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EDITOR’S NOTE

Dear Readers!

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6 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew

This is a very special issue of Brew.. This issue is also special because it celebrates the success of three young men who have overcome all odds and achieved tremendous success. We speak to them about their journey – VIJAY SETHUPATHI-NALAN KUMARASWAMY- KARTHIK KUMARMen who are breaking conventions in their field of art and making the impossible possible. The Legendary Alphonso Arul Doss talks to Karthik Kumar, who volunteered to interview the master artist. We congratulate Karthik for his success with EVAM. EVAM his theatre company completes ten years this month. A lot brewing as we celebrate our third anniversary next month. Details would be out soon. Until next time. Keep Brewing. Sameer Bharat Ram Editor TO ADVERTISE: Prashantth S Sutrave Call: +91 72999 49412 e-mail: admin@brewmag.in

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


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www.brewmag.in 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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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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Rahul Dev Rahul Dev is a Fashion and Advertisement photographer based in chennai

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | AUGUST 2013 | 8


Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 9

brandmuni.com

33/15, Eldams Road, Chennai - 600 018, Tamil Nadu.


CONTENTS 46 32

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VOL 03 ISSUE 12

26

COVER STORY

INTERVIEWS

32

40 10 YEARS on

08 sailing on the

stage with evam - karthik kumar

12 JOBS 16 MAN WITH

HERE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE -NALAN & VIJAY SETHUPATHI

46 ART WAS BORN WITH ME - Alphonso Arul Doss

26 FINGER TIP COLOR DrIP - ADELINE YEO

FEATURE

ship theseus

CLAWS - hugh jackman Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 11


FEATURE

SAILING ON THE SHIP OF THESEUS In early 2000s, NDTV Profit aired a T.V. programme where short films were shown and discussed over with the film maker himself. It was my introduction to the format and was fascinated by the stories and concepts in those films. However, only one film stayed with me over all these years- Anand Gandhi’s Right Here Right Now. In Conversation with Anand Gandhi: “I create order & design to

film has defied the compromises indie filmmakers make owing

achieve a perfectly working illusion of spontaneity

to constraint of resources. How come you never succumbed to any pressure?

The release of Gandhi’s debut feature was keenly awaited knowing very well that his sense of grammar of films would change the

I never had any pressure apart from creative ones. I had a team

general perception of cinema, but the first look of Ship of Theseus

that stood by me and believed in the film from day one to the last.

made me realize that the film was here to go beyond that!

Sohum Shah, who acted in the film financed it entirely and stood

Here is my interview with the filmmaker just a week before the film

like a rock to make the film happen. We never felt any pressure

hit the screens across the nation.

during the course of making the film. We were completely free.

How was Ship of Theseus formed? Was it a central theme first,

What if Kiran Rao had not come on board?

around which you constructed your plot, or certain disjointed events which fascinated you, which you wove together with a

It would definitely have been more challenging. We might have

connecting thread?

gone for a guerilla way of distributing and would have had a limited release with whatever money we could have put in. We

With Ship of Theseus, there were couple of ideas that kept growing

are still having a limited release, but with Kiran coming on

in my mind for a long time. Then one story idea came to my mind

board there definitely has been more attention, media coverage,

which is now the end of the film and which had a correlation with

interviews, better marketing and distribution. Maybe if she hadn’t

the philosophy I was trying to convey. The story idea sort of gave me

been there we would have relied more on word of mouth publicity

a platform for that philosophy.

leading to wider distribution.

Which of the three stories are closest to your heart?

Don’t you think with Kiran and UTV coming on board, the independent nature of film somehow has got lost, or do you

All the three stories are extremely close to my heart. They are an

think it’s a necessary evil?

introspection of my journey in one way or the other, bundled with the stories of many other people I have seen, met or heard of in

I don’t think it’s evil at all. Kiran is not a mainstream actor. Over

my life.

the last few years, the kind of work she has done, the kind of movie she has made, the kind of culture & art she has tried to

Some portions of the film have been shot in Sweden. The principal

promote is extremely relevant. Her coming on board does not

photography spanned over many months. Unknown faces were

defeat the purpose but rather strengthens it. We have managed

chosen over mainstream actors. Everything about making of the

to keep the independent nature of the film intact with the kind of

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Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | AUGUST 2013 | 12


infrastructure she has brought in and it has more to do with what

further observation turn out to be not paradoxes at all). So you

she believes in. In fact tomorrow if some movie intrigues me, I

can say, I would aspire to some kind of critical thinking in all my

would do whatever I can to help it out.

future work.

Its little ironical that while you might herald a new era of

Finally, your thoughts on the digital distribution strategy that

filmmaking with Ship of Theseus, you were also a part of two

the film has adopted. How has the response been so far and

television. serials – Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi & Kahaani

what the future holds for such a strategy in India?

Ghar Ghar Ki - which started a phase in television which we are not extremely proud of today. Your thoughts on the same.

With digital distribution strategy people are able to bring in the film to their city with adequate number of votes. The strategy has

Yeah I know the range of things I have been involved in. These

been extremely successful and just what the nature of the movie

are completely different things I have been involved in; at that

demanded. We are already releasing the film in Hyderabad and

point of time (when I started writing for television), I was 19 years

Chennai owing to the response we have got from these polls.

old. (The short film – Right Here Right Now happened 3 years

Ahmedabad and Kochi are also not far behind and might see a

later). You are young and you are interested in lots of things. But

release soon. I really want my film to be seen by as many people

whatever I have done, whether it is TV, or Right Here Right Now,

as possible. It is a continuous battle that we are fighting and shall

or Continuum (my second short film) or this film, I have received

hopefully take the film to maximum number of cities.

a lot of appreciation for all of them. All my works have been received with lot of warmth and I feel happy, content and assured

- Abhishek Chatterjee

that I got a chance to play in different areas of the craft. The air-hostess voice over at the beginning of Ship of Theseus promo. The cacophony as part of background score in Right Here Right Now. You always manage to pick up elements from seemingly mundane stuff around us and weave it rhythmically into the narrative. From where did you take this inspiration? I find it extremely important to do that; to find nuances, to find ironies, discover paradoxes and weave them into the screenplay in the most engaging manner possible. I try to constantly juxtapose them with our daily normal activities and achieve an order with them. I work on the script, etch out characters with details, give them a back story, work on the narrative structure and then I create the order and design which would encompass them. Within that order and design created I try to achieve a perfectly working illusion of spontaneity. Which other philosophical paradoxes do you want to explore in future through your movies? I am interested in all sorts of unsolved problems, not just paradoxes – which largely, are perceived inconsistencies in logic, and become triggers for critical thinking. (Most paradoxes, on

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FEATURE

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SOME SEE WHAT’S POSSIBLE, OTHERS CHANGE WHAT’S POSSIBLE Jobs fails at its most basic level because it is clearly just Kutcher trying to be Jobs. Kutcher tries his heartfelt best to rise to the occasion, but the script puts him in his place; just like Jobs did to everyone else, presumably because he was mean since that’s all the film tells us. Pirates of the Silicon Valley still remains the best Steve Jobs movie, but that may change when Aaron Sorkin finally finishes writing his version of Jobs’s life. The problems don’t end there with Ashton Kutcher. Jobs’ life is only partially portrayed, so if you only know about Jobs being at Apple--that is still pretty much all you know about him. Engineers are portrayed, as they typically are in “Hollywood” films-nerdy enough to be uncool.

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The film opens in 2001 with Steve Jobs introducing the iPod at an Apple Town Hall meeting. It then flashes back to Reed College in 1974. Jobs had already dropped out due to the high expense of tuition, but was still auditing classes with the approval of the dean who took him under his wing. Jobs is particularly invested in a course on calligraphy. He meets up with his friend Daniel Kottke influenced by his experiences with LSD, Jobs and Kottke spend time in India. The film then moves forward to 1976 where Jobs is back in Los Altos, California living at home with his adoptive parents. He is working for Atari and develops a partnership with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak after he sees that Wozniak has built a personal computer (the Apple 1). They name their new company Apple Computer. Wozniak gives a demonstration of the Apple 1 at the Homebrew Computer Club, where Jobs receives a contract with Paul Terrell. Jobs asks his mechanic/carpenter father Paul for permission to use the family garage for his new company. His father agrees and Jobs then adds Kottke, Bill Fernandez, Bill Atkinson, Chris Espinosa, and later Rod Holt to the Apple team to build Apple 1 computers. Terrell is disappointed by what they produce which forces Jobs to seek capital elsewhere. After many failed attempts by Jobs to gain venture capital, Mike Markkula invests in the company which allows them to move forward. Jobs and Wozniak develop the Apple II and introduce it at the 1977 West Coast Computer Faire. The Apple II is a remarkable success and suddenly, the company is very successful. Jobs thus begins to distance himself from old friends such as his housemates Kottke and his high school girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan who tells him that she is pregnant with their child. Brennan eventually gives birth to Lisa Brennan-Jobs whom Jobs continues to deny is his daughter. He also brings in John Sculley to become the CEO of the company. As his behavior becomes more erratic, Jobs is moved away from The Lisa to the Macintosh Group where he works with Bill Atkinson, Burrell Smith, Chris Espinosa, and Andy Hertzfeld. He also forces the original team leader of the Macintosh group out of it. Though the Macintosh is introduced with a great deal of fanfare in 1984, Jobs is forced out of the company by Sculley in 1985. The film jumps forward to 1996. Jobs is married to Laurene Powell

18 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew

Jobs and has accepted Lisa as his daughter. He has a son, Reed and is also running the company NeXT which Apple decides to buy. He is asked by then CEO-Gil Amelio to return to Apple as a consultant. Jobs does so and eventually fires Amelio and Markkula when he is named the new CEO. Jobs becomes interested in the work of Jonathan Ive and works to reinvent Apple. The film ends with Jobs recording the dialogue for the Think Different commercial in 1997. Jobs, a good film if all you really wanted to learn by watching the film was about Steve Jobs at Apple. It’s a well known fact that there was a brilliant mind behind this man who made the great company and every other aspect of Job’s life was just barely portraid in the film. Jobs afterall did not just make Apple, he was a big part of Pixar’s lname today. For those who wanted to learn about Apple as a company and about the technology and the ideas behind the iPod, iPhone and the MacBook; well you are in for disappointment . This is, to a great extent, only about the formation of Apple, most of the people who were actually exsited for this movie were probabalytoo young to know what Apple at this stage.


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FEATURE

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MAN WITH

CLAWS Even as Hugh Jackman began to work on “Les Miserables” as emaciated French prisoner Jean Valjean early last year, he was secretly starting the intense workout regimen that would pack 30 pounds of muscle onto his frame to play the titular superhero in “The Wolverine.” “I started preparing the moment I finished that first prison scene

bland, boiled chicken.

[in ‘Les Miz’]. So I shot that and then I started putting on size and the costume had to hide that,” Jackman told the Daily News,

For “Wolverine,” Jackman had to spend a 30-hour stretch

gesturing toward his abs. “I had to wear a bit of a fat suit here,

dehydrating himself completely so that he could lose 10 pounds

so it didn’t look like Jean Valjean was getting jacked.”

of water weight and have his muscles bulge extra big for a major fight sequence.

It must have worked, since the 44-year-old actor went on to nab

“It’s an old bodybuilder trick,” he explains. “And the first liquid

an Oscar nomination for that performance — and immediately

you have after, say, 30 hours is glycerin mixed with honey or

segued into his most famous role as the claw-popping breakout

Coca Cola — it’s the first thing in your veins and your muscles

star of the X-Men franchise in “The Wolverine,” opening Friday.

go whoosh .” Even as Hugh Jackman began to work on “Les Miserables” as

The film marks Jackman’s sixth time growing out those

emaciated French prisoner Jean Valjean early last year, he was

trademark mutton chops, and he’s currently busy filming No. 7,

secretly starting the intense workout regimen that would pack

“X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

30 pounds of muscle onto his frame to play the titular superhero

Since Jackman doesn’t boast the mutant healing power of his

in “The Wolverine.”

onscreen persona, every time he takes the role, it means months spent in the weight room. It also means the self-proclaimed

Set in the aftermath of 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “The

foodie, who cites New York’s restaurants as his favorite part of

Wolverine” finds Jackman’s brooding mutant struggling to

living here, is condemned to a 6,000-calories-per-day diet of

forgive himself for killing the love of his life, Jean Grey (Famke Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 21


Janssen). Summoned to Japan to pay his respects to a dying

the one promise he was forced to make to his wife, Deborra-Lee

ally from his past, a severely weakened Wolverine finds himself

Furness, during their courtship back in their native Australia.

battling ninjas, yakuza gangsters and an acid-spewing mutant named Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) to protect his friend’s

“From the moment we met she said, ‘If this is going anywhere,

granddaughter and heir, Mariko (Tao Okamoto).

you gotta know we’re going to live in New York at some point,’ ” Jackman shares.

Back when he was first cast to replace Dougray Scott in 2000’s

Now that four back-to-back films have taken him out of his beloved

“X-Men,” Jackman never pictured himself as the ninja-fighting

adopted hometown, Jackman is eying a break to spend the fall with

type. The then-30-year-old was a virtually unknown starring in a

his son, Oscar Maximillian, and daughter, Ava Eliot.

London production of “Oklahoma!” at the time.

But there’s a dark side that also comes along with the celebrity

Afterward, he went on to use the franchise’s success to claw

he’s built since “X-Men.” In April, a mentally disturbed woman

his way to the top of the Hollywood A-list (Forbes ranks him

named Katherine Thurston accosted Jackman with an electric

as the third-highest-grossing actor in the past 12 months with

razor outside his Greenwich Village gym. The stalker told police she

an estimated $55 million), dominate Broadway (winning a Tony

wanted to marry the star.

Award for 2003’s “The Boy From Oz”) and host the 2009 Academy

Jackman has also had to get used to the throngs of paparazzi

Awards.

who infest the outside of his

Angry fanboys who

apartment, waiting to snap

once

swarmed

pictures of him taking his

Internet chat rooms

children to school. “Here’s

to vent about the

how I think of it,” he explains.

idea of a nobody cast

“If you drive your car every day

as one of the most

to work, you know you’re going

beloved superheroes

to be in a traffic jam at some

in comicdom now are

point. I just love what I do, I

horrified by the idea

love acting, I love living in the

of him ever exiting the

city, so I put up with it. I just

X-Men.

try to be as Zen about it as

Fortunately for them,

possible.”

Jackman sounds like

He just wishes they’d leave

someone who’d be

his kids alone: “I made the

up for at least an eighth helping of boiled chicken. “Much like

decision as an adult to become an actor and on some level you’re

golfers are always looking for another hole in one,” he says, “I

stupid if you don’t realize that this comes with it...but my kids didn’t

love this character and I never take for granted the opportunity

ask for it.”

I have to play what I think is one of the cooler, more interesting,

Like any other true New Yorker, he finds the tourists are the ones

multilayered comic book characters.”

who really take him out of his Zen serenity.

“Wolverine” director James Mangold, who first worked with Jackman on the 2001 romantic comedy “Kate & Leopold,” says

“The classic New York comment is, ‘Hey man, how are you? I liked

his star has only gotten better (and better-looking) with age.

your work in that film.’ And then they walk on, it’s cool,” says Jackman. “The problem this time of year and at Christmas is the

“The one thing that hasn’t changed despite the fact that he’s

tourists. I have a funny feeling that to get a photo with a celebrity is

become one of the biggest international movie stars is that

even greater than climbing the Empire State Building. I see people

Hugh’s just the most wonderful, loyal, gracious actor and friend

just behave appallingly. Even if I say, ‘I’m with my family,’ there are

making a film,” says Mangold.

tourists who are like, ‘Uh huh, I don’t care.’”

Jackman’s Hollywood success has also allowed him to fulfill

Still, Jackman will take his inner peace wherever he can get it —

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Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 23


including in the middle of morning rush hour at Tokyo’s notoriously packed Shinjuku Station, where a short sequence for “The Wolverine” was filmed. While jumping out from behind vending machines to film the scene in the middle of a crowd of unsuspecting Japanese businessmen, Jackman found himself savoring a rare, glorious moment. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Jackman. “Literally a sea of people coming out, and not one stopped and asked for an autograph.” Source: dailynews.com

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20 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT

HUGH JACKMAN

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

He didn’t always want to be an actor. Jackman earned a degree in communications, with an emphasis on journalism, from the University of Technology in Sydney. It wasn’t until he took a drama theory class in his senior year that he was bit by the acting bug. He later enrolled in the Western Australian Academy of Arts. He always had a soft spot for performing. As a kid, he put on magic shows for his four siblings. We’re sure the experience came in handy for his role in 2006’s “The Prestige.” Another factor in his choice to take on acting was his love for the “Friday the 13th” movies. He told Jay Leno he used to dream of one day playing Jason. Before he became one of Hollywood’s most ruggedly handsome stars he worked as a gas station attendant and a birthday party clown. His childhood was kind of tough. His parents separated when he was eight, and soon after his mom abandoned the family to return to her native England, leaving Jackman’s dad to raise five children alone. The actor broke down in tears when he spoke to “60 Minutes” about the ordeal in 2012. He is quoted as saying he was an “angry kid” and that rugby saved him because it’s just a game of organized violence, after all. Jackman also had a love for something other than rugby as a kid: Olivia Newton John. The “Grease” actress and pop singer was his idol as a child -- he even kept a poster of her under his desk that he would smooch from time to time. He met his wife, Deborah-Lee Furness, on the set of his first ever TV

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Furness suffered two miscarriages before the couple ultimately decided to adopt. They now have two children, Oscar, 13, and Eva, 8. His son knows his dad is awesome and uses it to his advantage. Jackman once told a story about how Oscar picks up girls, saying, “He said to me the other day, ‘Dad, two o’clock, hot chick.’ He walks over, and I heard him say, ‘Hey, my dad’s Wolverine.’ That’s his opening line! He brings them over and asks, ‘Dad, can we have a few autographs for the girls?’ I’m like, ‘Am I pimping for my kids?’” He sings at weddings -- well, at his friends’ weddings. Hugh serenaded Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban during their 2006 nuptials. We all know Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, but the Aussie actor almost took on another iconic character: Bond, James Bond. Jackman was offered the role of 007 in 2006’s “Casino Royale,” but because of scheduling conflicts, Daniel Craig ultimately nabbed the part. Jackman also almost played another infamous character: Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, in 2008’s “The Dark Knight.” He currently holds the record for number of times playing the same character in a movie: Wolverine, seven times. For his most recent stint as the clawed mutant, Jackman told the L.A. Times he stuck to a 6,000 calorie a day diet to bulk up. We all know by now that Hugh is a song and dance man from his role in last year’s “Les Miserables” and his run on Broadway in “The Boy From Oz.” But what’s the one song he could listen to every day for the rest of his life? Jackman says it’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones. Maybe he can play Mick Jagger in a biopic!

gig, an Australian show called “Corelli,” in 1995.

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17 18 19 20

Aside from singing, dancing, and acting Hugh also dabbles in wrestling -- or at least he did in 2011. While promoting his film “Real Steel,” Jackman appeared on WWE Raw and “fought” wrestler Dolph Ziggler. Here’s the video if you don’t believe us.

Way before he stepped into the ring, Jackman practiced his wrestling moves on extras -- sort of. While filming 2004’s “Van Helsing” he accidentally broke an extra’s hand during a stunt gone awry. While he is most known for his tough guy action roles, in 2006 he took on a gentler part when he played Mumble’s (Elijah Wood) father, Memphis, in “Happy Feet.” We gotta say, his Elvis impression is spot-on. He’s so irresistible, women literally stalk him. In April 2013, Katherine Thurston waited outside Jackman’s gym in New York’s Greenwich Village and asked the actor, “We’re getting married, right?” upon seeing him. She then snuck inside and threatened Jackman with an electric shaver before the police were called. She was arraigned the week after and sent to Riker’s Island on $15,000 bail. There’s still no word on whether Hugh accepted the marriage proposal.

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INTERVIEW

e n i l e O d E A Y 30 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew


ER G IN

F

P I T

UR O L

O C

“I offer my art so that hearts can come alive, for beauty is an expression of the soul. They see it, they touch it, they feel it, they are moved by it. It illuminates, and then it flows within their hearts, which is alive!” Adeline’s art leads you to beautiful, living spaces – a garden, a meadow, a quiet beach, a cottage of love, the smell of the ocean, the sound of water, the touch of wind, the colour

P I R D

of sky; beauty of such magnificence, variety and lavishness, ripe beauty, lush beauty, beauty given to us with such generosity and great abundance. To her, beauty is powerful. It speaks and nourishes. There is room for the soul. Beauty invites; like beautiful music, it captures you, you want to sit down and just drink it all in. Like a secret garden or an enchanted forest, you want to enter in, explore, partake of it, feast upon it. Immensely personal and scripted just for the heart, her artworks are whispers of love, beauty, mystery, desires, awakenings, passion; a radiance that stems from answers to life’s deepest questions. Her art captures a beauty that is captivating and powerfully redemptive. It is with this intimacy that sets Adeline’s art apart. Adeline is one artist that challenges convention. She is probably by far, the only artist who paints blindfolded. The Brew was fortunate enough to have a one-on-one with her during one of her shows.

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 31


When did it all start, your work on art?

general. So, it’s more accessible for everyone attending my show.

It officially started 3 years ago in the year 2010 when I did my first exhibition. Now I’m on my 5th and this one was stage show

Tell us about your book “Viva- Life Illuminated”. It’s basically a coffee table book about my art and poetry. And how

presented by the Lexus Boutique(Singapore).

I use poetry to describe my art. So where did you do your studying? Did you study art as such? I was in the media industry for 10 years and then I gave it all up to

Wow! So you write as well. Is there something that you don’t do?

pursue my dream. In school I did ‘still life’, ‘fashion’ etc, but never

I’m launching my fashion collection this month and I don’t know

with my hands and never with acrylics on a canvas. So I must say its

how that’s going to go. I’m really passionate about my craft and

a blessing from god and a technique I developed by myself.

want it be accessible to more people.

You have done 5 shows till now. All in Singapore ?

What do you consider your specialisation? Do you go with a

Yes, all the 5 shows have been in Singapore and they were all

certain style, do you have a certain form in art that you would

solo-exhibits. I’ve done some charity funding shows with other

like to associate yourself with?

international artists also.

Yes, finger painting is my style and sometimes blindfolded. I always wanted to be different and hence got into finger painting

You are passionate about charity and would like to associate

to set myself apart from other artists. And when I finger paint on

yourself with it?

a canvas, it’s more personal, I’m closer to the canvas and I get

Definitely! I’ve been blessed and I also believe in giving back. So

really into it. I feel, when you touch something, it’s closer to your

most definitely, yes! If something comes my way and if I feel I could

heart, it’s closer to your soul, the distance is reduced, hence finger

fit and if it’s really close to my heart, then I would not mind doing it,

painting. My favourite artist is Coco Chanel, she says that ‘your

I would definitely help out.

passion should challenge convention’, which was what she did. So I decided I should set myself to art and did that with finger painting;

Tell us more about this current exhibition.

and blindfolded, let us just say I wanted to take a leap forward. A

In this exhibition, our beneficial cause is for the SAMH (Singapore

leap of faith. Sometimes you just don’t want to be controlled all the

Association for Mental Health) and is to support the eating-disorder

time, you just want to let go of things. So I’m really astounded by

group. And it’s a women to women campaign but in my speech, I’m

what comes as a result of my blindfolded painting, It’s amazing.

going to be talking about life, not just specific to women, but life in

THE BREAKTHROUGH

THE RESERRECTION

32 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew

VERVE IN MOTION


Beautiful, Love


come home to love

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 34


How has the perception of people been? The response? They are all very excited. People ask me to engage myself in all kinds of events, to launch a product and what not. They kind of want to introduce me as an artist in the process, since they are excited about this new style that I’ve been doing, so its fun! Where do you see your future from here, as in internationally? Are you particularly looking at any collaborations? Markets that you are interested in? I’m definitely going to take my art across countries, to grow my collectors base beyond that of Singapore to an international audience. There are a few key markets but right now I’m just doing what comes my way. And if there is an interesting place where the visibility is going to be larger, then I would definitely do it. Any plans for India? I have been receiving a couple of invitations from Mumbai and some other places, so I have to think about it and what the possibilities are. I definitely would be interested, in fact a lot of DANCING IN THE WIND

my buyers are Indian. They like my colours, my style, the flamboyance, the passion and the energy involved with my paintings, so that’s quite exciting for me. I have a collectors base in Singapore, which I want to grow, so I will definitely be considering the overseas markets.

Interview by Sameer Bharat Ram

GINGER Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 35


COVERSTORY

36 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew


Here to

make a difference Young director Nalan Kumaraswamy and Actor Vijay Sethupathy get talking about how they got into Cinema, Soodhu Kavvum and plans for the future.


When everybody is telling you not to do something repeatedly, it makes you want to do it even more. So I went for it.”

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Nalan - We actually go way back and know each other pretty well before this movie itself. We know each other since 2009 and have done a short film together before ‘Soodhu Kavum’. So from the beginning of both our careers, we knew each other. Sameer - Both of you actually come from completely different backgrounds, far from films. Vijay used to be an accountant and Nalan, you were into real estate. So what made you get into the film industry, was it out of your own interest, or was it by accident?? Nalan-I was obviously interested in films all my life, and even if I didn’t get this chance as a director, I would become a script writer. I used to train myself with script writing for a long time. Even now I’m learning and yet to attain the perfection of writing a full script. Sameer - So were you thinking about your future at that point, as in would the film succeed, the monetary issues involved ?? Nalan - It wasn’t exactly a big risk I was taking since, I have a family business, so yes, backup plan is always there. Vijay- It was actually accidental for me. After having worked in Dubai, I came back , and was going to get married. So during that time I had taken some pictures in a studio for the invitation and everything, and it actually looked pretty good. The guy before me had a more expensive shoot, compared to my 500 rupees normal photoshoot. The guy working there also had told me that my pictures look better than his. So I thought I’ll give it a try. And also when everybody is telling you not to do something repeatedly, it makes you want to do it even more. So I went for it. I went for an audition in Thiruvalur for a hero role with my friend Nitin Satya, and he actually did a brilliant job for the role and he got the role. So I had decided that I had to learn more about films and acting. And I’m generally a very reserved person, and don’t move around much. So after my interest into films, I decided that the only way to learn is by meeting more people and moving around. So I created a fake marketing resume and applied for a marketing job, hoping that would give me the exposure I needed. I did that for 2-3 months and that’s when I got an opportunity to work for a film, but they wanted me as

the accountant there also. I didn’t care as long as I was working within the industry, because my interest was growing and I wanted to stay in the film scene. During my time there, I did some street plays too. After I got the role in ‘Pudupettai’ as Dhanush’s friend, my career kicked off. I did this mega serial called ‘Penn’ for Sun TV which was a really big learning experience for me. I played the lead, so I learnt a lot from everybody and how to get comfortable in front of the camera. After ‘Penn’ was done, I got my first hero role offer and I committed. The director was really confident about me although I, at that point, wasn’t even sure if I was hero material. But I committed. SIx months later the film was going to be made in Kannada and the new producer wanted his son as the hero. So they asked me if I could train him for the role. I accepted and went trained him. I was happy that I was doing something for the film. But later they asked me if I could do the villain’s role and accepted. So I ended up playing the villain in that movie. Unfortunately that movie hasn’t released yet. Once I finished that, I got a chance in ‘Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu’ and there I met Arul Dass(who acts as my brother in Soodhu Kavuum). He recommended me for the hero role in ‘Thenmerku Paruvakaatru’, when they were looking. They had fixed the shooting date and were in a hurry to find the right one for the role but none of the artists were available at the time. So one week before the schedule, Arul Dass introduced me to the director and recommended me for the role. That’s how I got the role, everything happened in a matter of 4 days. Sameer - So everything started after your marriage. How did you handle the risk, since it’s a very uncertain situation when it comes to movies? Vijay - I’ve never lead a completely satisfied life. I have always been in the middle-class category. So I always had that thought to get to the next level and live a luxurious and satisfied life as well. I went to Dubai to make it big, but I realised there is not much growth there due to the Afghan War at the time. Then I got an opportunity in a Slovakian company and they offered me a salary of 1 lakh, because it was a risky job and had many security

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 39


issues. I cleared the first round and the failed the second. Had I been selected that day, I would have gone to Slovakia and my life would have been entirely different. So failures weren’t new to me and the only thing I decided when I was taking this risk was that, what ever be it, I will try for 5 years, will not give up half way. If it doesn’t work out for me after that , I’ll leave the industry. That was the plan. My friends and family were completely against this decision, of course. Can’t really blame them because it’s not like being an actor was my childhood ambition or I was really into it or anything like that. I was pretty normal guy. In these 5 years I’ve learnt a lot of things. I developed grey hair during my 20s itself, it’s genetic for me. So everybody in the family were very confused about why I was still wasting time in films. But then I didn’t know I was good enough for cinema, but now I know for sure that I am.

is what I wanted and that I have never shined at anything like I’ve shined here.

So I’ll never leave this field. In 2009 I did some dubbing work also. So even if I don’t make it in acting, I can at least dub and contribute to cinema. I was very interested in short films also. I was very intrigued by the fact that anybody can become a hero in a short film. Even before meeting Nalan, I had auditioned for many short films. That didn’t work, and dubbing also didn’t , so acting it is!

do it?

Sameer - Nalan, was it the same situation with your family and friends? Were they also initially against it? Nalan - For me it wasn’t that much because they started seeing me on TV and they knew I was doing something good and have talent. And even before they could start complaining, I got to Tv, so I didn’t give them any time to complain. My family knew that this 40 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew

Vijay - I always wanted to work with Nalan, but never actually got a chance. We used to discuss about scripts all the time. Nalan’s favourite actor is Karuna. His face fits perfectly with every character.Basically, Nalan’s scripts are in such a way that even if the actors make a mistake, it will not show, because it will be content-driven. The audience will keep track and will keep following the content. Even during shoot, he doesn’t find or point out a lot of mistakes as such, we just do it normally, our shoots very pretty casual and comfortable and it works! Sameer - So Nalan, is that your style of working?? Or how do you

Nalan - Yes, appearance wise I tell them how I want them to look, give them a few suggestions maybe. The rest they will fall in place. For instance, for Soodhu Kavuum, Vijay’s character had to be a 40 year old. It was mentioned in the script. Vijay had just finished playing a youngster in ‘Pizza’ so I had told him to put on some weight to pull off a 40 year old. Initially that is why Vijay wasn’t chosen for that character, because of the age. Then everybody knew that he had the interest in him and that it will yield some good results. Instead of giving the job to somebody completely new, rather give it to a person who is close to the script and who can adapt and relate to the character easier.So i had told him to put on as much as weight possible to pull off the role. And he had


a fun time making sure he did. He always believed in me, so it was all good. Even his oiled up hair in the movie was done by him. I didn’t even have to mention the little details like these. Sameer - Your first movie ‘Thenmerku Paruvakaatru’ was by chance, but after that, your choice of films, intentionally or unintentionally, seem like they have a particular pattern. Like how Aamir does it in bollywood. Your choice of films have been unique, and you involve more with the films, kind of? Vijay - I do get involved with the script, but not to the extent of saying I would not do a film if the changes I suggest were’ t adapted. Even with Soodhu Kavum, it wasn’t that Nalan was directing, he gave me the script and I genuinely enjoyed it. Sameer - Nalan, did you have Vijay in mind when you were writing the script? Because from the audience point of view, it seems so.. Nalan - No, I did not write that role for him, exactly. It just happened. Arul, who plays his brother in the movie was also selected for the role because Vijay could visualise only Arul for that character while reading the script. Vijay - We are in no state to correct script writers because their work would itself be perfect. So any suggestions or clarifications can be made on a very friendly level. Nothing more than that. Not required. Nalan - I have a group of 10 selected people from the industry who I believe in and ask for opinions, Vijay is one of them. Even if Vijay is not part of my next movie, I would definitely give him my script and ask him to read it and give me suggestions. I need opinions because some of them will make sense and might actually help me in the process. That form of discussion is always good. Vijay - In this industry it is very hard to know what film is going to run and what isn’t, you can’t confidently say; so the film I do are

just scripts that I like, it is just my personal opinion. The thought is “Would I watch this movie?” For example, there was a guy who worked on Pizza who’s script I listened to although he and I both know I didn’t have the dates for it, I listened to the script just because I like listening to stories. Something like experience, or who a person has worked with, whether a person has done any work before is not important, it’s just interest, learning and knowledge about cinema. Sameer - You both started fairly late in the industry, but over the time you have been a part of Tamil cinema you have broken a lot of rules, be it acting or direction, literally changed a lot of conventions. How do people from the industry appreciate you? Nalan - We have been received even better than we had perceived that we would be. People appreciate us more than we actually deserve, we’ve been told by reporters that whenever they ask about the film they get an amazing response, even from our seniors. It’s overwhelming. Sameer - What was you starting point in the story, what did you want to convey with the film? Nalan - The idea was just to say that evil does not always fail. The end was fixed, that was the first real idea but I didn’t want the film to be preaching anything so beyond that I was writing the story without thinking too much about the political part of it. Sameer - There is a new trend of actors and directors starting production houses and producing their own films. Do either of you also have this though? Vijay - I have started “Vijay Sethupathi Productions”, we have started working on three films right now. People talk about how experimental my films are but the biggest things is that someone with my background, an accountant becoming something in this industry is a big experiment. If not for this I would’ve been nothing but now I have my bread and butter. The fact that my films have Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 41


been a success does not me I can consider myself above every other film. I have to go on to do the next film to survive and after a point I can’t hold on to the success of my past. The reason Soodhu Kavum was so good is because the entire cast and crew came together amazingly and everybody was doing work beyond their abilities. Sameer - I heard that Sanchitha was a late addition to the film, was her character originally in the script? Nalan - When we first thought of the line for the movie her character was not a part of it, but we realised that it was too much of a male dominated film, it was like reading a male magazine. The idea for her character had been there earlier so I picked it up and started working on making a female role in the film, I didn’t want it to just be a female character for the sake of it, the part had to make sense. Sujatha, my favourite writer’s heroines were the inspiration behind “Shallu”. Sameer - Do you have any inspirations as an actor? Vijay - No inspiration, I just learnt from a lot of the people that I have worked with. Other artists around me have taught me. I like a lot of people’s work but I can not say they are an inspiration, I will never try to imitate them or anything of that sort. I do try to imitate photographs and when I read a story somewhere I will try to think of how I could portray a certain character from the story, just for the heck of it. I guess it helped me somewhere. Nalan - There is a great star following in the industry so if we actually try to imitate them or are inspired by them in that sense it just makes our job harder. Unknowingly sometimes you will imitate one of them, different people should be different people. Vijay - I never try to practice and imitate body language, I just look at the attitude, everything else will come naturally if you look at the attitude. Things like heroism are not something an actor should work on, to me, it is a part of the story, it is in the script. There isn’t a fight scene or a emotional scene in Soodhu Kavum but you still got the feel of a hero from a man who kidnapps people for money, it’s just about how the character is written and portrayed beyond anything else.

42 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew


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INTERVIEW

10 YEARS ON “STAGE” WITH EVAM - karthik kumar

I’ve not made money out of my film career. My film career has been a glorious passion outlet. My core life comes from performing arts”

Karthik, 10 years of Evam, what’s the feeling? I think we’ve been so busy in the journey so far. It’s taken us awhile for us to actually realise that in the last 3 – 4 years we’ve been mind-blowingly serious about this journey, because of the fact that its no longer a struggle for survival for us. Its been a struggle for glory. Again all this pertains to the fact that we’re a lot surer and less anxious about permanency. We know that there is a glorious path in the arts and we see it in front of us. I just want to be able to make sure that as many young people in my country are able to see it as well. It will pave the way for this generation and the next generations’ artists, it could be live musicians, it could be visual artists, it could be performance artists. All these people are able to see a glorious future in just practicing their art forms and that hasn’t existed in the country for a while and we’re a young country, we’re a 60 odd year old country. Therefore, the protection of the cultural art forms is not a priority according to the government because of which it has to become priority to the artists. For them, if they can see Evam as a symptom of optimism, positivity and just the possibility that such a thing can exist. We hope to be contagious enough to spring off another 100 evams, in different names and different forms. Between 2003 and now what do you see has changed in the whole atmosphere around you, the people around you, acceptance, everything.

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Do you see a positive change or it’s still the same struggle?

will have magnificent artistic dialogues happening in our country,

No, I think there are a lot more serious people discussing

through these Infotech campuses.

partnerships and possibilities with us, so whether it is an UK

Do you see yourself, because we’ve being seeing you in the past

arts council discussing funding opportunities for an India-UK

10 years, being one of the catalysts to actually bring about what

collaboration or if it’s a rational investor who wants to invest in

ever little change at least in this city. Where theatre was being

arts based methodologies into corporate training, or whether it is

forgotten, it was in those niche pockets here and there. In the last

somebody who is saying, “I’m a builder, I’m building an apartment

10 years, there are a lot of newer, young theatre groups. Well, I

complex. I want to also create a performance arts facility because

don’t know whether they are long term or whether they are just

the children of that entire 5 kilometre radius will use this as an arts

going to be a hobby, but at least there is something happening to

education space or for performance.” All of that. The arts is now

keep the whole fight going. Do you see yourself as somebody who

becoming viable in various indirect ways. 10 years back, the most

has driven this whole thing?

banal discussion used to be going to a sponsor and saying, “Please,

I wouldn’t like to say, “Yes, we have been the single, determinant

fund my play.” from there, to today’s scene, all these possibilities

capitalists.” but the very act of being or wanting to be capitalists

that have indirectly come up for the arts. I think indirectly people

without having to be acknowledged as capitalists has always been

are funding the arts, and there are indirectly many options in which

there. We always said that Evam will be glorious only if we can

the arts can get funded. I think a sea of change has happened in

spring off 100 “Evam”s, in the term of our existence. Do we market

that

sense.

The

like Chennai, or

only

thing

that

Bangalore where

remains,

we operate very

probably

unfortunate

and

significantly. Being

unchanged is the

the

scarcity of venues,

for a lot of young

good

other

performance

springboard theatre

art venues, which

groups

is

up,

probably

the

springing

literally,

hallmark of Europe

intentional,

and

is

U.S.

Where

is it

desirable,

every little venue,

our

even the smallest

warmed

venue will look regal

happening of it.

and royal and there

senses

Whether

by

are the these

will be something magnificent about it. I think that is severely

groups will survive to see a longer term will be determined by

lacking in the country and that’s an infrastructure problem but

their existence and their glory today. Today, it is important for a

infrastructure is the problem that my country faces anyway so I

slightly more senior organisation like Evam to celebrate and share

don’t blame them for not building magnificent auditoriums. The

that glory with them. It is not in seeing them as competition or

auditoriums that exist today do not have a mind set to be able

seeing them as “Ah, they’re tomorrow’s Evam.” no, they’re not. We

to be exhibitors of performing arts. I think you’ll find everybody

are existent and we will be existing for ever and it is our duty to

from Mallika Sarabhai to T.M Krishna complaining today about

create an eco-system while they also, they have a less difficult time

poor quality of our auditoriums. If the answer to this is that we

than we had 10 years back. We need to be the ambassadors for

as performing artists build auditoriums for the next generations,

the performing arts as an art form and as a business at all points

that will be very difficult for us to do. All of us find it difficult to

of time. I think Chennai today is no longer seen as that back end

buy ourselves a flat and live in our own flat within our life time. I

where only amateur theatre forms exist. Evam is opening the NCPA

think people in real estate have to be able to see value in creating

centre stage festival next month, it is the first company that has

auditoriums that are fabulous for performance. Today, ironically the

done a 25 show run at the Enberra Finch and its ironic a Chennai

best performance venues are in Infosys and Cognizant campuses.

based company that has done it. It would have been very shocking

Where they do webcam talks with their CEOs and talks. That’s what

or impossible for us to imagine that 10 years back. People would

the auditoriums are used for, but they are the best auditoriums in

have said, “Ah, the first group who would have done it would have

the country. I wish they open that up for performing arts and you

been a Bombay troupe or a Delhi troupe.” It hasn’t been, its been a

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 45


Chennai group; but at the same time, we don’t want Chennai groups

Singapore soon. It’s seen as part of the hub and has probably gotten

to see themselves as Chennai groups. We want them to create an

as much importance as Bangalore used to have. Second is that

artistic dialogue with groups in Bombay and Delhi because all of us

somewhere Evam, wherever we travel, whether we perform we’re

have similar problems maybe on different scales, but the artistic

quite prolific across Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore. The fact that

community of the country today is one. If we are going to create

we’re a Chennai based group keeps coming back to us. Even today

fraternization activities for the community in the country today, it

when we go to Singapore and perform autonomously, we have a

is needed and even an idea like the metroplus theatre festival, it

Singapore branch and company. We’re one of the first Indian theatre

started off in Chennai 8 seasons back as being a Chennai Theatre

groups that set up a company there. We’re not there on somebody’s

festival. Today it is in 5 cities and it sees the best performers right

invitation to come and perform one show. We are a theatre group

from a local mime troupe in Chennai to a US troupe that comes

of autonomous repute in Singapore. For a Chennai group to have

down because we are able to fund it. It sees the best of Delhi

done it; winning 9 Meta nominations, winning 2 of them. Chennai

and Bombay troupes as well coming together. Metroplus theatre

is no longer going to have to struggle for recognition. I think we’re

festival, today in India is the largest English theatre festival. There

a part of the mainstream today. It is up to the performance of the

is no English theatre festival that is bigger than this. The franchise

Chennai based groups to be able to show themselves in a fabulous

is going to move to Singapore and Dubai in the upcoming years.

light. It is a levelled playing field. The world is our oyster right now.

The Metroplus theatre festival has been an opportunity for bring own troupes and creating an opportunity for collaborations. I think

One thing that is worrisome that I see everyday, in every

we are more of a single community today than we have ever been.

performance art, is that the audience is not willing to pay a ticket

Therefore, in this process I can’t see myself as being one of the

of 100 to 200 rupees to watch a play. Why is that an issue? People

capitalists who created another five young groups. No, we’re just

are willing to go to the movies and pay a minimum of 500 rupees

a symptom that says that things are good in the performing arts.

to watch a movie plus the extra add ons which come with it. Why

You can make a living out of it. You don’t have to make a struggling

is it a problem to pay to watch a film at the Alliance Francaise?

living out of it, you can make a glorious living out of it. Glory is

Will that change? Is that changing?

achieved when your needs are very limited and you’re realistic. You

I think that will change with the right packaging at the end of

know you can’t buy a Jaguar and own 2 properties on the ECR doing

the day, it requires many people like you. A magazine like yours.

performing arts. On the other hand you can live a handsome life

It would require multiple producers who are also thinking of

and very comfortably and you will probably be in the middle and

performing arts as a packageable medium. Today the worth of

upper middle class strata in society and if I gave that option to any

the performing arts is incredibly high because when packaged it

artist in the world, he would wonder, “will I have enough comfort

can be mind blowing. Imagine if I were to say, “Why is Bombay

to practice my art?” Yes. “Will I be periodically thriving also?” Yes,

Jayashri singing in music academy in December? Why doesn’t the

you will be thriving. Not to mention, you will never have to spend

producer see the possibility of putting her on the mandapam of

out of your pocket and eat into your savings and die a pauper. I

kapaleeswarar temple and the performance happens there and

think that tragic notion of an artist has to and is dying very soon.

only 500 people are allowed to watch it and 500 have to pay 10000

Ironically, even though I’ve have a film career for the last 13 years,

rupees to watch it. There are buyers today at 10,000 rupees, it is

I’ve not made money out of my film career. My film career has been

about making sure that the platform and the opportunity is created

a glorious passionate outlet. My core life comes from performing

because the live arts has something that cinema can never have.

arts.

Cinema can be consumed on your mobile phone but the live arts falls back on the ambience, on that moment which is unmissable.

Coming to this whole Chennai group versus the rest, is there a

Even today people celebrate saying, ”I watched Michael Jackson

perception issue that really exists even in the industry, is there

live in Wembley”. That is precious. They continue buying CDs of

a comparison, or is Chennai looked in as relatively new or an

Michael Jackson and watch him on MTV. It is about creating the

amateur when it comes to performing arts?

Wembley ambience. Behind mind blowing artists like Bombay

That would have been the perception 10 years back, I think the

Jayashri or the simplest artists. Today, making sure that a young

perception still exists but its very fast vanquishing perception

rock group, we were performing at the Emberra finch with Thermal

because there are multiple symptoms, there are multiple reasons

And A Quarter, they are creating that opportunity for themselves.

why that perception will vanquish very soon. One is that, the

They are playing an Ireland plus UK tour and then coming back

Metroplus theatre festival having its base in Chennai, and still

here and making sure that they get better deals with venues so

growing to 5 cities across the country and probably going to

that they can present themselves with pride. It’s about making sure

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that everybody understands that its not just the performance, its

an option as a career and choose to invest their first few years at

also the ambiance of consumption which an audience is willing

Evam which is such a turn, to think, that young people think of this

to pay for. So today this booking an auditorium and doing a play

as a career alternative as opposed to just saying, lets just have a

has to change because today its not about watching any movie in

fleeting relationship with the performing arts and then I’ll take up a

a dark hole. Its about watching a movie in Satyam Cinemas, seats

serious job later. This is the serious job. At the end of the day you’ve

are plush and popcorn comes to you, it’s the entire package they’re

found the right people, you’ve stuck by the right people, the right

paying for. It is probably time for us to present ourselves, keeping in

people have stuck by us, the wrong people could have destroyed us

mind that the audience is willing to pay for a fabulous, memorable

long back.

slice of time. Imagine if Coke Studio became a live property and 200 people were inside watching that performance happen, and it

How far do you think you’ve gone in that vision what you believe

was being televised. Those 200 people will pay 10,000 bucks. It’s

in?

about packaging. Today whether it is West End or Broadway, in

I think the first vision we had was to survive, survive gloriously not

London or New York, it survives on magnificent producers being

survive and make sure we never say that we made a compromise

able to see opportunities. How do you create a play and what kind

because we are doing something we love we are doing something

of run, internationally, can it have? Its about the showcasing of it,

we love and we are glorious at it and we make a great living out of

not just the one single performance. Today we say we’re going to

it. That was the vision we had until probably the last five six years.

do one show, in that one show, we should get all the money, it’s

In the last three four years and the next three I think the vision was

not possible. You have to create a run for it. Create a setting for it,

to bring India into some kind of a international reckoning, that’s

so it requires great presenters who understand the arts and the

something we want to do and the ultimate ambition right now is to

business of it who are not seduced by the business of it and are not

get art education into schools as a mandatory part of curriculum

disrespectful of the arts.

over the next few years and no longer see arts curriculum being delivered by english teachers and instead have drama, and Music

What about your support system in Evam?

teachers in schools. Have drama and performing arts as a course

Oh, I think my first marriage was to, before I married Suchi, was

within curriculums and also probably be able to create a chain of

Sunil. Sunil was always my first life partner because he completely

black box theatres across the marquee cities in the country where,

understands my little company, and my little corporate was

at least in these theatres art should be seen as when it is there, so

completely dependent on the understanding between the two of us

these are all 150 to 200 seaters and to be able to create that chain

the trust that we need to not even dialogue or negotiation, if he

in the next six seven years will be a humongous project which will

made a decision I was sure of it; and on the off chance that I wasn’t

take a lot of time because we cannot afford to own these venues but

I would just say, “ you made the decision and can you explain it to

we need to find the right partners, we are in sync in achieving these

me”. I think its that unchangeable relationship magic between us

but this is what we are hungry for right now.

that keeps this company happy and content. Over and above that I think it’s three other people in my company, Pavithra, Bhargav

What’s the next big thing for Evam in terms of production?

and Deepak. Deepak keeps the financial stability in my company,

Well we are actually fully produced right now for the next year and

Pavithra is the operations stability, she makes sense of the

a half so, Alvigi, which is our political thriller that premiered at

hundred things that are happening in the country and streamlines

the Edinburgh Theatre Festival does full blown UK tour based on

them and apportions the right resources into the right projects,

reviews and requests that have come in after this, so we’re doing

and Bhargav is probably the youngest creative helm for our future,

a full blown UK tour in second half of 2014, we’ll probably be doing

so I think it’s these three people who have stuck by through the

a Austria and New Zealand tour in 2015, all this has gotten booked

toughest times in the last five years. There have been points where

based on our run right now so internationally what happens is all

we have literally sunk because of minor small bad decisions and it

tours get booked about a year and half or year in advance at least.

was, when something like recession happens in a country imagine

Bollywoodkheema, which is to be our summer blockbuster which

how a little performing arts enterprise will get affected by it but

is where leave your brains at home comedy right from the time of

we have seen through all those times and today, no longer will we

Monty Python we did ten years back to now we always have that

worry every about survival or paying twelve employees, its about

fun comedy that we release, so that format this year has seen a

make sure its glorious and we have twelve employees across three

UK director come down and create something very clever but at

branches here, Chennai, Bangalore and Singapore so its these

the same time fun enough that you can enjoy it in the way people

people, it’s these youngsters who still think that performing arts is

leave their brains behind and watch on christmas so that way also

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 49


COVERSTORY

“Art was born with me” Master artist Alphonso Arul Doss speaks to Karthik Kumar on his colourful journey with art.

50 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew


Karthik: Sir, it’s a great pleasure to have you with us. Can you

thing available can be used for something or the other. Instead

please tell us something on how you feel art is involved with your

of depending on the Government for providing us with various

life?

opportunities, we can simply use whatever resources we have at our disposal. Who knows someday it might turn up something

Alphonso: Art was born with me, I can say. I was born with certain

big in your life. Likewise if I start telling about my experiences

artistic features such as my eyes, for example. I used to catch the

in life I can keep on talking. I always feel that being to Madras is

colour of an object before analyzing it. People always found this

always like being to heaven. I wouldn’t have fit anywhere else other

habit of mine to be funny. At times they even made me feel so.

than being an artist. My dad wanted me to take literature and my

In fact you won’t believe, I used to explain to my mother how the

mother always wanted me to become a priest since we didn’t have

coolie people maintain their body. It is so fantastic that they have

anyone from our family to that service. But I told my mother that

a proper muscular anatomy giving an extraordinary perfection. I

if you force me, I will run away from the house and go somewhere

used to also observe all the activities those laborers do while doing

else (Laughs). My mother always used to tease me saying that if I

the constructional activities, right from carrying sand to bricks.

become an artist, I will have to carry a bag on my shoulder, have

Bangalore is another place where I love sitting on the lawns and

a funny beard and wear other complicated outfits. But I was very

sketching the gardens. Once I was sitting in a garden there and

strong about my decision. I think you can make a film with whatever

I was trying to mix colors in such a way that they look exactly the

I said till now and can title it as “Life of an Artist” (Laughs).

same color as I was observing on a tree bark. But I couldn’t come up

Another thing which I wanted to share with you is the way how

with the perfect color mix. I was very disappointed and immediately

Michael Angelo creates his art work. He wouldn’t even stop for his

went to my art master and told him. He advised me to join “Madras

meal while at work. He will be so much into his work and I am

Art School” and gain more knowledge and perfection. That was the

always inspired with the way he analyses art. When I was 35 years

first time I heard about Madras Art School. My dad encouraged me

of age, I went to Italy for his art exhibition which was very old. I

a lot even though he was not in a very good financial condition to

carried a magnifying lens along with me which helped me in going

educate all six of us. Apart from drawing, I had a big interest in

and understanding tiny minute creativities and textures inside a

singing. I used to sing for choir which was in Latin in our church on

big art work. Such a wonderful creator he is. I have almost seen

every Sundays when we went there. Also the climate in Bangalore

all forms of artworks, including cave paintings. Cave paintings are

was mind blowing at that time. Me and my friends roamed around

done almost thirty thousand years ago. So you can imagine how

places on weekends and kept on observing all the activities that are

detailed it would be.

happening out there in different places. Above all, when I went to Bangalore I got to meet Mr. Roy Choudary whom I can refer to as

Karthik: Sir, you said you got a scholarship from the Government.

“The King”. I was deeply inspired by his creativity. In the meantime,

Can you tell us how motivational it was for your career?

my dad was finding it difficult to provide financial help for my studies and he asked me to come back after completing my “Diploma in

Alphonso: It was definitely a very good opportunity for me. Actually

Fine Arts”. I studied 3 years in Advanced Painting. Luck favored me

Mr. Panicker, who was a member of Central Academy Committee

that time by providing a scholarship from the cultural department,

asked me to apply for the scholarship. I, along with six of my friends,

Government of India. They offered me Rs. 250 per month. At the

applied for it and to our surprise all six of us got the scholarship

time, my teachers were getting Rs. 175 per month(laughs). I was

and it was published in The Indian Express Newsletter. The

getting enough money, materials for art and they even let me travel

scholarship gave us an open freedom to experiment with various

to places around India, visiting and participating in various art

materials whichever we liked. I had an opportunity to develop my

exhibitions. At that time I had planned to go abroad for a research

passion towards oil painting. We bought foreign colours, canvases

on music and I achieved it, after a whole stretch of 20 years. That

and other branded coating materials and experimented on various

was because, in those times going to Bombay was itself a big task

things. During college days we used to go by 8 Am even though

for many. My teachers motivated me in many ways. They helped me

our classes started from 10:00 Am. In between, we will have a cup

in framing my artworks for exhibitions and they guided me in all

of tea as refreshment and start our work again. The college has a

possible ways they could. Later I came to know about oil painting.

very good environment which made us do our studies in a better

For reference purposes, my teachers asked me to take examples

manner. The silence and the quiet there helped us concentrate

from the ancient Ajanta and The Ellora caves.

more on our work. I was also inspired and in fact learned water

I have learned one simple thing from my life. We should never

coloring from the great artist Mr. Ramagopal. He taught me how

come up with excuses like lack of resources. Each and every

to blend the colors without giving more depth and I still remember

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 51


that. He was very advanced and I realized this when I went to the USA. The trend was equally matched and this made me feel proud to be an artist from India. I feel that the only Indian artist who can actually match the European artists, is Mr. Santhana Raj. I just admire him a lot. But now days I feel that, technology has overtaken the freedom of doing experiments with art for students. Digital paintings using Ipads and other gadgets has become like a trend among the current generation. In 1957, when I joined my college, even a television set was not there. For more than ten years after that , television was not invented. People were using typewriters. There were a lot of changes in the educational strategies; art was given more importance in the past. Mr. Roy Choudry helped us raise funds for the art materials for the students. Mr.Panicker arranged an educational tour for us, all over India, which gave us great knowledge about the art works. Art is a part of our life. We saw the beautiful collections of Mr.Bruce Foote in Madras Museum. The seals of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa sculptures. India is one of the most remarkable places on earth. Enjoy the sculpture and the people. I suggest students not to follow the western art. I searched enough for the change, Mr.Paniker and others helped me out , then I analyzed the judgment of line quality . What is art? Who made it? Cave men were working and the first art they made for cutting etc., the sculptures made by them cannot be done by anyone now. Our ancestors were a very creative bunch of people. My parents were worried seeing me spend all my money for art. But still I didn’t give up, art is not about money. It’s a beautiful and creative thing of a person. Einstein was not let to teach in the Princeton University because he didn’t have a degree. HOD of the university made a lab for him where he invented things. The ‘Monaa’ group went out of the studio and started drawing the sky and the climatic change. Everyone says that, we have to achieve something. What should I achieve I thought. Then I found out its Art. ‘Lust for Life’ and ‘Agony and the Ecstasy’ which portrays Michelangelo’s character, are the movies which inspired me a lot and in fact I strongly recommend everybody to watch them. Me, Vishwanathan, Vasudevan, Sadanandan and few of our friends watched this movie together in Sapphire theatre and I still remember that very well. I cherish those experiences still in my life. After roaming all around India I tried moving abroad. I tried for scholarships but I could not get through. So I wrote a letter to my friend who is a scientist in The University of Birmingham and he made a professor from the Art department to invite me there. The craziest part was after buying the air tickets to USA, I hardly had hundred dollars with me which I again had to spend for bus fares and other expenses to reach the University. They gave me hostel accommodation in art department and also provided food for free. On weekends I was free to go to visit all the museums in and 52 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew


around the place. I had a very big desire to visit the museum which

“International Visitors Program”.

was at Los Angeles. My professor bought me the ticket and gave me

For 21 days I was allowed to travel along the eastern coast,

some money for my expenses and asked me to have a visit. Nobody

provided with all allowances including hotel stay and food.

would be lucky enough to get such an opportunity at that time and I felt very happy about that.

Karthik: When did this happen Sir?

Karthik: How long were you there in the USA? How old were you

Alphonso: This happened in 1983. I would also like to tell you that

then?

I was an active member of Ancient Christian Art Association. It is not an artist’s association whereas it was formed for conducting

Alphonso:

researches on Christian Art.

The first time when I went there, I spent around three solid months. That was more of an internship which I underwent. I started teaching

Karthik: How did art get related to politics?

few students there. I went there when I was 28 years of age. Alphons: At a point of time, Dr.Karunanithi started wondering Karthik: You mean to say that you started teaching students when

where the modern art is going and that people should only learn

you were only 28 years of age? That’s great!

what they need. He was also more involved in poetry and movie songs. He also produced three movies. I don’t really understand

Alphonso: The main mistake I did was that I didn’t write to the

why such a great man was indirectly crushing the field of visual

Government to get permission to work there, so I had to come back

art! Including people like Mahatma Gandhi, in fact any leader

and later I was put in a situation to answer our Government on what

would have fought for our freedom but they never decided to

happened exactly and I tried making them understand the value of

preach or talk about visual art to the people. Tourists come down

the opportunity, which was really very rare and that anybody can get

to India for what? To see the art, the music, the paintings, the

that easily. I showed them all the photographs that I took and even

Ajantha and Ellora, the Brahadeeshwara temple, the fine works

told them that these would serve as the key reference for students to

of our artists and architects. Not for our technology. American

learn paintings. This impressed them a lot. They immediately moved

technology and the European technology are a lot advanced than

my file and let me teach the students here. I walked out of the room

ours. At least the old poems during the times of Kannagi and

very happy and seeing this many people were in fact shocked, since

Kovalan, written in ancient Tamil, our old Indian paintings, our

they were expecting me to get dismissed from the college.

miniature paintings should be preserved in the museum. The

The second time I was invited to USA through a program called

Government never sanctions money for it. With great difficulty

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 53


I got two lakhs for an art cause. Everybody asked me how I got two lakhs from the government. And finally some rivals took away those paintings. And I don’t know where those paintings are now. Everyone asked me about my paintings that depict the south Indian culture. I had so much stuff to start a heritage center in fact. Showing our culture, the culture of people in Tamil Nadu and bringing the whole world here to learn about our ancient culture. But I could never get it done and I feel very sad for it. Similarly, all our rich ancient cultures were destroyed. Fortunately we still have our Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar and a few more that the Government has taken a little interest in preserving. I would be very proud to talk about Egypt. Everywhere in Egypt, there is Egyptian art. The Railway station, buildings all have copies of their original art forms. But I don’t know why it is so bad here. Today, we sometimes feel alienated to our own ancient cultures. Karthik: You spoke about technology. The technology has developed, yes. Artists have more access to technology. Do you think it is really useful, or does it inhabit curiosity? Alphonso: Technology can be used in art. People think that now since there is camera there is no need for artists. Anything can be captured in a camera and it can be made to look artistic. So basically, the importance of an artist is lost. It is basically a limitation, I think. The limitations that are there in old paintings, the limitations of a gramophone etc; people went for radio, television and other devices that had no such limitations of an old artistic gramophone. Technology has a lot of advantages but it has also affected the ability of one’s self to explore their creative boundaries. I have photographed people and have also painted them. I have painted many models in many of my art classes, using various methods like water color, oil painting, tempera painting and have also explored how to compose the colors for each part of the painting. Perhaps, it was because we did not have any advanced technology then, we actually had to paint a lot. I am talking about 50 years back. And I think if I were a youngster now, I wouldn’t really prefer these forms of art using technology. During the times of Sir.C.Ramanujam, people used a lot of proverbs (‘Thathuvams’). There was a community that listened to these entertaining proverbs. Today even if we talk in such funny anecdotes, people might just salute you and walk away. They all have better things to do. People have changed and that’s how modern art even came into existence. Karthik: In your life, in your career, has the reason for creation changed? Reason for your art changed? Have you done paintings based on various reasons? Alphonso: Definitely, many things have changed in my life. A child makes use of the things around it. It learns how to draw by looking

54 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew


at the objects around it. We always keep learning something from

because he is an open critic. He boldly criticizes society, individuals

the things around us. This is my philosophy. We can use the old

and religion. But Shivaji Ganeshen was different. The reason as

ideas, but we should not copy them. The artistic impulse and the

to why I feel that Madras is so culturally rich is because of the

creative work should reflect the current environment and society. It

artists, visual media, cinema, music, dance and philosophy here.

would’ve been entirely different if I was explaining the same to an

Everything has lived here.

American guy. They would analyze me more because they aren’t exactly used to me. They see my face and my skin color. There was

Karthik: We all know about the movie ‘Parashakthi’. It was the first

this one time when a young Chinese kid who wouldn’t stop staring

film to be banned in India by the government. And the chief minister

at my face; wondering how different we look from them. What I have

then, Dr.Rajagopalachari revoked the ban and went against the

analyzed is that, the paintings in China look just like the Chinese

whole thing and released it.

people and they all depict there ancient culture. The Japanese paintings were very much related to their styles and culture. Even cave paintings. They define their culture. A spear being thrown at a bull, talks about what they were actually doing at the time. When you look at art from this angle, it is just what we see and do today. What we see around us and what we do to make ourselves happy is always the highlight of all my paintings. Some people like it and some don’t. And fortunately, my paintings are well respected. I actually displayed my paintings at 2 exhibitions in Korea. They were sponsored by the Korean International Art Organization and they spent more than 25 lakhs on the show. I was there for 20 days. The money they spent on an artist, their travel, hotel expenses, comfort, everything showed the people’s dedication towards art and preserving art forms. I really appreciate their interest towards art. It is all about orientations. Why did I meet you today? What did I learn from the people I meet? I always like meeting new people. In fact I am a great lover of meeting different people and talking to them. Today it has been very difficult to see art as art. We sing and we sell paintings to earn money, to sustain in this expensive world. This is how it has changed. Food, shelter and clothes demand a lot of money. Today many artists have mind blowing talents. But no background, no standard job. This adds as a huge disadvantage for the entire field of arts. Art is not so simple. During the times of Satyajitray, people wondered why his movies were so slow. In fact, Vimal Roy even asked me why I was so slow. I just said that I am not a ‘race horse’(*chuckles*). I can even say that our Madras films were in fact some of the best in the world during those times. Not now though. We can barely

Alphonso: ‘Parashakthi’ is a wonderful movie. It had very good

watch few films these days. But nothing can be done about that.

picturisation, acting and finally, Dr.Karunanithi’s writings. Dr.

This is what people like today. Lot of politics involved. All movies

Karunanithi was a social reformer, a politician and a play writer. We

are politics oriented and not aesthetics oriented like those days. My

could’ve seen the better of him if we had him stuck to the creative

friend used to talk a lot about M.R.Radha because his normal walk

side, but unfortunately we lost him to politics.

itself appears to be like he is acting. Karthik: It was a great pleaure having this conversation with you Karthik: Dramatic!

Sir, I feel so inspired! Thank You!

Alphonso: Yes! Very dramatic indeed! He doesn’t act exactly, but his whole life was an act. In the open, people don’t really like him

Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 55


Brew september 2013  

Exclusive interviews with Vijay Sethupathy, Nalan, Aplhonso. 10 years of Evam with Karthik, Ship of Theseus, Jobs and much more to brew.

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