. Suddenly I came in and shows sold out one after the other and it went well. I found 16 and 18 year olds were trying to get in. I rode a youth wave and that created a connect. Q. How did you enter the Television Industry?

A. Like I said, it’s just luck. I went down to do a show for the Times of India and somebody called me and said they were launching a new channel called Zoom. I said “Okay, What is it?” They wanted a VJ. I replied, “Sure, What is a VJ?” I did a show in Zoom “Sabhin Linein Maast Hain”. I was unemployed and off the air in 6 months, the show died. Later, I went to my friend’s house, got a camcorder and shot a pilot on his dinning table and took it to CNBC. CNBC gave me this primetime show called “News On The Loose”. That kind of gave me to Star World and it just went from there. It wasn’t planned at all. I wish I can tell you “This is what I did or whatever!”

(laughs) I said yes to whatever came my way. Q. How did you get into movies later?

A. I have been offered films for a long time now. I said I am not doing it until I really like something which I would do. I duck out and do films purely for my own ‘matlab’ (Hindi word meaning - reason). I did a scene in Namastey London because I was a Rishi Kapoor fan. Love Aaj Kal, because I wanted to go to London and do stand-up comedy for six weeks. Then I saw Rand de Basanti and realized the cinema I want to do is getting made. That year I auditioned for two films, 3 Idiots and Delhi Belly. So, Delhi Belly and Badmassh worked out. The intension was always to act because I had studied acting as well. Standup comedy found me along the way somewhere. The nice thing about having two careers is really that you can afford to do what you like. You don’t have to do a film to pay the rent and you don’t have to do a show to pay

Q. What did you do after completing your graduation?

A. In 2003, I worked in a restaurant called Grand Lux Café, Chicago. I washed dishes there. It was two blocks away from a restaurant that did amateur nights for comedy. I got 2-2.5 minutes slots there and was booed off stage first 14 weeks in a row because I wasn’t very good. The fact that I had done my first show in front of so many friends was really a disservice to the creative process. Then, I really started writing and working and kind off went from there, started doing 20-30 minutes set. Q. Decided to come back to India next?

A. Came down to India for a vacation. My mom begged and pleaded this one lady who runs the India Habitat Center, to give me a show. Not many were really doing stand-up comedy as such back then. The ones doing it were a little bit older and a little bit refined CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW | DECEMBER 2012 | 11


the rent either. You can do a show or a film that you like and has a good heart as well. Q. Don’t you think one overshadows the other?

A. No, It compliments each other perfectly. People who had never seen stand-up comedy before came because of Delhi Belly, Badmassh Company and people who had never seen me in films before came and saw my film because they watched me do stand-up comedy. Post Delhi Belly, it is hard to deny that life has changed a little bit. The amount of people who know me have gone up a 100 times. But, stand-up comedy gives me a very cool grounding connect. Q. What do you think about the Chennai Crowd?

A. They are very surprising! Stand-up comedy is about the room and not the city. I have these Rajnikanth Jokes and I am scared to crack them because you guys are violent about Rajnikanth. I am a big fan BTW! Q. You have scripted a lot of Award Shows in Bollywood, Tell us more about that experience.

A. It was a journey. The minute Filmfare went young with Imran and Ranbir for the first time, that’s the first year I wrote it. It went from me telling them “I am talented, I am a good writer and now let me write this.” I was supposed to write two sketches and they gave me the entire award show. Next year I asked them to put me on stage and I hosted a segment of Filmfare and later I hosted the Stardust Awards. Q. What’s next in the bag? What do we look forward to?

A. I have 6 movie releases in 2013. I have basically been at work since Delhi Belly, I shot 290 days in the last year. I am writing my new show. That will take a couple of months. “History of India Vir Itten” is going to do a world tour. Alien Chutney is dropping an album soon as well.

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Audi Chennai had organized a unique drive experience for their customers from 26th to 28th October 2012 at the ATV track, East Coast Road. The Audi Q-Drive was an initiative which gave enthusiasts a chance to discover the power and luxury of the Audi Q3, Audi Q5 and Audi Q7. The Q series is patented with the Quattro technology that has made driving conditions more responsive and adaptive. The brands aim at establishing itself in the SUV category, for consumers wanting the power of an SUV and the comfort and handling of a luxury car, the Q series has been Audi’s offering to that segment. Audi Chennai wanted their customers to get a feel of

these wonderfully engineered cars which handle tough conditions with such ease, without compromises on luxury and safety. True to the German car maker’s brand perception these cars are a potent combination of technology, comfort and power. Audi Chennai furthermore ensured that the experience turned out memorable as the enthusiasts interacted with India’s most prominent motorsport experts - Prithveen and Gaurav Dalal on how to handle these powerful machines. The enthusiasts after the three days wished the Audi Q drive never ended, as this event gave the participants an exciting opportunity to discover these extraordinary vehicles.

THE

Q - Drive

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ART

CONFESSION OF AN ARTIST: RAMESH ACHARYA - Nishant Chopra

C

hennai is a roaring city. And it has a lavishly rich cultural and artistic heritage. It is, now, fast emerging as a centre for contemporary art. While stating contemporary one cannot but mention the materialization of digital painting in the recent past. Many artists in Chennai have taken to this innovative medium thereby giving their thoughts a new expression. Digital painting is an emerging art form and falls under a different genre altogether. It is by no means a substitute for traditional art. All digital painting programs try to simulate the use of physical media through various tools that represent the traditional style like oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pen and even media such as airbrushing. A digital artist uses many if not all the techniques of a traditional painter. With its amazing range of brushes, paper textures and paints there are no limitations to what an artist can create. The artist reflects his vision of line, form, colour, composition and rhythm which results in paintings that are an outcome of knowledge of art and design principles. The emotion and the message in the painting are the artist’s own. The process of arriving at a piece of work and the final output is

generated from within, the computer is just a device. Art Houz, recently witnessed a collection of digital paintings by Ramesh Acharya S. He displayed works that were of high quality and awe inspiring which had a strong sense of beauty and vitality. The series titled ‘a confluence of traditional and contemporary’ featured 24 brilliant compositions which reflected the artist’s ease to travel through various media. Acharya captivated the viewers with the mixed media digital painting, foam board murals finished with acrylic paint and his unique paintings

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combined with velvet and airbrush work. The paintings capture the artist’s idea of looking beyond the common and mundane. What we see as everyday objects, Acharya perceives them as art ideas. Acharya says, “Perception is everything and what we perceive is what we portray”. He passionately believes in his simple philosophy that every aspect of the universe has a dimension to it and it is our perspective that decides how we take it. His inspiration lies in music and he uses his knowledge to cross the bridge between the traditional and contemporary. The exhibition proved that digital technology can be an essential part of the creative process. Let’s find out more on Acharya’s journey in his own words. How it began

It starts with the hospital, but not because I was born there. I was admitted in one due to high fever, when I was a year and half old. During the treatment, due to boredom I ended up drawing a few birds on the rexine material on the bed. The doctors were annoyed looking at it. But, my parents caught the first glimpse of my artistic side then and encouraged me more towards it. It was more like an inborn talent. I took part in all school level competitions related to art and came out wining most of them. After 10th, I

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interned at an art agency for two months. This helped me learn various air brush and air gun techniques. Later on, I joined them back and worked full time with them. This gave me immense exposure. Inspiration

I am a big fan of Boris Vallejo. His work on oil painting and air gun techniques never stops to amaze me. The details and the layers in the music I listen to, inspires me to produce the same in art. First Show

My first group show was at Kasturi Srinivasa Trust, Coimbatore. I have been a part of many group shows. My current work at Art Houz, is my first individual show. Commercial Success

Post art agency, I entered into the commercial side by doing story boards. Story boards give directors a preview of how things will look. My journey to the top started from here. My most memorable and interesting work would be “Kochadaiyaan”. I worked on concept art for the movie. I entered this movie via art director Rajeevan and I owe him one! I have also been a set designer in a Hollywood movie – “First Fear”. It is under production now. I have no intensions of becoming an art director at the moment. But given a chance of a mythological or historical movie, I will take it up immediately. Artist Community

Just as creating art is my passion, I am equally passionate about propagating art, to make it reach out to the masses. As an academy, I will begin by educating children, followed by adults who show an inclination for learning art. I will sign off by saying - “I don’t know if there is a God, but God is in every object around us!” CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW | DECEMBER 2012 | 17


ART

TAKING FLIGHT - Nishant Chopra

G

ayatri Shantaram is a graduate of Fine Arts from Stella Maris College, Chennai India. Her works have been exhibited at the ‘Lalit Kala Akademi’,‘Focus art Gallery’ in Chennai, ‘Renaissance Gallerie’ in Bangalore India and at ‘GalerieMetanoia and the Carrousel du Louvre, Paris France. She is presently based in Paris, France. Her latest commission was from ‘The Marriott’ group of hotel, Pune and X-Audit, Paris. Indian folk art and traditional art has always been a source of interest and much inspiration to her in terms of colour, form and technique. Another facet of art that has broadened her vision and changed her perspective is architecture and its influences on artistic movements. She enjoys experimenting with new and different media. Here is an excerpt from the conversation.

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Your work seems very “Fresh”! What is Art in your words and what does it mean to you? Art to me is a way of life! It’s a philosophy, it’s how one perceives things. It is what I do best and so I do it! Everyone has an artistic side, some are aware of it and some aren’t. The best artists in the world are children and we are all born with it. How did you start? What made you pick up the brush? I have always been creative and artistic. Paper has been my outlet, it is what I keep coming back to as my form of expression. I have always been encouraged upon to do it, I come from a creative environment. My Grandmother was a Carnatic Singer, my Mom is into Textiles and she designs Sarees. My Dad is the only stable person who gives all our madness. It kind off started when I was in Sishya.

I chose Art in my 9th Grade and it has been great ever since. I enjoyed art and it was the logical thing to do. I liked Maths, but it made no sense to me. I continued with Art in my 11th and 12th. When did you get your first professional break? I got my first pay check in my 10th grade, I was 15 years old then. I painted around 30 paintings for ITC offices in Coimbatore and Chennai. I followed this up with more interior design projects. Give us an insight into your world of art. Painting is something that comes to me quite naturally. I do two very different genres of painting. I do my abstract work that is largely on canvas and I do watercolours, which end up being more figurative. I usually draw birds. Some say I am very diverse while some question my personality

for having chosen both. Why shouldn’t I do both? I am young, I can still test the grounds on what I can and can’t do. Tell us about your recent exhibition “Fly”. I mounted an exhibition in which the lush and sensuous textures of the past give way to reveal my childhood love for birds. Logically, named it “Fly”. I pencilled them even as a young girl. I journeyed to the favourite moments of my life in which I keenly observed these treasured creatures. I hosted them lovingly on my canvas, handmade paper or rice paper using water colours, acrylics and inks between the years 2010 -2012. One of the birds “Guinea fowls” used in this series, don’t fly. I relate myself to Guinea fowls in that sense, because “Without the act of flying, I have made that step.”

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Did this exhibition bring a change in you? This exhibition to me symbolises a point that I will always refer back to. There have always been two paths, this is the first time they merged in together. This is the first time I am show casing my watercolours. then dabbled a little bit and treated the abstract work with the same media. I took it a little further. I treated it with paper, which I had done very rarely before. I did them simultaneously – “Abstract, Watercolour, Birds”. I tested out colours and treated the canvas like paper. I tried to get watercolour techniques that looked like watercolour, but on a canvas. I rolled out the canvas further and further. I suddenly realised a bird flying through the painting and the background was completely abstract. It was a start of a very interesting journey. What’s next in your bag? Are there any new experiments? Definitely, several new experiments! I am working on larger formats and trying out things I have never done before. Speaking of larger formats, any plans for Art Direction in movies? I will never say no to anything that is creative or artistically inclined. Any advice to the young artists out there? As an artist, you must always explore and look at things you wouldn’t look at before. That will put you out of your comfort zone. Art and anything creative is how one matures as a person as well. Do not let go of the child in you. Finally, we are all just children who learn how to behave in public.

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ORDINARY TO

EXTRAORDINARY - Nishant Chopra

A

nusha Dhayanidhi is the Managing Director at Nefertari Entertainment. Her event management firm is named after Egyptian queen Nefertari Merytmut - one of the royal wives of Ramesses the Great. Her hubby, producer and distributor Dhayanidhi Alagiri, happens to be the owner of Cloud Nine movies, associated with major hits including Vaaranam Aayiram, Paiyaa, Mankatha and many more. She talks to The Brew on her Artistic, Law and Entrepreneurial side! So how did it all begin? I studied law. I did B.A.,B.L. (Hons). But, due to my political background, I couldn’t go any further with it. After marriage, I spent a year at home deciding how I need a purpose and to do something different that interests

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me. That’s how the whole idea of Nefertari Luxury Event Management came up. It is completely different than what any other Event Management Company does over here. Our ideas and concepts are unique. It’s just Luxury written all over it! Why didn’t you pursue Law? I couldn’t. During my first internship, we were asked to visit courts. On one of those visits, people smashed the headlights and tail lamps of my car where I had parked, because of my last name. People started looking at me differently, right from college. They also pelted my car when I refused to take part in a strike. Durai did predict all this would happen. I did not believe him at first, but I later saw it for myself.


What drove you towards Luxury Event Management later? Are you a very luxury person yourself? Do you love brands? It is not only the brands. You can even pick up something stylish for 200-300 bucks. It’s the way you carry it, it’s about Style! Style doesn’t come from brands. Everyone has a unique style. It is a class that you set in the style. The luxury event management happened, because I love organizing! I love giving a whole new different look and idea to something simple and ordinary. Why the name Nefertari? The name, yes! As a kid, I dreamt of becoming an Egyptologist after watching “The Mummy”. Unlike other girls who played with dolls, I collected encyclopedia and books on Egypt, Pyramids, etc. It is called Nefertari because she is someone who turns something ordinary into something brilliant. She is a layman’s queen. She will go with the people and be with the people. The name just explains for itself. Tell us something about your launch. We launched it in a very stylish way. We completely turned the entire Le Royal Meridien hall into something very Egyptian. It was very dreamy, beautiful and luxurious. The backdrop was made out of golden glass mirrors. My art director coordinated very well and we transformed the place into an Egyptian palace. We masked the wall with those Egyptian inscriptions and also did the 3D Architectural mapping on Le Meridien’s front elevation. It was completely different and it was luxury written all over it. The invites were sent in small Egyptian like jewel boxes made out of paper. Nefertari is someone who brings life into things. So, we put our company into every little detail and made it all happen in just 3 months. Have you had any criticism which was uncalled for? I have had criticism in the sense like a few people questioned why a fashion show? According to them, it isn’t a part of our culture. It doesn’t affect me. People say things when someone else is doing something they shouldn’t or don’t deserve. I did face a lot of criticism in all that. I just don’t give into it. I do not let the negativity affect me. How much of an influence has your husband had on your work? He is my punching bag. He is my support system! Whenever I come back home from work, I vent it all out to him. He always listens to me and believes I can pull it off. We are completely two different people. He is more of a risk taker, whereas I need a concrete plan in my work. He does throw in a piece of advice here and there, but he doesn’t literally influence the whole thing.

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Everything comes together and that’s me! - Anusha Dhayanidhi

Which side do you relate yourself more to? Artist, Lawyer or Entrepreneur? I am a piece of everything. It’s like a puzzle there. The artist, lawyer and entrepreneur are all there. Everything comes together and that’s me! Without the artist in me, I can’t do what I am doing. I paint and sketch a lot. My house is filled with my paintings. And the law part, I am so conscious I always have to do it by the rule book. The entrepreneur quality is always there in me, because I am always thinking something different. Finally tell us about this collaboration with Universal to try and do something with the property of Gangnam Style. A little say on your strategy. I am excited, I am so thrilled! This will definitely go

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down as one of the milestones in Nefertari’s book. It is something big! We are launching it in two cities in India and hopefully we will go further more and do it in two more cities up north. Gangnam style was a fever on YouTube; it gives you an adrenaline rush. I feel completely proud. I will put it as another feather on my hat! When I probably do that, I will have my nose sticking high up there!


MUSIC

PSY - CHOLOGY Every once in a while, comes along a song that quickly captures the whole world’s attention and sends everybody into a frenzy. Pop music has witnessed this phenomenon several times. One clearly remembers the rage that was Kaoma’s ‘Lambada’ and the huge international dance hit that it was, with its many copied versions in Bollywood as well! Who can ever forget Los Del Rio’s ‘Macarena’, which was even bigger and is still remembered and played in dance clubs to date! ‘The Ketchup Song’ by Las Ketchup was another hit that had an equal following the world over. What was common to all these songs? Catchy music, weird lyrics and a music video that had a characteristic ‘dance move’ which symbolized the essence of the song and epitomized the dance step as well. 2012 is now witness to the latest craze that the world is swooning to…the only difference is that this time around, the craze is universal, has become an instant dance hit the world over, is from Asia, has set many world records to its credit and nobody has a clue as to how far and bigger this one can go. Welcome to GANGNAM STYLE by Korea’s K-Pop artist PSY. Released in July 2012, ‘GANGNAM STYLE’ is a single from the 6th album by Korean Pop Star Jae- Song Park who goes by his screen name of PSY. The hilarious viral music video has catapulted the 35 year old Korean rapper onto international stardom. The music video has crossed 344 million views (and counting) on YouTube- making it the most watched video of 2012!The video has also garnered itself a Guinness World Record for being the most ‘liked’ video in You Tube history! The song takes sharp digs at a posh Seoul suburb called Gangnam, where the rich frequent newly acquired wealth, using flashy cars, frequent cosmetic surgery and yoga in public parks and also walk

backwards to stay fit! When asked about the song, PSY said- “People who are actually from Gangnam never proclaim that they are-its only the posers and wannabes that put on these airs and say that they are ‘Gangnam style’-so this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they’re not.” Though the lyrics of the song are in Korean, while watching the video, one gets the feel of what PSY is singing. The video’s visuals are universal: it’s a summary of pop video clichés so familiar-garish costumes, pretty girls and boys dancing, fast edits. But what’s really caught the whole world’s attention in the video apart from all the above is the characteristic dance move by PSY, whose horse-riding style dance and ridiculous lyrics has whipped the world into frenzy! The repetitive lyric in the song is “Oppan Gangnam Style” that roughly translates to “Girls, your big brother is Gangnam Style”. K-Pop music videos are known for the cameos by celebrities and ‘Gangnam Style’ has its fair share of celeb power in it. Hyuna makes her appearance, playing PSY’s love interest and in the final group dance sequence. ‘Bigbang’ members Daesung & Seungri also make an appearance as the 2 old men playing the board game in the park and who go flying after the explosion. Comedian/ television personality Yoo Jae-Suk has a dance duel with PSY, while another comedian/television personality No Hongchul dances in an elevator with his trademark pelvis- thrusting moves. 5 year old Hwang Min-Woo also makes his appearance dancing like Michael Jackson in the beginning of the video. PSY has been around for over a decade since the release of his debut album in 2001. He has also starred in two movies, Mongjunggi & Mongjunggi 2. PSY is also a judge on the Korean version of ‘American Idol’ called ‘Superstar K’.

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10

GANGNAM FACTS

Oppa Gangnam Style has earned about 100 million views in YouTube ever since it was released on July 15.

The title of Oppa Gangnam Style refers to the affluent district of Gangnam in Seoul, South Korea and is targeted to make fun of the area’s influence.

Though Gangnam only holds about 15 square miles of South Korea, but it holds about 7% of the country’s GDP or Gross Domestic Product.

41% of the population of prestigious Seoul Universities come from Gangnam and if we compare it to American Universities, its 41% of those who attend Harvard.

Oppa Gangnam Style has garnered 267,163 likes on Facebook while it has been tweeted 786,321 times.

He compares Gangnam to ladies. He says They’re “noble at the daytime, going crazy at night-and the lyric says I am the right guy for the lady who is like that.”

Psy’s signature horse riding dance move was developed after testing out possible dance moves involving other animals, including a kangaroo.

Psy grew up listening to Queen, Aerosmith and Def Leppard.

Psy’s name is short for Psycho, same pronunciation. If it’s easier for you: *sigh*

Nelly Furtado, Robbie Williams, Simon Pegg,Vanessa Hudgens, Tom Cruise, T-Pain, LMFAO and Chelsea Handler are just some of the stars who’ve expressed their love for “Gangnam Style”, and PSY appeared on stage with Kevin Hart at the 2012 MTV VMAs last week. PSY himself even taught Britney Spears how to do the famous dance moves!

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So what’s the key to doing the ‘Gangnam Style’ dance? In PSY’s own words- “Dress classy. Dance cheesy!” One has to dance while visualizing that you’re riding on an invisible horse and you have to maintain a straight face while dancing, to symbolize the snobbish nature of those who live ‘Gangnam Style’. Ever since its release, the song has become the rage the world over, resulting in several spoofs and parodies all over the internet and has been the common denominator in recent flash mobs the world over! The song has also been covered by Nelly Furtado and Maroon 5. It became more famous when it was tweeted by T-Pain, Robbie Williams, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Tom Cruise, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and William Gibson who either commented or shared the video on Twitter. The song has topped iTunes charts in 31 countries and is the first K-Pop song to top the UK singles chart. The song has been covered by the media the world over including Thomson Reuters, The New York Times, The Bergen County Record, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, The Herald Sun, The Atlantic, The CBC, The Vancouver Observer, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, USA Today, Bloomberg, ESPN, Le Point, Liberation, Le Nouvel Observateur, BBC, VH1 and the Financial Times. Following its release PSY has made several performances on television and at concerts including the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, The Ellen DeGeneres Show: where he also taught Ellen and Britney Spears how to dance ‘Gangnam Style’, The Today Show, Saturday Night Live, Dodger Stadium and in Samsung commercials. American talent manager Scooter Braun, who discovered Justin Bieber, recently announced that he and PSY have decided to ‘make some history together, to be the first Korean artist to break a big record in the United States’. The world over people are now dancing ‘Gangnam Style’- finalists of the X Factor (UK), Eric Schmidt the executive chairman of Google danced ‘Gangnam Style’ while visiting their Seoul office and recently even Chris Gayle danced ‘Gangnam Style’ on field after taking a wicket during the 2012 T20 World Cup. The world has gone bonkers ‘Gangnam Style’ and it’s safe to say that it’s the new party anthem. It’s only a matter of time, for the next ‘rage’ to pop up from some part of the world and take it by storm. Until then, dress classy, dance cheesy… ”GANGNAM STYLE!” - Manoj Sreekumar


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CINEMA

T

here is a reason why legends are not made, they are born. They are born to make that significant change and no matter how far away they get, destiny finds them. Stardom found its way to Jatin Arora and within its realm it magically transformed this 27 yr old into the man he was going to be for the rest of his life-Rajesh Khanna.

Zindagi Ek Safar.... - Poornima Nair

Early life ‘Hum sab to rangmanch ki kathputliyan hain.’-Anand Born an orphan, Jatin Arora’s life started on a cinematic note. Adopted by his own relatives, Chunni Lal Khanna and Leela Wati Khanna,He took on the last name, Khanna. He grew up in Girgon, Mumbai and studied in St. Sebastiens Goan High School where he made a dear friend, Ravi Kapoor. His inclination towards acting can be traced back to his early college days where he dabbled in theatre and won many inter college competitions. Jatin and Ravi(who took the stage name Jeetendra) went on to study together and later found themselves in yet another important juncture-Bollywood. Rise to Stardom ‘Kab, kaun, kaise uthega ye koi nahin bata sakta hai’Anand Having won the 1965 All India Talent Contest organised by United Producers and Filmfare, beating over ten thousand participants, Rajesh Khanna bagged a two film contract. His debut was marked with the 1966 release ‘Aakri Khat’ directed by Chetan Anand and this followed by Raaz directed by Ravindra Dave .He soon signed a contract with United Producers and had a string of movies to his credit. Being the fine actor he is, each performance acted like building blocks that crafted his star image in front of his nationwide audience.

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It was Aradhana (1969) that catapulted Rajesh Khanna from being a star to a superstar and with good reason. With every movie that came afterward, Movie theatres were packed and the box office saw figures it hadn’t for a long, long time .In due course, Rajesh Khanna had a variety of roles to his creditthe terminally ill Anand,a lonely husband in Amar Prem and a psychiatric patient in Khamoshi. The Rajesh Khanna phenomena was like an epidemic that spread nationwide.He introduced the kurta, jeans and morjiris combination which became a trend among the young men and it is still followed by many today. His female fans would write him love letters in blood, line the roads and kiss his car which would be covered in lipstick marks. Women would get “married” to Rajesh Khanna’s photograph even! There were incidents where his hotel would be mobbed by 600 odd women who would stand long hours just to get a glimpse of their favourite star. Another incident that became news was during the shooting of Amar Prem. A scene which was supposed to be shot on the Howrah bridge was stalled and could not be shot on location because the authorities worried that the bridge would collapse under the weight of the gathered fans. Rajesh Khanna had skyrocketed to a superstardom that no other actor was fortunate to experience.

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Relationships ‘Ek chhota sa zakhm bahut gehra daag ban sakta hai. Aur ek chhoti si mulaqat jeevan bhar ka saath ban sakti hai.’-Aradhana Rajesh Khanna and Anju Mahendru Rajesh Khanna’s long list of relationships started with fashion designer and struggling actress, Anju Mahendru. After 7 long years of being together when the relationship needed to progress,Anju was not ready for the commitment. This was when Rajesh was growing close to Dimple Kapadia, a newbie in the industry. His relationship with Anju ended officially when a secret trip with Dimple Kapadia came to her notice after which she decided to part ways with the superstar for good. After their breakup, many rumours about Khanna destroying his former love’s movie career were floating but that could not justify the friendship that resurfaced between them after 17 years of silence.


Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia Rajesh Khanna’s love story with Dimple Kapadia is no less than a fairytale. But that is how most beginnings go. This was when the much rumoured Rishi- Dimple love affair came to an end. Rajesh and Dimple, fresh after their respective breakups, met on a flight to Ahmedabad for a film function .They got talking and it took less than a brief courtship for Rajesh to know he had certainly met the one. But Devyani Chaubal had a different story to tell. This famous columnist told BBC reporter, Jack Pizzy that Rajesh had called her at 3 a.m, to announce about his proposal to 15 year old Dimple Kapadia after he had supposedly saved her at the ocean. He was drunk that night and had a different story in the morning. While some believe that it was just to satisfy his hunger or rather his greed for publicity, his fans went on to believe that the star had finally found his starlet. The wedding was a grand affair and Mr and Mrs Khanna were on the news for many public appearances. It was during this time that He had his first bitter taste of failure when he pinned his last hopes on Daag, which went on to be a flop and had the actor branded.

His young wife however stood like a rock beside him. They went on to have two children, Twinkle and Rinki Khanna. Life as they call it, was good. However, The poster perfect family soon began to disintegrate with Rajesh’s failing career graph and Dimple’s decision to return to films. The couple parted ways and Rajesh was once again, spiralling in change. Rajesh Khanna and Tina Munim After a heartbreak and a failed marriage, one would not expect to find love. But Rajesh Khanna did in his leading lady, Tina Munim. Munim and Rajesh had a great on-screen chemistry and this continued beyond celluloid. From public appearances to announcements, this couple had no qualms about declaring their love and even claimed that they used the same toothbrush! This time around, Tina was the lady in need of commitment and Rajesh was not ready because he worried it may affect his two children. Not one to go with an uncertain future, Munim left the film industry and with that went Rajesh. Once again, alone.

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Aashirwad Kisi badi khushi ke intezaar mein … hum yeh chote chote khushiyoon ke mauke kho dete hain - Bawarchi Sometime in the sixties, in Carter road stood a magnificent bungalow which was believed to be haunted and the stories robbed every potential buyer off his interest. Then came along a yound actor called Rajendra who named the house Dimple and in no time, his luck began to change. His movies became great hits and he went on to move into a bigger house in Pali which he named after his daughter, Dimple. Around the same time,a rising star, Rajesh Khanna learnt about this property and bought it off at a dirt cheap rate of 3 and a half lakhs! Superstitious as he was, he believed the luck would rub off on him. Inspite of a fresh look and the name’ aashirwad’ to go with it, this house proved t be a lucky one. It was here that he married the young starlet Dimple Kapadia, saw his many many female fans as they waited for hours outside to see him, It was here that he spent time with his friends drinking and planning his every move to inch towards the unseen popularity and it was in this house that the star witnessed his metamorphic rise to stardom. Downfall ‘I was an actor, I will always remain an actor. Somewhere along the way I was a superstar.’- Rajesh Khanna Stardom is so dynamic that if you don’t balance it right, it takes you down with it. Whoever thought that India’s first superstar, for whom the term was coined would see a downfall as drastic as his overnight fame. After a failed marriage, traces of alcohol addiction crept into Khanna’s lifestyle. 7 consecutive flops came off as a tough dosage of reality and Rajesh Khanna was not ready to take this one. He camouflaged it with a high amount of arrogance and this put him in the bad books of many big producers. Rumour has it that he slapped a producer because he offered him a role that did not match his superstar status! Even is close friend, gossip columnist, Devyani Chaubul, once said that Rajesh was not the same man anymore. Rajesh Khanna maybe India’s first superstar but for a large part of his life, he remained a forgotten hero.

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Politics ‘Yeh public hai. Yeh sab janti hai’.”-Rajesh Khanna Right after the Rajiv Gandhi - Amitabh Bachchan friendship turned sour after the latter changed loyalities, Rajiv Gandhi needed a strong contender from a non political background and Rajesh Khanna came across as the perfect candidate to play pawn. Khanna’s political career remains sketchy.After being used to garner publicity for the party, Khanna grieved that the Congress did not recognize his full potential as a politician and had decided to just capitalize on his popularity among the mass.If Rajesh possessed something, it was the brilliance of a skilled actor.On one of his political rallies he said “Is audience mein jitni Pushpa hein aur jitni bhi mahilayen hein, unke aansu paunchhunga mein,” (I would like to wipe the tears of all the Pushpas and other women in this audience). The audience went mad, His lacklustre performance as MP was overshadowed by his charm and the dialogues that he delivered to keep the votes coming. But it takes a lot more than facial expressions to set a nation right and Rajesh had a long way to go. ‘Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahin”-Anand Rajesh Khanna was diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago .This was in a stage when the actor had alienated

himself from all the people that mattered.He had a brief stint in television and had also got into legal matters as his movie Wafaa saw him in a manner that degraded the image he tried so hard to preserve. His disintegrated life saw much direction in his later years. Dimple and Khanna sorted their differences and shared a renewed bond of mutual understanding.This once again showed the great amount of charisma the actor possessed that never allowed his loved ones to let go,no matter how hard he tried. Aacha to hum chalte hain.. Celluloid showed us characters and Rajesh Khanna lived them. He sang along with RD Burman’s playback, took a hundred retakes if it meant getting a scene right, left a scent of romance everywhere he went. Rajesh Khanna enjoyed not just stardom but everything that came with it to the fullest. He made men want to be charming and women believe in love all the more. He made mistakes like any one of us yet he remained extraordinary. He never stopped being the superstar, for this man remained the curator of the greatest masterpiece of Indian Cinema that we call Rajesh Khanna. There never will be an another Anand who will take us along as he celebrated life till the end. But like Frank Herbert once said-“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

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CINEMA


Neela Aasman So Gaya A Humble Tribute to Yash Chopra 2012

has been a mixed year for me, I must admit. Among all the things that I expected to do this year, writing this post was certainly not something I had in mind. With less than a month to go for the release ofJab Tak Hai Jaan the only thing on mind was the film and the review that I would go on to write. So much so that even when the thespian Yash Chopra got admitted to the hospital last week due to

Dengue I still expected a happy ending to this story as seen in a lot of his films, alas that was not to be so in case of this story. And that’s why I am writing this personal tribute to someone whom I have the deepest respect for and who’s easily one of the best filmmakers that this Country has seen. The 1st ever Yash Chopra film which I remember having seen in the theatre is Silsila and by then I was already a big Amitabh Bachchan fan, though I was just a toddler. This I remember was in Chennai (either Anna or the now extinct Alankar theatre, not sure which one though). After that I vividly remember watching Mashaal on a ‘video coach bus’ from Coimbatore to Bangalore where probably I was the only one who stayed awake during the entire duration. By then I was already curious about the director of these films as I had already realized that some of the best films of Amitabh Bachchan like Deewar, Kabhi Kabhi, Trishul, Kaala Patthar were directed by Yash Chopra. So thanks to Doordarshan and re-runs in theatres of Amitabh films I managed to cover all these films slowly, but steadily.

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DEEWAR Deewar shook me completely and it’s a film I will always be in awe of. A few years ago I remember reading an interview of Yash Chopra where he was questioned about not making any more action films like Deewar and to which he replied- Do you know that Deewar actually has only 1 fight scene, but that was so well shot that people still call it an action film? That’s the power of his filmmaking. The film had fantastic dialogues written by Salim-Javedlike the iconic “Mere paas maa hai”, “ khush to bahut hoge aaj tum……jo aaj tak tumhare mandir ki siidiyan nahin chhada” etc. The film was bold in many ways- remember the unmarried couple-Amitabh and Parveen Babi sharing a post coital

conversation? Films like Deewar and Trishul also are unforgettable because they were also remade in Tamil by none other than Rajnikanth. I remember watching Kaala Patthar on video at my aunt’s place in Chennai and marveling at the filmmaker’s ability to pull off a subject like this. Observe the film closely and you will realize that there is no central protagonist as such ( though Amitabh does have an edge over Shashi Kapoor and Shatrughan Sinha ), all we are bothered about is the way the plot progresses, another example of the way in which he ensures that powerful writing gets converted equally powerfully on screen as well.

DAAG

Daag is one of my dad’s favorite films and I remember humming the songs from the film like ‘ Mere dil mein aaj kya hai’ even during the time when I didn’t know anything about the film. Finally when I saw the film on T.V I realized what a trendsetting film it was and quite a risk indeed considering that it was his first film as producer as well after deciding to leave the comfort of his brother (B.R.Chora’s) banner and deciding to go on his own. The topic of bigamy and legal tangles surrounding the same was certainly bold for that period. It was much later that I realized that Yash Chopra had a habit of taking risks, again and again. Take for example Ittefaq, a film shot mainly in just a single set and without any songs. His ability to handle a multitude of actors/stars became evident very early on when

I don’t have any vivid memories of Vijay and Faasle because neither did the films do well and nor did I find it anywhere close to Yash Chopra’s previous works. I still remember when Chandni released there were mixed opinions regarding the film. People were wondering if the veteran could bounce back after 2 failures and that too with a female centric film. But he proved all his detractors wrong with a film that

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he made Waqt, an iconic film which people still remember. Though Joshila did not do well I still remember having liked it as a kid when I saw it on T.V and keep listening to Kishoreda’s ‘Kiska Rasta Dekhe’ even now. When I saw Kabhi Kabhie (after hearing enough and more about it) I was already into my teens and hence could appreciate all the poetry and the love saga that spans across generations. I am still not sure if the film actually got what it deserved because out of the 4 Filmfare awards that it won, 3 were in the music segment (Best Music, Best Lyrics, Best Male Playback Singer). In terms of the casting there couldn’t have been anything better done as it was near perfect indeed.

certainly ranks among Sridevi’s career best and a music score from Shiv-Hari that aone can never, ever get tired of. While the title song and ‘Mere haathon mein’ were a rage the songs which appealed to me the most (and which I am still fond of) were ‘Lagi aaj saawan ki’ and ‘Tere mere hontaon pe’. With Lamhe he took a risk once again with a subject which probably was a bit ahead of its times.


DARR I still remember going for Parampara along with my mother on the weekend it released only because it was a Yash Chopra film, in fact his last for any outside producer (this time Firoz A.Nadiadwala). They say ‘times change, values don’t and that’s what Yash Chopra proved again by following up Lamhe with Darr. Everyone knows by now that Lamhe was critically appreciated but commercially a failure. A film which gave more importance to

the antagonist, who’s a psychotic and obsessed with the heroine, Darr I am sure must have created a lot of tension among distributors and exhibitors considering that the film depended on a relatively young SRK to pull it off though the more establishedSunny Deol was the actual hero of the film. It just helped that SRK’sBaazigar had released a few weeks’ earlier and made dividends where he again did not play the conventional hero.

which worked for the film. Not many people these days seem to like Dil To Pagal Hai but I am shameless in admitting that I am big fan of the film. Yes the film probably had Aditya Chopra’s involvement in a big way since it looked very contemporary but then who could be more right with romance than Yash Chopra himself. During those days I was probably the biggest Madhuri Dixit fan around and just to see the SRKMadhuri Jodi and the songs I have the seen the film umpteen times.

DIL TO PAGAL HAI

With Darr SRK firmly made his entry into the YRF household and soon it became clear that what Amitabh Bachchan was in the 70’s for Yash Chopra, SRK was to be something similar from now on. By the time I saw Darr I knew SRK was here to stay and also that Yash Chopra was not tiring at all, far from it in fact. While DDLJsaw Aditya Chopra turn director for the 1st time we must keep in mind that the film had a soul as envisioned by Yash Chopra and that was one of the best things

VEER - ZAARA After Dil To Pagal Hai, the director in Yash Chopra took a back seat as Aditya Chopra took over operational control of YRF and they went ahead working with multiple directors and strengthening their home video, music and distribution business as well. But how long can you keep someone away from his 1st love? And thus Yashji returned back in style with Veer Zaara, the Diwali blockbuster of 2004. Again Veer Zaara might not be everyone’s favorite, but for me the film worked and worked very well at that. I cried along with Shah Rukh when he was in jail and smiled that the way the film ended and only one person could make this happen, who else but Yash Chopra? So after an 8 year gap when it became clear that Yash Chopra would have another release as director and that too a Diwali release, my happiness knew no limits. But sad are the ways things work out sometimes and thus sadly this year’s Diwali will pass by without the presence of one of Indian Cinema’s biggest names and an extremely talented, filmmaker; the King of Romance i.e Yash Chopra. So what if he’s not physically around, his vast body of work still remains to inspire many of us….. Note- This was originally published in www.madaboutmoviez.com

Aur yeh karwan chalta rahega, jab tak hai jaan, jab tak hai jaan…. I have had the good fortune of meeting/seeing Yashji not once but twice, with the last occasion being just a few weeks before his demise. It’s when people like him leave that you realize how much is the influence they’ve had on you all this while. RIP Yash Chopra, you were truly one a kind.

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MUSIC

Knocking on


Dylan’s Door

A

local celebrity here, you won’t miss this man with his exclusive pair of hot pants and long hair running his shoulders. A bucketful of positive charisma floats like a cloud over him wherever he goes. What is so special about our man here is that he has been celebrating Bob Dylan’s birthday every May 24th since 1972. That would be 40 years of his life well spent, if so, let’s find out. From The New York Times to blueFROG, he has been an attraction to a spectrum of media houses for his simple and laid back take on life and music. Though he has not come across Mr. Dylan for real, he jokingly admits that he has no such funds or plans to bring him down to the beautiful town of Shillong where he began the much talked about Dylan’s birthday concert celebrated every year. The New York Times calls him “one of India’s original rock ’n’ roll bards” and much to the agreement of the North Eastern people. It continues “on Mr. Dylan’s birth-

day weekend a visitor could drive down a narrow, rain-soaked road and hear young men with guitars serenading, or stumble upon thousands gathered under a Christian revival tent, singing modern gospel in their native Khasi.” Majaw grew up in a poor family. Owning a guitar wasn’t a luxury they could afford. He was later introduced to the music of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley at a friend’s house and there was no looking back. He taught himself to play the guitar. Later in life, he moved to Calcutta (then) and played in pubs and bars with bands like Supersound Factory, Dynamite Boys, Blood and Thunder, Vanguards. He was quite fascinated by Bob Dylan’s musical repertoire and thus began an era of inspirational music and interminable love which took form of small birthday celebration gigs every year. He starts by wishing Dylan ‘Happy Birthday’ and thanks him for everything that he has (though unknowingly) done in his (Majaw’s) life.

Shillong has been the centre of rock music and has often been conferred the title ‘rock capital of India’ not because it is a storehouse of rock lovers but because of the love for rock its chilly wind carries and the insane number of visitors wanting to woo the enormous guitar playing population which thrives in the beautiful Khasi and Jaintia hills. They say, here, every man or woman, in five, can play the guitar. Such statistics cannot be found elsewhere, not at least in the vast landmass of the great Indian music loving continent. The influence of Hindi film music is yet to make its mark in this virgin territory. The music people celebrate here has been inspired by the gospel which the British missionaries brought to this hill town. Big names like Eric Martin, Scorpions, Sepaltura, White Lion have visited this little establishment and have left happy.

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“Can’t believe it’s India!” is what Scorpions had to say after the thunderous applause and the numerous sing-alongs. So inclined is this state to music that even its state ministers are musicians. Education Minister R.G Lyngdoh plays a number of instruments and feels that music is the way to unite people. Eric Martin did his maiden show here and said that great bands like Michael Learns To Rock (MLTR), Firehouse had had some of their best shows here. Heavy metal music is still quite relevant in these parts of India. Music here is not entertainment but, you can say, life and soul, bigger than religion. And Lou Majaw’s unfailing dedication towards the legendary Bob Dylan is thus as welcome in these parts as immigrant voters to Assam. Majaw talks to blueFROG, “I want to do this show in Calcutta because this is the best city for music apprecia-

tion. A lot of international-level concerts happen in Mumbai these days, but I feel Mumbai is all hype,” and he has been doing the same concert every year in Kolkata for some years now. But on 24th May, he has to be in Shillong and nowhere else. Apart from being a soulful musician, he is also known to be quite inspirational with his words. “Life is beautiful, and the best part is you get it for free” is what this iconic man keeps telling with his guitar, with his love for music and the amazing baritone that echoes the beautiful hills of Meghalaya. -Sanchayan Deka

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BOM

CINEMA

One Day Ahead of Democracy

Amlan Datta’s Film which has now spawned a movement Note- BOM is one of the few Indian documentary films which managed to get a theatrical release. After the recent release in select PVR screens in Mumbai,Pune,Delhi and Bangalore, it will soon be getting released in other cities, starting with Kolkata sometime in early 2013. For anyone interested in ancient history and for what’s been happening around us, Malana will certainly sound like an exotic destination. Hailed as probably the World’s oldest democracy at one point and World famous for the cannabis grown there, Malana is all this and much more as the filmmaker Amlan Datta himself found out when he visited the place for the 1st time. ‘I went for an ancient democracy and world’s best hashish but what silently pulled me towards Malana was my destiny.’ This is how Amlan describes his feelings towards Malana and this is clearly mentioned right at the beginning of the film itself. To be honest I’ve never been much of a weed user. During my UG days while quite a few friends indulged in the same I was happy with my Old Monk, beer and the occasional cigarette. It was only much later during my B.School days that I eventually took the plunge after deciding I definitely need to find out what it was all about. Though I never took to it in a big way I’ve had my own share of stories regarding the same. Like for instance when a friend at Bhubaneshwar station wanted to send us off with a gift and promised to get us weed, much to our amuse. We ended up looking stunned as this friend called out to a Sardar who appeared out of nowhere & handed us the ‘stuff’ and bade us farewell. Or a few years later while driving back home drunk in Kolkata when a friend suggested we smoke up. Just when was I wondering where we would get lucky at 2 a.m, what does my friend do but actually call out to an aunty guarding a small local shrine who nearly hands it over as Prasad. Why am I mentioning all this here? Well when I first 46 | DECEMBER 2012 | CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW

saw the trailer of BOM-One day ahead of democracy (during the screening of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron) I was quite intrigued by the way the film boldly conveyed the message of why should there be a ban on cannabis? I was hooked on right away (later Amlan himself mentioned after the press screening that it was a deliberate ploy) and I went back in time to the incidents that I listed above. Of course I was also curious to know more about Malana and certainly looked forward to the film. But nothing could have prepared me for what lay in store for me through this bold documentary film. Amlan slowly but surely prepares us for what we would be witness to over the 117 minute journey into Malana through the film. There is a conversation depicted right at the start with a couple of characters talking about the historical significance of the place. We get to see 2 peaks in the distance, Mt.Virtue and Mt.Vice and we are told that earlier Mt.Virtue used to tower over Mt.Vice but now with the World turning more and more grey,Mt.Vice appears much taller now. Apparently it’s been felt by these people that the day Mt.Virtue completely disappears it will be the end of the World. This sequence sets the tone for what is in store for the rest of the film and keeps you hooked, more or less straight away. BOM which stands for celestial void is probably a more than appropriate title for the film and you would probably figure that out by the time you finish watching it. There is no attempt to sensationalize or marginalize anything in the film. While Amlan has expressed his position with respect to what he feels about politics and democracy, stand on legalizing cannabis etc, it hasn’t been shoven down our


throat. Rather there is a considerably important conversation around the issues which the film advocates and makes us eventually help us understand the problems of Malana better. The film mainly talks to us through conversations that Amlan has with Hemraj and his brother in law, Shanta. As the conversation occurs, Hemraj and Shanta can be seen enjoying their cannabis naturally and also feeling sad for what they and their people are going through now. The people of Malana have always had their own principles and as for governance, they have their ‘God’s Court’ which comprises of 2 houses, an upper and a lower house. Here the members (to the lower house) are always selected by mutual consent and never elected as the people of Malana never believed in fighting among themselves, if it’s through an election. Similarly they have always had their own ancient language, Kanashi and they had traditionally cultivated cannabis and used the crop not just for intoxication but also in various other ways like for example to make rope and slippers etc. But strangely with the advent of modern civilization all these very principles and cultural references of Malana are getting rapidly eroded right in front of these innocent people and no one is doing anything about it. There are elections now being contested by political parties, thus dividing the people. The influence of Hindi on the people is now very visible and to top it all, the Government has put a ban on cultivation of cannabis for no fault of these people. Amlan also tells us directly that along with banning the cultivation of cannabis which not just affects their income generation and their own cul-

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tural heritage, they are also not given suitable options in terms livelihood generation. It’s pretty clear how Amlan has managed to win the trust of the people there, thus becoming a part of Malana himself. For example we see an aged person (100 + year old) who makes it clear to Amlan that he musn’t touch him (as per tradition the people of Malana are not supposed to touch outsiders) but later on touches Amlan himself, a fact that Amlan is proud of. The attempt to talk to people whose opinion matter like Virbhadra Singh, 5 times Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and former Union Minister who also seem to agree with Amlan’s view that the ban of cannabis should be looked into in a different light also shows that the film is going beyond the reach of just telling a story. While all these and more certainly is impressive and praiseworthy, the pace of the film is a deterrent at times. Quite a few times one does slightly restless as there are certain conversations which probably can be dispensed away without affecting the film in any way. The film might get over eventually but the story is far from over, as Hemraj’s wife Kekti continues to remain in jail and Amlan now takes care of their children as his own. The film might probably take a stance or two but it does so in its own elegant way and without sounding jingoistic. This is a film made with a lot of heart and a conviction and has a story that deserves to reach out to as many people. Take a bow Amlan Datta and the team behind Bom- One Day Ahead of Democracy. Note- This was originally published in www.madaboutmoviez.com


ART

&

PRESENTS

December 12, 2012 was looked upon as a significant day and moment across the world. Theist tradition across the world including Buddhism, Tao, Hopi and Vedic knowledge predicted a “Golden Age’ or “Satyug” in their calendars around the same period. Mayan elders saw this date as a beginning of a new cycle of evolution for planet earth, humanity and the cosmos. For atheists it was yet another day, but for artists every second of their life is momentous and their soul always thrives to make it memorable for themselves and the society. This was a one-time event in our lives and for the Earth’s history as our planet entered galactic alignment with the great central sun. Art Houz, Chennai’s latest hotspot for art lovers presented an exclusive exhibition of painting, photography and poetry to celebrate this momentous day the 12th of December 2012 titled 12-12-12 12 artists, 12 photographers and 12 poets displayed their creative expressions on this special day. Art Houz which spreads across 7200sq.ft in two levels hosted the photographers and artists in the ground floor and the poets on the first floor. The

eminent artists and photographers present on the day of the event exhibited their style of working by presenting a live demonstration and the renowned poets read poetry and were present for a poetic chat. AP Shreethar, who has conceptualized this event said, “This day is special and I want to capture the moment through this artistic event. Art manifests itself in many ways. Painting, poetry and photography are a beautiful expression of the artistic soul and I feel happy to host this event to mark this historic day on Earth”. The event was inaugurated by distinguished personalities from the world of cinema and photography. CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW | DECEMBER 2012 | 49


L.Bharathiraja

T. Athiveera Pandian

C.P. Krishnapriya

Varuna Shreethar

K. Murali

ART HOUZ

ARTISTS 50 | DECEMBER 2012 | CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW

K. Narendra Kumar


Ramesh Acharya

Niloufer Seth Siddharth

M.A. Sankaralingam

V. Yuvan Bothisathuvar

R. Ragu

Srivi CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW | DECEMBER 2012 | 51


Raaki Parthiepan

Francis Markus

Rahul Dev Thamizhthambi

Sathyanarayanan Suriyan 52 | DECEMBER 2012 | CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW

S.SriiramaSanthosh


Shefalii Dadabhoy

Subashini Vanangamudi

ART HOUZ

PHOTOGRAPHERS

R. Thiagarajan

G. Amrith & Karthik

Madhesh

Sudarshan CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW | DECEMBER 2012 | 53


Arivumathi

ART HOUZ

POETS Sowra

Jo Malloori 54 | DECEMBER 2012 | CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW

Arun Barathi


Ramasamy

Ishaq Karthik Netha

Sumathi

Kattalai jeya

Manikanth

Ilampirai CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE BREW | DECEMBER 2012 | 55


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Brew december 2012