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Angelina female spy SALT

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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK Dear Readers, Welcome to this edition of The Brew. When i was contemplating on which should be the cover story for this issue, i was bouncing off ideas with a very dear friends Nisha and that’s when I realised I can actually with her help get the best cover story possibleJeffrey Archer – Yes, Lord Archer indeed. If by now, you did not know, Jeffrey’s latest book “And thereby hangs a tale” a collection of short stories has the story of Nisha and he considers it the best story in the book. I thank Nisha for doing this exclusive piece for us. The Brew also co presented “The Karate Kid” here in Chennai with Sherif Nissan. The film was fabulous as expected. Jackie chan was his usual best but the young Jaden smith was a true revelation and am sure that he goes on to become a great actor. There’s Lots more to come in the coming months at The Brew as we are building a complete entertainment brand. Do look forward to all the excitement. Enjoy this edition of The Brew. Cheers, Sameer Bharat Ram Managing Editor

Sameer specialises in Brand strategy. After a successful career in Brand management, advertising and strategy, He now runs an advertising and brand consulting company, Brandmuni consulting based in Chennai

Edited, Printed, Published and Owned by Sameer Bharat Ram, SM BrandMuni Consulting Pvt. Ltd, Printed at Srikals Graphics pvt. Ltd, No.5, Balaji Nagar, 1st street, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai - 600 032. Published from No.609, Lakshmi Bhavan, Anna salai, Mount Road, Chennai - 600 002. Tel.: +91 44 4208 9392.

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TEAM

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Graphic Designer Sundar Ganesh

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Creative Director Mihir Ranganathan

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Art Director Sibiraj Bastin

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Production Srinivasan

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Graphic Designer Namitha Thomas

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Circulation & Sales Sentil Kumar

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www.thebrewmagazine.com FOLLOW US>// http://www.facebook.com/group. php?gid=112653815423162 TO ADVERTISE: Call: +91 98409 39339 e-mail: info@thebrewmagazine.com 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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COVER STORY

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INRERVIEW

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FEATURES

INTERVIEW

Sarangi Samraat

angelina jolie

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A mixed musical bag

ITC SRA Sangeet Sammelan 2010

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Enrique Iglesias

NEW ALBUM SET FOR RELEASE

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Drums of India

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Talks about playing a tough female spy for her eagerly awaited film SALT

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JADEN SMITH

The Karate Kid

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Jackie C”han”

REVIEW

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MIDNIGHT COWBOY

INCEPTION

- GEORGE THOMAS

COVER STORY

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“Caste-oFf is my favorite short story”

Mitch Albom’s

For One more day - Neeru Nanda

Jeffrey Archer speaks to Nisha JamVwal JULY 2010

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

Sameer Puri Sameer’s debut feature Delhi Boom! premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2007 . A Management Studies graduate, Sameer is a writer, director and photographer based in London. Sameer endeavours to make films that motivate people towards happiness and inspiration. He has wrapped scripting The White Room, is currently penning Ken Ghosh’s next feature and developing ND66, an action espionage remake of Delhi Boom!

Veejay sai is an award-winning writer, editor and a culture critic. He has written and published extensively on indian classical music, fashion, theatre, food, 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.

Thota Tharrani is an Indian Film Art Director and a recipient of the National Film Award for Best Art Direction. He has won the award twice in 1989 and 1997. He has received the Padma Shri in 2001.

ADVISORY BOARD

Neeru Nanda

Pravin Mani

Nisha JamVwal

is 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.

Originally from Chennai, Pravin shuttles between Toronto, London and Chennai on his musical adventure. He has worked with a number of record companies in Australia including virgin, E.M.I, Sony music and secured a worldwide publishing contract with Warner Chappell, Australia. He has a number of album, film and session production credits with a wide range of music directors including A.R.Rahman

Acclaimed Interior designer wtih prestigious projects to her credit.She is also a writer and columnist with many national and international magazines. She has successfully diversified her brand into fashion as well with collections like “Sex with my Ex” and “I believe I can fly”

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FEATURE

Sarangi

Samraat T

he declining popularity of Sarangi on the Hindustani classical concert stage was a great matter of concern in the last decade. Though a few apprehensive directors did manage to use this sophisticated instrument in their film projects, with many younger generation Hindustani instrumentalists neglecting their musical legacy seduced by the glitzy world of indypop culture, one felt there was soon going to be a serious lack of devoted young classical instrumentalists. Very little is known or written about the few genuine ones who slog day and night to uphold a legacy. One such promising musician who has not only got Sarangi back into active performance spaces but also broken new grounds in technique, style and presentation is the young Murad Ali of the Moradabad gharana. In an exclusive chat with Veejay Sai he shares his undying passion and commitment to keep the tradition of sarangi alive and make it accessible to younger music connoisseurs. Moradabad, a small town in Uttar Pradesh has been one of the heartlands of Hindustani classical instrumental music. Many senior Ustads have mastered the art of Sarangi, Tabla, Been and even vocal music from this gharana. How can one forget the legendary tabla player Ahmad Jaan Tirakhwa saab and great vocalists Ustad Chhajju Khan saab and Ustad Tajjammul khan saab who belong to this gharana? Murad ali belongs to the sixth generation of musicians from his family which has been serving music for the last 250 years. His grandfather

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Ustad Saddique Ahmad Khan saab and his father Ustad Ghulam Sabir khan saab need no introduction to the world of Hindustani classical music. One of the biggest assets of Moradabad gharana , unlike many other gharanas, is each and every musician is trained in both vocal and instrumental styles of performing. So a sarangi player also makes for a great vocalist and vice versa.

my grand uncles and many others who patronized this instrument. Many of them left to Pakistan during partition. So the Moradabad gharana has its branches spread far and wide. And now I think it’s time to give this gharana its due and that’s why I have kept it a little aside from Bhindi bazaar and let everyone know the original name’ says Murad clearing the air off this much confused turf.

Moradabad gharana is also famously known as the ‘Bhindi bazaar gharana’ for various reasons. ‘Moradabad was a place with many families of musicians. Ustad amaan ali khan saab’s family was one such family responsible for this name. More than that, it was people who would associate ustad ji

Moradabad is the foremost of gharanas that patronized Sarangi along with other gharanas like Panipat, delhi, Jhajhar and Kirana. Sarangi, an instrument whose history has been well-documented has several interesting stories. In the days of yore, in the Middle East one hakeem Boo

with the bhindi bazaar because he lived in Bombay for many years where there were other ustads with a same name. Over a period of time it became very easy to connect and identify to Amaan Ali khan saab of the Bhindi bazaar for all music lovers. He personally would have never said he belonged to Bhindi bazaar gharana. The second most important music family was that of table players Ustad Ahmed Jaan Tirakhwa saab. He belonged to Moradabad, though his style of playing was that of farooqabaad. The third was our family of Sarangi players. My great great grandfather,

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Ali Ibn Sina, a student of the famed Pythagoras is said to have gone into the forests to collect plants and roots for his herbal medicines when he heard strange music emanating from under a tree. On closer scrutiny he noticed that entrails of a dead monkey whose intestines were being rubbed by a dry twig under the breeze were producing this music. In Abul Fazl’s famous Aine-akbari this story finds itself with a different discoverer. In the current times, the strings of the sarangi are made out of goat’s intestines. In Rajasthan an earlier version of this

instrument called Ravanhattho and Kamayacha with three main strings and about 15 sympathetic strings was in usage for a long time. The Kingri in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, the Kunju in kerala, Pen in Manipur and banam and kenara in Orissa were all various earlier rural avatars of the same Sarangi devoid of all ornamentation. From the point of view of its shape and structure the ancient musical instrument without the frets called Ghosvati or Ghoshak veena was perhaps the closest to the latter day Sarangi. In more modern parlance, the Pinaki veena, a gut-string bow instrument described in Saranga deva’s Sangeet Ratnakara (13th century A.D) bears a close resemblance to the sarangi we know. The modern day sarangi is a far accomplished and highly engineered instrument. ‘Sarangi Sau rangi’ , (the sarangi has a hundred colour) is an adage that goes aptly well with this instrument’s virtuosity to create such delicate and fine music. Played with cuticles and the lowest part of the finger nails, it is not an easy instrument to master. What started off as an accompanying instrument has slowly taken shape of being a classy solo concert instrument, thanks to the undying efforts of Ustads from all these gharanas. Speaking of his early days of learning music Murad recollects his taleem under his gurus. ‘I would have to spend many studious hours in riyaaz. It was not easy to see my cuticles bleed and feel the pain. I would just stick bits of tape around my fingers and carry on with my music practice’. Years of such hard work was bound to pay well and Murad won the first prize at the all India radio national music competition at the tender age of sixteen in 1992. Ever since then, there has been no looking back for him. Having accompanied the likes of Smt Girija Devi, Ustad Rashid Khan, Pandit Gopal Mishra, Pandit Briju Maharaj and many more senior artists from the world of Hindustani classical music and dance, he is currently an ‘A’ grade artist from AIR Delhi. Murad who feels that vocal music is important, like his seniors first learnt vocal before he graduated to taking the


Sarangi. ‘Vocal music is very important especially for sarangi players. When you learn the intricacies of Khyaal and other genres like dadra, tappa, thumri and so on in vocal, it becomes far more easier to practice it on the instrument’ says Murad. His grandfather the great Ustad Saddique Ahmed Khan saab was also a student of Hindustani vocal for twenty years before his gurus allowed him to touch the sarangi. A strong grounding in vocal becomes an essential part of an instrumentalist’s journey into musicdom. There have been many sarangi players who have mastered this instrument. But there have been a very few who can be credited with making sarangi the solo instrument. ‘Ustad bundu khan saab’s name stands out first. He was responsible for changing the presentation and the music of sarangi and taking it to a new stature. After him come Pandit Gopal mishra ji and Pandit Ram narayan ji who was responsible for making it popular in the music festivals across the world. There have been many others too, but you need to see who got the opportunity and who got the right platform to present their skill’, says Murad. The Sarangi has also been one of the main instruments to provide music for Kathak as a dance form to grow. ‘Initially when I set out to become a solo concert performer, my father also encouraged me to experiment. I was to learn how to play the lehraas with tabla or pakhajwaj as an accompaniment or how to play it with dance. For that I worked in Bharitiya kala Kendra in delhi for about six months to learn this art. The people there wanted me to stay back when I was leaving six months later, but this stay extended for six years and I had to beg myself out of that place to continue my work. But what I learnt there was priceless. The Sarangi is one of the most versatile instruments and can be played with all genres of music and dance forms if it is mastered the right way’, adds Murad. The Sarangi has come a long way. With the passing over of Hindustani musical patronage from royal courts to emergence of havelis and kothas of the nawabs, the Sarangi started

to become associated with mehfils and tawaifs or nautch girls. A little known fact is that even famous senior Hindustani vocalists like Ustad Abdul Karim Khan saab, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan saab and Ustad Amir Khan saab who had begun their artistic careers as Sarangi players disowned their instrumental past on their path to fame. From classical concerts the Sarangi came to be a more popular instrument among lighter semiclassical forms like Ghazal and soon was adopted by the film industry for playback music. But how many ever such confrontations later, the Sarangi continues to survive the onslaught of time, space, technology and more

an ideal accompaniment to Hindustani Classical music. The subtleties that can be acquired through sarangi cannot be attained through harmonium due to its limitations. But lately, just for convenience sake, sarangi is being replaced by harmonium. One of the other reasons why its popularity is on the decline is also because of the fact that it is a difficult instrument to learn and master. But Murad with his determined efforts has been credited to elevate the status of the instrument with his fusion concert tours and other musical alliances. ‘I have toured with music groups like Indian Ocean and Shubha Mudgal Ji’s group and we have seen how widely sarangi has been

to constantly keep re-emerging as an instrument worth all ages and all times.

appreciated. I have collaborated with pianist Anil Srinivasan from Chennai and done classical fusion. I love innovation and love experimenting because this instrument easily accommodates such practices. Its musical limitations are almost negligible and hence for a player like me it comes as a blessing’ says Murad speaking about his musical collaboration.

Whatever be the origins of this instrument, many people have come forward claiming to be its original inventors in the past. ‘Earlier sarangi had 4 strings of Sa, Pa, Sa and Pa. In this last century, it was reduced to three strings. Now if I put the forth string back and say it is my invention, it is not right’, says Murad demystifying all these false claims of older artists who were supposed inventors. Being close to human voice and able to replicate patterns of vocal music, the Sarangi is

There is a falsehood generated by popular perception that Islam is against music and those Muslims who practice music are anti-Islamic. Breaking that myth once the late Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan saab had said that

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those who say music is anti-Islamic know nothing of music or of Islam. ‘This is not true. Music is very much a part of all cultures. I have been to Jerusalem to the tomb of one of our saints and I was surprised to find the design of a violin engraved on his mazaar in that dargah. There were music notes written on the chaadar along with figures of other musical instruments because the saint himself must have been a person of music. So there is no such thing in Islam. That kind of culture which encourages excessive alcoholism, domestic abuse and violence and other immoral activities must not be encouraged anyways be it Islamic or not. It’s harmful for the society anywhere in the world. In fact Islam says a lot more things are haraam, why target something as divine as classical music? Classical music is pure and nothing can touch it’, says Murad with affirmation against all these rumours that do more harm to music and to Islam than anything else. Having over a dozen albums of solo and non-solo music albums to his credit, Murad is the new face of Sarangi amongst the performance and festival circles. The ‘Saurangi’ festival conceived and created by him and his team of efficient musicians was a landmark festival in the history of Sarangi as well. It is an annual feature marked on the musical calendar where a sarangi symphony is performed by a dozen players who play a scripted symphony. For the first time ever in the history of Hindustani classical music, the best of hundreds of Sarangi players and music connoisseurs gathered under one umbrella to enjoy a festival dedicated to this instrument. ‘In the past Pandit Ram Narayan did a similar event with hundred sarangis but that event was on a different level. I have tried to put together an Indian symphony like how Pandit Ravishankar used to do the national orchestra with different instruments’, says Murad about the Saurangi festival. Murad along with his twin brother Fateh ali , sitar player , vocalist imran khan and tabla player Amaan Ali have formed a group called ‘Taseer’. Taseer as a band has collaborated with many

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more musicians from across the world according to the needs of performances. Ask him if he believes if it’s possible to become a full time professional musician and he says ‘Yes! Why not! It depends on how much riyaaz you do, how committed you are to your music. Nothing is impossible’, he says. With such exponents like Murad Ali in its fold, the Sarangi can be proud to make a fresh come-back on the concert stage more actively. Murad proved many a

critic who thought that the sarangi was on the verge of extinction, totally wrong with his innovation, bowing techniques and newer musical collaborations. With a well-established aesthetic sense deeply rooted in his great legacy and in the tradition of his Gharana, so far as we have musicians like Murad Ali we can all say that Sarangi and its pristine music are in safe hands.


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FEATURE

ITC SRA Sangeet

Sammelan 2010

– A mixed musical bag

T

he IRC Sangeet Research Academy is one of the few places in the country which has been doing genuine service to the promotion, growth and development of classical music. Highly acclaimed in the west, by western scholars, in India it has a few takers barring those from Kolkata. Many times research scholars in music barely know of the activity that happens within the confines of their academia. Though a little self-indulgent like many others who come from the Bengal school of music, it has given the country some stalwarts from its alumni. Having patronized musical genres, proper academic scientific study of music and maestros from across the country, ITC SRA has the credibility to revive lost forms of the art. The annual ITC SRA’s music festival has grown from strength to strength over the years and has made a significant mark in the cultural calendar in India. If not anything ITC has a brand has proved its worth and set an example by this corporate cultural responsibility with this foundation. We need more such corporate to come forward and take active patronage of the arts in the current times.

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This year’s two-day festival opened on a very pleasant note in the Chowdiah memorial hall in Bangalore. After a brief invocation prayer by Pandit Ajay Chakrabarty, opening the first evening was Bangalore boy Samarth Nagarkar, a vocalist who is also a scholar at the ITC SRA. Samarth took his initial training under Vidushi Aditi Upadhyay, the daughter of Dinakar Kaikini before he went to Mumbai to take further training from Dinakar Kaikini himself.

it he was racing with clear flawless taans of the Poorvi thaat. His meends were as good as his swara uchcharana or enunciation. His coupling of komal rishabh and pancham, the vaadi and samvaadi swaras, one of the signatures of Raag Shree came out well-sung. His drut composition ‘ Ae ree yu tho aasana de ree’ was a delight to listen to. A little distracted in his singing, a constant effort to bring out the best in him, and the awareness that all his

The second part of the evening had Ustad Shahid Parvez on sitar accompanied by pandit Ravindra Yavagal on tabla. If one were to count the likes of Pandit Ravi Shankar and his generation as the 1st post-colonial premier league of Indian instrumentalists, Shahid Parvez might be, at the moment, easily the best sitar players in the world in the current generation. The torch-bearer of the Etawah or the Imdadkhani gharana of sitar, Shahid is also one

He also received guidance from stalwarts such as Pandit Balasaheb Poonchwale, Pandit S. C. R. Bhat, and Smt. Shashikala Kaikini. He joined the ITC SRA to train under Pandit Ullhas Kashaklar for further study. He is currently a founder-faculty at the K.K.Kapoor sangeet research academy in Lucknow.

gurus sat keenly listening to him from the front row had Samarth render a fine concert. He ended his concert with a dadra ‘Morey raja katariya na maaro re’. While the dadra was good, a phrase which he constantly kept singing was ‘Mann tarapath hain’ instead of ‘tadapath’ which amounts to suffering. The replacement of ‘Da’ with ‘Rra’ is more common amongst the Bengal school of vocalists than in others. While it sounded odd, it wasn’t one bit unpleasant because of his active involvement. He is a promising vocalist who will surely make a good name for himself in the coming decade. We need to wait and watch him completely blossom.

of the most under-rated. It takes a good amount of time and patience to sit and see his fingering, his technical ability and immense scholarship when he plays the sitar with such ease. He opened with Raag Gawati , a delicate raag to deal with on the stage. His slow and seductive Aalap made a progressive advance taking the best out of the gayaaki ang aesthetic and the aggressive tantrakaari indulgence. His layakaari is flawless and it only takes you to sit down with a lot of patience to go through it. Shahid’s sitar is addictive and immersing is style of playing makes you feel like a part of a large canvas he is deliberately painting, layer by layer. He ended his concert with a dhun in Raag Desh. Once again a popular raag,

Samarth is a hard-working boy and this can be seen in his presentation. He opened with Raag Shree. A slow, haunting and meditative Raag, Shree has been sung very less on the performance stage in the recent past. He took a little time to warm up and open his aalaap and Vilambit singing ‘Saanjh bhayee tum’ , but the end of

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not allow them. It does not matter to maintain a little discipline to keep the decorum of the concert. The concluding performance for the 1st day of the SRA festival had a wonderful vocal performance by Pandit Ullhas Kashalkar supported by Pandit Suresh Talwalkar on the tabla. Ullhas ji is a senior guru at the ITC SRA with a fair number of students. He opened his concert with Raag Basant Bahaar. Pandit ji clear taans were accompanied by Talwalkar ji’s signature style. One must confess at this point that Suresh talwalkar makes a wonderful dialogue and rapport with his Tabla , unlike many other table players, over the stretch of the concert, and this becomes very enjoyable once you soak yourself more into it. Pandit Kashalkar ended his concert with a Bhairavi composed by the late Ustad Vilayat Khan saab as the day of the concert also co-incided with his death anniversary. ‘Tum ho jagat ke daata’ almost as close as the good old ‘Yamuna ke teer’ , set to Raag Bhairavi brought in fond memories of the Ustad’s virtuoso as a composer.

like a popular savoury, branded and deliver in the Shahid-style, had the audiences asking for more. Was it the magic of the raag or Shahid’s fingers on the Sitar? And Bangalore needed no introduction to the mastery of Pandit Ravindra Yavagal. His fingering on the tabla is not new either to music lovers here. Accompanying Shahid on this concert brought out yet another facet of this versatile tabalchi from Dharwad. For some strange reason there was a man sitting behind Ustadji on the stage with a sad expression on his face, neither playing the tanpura nor giving him any sort of support. He

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sat there through the concert with a dead-serious face. For some strange reason, it is assumed that classical music must only be dealt with such seriousness and can never be enjoyed. All through the most enjoyable Raag Gauti and its intricacies, this man’s expressions only got sadder and ended up being an unnecessary distraction on the stage. One of the only banes of the program was little children crying in the audience and the regular backstage noise which kept disturbing the Ustad ji. Organizers must be a little more careful when people bring in children below a certain age and must firmly

The second day of the ITC SRA festival opened with a felicitation ceremony to senior Carnatic violin maestro Dr. Lalgudi Jayaraman. Speaking at the event was Mr. Anand Rao, the General Manager of ITC Royal Gardenia representing ITC and Ravi Mathur, the director of ITC SRA. After the brief felicitation ceremony the evening’s concert opened with Pandit Arun Bahduri’s own confessional speech about his love, undying commitment and devotion to ITC SRA before he started his vocals supported by, a staff member of the ITC SRA. Pandit Bahduri opened with ‘Koun desh gaye piya mora’ a composition of Sadarang in Raag Multani. While the raag progressed gradually and just about became enjoyable with those wonderful taans and pakads of the Rampur sahaswan gharana style that he was trained in, Panditji managed to mess it up with his bad pronunciation of Sadarang as ‘Shodaarong’ like a blue-blooded Bengali. It might have been a very unconscious slip, but on at such a prestigious concert and a serious audience, such slips cannot be


spared. Even in his drut a tired pandit ji kept singing ‘bhayi shyaam avat rain chai andhiyaari’ instead of ‘chayee’. His swaras became increasingly unclear as he added some extra unnecessary shouting to his singing. He continued his concert with ‘Daar daar patta patta’ a composition of Guru Gyan prakash Ghosh in Raag Hindol Bahaar. He ended his concert by stretching it to a badlyrendered Thumri. He sang a Hori ‘Jin maaro pichakari’ in the most unlikely way it should be sung. Hearing him sing the otherwise lively Hori, in a slow, tediously-boring style, one must agree that no one else patronized the Thumri as the Banaras school of musicians did. They remain the last royal rajas of this genre of Hindustani classical music. A restless audience waited for him to finish his concert with the hope that a scholar as senior as him will take the south Indian music lovers more serious and present better another time. As announced earlier by Ravi Mathur the head of ITC SRA, their efforts to blur the lines between all music genres the next on the stage was a carnatic vocal concert by none other than the mellifluous Bombay Jayashri. She opened her concert with ‘Deva Deva Kalayamithe Charanambuja Sevanam’ , a composition of Maharaja Swati Thirunal in Mayamalavagowla Raagam set to Rupaka taalam. Accompanied by Embar Kannan on the Violin and J.Vaidyanathan on the Mridangam, Jayashri set the ball rolling fine for the evening. She continued with a Raagam Tanam Pallavi in Shanmukha priya. After a wonderfully constructed Aalapam and singing came a brief tani avartanam. Neither long nor tedious, just enough to keep the energy on the stage good and high, the RTP resumed like a slow and steady train from station to station. Jayashri’s voice matures like good wine, concert to concert and gets addictive. She ended her concert with a Thilana as the eager crowds sat hungry for more of her music. Embar Kannan’s soulful violin accompaniment added the extra sweetness to the concert making it a complete musical experience. Vaidyanathan’s gentle fingering technique on the Mridangam without over-powering the Kanjira played by

Anirudh Athreya showed his versatility. The grand finale of the ITC SRA sangeet sammelan had the one and only Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia under the spotlight. Panditji is needs no introduction as a musical genius, but as a person and as an artist, he is the liveliest on stage. No other artist has the kind of bonhomie rapport Panditji manages to have with his audience in any concert. He opened his concert with a wonderful Raag Maru Bihag. Through a short Aalap, Jor and a drut in Madhya taal, he was accompanied on the Tabla by Pandit Samar Saha of the ITC SRA, the concert blossomed as Panditji got

into his indulgent best. He continued the concert with a small composition in Raag Hamsadhwani and ended it with Raag Pahadi, amidst shouts from the audiences who wanted more. The two day ITC SRA Sangeet Sammelan was a mixed musical bag and a wholesome experience for music lovers in Bangalore. We hope they do more such festivals in a year and keep up the wonderful service they are doing for the cause of music at the ITC SRA. (Veejay Sai is a well-known writer, editor and a culture critic)

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FEATURE

Enrique

Iglesias C

urrently locked in the studio in his home town of Miami, Enrique Iglesias is putting the finishing touches to his most diverse, eclectic album to date. A collection of songs he’s written over the past four years, the album sees Enrique break new ground and explore new directions. Enrique says of the forthcoming release: “I can’t wait to finish making this album. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before. It taps into so many different styles of music - it’s been really exciting for me to experiment and explore new territory”.

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NEW ALBUM SET FOR RELEASE JULY 5TH.


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‘I Like It’ is set to be the first single released from the album. Produced by Red One, with a vocal cameo from Lionel Richie himself, the track is an upbeat, floor- filler and with a super hot remix from #1 selling US rapper Pitbull (‘I Know You Want Me’) just finished, ‘I Like It’ is sure to be a summer smash. Born in Madrid, raised in Miami, not only is Enrique is an international superstar in his own right, but he has become a one-man ambassador of global culture with his distinctive fusion of pop beats, r&b hooks, Latin rhythms and rock bombast. For over a decade Enrique Iglesias’ Latinflavoured pop has carved its way into the hearts of music fans across the globe, selling over 55 million albums in both English and Spanish. Enrique burst on to the music scene in 1995 winning a Grammy for his first ever Spanish release (Enrique Iglesias) and in 1999 his eponymous English language debut went on to sell six million albums, go double-platinum in the US, and achieve gold or platinum status in 32 countries. Since then he has had a string of successful albums, from Escape (2001), 7 (2003) and Insomniac (2007) to his Greatest Hits album (2008), while his sold-out world tours have established him as a captivating live performer. In the US he is one of the biggest-selling Spanish artists of all time, with over 12 million albums sold and 19 #1 Billboard Latin hits across the Americas. Meanwhile, in the UK Enrique has sold 2.2 million albums and 1.6 million singles, the biggest of which – the inimitable ‘Hero’ – spent four weeks at #1 and is now a staple of teary X Factor scenes. Enrique has had 12 top 20 singles, and six Top 10 singles in the UK, including ‘Bailamos’, ‘Could I Have This Kiss Forever’, ‘Escape’, ‘Not In Love’ (ft Kelis), and ‘Do You Know’.

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FEATURE

Drums of

I n d iSa

ome critics called it an insane pointless attempt, some others said they would wait and watch with abated breath. Music lovers from across india and elsewhere flocked to mysore to witness this event. For the first time ever 108 mridangam players from all over the country performed the Laya madhura mridanga yagna as a part of a godman’s birthday celebrations. Under the auspices of senior mridangam vidwan Kalaimamani Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam and conducted by Rajkumar bharathi, the grandson of the famous Subramanya Bharathi, 108 mridangams played in a union like never before. In the history of carnatic music, never was such a concert held. Trying to coordinate even two mridangams is difficult enough if

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you have observed a traditional carnatic concert. But putting in-sync 108 of them wouldn’t cross anyones mind unless they really wanted to take that risk. When mridangam maestro Thiruvarur bhaktavatsalam decided to conduct this massive scale event , every other maestro came in to support the show. So we had the likes of Trivandrum balaji , trichur narendran and many more vidwans. The concert opened with professor radha bhaskar comparing the evening welcoming the gathering. Vocalist thuruvarur girish composed a new ragam Sachitanandam for the occasion. All the artists were divided into four groups based on the beat-scale of the mridangam and a synchronized concert thundered the Nadamantapam filled with thousands of music lovers. Presiding over the function was senior musicologist B.M.Sundaram, world’s famous mysore brothers and several dignitaries from the field of art and film. If you thought that the mridangam was just another accompanying instrument on the concert stage, this concert completely changed that perspective. We need more vidwans like Shri Bhaktavatsalam to take forward the legecy of this glorious instrument.

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MIDNIG MIDNIGHT Daring

REVIEW

COWBOY (1969)

REVIEWED BY

GEORGE THOMAS

N

early thirty years after its original release, “Midnight Cowboy” is still heartbreaking and timeless. This academy Awards winner for Best Picture, Best director and Best Screenplay, also boast scar nominated performances by Dustin Hoffman and John Voight. At the centre story of the story slouches Joe Buck (Jon Voight), all the way from small town Texas. Joe may not be a cowboy, even though he dresses in accordance with the public perception of roustabouts, but he is ‘hell of a stud’. The problem for joe is that he’s outgrown his birthplace, a magnet for too many bad memories. Thus he decides to jump on the cross country bus, to a place where rich women are always looking to be serviced by eager young men. That his naïve and trusting manner leads him into trouble,

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Provocative

Compelling

GHT COWBOY Shocking

with “client” Casa (Sylvia Miles), is not a surprise. He winds up with sleazy Enrico “ratso” Rizzo(Dustin Hoffman) as his so called manager.

It’s the fitting that the film both begins and ends with Joe on a bus, since Midnight Cowboy is really his story. From the moment he pops up in Texas, we see the world almost exclusively through his eyes. He’s sick to death of washing dishes and figures, that he might as well test his mettle in the big city; we know that his country ways are too much for the urban jungle but Joe has yet to discover this. What happens then though John Schlesinger’s direction, is very clever not only do we meet the “before” version of Joe, but we are made a party to his inevitable corruption and moral disintegration. The story keeps step with Joe as he passes from woman to man, from hotel to street and from cowboy to

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tourist. Every quality that Joe felt defined him is stripped away, leaving him naked (figuratively speaking) but alive. Yet as much Voight defines the story, his Joe is nothing without Hoffman’s Ratso. What Ratso provides is a character “of the city”, someone who knows the cracks and the tricks, a person who tries to thrive despite the endless knocks. Unlike Joe we don’t get shown who knows the cracks and the tricks, a person who tries to thrive despite the endless knocks. Unlike Joe we don’t get shown where Ratso came from this is not his story after all – but we do see where he is right now. It’s not much to write home about. Squatting in condemned building, but it’s Ratso’s space and Buck is the outside here. Thus Ratso’s physical disability is offset by his street-savvy,

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his eye for a fast opportunity. Joe may be tall and strong, an Adonis compared to Ratso, but New York is eating him alive. Midnight cowboy is driven by their unlikely alliance, a friendship born of adversity. In the bringing those two strongly drawn figures to the screen, but Hoffman and Voight give outstanding performances. Separately they locate the personalities of Ratso and Joe, digging out the experiences that shape their interactions with and reactions to, other people. Together the pair generate a chemistry, a beautiful and tender relationship of mutual dependency; this is heart to Midnight Cowboy. Others, such as religious nut Mr. O’Daniel (John Mcgiver), try to intrude upon this dance, but too little effect. Joe imagines catching the tricky Ratso in black and white, Ratso fantasies about Florida in glowing tones and Joe reflects on happier childhood times in soft focus. It’s a credit to the filmmakers that these mental drifts, squeezed in throughout the film, never disrupt the core plot. At other times, particularly during the party sequence, filters are used to heighten the impact of scenes. Schlesinger has created an effectively timeless master piece. Despite themes that might seem anchored in the 60’s (pot, free sex, Warhol groupies), Midnight Cowboy escapes from the clutches of the period. It’s sad and touching central relationship is simply too strong to be tied down; the world has moved on but Ratso and Joe resonate just as forcefully. Midnight Cowboy is an excellent film that demonstrates the gap between ambitions and reality, and gives a flavor of what New York City ( and rural Texas) was like in the late 1960’s. Midnight Cowboy was also a landmark film which initially earned an ‘x’ rating. (The rating was later rescinded after the Oscars and awarded it “Best Picture”)

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FEATURE

Celebrating Love and the lord with music, mood and more: Acharya Gaurav Krishna Goswami By Gopikaa

W

hile the westward swing continuous its sway on young minds, our spiritual strength is kept going by spiritual gurus who relentlessly strive to keep us grounded in the spiritual self. Emerging as a cult figure Acharya Gaurav Krishna Goswami, the young Bhagawath exponent from Sri Dham ,Brindavan with his mesmerizing presence has generated mass following across the continent. While there are numerous paths that lead to the lord, Bhakthi Cult has always retained its charm on Indian minds what with the entire race better known for their emotional temperament. Its this flavor that Sri Gauravji fuels in arid hearts , as the means to seek the lord. Gaurav Krishnaji has unique ways to usher his audience into the glory of the Krishna Era, as though you live the chapters of the maha Epic, the Bhagawath , with the Lord of Love and devotion. At the young age of 26 , Gauravji is already hailed by veteran spiritualists for the sheer brilliance he exhibits in scholastic excellence in the style and content and his mastery of Vedas , puranas and the entire gamut of spiritual philosophy. The Sanskrit doyen , when takes to the podium , has also in his arsenal the unique talent of engaging ways in the language of notations and lilt. Gauravji, the grandiloquent great grand son of Samgeetha Nrupadi, the historical musical genius from the pages of Indian history, Swami Haridas , who tutored music lessons to Tansen and Baijubawra 500 years ago. Down the lane , 7 generations later, in his lineage comes Gauravji, inheriting the musical temper in full throttle. Gauravji has already established

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himself as a singer par excellence and has released numerous albums singing devotional ensemble set in contemporary music. Stretching his love for music further, he has also composed music in his latest album Aag Rang Baras raha that has taken the music market by storm. Set in fusion contemporary music that includes rapping as part of the bhajan composition, he makes you realize the contemporary or even the futuristic nature of Lord Krishan, who has the charm to mesmerize every new generation in being the ideal soul mate a being seeks. There is in everyone’s life that special inspirational personae who makes us realize the permanence of truth and impermanence of material life and also our own capacity to stretch ourselves to connect with our inner strengths. Gauravji has this latent quality in ample measure to shake and wake up our dormant spiritual penchants . His uniqueness is the lucidity of exposition and he leads by example , filling the pallet of devotion with colours of lilt. His story telling in delineating the personality of Lord Krishna in such mesmerizing terms that at the end of the 7 day sessions, you end up pining for a lord who loves to love. Love being the most desired emotion for which the entire human race lives, pines and dies for. The paramount emotion that rules the races , but the frailty of seeking it from another human , the ebb and flow of human inconsistency , and how , once it is invested upon the lord there is a never failing fulfillment are aspects Guaravji deals with and establishes in his discourses that are ornate with high voltage musical sessions dotting the narratives. Gauravji has

an amazing way with words, and so embellished are his narratives with poetic expressions in contemporary terms that even a naïve and native intelligence relates with his narratives with ease. His interpretation of the Bhagawath comes as a refreshing shower of hope and possibility of spiritual fulfillment. The depth of understanding of the spiritual nuances that he exudes beats the comprehension of how in such a young age one could perceive and fathom the essence of life and creation so exhaustively. Gauravji keeps the family flag flying and high ,being the son of Bhawatha expounder ,the veteran Sri Mridul Krishna Goswami who is world renowned for his caliber and excellence. He is also Guaravji’s guru who was initiated at an early age of 17 into the art of telling the tale of the lord. Gauravji made his first public appearance at the age of 18 , casting a spell of sorts at his maiden appearance. And the saga of inspirational teachings began hence. Six years down the line, Gauravji has come a long way in mustering a massive following with his Pide Piper ways , leading the lost souls into the path of permanence. Gauravji travels extensively wherever he is invited to conduct the week long Bhagawath Gnan Yagna . He is currently slated for the session in Chennai at SRKK Bhawan in Anna Nagar that lasts till the 7th July followed by one in Jaipur and Calcutta close at heels. If your life has become lack luster ,catching up with the katha concert of Gauravji and you are sure to reinvent yourself !


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The Fate Of M

ani Ratnam’s Raavan has not clicked well with the viewers in the northern parts of the country but the movie has done well in the South. The distributors and exhibitors now hope that they can recover some losses from the Southern business. The latest reports say that the Hindi version of the film now has a set occupancy in the range of only 40-50 percent over the weekend. The Tamil version has recorded occupancy of 90-95 percent during the weekend. Till Friday, the Hindi version had collected Rs 6.50 crore across India whereas the Tamil version made Rs 3.35 crore. Now the film trade experts say that the overall cost of the film is unlikely to be recovered due to mix success. Komal Nahata, a renowned trade analyst says , “Mani Ratnam is a renowned director in south India, Vikram Kennedy, too is popular with the masses there, the Tamil film is thus doing better business. However, given the overall indications, Reliance Big Entertainment (RBEL) stands to lose at least Rs 30 crore from the venture.” According to the reports, RBEL is believed to have invested a huge amount of up to Rs 110 crore in making and distributing the movie.

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INTERVIEW

Angelina

talks about playing a tough female spy for her eagerly awaited film SALT Q: How long do you spend preparing for the fight scenes? A: Well on this one I wish we’d had more time because the challenge wasn’t just the fight scenes; it’s a very dramatic story too. Sometimes the film is all about stunts and that’s all

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you do and that’s all you train for and it’s what you concentrate on. But this film had really heavy, heavy scenes and then sometimes you would have to do the stunts at the end, so you didn’t have the week to prep. So it was that weird balance. But in some funny way the rush through made everything

much more panicked and aggressive and it worked for the movie. The fight choreographer was Simon Crane who did the Tomb Raiders with me, and Mr and Mrs Smith with me and Brad and we’ve known him forever. He’s very cool. And he likes you to train a fight so you know it in one, We always joke


about it because his motto is “suffer”. So for a lot of the fights I had to really learn them and do the hand-to-hand combat from beginning to end so that it could be shot in one. You could still cut away but it had to be as good as every piece. So we did rehearse for weeks before and then on weekends but because of a lot of the heavy drama

we were doing if you had a 20 minutes break we would go in the hallway and try to practice the fight again. Q: Did you enjoy the fight and action sequences as much as you did in the past? Or does it get harder? A: Well this one is different. It’s more rewarding in a way, to do an action

movie that isn’t just an action movie. She is one of the more interesting characters I’ve had the chance to play on film because she is more than one person – she’s a few different personalities. So for me as an actress, that’s a great challenge. And she’s under a lot of pressure and had a lot of loss in her life and so it’s a JULY 2010

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very emotional, very difficult role in that way. She is somebody who is suffering through a lot at the same time switching sides and it’s hard to figure out who she is. So in that way it was a lot of fun. It was really nice to do things that I thought we’re good and my family were with me, the kids were happy at school and then they would come to set, so it was a really nice time for me. Q: Is it empowering learning to do that physical stuff? A: Yes, it certainly is, I think that sort of thing is empowering for all of us, not just me. It’s like when people go to the gym, it’s that thing where you get in touch with a primal part of yourself and it helps you to get centred and answer all these things. When they first called me about Salt I had just had the twins and I was at home in my nightgown feeling very soft and maternal. I remember I was with them in my bedroom, as you do in the early weeks when you’ve just had a baby, and I flipped through the script and it was all about getting out there and attacking and being very physical and I did feel really funny, in my nightgown in my bedroom, thinking ‘if I can do this it would be a nice balance..’ You know, from being soft and Mommy and then going back to work and doing this hard, physical role. It seemed like a real challenge. And I like that. Q: But that’s the great thing about your job, you can get in touch with all of these different sides of yourself…. A: It is - it’s a wonderful therapy (laughs). Q: How much of the more elaborate stunt work did they allow you to do? A: Most of it I did, anything they would let me do basically. Q: Do you have to overcome an element of fear to do that or do you embrace it? A: I get a kick out of it. I love that kind of thing. And the thing is that Simon and Eunice both know me so well so when they set a stunt they have me in mind and they know what I can

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do. There are a few things, when you look closely at the film, that involve heights or something moving fast and those are two things that I’m very comfortable with. And the people that know you know the things that you love doing and they come up with things like climbing outside of a building on a ledge really high up, or jumping off a bridge. They know that’s where I’m comfortable and they will adjust stunts to the things that I love instead of just randomly throwing anything at me. Q: So did you have to get super fit for this role? A: I started when the babies were still small. I got as fit as I could going into it at that time in my life. I got relatively fit. It was more getting back into the rhythm of making a movie like this. And for the first few days I was like ‘how am I back here?’ (laughs). You know, I had done The Changeling and then I was home and then suddenly I with a gun running down the street being chased and jumping off a bridge and thinking ‘what am I doing? How did I get here? I’m not an action star - I’m somebody’s Mom..’ But a few days into it you get into it and you get it back. Q: Do the kids love seeing you do that stuff? A: They’re all different but the older ones do. They come out and they see some of the rigs and they just want to get on them. They like to get hooked on to things and fly across the stage and they did a lot of that when they

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came to visit. They would play with the fake blood and they would pretend to get cuts and bruises from the make up department and they would have a lot of fun. Q: I read you got hurt. What happened? A: It was first thing in the morning and I thought ‘this is a piece of cake. I jumped inside shooting and somehow

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I went right into this ledge that was about a foot off the floor and it knocked me right between the eyes and cut me open. It was fine. I had a cut on my head and they covered it up with a patch. And I was back shooting stunts that day. And it’s funny because in the later scenes my nose is broken and I’m pretty cut up, so we didn’t even have to cover it up – it blended right in.

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Jeffrey 46

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COVER STORY

S

mall incidents sometimes seem to have a horoscope of their own. I’ve always been an admirer of Jeffrey Archer and I’d never really imagined that the world famous author whom I’d adulated all my teenage years, who had moulded even my selection of reading, would one day cross my life. Not just that , find me personally a singularly interesting conversationalist , an attractive persona to chat to in exclusion to the entire party seated at a dinner table, could I really believe that! But there was so much more to come and so I realize that small incidents seem to have a destiny of their own that leave you in awe of the

path they take, emanating from you but with a life of their own. My own first meeting with him was before my sixth standard exams, over hot chocolate, as I studiously poured late into the winter night, table lamp alight, book propped on bended knees. Jeffery might have had a hearty laugh, for nestled within the pages of the history tome was another history of two brothers, somewhat more thrilling than the events of the lives of Darashiko and Aurangzeb, the ingenuously named Kane and Abel. He is one author I have grown up reading. Cut back to today, he is almost seventy but still quite a ladies’ man.

Archer

with Nisha JamVwal, His muse for the finale story in 'And there by hangs a Tale’

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The attention with which he hears me speak is flattering, especially since there are four other way more senior writers at our India Jones Table celebrating yet another release by Jeffrey who says he’s going to make India a regular destination to release his books. His eyes are sharp with interest in all things around. He is lean, trim, (doesn’t eat desert), sharp nose, twinkling eyes. As his glasses glint and his sharp chin tilts in humour I am enveloped in the charm of our developing friendship. I did not realize that ‘neath his interested queries I had done something highly unusual for the private person I am, I had unfolded to him, bits of events in my life and he had beguiled from me many more that linked themselves into a tale that he was to write as his favourite short story. For me I’d made a friend forever but there was much more to unfold, “And Thereby Hangs a Tale’ He’s about to celebrate his seventieth birthday at Cambridge at a grand banquet brunch and Margaret Thacher is attending. So am I!! Eleventh of July will see the Lords and Ladies, Duke and Duchess’ haute society and nobility in all their regalia, Margaret Thacher too at Jeffrey Archers country castle. Guests flying in from all parts of the world to celebrate the big day. In India he always receives a phenomenal reception, in Australia a crowd of one thousand five hundred lined up to get him to sign their books. And that for a writer is who is sixty nine and been writing for thirty five years, at nearly a book a year, and wherever he goes the pied piper of best sellers collects his hordes of readers. A look at his avid audience and you might be at a rock concert. The erstwhile politician went into writing by an accident of circumstances. Heavily into financial difficulties, he sought to make some money by writing a story along ideas that had been circulating in his mind for some time. ‘Not a penny more ..........’ did the needful and his alternate career, as a writer, became his main occupation. But it was the

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next book “Kane & Abel’ that firmly established his alternate career as a writer, into his main occupation. When did he first realize he had a god given gift for listening and telling stories? “At the age of 34 when I left Parliament, I wasn’t sure what to do with my life. Thinking about the situation that had caused me to stand down as an MP, I thought the plot might make a good story – I’d always had a vivid imagination as a child – so I sat down to see if I could write it. That book was ‘Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less’, and although it was rejected 17 times, it was eventually picked up by a literary agent and published. I was still surprised by its success.” “My Kane and Abel” is closest to my heart, for that is the one that catapulted me, to the peak I still enjoy. Still a perennial favourite being read and re-read. “A whole lot of readers must have been toddlers, when it was published.” He laughs, “maybe Hillary Clinton read my ‘Prodigal Daughter.’ (Sequel to ‘Kane & Abel’) That’s how long ago I wrote about a lady president.” He himself revels in his conquest of the paperback! “Who has the time to read classics, I write for my readers, not the Nobel Prize or the Booker or what have you” Average age of audience? Twenty-five years. Why hasn’t any book been transferred to celluloid, “I don’t know there have been dialogues, talks of advances even, but like my son says, dad don’t believe it until you’re eating the pop corn!” Though his ‘Kane & Abel’ was serialized on BBC. He chats about his favourite movies, “give me those produced in the sixties and seventies” they had romance and a tale to tell. -None of the overdose of violence.” There are vague stories, that it is his wife that actually writes for him, to which he replies, the “prison was one place she wasn’t there with me, I churned out published works even over those two years. I worked hard, I


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get up at hard at five and work through the day until eight and am in bed at nine thirty.” Our conversation is spiked with irreverence and laughter as he takes a dig at many a sacred cow. So and so is a twit! A such and such who wants to pedantically unravel the story line and end of his latest work is an idiot who will spoil the fun for readers. Coming back to my tale, his latest book ‘And Thereby Hangs A Tale” which he released in India this month, he actually wrote my own life story ‘Caste-Off’ which he says is “my favourite short story, not least, because it’s genuinely original , unique and I am unlikely to come across a love story which is so moving or touching in my lifetime, and I naturally hope it will be made into a Bollywood film.” Which of the two characters was he more intrigued by when he wanted to know more about the characters who come vividly through in ‘Caste-Off’? “I think both characters are equally fascinating, otherwise the story wouldn’t have worked, and this didn’t change after I’d been told the story and went away to think about it and write it. I feel they are both strong characters and vibrant.” And would he write a Caste Off part two fifteen years from now if there was more to tell? “Yes, but it would have to be very special. Maybe some event would need to happen that changed everything.” When asked recently if I was flattered Jeffrey wrote my story I had said I’m honoured but I’ve always realized my life is extraordinary. Jeffrey saw that in our times spent together and made of it a ‘racy’ fun tale of heroism and love and triumph sans maudlin sentimentality!! His favourite Authors? “Alexander Dumas”. - Jeffery loved the Count of Monte Cristo of which his present ‘Prisoner of Death’ is a version, with all the drama of revenge and wrongful imprisonment..... Steinbeck, Munroe (Saki), O’Henry for short stories.” The Indian Politician. In Britain if a Minister, had the traffic sidelined to a stop, to allow his car priority passage,

he would certainly face public rejection of a revote. With many a colourful anecdote he laughs with the same ease at his own self. His years in Prison, his inadequacy at cricket which he loves. “My friend Faroq Contractor, said to me, “Jeff you’d have made a great captain, who couldn’t bowl or bat” and he guffaws companionably. Of the oodles and oodles of money he has made, why doesn’t he rest now, he’s got it all? Three magnificent homes and all the luxury he can ever

want. It’s not about money when you get the kind of reader reception, the adulation, of the audience, who wants you to sign that book to hear what you have to say, nothing can replicate that. Has he never had writers block? I don’t know what that is personally, I’ve been lucky. The only writers block I know is located on a scenic ground where my latest home is named ‘writers block’

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REVIEW

For One

more day - By Mitch Albom

Reviewed by Neeru Nanda

C

harles “Chick” Benetto, a passionate base ball player who once featured in a World Series, is a has-been in every which way. Born and brought up in a small town called Pepperville Beach, a product of a broken home, Chick allows alcohol to ruin his marriage, home and job. The last straw comes when he receives a ‘notification’ that his only daughter had got married. The accompanying picture showed Maria, her husband and Chick’s ex-wife Catherine, caught in a moment never to be repeated. ‘It seemed to taunt my absence. And you weren’t there. I didn’t even know this guy. My ex-wife did. My old friends did. And you weren’t there.’ He was not invited. He was an embarrassment. There was no return address on the envelope. It broke him enough to go ‘Blundering back to God. Simple as that.’ Chick gets drunk and makes a midnight ride into his old hometown to jump off the water tower. But he survives and when he staggers into his childhood home he makes an astonishing discovery. His mother, who had died eight years ago, is there to welcome him and nurture him as if nothing had ever happened. “And then the door opened. And my mother stepped outside. My mother. Right there. On that porch. And she turned to me. And she said, ‘What are you doing out here? It’s cold.’ ” Life takes on a whole new meaning as he takes the leap, ‘ It’s like jumping off the planet’, and goes through one more day

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with the only person who loved him completely. He reverses the choice he had made in his childhood of being a daddy’s boy when his father had said, ‘You can be a mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both.’ With the tender guidance of this ‘ghost’ Chick puts the crumbled pieces of his life together again. A simple story, layered at more than one level and told by a master story teller, makes the story simple no more. As we all know the tale is in the telling and in this particular book I see a brilliant master pen. Since the book is not a current release (The hardback was released in January of 2007) I looked at the net for what was already written about the book. Accolades about the power of his words; accolades about the emotions evoked; accolades about the TV film, supposedly better than the book, launched with Oprah Winfrey’s backing. The genius lies in the structure. The way the story unfolds from two ends. The way the notes from Chick’s belongings have been used to flesh out Chick’s real nature. The way the underlying story is the resolution to the surface conflicts. The way the readers are made to come to the end of life and then travel back into time using the mother’s ‘ghost’ as a powerful tool to revisit all the wrongs and throw light on the real story as we adult readers would know it and understand it – not the disturbed, adolescent impressions that Chick had. It’s almost like Chick (and therefore the reader) healing himself through self hypnosis. Instead of lying on a psychiatrists couch he has made it as the protagonist in the book. The continuous use of opposites create an emotional see-saw reflecting the torn fabric of Chick’s mind: ‘Daddy’s boy. Mommy’s boy.’ ‘There’s only your life, and how you mess it up, and who is there to save you. Or who isn’t.’ The lyrical quality lies in the way the author, Mitch Albom, ties up his paras and his chapters full circle, with what he has already conveyed earlier –

not by pausing the narrative but by forward movement which does a full circle and the circles keep moving forward. Example: Do you remember that song, “This Could be the Start of Something Big?”…My mother loved that song. The chapter goes on in its narration and ends so: Later, I figured she didn’t want to be reminded of how the “something big” had backfired. The author shows his ingenuity at Structure in the first page of the story itself. It’s a subtle but palpable design. He begins without announcement, with a bang, with a page which is seemingly on the periphery of the story. Through the book he takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride, with his choice of words – simple but powerful; staccato

sentences – crisp and hard hitting; short, short chapters – sometimes just a page-and-a-half; and constant reminders of some deep insights into human behaviour. The entire story moves forward in circles. Words, sentences, chapters, ideas – they all keep doing a full circle and joining up with the initial idea. As a result once he grabs you (with his very first words: ‘Let me guess. You want to know why I tried to kill myself.’) he never lets you go. Not even in the last page when in one master sweep he brings the first page, or the first voice, loosely hanging on the periphery of the story, right into centre square with the Epilogue at the end of the novel.

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A

fter the encouraging and positive response to his latest release ‘I Hate Luv Storys’ , Imran Khan is back in business. The actor has finally found that one hit that was eluding him for a while now and it has come courtesy this rom-com from the Dharma Productions banner. Even as ‘I Hate Luv Storys’ continues to run to packed houses, Karan Johar has already gone ahead and signed Imran for yet another film. The film in question will be directed by debutant director Shakun Batra who has worked as an assistant director on films like ‘Rock On’ and ‘Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na’. Meanwhile, the buzz is that Kareena Kapoor may come on board as the female lead for this project. If that happens then it will indeed be a casting coup of sorts. Imran, who has always confessed to being a huge fan of Bebo, will surely be super excited at the prospect of working with her that too in a Karan Johar production. Let’s hope this one gets rolling soon.

Shining Imran

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All The Way A

ctor Salman Khan has accepted to play a tough character in Mahesh Manjrekar’s next flick. The bindaas Sallu will essay a character of a widower who is also the father of two kids. According to reports the movie is a Hindi remake of Mahesh Manjrekar’s hit Marathi film Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho. Steeped in middle-class values, the film tells the story of a kid who hates to study but likes to play cricket. The father doesn’t approve of his son’s passion for the bat and wants him to do well in studies which can assure him a ‘secure future’. The rebellious son, however, doesn’t listen to his dad which leads his dad to take a strict action. Salman, instantly liked the story and gave a go ahead.. A source tells a tabloid, “Sallu too used to abhor formal teaching in his youth and that’s why he can very well relate to the subject.”Manjrekar too confirms the news and is quoted as saying, “Yes, Salman saw the Marathi film and loved it. He has never attempted something this middle-class before.” Wonder what Sallu’s fans have to say about this change

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FEATURE

INCEPTION A

cclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan directs an international cast in “Inception,” an original sci-fi actioner that travels around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the best in the dangerous art of extraction: stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible—inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse; their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime.

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But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. Director/writer/producer Christopher Nolan reveals that he began creating the world of “Inception” almost a decade before he made the movie. “About ten years ago, I became fascinated with the subject of dreams, about the relationship of our waking life to our dreaming life. I’ve always found it to be an interesting paradox that everything within a dream—whether frightening, or happy, or fantastic—is being produced by your own mind as it happens, and what that says about the potential of the imagination is quite extraordinary. I started thinking

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how that could be applied to a grandscale action movie with a very human dimension.” “Inception” hinges on the premise that it is possible to share dreams…dreams that have been designed to look and feel completely real while you’re in them. And in that subconscious state, a person’s deepest and most valuable secrets are there for the taking. Nolan elaborates, “At the heart of the movie is the notion that an idea is indeed the most resilient and powerful parasite. A trace of it will always be there in your mind…somewhere. The thought that someone could master the ability to invade your dream space, in a very physical sense, and steal an idea—no matter how private—is compelling.”


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INTERVIEW

The Karate Kid

JADEN SMITH Who’s idea was it to remake The Karate Kid? My dad had the idea of remaking it. He’s the one who was like, “We need to make this movie.” Did you study the previous movies of The Karate Kid? Did you do some research on it? I watched all the movies of The Karate Kid and I saw how they did and acted in it. Those were good movies, they’re still great. Then I thought that I need to step it up and need to do really good in it. Why should people see this movie when they’ve seen the classic version? They should see this because it’s a great movie. We have our own little twist to the movie, the fact that we’re in China. But it’s just a great, great movie. The film is all about kung fu, so don’t you think a more appropriate title would be “The Kung Fu Kid?” The filmmakers kept the original title to respect the original and because “The Karate Kid” has such name recognition among audiences.

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You’ve already won an award “Breakthrough Male Star of the Year” I’m very excited about getting awards already. It’s crazy. Your mom and dad are big on screen so do they lecture you on how you should act? They keep telling me how to look into the cameras and not to stare at them. They tell me where I go wrong.

Starring in a big movie like that, did it put extra weight on your shoulders? Yes, it was. I was extremely terrified when I heard that I had to do this but I think it’s turned out very well. How long were you terrified before you got over it? Almost 2 months. I just fought through it. I just kept going.

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How was it working with Jackie Chan? He is amazing. He taught everybody so many things on the sets. Every day he used to say good morning in a different language. He is just a great guy. It was very fun to work with him. He taught everybody things. What did Jackie teach you in the movie? He taught me many things like you have to stay focused and you have to move fast when you fight and hit the other person and if they don’t block you then it’s their fault. Were there any accident on the sets? Not at all and none for me or anybody I was fighting. I did all the stunts myself. What kind of training did you do for the film? I was training 3 months before I went to China and also training for 4 months while I was in China. And I was still training for 2 months after that. How did you like learning kung fu? Kung fu helped me with stunts and stuff like that. It’s great, and it’s fun — but it’s very hard work. Did you get time to sightsee in China? Not much but what I did get to see was pretty cool. I got to run on the Great Wall! A lot of people love the previous movie. Why are they going to love you starring in it? Because I am extremely good in acting and I have learned kung fu for a very long time and I think I was at my prime when I did this movie. And I think the story is really well made and Jackie is in the movie with me so that makes it much better. What is going to bring the kids to the theatres? I think kids are going to come because of the action and comedy. There is a bit of slapstick comedy and Jackie is really funny. We also have a similar line like “Wax off, Wax on” as in the previous Karate Kid movie.

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INTERVIEW

Jackie C”han”

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A: Jaden is respectful, kind, disciplined and hard working. I was really impressed by his work ethic. He comes from a privileged family so I was truly surprised that he turned out to be such a wonderful young boy. Q: Was he a quick learner?

Q: What was it like making The Karate Kid? A: I really enjoyed working on this film because we had great people involved, both in front of the camera and behind. Jaden is a really talented young boy and has a great work ethic. Although he was just eleven years old when we started filming, he was really professional and never complained once on the set. Most of the children in our film were inexperienced but they all worked hard. Although Will and Jada were just producers, they were passionately involved in every aspect of the film. They made sure every scene was powerful and real. I was happy that the film was shot in China so that people all over the world could be introduced to the beauty and history my country has to offer. Q: Jaden said that you were like a mentor to him on set – helping him with the fight scenes and giving him advice for specific scenes. What kind of pupil was he?

A: He trained for only a few months before we started filming, but he was doing better than many of the boys from China who have been training for many years. He is also a good dancer so that allows him to pick up new choreography quickly. He had to learn how to speak Mandarin in the film. He quickly picked it up and spoke it like a native. He never wasted time complaining how hard it was. He was fearless, stayed focused and studied hard. Q: How good are his kung fu skills? A: I think his kung fu skills are good. He is fast, flexible and studious. With time, I think his kung fu will become very powerful. To be great at anything, you have to practice for many, many years. Q: Will Smith and Jada are producers on the film. What were they like to work with? A: I did not know Will and Jada very well until I started working on this film. We had a few weeks of rehearsals in California before filming in Beijing. During that time, I had a chance to get to know them better. However, during filming, was when I saw how hard they worked. Every day they came to set and worked tirelessly to make each scene perfect. I am sure it was not easy for them to be the

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producers and parents at the same time. I think they did a great job. They are nice to everybody on the set and really put a lot of love into this film. I even told Will that I want him to work with me on all my future films. Q: Tell us about your character, Mr. Han.

because I was scared and didn’t know how to defend myself. My parents had left me in a new school at the age of seven. I was a new student and was an easy target. I stopped being bullied when I prevented a new student from being bullied. By standing up for him, I learned to stand up for myself.

A: Mr. Han is a complex man. He appears to be just a meek maintenance man, but he’s really a skilled martial artist. He has been traumatized by the death of his family and has detached himself from society and life. He lives through each day with no pleasure or pain. When Jaden’s character, Dre, comes into his life, he is forced to feel again. Q: One of the themes of the film is bullying. Did you ever experience bullying when you were a child? And if so, how did you deal with it? A: I was bullied quite a lot when I was growing up in my Peking Opera School. I allowed myself to be bullied

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my family didn’t have much money. My parents were domestic help for another family and I could see the differences between being rich and poor. When my parents left me in the Peking Opera School, I didn’t know anybody and didn’t know how to defend myself. As a new student, I sat far away from the master’s seat. As a result, when the dishes of food came my way, there was nothing left to eat but sauce and some fat. After I left the school, I became a stuntman on various films. Because I was unknown, I was just a background actor. People who were powerful on the set weren’t nice or respectful because I was unknown.

Q: The film is also about being an outsider – could you relate to that theme? If so, in what way? A: I have been an outsider many times in my life. When I was growing up,

Being an outsider many times in my life has given me the motivation to work harder to prove myself and to others that I can do better.


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www.brandmuni.com


Hollywood Takes Inspiration From Bollywood

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ctor-turned-director Josh Radner of TV show How I Met Your Mother is taking inspiration from how the Om Shanti Om end credits rolled, and has decided to incorporate the unique concept in his film too. Making his debut with the film ‘Happythankyoumoreplease’, Josh liked the funny way the director, Farah Khan used, to show the end credits with the backdrop of a movie premiere where each member of the cast and crew were shown alighting from a vehicle and walking on the red carpet. It reminds him of theatre because at the end of the play all the characters come together on stage to take a bow. Farah stepped out of an auto, wonder which vehicle he will use for himself for the end credits.

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