CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE
JANUARY 2011 VOL 01 ISSUE 04 ` 40 RNI NO.: TNENG/2010/05353 www.thebrewmagazine.com
A Tête à Tête with
Meet the Maestro Ilayaraja Stuck between a rock and a hard place.Literally. 127 Hours Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | JANUARY 2011 | 1
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STRAIGHT FROM THE TOP
here is an infectious energy in the air as we begin 2011 and it looks like big things are in store for India. The Brew is going from strength to strength with its commitment to bring you the International and Indian lowdown on Film, Art & Music. We bring you one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood on the cover and lots more excitement is in store for you this edition. As for me, this year is about creating things that I haven’t before, to be better than I’ve been and to just live life, because I feel somewhere amidst my ambitions I forgot to live life! So I’m making up for it now.............. How about you? Write to me and let me know what your plans for 2011 are............. India is where the action is. Last night I was delighted to hear Boris Johanson, Mayor of London, promote his city at an informal dinner. Such a charismatic speaker was he, that I once again wonder why we cannot have more engaging and charismatic leaders in our country. In December alone we had visits from the Chinese Prime Minister, the French President and his ‘model’ wife, and now the Russian President as well. Every big brand is headed to India, Jimmy Choo just had its annual party to celebrate the onset of the festive season; celebration is all around us. The influx of brands into India brings me to a question our values systems that I find are distorted by an excessive reliance upon money as the primary if not the sole metric for assessing the worth of everything around us. Be it a work of Art, a house, or even a human being.
Nisha JamVwal is an interior architect and lifestyle columnist who also owns an eponymous Fashion Label that creates fashion for the contemporary woman and man. She has not compartmentalized life into preformatted roles but experimented with different creative media, works as a couturier, art consultant, television anchor,stage compere and model. She multitasks as a columnist where she writes on Art, Interiors & Fashion. As a Craft Activist Nisha works to save traditional Indian Crafts from becoming extinct ,has written three books on craft & orchestrated auctions to save dying crafts.
As a magazine on Art, Cinema, Cuisine & Music, we are trying to achieve that perfect balance for The Brew, where we look at the rising stars in the Arts, to celebrate not only the ‘valuable’ artists and performers, but also to look at the world of creativity based on the work and outpourings of those that are going to be tomorrow’s stars. At the same time we keep you updated about the goings-ons of yesterday’s heroes. A wonderful New Year to all our readers from us at The Brew. There’s a lot of excitement ‘brewing’ for the magazine this year, so come and share it with us............... Write in with all your ideas and thoughts to me! Nisha JamVwal Editor-in-Chief
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 4 | JANUARY 2011 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE RNI NO.: TNENG/2010/05353
Creative Director Mihir Ranganathan Art Director Sibiraj Bastin Sr. Graphic Designer Namitha Thomas Sakthivel Arumugam Sub-Editor Selvan Ross FOLLOW US>// Marketing Manager Rathy
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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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VOL 01 ISSUE 04
Stripping it down to the bare bones
A Tête à Tête with
- ARUL ROSS
SOMETHING BIG IS GOING DOWN!
GULLIVER’S TRAVELS - Devina Agarwal
No force is more powerful than the will to live
- SUHAIL ISMAIL
- Pallavi Nandagopal
No Fear Of Perfection
Death and the Maiden - Queenie Sukhadia
- Nisha JamVwal
Stray and the Great
To Dance or not to Dance...
silly question!! - Riyukta Menon
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PUBLISHER’S NOTE Dear Readers, Welcome to 2011! On behalf of the entire team, here at The Brew, I would like to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year! As we look back at the year gone by, it’s only natural to think of all the good times we’ve had. 2010 will always be special for The Brew because it was the year of our birth and each article we printed holds a special place in our hearts. Now, as we welcome a brand new decade, we bring you exclusives with one of the most sensous and talented actresses on the planet and also one of the greatest soft rock acts of the 80’s and 90’s! And, to top things off we delve into the mind of one of the most extraordinary painters to grace a canvas. A New Year, new beginnings and endless possibilities; read on to get the first exclusive glances of 2011! Sameer Bharat Ram Publisher and Managing Editor
CONTRIBUTORS Mallika Sarabhai, Artist & Activist 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.
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.
ADVISORY BOARD 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.
Pravin Mani Originally from Chennai, Pravin shuttles between Toronto, London and Chennai on his musical adventure. He has worked with a number of record companies in Australia including Virgin, E.M.I, Sony music and secured a worldwide publishing contract with Warner Chappell, Australia. He has a number of album, film and session production credits with a wide range of music directors including A.R.Rahman
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BR YA N
Bare Bones showcases the voice of a maestro that still retains its timbre. The tracks on the album are, as can be expected from a stripped down album, mellow and soothing. Buying an album would be money well invested for fans of all persuasions. It really is quite a treat on the ears from a purely musical point of view, as it’s almost as if his songs were meant to be played acoustically at some point. They truly lend themselves favourably to this type of rendition.
t has always been a peculiarity of the showbiz industry to treat its former idols harshly. Such has been the case with Bryan Adams, the Canadian soft rock sensation of the eighties and nineties. It has not been a rosy path for the singer whose recent recorded musical outings prior to his latest album had not brought him much success, partly owing to online piracy. Indeed his professional endeavours leading up to this album had been relegated to the iPods of only his most loyal followers from previous generations as many ne listeners have turned to new avenues for their soft rock fix. Adams however has been very active touring and performing
unplugged versions of his songs. His new album Bare Bones has rejuvenated the interest of his old fan following and has even brought him a new young audience in the twilight of his career. The album featuring 20 tracks is an acoustic live album which consists of a staple offering of old classics like “Here I am” and “Summer of 69” and also has other less heard of songs, in a bid to popularise these tracks. The singer has expressed his pleasure in receiving positive feedback for the newer tracks in recent interviews. This album is essentially a “stripped down” offering where many old tracks have been given an acoustic spin.
The album starts out with the song “You’ve Been a Friend to Me” which is quite touching, given the context. Adams expresses his gratitude to the fans who supported him throughout a lifetime of musical achievements as in this business more than any other it is the fans who drive your success. It then moves on to the equally touching but more commercial “Here I am”. From there, on it moves through a progression of fast and slow numbers. The song selection really takes off towards the middle with the cult classic “Summer of 69” and moves through well known numbers like “Heaven” and “Cloud number nine” while culminating in the famous “All for love”. Listening to the album you cannot help
e bare bones ARUL ROSS
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but feel the nostalgia of the nineties, provided you were around back then! Songs which once blared over the radio and popped up on MTV every five minutes, now find themselves maybe stripped of their former glory but definitely not of their innate class. Who amongst us can listen to a track like “The way you make me feel” and not sing along without even realising that you are or not be moved by the sultry vocals on “It’s only love”. Every generation has an artist they all go back to when they want to feel
good and need uplifting. Sadly, this generation only has two bit rappers and tweeny boppers. However, back in the day, Bryan Adams was that artist. His soulful melodic rock sound coupled with insightful lyrics cut straight to the heart. Memories attached to these songs flood back while listening to this album. Bare Bones is truly for the fans as a poll was taken on twitter to decide which tracks were to be put on the album. The tracks which solicited the most votes from the fans were
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included in the album, so it is no big surprise to see all the major hits on the album. Indeed “Bare Bones” itself came about in response to fans requesting a CD of the songs they’d just heard – stripped down – raw – unplugged – the way they had originally been created. The resulting CD is a window into the sold-out highly acclaimed tour that Bryan has interspersed with full band stadium dates over the past few years. There have been few singers as prolific as Bryan Adams. His lifetime
achievements read like a short novel and the Canadian artist has no dearth of awards to his name. The Grammy and Juno award-winning singer-songwriter has spent the last three decades making music history. He has sold more than 65 million albums worldwide, toured six continents, garnered 21 top 10 hits, earned nominations for three Academy Awards and five Golden Globes, received 18 Juno Awards, an American Music Award, and five ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards for Most Performed Song from a Motion
Picture (his music has appeared on more than 40 movie soundtracks). But with all this, in all his encounters with the public and his doting fans he has been the picture of humility and taken his massive success in his stride. This humility is reflected in his performances and his insightful lyrics which are again on display in “Bare Bones”. They say one mellows with age and this seems to be the case with “Bare Bones”. However one should not mistake this for a lack of vitality as
Adams infuses each song with the same energy that he did back in the day. What we do get anew here is a sense of gratitude as he sings his songs at a more pondering pace. One could look at “Bare Bones” In two ways, either as the curtain call on an illustrious career or as a new beginning for an ageing but still immensely potent rock idol. Whatever your persuasions, this album is a must have for fans of the rock legend and music lovers from the nineties and eighties alike.
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orn and brought up in an obscure village near Kambam in Southern Tamil Nadu, Ilayaraja became the first Asian to score a symphony for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, besides scoring over 500 feature films in a period of 20 years. Raja, as he is popularly known and affectionately called, comes from a family of musicians. His mother, a huge repository of Tamil folk songs, seems to be a very strong influence in his music. He learned to play the harmonium, the typical
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film albums, such as “How to Name It” and “Nothing But Wind,” which were well-received in India and abroad. To many people who know him, Raja represents more than his music. He is a mark of great achievement that is possible by hard work, yet he is seen in most of his interviews as talking very philosophically.
musical instrument used in street performances In 1969, Raja migrated to the city of Madras, the Southern Movie capital, when he was 29 years old, looking for a break into music making for the public. He studied under Dhanraj Master, playing the guitar and piano in the Western style. He later earned a diploma in music from Trinity College in London. Ilayaraja’s break into music for films came with Annakili (1976). The film dealt with a village story, to which Ilayaraja composed great melodies. The songs offered simplicity and musicality typical of Tamil folk in an authentic way, and they offered new sounds--rich orchestration typical of Western music. The songs became an instant hit, the most popular being “Machchana Partheengala” sung by a female voice, S. Janaki. This was followed by a series of films that portrayed contemporary Tamil villages in an authentic way, against stylistic shallow portrayals before. For all of these films Raja created memorable songs.
Raja soon proved his abilities in other styles as well. classical Karnatic melodies were used in Kannan Oru Kai Kuzhandhai (1978) (Rag Mohanam), Mayile Mayile (Ragam Hamsadhwani), and Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran (Reethi Gowlai). Raja’s grasp of Western classical structure became evident with his masterful use of the piano, guitar, and string ensembles. Some of the numbers that show his orchestral genius are “Pon malai Pozhudu” and “Poongadhave” from Nizhalgal (1980), Kanmaniye Kadhal from Aarilirindhu Aruvathu Varai (1979), “Ramanin Mohanam” from Netri Kann (1981). These songs could literally be heard coming from every doorstep in Tamil Nadu state every day for at least a year after being released. Raja composed film music prolifically for the next fifteen years, at a rate of as many as three new songs a day.
Raja went for a trip abroad to Europe, partly to visit places where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Ludwig van Beethoven lived. They were his Manasika Gurus or non-physical teachers, he wrote once. His listeners were awestruck by the quality and quantity of his musical output. Ilayaraja also recorded non-
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SOMETHING BIG IS
GULLIVER’S TRAVELS Reviewed byDevina Agarwal
must confess, I have never read any version - be it unabridged or a kiddie version, of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. My first introduction to Gulliver and the Lilliputians came from listening to different versions of the story that people around me had to offer. So honestly, I knew I had nothing to compare the movie with and had gone to the theatre with an open mind. With that said, having Jack Black playing the self-glorified hero of the yarn sounded like a lot of fun. On paper, at least... For those who have not read the original classic, here’s the gist: Lemuel Gulliver tells his story of globe-trotting and the breath-taking countries he visited while travelling. His travels took place in the early
1700’s when England was discovering and claiming lands around the world. The unabridged version holds a lot of amusement for any politically savvy adult. Also, Swift’s strong criticism of the modern society is an important facet in the story. Now in this film set in our time, Lemuel is a lowly mail room guy working at a newspaper for over 10 years and does not have any dreams or any ambition of sorts to do more with his life. The Guitar Hero junkie and Star Wars fan-boy, seems obliviously content with his lifestyle despite being stuck in a dead-end job. When reality starts catching up with him, he subsequently starts messing up. From never having the courage to face an office flame, Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet) to finally working for
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her, the story seems a bit too clichéd for my liking. He is given an assignment to write about the Bermuda Triangle and the various mysteries behind the place and thus begin his adventures. He ends up in the land of the Lilliput’s where he meets Horatio; (Jason Segal) and calls him his “only best friend.” The subplot here is that Horatio a commoner has been punished for falling in love with the King’s daughter Princess Mary (Emily Blunt). General Edward (Chris O’Dowd) who, when he isn’t wooing Princess Mary, is trying to find ways to discredit “The Beast.” All attempts at sarcasm and comedy fell flat on me. It is here that Lemuel Gulliver starts enjoying the taste of being a hero, when the Lilliputians shower the
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towering man with love and respect. Gulliver goes to prove his valour and strength by serving the Lilliput army in his own special way, only to create more political complications for the Lilliputians and the Blefuscians. He “Gulliverises” and modernises the entire Lilliputian Kingdom. This is really bizarre as it completely draws away from the original plot of the book, which is the criticism of modern society. The film seems undeniably rushed and so much like a video game, that I kind of lost any sort of emotional connect with it. Also, the ending is kind of predictable and at the same time, quite unbelievable. Moreover, this supposed children’s film takes too many liberties with the idea of what a family film should be. I respect the intentions of Rob Letterman and the writers Nicholas Stoller and Joe Stillman but honestly so much more could have been done with such a strong cast line. There is no definitive adaptation of Swift’s classic novel, but, Jack Black’s redundant and inappropriate-to-thecharacter performance, lets all his fans down. The film aims low and fails to meet its potential at every turn. This is classic Jack Black turf, in which he prances around comfortably and has nothing that would challenge the boundaries of his histrionics. Quite often, you really couldn’t care less for what’s happening on screen and more often than once I found myself being the only person laughing in the hall, only because I am easily amused. With a weak adaptation of the original story, a poorly exploited cast, one can only look at the technical aspects of the movie for positives. For instance, the movie isn’t a complete loss since the special effects are excellent and the Japanese-inspired robot that Gulliver fights is also worth mentioning. Also, whatever you do, don’t miss the opening credits. It’s a view of Manhattan from a Lilliputians perspective!
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The Brew Magazine along with Courtyard by Marriott and Universal Music are proud to have launched A R Rahman’s original soundtrack for Danny Boyle’s “127 hours”. Here are a few candid moments from the launch…..
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No force is more powerful than the will to live SUHAIL ISMAIL
127 Hours, another
gripping tale, this time based on a true story, by Danny Boyle, of Slumdog Millionaire fame, of how the human will to survive and overcome, especially while facing great adversity, is one of the most powerful forces in the world.
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cademy award winning director Daniel Boyle follows up his Best Picture recipient, Slumdog Millionaire, with 127 Hours, another stellar movie about finding hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. Based on the book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aron Ralston, 127 Hours recounts the tribulations of mountain climber Aron Ralston, played by Hollywood’s James Franco, in a sure to be Oscar-nominated tour-deforce. The gripping and thrill-a-minute account of how a stranded mountain climber manages to see through the most harrowing experiences anyone would have to endure, in an attempt to survive. Ralston falls 65 feet down into an isolated, narrow canyon, his right arm pinned by a fallen boulder. He is trapped. Try as he might, this athletic, experienced outdoorsman cannot budge the rock and must utilise all his skills and experience and what little resources he has to save himself. But after five days of being trapped there and edging closer towards death, Aron is faced with doing the unthinkable if he’s going to escape his hellish ordeal. In adapting Ralston’s memoir, Daniel Boyle and his co-screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, who was also part of the team of Academy Award winning Slumdog Millionaire, have taken what could have been the man vs. nature equivalent of a survival guide,
and transformed it into a visceral, exhilarating drama about hope, life and the need to belong to something greater than one’s self. As Aron grows increasingly delirious in his days trapped in the canyon, he flashes back to the mistakes he’s made and dreams of the life he could lead. These sequences include flashes of his family, of experiences with his dad, played by Treat Williams, his mom, played by Kate Burton and his sister, Lizzy Caplanas and a beautiful exgirlfriend Rana, depicted on screen by Clemence Poesy, of previous Harry Potter and In Bruges fame. It is her
chilling parting words that haunt his thoughts. Aron also thinks of the last people he encountered just before his plight began - two young women, Megan and Kristi, played by Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara, whom he shared a playful afternoon with. Torture, depression, panic, regrets and despair soon give way to hope and resolve as Aron realizes the one way by which he can escape and lead the fuller, richer life he’s envisioned over the last 127 hours. The film makes it clear that it would have been easy for Aron to have given up, but he ultimately chooses life, and the hard choices that come with it, over death. Many already know the outcome of Ralston’s story, what he had to do in order to escape, but for those who don’t I won’t bother spoiling it for you, suffice to say that the scene while brutal is not exactly as gruesome as something you’d see in a ‘Saw’ movie. This gripping thriller is wonderfully punctuated by A.R Rahman’s wondrous soundtrack. ARR who rejoins Danny Boyle after winning a multitude of awards for Slumdog Millionaire delivers yet another stunner. Apparently, his marvellous musical score in the flick ‘127 Hours’, directed by Danny Boyle, has fetched him a nomination in the ‘Best Original Score’ category at the upcoming
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Oscars. ‘If I Rise’, the popular song in which Rahman was assisted by pop star Dido, has created wonders and received wide spread acclaim worldwide. Under the same category, Rahman will be seen competing with Alexandre Desplat for ‘The King’s Speech’, Danny Elfman for ‘Alice in Wonderland’, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for ‘The Social Network’ and Hans Zimmer for ‘Inception’. The 44 year old composer won his first ‘Golden Globe Award’ last year in the same category for his excellent music in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. He also won two Academy Awards for his score in the same movie. We have come across a number of ‘concept’ films in the past, where the vast majority of the film is shot in one place or the focus remaining on one individual. Easily coming to mind would be Joel Schumachers’ Phonebooth, starring Colin Farrell, as well as Stuart Hazeldine’s Exam. What is remarkable about Boyle’s fashioning of the film is that he’s designed it as a very trippy thriller, employing a multitude of techniques and two different cinematographers to create different looks throughout the movie. All this, however would have all been for naught without a solid actor in the central role. Playing what amounts to a one-man show, Franco is a revelation here. An incredible performance in an incredibly complex role, he is alternately goofy, vulnerable, cocky, brave and poignant. The role was obviously not just a physically gruelling challenge for him, but an emotional one as well, given that he’s alone on screen for nearly the entire movie. All in all, 127 Hours is one of the year’s most powerful and moving films. 127 Hours is the kind of movie you absolutely must see once and then, battered and broken by enduring Ralston’s gruesome predicament with him, you’ll never want to see again. Danny Boyle has done it again, showcasing the sheer power of the human spirit.
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ANSWER AND WIN Q: WHO COMPOSED THE ORGINAL SOUND TRACK FOR the movie “127 Hours”? Email the answer to firstname.lastname@example.org to win 127 hours music cds and holidays from Club Mahindra
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A Tête à Tête with
Angelina Jolie We catch up with Angelina Jolie in Venice, Italy; the set of her upcoming and much awaited movie “The Tourist” alongside the talented Johnny Depp. Relaxed, composed and sporting that well known mischievous smile along with her witty tongue, Ms. Jolie had a pop at a variety of questions ranging from the movie to Brad to her kids and even a little bit of world politics. So, read on and get up close and personal with Angelina Jolie!
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So what made you decide to act in “The Tourist”? “I was looking for a very short thing to do before Brad started filming [Moneyball]. And I said I needed something that shoots not too long, in a nice location for my family. Somebody said there’s a script that’s been around, and it shoots in Venice and Paris. And I said, ‘Is it a character I haven’t played before?’ And they said, ‘Yes, it’s a lady!’ ” <She laughs loudly>
You always seem to take on strong female roles in your movies. Why is that so? “I was feeding the babies—Vivienne and Knox—while I was reading the script of Salt, and I was feeling very round and lovely and Mommy-like, as I’d been living in a nightgown for a very, very long time.” So part of the reason I did it was to get back in shape. Practicing the stunts is where you get your strength back. I felt it was a weird thing that every time you ask for a strong female role, it’s written in this strange way where it uses sexuality far too much. Or it’s all about being a woman and beating a man. So it wasn’t a surprise to me that the only way to do a strong female role properly was to not have originally written it for a woman.”
Which is the best movie you have acted in? “A Mighty Heart. Possibly because I loved Mariane [Pearl], and Brad produced it, and I think it was a well-done film about something that matters. “
at me. Some days, yes, I have the nightgown that looks like a dress that I can sleep in and pick the kids up at school. And maybe take a meeting if I switch into heels.”
The word on the street is that black is your favorite colour. Is that true?
With your busy schedules, how do you manage to take care of your not-so-small family?
<She is wearing a little cropped jacket by Neil Barrett, who dresses haute Hollywood, classic pants by Helmut Lang, and Ferragamo flats. Black, black, and black.> “As Brad’ll tell you—and my kids—apparently Mommy only wears black. It’s utilitarian, it’s practical. I like to get up so every pair of pants goes with every top; every dress goes with every shoe. I’ve a very tiny closet. Brad’s always laughing
“We take turns working. One of us is always at home with the kids—always. Taking them out to things and being there with them and bringing them to school or to the set to visit Mommy or Daddy. But ‘at home’ from February to May this year was a villa on the Grand Canal. Daddy was child-wrangling in Venice while I was filming The Tourist. The kids loved it, and I am fabulously lucky to have been able to work while
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living in the history of this gorgeous country.”
Tell us about your kids! “Mad’s a real intellectual, which I can take no credit for genetically. He’s great at school, great at history. He feels like he could be a writer or travel the world and learn about places and things. Zahara’s got an extraordinary voice and is just so elegant and well spoken. Shiloh’s hysterically funny, one of the goofiest, most playful people you’ll ever meet. Knox and Viv are classic boy and girl. She’s really female. And he’s really a little dude.” <She says that when she was growing up she was most like her daughter Shiloh> Goofy and verbal, the early signs of a performer…. I used to get
"I’ve a very tiny closet. Brad’s always laughing at me. Some days, yes, I have the nightgown that looks like a dress that I can sleep in and pick the kids up at school. And maybe take a meeting if I switch into heels"
dressed up in costumes and jump around. But at some point, I got closed off, darker. I don’t remember anything happening. I think you just get hit with the realities of certain things in life, think too much, start to realise the world isn’t as you wished it would be, so you deepen. Then, as I had kids and got older—being goofy, lighter—it all came back.”
Maybe if you have one child and that child has a lot of needs, you realise you cannot give more attention to another. Sometimes you just know as a parent. We felt we could handle more children, and we have a very happy, very full home. “
Did you always want a big family?
“Well, someone found a lizard in the house yesterday!! And a couple of days back….” <she pauses before restarting > And I’m sure there’s going to be some comment about this, which fortunately I will not read, Shiloh found a dead bird, so she came in and said, ‘Can I have a dead pet?’ And I’m . . . ‘Uh-uh, I don’t think it’s healthy, honey. I think they have to put him
<She shrugs and says> “I don’t know! I didn’t have all my children. I only planned for two! <Says a mother of twins>. To each his own. It’s one of those things. How you build your family—you have to know what you’re capable of handling and how your children will relate to each other.
So apart from your large family, do you have pets at home?
in a box,’ and I had to run out to find, like, a taxidermy bird. I just worked it out for her.” <Did Shiloh know about taxidermy?> No. But I figured that I couldn’t keep the actual dead bird from the yard, so I swayed her toward one that had been cleaned, at least! We also have a bulldog called Jacques, who lives in our house in France.
We’ve heard that you have found an ingenious way to maintain consistency in your kids’ education? “We’ve enrolled all the school-age children at the Lycée Français, where much of the curriculum is in French. This fall, while I was in Hungary filming my Bosnian movie, Maddox, Pax, Zahara, and Shiloh trotted off to school at Budapest’s Lycée Français,
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“No, I’m not pregnant. We’re not opposed to it. But we want to make sure we can give everybody special time."
picking up exactly where they left off at the Lycée in L.A. How smart is that? We can make movies in Athens, Bangkok, Caracas, or Düsseldorf (and that’s only A to D) while our kids get on with their lessons normally because the instruction is the same the world over.”
Do you get time to cook for your kids? “Sometimes. I’m not the best cook. Pax is a better cook than me. Pax likes to cook. But I try to when I can. Any house that we’re in, we all chip in. But the kids are very sweet . . . so enthusiastic anytime I cook. Especially Maddox; he’s just this little man that’s very supportive of me—it’s like he’s raised me a bit. So I cooked them all breakfast before school this morning, and he has that kind of ‘Thanks, Mom! Good job’ look about him! ”
We’ve been hearing rumours that you are pregnant again? Are they true? “No, I’m not pregnant. We’re not opposed to it. But we want to make sure we can give everybody special time. They’re kids now, and can play together, but they’re going to need a lot more talking in the middle of the
night, like I did with my mom for hours. We want to make sure we don’t build a family so big that we don’t have absolutely enough time to raise them each really well.”
Jumping a little off topic, you were appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001. What is your take on the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan? “The country with the highest number of refugees in the world is Pakistan. <She tells me about how she met with women who lost children to the surging water and gave impromptu press conferences in sweaty rooms, filled with loud angry-seeming men. She talks about these issues like this is her day job> I tell her Pakistan is a hard country to raise money for: Zardari’s government seems pretty unlovable. She becomes slightly heated: “The president is not the people! If you are concerned about security in the world, the last thing you want to do is not give your support to Pakistan and Afghanistan, because that’s the most dangerous thing. That’s the least intelligent thing, as far as I’m concerned, to do.”
So what’s Brad been up to in
Venice, while you’ve been shooting? “He sculpts and designs. He makes furniture, sculpts things related to houses. Traditional male. I keep telling Brad he owes me. He’s had a few months off in one of the most beautiful cities in the world with the children. And he’s such an artist and goes to the stone yards and the art exhibits, and loves being in such a cultural place.”
Venice is such a romantic city! Can we expect wedding bells for you and Brad, anytime soon!? <She laughs> “We’re not against getting married, but it’s just like we already are. Children are clearly a commitment, a bigger commitment [than marriage]. It’s for life.”
Brad gets a lot of female fan attention. How do you react to that? “Well, he’s a handsome man. Yes! I think he’s extremely sexy! But, when I think about him, I just think of the man who’s such a great friend and such an extraordinary father. And that’s when I fall, you know, when I have my moments of getting—whoarr!—caught up in how much I love him... it’s usually when I see him with the children.”
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do we have kids in the movie? We’ve thought about that, but it becomes personal now that we actually have kids. And if we work on it, we pull from our own life, which is funny to us, but you feel strange sharing too much. We did ask somebody to look into Mr. & Mrs. to see if they could crack a sequel, but there wasn’t anything original. It was just, well, they’re going to get married, or they’ve got kids, or they get separated. Never great.”
How long will audiences be able to enjoy Angelina Jolie- The actor?
Would you consider co- starring with Brad again? “I’d love to. We’ve talked about it. We’d have to figure out who’s going to watch the kids, but it’s really about finding the right thing, because we’ve looked. When you’re a couple, there are certain things people don’t want to see you do. It becomes too indulgent, too personal. I don’t think people want
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to see people who are really together intimate on-screen. Maybe we have to play bad guys that try to kill each other, so it’s just fun and aggressive, not dealing with some man-woman deal.”.
I’ve heard whispers of a Mr. & Mrs. Smith sequel! Any truth there? “People have tried. And it’s strange:
“It’s not the most important thing in my life. Acting helped me as I was growing up. It helped me learn about myself, helped me travel, helped me understand life; express myself, all those wonderful things. So I’m very, very grateful, it’s a fun job. It’s a luxury. Look, I’m at work today in the middle of Venice. But I don’t think I’ll do it much longer. Because I have a happy home….I got back from work last night, and everybody was playing music and dancing and I suddenly found myself dancing around with a bunch of little fun crazy people.”
Cinema, Cinema, Music Music & Art & Art with with the the Brew Brew | NOVEMBER | JANUARY 2010 2011 | 35
Popcorn And Friday Nights Pallavi Nandagopal
holamandal Artists’ Village was established in 1966 as the largest artists’ commune in India and also the only artists’ village established by the artists. Cholamandal is located at Injambakkam, nine km from Adyar in Chennai. It was founded by K.C.S Paniker, who envisaged and fostered this new movement in Indian art called the Madras Movement (1950s -80s), which brought modernism to art in south India. Art of the Madras Movement was characterized predominantly by the use of the ‘line’, ubiquitous of Indian tradition. Inspiration came from script, formulae, and ritual images such as snake forms, lingams, inscriptions, kolam designs, etc. About 38 artists from the Government College of Arts & Crafts, under the guidance of Paniker, formed the Artists Handicrafts Association (AHA) in1963 and bought 10 acres of land in 1966 from the proceeds of their group craft exhibition (batik). Each artist bought himself a piece of land out of the 10 acres and became a member of the community. The Madras sculptors based their work on the line, developed a frontal quality and emphasized craft. For a long
time, especially in the initial years, the community used the ‘art meets craft’ approach where artists made handicrafts for a living even as they pursued their art. Here the artists engaged in part-time craft work that yielded enough income for them to pursue serious art and realize their potential as artists. Through avant garde wood/leather work, ceramics and batik that found a good market, they even familiarized the buyers to modern art. By the 1970s, the village became self-sufficient and grew into one of the most important meeting places for international artists in India. Today it remains one of the few artistdriven movements in India. Unique in character, concept and context, Cholamandal has been an example in cooperative enterprise and community living. Over the last three years, the artists raised money from the private sector to found a museum within the village to house a permanent collection of art works representative of the Madras Movement. Thus the Cholamandal Centre for Contemporary Art (CCCA) was opened at the village in February 2009. The Centre consists of a museum displaying works of all prominent artists of the Madras Movement, a gallery for the
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Cholamandal artists, two commercial galleries (the Laburnum & Indigo Galleries), a craft shop, guest houses and Shiraz art café. The transformation saw Cholamandal evolve from being merely a community of self-employed contemporary Indian artists to a dynamic centre disseminating art awareness, awareness about a particular art movement in India, awareness about
modern art and art education among the public as well as cross cultural interaction through its Museum and forums for interaction. It is the sense of community that has helped sustain the village over 40 years .Cholamandal has evolved into a resourceful centre for disseminating knowledge on art and culture.
screenings from the Art 21 series. Other shows featured artists Francis Bacon, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and architects Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry.
show in this unique ambience soaked in art and stay on for lively discussions and debates later. Entry is free and open to all, seating is on a first comefirst served basis. Every screening is inevitably followed by animated debates among the audience.
The Friday Movie Club @ Cholamandal started in August 2010, with
Twice a month on Fridays there are screenings covering a spectrum of art related movies - documentaries as well as feature films. Cholamandal welcomes art enthusiasts to come and enjoy the
It is heartening to note that Cholamandal is emerging as a much needed space for dialogue in the city.
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No Fear Of Perfection Salvador Dali Nisha JamVwal
Every morning, when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy—the joy of being Salvador Dali—and I ask myself in rapture, ‘What wonderful things this Salvador Dali is going to accomplish today?’
— Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali
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t this moment as I am creating something new in my life, the words of one of my favorite artists come to mind, that flamboyant artist who used bizarre dream imagery to create unforgettable landscapes of his own inner world. And what could bring Dali and his disquieting interpretation of fantastical imagery to the forefront of my mind? Certainly his madness, but also his meticulously rendered canvases with double or triple entendre! I am thinking today of all the refracted humour of Dali’s early paintings, that depict dream imagery and everyday objects in unexpected forms. Some memorable episodes in Dali’s
life, that stay with me, were his refusal to take his final examination, saying he knew more than the professor, leading to his expulsion from the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts. Another turning point was his first meeting with muse Gala Eluard, when she visited Cadaques with her husband, French poet Paul Eluard. Ironically she became Dali’s lover and inspiration, leading to his first one-man show in Paris, at Goeman’s Gallery. They married in a civil ceremony and she constantly advised him on how to interact with the art community, especially while they were in America. Dali painted, sculpted, photographed, designed perfumes and jewelry. I
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think of him when I am introduced and people ask me what is it ‘exactly’ that I do? Am I an Interior Architect or Designer or Host or Writer or Art Curator? His scripts caused scandal and the League of Patriots rioted in protest, destroying many surrealist works. He interacted with Picasso, Harpo Marx, Miro, Luis Bunuel. He designed dresses and hats for Elsa Schiaparelli, drew portraits of Sigmund Freud. He worked with Walt Disney on an animated film project (Destino), designed dream sequences for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Spellbound; and illustrated Macbeth and Don Quixote. He did scenarios, costumes and sets for Bacchanale; and designed
productions by Peter Brook and Lucino Visconti. He created a series of jewels for Carlos Alemany. As he said, “At the age of six, I wanted to be a cook. At seven, I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.” And his kaleidoscopic life was peppered with intriguing art situations. Like the famous photograph taken a short while before his demise, in 1989, where Vanity Fair’s Helmut Newton photographed him in a satin gown. He wears the Grad Cross of Isabella the Catholic and displays the tube in his nose, through which he’d been fed, due to a psychological problem with swallowing.
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Photography: Prabhu Ramakrishanan
Stray and the Great Indian
sing social media and blog posts for the sake of TRP rate by media is not a new tale. But what Stray Factory attempted and executed recently was not the same. Stray Factory along with Indiblogger, brought in a unique collaborative venture, The ‘Great Indian Blogologues’. As the name suggests, this was purely based on blog content.
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A series of standalone blogs were selected and adapted to form a play. Initially, 30 Chennai bloggers were shortlisted from an overwhelming response of 1012 posts. This was purely for Chennai bloggers. At the end of the selection process, Volume 01 of the Chennai Chapter had 15 posts and a final adaptation titled ‘Yours Digitally Madras’.
As part of the initiative, 9 Chennai bloggers have collaborated with local directors and actors. All of these blogs were in some or the other way very unique to Chennai. The posts varied from Flash Fiction to cloning to a satire take on Current Affairs. Stray Factory chose a variety of tools to showcase the content like Mime, Hip Hop, Projection and Live Video making it a truly collaborative multimedia performance. The final adaptation Yours Digitally Madras had 3 short plays Judy finds ‘The One’, Vigilante Vs Vigilante & ‘Confessions of a scattered a mind’. Judy finds ‘The One’ – Directed by Mathivanan Rajendran This was a Black Comedy that takes an exaggerated and unrealistic look into how a girl’s attempt to find ‘The One’ leading her into a blind date with a bumbling terrorist. The play examines the stereotypes that surround love and matrimony in the city. The act started off with ‘Judy’ behind a picture frame ranting about being a blogger and polluting cyberspace and peppers her discourse with strategic pauses after particularly witty quips, anticipating laughter from the audience.
an Blogologues What ensued was a mix of “Letter to The One” and “The ‘F’ Factor”. This was a lengthy monologue by Aiswarya Mahesh who simply walks up and down the stage and delivers a lengthy monologue that had a trace of the Megalomaniac Blogger Syndrome. Then Mathivanan took to the stage and played the piece “Why Not Be a Terrorist”. Mathivanan gave a performance that was soulful, spirited, and the audience was enthralled.
And that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the act. Next post “15 Reasons Why I Want to Marry a Female Blogger” was relegated to just a brief conversation. Vigilante Vs Vigilante – Directed by Hariher Balasubramanian A Science Fiction piece that tells the tale of a blundering idiot who ends up in a position of compromise with all the wrong people. His tale takes him to loan sharks, banks, churches and
police stations all over the city and his fortunes rest on the incredulity of a local cop, in his last shift for the day. To be simple, this act was pwned by Inspector Sathya. His one-liners kept the crowd in splits throughout the act. The crux of the act was based on the really short “Transference”. It was a pretty somber, murder and all, but lively nevertheless. This act had lots of colorful characters: the pretty young scientists held captive, one of them hyperventilating badly; the evil loan
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Photography: Prabhu Ramakrishanan
shark woman who swore like a sailor and quoted Shakespeare in the same breath; and of course, the Inspector Sathya, of the Ray Bans and the Tamil Superstar poise. ‘Confessions of a scattered a mind’ – Directed by Rajiv Rajaram A Pseudo-musical about a scientist who hypothesizes that Chennai’s traffic is akin to a jar of Beans. His subjects include a Megalomaniac business man, 3 fake Godmen and an awkward love-struck teenager. The highlight of the play is Chennai’s traffic scene recreated in Mime. It started with the “Bean Jar Analogy”. Besides the humor, a mime troupe was brought in, to mimic traffic, and the Bean Jar Analogy burst into a fullblown musical! Among the plays in the third act, “Tweet You!” stood out: it was the only blog in the bunch that was satirical and commented on current affairs. The stage adaptation of “A Truth Stranger than Fiction” was way better than the blog, all credit to the artistes and the director. And to wind up, there was a Tamil skit. The show put on by Amzad Khan, RJ Ma Ka Pa Anand and especially Sharavan Raghavan rocked the stage with ‘Mallika Sharawath polle oru pambu’ Volume 01 of the Chennai Chapter was based on Material by Chennai Writers Giri Vijayakumar,
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Charan, Judy Balan, S.Pradeep Kumar, Teenu Terrance, Anuraag Seshadri, Athisha , Vinay Menon and Zaid Mohd and directed by Hariher Balasubramanian, Mathivanan Rajendran and Rajiv Rajaram. The stage adaptation included special performances by The Mactrics (Mime Performers) and Hip Hop Tamizha. This was a unique attempt by Stray Factory which was well
executed too. They bravely strayed into the unexplored and the unheard off domains and no doubt are en-route a firm path towards fame, achievements and accolades from a growing audience.
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Caustic, Tantalizing and Thrilling Death Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden REVIEWED BY Queenie Sukhadia Ariel’s Dorfman’s explosively provocative and tongue-in-cheek play ‘Death and the Maiden’ is excellent to read while drinking your coffee or while driving to a meeting or then for actual dissection for a literature exam. Dorfman’s thriller confronts a litany of moral conundrums regarding crime, revenge, guilt and punishment. Set in a country that has only recently won its democracy, this play revolves primarily on the prevalence of brutal, animalistic crimes committed in the country and the ‘justice’ meted out to the victims, which was for mere namesake. All that justice encompassed was the appointment of a commission that investigated the crimes of the old regime, but was never allowed to reveal the names, rendering it powerless to bring about concrete results. A woman called Paulina is kidnapped and consequently raped because she refuses to give out the name of the person heading the Investigation Commission. Intensely described with every cruel gross detail delved into, it makes one’s hair stand on end. After 15 years of trauma, Paulina finally chances on Dr. Miranda, the perpetrator of the crime, the man who raped and tortured her as she lied blindfolded in a military detention centre. Now is the time to get revenge and she wants her justice, be it through pulling the trigger or through any other means. Sympathy is not a quotient Paulina Salas is going to consider while seeking out her justice, and she knows that she is going to make his existence seem like a curse to him. But bad is how bad? Intense and compelling, this book is emotionally charged and does not allow one to put it down until the 68 pages of thrill are completed. In this short read, Dorfman successfully captures
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the attention of his readers with his vivid and intricate detailing, without dwelling too much on pulling the play too long. The play is short and fast-paced with not one dull moment, adding to the charisma of ‘Death and the Maiden’. This material of crime and justice is extremely well-served by Dorfman who knows perfectly how to instil a subtle, claustrophobic sense of dread in an audience put together in a rather elegant pot-boiler. Dorfman certainly gets the maximum voltage and precision out of his story and characters, keeping his readers preternaturally alert to shifting power relationships and delayed revelations. ‘Death and the Maiden’ is at once caustic and sincere, tantalizing and satisfying, thrilling and pacifying. A stellar play, ‘Death and the Maiden’ is a quick-read which leaves one in thought for hours about the plotline. Chilling and thought-provoking, this play is crafted for the intelligent and discerning reader who can look beyond the elegant, yet unobtrusive dance of words and gauge the depth
and relevance of crime in our world. Relentlessly paced and filled with lethal surprises, this play is marked with emotional hair-triggers of sex, terror and revenge, but scarier and richer, with queasy psychosexual undertones. Also made into a major motion picture by the famous director, Roman Polanski and starring Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver and Stuart Wilson, this play is also the winner of the Olivier Award for Best Play of the London Season.
A sadomasochistic crime story that locks torturer and victim together in a chillingly intimate spiritual embrace, the play cannot be fully appreciated until one picks up this thin read and actually experiences the hair tingling, the pathos and the anger coursing through one’s veins. An inquest into the darker side of humanity, ‘Death and the Maiden’ is an entirely different experience in itself.
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To Dance or not to Dance... silly question!! Riyukta Menon
“There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them”, said the famous writer Vicki Baum. He couldn’t have been farther from the truth, for dancing always elevates one’s mood and it brings joy not only to the performer but also to the audience. Different people view dancing differently – for some it is an expression of feelings, while for others it is a way of communication or even social interaction. But more commonly, it is an art form involving graceful body movements. Dancing over the years has spawned many styles, from the early classical forms such as Ballet and Bharatanatyam to the more popular Ballroom, Jazz, Latin American and the more recent Hip-Hop, Contemporary and Freestyle. Ballroom and Latin styles of dancing are becoming very popular now, even in India. Ballroom is a more formal style of dance and this is where it differs from Latin that is more fast-paced, zestful and cheeky. Latin has been my favourite owing to its very flamboyant character. The dances that originated in Latin America were primarily Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Merengue, Bolero, Jive and Mambo and Salsa. Every year there are prestigious dance competitions conducted in England and the Latin competition is called the International Latin American Competition formulated by the British Dance Council. The International Latin American competitions comprise five dances: Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Jive and Paso Doble conducted in line with the British Dance
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Council regulations. The United Kingdom Alliance for Professional Dancing, a part of the BDC comes down to India every year to conduct Medal exams in Ballroom and Latin styles. Dance schools in India, especially from Chennai and Bangalore, are associates of the UKA and undertake these Latin medal exams, paving the way for the International Latin American Competition. There are seven levels to these exams: bronze, silver, silver bar, gold, gold bar, gold star and gold cross. At each level either a different style of dance is added or the choreography is enhanced. Under International Latin, Rumba is one of the slowest forms of Latin dance and is known to have originated in Cuba. It combines the musical traditions of the Africans and Spanish colonizers. Rumba, the dance of love, is a slow and composed, stylish dance where music allows exaggerated hip movements on every single move. Cha Cha Cha unlike Rumba is an upbeat dance known for its peppy and sensuous steps. It is believed that this dance form got its name from the sound of the feet when moving across the floor on the quick three beats (which sounded like ‘cha cha cha’). Cha Cha Cha can be danced to authentic Cuban music or even Latin Pop and Latin Rock. Samba, which originated in Brazil combines African, Iberian and native Indian movements. This dance form requires a very high level of energy as it combines quick steps with energetic jumps and a constant bounce in the body. In order to bring out the real characteristic of this dance form it is usually performed to Brazilian music and thus Samba is common and preferred mostly only by experienced dancers. Like the Samba, Jive, a form of swing, is also an energetic and lively dance. Jive originated in the United States and is danced to fast rock and roll music. Paso Doble is a more serious dance
form where the performers wear an intense attitude. The mood of this dance is very stern, modelled on the sound, drama and movement of the Spanish bullfight. Paso Doble for the most past is danced only competitively, almost never socially. Salsa, though not included among the five International Latin dances, is still the most popular of the different Latin styles. Salsa is the latest fashion in India, especially in cities like Bombay, Bangalore and Chennai; it is the most preferred dance style. Salsa is danced on the same lines as Mambo and, as the name suggests, it is a syncretic dance form that originated in Cuba. Salsa is popular throughout Latin America and also in the United States, Spain, France, Japan, Portugal, Germany, Eastern Europe and even India.
the music it is usually danced to and also because Salsa is a very flirtatious dance by nature. Salsa, apart from being the most common club style, has moved on to become the newage fitness module for most people. What more can you ask for when your workout regimen comprises dance, music and fun? Dance can be any one of these – a performance dance, a competition dance, a club dance, a dance for fitness, what is commonly known as ‘dancercise’, or even performing in your living room. You can dance anywhere, as W.H Auden’s words echo: “Dance till the stars come down from the rafters. Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop.”
Salsa is commonly known as a partnered dance although there are
recognised solo and group forms. This dance form has various styles and the more common one, especially in India, is the Los Angeles style. The Los Angeles style of Salsa was born in Northern America when Salsa was fashioned to the Latin-American musical hits of the late 1980s and 90s. Though the LA style has many detractors it still remains the most preferred dance form. Salsa owes it popularity to the fact that it is one of the easier Latin dance styles. It has an added zeal to it because of
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EASY EVENING CDs
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