EN Route chennai inTERNATIONAL film festival The lone warrior Pt. Ajay pohankar everglowing khairani barokka NOVEMBER 2013
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Velammal, with its humble beginning in the year 1986 with just 183 students and 13 staff members has become a heavenly abode for 70,000 students and 6000 staff. The illustrious Velammal banner with its vision for excellence in all aspects of education and impeccable scholastic and non scholastic records has branched out widely with 13 Matriculation schools, 7 CBSE Schools, 1 International and Residential School each. Our remarkable transformation within a short span of 27 years has earned us a unique opportunity to feature ourselves in the Guinness Book of World Records 2013 for the highest student strength in an Educational Trust. The incomparable transition, plenteous accolades and burgeoning success personify the visionary with the Midas Touch, the Founder Chairman, Shri M.V. Muthuramalingam. His magical hands have transformed many dreams into reality and many hopes into vision. His resolute dedication, staunch conviction have left no mission or avenue unexplored. Personal loss of losing his father at a young age and no financial back up never deterred him from his chosen goal in life. At the age of 64, he is a self made man maintaining a low profile private life but a highly acclaimed and successful professional career.
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Dear Readers! Welcome to yet another exciting edition of BREW. As another eventful year comes to an end, one of the landmark events of Chennai is about to happen next month - The Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF). Over the last few editions the festival has carved a niche for itself and in a few years will become one of the worlds finest and most looked forward to - thanks to the massive effort from the people on this cover of BREW. They have added the right flavor to the festival and have turned it around to make it one of the most expected film festivals in this part of the country. We speak to Suhasini Manirathnam and also the rest of the team on what makes CIFF tick and what to expect this year. A lot more on Cinema,Music and art as well. Enjoy this edition of BREW. Until next time!. Keep Brewing.
Sameer Bharat Ram Editor Brew takes no responsibility for unsolicited photographs or material. All PHOTOGRAPHS, UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED ARE USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSE ONLY.
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CONTRIBUTORS AND ADVISORY BOARD
Sethumadhavan N. Sethumadhavan.N holds an MBA from XLRIJamshedpur 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.
Thota Tharani He is one of the biggest names in art direction in Indian Cinema with some landmark films like Nayakan to his credit and a leading artist from South India. He has won two national awards for art direction.
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.
Kyle Hill Kyle Hill is a science writer who specializes in finding the secret science in your favorite fandom. He writes for theScientific American Blog Network at his blog, Overthinking It. Hill also contributes to Slate, Wired, Nautilus, Popular Science, and io9. He manages Nature Education’s Student Voices blog, is a research fellow with the James Randi Educational Foundation, and you can follow him on Twitter under @Sci_Phile.
Rahul Dev Rahul Dev is a chennai based Fashion and Advertisement Photographer
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New # 106, Old # 79, Chamiers Road, Chennai - 600028. Shop: 24311495 CafĂŠ: 42030734 Mail: email@example.com Web: www.chamiershop.com NOVEMBER 2013
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18 30 10 | BREW Anniversary issue
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Mumbai film festival
en route chennai INTERNATIONAL film festival
the lone warrior ‘Pt. ajay pohankar’
an unequal harmony ‘souvik gupta’
catching the fire with ‘jennifer lawrence’
whats brewing kavita?
everglowing khairani barokka
a chat with ‘gulshan deviah’
Interviews transcripted by - the brew crew
ART TALK with ‘nelson kennedy’
photocredits Deva arul
REFLECTIONS ON THE
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Over the last few years the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF from here on) has gone on to become one of the most popular film festivals in India and is getting fairly recognized in the International film festival circuit as well. This can be gauged by the quality of films being screened year on year during the festival. Of late most of the better International films make their first entry in India at MFF before doing the rounds of other popular festivals like IFFI (International Film Festival of India)Goa, IFFK (International Film Festival of Kerala)-Thiruvananthapuram, CIFF (Chennai International Film Festival etc). This yearâ€™s MFF (held from 17-24 October, 2013) saw noted Greek born naturalized veteran filmmaker CostaGavras and our own Kamal Hassan being presented with the lifetime achievement awards.
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The festival also saw separate sections devoted to films from Spain, France, Cambodia and Afghanistan in addition to the regular sections. Noted French filmmaker Leos Carax received a tribute and he was gracious enough to be not only present for the screenings of his films but also interact with delegates both formally via a workshop as well as informally. Both the opening and the closing films were from Hollywood, The Butler and The Fifth Estate respectively. This year too most of the films which had made their mark in major festivals like Cannes and Berlin made their way to MFF. This year’s festival also saw the premiere of many Indian and International films. Let me throw a look back now at some of the more notable films screened during MFF 2013. Closed Curtain Winner of the Best Script award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, JafarPanahi’s Closed Curtain is a very personal film and reflects the state of mind with which he is currently working. Completely shot in & around a seaside villa, the film has very few characters and eventually brings in a blur between fact and fiction, reality and the not so real World. A little too abstract for comfort, the film also has JafarPanahi playing himself in the film.
Qissa Anup Singh’s Qissa was one of the anticipated films of this year’s MFF and the film lived up to the expectations generated by the trailer. A tale of a Sikh family led by Irrfan Khan who make the transition from Pakistan to India during the partition and rebuild their lives in the best way possible, or so as they think so, this Punjabi film is wonderfully multi-layered and filled with metaphors, magic realism and wonderful performances from Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra, TillotamaShome and RasikaDugal. Definitely a recommended watch. The Amazing Catfish This is a heartwarming, mind boggling,
mediating film. It is not a film, rather an experience that one should have. Story, characters and emotions are so real and yet so dreamy. Claudia Sainte – Luce is a 14 |
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director to look out for in future. And one hardly realizes that it is her debut film. Performances are as good as real. You actually end up feeling like being yet another member of Martha’s amazing family. It’s better not to give away much of the plot, because it is more about feeling this wonderful experience than about plot and story. It is a simply told film and with some really heartwarming characters. It is a story of a wonderful family and of a beautiful lonely girl-Claudia,and how one day she meets the most amazing catfish. Inside Llewyn Davis This is another gem from the CoenBrothers, the film is unique and has characters that you will find only in the universe of Coen’s. The film is about trials and tribulations that one needs to go through to be a star, but it seems factors other than hard work and dedication are needed, to achieve what one wants. This sad, funny melancholic tale is easily one of the best American films to release this year. Oscar Davis is excellent as struggling folk singer Llewyn Davis. And if you think, you need one more reason to watch this film, then how can you ignore a film in which cats play such an important role. Blue is the Warmest Color Winner of this year’s Palme D’Or at Cannes, AbdellatifKechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color, is a like a wonderful poetry on the big screen. The film is based on the French graphic novel, Blue Angel and talks about the lives of Adele and Emma. The film starts off with Adele, a high school junior and extremely popular girl in school who ends up meeting Emma, a student of Fine Arts and an aspiring artist. Throwing caution to the wind both Adele and Emma embark on a path less trodden, but a decision taken out of choice. What does life have in store for them? How do they deal with love, relationship, heartbreak, commitment and more is what the film takes us through. With brilliant performances from the cast, especially Adele Exarchopoulos (who plays Adele), the film has a simple subject but handles it in admirable fashion. Though the film has a lot of sex on screen, credit to the director for making it look artistic and not vulgar. As the story progresses you forget that the film is all about 2 women as what unfolds can happen
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between a boy & a girl or even between two boys. That’s how powerful the storytelling is as it literally sucks the viewers in. Easily among the best films seen at MFF this year, this one is a recommended watch. Fandry A one sided love story between a Dalit teenager and upper-caste girl? This might sound like a typical storyline, but it is a very special film. Firstly thing, there is no unwanted sympathy for a Dalit boy. The character actually is very similar to the boy’s character from director Nagraj’s national award winning short film Pistulya . Secondly it is a light film, with lots of heartwarming emotions despite its volatile content. It makes you love the characters even more. And at the same it never makes fun of them. It infuses realism. It makes characters more real and we develop empathy with them. And beautifully written dialogues adds more charm to it. Further, it makes a profound social statement, without actually saying it explicitly. And finally another highlight is the ending of the film, it is always better to end on a high note, rather than to start brightly and nosedive badly. Fandry certainly is one of the best Indian films made in the last decade, it has classic, written all over it. Salute. Short Term 12 You can’t go too wrong with films set in correctional institutions. There will be some moment, some scene which will warm your audience’s heart. But the amazing part about Dustin Cretton’s Short Term 12 is that it does not get a single note wrong. You have met them all before, the reticent inmate, the mentally deranged one, the one with a hidden talent and the caretaker with a past of her own. Yet ST12 compares with some of the best of the genre like Awakenings or One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Brie Larson and John Gallagher Jr. are perfectly suited for their leading roles. After three stressful days, I was feeling a little tired. ST12 put the life back in me. The Past (Le Passe) After charming audiences Worldwide with A Separation, Iranian filmmaker AsgharFarhadi returns this year with a French film, The Past (Le Passe). Ahmed an Iranian returns back to Paris after 4 years to complete the 16 |
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divorce proceedings with his wife, Marie. Marie who is now in a relationship with Samir, wants Ahmed to talk to her elder daughter Lucie who seems to be distressed with the entry of Samir into her mother’s life. Pretty soon the characters get drawn into an intricate web of complex relationships, threatening to upset both old and new relationships. While there is a resemblance in terms of the basic theme with A Separation, it’s very interesting to see how AsgharFarhadi has managed to still keep the film engaging enough and make it look worthwhile. The performances are all noteworthy and BereniceBejo in fact won the Best Actress Award at Cannes Film Festival this year for her portrayal of Marie. It is heartening to know that a film like this would be getting a theatrical release in India as well shortly. IloIlo YehIloIlokyahai, yehIloIlo? IloIlo is proof that good writing can elevate the most mundane of stories to the level of a classic. The story need not be too profound. The thought, the minor details behind every scene is what matters most. The basic structure of IloIlo reminded me of A Separation. A Filipino maid is hired by a family in Singapore. The small boy in the family initially gives her hell but gradually a bond develops between the two, much to the discomfort of the mother. Alongside, the family is facing an economic crunch, reflecting the state of the Singaporean economy. This makes having a maid a luxury they can ill afford. The film touches upon many such issues while keeping the mood light and jovial. IloIlo is a film of the quality achieved when the director has also written the screenplay. A memorable debut by Anthony Chen, this film won the Camera d’Or at Cannes this year. Heli This Mexican film directed by Amat Escalante is Mexico’s official entry to the Oscars in 2014 and won the Best Director Award at Cannes this year. The film’s protagonist Heli is a 17 year old lad, married to his lady love and living along with his wife, baby son, father and sister. Heli and his dad work in a car factory and his 12 year old sister Estela’s boyfriend Alberto is a cadet in the army. Alberto in a bid to make some quick money steals some cocaine caught in a drug bust by the army & plans to sell it off later. With Estela’s consent he stores it in
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F AT THE FILMS
Heli’s home but Heli discovers the same and their affair too. What happens from thereon is a heady mix of drugs, violence and corruption. The film has a slightly unconventional tale and appears a little too bold for universal comfort. Also the shock element at places appears a little to deliberate. One may like or dislike the film but it’s hard to ignore the film totally. Eventually this year’s MFF also had its fair share of issues like all other film festivals but then considering the sheer volume of films screened and the quality of some of the better films coupled with the presence of so many wonderful dignitaries makes one think of the positives alone. I for one am eagerly looking forward to MFF 2014.
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EN ROUTE CHENNAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Conversations with the people behind the Film Festival on whats brewing this December and the journey so far.
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How did the association with CIFF start?
creative people around.
We were CIFF viewers before 2009. Parthipan, Revathy and I used to go to Woodlands and watch world cinema
How far has CIFF reached in terms of achieving the
together. It was a small film society festival run by
Thangaraj . His enthusiasm was infectious .
From one screen in 2009, this year we are screening in
That particular year I got to see many Scandinavian
8 screens. The audience has grown. Its an important
films and one particular film called ‘Before the Wedding‘
event in the city in December. The government is so
really impressed me that i bought a DVD too. They
impressed that they have been funding for the last 3
introduced awards for Tamil films and my dear friend
years but last year they doubled it.
Revathy was a jury member. I was called by Thangaraj
Our Tamil awards are also very popular and highly
to come for the closing day and I was surprised that I
regarded in the industry.
was made a chief guest. While giving away the award I
Foreign delegates are dying to attend our festival
thanked Thangaraj for caring for the tamil industry and said that chennai festival has great potential.I promised
Your best experience so far in the festival these
to bring in support from the industry.The same year I
had gone to Busan, Korea and realised it takes only one
It’s been very exhausting as I dont work in films for 2
person Like Mr Kim [the founder of Busan festival ) to
months doing only festival work. We also train student
make a difference. So i brought my friends like Mohan,
volunteers , which gives us immense satisfaction as we
Revathy, Rohini Shobana, Poornima, Lissy, Manobala,
are preparing the next generation. But our team is very
Gautham Menon, Parthipan, Khushbu,
inspiring and all of them work selflessly.
Radhika and Sarath Kumar as supporters .
For 15 days we forget our family, children, commitments
Sarath Kumar played a major role in moral support,
and we are like hermits in penance, breathing and
Mani put in money so did Radhika and Sarath , Khushbu
and Revathy brought in funds and from then on the
We also bring in a lot of glamour in by our dress codes
festival has grown in every possible direction that today
be it traditional or modern .We are a cool gang but a
when i go internationally, film makers and curators
hard working clique.
want their film to be screened in our Festival Any memorable films from the festival? What was your vision for the festival?
Many films. There are 150 films to choose from. But we
This is the only festival organised and orchestrated
make it easier by choosing the best 8 films and calling
by the film industry people .We have grown in the last
them red carpet films. Last year the memorable films
4 years. Our audience have doubled and tripled in
were the French films ‘Amour’ and ‘Rust and Bone ‘
numbers and in quality . ‘If Busan can why cant we ?’
among many others.
was our vision. Revathy has a lot to contribute to the
This year, films to watch out for are ‘Like father like
success.The film buff award which is for the viewer is
son’ (japanese) , ‘The hunt’ (scandinavian), ‘Lunch Box’
her idea while the red carpet films are my idea .
and ‘Lucia’ (kannada)
We welcomed new ideas from all the talented and
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We put in money upto 90 lakhs from our pockets and The “BIG B” visit last year - please tell us about the
from friends and 25 lakhs from govt the first year
From the second year Hindu has been supportive giving
He is a genuine film lover and he respects our love for
us a handsome sum but we still need 3/4 th of our cost
good cinema . He noticed that I talk about CIFF every
to be covered
time I meet him and graciously agreed to come. He
Govt increased it to 50 lakhs and we all pitch in.
was so impressed with our festival that he did not let
Hopefully we dont have to struggle every year. We are
us pay for his nor his crew’s flight tickets and the hotel
hoping the government will fund us fully in future.
accomodation. He surprised us by donating 11 lakhs for next year’s festival that we have decided to give an
Marketing of the festival to people - What has been
award in his name for the youth icon every year.
He also patiently took photographs with all of us and
Its free. Costing only Rs.500 for registration and to
he expressed his wish to be a volunteer every year
media students and press only Rs.300. But people are
helping in laying the carpet , arranging the screen and
still not aware of this gold mine.
ushering the viewers. He was thrilled to see the growth
The elite, who should attend are difficult to convince .
and genuineness of CIFF
We are making efforts to reach expats and foreigners We dont have the money to advertise in the city
What to look forward to - this edition of CIFF?
But we will slowly get there.
-The promotions - a film that will be screens 2 weeks before the festival in all the theatres in the city.
Where do you want the festival to be by 2015 ? Is
-A fitness Campaign that 100 people from and outside
there a road map?
the film industry participate in our beach.
I want one fantastic giant to be the face of the festival . It
-New venue- Abhirami
could be Kamal Haasan , A R Rahman or Mani Ratnam
-Our sponsors Hindu and their brilliant coverage and
But we want to grow before requesting any of them.
write ups about CIFF
The festival should have a niche, like a digital festival
-Our chief guests from the South and also Bollywood .
or sub continent competition. The governement should
-The volunteers from SRM college
build a dedicated auditorium for CIFF where we create
-A wonderful news Bulletin thats printed every day for
an umbrella for viewing, discussing and film market to
take Tamil films to the world.
-The tough competition for Tamil film category, for which 14 films will be chosen
Your all time favorite films?
-Revamped casino cinema with its old world charm
Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali
-Inox showing films every night at 7 for the ‘whose
Vittorio Desicas’ BYCYCLE THIVES
who’ of chennai, super stars and celebrities.
Krysztof Kieslowskis THREE COLOUR BLUE
-Top artistes performances on opening and closing ceremonies at the Lady Andal auditorium
Your favorite “Mani sir” film? NAYAKAN always.
Support for CIFF - how has it been? In terms of sponsorship and the administration support( ICAF)? ICAF has very few people and all of them senior people but with the enthusiasm of 20 year olds. During the first year we calculated that we needed man power of at least 120 people but 15 people did the work of 120 people. But from 2010 we have 30 people from the film industry like pillars. 24 |
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your future dream - we create it
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MOHAN 1. How did your association with CIFF begin?
interest levels varies from person to person.
I have been attending the film festivals ever
Irrespective of the genre / language / country,
since ICAF started organizing them in the year
I always prefer movies that sustain my interest
2003. I remember those good old days when
from start to finish.
I used to attend these festivals with my wife, and distinctly remember Mr. Thangaraj, the
4. What you do personally look forward to in
festival director greeting every film enthusiast
this edition of the festival?
walking into the festival with a broad smile .
I learn from every film that I watch in the
Thanks to Suhasini, that I am more involved
festival. It gives me a global perspective in
in the activities of CIFF in the last 4 years,
terms of script writing, how to conceive a
ever since the participation of film fraternity
shot and the way technology can be used. My
increased and the festival getting bigger and
learning continues along with my journey.
better. 2. Your best experience so far in all these editions? I do not want to pick one and leave the rest. It has been a very satisfying experience to work with the ICAF and other CIFF members and I look forward to â€œour DECEMBER seasonâ€? with greater enthusiasm every year. 3. Your favorite pick of a film(s) from the CIFF editions?
CIFF to me personally is a camaraderie of people bonded together by our captain Lady Dhoni a.k.a.Suhasini Manirathnam.. Passion for not only seeing good world cinema but also to reach it to public is the tag line for all of us working together to make each Chennai International film festival a big success..Namma CinemaWorld cinema.
- Mr. Abhishek, Actor
I do not believe in rating films as the
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Priyadharshan 1. How did your association with CIFF begin? While me and Hasini were co ordinating for our 80s reunion, she mentioned about the festival and how they are struggling for funds . We thought together we can help them raise funds and get people’s attention to the
December, in Chennai is
festival. Which worked out very well.
synonymous with the music season, drawing people from
2. Your best experience so far in all these editions?
worldwide. It is special for me
Amitji attending the closing ceremony last year. He not
as well for a different reason...
only took care of his own expenses but also donated
CIFF. For the past 3 years I have
11 lacs! Posed with 300 of us individually without any
been part of CIFF seeing it grow
quantitatively and qualitytatively. It
3. Your favorite pick of a film(s) from the CIFF editions? Iranian movie “THE SEPERATION”. 4. What do you personally look forward to in this edition of the festival?
- Gopikrishnan, Entrepeneur
has been my pleasure to team up with movie buffs and friends from the tinsel town for this week long festival. We as a team enjoy the stress that we go thru during the planning phase and at the festival venues. It is unlimited fun bundled with a lot of responsibilities.
Get more sponsorships , more crowd to the theatres , watch some great international movies that we wont otherwise get a chance to watch.
Movies assault our senses in so many ways and here was another opportunity when Hasini roped in passionate filmbuff friends to work along ICAF - to not just be a spectator but think about expanding the reach of Cinemas; world cinema to us and our cinema to the world! It’s been very rewarding networking in innovative ways with one prime focus a bigger CIFF.
- Shylaja Chetlur
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1. How did your association with CIFF begin?
told with stellar performances .
It was Suhasini who introduced me to watching international
4. What do you personally look forward to in this
contemporaries and good friends she knew about my
edition of the festival?
interest in good cinema. Thanks to her, I am enjoying
It has been great to see the CIFF grow each year. And
watching and working with Ciff each year.
when we know that we are part of this growth, it is great. I am really looking forward to seeing Chennai onx the
2. Your best experience so far in all these editions?
top in the world map of film festivals of the world.
Did not have much opportunity to watch international films as I quit my acting career quite early. The best part of CIFF is that we get to see good films from so many countries and in a beautiful atmosphere in ‘Namma Chennai’ along with our friends. And it is this love for cinema that has brought us all together. 3. Your favorite pick of a film(s) from the CIFF editions? My favourite film was an Iranian film ‘A Separation’ by
CIFF is a great learning curve in my life.... It helped me to improve myself as a person and actor. Personalities I looked upon are sharing the work , thoughts and pencouraging to do well more than anything having faith... What else I can ask for...) hats off to team CIFF.
- Balaji Mohan, Anchor & Actor
Asghar Farhadi . A film about divorce , very sensitively
“In the past four years, CIFF has grown significantly to become a popular Chennai annual event that cinema lovers eagerly wait for - and being part of the team that has worked with passion and commitment to achieve that growth gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Bringing the latest of great world cinema to Chennai while providing a high profile showcase for young local talent is meaningful and fun. Its also the result of great teamwork from a group of people from diverse backgrounds whose unique common denominator is their love and passion for cinema.
- Sherene John
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Khairani Barokka When did you start?. Poetry first or art?
poetry. Even in the way cursive is written on a page, it
I wrote my first poem as a toddler, but when it comes
seems like a false distinction (between art and poetry).
down to it, I actually don’t like making a distinction
So while I began writing creatively at an early age, and
between poetry and art! Poetry is an art form in itself,
like all lucky kids messed around with art materials as
poetics exist in all art forms, and I find that in creative
a small child as well, it all seems like part of the same
projects, the lines between disciplines blur so often. For
thing--expression, experimentation, finding a voice,
example, I’m part of a multimedia poetry-art-technology
learning when and how to collaborate.
show called SERONOK!, combining live digital visuals in response to poetry, and have experimented solo with
Poetry as a form - do you think its powerful enough in
combining performance art, text, sound, visuals, and/or
this day and age?
very basic programming. This year, I’ve also been very
Poetry is indelibly important, now more than ever,
lucky to have collaborated with senior Indonesian artists
and never ceases to be powerful. Time and again I’ve
Krisna Murti and Tintin Wulia on work (video art and
seen the power of poetry in classrooms, workshops,
sound, respectively), incorporating my own and others’
gigs, to say what is so rarely said in society. Poetry is
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so incredibly diverse, despite the false assumptions
humbling amount of support and encouragement from
of some that it’s stultified or elitist--I think poet Amy
people from various ability communities and artistic
Gerstler once wrote that saying you don’t like poetry is
backgrounds and strangers for whom the work has
like saying you don’t like food. There are infinite voices
resonated. I love hearing people saying they’ve felt the
and styles and permutations of poetry, and each can
spark to do what they love in their own lives, to pursue
be incredibly effective. It can hit you like, excuse my
creative pursuits. It makes all the hard work worth it.
French, a heart**** (just heard this word the other day),
As my family, friends, and partner will tell you, I really
and change people’s attitudes. Aside from the content
appreciate every bit of support I get, keeping reminders
of the art form, writing and performing poetry, really
of it around. On difficult days, it’s nice to remember. I
expressing yourself, continues to empower so many
also love connecting people who would otherwise not
people--that alone is worldchanging.
be connected to each other or collaborate, and seeing unexpected work come about in the best of ways.
Inclusive arts - what do you mean by this term? The arts, particularly in Asia, still have a long way to go
What prompted you to do what you are doing - was
in terms of being inclusive for people of all abilities, both
there any particular instance that provoked you?
in terms of allowing for all abilities to appreciate art and
My family has always encouraged me to express myself
to create art. Try looking at your local gallery, theater,
creatively, all my life. I also am lucky to have some
lecture theater, any public space--the lack of facilities
extremely talented friends who’ve always inspired me.
for people with disabilities to really take part is pretty
But to be honest, I was in major denial about the kind of
appalling, engendering social exclusion. From television
work I wanted to do, and really lacked confidence in it for
to films to libraries to performances to websites, there
a long time--there is no road map to going this route. I
is a profound lack of accessibility.
took a great step in the right direction when I was happily accepted into ITP (an innovative new media program) at
I have a complex neurological condition that effects
NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, but it took my health
my neuromuscular functioning, and causes daily pain
getting worse than it ever had been for me to just go for
issues, so I’m someone with an invisible disability, and
it. I truly lacked the energy, both physically and mentally,
my longest medical break (2011-2012) really clarified my
to be sad and pissed off and not do just what I wanted. I
intentions, purpose and passions. It’s also connected
got my first poetry residency, at Vermont Studio Center,
me with some incredible groups around the world by
around the same time as this realization, and was just
and for people with disabilities, creating art with others
so encouraged by the writers and artists I met there.
whether or not they have disability. There are wheelchair dance activists who teach “able-bodied” dancers, an
I deal with my condition daily, and it continues to remind
intellectual disability-led film and new media festival,
me to only do what I absolutely really want to do, and
blind photographers--you name it. The stereotypes and
nothing else. Life’s too short and too obstacle-strewn
discrimination that the disability community faces is
not to try your darndest to make yourself happy, and it
profound, and a very important part of what I do is to
just betters every part of your life; if you’re happy, the
speak about the arts and disability world I’m a part of and
people you love feed off that energy as well.
encourage more visibility, inclusion, and accessibility in the arts. Going to ITP at NYU really exposed me to a lot
How far do you think you have achieved your objectives?
of great technology that can help push the boundaries
For someone who still has to manage health concerns
in this realm, and I do independent research into its
on a day by day basis, and for whom fulltime creative
potential in the region.
work was a pipe dream for such a long time, being able to travel extensively (am now in Mumbai, and it’s
And people’s reaction to the work you do?
my eleventh city in one month, across four countries),
Hmm... People tend to be really gassy after they hear
it’s just a dream. To write, perform, and finally have
something of mine... Seriously, though, I’ve gotten a
the luxury of choosing and initiating my own projects...
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I’m just insanely grateful for all of it, and I do think I’ve
In sum, the future hopefully holds more collaborations
achieved milestones to be proud of, despite inordinate
and innovative projects, advocacy and friendships, and
amounts of clumsiness and a terrible sense of humor.
hopefully work I can be proud of.
Gigs or opportunities aside, I’m glad to have changed some people’s views on poetry, to have worked with
In addition, it must be said that I’ve eaten some damn
people I respect and admire, to have found community
good food I’d never even heard of this past year of
in a myriad of places, to absorb so much of others’ art
travels. Can’t expect anything less of 2014 and beyond!
on a daily basis. Also happy to have some people really listen, and to help spread the news about talented young artists, young women, more people from the disability community, arts education. It’s a privilege. I’m only 28 (plus “Times of India” called us TEDxYouth@Chennai speakers youngsters, you know!), so there’s a long way to go. I’m excited to keep learning, growing, meeting and collaborating with more artists, honing my craft and experimenting. There’s a very long laundry list of future goals to achieve! What are you working on right now? and the future? I’m currently wrapping up an arts consultancy for an educational institution back home in Jakarta, and writing a couple of articles. I’m trying to find time to write as much as possible, and looking into concrete possibilities for my first spoken word album/poetry collection... Looking for the right path to put it out in a way that’s accessible to all. In the next year, I’ll continue to travel, mostly in East Asia this time, and to explore how to connect various regions in arts and disability work.
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Lone Warrior - by Veejay Sai
Itâ€™s not often one comes across artistes whose performing career spans over half a century. From a child prodigy to a national awardee, Pt Ajay Pohankarâ€™s expedition as a Hindustani vocalist is a fancy tale of hard work and success. In an exclusive interview to culture critic Veejay Sai, he revisits his musical journey and shares his thoughts.
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In 1957 a music festival held in Nagpur by a renowned patron BaburaoDeshmukh saw a little boy who was asked to fill an intermediate slot between two big maestros to keep the audiences engaged. For the short duration he was on the stage, the ten-year old gave a storm and displayed his expertise with aPuriyaKalyan in Jhoomrataal, attracting the attention of none other than the likes of Ustad Amir Khan and the ace violinist Pt V G Jog. The following year they invited him to the fortnightlong all India music conference held in Calcutta. In the audience were the likes of the famous duo Salamat Ali and Nazakat Ali Khans, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Pt Nikhil Bannerjee, SushriKesarbaiKerkar, Pt Ravi Shankar,UstadVilayatHussain Khan and who have you! They not only heard the kid sing and declared him as a child prodigy but demanded an encore; a rare gesture coming from such stalwarts of that era! Ajay was only eleven and had arrived on to the national scene. Along with him were other youngsters Amjad and Prabha(SarodiyaUstadAmjad Ali Khan and VidushiPrabhaAtre respectively) Critics and scholars raved about the Ajay’s talent. But for once, everyone wondered who the kid was and where did he arrive on the scene from. “I was born in Jabalpur in a rich family. My fatherJanardhanPohankarwas an advocate and my mother Dr Sushila had already made a name as a musicologist while she worked as a professor and head of the department of music at the Jabalpur University”, recollects Ajayabout his parents who played a significant role in shaping his early career as a musician. Though he had no musical lineage to flaunt directly, art was very much part of his home and his upbringing. At a very early age his father’s keen ear for music took him all the way to Lucknowto gain knowledge from legends like AnnasahebRatanjankar. Ajay’s maternal grandfather was actively involved in theatre and was highly influenced by Pt SawaiGandharva of the KiranaGharana. He performed regularly for the Indore radio when the small town of Jabalpur didn’t have its own radio. Over the years, their family home became a regular for artistes who transited that way. “I remember Begum Akhtar visiting our home in 1960’s. She was keen to listen to me and blessed me with fifty-one rupees. Siddeshwari Devi would tell my mother that she would take me away with her”, recollects Ajay a few memorable incidents 38 |
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about his earlier days. Growing up in such a thick air
he along with his wife (also a wonderfully trained
of culture, it was natural for little Ajay to imbibe a lot,
singer) trains students. However the Gurukul system
almost a lot of it through sheer osmosis. Following
of imparting education has come under high criticism
the festival of ’58, he was soon invited by Pt Bhimsen
because of various reasons. “If the Guru is unbiased,
Joshi and VasantraoDeshpande to take part in the
the students will benefit. Today’s students are also very
prestigious SawaiGandharva festival in Pune. The 1959
sharp and don’t follow blindly. When I teach, I go to a
edition of this festival was a landmark one and many
student’s level and try to understand his or her state of
legends like GangubaiHangal and HirabaiBarodekar
mind. The Gurukul system has its own pros and cons.
performed in it. Listening to so many legends at such a young age, Ajay also developed an ear towards semiclassical genres like Thumri under the influence of maestros like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. This was to soon become a regular feature in all his concerts. Having trained in various styles and Gharanas, Ajay is in his presentations. However many Carnatic
pointed out that the Gharana system in Hindustani works more as an ego massage for artistes and has very less to do with their music. “Gharana means
shouldn’t imitate mannerisms of legends. They should take inspiration. Artistes must also think and see what they can contribute from their own working of it. Belonging to Gharana is one thing, and being a Gharanedaar is different.
se aana, don’t get lost mid-way”, he
whom would an organizer invite to perform if everyone sounds alike?” he adds on a lighter note. Although not a very regular performer in the south, Ajay is fond of the music scene. “I believe that Carnatic musicians are very strong in their knowledge of
They not only heard the kid sing and declared him as a child prodigy but demanded an encore; a rare gesture coming from such stalwarts of that era!
says. Ajay has also been bold enough to venture into the fusion music brigade way before many of his contemporaries. While purists and conservatives opposed this and criticized him of going wayward, there is the other side of the story where many argue that such acts allow traditional
an intelligent mingling of all these
Students shouldn’t copy or imitate their Guru. Else
music. I don’t mean to accuse anyone in Hindustani, but it is a fact that south Indian classical musicians are far more equipped in their expertise on their art. Compared to the north Indian musicians, there is certain simplicity in the southern musicians. I really admire them for that”, he adds. “Times have changed now. Those years, people respected the art. Artistes didn’t flaunt their egos. I remember when an organizer had told a famous musician that since I was kid and I might fall asleep, so I should be allowed sing earlier. She firmly said no, saying she knew what my music was and that I should perform at the given slot. That was the admiration artistes had for each other, irrespective of age”, he says reflecting on the current state of
affairs. Speaking about artistes, he says,“Even factory workers have unions. But today artistes are not united as a community. There is a lot of backbiting and politics that takes place. All these monopolies should be done
forms of music to reach out to everyone. “I believe
away with. If artistes are busy dealing with all these
each genre has its audiences and all of them are good.
things every other day, when is there time for art”, he
One is inspired from the other. I believe collaborations
asks, on a thought-provoking note.
are good for the growth of art. I sing Ghazal, Thumri
After over half a century as a performing artiste,
and several other genres. I sing and enjoy all of them
Ajay was honoured with the prestigious Central
equally. Each of them has its own flavour and one must
SangeetNatakAkademi Award this year for his long
be open to appreciate every kind of music”, he says
innings in the field. We wish him many more years of
breaking into a popular Begum Akhtarghazal. Ajay
music and success.
opened his own Gurukul in Mumbai recently where 40 |
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You started with theatre and fashion - the shift to
energy in a theatre performance but in film the more
Films - Happened by accident or you wanted to get
calm and composed you are the better you can perform
. That’s been my experience .
I always fantasised about being in films since the age of 5 or 6 . I grew up through my teens living with this
Did the theatre experience help you in any way?
dream which I assumed will remain unfulfilled as I had
If anybody would say I am a good actor then that
no idea how to get started and neither I or my family had
credit goes to the years of theatre I’ve done and all the
any leads into any film industry leave alone bollywood .
wonderful directors and actors I’ve learnt from . I never
Around 2006 i decided that I could not live with the fact
had the chance to learn acting formally ( like my idols
of having never tried to make it in films . By now I had
) so my schooling as an actor was in theatre . I learnt a
gained considerable experience in theatre so I had a
variety of things doing theatre from the Stanislavskian
little bit of confidence in myself . I knew I was good or
method to physical techniques from classical and folk
at least better than most I saw in those times . Took me
performance arts to how to improvise and be creative
two years of planning and saving up ( thanks
and spontaneous in repetition. All these
to the fashion industry ) to finally make my
influence my work today .
move to mumbai to take my chances . 12th of August 2008 is when I arrived with dreams
The Girl in yellow boots. how was the
in my eyes and a fire burning in my belly. No
experience with Anurag?
sir it was no accident . I wanted it more than
Nobody makes you feel more trusted than
Anurag Kashyap. He really believes in his team , his actors and his film. His style of
Inspiration and role model?
work is very organic and he encourages his
Well the first time I was really influenced
actors to improvise . It’s a total high to get so
by an actor was when I started watching or
much freedom on set . It can spoil you as too
rather paying attention to Hollywood movies
because nobody else works like him . Actors
and it’s actors . I think 1994 or around that
will always have fun working with him .
time . Before that it was all a mess in my head
He really wanted me to bring a Bangalore
. I began to notice that the performances
flavour to chittiappa . He didn’t want the
given by actors like Robert de Niro , Dustin
usual stereotypical South Indian gangster
Hoffman , Tom hanks , Denzil Washington ,
as portrayed in umpteen movies before . I
Daniel day Lewis and gene Hackman seemed
grew up in rural Bangalore so then he let
more truthful than our guys . Although I now swear by
me do chittiappa Siddanna Gowda they way I wanted
Daniel day or Christian bale my first influences came
for TGIYB .
from deNiro and Hackman . I realised acting is a craft
Can you imagine my first film in mumbai and with a
that needs to be understood and practised . These two
director of his class and total freedom to creat . It’s
guys were my idols back then . Now it’s Daniel day and
Christian bale and among our actors Dilip Kumar who I consider to be the best articulator of lines ...ever .
Peddlers took you to Cannes. Please tell us about the experience?
Theater and cinema? How different are they in your
The biggest film festival in the world it is ..Cannes
. I was there only for three days and unfortunately it
Very very different mediums . Sometimes poles apart
rained for two of those so Cannes was not the way we
. The craft of acting is the same but it’s application is
usually see in pictures . But it’s still the French riviera
different . Theatre is live and hence it needs to reach
It’s gorgeous .the big designer shops, the winding
out more . The energy an actor uses is different . For ex
cobbled roads , the spectacular views, the huge and
: nervous energy can be channelised into performance
expensive boats parked on the shore , fun parties ( if
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you can get in that is ) apart from all these recreational stuff Cannes is also a huge market place for films be it Hollywood big budget or indie from around the world . The reception we got for Peddlers was very good . We got some good deals for distribution around Europe . I wish I had stayed a few more days though . Ram-Leela - The grandeur and Sanjay Leela Bhansali - your experience and what can we expect from the film? I took me three days to just get adjusted to the scale of the film we were shooting . A young kid setting foot in to disney land for the first time that’s how I felt on my first day . Fortunately for me the first couple of days I was giving only cues so when finally my shot was ready I had adjusted to the set and mr bhansali’s way of working . This has been a very new experience for me . I never thought I could do something like this . He has such an attention to detail that it’s almost scary . I enjoyed myself working with him . I feel more confident of myself and my abilities . I feel I am more versatile as an actor . I have the sensibilities that help me be part of commercial as well as art house or indie cinema . Apart from the usual expectations from a bhansali film also expect a certain violence in the film . In the plot and also the characters and their relationships with each other . Expect to see me in a new avatar (Bhavani) . As the tag line suggests it’s goliyonki raaslila . A few but very eclectic roles you have done - how do you go about picking them? I don’t like anything that is a straight forward stereotypical interpretation . I instinctively look to be different and original . I tend to move away from the regular . I am different from everybody else and that’s my USP . I want to do films I will believe in . I want to give my best and be the best in what I do . That’s how I make my choices . Upcoming projects ? A two film deal with Pooja Bhatt starting with Cabaret. There are two other films starting 2014 ( a crime thriller and a psychological thriller ) about which I wish to remain tight lipped. Exciting times ahead .
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Unequal Harmony An
First of all, we would like to know the story behind
protagonists – Anshuman, Reva and Siddharth and their
relationships. Reva – a celebrated Page 3 journalist,
“An Unequal Harmony…”, as the name suggests, is the
and Anshuman Mehra – Creative Director of India’s
story of discord in the relationships that we share – the
most popular advertising agency are a happily married
tune that makes our associations
couple till a car accident relegates Reva to the ICU and
melodious yet strained. When I
reveals to Anshuman the
wrote the short story for a blog
biggest secret of their lives
years ago, the name of the story was
– Siddharth Kashyap. Reva
“Knotted” – as the story reflected
and Anshuman had decided
the things that bind us together.
to tie the knot after two
However, as time progressed and
years of courtship, and while
the short story took the shape of a
the two were considered a
novel, I changed the name to “An
perfect couple, they never
Unequal Harmony…” as I realized
realised when routines and
that the book is less about the
conventions seeped into the
bindings and more about the sync
relationship and let the door
among the characters.
open for the third person. A reputed fashion photographer, Siddharth met Reva
A brief description about your short films and this
a year-and-a-half after the Mehras had got married.
book. Do you have anything in your mind that can
Siddharth was mesmerised with Reva’s beauty and
even at his stature and popularity, he had to literally
“An Unequal Harmony…” is primarily about three
chase her for a photo-shoot before she relented. But
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what started off as a formal professional association
people? Which has been your favorite character?
soon morphed into a friendship that transformed into
No, the characters in my book are not borrowed from
any real life people. Sometimes, I wish I had done
As Reva’s health swings between crisis and recovery,
that because it would have made my life easier as an
Anshuman and Siddharth retrospect their lives and
author. Having a reference in your mind definitely helps
associations with the woman who bound them together.
in creating a character better. Because I had to create
It is through their reminiscence of the relationships
the characters completely from my mind, it was a very
and interaction with each other that we travel through
tough job. But, thankfully the result isn’t bad
their meetings, their feelings, their heartbreaks, their dilemmas and their insecurities. Though the issue of
Actually, creating Siddharth and Anshuman were not
infidelity has been dealt in many
that difficult as I could easily place
a story and movie, there is one
myself in their shoes and understand
angle to this checkerboard of
their feelings. I can relate to their
relations that has always been left
moods and insecurities. What I found
unexplored – ‘How in case of an
difficult was to create Reva – it’s a
infidelity, the two others members
very layered and complex character.
would interact, with their common
She is strong headed yet indecisive,
link absent from the scene!’
fiercely independent yet vulnerable and above everything, she loves both
However, the biggest question that
the men at the same time. It’s a very
surfaces before the audience is:
tricky thing to convince people on as
can Reva love two people at the
there was a chance for the character
to look caricaturish or unreliable. I had
I have also been actively involved in
to give the character the much needed
short-film making. In fact, before
dignity, without which the entire book
this novel I had worked on quite a
would have fallen flat on its face.
handful of them, and the last two short films which I directed have
Though the book completely belongs
been universally appreciated. The
to these three characters, as my dear
first one is “NEIGHBOUR” – it is
friend Praveen Dhawan says, any
an eight minute black and white
story becomes beautiful when the
silent drama that looks at the idea
supporting roles are well sketched
of communal harmony through the
out. My favourite character in the book
eyes of a domestically abused Hindu housewife and her
is ‘Chand’ – a 27-28 year old guy who is Siddharth’s
Muslim neighbor, who is fighting his own demons. The
best friend and a musician. Though it’s a very
one line that sums up the film is “Be a family to Make
important part, obviously the length of the character is
a family”. A year after that, I made “STRANGER” – a
much shorter than that of the protagonists. Yet, it’s the
thirty four minute psychological thriller. Compared to
honesty and inherent goodness of Chand that makes
NEIGHBOUR, STRANGER was a much tougher film to
him most endearing.
make but it’s also a very entertaining drama that keeps the audience gripped till the end. Both the films have
What is your personal answer for the question: can
met with a lot of acclaim and have travelled across a lot
someone fall in love with two people at the same time?
of film festivals, NEIGHBOUR especially winning more
It’s a very complicated thing to happen, but I believe
accolades for the sensitive topic.
that it is possible to love two people at the same time. Though my story is not borrowed from anyone’s life,
Do the characters in your book relate to any real life
but I have seen a similar case before my eyes, where
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a girl is in love with two people at the same time, and
book, but the entire process helped me evolve as a
sincerely so. Her boyfriend didn’t know about it for a
person – I hope the story reflects the maturity that I
very long time, but she was so sincere about the entire
underwent while writing it. Essentially, both are creative
thing – I never felt that she wanted to cheat either of
mediums and involve precision and impulsiveness.
the two men. Love is nothing but a byproduct of a lot
But, I believe writing a book needs more precision
of things and it’s not mandatory that only one person
as you have to pre-plan the story properly, whereas
in the world will fit the
in a film, a lot of things on
criterion or make you fall
the spot, what your heart
for him / her. At the same
tells you on the set. Then
time, I also believe, though
again, in a book there are
the same might be based
different stages of editing
on flawed assumption, that
and rectifying it, while in
there has to be something
a short-film, it’s almost
wrong with the first relation
impossible to re-shoot a
for the second to start.
scene, so you have to be
Would you like to be called
cautious about not doing
as a director or a writer?
anything which is useless
A writer-director! I love
writing and I love filmmaking, and I believe that
Now that you have already
I have quite a few stories
got a great response for
to share with the world,
your book, should we be
which I would love to write
expecting a new one soon?
and recreate on celluloid.
Yes, you can expect my
I personally believe that
second book in 2014. As
people who write their own
I have also written in the
stories have a better grip
on their films. However, the
of the book, my next novel
day I fall short of stories, I
will be a tribute to five of my
wouldn’t mind adapting a
dearest friends. It’s called
story written by someone
‘The Life-Mate’ – a beautiful
else because there are so
story that chronicles the life
many wonderful authors
of two best friends, over a
around and they are writing so many great stories.
period of sixty years. Though we have seen and read a lot of friendship stories and buddy tales, I think “The
How was your experience in writing a book? How
Life-Mate” has the potential to a landmark in its own
different was it from making films?
right. It’s very special to me and I hope people like it
The experience of writing the book has been very
as much as they have been appreciating “An Unequal
enriching, though very tedious too. It took me around
a year and half to two months to complete writing the
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CATCHING THE FIRE WITH 50 |
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A natural talent, with a striking presence and undeniable
JENNIFER LAWRENCE (Katniss Everdeen) is one of Hollywood’s most gifted actresses. Most recently, Lawrence starred in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, alongside Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro. Her portrayal of ‘Tiffany’ in the film garnered Lawrence an Academy Award® in addition to wins at both the Golden Globes® and Screen Actors Guild Awards® for lead actress. Lawrence recently completed production on X-Men: Days of Future Past where she will reprise her role as ‘Mystique’ opposite Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. Next up, she can be seen in David O. Russell’s American Hustle co-starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper. The film is set to be released by Sony Pictures on December 25, 2013.
JENNIFER LAWRENCE NOVEMBER 2013
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Lawrence has also signed on to star in and produce
Other film credits include a lead role in Guillermo
‘The Rules of Inheritance’, an adaptation of Claire
Arriaga’s directorial debut ‘The Burning Plain’, opposite
Bidwell Smith’s recent memoir about a woman who
CharlizeTheron and Kim Basinger. The film premiered
loses both her parents to cancer as a young adult.
at the 65th Venice Film Festival where Lawrence won
Susanne Bier is set to direct the film which will be
the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor.
written by Abi Morgan and distributed by Film Nation.
She also starred in Lori Petty’s ‘Poker House’ opposite Selma Blair and Bokeem Woodbine, for which she was
Previously, Lawrence starred in Drake Doremus’ ‘Like
awarded the prize of Outstanding Performance in the
Crazy’ opposite Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones. The
Narrative Competition at the 2008 Los Angeles Film
film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance
Festival. Lawrence also starred in Relativity’s Houseat
Film Festival. In 2011, Lawrence also starred alongside
the End of The Street opposite Elisabeth Shue and Max
Mel Gibson and Anton Yelchin in The Beaver directed
by Jodie Foster. On television, Lawrence co-starred on three seasons Lawrence’s performance in ‘Winter’s Bone’ garnered
of the TBS series ‘The Bill Engvall Show’. Written and
her a 2011 Oscar® nomination for Best Actress in
created by Bill Engvall and Michael Leeson, The Bill
addition to nominations from the Screen Actors Guild
Engvall Show is set in a Denver suburb and the comedy
Awards®, Golden Globe® Awards, Independent Spirit
follows the life of ‘Bill Pearson’ (played by Engvall), a
Awards and Critic’s Choice Awards. Additionally, she
family counselor whose own family could use a little
was honored with the Breakthrough Actress Award by
dose of counseling.
the National Board of Review, the Rising Star Award at
Reigning from Louisville, Kentucky and a childhood
the Palm Springs Film Festival and the New Hollywood
of local theatre experience to her credit, Lawrence
Award at the 2010 Hollywood Film Awards®. The
traveled to New York at age 14 to explore a professional
critically acclaimed film, directed by Debra Granik
career in acting. She quickly caught the eye of casting
also received an Oscar® nomination for Best Picture,
directors and started acting in film and television
Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor in
during the summer of 2005 and hasn’t looked back.
addition to winning the 2010 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
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ART TALK WITH
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How did it all start? When did you start painting
What is the current series that you are working on?
I have also been doing a lot of Line Drawing, along with
I have always been interested in drawing since my
my abstract painting. The Human Anatomy was always
school days, especially when I was living for a couple
my favorite subject. This made me practice a lot of Line
of year in Thirukurungudi near Thirunalveli district.
Drawings. The more we practice, the more layers we
Thirunalveli is known for the legendary 1300 year old
could explore and create. This is how art works for me.
Vaishnava temple. The sculptures inside this temple
S: Any styles that you would want to try in the future?
have mesmerized me always, even today. After my
Not really. Whatever comes to my mind at that
schooling, I joined Govt. College of Arts and Craft
moment, the final picture or the final thought is what
in Chennai and the college atmosphere pulled me
I try to exhibit through my works. I never pre plan it, I
towards itself. In 1987 I finished my college and came
do a lot of changes as I am painting. You can see a lot
out as an artist. I decided not to work anywhere as I
of differences between my new paintings and my old
was always received a research scholarship from Lalit
Kala Acadamy. This is when I would say that I started
Any unfulfilled dreams? I always wished to be a full time artist. Arts stand as one of the most important cultural aspect for a country and its development. No matter how much a country has developed from a technology point of view, I would say
with a lot of painting and this was the time I got into
that a country canâ€™t hold its pride and respect unless
abstract painting. I got my national award in the year
arts are given equal importance in the countryâ€™s
1994. And in 2000, I was chosen as Junior Fellowship
development. Money is not everything for me, but Arts
from Central Govt. Art and Culture Department. And
and life surrounded with arts is real happiness. Art has
this kept going on, numerous art works and art shows
taken all my loneliness away. Every household should
and thus I stand as an artist today.
have at least one or two artistic elements and this is my dream. People here are not very knowledged about
Please tell us about your styles of work?
arts. Only very few people show interest in buying and
now I am doing a lot of abstract paintings. In my
saving art works. The importance of arts should be
beginning days, I started by creating a lot of textures
taught to everyone and I will never stop learning and
on canvas and then used acrylic paints to enhance my
exploring with arts.
works. This gave a different outlook for my paintings. Then I started using oil paints along with acrylic colors on my canvas. These oil paints have been my styles since then. Abstract painting is a style which is a complete play of colors, with no restrictions on shapes, lights and shades. Any art done considering these aspects can be placed under abstract paintings. To put it in simple words, I would say that abstract painting is like just like music, but music without lyrics. Abstract must be enjoyed like how music from a flute is enjoyed. Realistic paintings are easy for everyone to understand but abstract paintings can be understood only when you get used to it.
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ABSTRACTS BY NELSON
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Olli Goes To Bollywood - photography by Philippe Malet 60 |
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Sameer Bharat Ram catches up with renowned singer & Composer Kavita Baliga
Music was from childhood?. Who was your motivation and who/what encouraged to pursue it further? I started playing the piano at the age of 5. My parents put me in music very early and I learned to read music before I could read words! Then when I was about 12 years old, I started learning Hindustani vocal music (which, to be honest, I hated) so I quit and started singing Western Classical music at the age of 15. I loved it so much, I earned my Bachelors of Music and a Masters in Music in vocal performance. To this day, Iâ€™m not sure why my parents put me in music so young, or why they were so insistent on it. No one in my family - on either side - is musical.
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How did you land up in India? I did a concert with Guitar Prasanna in California right after I graduated from The Boston Conservatory. After the concert, he traveled to India and met with A.R. Rahman who, at the time, was looking for a vocal teacher for his new music school in Chennai. Prasanna emailed me and told me he had recommended me for the position and within 2 weeks, I was in India. That was 5 years ago and I’m still here! Working with ARR - The experience Gosh, there is so much to say. I don’t know where to start! There are pros and cons to working for anybody, but I have to say that one of the best things about that man is his trust in you as a musician. If he has hired you and he likes you, then he believes in you. Period. There were so many times where I’d hinted at wanting to explore certain avenues in music or in the studio, and he just says, “Go. Do it.” Even if you’ve never done it before. He wants each person to reach their true potential as a human being and musician and that is such a special, unbelievable quality to have. I’m really grateful to have had that experience. Singing an Aria for Shekhar Kapur and performing at the opening - How was the experience like? It was amazing singing for Shekhar - he was quite impressed with my voice (to my delight) and he was great to work with. I was hired by Swarovski Entertainment to sing at the premiere of the film on the island of Guidecca in Venice during the Venice Film Festival. It was an incredible experience and I just felt so lucky to be there and to meet the people I did. I felt like a kid in a candy store the whole time. That was the first time I met Matt Dunkley who conducted the string orchestra for the concert and we have remained friends since. Tell us about the “Olli” project? I am always looking for the next challenge, and I am always pushing myself to go farther. Life is short and I’m too bored doing the same things over and over! I am a Western Classical singer, but I got an opportunity to sing in a Bollywood style (in Hindi) with a French Bollywood group called Olli Goes to Bollywood. I don’t
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speak or understand Hindi, so I studied the pronunciation and inflection of the language a bit before going on tour. We recorded the album last year and I’ve been on tour with them on and off for the past 6 months in France. The next leg of the tour will commence in 2014 and is rumored to The best part about taking on new projects is what you learn about yourself in the process. I’ve learned so much about what I enjoy on stage and off, what kind of music I enjoy performing. I absolutely love Classical music, but it was SO much fun to just go on stage, laugh, sing, dance and be silly and not have to focus on poise or elegance. It’s been an eyeopening experience for me. Are you planning to produce your own music/ direct music for films here in India? Yes! As much as I love teaching and singing, I definitely want to push it aside for a few years and focus on composing for film. I’m currently composing for one film and hope to get others soon :)
Most memorable experience working with ARR? Oh there are so many! Like I said earlier, he has always been supportive of anything I want to do and to me, he’s very much like a mentor. When I was working at KMMC, I did everything from create and conduct the chamber choir, to directing opera scenes; I helped create a curriculum for KMMC and co-initiated the affiliation between KMMC and Middlesex University in London while simultaneously singing for films. In the studio I managed the Qyuki project, learned how to use music and video editing software, and got used to recording live musicians. What I love about that man is he let me do whatever. I. wanted. because he trusted me. THAT was the best part. Future collaborations? And India plans? It feels as though my India adventure is coming to a close, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see:)
Olli Goes To Bollywood - photography by Philippe Malet
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TILE ART Designer ceramic tiles, Bagno Stiles comes to Chennai
In the beautiful language of Italian “Bagno” designates to bathroom. Bagno Stiles, a principle name in the designer tile industry that embodies ‘Fashion in Bath Decor’. With its initial 25 employees it has now evolved to more than 150 employees working in 3 different units and the products are showcased in primary showrooms of the country. Our Products: On our products we basically use different techniques, it’s like a third generation of decoration actually. We evolved from normal printing decorations to ornamenting on tiles, which is basically screen printing on tiles, glass work, and usage of some gold. Now there are a lot of techniques involved. We are doing a lot of handmade tiles, which are individually cast and then decorations on top of that. We use gold on top of that, then there’s this method called sand blasting where we actually etch out the designs on the tiles, blast the tiles and then decorations on top of that. There’s another method called water-jetcutting. We cut different shapes on tiles and then insert motives on that. So basically we have different kinds of techniques for tile decoration. Chennai as a market: I believe Chennai does have the crowd and the market for such art work on tiles. And these are not just tiles that can be used in toilets, they can be used for your drawing room, living room, wherever you feel like it suits.So basically we feel that the Chennai market it developing and will act as an active buying market soon. But the other metropolitans like Delhi already have a extremely developed market.So we are 100% optimistic about Chennai heading there as well, because the people here haven’t seen this kind of products. Once they do get a chance to see, they will also get into it.
Mr. SHAJI PM Partner, BAGNO tiles, Chennai
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How and where to use: We have a catalog that explains how to use it, for the constructors and also explaining where it would be apt to use such decorated tiles. We sell a lot for hotels, for their lobbies, banquet halls and even as show pieces sometimes, and ofcourse bathrooms and toilets are also there. Positioning: We position ourselves as luxury tiles, but that does not mean that we have only high end products, we have a decent range of products for different price ranges starting from 60 Rs a squarefeet to 3000 Rs a squarefeet. So we are not necessarily a high end product, a common man can also afford some of our products. But we position ourselves as high end, because we can make it completely high end. We
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can make a bathroom setup with 20,000 or we can do a luxury bathroom setup for a couple lakhs also. So it depends on what our customers want. Market strategy/Customisation: Our designing team will help in customisation of the tiles according to the space. We create 3-d models on computers and have people explain to the end users directly.So basically you give us the space and the complete design will be done by our guys,or any form of customisation can also be achieved, and atyour-door service will also be maintained.
A Shoukath SHERIF group company
75 YEARS OF SECURE SERVICE
COMPLIMENTS FROM SHERIF Cargo Sherif Group, started off as custom house services group for the shipping industry having started operations, as early as, in 1936. Later branched out into Oceanfreight, Airfreight and Travel related services with operations spread throughout the length and breadth of the country, we have been growing from strength to strength; thanks to the committed relationships we have build with our various clients over a period of time. MISSION & VISION To be recognised as a trend setter in supply chain management by setting the highest standards for customer’s satisfaction by ensuring our incessant focus towards process improvement. To build a long term relationship with customers by improving effeciency of the distribution process by providing innovative and cost effective logistics solutions maintaining consistent high quality standards. Striving for excellent performance by adding value to the supply chain management so as to meet the expectations of all our customers, stake holders and employees. At SHERIF Cargo we understand that your shipment is always more than just goods in a box. Contact Details: “Sherif Centre” - Corporate Office#538, Anna Salai, Teynampet, Chennai - 600 018 Tel: 24321080/81/82 I Fax: 0091 44 2434 9606 Offices at - Chennai I Tuticorin I Bangalore I Hyderabad I Mumbai I Newdelhi I Kanpur. NOVEMBER 2013
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