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APRIL 2010 | Rs.40/-

CINEMA, MUSIC & ART

“I would say I am a communicator“ MUltifaceted

MALLIKA SARABHAI April 2010

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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

Dear Readers, It cannot get more eclectic than this edition of The Brew. On the cover, is a woman I admire like no other - The multifaceted and very inspiring Mallika Sarabhai. The Brew has an exclusive interview with her, one that will get you to know her up close and personal. Adding to this, we have Lady Gaga in an interesting feature that traces her rise to fame. The issue also remembers some iconic personalities: Elvis Presley, who still after so many years of his passing away, mesmerizes people with his music, and Heath Ledger, an actor known for his ‘swan song’ as the Joker in The Dark Knight, before his premature death. Coming back to music, we have an amazing feature on our own music maestro from Madras. Isaignani Ilaiyaraaja , with some never before pictures of him. Enjoy this month’s edition of The Brew! Cheers Sameer Bharat Ram Managing Editor. Sameer Bharat Ram specializes in brand strategy. He has had successful stints in large corporates such as HLL, Nutrine and Mahindra Holidays. He also has a strong advertising background having worked with O & M and Contract. His passion lies in building brands.

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, Ekkaduthangal, Chennai - 600 097. 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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Creative Director Mihir Ranganathan

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Account Executive Darren Netto

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Sub-Editor Satwik Gade

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Production Srinivasan

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Art Director Sibiraj Bastin

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Circulation & Sales Sentil Kumar

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Graphic Designer Namitha Thomas

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Circulation & Sales Gnanasekar

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COVER STORY

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FEATURE

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40 FEATURE

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48 FEATURE

FEATURES

INTERVIEW

ILLAYARAJA

LAST WORDS

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ILLAYARAJA

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PUSS GETS THE LOOT!

TOM & JERRY

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GOING GAGA

LADY GAGA

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75 FACTS ABOUT THE KING

ELVIS PRESLEY

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HEATH LEDGER

UNSHARED

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Great Directors Series

Akira Kurosawa

- Aysha Iqbal Viswamohan

REVIEW

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BOOK REVIEW

EAT PRAY LOVE

COVER STORY

- Neeru Nanda

MULTIFACTED

FILM REVIEW

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MALlIKA SARABHAI

HURT LOCKER - Satwik Gade

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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.

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.

Dr Aysha Iqbal Viswamohan teaches Film Studies, Literature and Culture at IIT Madras. She is a Visiting Scholar at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. She can be contacted at :essaare@ yahoo.com.

ADVISORY BOARD

Neeru Nanda 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.

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

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.


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FEATURE

Clothes My favourite outfit: Jeans and a T-shirt. My favourite outfit while driving to a shoot: Track pants and a T-shirt or those drawstring pants and a Tee. My favourite outfit for a formal event: Either an Indian outfit or long dresses. For a marriage, I would obviously opt for an Indian outfit. I think I am at an age where I would wear more salwarschuridars than sarees. My favourite outfit for a party at a friend’s house: Maybe semi-formal trousers or jeans with a formal top. I like to sleep in: Very loose and comfortable clothes. My favourite designers: Abroad -- no one in particular. Indian would be Manish Malhotra, Karan Zaviana, Rohit Bal and Gauri and Nainika. Manish Malhotra designed my clothes for Om Shanti Om. It was good fun wearing those ’70s outfits because it is something I have never done before.

in December from some jeweller in Bombay. An inexpensive thing I treasure: I think the biggest gift I give myself is when I take some time off work and spend some time with my family. A fashion tip: Ironing clothes inside out is very important to get the right fall and fit.

Hair My shampoo: Is currently some imported brand that my hairdresser gave me. I keep changing my shampoo every time I colour my hair or use some kind of treatment. I think oiling my hair is very important. The length of my hair: Is quite long, a little above my waist. My hair colour: Dark brown. My hairstyle at home: I like my hair to be tied up. My favourite hairstyle for formal occasions: I like my hair to be straight

Deepika Padukone “Once in a while, if my man wears a kurta on jeans, I think that’s quite attractive.” Anita Raheja-Heena Agarwal, Bollywood News Service My favourite brands in clothes: Nothing Casually and comfortably. Once in a in particular but I generally wear Levis while, if he wears a kurta on jeans, I think that’s quite attractive. It would be jeans. quite nice to see him dressed formally. My favourite fabric: If I am in Mumbai, then there’s nothing quite like cottons The best-dressed men in the industry: but in a cooler place, I like wearing Shah Rukh because he’s a clothes man -- you give him anything and he looks smart knitted tops. good, Akshay Kumar is really a good I have a collection of: 8-10 pairs of jeans. dresser. Amongst the women I like I have a fetish for: Shoes. My wardrobe Sushmita Sen’s sense of style. is incomplete without several good On my first day of shooting I wore: A pairs of shoes. I don’t have any favourite green colour maxi. brand as such. I like anything that’s comfortable. I think good shoes can I shop: Randomly. I’m not someone who add a lot to an outfit. I generally pick goes back to the same shop again and up my shoes abroad because I don’t get again. I don’t plan my shopping; if I’m walking around and I like something my size here. then I pick it up. My favourite accessories: Watches. I The most expensive gift I have bought: like Tissot watches. A pair of diamond bangles I bought I would like my man to be dressed: for my mom. I bought them recently

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SHARES HER STYLEMANTRA

and natural. My hair stylist: Dilshad of Clarabelle. I admire the hair of: Malaika. My hair care routine comprises: Oiling my hair once a week. Hair care tip: Let your hair be the way it is and oil your hair regularly.

Make-Up My favourite Natural.

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My favourite Maybelline.

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makeup:

The features I like to conceal while doing makeup: None; because fortunately I don’t have to. The feature I like to highlight: My eyes. My favourite perfume: I use Hugo Boss, Two and Two, Clinique. Makeup tip: Just be natural and apply very light natural make-up.


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FEATURE

Ranbir Kapoor Bollywood’s New Prince Of Panache Jigar Shah, Bollywood News Service

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Ranbir Kapoor has been described as the “sexiest man alive” by a magazine. The supersuccess of Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani has made him the new poster boy. And Ranbir’s easygoing stylishness has helped him emerge as Bollywood’s latest fashion icon. When Ranbir, dressed in his characteristic cool Tee-shirt and jeans, entered the venue of the DVD launch of Wake Up Sid this year, we saw a glimpse of the young heartthrob’s fan base. As soon as they saw Ranbir,


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teenaged fans went berserk with shouts and screams and one could feel the temperature soaring. Besides Ranbir’s rich gene pool (he is the scion of the illustrious film family, the Kapoors), what has worked tremendously in Ranbir’s favour is his casual style statement. Ranbir never goes over the top with his clothes and his sense of style is representative of the nonchalant nattiness of today’s youth. I remember meeting Ranbir in real life and thinking he looked right out of Wake Up Sid – he was holding a Pepsi can, a pizza plate and was sporting a printed T-shirt. I commented that he was wearing socks with cartoon prints, and he smiled: “When you are working in films, there are times when the fine line between the reel and real just disappears. You don’t know when the character becomes you and you become the character. I began wearing these kind of socks before Wake Up Sid, director Ayan Mukherji liked the idea and we incorporated it in the film.” Shyamli Arora, Ranbir’s designer in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, evaluates the actor’s style quotient: “Ranbir is so easy to style because he carries his clothes so well. Whichever shirt he wears, he adds his individualistic element to it; in terms of the way he wears it.” In his biggest hit, Ajab …, Ranbir, who is always ‘in’ with fashion, played, Prem, who is not particularly stylish; yet he imparted a certain panache to Prem.

Ranbir wore a lot of checks with a layered look comprising sweaters and jackets. He sported practically one pair of jeans throughout the film, except in the songs. So his clothes had a wornout look. Ranbir sported a digital watch all through the film and very thicksoled sports shoes, which boys wore a long time back. Ranbir was able to play up this subdued look because he carries colours amazingly well -- whether it is a red T-shirt with a red bandana tied on his hand; a yellow T-shirt with purple scarf and cargo pants; a multi-coloured T-shirt under a black jacket; a pink collared T-shirt with a white scarf

(check out the song, ‘Tera hone laga hoon’). Shyamli says, “Ranbir can carry off pinks and oranges too.” Off screen, Ranbir gives the impression of being a careless dresser but carries off whatever he is wearing with élan. His lean, tall persona enables him to carry off suits with ease. Shyamli says, “Give him glasses and he looks like a guy coming out of a French magazine. In casuals, he carries off logo-printed T-shirts really well. Even now, if he comes out wearing a bomber jacket he will look cool because he is that person.” Ranbir is not one to blindly follow trends, because his own style is so inculcated in him. His casual avtar works so well for him. Shyamli is convinced that Ranbir can carry off experiments brilliantly. She is of the opinion that he should wear slimmer suits, and should experiment with his formal look because he plays it very safe on that count. In Siddharth Anand’s forthcoming film Anjana Anjani Ranbir is going the extra mile with his look. He has cropped spiky hair and a stubble. While style and look is being discussed, Ranbir pays attention but doesn’t lose perspective. He says: “When I was a kid in school, my mother told me: ‘Handsome is what handsome does’. A good-looking person is one who does good deeds too. That has stayed with me.”

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Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, is making his debut on silver screen in ‘Road To Sangam’, a film which takes inspiration from the ideology of the father of the nation. Tushar, who plays himself in the film, directed by debutant filmmaker Amit Rai, will share screen space with stalwarts like Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Pavan Malhotra and Swati Chitnis.

CELLULOID

Talking about his screen debut, Tushar said, ‘’The story of the film is narrated beautifully by writer and director Amit Rai. He has mixed reality and fiction very convincingly. Since it promotes the principles of Mahatma Gandhi in current perspective, I agreed to be part of the film. It has been a different experience.’’ The movie hit cinema screens worldwide on January 29. ‘Road To Sangam’ takes inspiration from Bapu’s ideology that in a nation like India, all religions have to work together to take the country ahead

Gandhi’s grandson makes film debut

LSD The latest Dibakar banerjee film LSD (Love Sex aur Dhoka) is the first Indian full length commercial feature to be shot entirely in a digital format. The film uses hand held handycam, cctv cameras and web cams creating the effect of the camera giving a first person account of the entire story. The entire runtime of the film happens to be video footage shot on handheld camera by members of the cast. This fact also amazes as to how a video camera is no more a sophisticated gadget and has become a common element and an integral part of everyday life in present-day society. Kudos to the crew of LSD for giving the Indian film industry a much needed absolute original!

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FEATURE

B

orn and brought up in an obscure village near Kambam in Southern Tamil Nadu, Ilayaraja became the first Asian to score a symphony for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, besides scoring over 500 feature films in a period of 20 years. Raja, as he is popularly known and affectionately called, comes from a family of musicians. His mother, a huge repository of Tamil folk songs, seems to be a very strong influence in his music. He learned to play the harmonium, the typical

Isaignani 16

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Photography: Prasanna


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film albums, such as “How to Name It” and “Nothing But Wind,” which were well-received in India and abroad. To many people who know him, Raja represents more than his music. He is a mark of great achievement that is possible by hard work, yet he is seen in most of his interviews as talking very philosophically.

musical instrument used in street performances In 1969, Raja migrated to the city of Madras, the Southern Movie capital, when he was 29 years old, looking for a break into music making for the public. He studied under Dhanraj Master, playing the guitar and piano in the Western style. He later earned a diploma in music from Trinity College in London. Ilayaraja’s break into music for films came with Annakili (1976). The film dealt with a village story, to which Ilayaraja composed great melodies. The songs offered simplicity and musicality typical of Tamil folk in an authentic way, and they offered new sounds--rich orchestration typical of Western music. The songs became an instant hit, the most popular being “Machchana Partheengala” sung by a female voice, S. Janaki. This was followed by a series of films that portrayed contemporary Tamil villages in an authentic way, against stylistic shallow portrayals before. For all of these films Raja created memorable songs.

Raja soon proved his abilities in other styles as well. classical Karnatic melodies were used in Kannan Oru Kai Kuzhandhai (1978) (Rag Mohanam), Mayile Mayile (Ragam Hamsadhwani), and Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran (Reethi Gowlai). Raja’s grasp of Western classical structure became evident with his masterful use of the piano, guitar, and string ensembles. Some of the numbers that show his orchestral genius are “Pon malai Pozhudu” and “Poongadhave” from Nizhalgal (1980), Kanmaniye Kadhal from Aarilirindhu Aruvathu Varai (1979), “Ramanin Mohanam” from Netri Kann (1981). These songs could literally be heard coming from every doorstep in Tamil Nadu state every day for at least a year after being released. Raja composed film music prolifically for the next fifteen years, at a rate of as many as three new songs a day.

Raja went for a trip abroad to Europe, partly to visit places where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Ludwig van Beethoven lived. They were his Manasika Gurus or non-physical teachers, he wrote once. His listeners were awestruck by the quality and quantity of his musical output. Ilayaraja also recorded non-

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FEATURE

PUSS GETS THE LOOT! -by Biju Ashok

Many of us wish to go back in time and relive some of the mindless and childish moments of our past. With the mounting responsibilities that most of us tend to bring forth upon ourselves, we tend to forget our lighter side. There are, however, two chaddi friends of mine who can make me laugh at any time of day. They are none other than our good old TOM and JERRY! I think it is the only programme on TV I have watched with my nephew, dad and Grand father all together. Some say it is the music that makes us laugh more than their animated expressions, but I think it is the combination. It’s been 70 years since William Hanna and Joseph Barbera created these two entertaining characters. Their first appearance was in “Puss gets the Boot“ in the year 1940. In fact, their first Oscar nomination was for their “Puss gets the boot” shorts in 1940. Tom was called Jasper and even though Jerry was not given a name, he was officially known as Jinx. Post 1940, Puss really got the boot and entered with a new name Tom and Jinx became Jerry. An animator of MGM, Mr. John Carr, suggested the names and apparently won $50 for it. Ever since, Tom and Jerry became the most watched cartoon shorts ever. I am sure the producer of

Tom and Jerry, Mr. Fred Quimby was an extremely happyman but I am sure the sight of his name with the MGM lions roaring continues to make all of us happy after 70 years. Hanna and Barbera, the creators, made 114 shorts between 1940 and 1958. Gene Deitch directed 13 shorts between 1961 and 1962 in Czechoslovakia. Gene Deitch, who personally thought Tom and Jerry were violent in their earlier episodes, made his 13 shorts with less violence. Chuck Jones later took over direction from 1963 to 1967 where he released 34 shorts. Coming to think of it, all the shorts of Tom and Jerry had the same story. Tom chases Jerry and Jerry gets the better of Tom. I wonder how these amazing animators managed to direct a total of 161 shorts with the same story line. Tom and Jerry is creativity at it’s best. There have been controversies about Tom and Jerry being racist, violent and inappropriate for kids. But my answer is, if it has not affected 3 generations of children, there is nothing wrong with it. This wonderful creation has made our lives easy and will continue to do so for many more generations.

Tom and Jerry have won 7 Academy Awards

Fun Facts

Tom and Jerry started speaking only from 2005 Mammy two shoes was replaced by an Irish woman in some shorts. When Tom likes a girl, Jerry always ends up with her.

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INTERVIEW

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Q: Everyone says that you are kind of fearless about taking on the role ‘the Joker’ - is that really true?

HL: I definitely feared it anything that fears me, I guess excites me at the same time and, so yeah. I don’t know if I was fearless, but I certainly had to put on a brave face and believe that I have something up my sleeve and something that was different.

Q: Did you ever watch Jack Nicholson’s version of the Joker?

HL: Oh yeah, yeah, I mean, not after I got the role, but I’ve seen it many times before. I was a huge fan of it and but you know, having seen Chris’s first film. I knew that there was a big difference between a Chris Nolan film and a Tim Burton film. And so therefore there was enough room to for a fresh portrayal. And so I kind of steered away from what Jack did. Hopefully.

Q: I’m just wondering again about getting to that process of getting to the Joker is the idea that he may have at once been a normal person. Unlike say, the Jack’s Joker was.

HL: Yeah, I think, I think most of the villains in kind of the Chris Nolan style of Batman movies. These are normal people or once were normal people. And I definitely am sort of came to my own conclusions about his background. But one scene, and I don’t know if I might be putting my foot in my mouth. By giving you that much, I guess it’s my secret to at this point. So, I don’t know if this is the first time I’ve had to speak about it. And no one’s really prepped me about what to say.

Q: How long does your makeup take?

HL: About an hour or an hour to an hour and a half kind of thing. It’s pretty quick. They’ve come up with a new technology for the mouthpiece as the scars are made out of silicone not prostatic. And so they have free silicone stamps that they put on here, here, and here. My whole bottom lip is fake. Essentially and they glue it on in here, and so that like yeah, it takes a half-hour to put those on. And then 20 minutes to a half an hour to paint the face.

Q: What does your child think? Was she scared?

HL: Um, she just frowned at him. You know, I don’t think she connected me to him.

Q: Preparing for the role.

HL: Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely the icing on the cake to do all the research prior to shooting for sure, and there is something about you know, the metaphor to work behind the mask and from within a mask. It always gives you the license to do whatever you want for the freedom, for your feeling like you’re being judged or viewed, and so I’m literally wearing the mask now, which is aimed empowers me twice as much to kind of feel free and feel unrestrained yeah.

Q: How do you get into this evil character?

HL: I don’t know, I think we all have it in us. You know, I don’t know, once again, it’s kind of, you know like and then

for a while there I was just thinking like you know, sometimes I’ll connect some scary thoughts. It’s kind of like eating raw meat. I don’t know what that does to your mouth and your eyes, and simple little visuals like that. That kind of twisted mind a little bit, and it feels evil when it’s not necessarily an evil thought, but it may look and come across as evil. And I don’t know, I guess the rest is just trusting like your research and trusting all the definitions of these words a psychopath. And then just running with the and I don’t know I’m trying not to give it too much thought at this point.

Q: Do you have big fight scenes with Christian?

HL: It’s been... I’ve been yet to… Christian’s beat me up a couple times, hit me, and I don’t mean in the jaw.

Q: The Joker gets beaten up quite a lot.

HL: Yet, not hard. He’s a total gentleman about it, but you know… been physical, but I enjoyed that it’s kind of a you know, I get battered and bruised, but you know I like feeling pain too. It’s kind of fun. I like it.

Q: Tell us more about your scenes with Christian then, because you are the nemesis, you know, the iconic Batman nemesis.

HL: Well, firstly, it’s an honor to work with Christian and I mean, the cast in general is pretty outstanding. I mean, every single one of these people I’ve wanted to work with and to have inspired me at some point. So it’s ridiculous, like, the cast and the first thing was with Gary Oldman, which was mind blowing. And then after he leaves the interrogation room. Batman arrives and it suddenly I realized what movie I was in, and it’s quite fun actually, because you know, I was supposed to… nothing really gets under my skin, including Batman. It’s quite easy as an actor because it’s kind of funny seeing somebody dressed up in a Bat suit it’s easy to laugh at it, but he’s incredibly professional and incredibly focused and one of the loveliest guys I’ve ever worked with and a brilliant actor. Even down to Batman how serious he takes it and how he transforms and his voice shifts, and how aggressive he gets. It’s really, really inspiring stuff.

Q: So the concept is that Batman uses fear and I guess the Joker feels no fear of Batman. Is that part of the relationship? HL: Sure, yeah, it’s kind of, you know they can’t really live without each other. It’s that kind of relationship, like they have no real purpose in life without each other. So they don’t really want each other dead.

Q: Now how about working with Maggie, because obviously you worked with her brother before, so it did you know her from that? HL: Yeah, I did. Yeah, that’s been great to… I’m mean, it’s fun.

Q: Yes, I see that. [indicating photo on stand – Joker’s knife to her face]

HL: Yep… you know it’s been a lot of fun and you know, she’s also a Brooklynite and so we’ve been just kind of trading a lot of family stories, and it’s been fun.

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Q: Could you describe what sets Chris Nolan, apart from other directors, what his quality is like?

HL: He drinks a lot more tea than I’ve ever seen anyone ever drink. That definitely sets him apart. He’s so young, but seems so old, he is just incredibly mature and organized and relaxed and he’s definitely in his world he has a wonderful relationship with his DP. While he is here and those two seem to have the entire world mapped out. And we just kind of follow in their paths. I couldn’t imagine what it’s like directing a movie.

Q: Since he’s also the co-writer, did he involve you in any fine tuning of the Joker’s character?

HL: Me? No. Not really. It was all there it was all on page. They did a really good job.

Q: He seems so serious, how do you know if he likes your performance?

HL: I guess when he laughs, you know, when ever he’s not taking it too seriously which is quite often. It’s just the way he holds himself. He seems like this very old soul kind of but he is youthful when he talks about his children, you know kind of that… I guess.

Q: Everybody has been saying how dark the film is, is there any moment of kind of twisted fun that the Joker kind of brings with him to the table with him? HL: Yeah, yeah, all the time. Yeah. There is nothing consistent about him at all. So he’s not consistently dark or consistently fun or funny. He’s just going up and down the whole time.

Q: Did you have fun in terms of playing it?

HL: Yeah, it’s the most fun I’ve had playing a role. I’m really surprised Chris knew that I could do it, or thought that I had something in me like this. And I don’t know how he came to cast me to do it. But yeah, it is the bomb. It’s it’s definitely the most fun I’ve had in the most freedom I had and the work schedule is great. I work two days and have three weeks off.

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It’s been like that for six months.

Q: Why is your clown posse so scary?

HL: It’s good that they’re silent but deadly.

Q: We understand these stunts are as real as possible, and there’s not much CGI.

Q: Is this the most expensive movie you’ve ever made? HL: Yes, definitely.

Q: Does it have the influence on the whole? HL: On my performance?

Q: Yeah, is it different from doing something that’s an indie?

HL: Yeah, it’s completely different. It doesn’t really change that space of time between action and cut; that’s always the same no matter what’s around you. If the same place you live in, but yet the different ball game it’s quite amazing. It’s quite jaw-dropping. It’s fun yeah, yeah it is. It’s been really a lot of fun watching it.

Q: Does the Joker have a special vehicle or mode of transportation? HL: He doesn’t have rollerblades, although that would be funny. No, he doesn’t have like, a set of wheels He steals whatever is around.

Q: Any other gimmicks?

HL: No, not a lot of gimmicks. He’s just bloody, yeah.

Q: So is it gory then?

HL: I mean, it’s you know, it’s a PG 13 isn’t it I think, you know it’s just more gore. I remember going into this thinking it was a PG 13, but I wanted to present kind of like an X-rated performance, if I could, so that’s kind of what I’ve been going for and the power of suggestion... it is pretty dark. But there’s not a lot of gore.

Q: Have you run into Nicholson ever since you got the part? Jack Nicholson? HL: Oh, I wish. I never run into him, but I’d like to, I may not literally, but…

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Image Courtesy: www.entertainmentwallpaper.com

HL: Christian did want to do his own, but I know Christian. He went and stood up on the Sears Tower himself. They took him right up to the very top, and they took his feet right to the edge and they put him on a thin wire and he just leaned off the tower like this. So I thought that was a pretty cool story. There’s been yeah, there’s been a lot of car chases and there’s an IMAX camera that got busted up got jammed between a truck and a car and they just replaced it and kept on shooting as you do.


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COVER STORY

MUltifaceted MALLIKA SARABHAI

Mallika Sarabhai is one of India’s leading choreographers and dancers, in constant demand as a soloist and with her own dance company, Darpana, creating and performing both classical and contemporary works. She has a PhD in organisational behaviour and has been the co-director of the prestigious arts institution, Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, for nearly 30 years. Mallika first made a name for herself in India as a film actress but soon was recognised as an exceptional young dancer in the classical forms of Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi. At 18, she won the first of many awards. She first came to international notice when she played the role of Draupadi in Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata for 5 years, first in French and then English, performing in France, North America, Australia, Japan and Scotland Always an activist for societal education and women’s empowerment, Mallika began using her work for change. In 1989 she created the first of her hard-hitting solo theatrical works, Shakti: The Power of Women. Since then Mallika has created numerous stage productions which have raised awareness, highlighted crucial issues and advocated change, several of which productions have toured internationally as well as throughout India. In the mid 90s Mallika began to develop her own contemporary dance vocabulary and went on to create short and fulllength works which have been presented in North America, Scotland, Singapore, China and Australia, as well as in India.

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Mallika Sarabhai — the dancer, artiste, performer, choreographer, activist, writer, speaker.... And many more things come to mind. Can you describe Mallika Sarabhai in your words? I have never felt the need nor had the time to describe myself. If you push me I would say I am a communicator, I use everything I do to communicate ideas which I have, and they’re mostly ideas on trying to make a better world, trying to do it ourselves, trying to bring in a more just and humane society, trying to empower people, and celebrate life. Being the daughter of the legendary Vikram Sarabhai and the great danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai...There must have been great expectations from you as well as comparisons. How did this affect you? Differently at different times. First of all I have to say there was no pressure from my parents, at all, ever. Both of us, my brother and I when we were growing up, were made to feel that we came first in our parent’s lives, it doesn’t matter what other acocmplishemnts they had, these accomplishments were so they could come back and say ‘see I’ve got this because I love you’. And no matter how busy they were, every moment spent with us was like a celebration. So it – one realized very early in life that it was never quantity that mattered, quantity didn’t matter because you missed people, but that it was the quality. And never once did I doubt that I came first – that my parents would drop anything if I needed. And that was a very comforting and security-giving feeeling. And second was, both of them wanted us to blossom as we wanted to blossom. Their only dictum was ‘don’t stop processes of education. It doesn’t matter what field you want to take. But do something that will give you the option if at a later date you want to do something else’. So at the age of fifteen for instance when I got my first film offer, their only thing was ‘don’t stop going to college’. And I said, you know I have no intention to stop going to college. And both Kartikeya and I had a great interest in higher education,

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so that was never an issue. And never once did Amma say to me ‘become a dancer’ never once did Pappa say to me ‘become a scientist’. Yes occasionally when Pappa would see me in a talent evening dancing he would say, ‘Oh you have to be a dancer you’d be a marvelous dancer’ or when I would get a first in science he would say, ‘Oh what fun, do science and then we can do things together’ – but it was a sorf of – it was like a fun thing, and I think it was the cleverest thing that either of them could have done. because if you look at both my brother’s and my careers just now, in many ways, through very circuitous routes, we are doing what both Pappa and Amma did, which is we are using various languages to talk of development issues and try to improve society. Pappa was a scientist not because science per se was his interest, but he felt that science had to come to the beneift of humanity and of bringing Indians up to the twentyfirst century and so on. Amma through her dancing and through her writing has done very much the same, and I think Kartikeya and his environmental work and I in my various fields have done very much the same. Yes, when I first started dancing and first started making a name for myself, people started saying ‘Oh, Mrinalini must have pulled strings’ or if I got a gold medal in science ‘Oh, Vikram Sarabhai must have pulled strings’. And it used to upset me and irritate me. Also when I went on my first tour, professionally, as a soloist in 1977, I danced in many of the same theatres where my mother had danced, and many of the same reviewers came to see me. and that was daunting, not daunting because they would find me missing, or not good enough, but that I would give Amma a bad name. And one of my favorite reviews, actually, comes out of that tour. It was in Rome at the Teatro Olimpico, and a reviewer who had seen Amma about 10 years earlier wrote in his review that ‘when you see Mrinalini, you think of the god Shiva – austere, aescetic, very inward looking. And when you see Mallika dance, you think of Krishna – playful, bubbly, very communicative – and to this day I think that is one of the best analyses of both

our styles of dancing and our personalities. But once having proved myself, that I could stand on my own, that I had my own personality, then it was ok.

You got into films at a very young age. And got out of it too ,very early. What were the reasons for you opting out of the industry? I went into films, into new age films, before the time of new age. So my first three films got me critics awards and national awards but none of them got released. And they were very much


subjects that I still hold dear. The first one was about a sixteen year old girl having a relationship with her older brother, and being raped by her older brother. The second film I did was about a child growing up in a middle class family seeing her lawyer father screwing every woman around, and this child keeps saying, ‘why do you not leave my father?’, and the mother says, ‘because of the children, because

in the slums in Bombay and realizes the only way she can make her family subsist is by becoming a prostitute. But the day her father gets back her job she says ‘I no longer want to live with this body, it has done what it has’ and she commits suicide under a train – and there were all sorts of very avant garde subjects. But none of these got released, and I was hugely frustrated – after all film is not a medium in which

pool: the conversaiton, the behaviour, the way women were treated, the way jokes were cracked, just made me feel I was in a dirty toilet. And I decided I didn’t want any more of it. So I quit. And then five years later the Gujarati film industry was just beginning to blossom again, and offered me the role of a woman mythological folk character that I had adored since I was a child, and I did that film called ‘Mena Gujari’ – loved it, loved the way the Gujarati film industry worked: the stakes weren’t as high, and it was much nicer… that film, til today, remains the highest grosser in Gujarati. And then I went on for four years to do a lot of Gujarati films. And then the Gujarati films started going the same way. So that’s when I quit. I would still love to do films, if somebody offered me decent films – films have come

I would love to do films now such a different way today; there are lovely films being made, there are independent films being made, I am no longer the only educated person who would be around. It’s a sort of complete change, and I would love to do films now. Which film of yours is your favourite?

of all of you.’ And this girl grows up saying ‘what I want is a child, not a marriage’ and she has a child out of wedlock – you can imagine, I’m talking about the mid-seventies – and grows up to see her son do exactly what her father did. But it takes me from the age of 14 to about the age of 55. The third film I did was about a young girl whose father loses her job and lives

you do without an audience. So I was about to quit and say ‘to hell with this’ when a then very dear friend of mine who was a writer and deeply involved in films said ‘Mallika you can’t quit without trying at least one commercial film’. So I did a commercial film with then a very much older but very well respected actor called Sunil Datt – and I hated it. It was like being in a cess-

Yeah, you know, I always find questions about which is your favorite very difficult. Because, I basically live in today, and today I might have one flavor that apppeals to me and tomorrow I might have a different one – that doesn’t mean that I’n flimsy or whimsical – but its just that… why should I have one favorite? If I am in a particular mood, there is one particular book or film that will appeal to me that day in that mood. And the next day it might be something diametrically opposite.

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So I pass any questions in this interview which have favorites.

the greatest significance of those five years.

Working on productions like “Shakti” and “Sita’s daughters and the issues you have taken up, there is a strong perception that you are a feminist. Your views on it?

Sometimes when people speak about your performances, especially in a city like Chennai where i come from, they say that your works are very “Elitist”. Which contradicts your concept of using art as a tool for change?. Your views on this?

Of course I am a feminist! I am 100% feminist, I am proud of it. I am also 100% humanist, and I think if you’re a humanist you have to be a feminist. Feminism has absolutely nothing to do about the male sex. People think that feminism is about stepping on men. We couldn’t care less about men. Feminism is about letting the female spirit free. To let women be empowered enough to feel boundless. To not see their gender as a limitation. And to see that all people – men, women, transexuals, bisexuals – have an equal opportunity for self-fulfilment. That’s why I am a feminist and a humanist, and I wear both very proudly. There was worldwide recognition for your role as Draupadi in Peter Brook’s Mahabharata. And you played the role for five years. How was the experience? It was, for me, the most life-changing experience. Not necessarily being with Peter, but being by myself for five years and living in Draupadi’s skin, seeing what I as a performer could do to audiences. When I went in to the Mahabharata, I was a performer, not a creator. I was someone who always thought ‘I am not creative. I am the perfect model for other creators – I can produce anything that they wish as a dancer, as an actress’. Through those five years it was like… working with Peter was like having the skins of an onion peeled away until you find the, what we call the shunya, the vaccum, that is the self. And I came out saying that – one, I don’t need to be an activist and a performer – performance is the most strong language for activism that I can use. And two, knowing that what I wanted to say was not what anybody else could create or write. That I would have to force myself become a creator if I wanted to do what I wanted to do. So it made me in to a creator. And I haven’t looked back in that sense. And to me, that is

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First of all – we use the world ‘elitist’ as though it’s a dirty world. ‘Elitist’ only means something that appeals to a smaller audience. Not everything is created for the hoi poloi nor should it be. Otherwise the Vedas, the Upanishads, Shakespeare, everything should be thrown away. Because none of it was meant for the hoi poloi. So my answer to you is: There are things that are elitist, and there are things that are made for a larger mass. And I create both. Bharata Natyam, per se, is an elitist style. It is only meant for people who have a basic understanding of the philosophies that rule Hinduism. It is an eclectic language, it was never meant for the hoi poloi. Kuchipudi on the other hand was created to take the essence of Bharata Natyam for a larger audience. And it is created and packaged for a larger audience. So I do both. That’s one. The second is that, you know, if people say it is elitist, you must go and ask the people. Because I can’t answer for what people say. I do what I have to do. If there is an audience, fine, if there is not an audience, also fine. Luckily in all these years of performances I have found audiences for every kind of work that I do. For the very eclcectic, for the very slapstick, for the very adrenaline pushing, for the very classical, for the very feminist, for the very cutting edge – there is an audience. Talking about using art as a powerful tool for change...it was an inspiring speech that you gave at the TED conference and this was your topic. For the benefit of people who haven’t heard the speech, can you explain what it meant please? As I was saying, it was because of seeing the way that audiences across the world reacted to Draupadi that I realized, partially, that I could use

I am 100% feminist


the performances and the languages of the arts for change. I hae seen my mother do it. When I was a very young girl, she created the first piece using Bharata Natyam, which normally talks of love and spritiuality, to talk about hatred and the killing of daughtersin-law for the dowry. So it was a very powerful piece, a piece that I performed and still continue to perform, and still makes my blood curdle. But I saw the power of the art. But I always thought that she could do it and I could interpret it. But it was after Draupadi

that I realized that I could in fact do the same. Over the last – in fact, since 1990 – one of the most exciting things that we have been doing at Darpana is that we have made ourselves a laboratory of trying constantly to research into innovative uses of either the arts that exist or arts that we combine, the combination of which doesn’t exist, or to try new forms that don’t exist at all. And, this is really what I see as my own significant work to the history of Indian art or to the history of humanity, or whatever you want to call it… not that

I am a dancer, but that I have pushed this direction. What were the reactions to your speech? Oh, typical! All through the speech, I was talking about using the arts for health education, for talking of violence against women, and I started off by a story adapted from a classical story from the Mahabharata, of a rishi and his wife and the god Indra, re-told by an amazing feminist, lesbian, brahmin – a writer called Sumiti Nam Joshi

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– where she uses the story to show how ridiculous the partiarchal view of justice is. This was one and a half minutes of an eighteen minute speech. But in true form of right-wing, male India, I had a hundred or more responses saying ‘how dare Mallika insult us Brahmins!’ or ‘how dare Mallika talk about the Vedas in such a light way!’. You know we take ourselves so seriously… we’re just such stuffy people.

sion today? Not on the fact that the Supreme Court has taken a very good decision, but ‘How dare this judge use Radha and Krishna to talk about live-in relationships!’ This is exactly the kind of ‘red herring’ reactions that I had for my talk. But luckily there are people across the world who understood it and tried to put it in context. But I’m glad these people are at least looking at the talk even if they think “whoa

just now is proof of the pudding. That what I’m doing is working. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be so much in demand. So what can I say? Practically every study that we do, every project that we do has a separate agency measuring change. And we have plenty of these. Plenty, from 1994 onwards. We have worked in villages, numering today probably close to a million people. And there are changes that you see

a) we have no sense of humor, and b) we are so insecure about our heritage that we take the most absurd things and make them into these big things. This is what the politicians do. They don’t want to talk of brass-tack issues like poverty, so, they are talking now – I’ll give you an example. Yesterday in the Supreme Court, there was a ruling that couples living together should be treated like the same way that married coulpes are, because after all, couples living together are also committed to each other… and the judge said ‘After all, Radha and Krishna also lived together’. So what is the discus-

whoa how dare she?” kind of things.

today even ten years after a project is finished or fifteen years after a project is finished. And yes there are lots of measureable changes. I think that one of the great tragedies of India today is that it has the arts as a tradition for change. Our folk theatre across the country was a folk theatre that brought attention to what was wrong in society and trying to bring better governance within societies. And yet we don’t see what is under our own nose. So we will only follow what the West has rejected, as our means of communicating with our audiences, when we have this golden goose sitting in front of us, and

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Has this philosophy of yours demonstrated tangible results anywhere? And where do you think should be the most important change in our country? It needs to be part of the planning process, it needs to be part of the key implementation of our many development and poverty alleviation and educational methods. I started this work thirty years ago. The very fact that today I am more in demand, with more diverse audiences, I’m being asked to speak at the most diverse kind of fora – that you are interviewing me


here I am, like an idiot, waving this flag saying ‘Hello, somebody please take notice you know we’ve got statistical evidence saying this works’, but we are so short-sighted, our policy makers. We believe that the way Darpana is run is very different from other similar organisations and is very forward looking and structured. Did your days at IIM A come of use here. How was the transformation process? I think my growing up, looking at the way Pappa managed things was crucial. Pappa believed in horizontal organizations, not vertical ones. And he believed that once an institution was set up, if it was like the IIM, then the director needed to leave so that the place became something that people occupied, not like a cult place. That’s not quite as easy in an arts organization. I think people have to be empowered to be responsible. I like colleagues, I don’t like followers. In 1999, when Darpana celebrated its 50th anniversary, we did a major think tank management of change kind of thing, we called in people from the IIM to interview everybody in the whole staff, from the gardener up, to say what are your dreams today, what are your expectations – and I set up a separate think tank – and these are all very ‘IIM’ techniques, so, yes, IIM did help – to say what was it that I wanted; what were my personal goals, what were my institutional goals? And we found that most things that Amma had dreamt for had been fulfilledthat I wasn’t particularly interested in teaching little girls, who would then not dance, how to dance. So we had a major structural change. And rather than make it like an educational institution which was divided up by faculties – so there used to be music, dance, drama, and puppetry - we changed into departments depending on their interaction with the public. The conservatory, for instance, is the teaching wing and deals with students. Darpana Performing Group is at the center, and deals with audiences of all types. Darpana for Development is a development agency and deals primarily with target audiences that it needs to change, and with people

who want that change – government departmenst, NGOs , funding bodies, and so on. Darpana Communications only dealt with audiences second-hand through television or film. Then we had Janavak which is our folk and tribal research wing and teaching wing. We had natarani which is the ampitheatre, plus the café, the bookshop, and so on. But it was divided up that way departmentally and each department was a virtual profit centre. When I say virtual profit centre we are not for profit. But it meant that each department head was responsible for seeing that each department broke even, that each department generated enough money for what it needed and for what it had to give pro-rata for the running of what we call central services which is administration, accounts, the buildings,

You know we take ourselves so seriously… we’re just such stuffy people upkeep of the buildings, insurance and so on. I think this whole model is very much driven by my work at IIM. Also the funny thing is when I was in the IIM I used to hate doing finance. And the one thing I don’t want to do is finance when I get out. Try running an NGO without having to deal with finance! I seem to deal with finance all the time, more than anything else. And as an NGO and an arts institution that does not believe in being at the beck and call of either the governments’ whimsies or the corporate world’s, it means a lot of work and innovative thinking on how to generate money. It’s great fun but sometimes it can be exhausting. Future plans for Darpana? I think that Darpana needs to be put, urgently, on a financial even keel. We

are trying to raise a corpus of 6 crores. All my attempts in the past have not been sufficiently focused or sufficeintly aggressive. I think I have put myself at task of, over the next two years, of finding that money so that Darpana is on an even keel and is not dependent on my dancing and what I earn as a dancer. And now I want Darpana to attract more and more people who feel the excitement that I feel in the possibilities of what we are doing. And I think we are beginning to do that. I don’t want people joining Darpana because it’s a job. I want people who have the same passion, whose eyes light up the way mine do, whose hearts race at the possiblity of what we can do. And that’s what I really want Darpana to be. And yes, where do you find the energy and time to pursue so many things at the same time? Life excites me. The possibilities of life excite me. People excite me. The possibility of doing something for people excites me. I love life and I think that’s where my energy comes from. Where do you see Mallika Sarabhai 5 years from now? I don’t have the time to see Mallika Sarabhai five years from now! I barely have the time to think about next week, and the month after, and... I have no idea. You know the most important things in my life have invariably happened without any notion that they were going to happen. The day before Peter Brook came to me, I had no idea that I would spend five of my most lifechanging years with him. Or, the day before the election decision was taken, I had no idea that I would go into the election. And this has happened time and time again. I am a great believer, on the one hand, in destiny, but on the other hand, of being prepared and ready for whatever comes on and whatever life has to offer. There’s a very beautiful and very apt saying in Gujarati that ‘whenever the goddess Lakshmi comes to bless you by putting a red mark on your forehead. Don’t, at that stage say ‘please wait, I need to wash my face’. So keep your face washed, and see who comes!

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EAT PRAY LOVE BOOK REVIEW

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Reviewed by Neeru Nanda

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Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is One Woman’s Search For Everything. It is a highly well received book judging from it’s brand of approval - The New York Times and Oprah Winfrey. Published in 2006 by Bloomsbury, London, the author has three previous books to her credit. What’s it about? It’s a travelogue-cum-memoir-cum-autobiography of a divorce-cum-broken heart-cum-depression where the traumatized author decides to blow away her successful job-cum-wealth-cum-lifestyle in order to put together the concept of body-cum-mind-cum-spirit. A great idea, considering that half the world is seized with the same desire but lack the courage to do it. Her publishers invest in the idea and send Gilbert off to live it out. So what do most people do when they are depressed? Eat! Gilbert’s first halt is Italy where she learns Italian and teaches English to a hunk of a guy. Off sex, all she can think of is food. Pasta after delicious pasta is unearthed from the very core of Italy! Four months and many pounds later she finds herself scrubbing the floors of an Ashram outside Mumbai where she has come in her search for God. Between Yoga and meditation, emotional breakdowns and Self-Realisations, heavy instruction and light humoured advice, Gilbert has spiritual experiences and her Kundalini Shakti gets awakened. “It’s humming up from the base of my spine. My neck feels like it wants to stretch and twist…I can hear a sort of thrumming sound in my ears…”


Soon she is on a flight to Indonesia to meet the ninety-year-old medicine man who had predicted (two years ago when she went there as a journalist) that she will come back to him. She finds him with little effort and he remembers her with a little effort and between cycling and befriending a local divorcee she falls in love with a wonderful man. At the risk of annoying Oprah Winfrey, New York Times, Elizabeth Gilbert and Bloomsbury Publishing I would say that the book is a bit contrived. I can understand how it would hit a nerve with readers – the right buzz words, the right concepts, the right mix of self-deprecation towards common weaknesses and the right mix of struggle and success for aspired spiritual growth. Gilbert tries very hard in the entire book to convince the reader how tumultuous her divorce was, how traumatic her break-up with David was, but somehow it fails to pull at the heart strings. I was left asking HOW traumatic was it that you decide to eat pasta for four months, do yoga for another four and search for ‘balance’ for another four. Now that I have got the seeds of envy (at the success of her book) out of my system I can look at it more objectively (I’ve found my balance at last). True or not (I haven’t had the opportunity to ask her) it’s a great idea and has been well written in a very reader friendly American style. It is witty and endearing. In fact the self-deprecating parts are the most endearing because most of us are like that – full of imperfections, fears and insecurities. Gilbert’s connection with the reader through a first person real-life spiritual account of breaking down and piecing oneself together is perfect. It’s what engages most human beings today.

EXCERPTS Eat I took on the depression like it was the fight of my life, which, of course, it was. I became a student of my own depressed experience, trying to unthread its causes. There are so many manifestations of pleasure in Italy, and I didn’t have time to sample them all. You have to kind of declare a pleasure major here, or you’ll get overwhelmed. That being the case I didn’t get into fashion, or opera, or cinema, or fancy automobiles, or skiing in the Alps. I didn’t even want to look at that much art. I’m a bit ashamed to admit this but I did not visit a single museum during my entire four months in Italy. (Oh man – it’s even worse than that. I have to confess that I did go to see one museum; the National Museum of Pasta, in Rome.) I found that all I really wanted was to eat beautiful food and to speak as much beautiful Italian as possible. That was it. So I declared a double major, really – in speaking and in eating (with a concentration on gelato). Pray But it was pure, this love that I was feeling. It was godly. I looked around the darkened valley and I could see nothing that was not God. I felt so deeply, terribly happy. I thought to myself, “Whatever this feeling is – this is what I have been praying for. And this is also what I have been praying to.” Love …and he explained to me his terms - that he wanted absolutely nothing from me whatsoever except permission to adore me for as long as I wanted him to. Were those terms acceptable to me?

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FEATURE

T

here’s something about Jerome Kugan, the deeply enigmatic Malaysian musician and writer, which both baffles and compels. His presence is, in an almost indescribable

close circle of friends and admirers. He also benefits from the region’s thriving artistic subculture. He says, “In general, the KL indie music scene has grown a lot over the past 15 years or so, to the point that it has attracted the interest of fans beyond the in-crowd. You can find gigs held in small to big

way, that of a shapeshifter – he variously comes across as feline, alien, shaman. Backed by a guitar, his baritone voice breathes life into lyrics that shimmer with a chilling mysticism. Short and muscular, with a septum piercing, glasses and with a pendant that resembles a Teletubby with a penis strung around his neck, he is otherworldly, yes, but so is his talent.

Privately, he also shares his new work, specifically from the two albums he currently has in progress, with a

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The music itself ranges from acoustic to electronica-influenced, with lyrical themes that span a gamut. There is a notable, sometimes ironic, engagement with pseudo-spiritual longing, for instance in Shadow’s “Flowers”, in which the lyrics implore, “Let me taste in all directions/Teach me the way”, or in the Foucaultinspired “The Miracle”. There is also a rootedness in contemporary urban realities and politics – as in “Song For The Service Industry”, which channels the persona of a waiter who simmers with patient resentment, the tribute to those persecuted for their sexuality (“Tomas”) and an observation of Kuala Lumpur, dedicated to his dear friend and activist, the late Toni Kassim (“City of Mud”). Kugan is also a master of the cover version – which thanks to

Born in the Borneo, educated in Australia, and based in Kuala Lumpur for the past decade, Kugan released his 2008 debut Songs For A Shadow debuted to solid recognition in his region, but his international cult is one that is only just beginning to emerge. Like most contemporary artists, he has an online presence – and this has taken his music to ears all over the world. “The internet is a useful tool for indie musicians like myself. But it’s not a guarantee for success,” opines Kugan. “That still depends on mysterious factors such as being seen by the right people at the right time. But it does allow musicians whose music may not have been heard or distributed via conventional marketing and distribution to be heard over a wider area. Unfortunately there is also a downside. You don’t get royalties from having your music bandied around P2P sites. But it’s the nature of the Internet, it’s democratizing on many levels.”

venues every other day, encompassing various genres.”

COMING OUT OF THE

By Sharanya Manivannan

copyright restrictions are rarities only heard at gigs and among his private circle. His rich, soothing rendition of “On The Street Where You Live” easily rivals any version of the My Fair Lady classic; his other experiments include covers of songs by The Knife, Bjork and Barbara Streisand. Concurrently working on not one but two albums, Kugan’s unique indie stylings earn him admirers among alternative music lovers everywhere. Still, there remains in him the shadow of his teenage dream to be “a total pop sellout”. Asked what he has always wanted to say in print but never has, he confesses to liking Justin Timberlake. “I think Justin is subversive,” says Kugan. “He’s too sexy...”


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FEATURE

Going A

ll we hear is Radio GaGa !! , or at least that’s what we “used” to hear up until now ,,,. Well the 80’s are long gone and while Queen is still hugely popular to this day , brace yourself for a new sort of Gaga has been grabbing all the headlines n shocking fans n’ critics alike over the last two years . Stealing inspiration for her name from the 1984 Queen hit single “Radio Gaga” and adopting an avant-garde fashion approach, Lady Gaga is the new ‘in’ thing and is on a Shock n Awe mission to -in her own words“Revolutionize world pop music as we know it today “ !! . So who really is Lady Gaga? What makes her so different from all the other acts being offered today by the music business? Why does she dress the way she does . . . is she really what she set out to be ? or is she just a product of the media and profit hungry marketing professionals in the music business?? As one digs deeper into the background of this sensation the

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Gaga -BY DARREN NETTO

details start to slowly emerge. Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, to Italian parents Joseph and Cynthia Germanotta was raised in New York City. She studied at Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private Roman Catholic school, like most girls that grow up in New York city. So what makes her so outrageously different? Why the weird costumes? The Blonde pop star cites rock star girlfriends, Peggy Bundy, and Donatella Versace as her fashion icons. “I look at those artists as icons in art. It’s not just about the music. It’s about the performance, the attitude, the look; it’s everything. And, that is where I live as an artist and that is what I want to accomplish.” That goal might seem lofty, but consider the artist, Gaga is the girl who at age 4 learned piano by ear. By age 13, she had written her first piano ballad. At 14, she played open mike nights at clubs such as New York’s the Bitter End by night and was teased for her quirky, eccentric style by her Convent of the Sacred Heart School (the Manhattan private school Nicky and Paris Hilton attended) classmates by day. At age 17, she became one of 20 kids in the world to get early admission to Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Signed by her 20th birthday and writing songs for other artists (such as the Pussycat Dolls, and has been asked to write for a series of Interscope artists) before her debut album was even released, Lady Gaga has earned the right to reach for the sky.

Her debut album Fame was released on August 19, 2008 by Interscope Records. The album received mostly positive reviews, with critics commending Gaga’s ability to discover a melodious hook and comparing her vocal abilities to those of Gwen Stefani. The album went to number-one in countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland. In the United States the album peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 and topped the Billboard Top Electronic Albums chart. Worldwide, the album has sold over eight million

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copies. On The Fame, it’s as if Gaga took two parts dance-pop, one part electropop, and one part rock with a splash of disco and burlesque and generously poured it into the figurative martini glasses of the world in an effort to get everyone drunk with her Fame. “The Fame is about how anyone can feel famous,” she explains. “Pop culture is art. It doesn’t make you cool to hate pop culture, so I embraced it and you hear it all over The Fame. But, it’s a sharable fame. I want to invite you all to the party. I want people to feel a part of this lifestyle.” The album produced international hits such as poker face, just dance and paparazzi. While the album ‘the fame’ was a huge success and made everyone stand up n take notice of lady gaga, she was quick to release her second album the fame monster, released on November 18, 2009. The album’s eight songs were initially intended to be part of a re-release of Gaga’s debut album The Fame. However, Gaga announced that the new songs would be available as a stand alone album, as she thought the re-release was too expensive and that, as the piece represents a separate conceptual and musical body of work, it does not need the songs of The Fame to support it. Everything on The Fame Monster bears a galvanized Eurotrash finish, as evident on the heavy steel synths of “Bad Romance” and the updated ABBA revision “Alejandro,” as it is on the rock & roll ballad “Speechless” — its big guitars lifted from Noel Gallagher — and the wonderful, perverse march “Teeth.” Even the stuttering splices on “Telephone,” a duet with Beyoncé, leans to the other side of the Atlantic,

which just emphasizes the otherness that’s become Gaga’s calling card. And even as she’s becoming omnipresent, with her songs mingling with those who co-opt her on the radio, she is still slightly skewed, willing to go so far over the top she goes beyond camp, yet still channeling it through songs that are written, not just hooks. The Fame Monster builds upon those strengths exhibited on The Fame, offering a credible expansion of the debut and suggesting she’s not just a fleeting pop phenomenon but someone that has much to contribute to the music landscape.

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G AG A April 2010

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FEATURE

Scottish Highland to

Feudal Japan Macbeth and The Throne of Blood By Aysha Iqbal

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K

urosawa

is

remembered

as

a

stylist, with a deep humanism and compassion for his characters and an awe of the enormity of nature. He awakened the West to Japanese cinema with Rashomon, which won the top prize in the Venice Film Festival of 1951, and also a special Oscar for best foreign film. Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai was remade in the US under its alternative title The Magnificent Seven and the lone samurai hero Yojimbo was the inspiration for Clint Eastwood’s man with no name persona, most obviously in A Fistful of Dollars. Most Japanese films fall under two categories: the jidai-geki (or period films) and the gendai-mono (or modern story). In Macbeth, Kurosawa perceived a contemporary theme, namely, a parallel between medieval Scotland and medieval Japan which mirrored contemporary society. master technician and

The Throne of Blood Based on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Throne of Blood proves there is much more to Shakespeare’s work than the language. Directed, adapted and edited by Kurosawa, the film starred Toshiro Mifune (Washizu/ Macbeth), Isuzu Yamada (Asaji/Lady Macbeth) and Minoru Chiaki (Miki/ Banquo). Though unable to make use of the poetry of the original, Kurosawa carefully preserves the dramatic dynamics and visual vitality of the play. His translation is so complete, the film seems totally Japanese in its character and totally cinematic in its language. The film is set in medieval Japan, during “the Age of the Country at War”, a period when feudal Japan was undergoing civil war (1392-1568). This was a time when violations of the Samurai code were a concern, a time when traitors and renegade samurai were common figures and real kings were deposed in similar circumstances to the Lords in Throne of Blood (Kumonosu-Djo in Japanese, literally, ‘The Castle of the Spider’s Web’). It must be noted that the Samurai were a doomed class, disbanded in the 19th century. This idea is always present for

an audience - along with the knowledge that whatever action the hero chooses, his whole lifestyle is fundamentally doomed. The word ‘samurai’ is derived from the word sabarau meaning ‘to serve’. In Throne of blood this is ironic of course, as the whole world of the samurai is shown to be corrupt and self-serving. In place of an individual with a tragic flaw, as Macbeth is, we have a whole society with a tragic flaw, ie, feudalism. To the extent that Throne of Blood is about a trapped individual destroyed by a rigid social structure, the film can be read as an anti-feudal drama. The famous opening scene of Macbeth has three witches chanting magical rhymes, which signal the play themes to come of paradox & ambiguity. These utterances also establish an important ritualistic framework for the play. As if to demonstrate the power of witchcraft on Macbeth, Macbeth tells Banquo, “So foul & fair a day I have not seen.” The film however starts with an elegiac note. At the beginning says the chorus, once stood a mighty fortress where

Lived a proud warrior Murdered by ambition His spirit walking still. The final chorus, at the end of the film, repeats the story and reinforces the moral:

Still his spirit walks, his fame is known, For what once was is now yet true, Murderous ambition will pursue…. The story begins as General Washizu and his friend, General Miki, lose their way in a forest, as they return after quashing a rebellion against the king. In the forest, they meet a witch who prophesies that Washizu will reign but Miki’s descendents will inherit the land. Visually, the film tries to capture the good and evil side of human nature. Photographed in stark black and white, everything is either/ or. It must be noticed that Washizu’s banner carries the totemic emblem of a centipede, while the flag of Miki bears a rabbit. The film begins and

ends with the same image, including stony paths, the ruins of a castle and drifting fog. In fact, Kurosawa uses the all-pervasive imagery of fog, labyrinths and boundaries throughout. From the outset, Kurosawa suggests that there is no freedom, no escape where an aura of uncertainty looms large. In the opening scene, Washizu and Miki ride in and out of fog no less than twelve times. Plot While drawing from Shakespeare, Kurosawa lends his distinct touches to the proceedings. Every action, for instance, mirrors a parallel. The original rebel, from whom Washizu defended the lord, becomes Washizu himself. The dead lord’s lady kills herself as does Asaji who commits suicide. After Miki/Banquo’s murder, during the banquet the kyogen dancer/ singer says:

All of you wicked. Listen while I tell of a man, vain, Sinful, vileWho, though ambitious, insolent Could not escape his punishment. The song becomes a comment. The past warriors had the same career as Washizu, and he will end the way they have, guilty of regicide (ge-koku-jo). Kurosawa thus implies inevitability, yet mindless repetition of destiny. Washizu/ Macbeth’s death is far from heroic. By the end, Asaji has miscarried and died and Washizu has lost his precious sleep. The rebels surround the castle and Washizu’s servants speak of the rats abandoning the castle. As Washizu addresses his War Council, suddenly the rooms are invaded by birds. While the lord’s men gape in astonishment at the trapped birds swooping overhead, the distant sound of wood being cut is heard. The rebels are destroying the forest, a clever allusion to Birnam Wood of the original. Washizu has immense faith in the forest. “No one could defeat the man who planned this place. They cannot see us here inside, while we can

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see them all.” No wonder he stands confounded as the wood advances upon him, while he leans from the ramparts of his castle. The magical forest is powerless to save him now. Washizu panics and then is pumped with arrows shot by samurai. (Viewers may note the conspicuous omission of Macduff and his wife and children). For Kurosawa, Washizu is as much a victim of a constraining feudal order and social decorum as of his personal sins. Noh traditions in The Throne of Blood The world of the Noh is both closed and artificial, and is widely referred to throughout the film. Begun around the twelfth century, the Noh theatre emerged as a highly esoteric presentational form which relies on dance, music, masks, and declamatory narrative to relate traditional folk tales. In Noh, one decodes the gestures, the masks, the music, and not the narrative being related. Its degree of compression is extreme, and it is full of symbols. Kurosawa preferred Noh to any other Japanese art form since, according to him, it was the core of all Japanese drama. In adherence to the tradition, the director avoids closeup shots of his characters because in Noh everything is seen full. This further leads to building an alienation effect. An interesting aspect of the film is that the Noh elements are mostly associated with Asaji, the Lady Macbeth role, for she is the most limited, and most evil. Her body language, her handwashing and her scenes with Washizu are most Nohlike. Other Noh aspect is the role of the witch. Her reed hut is akin to a Noh set and so is her make up. Her prophecies are articulated in the husky and unintonated voice of the Noh actor, and the sounds which both women make, that is, the squeak of Asaji’s tabi (the traditional socks), the sound of her kimono, the clatter of the witch’s spinning wheel, are sounds

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one would associate with the Noh. It appears that the two women are the movers of the plot, and in Kurosawa (as in Shakespeare), women are truly on the side of evil. Indeed, as Asaji says at one point, “This is a wicked world. To save yourself you often first must kill. ..Children kill their parents for less.” (cf. Macbeth: “Come you spirits/ That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here/ And fill me from the crown to the toe, top-full/ Of direst cruelty”). This is ironic, as it is her own child who still born, causes her death. Asaji’s ideas are on par with the witch’s who proclaims, “If you choose ambition, then choose it honestly, with cruelty…if you would make a mountain of the dead,

cry from Washizu who is too afraid and too much divide. No wonder Asaji taunts him with, “You who would rule a kingdom are yet afraid of a ghost.” This is akin to her earlier rebuke, “Without ambition, man is not a man.” However, Kurosawa’s concern is starkly different and operates on a metaphysical level. He agonises, “Why is it that human beings cannot get along with each other?”

then pile it to the sky; if you should shed blood, then let it run as a river”. Again, when Washizu expresses disbelief at her prophecy, the witch retorts, “You humans! Never will I comprehend you…You are afraid of your desires. You attempt to hide them.” One gets a feeling, she and Asaji would have understood each other well.

The Throne of Blood is a rich text that benefits from a viewing that includes knowledge of Macbeth, as much as it is enriched by familiarity with Japanese culture. It is new and yet timeless, largely due to the fusion of its two main sources and cultures: Shakespeare’s English play and Japanese Noh theatre. Like the Doubloon (literally, a pure gold coin) in Moby Dick which lends itself to multiple readings and analyses by a motley group of sailors, so do various works of Shakespeare, and Kurosawa’s Macbeth is a prime example of this trend.

Unlike Wahizu, Asaji is portrayed as a person who knows her mind. She knows what she wants and if Miki gets in her way, then he must be removed. Her rigidity is closer to Noh than anything else in the film. This is a far

Conclusion Both Macbeth and The Throne of Blood can be seen primarily as social tragedies set within a distanced historical context in which social problems and contradictions can be rendered visible to the spectators.


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FEATURE

75 facts about the King Did you know? 1. Elvis Aaron was born in Tupelo on 8 January 1935. His mother, Gladys, was 21; his father, Vernon, was only 18. Elvis had a twin brother, christened Jesse Garon, who was still-born. 2. Among the many nicknames Elvis went by were: E, Big E, Big El, The Bopping Hillbilly, The Cat, The Chief, Mr. Dynamite and, of course, The King. 3. Elvis was inducted into three music Halls of Fame: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Johnny Cash is the only other artist to be in three music Halls of Fame - the Songwriters, Country and Rock halls. 48

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4. With over 600 recorded songs, you would think he would have written at least one of them, but he never did. 5. Elvis’ first 2 recorded songs cost him $4 at Sun Studios in Memphis, where he recorded “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” as a gift for his mother, Gladys. 6. Elvis’ natural hair color was sandy blond. He dyed it black for a movie role in 1956 and kept it black for the rest of his life. 7. Elvis grew up in poverty. His parents couldn’t afford a bicycle that he wanted so they gave him a guitar when he was 11 years old. 8. Before his career took off, Elvis worked as a truck driver and as an usher at Loew’s State Theater in Memphis 9. And, perhaps predictably, he only lost the job because the girls liked him a little too much. He’d get the last laugh, though, when Jailhouse Rock would premiere there! 10. He was 6ft tall and wore shoes that were size 11. 11. Early in his career, in the days before the gaudy comeback spangled jump suits, Elvis showed his ‘rebellious’ nature by choosing to wear clothes more often associated with AfricanAmericans. Indeed, he shopped for clothes at Lansky’s on Beale St, which had a predominantly AfricanAmerican clientele. That, and the unorthodox long sideburns set him aside from other performers of his generation. 12. His favorite actors were James Dean, Marlon Brando and George C. Scott 13. His favorite aftershave was Brut. 14. His televised concert Aloha from Hawaii was the first global satellite broadcast devoted to a single entertainer. It was seen by 51% of US viewers, more households than those that watched the first moon landing. In many countries it captured 70-90+% of the television audience. Ultimately, nearly 1.5

billion people in 40 countries saw this performance.

had been imprinted. TCB stood for “Take Care of Business”.

15. He played just 5 shows outside the United States: a concert at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on April 2, 1957 and a show the next day in Ottawa were well received.

19. On 30 July 1954, Elvis played one of his first shows, at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis. He was, apparently, so nervous, that his legs started to shake. The outlandish flares the singer had chosen to wear that evening only exacerbated the shaky movement. The girls in the audience went wild, and Elvis decided to incorporate his shakylegs routine into future shows.

16. Many think the reason he never toured abroad again was that manager Colonel Tom Parker was an illegal immigrant from Holland and would have been deported if he applied for a US passport. 17. Elvis was a black belt in karate. He took up martial arts under the shotokan sensei Jürgen Seydal, while fulfilling his military duties in Germany in 1958. He was awarded his black belt before he returned to the United States, in 1960, by the chito-ryu instructor Hank Slemansky. Elvis’s love of martial arts continued throughout his life. His favourite form of fighting became American Kenpo. 18. The King’s entourage were known collectively as the Memphis Mafia. All members of the Memphis Mafia sported diamond and gold rings, given to them by Elvis, on which a thunderbolt and the letters TCB

20. Led Zeppelin were big fans of Elvis and were desperate to meet him when they toured the US. In 1973, the longed-for meeting came to pass, when Robert Plant and John Paul Jones met the King in Los Angeles. The Zeppelins were rendered speechless by the meeting, but Elvis broke the ice by swapping his $5,000 gold and diamond watch for Jones’s watch – which featured a picture of Mickey Mouse. From that moment on, any member of Led Zeppelin was welcome in the front row of an Elvis concert. 21. In 1973, Elvis gave Muhammad Ali a $10,000 white robe, with the words “People’s Champion” emblazoned across the back. Ali was touched, and wore the robe on 31 March, when he fought Ken Norton for the first time. Norton broke Ali’s jaw in the second round, before winning a 12-round decision. Ali vowed never to wear the robe again, although he maintained his friendship with Elvis. 22. Presley’s first ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ appearance, on September 9, 1956, was seen by an estimated 55-60 million viewers. That’s at least 21 million more viewers than the last ‘American Idol’ finale. 23. None of Elvis’s feature films or music documentaries were ever nominated for an Oscar in any category. He made 31 movies and two music documentaries. 24. When Elvis first grabbed popular attention in the 1950s, it was often stated scornfully that he couldn’t actually play a guitar. This was April 2010

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possibly a bitter response from the then older generation, or may have arisen from Presley’s later frequent use of a guitar as a stage prop, swinging it around to his back, making love to it … indeed, doing anything but playing it. 25. Elvis could certainly play rhythm guitar and his lead guitarist, Scotty Moore, attests that he was hard on them, frequently breaking strings. On stage, Elvis played a range of guitars over the years, but mainly Gibsons and Martins.

30. While on military service in Germany in 1959 Elvis met 14-year old Priscilla Beaulieu. Eight years later she would become his wife. At their wedding they danced romantically to his hit Love Me Tender. 31. While in the Army he bought his fellow soldiers clothes and TVs and gave his army pay to charity. 32. Presley was honored, by his commanding officers for “cheerfulness and drive and continually outstanding leadership ability.”

26. Originally recorded in 1950 by Ernest Tubb, Elvis Presley recorded Blue Christmas in 1957 for his Elvis’ Christmas Album. It wasn’t released as a single until 1964,

33. When recording Are You Lonesome Tonight at 3am, Elvis insisted that the studio lights be lowered to create the right mood.

when in the US it was backed with “Wooden Heart” from Elvis’ soundtrack to his film G.I. Blues, but from 1965 and on, it was backed with “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.”

34. At the end of the song you can hear him bump into a microphone stand.

27. When performing on TV in 1956, host Milton Berle advised Elvis not to use his guitar, saying: “Let ‘em see you, son.” 28. He spent 2 years in the army when he was drafted in 1958. He was a Sergeant when he got out. 29. Elvis’s first assignment was as a tank gunner - until it was realised his hearing was being affected. He was quickly transferred to quieter duties.

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35. Elvis and Priscilla’s daughter Lisa Marie was born in 1968. 36. Elvis named his private jet plane ‘Lisa Marie,’ after his beloved daughter. The plane is on exhibit at the Graceland mansion museum. 37. She grew up to marry Michael Jackson and, later, actor and Elvis obsessive Nicolas Cage. 38. He had a pet chimpanzee called Scatter which liked to look up women’s skirts. 39. Elvis’s gyrating hips caused outrage across the US. Within days he had

been nicknamed Elvis the Pelvis. 40. Recording Hound Dog in the studio, he demanded 31 takes. 41. The Steve Allen Show “Hound Dog” performance has entered into the realm of legend by now, emblematic of the strained relationship between Elvis and the popular culture of the time. But while many fans thought Elvis was enjoying himself by singing to an actual basset hound, in truth he felt humiliated -- exploding in anger at the Colonel backstage for agreeing to such a stunt, and making the backing Jordanaires swear to never mention the appearance again. 42. January 27, 1956 “Heartbreak Hotel” released by RCA sells

300,000 copies in its first 3 weeks and earns Elvis his first gold record. 43. The 1957 film Jailhouse Rock premiered at the Loews State Theater cinema in Memphis, where Elvis had been an usher. 44. Jailhouse Rock was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also wrote “Hound Dog,” which became a huge hit when Elvis recorded it. Leiber and Stoller excelled at writing catchy Pop songs with elements of Blues music. Their songs could be very funny and clever, and often take place in unusual situations. Some of their other hits include “Love Potion #9”


and “On Broadway.” Mike Stoller played piano on this track. 45. In 1962 Elvis had a hit with Return To Sender. 46. Return to sender , This song is about a guy who sends a letter to a girl, but she refuses to read it, instead writing “Return To Sender” on it and having it sent back to him. Our hero has a hard time believing she doesn’t want to read the letter, so he sends it special delivery to make sure it arrives. When that letter gets sent back, he decides to hand-deliver it. 47. In 1992, on the day a commemorative Elvis stamp was issued in the US, many people used it on letters with deliberately invalid addresses so that they would receive it back marked “return to sender”, increasing the stamp’s value. 48. Elvis: That’s the Way It Is is a documentary movie directed by Denis Sanders about Elvis Presley that was released on November 11, 1970. The film documents Elvis’ Summer Festival in Las Vegas during August 1970. It was his first non-dramatic film since the beginning of his movie career in 1956, and the film gives us a clear view of Presley’s return to live performances after years of making movies. 49. Elvis had plastic surgery in the mid-1970s. He had two full facelifts and rhinoplasty surgery. During this time he would have been around 40 years old. Its hard to believe that he actually needed these surgeries. 50. In 1977 Elvis saw a petrol station attendant being attacked by two youths. He got out of his limo and took up a karate stance. The shock of being confronted by the star calmed them down 51. Despite his addiction to prescription

medicines, he was very anti-drugs. He wrote to President Richard Nixon asking to be made a Federal Agent at Large in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Nixon sent him a Special Agent badge 52. He was distantly related to Presidents Abraham Lincoln, and Jimmy Carter. 53. The Beatles visited Elvis at his home in California on Aug. 27, 1965, joining him in an informal jam session that, tragically, wasn’t recorded. 54. The name Elvis used as an alias was Jon Burrows when he travelled the world 55. Elvis’ concert jumpsuits were given names. They included: Peacock, White Prehistoric Bird, Flame, Gypsy, Mad Tiger and King of Spades. 56. Elvis’ 1968 “comeback” special restored his place on the rock music throne, and rightly so. Yet to get the King to agree to it, producer Steve Binder had to first convince him he wasn’t King anymore by taking him down to Sunset Boulevard to see if he’d get mobbed. He didn’t. 57. Love me tender was the theme song to the first of 31 Elvis movies. The movie was titled The Reno Brothers before it was renamed to capitalize on the song. Originally, Elvis had just a small role in the movie, but during filming it became apparent that he was a really big deal, and his role was expanded to take advantage of his stardom. His character is killed at the end of the movie, but Elvis reappears to reprise the song. 58. This was Elvis’ most popular and famous “love song,” but it was not sung to his love interest in Blue Hawaii - It was sung to his grandmother on the occasion of her birthday. Elvis presented her with a music box, which she opened and it played the song, which Elvis

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then sang along with. 59. The song in the Ghetto is about poverty, describing a child who can’t overcome his surroundings and turns to crime, which leads to his death. It was the first song Elvis recorded with a socially-conscious message. He was reluctant to do it for that reason, but knew it would be a hit. 60. A little less conversation was a fairly obscure Elvis song until it was remixed and released as a single in 2002. The new version went to #1 in the UK, giving Elvis 18 #1 hits there, the most of any artist. Previously, he was tied with The Beatles at 17. 61. Suspicious minds was the last #1 hit for Elvis during his lifetime. 62. The last song he ever sang was Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, sitting at his piano at home on the night he died. 63. His last meal was four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies. 64. Ever the ardent spiritualist, Elvis died reading one of his favorite books: The Scientific Search For The Face Of Jesus by Frank Adams. The King had specifically requested it a few weeks earlier, having heard that it proved the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, said to be Jesus’ burial wrapping 65. Elvis’ last words (to his girlfriend Ginger Alden, who had cautioned him against falling asleep reading in the bathroom) were; “Okay, I won’t.” 66. “Unchained Melody” was a song he only performed during the last 6 months of his life. 67. Some strangely titled Elvis songs include: “Queenie Wahini’s Papaya,” “Yoga Is as Yoga Does,” “There’s No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car.” 68. Some members of the Memphis Mafia called Presley “Crazy.” He turned down the opportunity to play Kris Kristofferson’s role in “A Star Is Born” opposite Barbra Streisand, because the Colonel wouldn’t let

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him take the part. The chance was a career-making comeback opportunity, and ex-wife Priscilla urged him to take the role. Now THAT was “crazy.” What was NOT crazy was the way Priscila turned Graceland into a moneymaker after Elvis’ death. 69. The Elvis stamp released by the Postal Service on January 8, 1993, remains the top-selling commemorative postage stamp in the US. 70. Elvis is still the king of postage stamps, as the US Postal Service

reports the ‘Young Elvis’ 29-cent stamp is its best seller. 71. Elvis is the No.1 most impersonated celebrity ever. There are estimated to be over 50,000 people in the world who make a living as Elvis impersonators 72. Impersonators include black Elvises, disabled Elvises, Jewish Elvises, Greek Elvises and child Elvises. A Mexican one is called El Vez. Elvis Herselvis is a lesbian one. 73. In 1977 there were 170 Elvis impersonators. By 2002 there were 85,000. At that rate of growth, by 2019 a third of the world’s population will be Elvis impersonators

. 74. One hundred forty-eight different Elvis recordings have been certified gold, platinum or multiplatinum. And with more than 1 billion albums sold worldwide, he’s the biggest-selling solo artist ever. 75. He’s worth more dead than he was alive. In 1977, Elvis had around $5 million banked. In 2004, 27 years after his death, Forbes magazine listed him as the richest deceased person, worth about $45 million.


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53


REVIEW

- BY SATWIK GADE

Kathryn Bigelow

Created history at the 82nd Academy Awards by becoming the first woman to win the

coveted Oscar award.

She is the fourth woman in history to be nominated for the honor, and only the second American woman.

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B

orn on November 27, 1951, Kathryn is best known for her horror film Near Dark (1987), cult action surfer/ bank robbery picture Point Break (1991), the historical/mysterious film The Weight of Water (2002) and the war drama The Hurt Locker (2009). As a child, her early creative endeavors were as a student of Painting. She enrolled at San Francisco Art Institute in the fall of 1970 and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in December of 1972. Bigelow’s first short film, The Set-Up (1978), is a 20-minute deconstruction of violence in film. The film portrays “two men (including Gary Busey) fighting each other as the semioticians Sylvère Lotringer and Marshall Blonsky deconstruct the images in voice-over.” Her first fulllength feature was The Loveless (1982), a biker movie which she co-directed with Monty Montgomery and featured Willem Dafoe in his first starring role. The Hurt Locker, was first shown at the Venice Film Festival in September 2008 and released in the US in June 2009. It qualified for the 2010 Oscars as it did not premiere in an Oscarqualifying run in Los Angeles until mid-2009. Set in post-invasion Iraq, the film received “universal acclaim” (according to Metacritic) and a 97%

statement to ponder over, in the wake of the passing of the women’s reservation bill, The Hurt Locker will release in theatres across India on the 9th of April 2010! Box: The Hurt Locker is an intense interpretation of elite soldiers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs in the heat of combat. It is based on firsthand observation by journalist and screenwriter Mark Boal who was stationed on assignment with a special bomb unit in Iraq. While the film has realistic action, it does not fall short on the human emotions. It portrays soldier psychology in a high-risk profession where men volunteer to face deadly odds. “fresh” rating from the “Top Critics” of Rotten Tomatoes. While her winning of the Oscar has been widely hyped by the media as a huge moment for women all over the world, it is interesting to note that Kathryn herself has never really looked at her own work in this light. In an interview in 2009, she said “I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about what my aptitude is, and I really think it’s to explore and push the medium. It’s not about breaking gender roles or genre traditions.” While that is an interesting

The story revolves around Staff Sergeant William James taking over the team, with Sanborn and Eldridge shocked by what seems like his reckless disregard for military protocol and basic safety measures. As the fiery chaos of Baghdad swirls around them, the men struggle to understand and contain their new leader long enough for them to make it home. They have only 38 days left in their tour of Iraq, but with each new mission comes another deadly encounter and the film tries to understand the blurry line between bravery and bravado.

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THE BREW

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LAUNCH PARTY

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Slash N’ Roses The number of guitar players that have gone on to create succesful solo albums with all-star guest line ups can be counted on the palm of one hand, Santana and Tonny Iommi of Black Sabbath fame are probably the only big names that spring up on the list, untill now that is . On April 6th, former Guns n Roses guitarist Slash released his first self titled solo album and expectations are understandably high. “The idea was really simple in the beginning,” said Slash. “These are all artists I wanted to work with–that I thought it would be amazing to do something creative and collaborative. And I was so impressed with what everyone brought to the table. ”A long entourage of big names including Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie (Black eyed peas), Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Dave Grohl (Nirvana), Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) along with many more will be performing vocal duties on the 13 track album with the first single “By the Sword” already out on March 28th.

IN TUNE

Fab Four

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♠♠ After Paul’s song, “Penny Lane” became a Beatles hit, the street signs for the actual Penny Lane in Liverpool disappeared with such regularity (as they did on the real Abbey Road), that the town reverted to simply painting ‘Penny Lane’ on the buildings, rather than have street signs. ♠♠

Though there was a woman named Eleanor Rigby in Liverpool, she was not the inspiration for the song. Paul simply made up the name. The Father McKenzie in “Eleanor Rigby,” was almost called Father McCartney, when Paul first composed the lyrics. However, a search in the phone book yielded the more general name McKenzie. The song has been recorded over 200 times, with interpretations by Diana Ross and the Supremes, Paul Anka, Frankie Valli, the Four Tops, Johnny Mathis, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Vanilla Fudge.

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59 www.brandmuni.com


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