CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE
JUNE 2011 VOL 01 ISSUE 09 ` 40
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Dear Readers June is a very special month. Its not because i was born this month, but its also the birth month of my favorite Super Hero of all time, the Man of Steel “Superman”, and the one and only Marilyn Monroe. This issue pays tribute to both these Icons. The feature on Superman, I bet would be the most exhaustive feature ever on him, chronicling his life since his debut in 1938. And yes, adding to it is the interview of the cover girl Penelope Cruz, whose biggest Hollywood blockbuster ‘ Pirates of the Caribbean:On Stranger Tides’ hit theatres last month. You would also enjoy the feature on Lady GaGa whose latest album “Born this way” beat all records last month. All this and a lot more in this edition of The Brew.
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Until next time. Sameer Bharat Ram Editor
CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE
Creative Director Mihir Ranganathan Art Director Sibiraj Bastin
CINEMA, MUSIC & ART WITH THE
JUNE 2011 VOL 01 ISSUE 09 ` 40
Sr. Graphic Designer A. M . Suhail Sub-Editor Manoj Sreekumar Photography & Marketing Manager Rathy
PenĂŠlope Cruz Still on top Superman up, up and away!
Production Srinivasan Circulation & Sales Senthil Kumar
Edited and Published by Sameer Bharat Ram, and owned by SM BrandMuni Consulting Pvt. Ltd, Published from No.609, Lakshmi Bhavan, Anna salai, Mount Road, Chennai - 600 002. Tel.: +91 44 4208 9392. Printed by K. Srinivasan at Srikals Graphics pvt. Ltd, No.5, Balaji Nagar, 1st street, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai - 600 032. Editor: Sameer Bharat Ram
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CONTRIBUTORS AND ADVISORY BOARD
Lord Jeffrey Archer Jeffrey Archer established himself as a literary force with the publication of his first novel, Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less, in 1975. His third novel, Kane and Abel became a number one best-seller in hardcover and paperback all over the world and has sold over 3.5 million in the UK paperback edition alone. Now, 36 years later, Jeffrey continues to defy his critics and delight his fans. Published in 97 countries and more than 37 languages, Jeffrey Archer is firmly established, with international sales passing 250 million copies.
Mallika Sarabhai, Educated as an economist and a business manager, Mallika Sarabhai is one of India’s best known Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancers. She has taken her work and her company Darpana to not only over 90 countries around the world, but also to the farthest parts of India.
Gautami Tadimalla An apt example of a renaissance woman, Gautami has acted across Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and Kannada film industries. With over 20 years of experience in the film industry, she recently won the “Best Costume Designer” for her work in the movie Dasavathaaram. A multifaceted entrepreneur, Gautami also supports various social causes. Neeru Nanda A graduate from Delhi University. Passionate about writing, she freelanced as a feature writer for ten years before switching to publishing. Author of a collection of short stories titled “IF” (Rupa & Co), Neeru is now working on two novels and a series of books for children.
Veejay Sai An award-winning writer, editor and a culture critic. He has written and published extensively on Indian classical music, fashion, theatre, food and art, and loves traveling, researching literary and cultural history. He is an editorial consultant with over 40 brands and designers in and outside India and is on the jury for several prestigious awards in the arts across the country.
Ashok Verghese Is one of the youngest education entrepreneurs who is making a great difference in this field in the country. He is the Director of the Hindustan group of Institutions, again one of the pioneering educational groups in the country. He supports the cause of promoting young talent in art and music.
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VOL 01 ISSUE 09
Conversations at CafFe Pascucci - Rathy
on caribBean tides
centre stage with
white lady - MANOJ SREEKUMAR
up, up and away! - MANOJ SREEKUMAR
jack is back!
- Darren netto
with Lord Jeffrey Archer
the photojournalist and a historian! - rathy
romance and revenge in
ms meena - nandini reddy
Remembering the masters
remembering ramanujam - Pallavi Nandagopal
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! ! a
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All 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 and shocking fans & critics alike over the last few years.
tealing 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 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 , attended Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private Roman Catholic school and though she didn’t fit in where ever she went it seems like normal beginnings for 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
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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 on 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 numberone 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 copies. On Fame, it’s as if Gaga took two parts dance-pop, one part electro-pop, 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 and 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
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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. After winning numerous awards including 5 Grammys’, Lady Gaga is now back with the release of her new album BORN THIS WAY in May 2011. The album features a mix of electronic music, metal,pop, anthemic style melodies with sledge-hammering dance beats. She stated-“It came so quickly. I’ve been working on the album for months and I feel very strongly that it’s finished right now. Some artists take years. I don’t. I write music every day.” Upon hearing it, Akon remarked that she will take music to the “next level”. The tracks ‘Born this way’, ‘Judas’, ‘The Edge of Glory’ are already huge hits and the album sold 1.108 million copies in its first week in the U.S and topped the charts in more than 10 other countries! So now, its pretty clear as to the Fame Monsters’ claim to Fame,a mix of her Poker Face and her Bad Romance with Judas. Why? ‘Cos she wasBorn this way!
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JeffREy Archer N
ext year will be the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth, and I did an interview yesterday for a BBC film to be shown later this year in honour of the great storyteller. Talking of 2012, the details of the route for the Olympic torch were released yesterday, and I had calls from both BBC Radio Cambridge and Radio Peterborough, who wanted to know about my 1948 Olympic torch which is coming up for sale in a charity auction on 27th June at Christie’s. In the evening, I went to Cause Celebre at the Old Vic, which was great fun, but if you can only choose between this production and Flare Path at the Haymarket - although they’re both outstanding - I’d recommend the latter. Rattigan would have been 100 years old this year, and is rightly being honoured in the West End.
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amanujam, the painter, died at the young age of thirty-three in 1973. The paintings and drawings that he put forth in an almost continuous stream within a short span of a decade are now among the prized possessions of art collectors and command impressive prices at auction houses such as Sotheby’s. Although Ramanujam perhaps never dreamt of being a famous artist whose work would be an art connoisseur’s delight, his dreams were made of a different stuff. He was a schizophrenic and a troubled soul struggling with the dark demons that haunted him. The late K.C.S Paniker once compared him to Somerset Maugham’s character, Charles Strickland, “who clutched his solitary gift of painting like drowning man a straw”. Born a mentally-challenged child into an orthodox family in Madras, he dropped out of school and perhaps his interest in painting was his refuge. His bewildered parents took him to the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Madras and K.C.S. Paniker, the then Principal of the College, took him as a student. From then on, he became possessed with his drawing
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and painting, continuously absorbing the craft and technique. He started churning out pictures that were almost a poignant and meticulous record of his “dream”. They were filled with strange presences in the form of fairies, demi-gods, palaces with arches, pillars and high domes. He inhabited his canvases like a master of ceremonies at a magical show of fantasies. His drawings became the medium to incarnate in a charmed life that was so tragically elusive to him. He had, as a student, made efforts to find himself among other people – he would re-invent himself in a new style of dressing and try to teach himself to smoke, but he could find acceptance only in his imaginary world as he delved deeper and deeper into his own inner self seeking refuge. Having lost his father early in life and being disowned by his siblings who found him burdensome, he sought solace in his attachment to his mother. Ramanujam confided in his teacher, K.C.S. Paniker, who would patiently sit through his animated narrations. “The army of muses came in search of me and from the shadow of the tree of shell I looked on them in sadness”. “I rested in the palm of a hand and the creepers gave me shelter.” These Ramanujam would express in Tamil and Paniker would translate and make titles for his fantastic drawings and paintings. Moving to Cholamandal Artists’ Village in the late 1960s along with the founding artists of the village seemed to give him some sense of community and belonging where he had his own bit of land under the sky. But even the recognition and attention he found through exhibitions, commissions for murals and paintings and some awards could not shield him from his loneliness. Interestingly, he did not mention any painter in particular, except Chagall occasionally, who influenced his work. His ‘dreams’ were drawn from Tamil mythology, film songs, Chandamama stories and nature. The last couple of years before he took his life, he sought to realize ‘dreams’ of a most magnificent splendor seeking to feel life.
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Exhibitions and Commissioned Work hh1965 - Participated in the Commonwealth Arts Festival, London, National exhibitions of art of the Lalit Kala Akademi and in the group exhibitions in Bombay, Madras and New Delhi hh1965 - Executed three mural drawings for the Hotel Connemara, Madras, commissioned by the architect Geoffrey Bawa. hh1966 - Inspired by K.C.S. Paniker and joined Cholamandal Artists Village, Madras. hh1972 - Cholamandal Artists Village Exhibition organized by UNICEF, New Delhi. hh1973 - Exhibition at Gallery Chemould, Bombay. hh1986 - Indian Art Today, Phillips Collection, Washington. hh1996 - Exhibition at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai. hh2004 - Manifestations II, organized by Delhi Art Gallery, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai and Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi. hh2005 - Manifestations III, organized by Delhi Art Gallery, Nehru Center, Mumbai and Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.
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Penélope on Caribbean Tides Q. Were you a fan of the first three films and how exciting was it to be offered the part?
Penélope Cruz on her first role in a high-budget action movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and her excitement in being associated with the franchise for several good reasons. 20 | JUNE 2011 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
A. Yes, I had seen the three of them and I loved them. I laughed out loud watching them. I was amazed by the character that Johnny created. I remember when I saw the first one, I was, like, “Wow, that’s so brave and so brilliant.” And I was very happy when Rob told me about the possibility of doing this together. We were in London finishing “Nine” and he asked me, “Would you like to be part of ‘Pirates 4’ with me and Johnny?” And I said, of course. I have never done a movie like that and to go back to work with them again was something that made me very happy. Of course, Johnny and I hadn’t worked together for ten years.
Q. What did you like about reuniting with Johnny and working with him on this? A. When we were together in “Blow,” we got along really well. We became friends. Then I didn’t see him for a long time, but now that I’ve spent a lot of time with him again, after all these years, it just gets better and better every day. And when I met him, one of the things that I was most surprised about was how humble he is. He’s so
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kind to everyone and so sweet and he has a really brilliant mind—smart, really clever, fast, really funny. He’s one of the funniest people I know and he has a very big heart. When you work with somebody like that it’s special. He’s a very unique human being. Q. You mentioned also reuniting with Rob. What is it about him as a director that you enjoy so much? A. I love Rob. I had a great experience working on “Nine.” I had always wanted to do a musical. He comes from the dance world. He’s a dancer and a choreographer, and I’ve been a student of dance. I’ve never been a professional dancer, but I danced for 17 years, so I know the discipline and the sacrifices that are required to become a professional dancer. And he was one, plus a choreographer, so the work ethic that he has, he brings to the movies. He brings it to the movie set and that affects the whole tone of the movie, affects the whole crew. He creates this beautiful family of people working in the same direction, and everybody wants to make him happy because of the way he is, the way he treats everyone. Rob can really handle an enormous amount of pressure and he will never lose his temper. He will never be disrespectful to anybody. I’ve never seen that and I’ve done two very long movies with him. So I really respect him for that because I know how hard it is when you are in charge of such a huge movie like this one and you have 400 people every day asking you questions and driving you crazy. And he has this sweet, soft tone all the time with everyone, and even when he was just sleeping three hours a day, he’s a gentleman, and it’s real, what you see from him. Rob has brought a lot of new things. He has brought more humor; also the movie is 3D for the first time and he’s brought romance for Sparrow for the first time. I play the first female pirate and that’s a tone that feels very fresh and very new, and very, very funny, and I’m very happy about that. I’m happy that I sat down to watch the movie and it really makes you laugh and it flies.
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It’s like a bullet. And then it’s over and really? That’s two hours? I don’t know exactly how long the movie is, but it goes by as if it was five minutes, and that’s all because of Rob. Q. You mentioned the first female pirate. Tell me about her character and what she’s like. A. Angelica is a pirate and she has the pirate mind; tricky, manipulative, dangerous when she has to be. She loves games, but she has a good heart and her motivation is always a good one. But she has a religious background and very strong values. So she’s full of contradictions and I think that’s what makes the character so interesting. She knows that to get what she wants, she has to be tricky and she has to manipulate, for example, Jack Sparrow. And she knows that to be his equal, she has to be a very good liar, a very good actress in life, a very good manipulator. So to get what she wants she’s capable of tricking anybody, but at the end, what she wants is something good.
Angelica is a pirate and she has the pirate mind; tricky, manipulative, dangerous when she has to be. She loves games, but she has a good heart and her motivation is always a good one
Q. She’s particularly good at tricking Jack. Tell me about the dynamic and what we find out about her. A. Angelica wants a type of personal revenge with Jack. But at the same time, she needs Jack because they are both on a mission where they need each other. So the whole time they are tricking each other but at the same time, they are helping each other. They have this dance with dialog that is very clever, very well written. I think we had a great script to work with. It was great to create that type of relationship with Johnny, but he and I are always fighting in the movies we do, because in “Blow,” where we were married, we fought in every single scene. And in “Pirates” we fight a lot, too, so we have to find one someday where we are not enemies. But it’s always enemies that love each other, you know. Q. Why does she need him? What’s the mission? What’s going on? A. They are both trying to find The Fountain of Youth and Angelica has
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Well, he’s really dangerous. I think it’s very clever to cast Ian McShane because he’s such a great actor information that he needs, and he has information that she needs. And for many different reasons, we need each other. So there they are, stuck on a boat, trying to play this card. And that was a lot of fun, very fun to do, to create that relationship. Q. What did you think when you first saw the ship; when you first stepped onto a pirate ship? A. It was incredible to shoot on that huge ship. It was so beautiful and we were shooting in the middle of the night sometimes until the sun came up. And it was really magical to shoot on that boat. But we were lucky we were in so many beautiful locations in Hawaii, in Puerto Rico, on that little island, Palominito, that was beautiful, in London, Los Angeles. We went to so many places with the movie. Q. What was it like getting to do that? Is it like being on an adventure to make this movie? A. One of the beautiful privileges of our work is that we get to travel so much to discover beautiful places. All the places we saw in Hawaii were so beautiful. And sometimes they take you to places that you would never see if you didn’t have this job or places where it’s hard to get to, or places where you need a special permit, like all the buildings they shot in England. We also get to learn to do other strange things like sword fighting.
and with my double…she’s amazing. I couldn’t do anything that was dangerous, and I was very protected by Rob and Johnny and Jerry and the studio and everybody. Q. Do you like the physicality? Do you like doing that kind of stuff? A. Yes. We approached the fight scenes like a dance number. In “Nine” we had a couple of very big musical numbers, and the same way we trained for those is how we trained for the fight scenes. Rob choreographed the fights almost like a dance. So that helped all of us to get it quicker. Q. You mentioned Blackbeard. What do you think makes Blackbeard such an interesting villain? A. Well, he’s really dangerous. I think it’s very clever to cast Ian McShane because he’s such a great actor and he brings something to the character that is completely anti-cliché; he brings truth to everything he does. And there is something in the eyes of that character that really makes you feel real fear. It’s never, “Oh, there’s the bad guy.” He created a very complicated personality and I love that and it’s very, very clever on Rob’s part to cast him for this. I think Ian’s great. I couldn’t imagine anybody better to play that because he’s really an amazing actor, and what a great voice he has.
Q. Tell me about learning the sword fighting. How do you prepare to be a female pirate?
Q. Your character wants to save him, but he also has edginess about him. You don’t know where he stands, correct?
A. I trained for two months before we started shooting. So I knew all the choreography. I trained with all the specialists and all the stuntmen
A. Yes. Angelica doesn’t want to admit that she cannot trust her father. She wants to give him a chance to change and she keeps fighting for that, but it’s
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Q. What do you think about this film? What is it that you enjoy about it? What is so special about this film? A. Well, there are not a lot of movies like this being made and I think there will be maybe less and less because it’s such a big production to put together. As an actor, to be part of one of these is a big privilege. Because first of all, you get to see from the inside how these movies are made. I love working in Europe and most of the times when I’m working in America, I tend to choose smaller projects with less action because that’s where I find the most interesting characters, but I have to say that here I found both. I found a very interesting character in a movie that is really big and it gave me the opportunity to see how those movies are made. And I love the pirate world because it’s so attractive and so interesting. So, for many reasons, it was great. I feel so lucky that I can be part of this movie. Q. Can you comment on the new things that people get to see, the mermaids and zombies, and how exciting those characters are? A. Everybody wants to see mermaids. We all fantasize about how mermaids would be if they were real. And the mermaids in this movie are beautiful, but they are dangerous. I remember on the set everybody wanted to see the girls, the mermaids, and to see the drawings of the pictures of how they would look at the end after all the special effects were finished. And now that I have seen it, it’s really beautiful. It’s very attractive and very sexy, and mysterious; really, really beautiful images that the filmmakers created. Q. And the zombies? What did you think when you saw them? A. I cannot really get scared of the zombies because they were all such great guys and we were together for six months. They were in makeup for five or six hours a day, some of them, and it’s amazing what the makeup department has created. All of them worked hard to get that look; they would wake up at 3:00 a.m.
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Centre Stage With
When you hear a band called White lady you canâ€™t help but wonder what these guys are all about. Are they anti-racist or the opposite? Maybe they are pro feminist or against it?
Left to right: Conrad Simmons, Amith Shivashanmugam, Darren Netto, Isai Amuthan, Eugene Savio Guest 26 | JUNE 2011 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
nd as one begins to start pondering ;it becomes increasingly clear that maybe the name was cleverly chosen to evoke just the kind of mixed reactions that you’re feeling right now. Either that or it was specifically used for one of the mentioned about. Now this is getting
the music scene over the last three years. The band’s vocalist Amith Shivashanmugam, has been playing with a few bands over the last 5 years, but he feels nothing about them compared to what he does with White Lady. With a vocal range that would even make Steven Tyler and Axl Rose proud, he has the ability of captivating
confusing! Once you’ve got past the name you start to think , what kind of music does White Lady play , and frankly you will be taken aback when you hear their first single named ( and not surprisingly) ‘White Lady’. That’s when everything becomes evidently clear. Or does it? The song is just as mysterious as the band name and with cleverly chosen lyrics, a haunting guitar riff and a bass line played together but on different scales you start to think that something sinister is taking place. What’s not so mysterious about the band and their main selling point is probably their no- nonsense ‘in your face approach’ to rock. The second single ‘Rock Star’ seems to talk about the obsession with becoming famous; again we can’t tell if it’s for or against it. Though the songs seem to borrow from the sounds of the 80’s and 90’s, there seems to be a modern flair to it. More interestingly they seemed to have achieved this without the use of electronic loops or any other gimmickry modern bands tend to use nowadays. It’s this fine line between staying true to the authentic rock sound and the modern flair to which it’s played that make White lady one of the most unique bands in the country today. And to think they’re only a few months old! The band is made up of musicians who have established themselves in
audiences from start to finish. And not surprisingly when asked, he sights Aerosmith and countless number of 80’s and 90‘s rock bands as influences. White Lady’s drummer and bass player are as rock n roll as they come. Eugene Savio Guest on drums says he plays all styles of music and has played for other bands but there’s no bigger feeling than putting out his brand of rock! Conrad Simmons on bass has a Classic Rock, Country and grunge background which is a brutal combination of talent, stage antics and adds beautiful harmonies along the way. The lead guitar players Darren Netto and Isai Amuthan in the band have been together since their mighty ‘CrossRoads’ days. Darren says he’s played with lots of guitarists and drummers, but the sound and understanding that they have on stage is a very potent weapon. “They make my job easy” he remarks. And if you’d go to their concert you’d see this chemistry he’s referring to.
In fact the first thing that hits you at a White lady concert is that everyone seems to have some leather on, an animal print here and there and , yes, even a trench coat! Watching them live, one gets to see the Red Indian-like attired vocalist storming across the stage in true
rock n roll fashion, guitarists moving between monitors and mikes, occasionally moving into the crowd with wireless technology, while the drummer packs a punch-everything seems chaotic but the sound remains brash and beautiful with unbelievably high vocals. Big Guitar riffs and intricate Guitar solos make everyone realize that this form of rock is not being played in the city often enough. With underground circulation of songs like ‘White Lady’ , ‘Rock Star’ , and the very commercial hard rock ‘Cricket for Peace’, the band have already made a name for themselves as songwriters. ‘Cricket for Peace’ was debuted on international radio during the ICC Cricket World Cup. Amith was asked to lend his vocals for the official World Cup album. The band will be headlining music festivals across the country all through June and July. Check out their shows if you get a chance. The band isn’t against covering a few songs. In fact they do some mean covers of AC/DC, Aerosmith and Guns n Roses thrown in along with White Lady songs. White Lady is all set to revive the interest in this forgotten form of rock. This is exactly what the world of rock needs.
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CINEMA MUSIC ART
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U P , U P AN D AWA Y ! Manoj Sreekumar His incredible powers are legendary, his famous red, blue and yellow costume is unmistakeable and the S-Shield emblazoned across his chest is iconic. Ask anybody around the world to describe him and you’re most likely to hear-“He is faster than a speeding Bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! He can leap tall buildings in a single bound!” Since his first appearance in June 1938, he has gone on to become the most flamboyant, powerful, charismatic and awe-inspiring character who is also the most recognized and loved superhero of all time! In the 73 years of his career, he has left his mark in the field of art, music and cinema and remains an inspiration to millions around the world. Any doubts as to why he is called SUPERMAN?
t all began way back in 1932, when writer JERRY SIEGEL and artist JOE SHUSTER had an idea of a bald telepathic villain who had plans for world domination. This character made an appearance in the short story “The Reign of the Super-Man” in the Science Fiction Fanzine published by Siegel in 1933. The pair then re-envisioned the character, making him a hero who would fight for social justice and against tyranny. Envisioning him to be the all-American icon, they also introduced the costume for the character using the red and blue theme from the American flag, with a big S on his chest and a flowing red cape. The design was partly based on the costumes worn by characters in outer space in the comic strips of the time and also by the traditional circus strong-man outfit, which comprised a pair of shorts worn over a contrasting bodysuit. With this idea in mind the duo began a 6 year quest in looking for a publisher, their search finally ending with ACTION COMICS, when in June 1938, Superman made his first appearance. The series became so popular, that by June 1939, the
publishers launched Superman into his own self-titled comic book, the first for any Superhero! In the original story, Superman is an alien by name Kal-El who is born on the planet Krypton to scientist Jor-El and Lara. Krypton exists in a different solar system that has a red sun referred by the Kryptonians as ‘Rao’. Jor-El discovers that the planet is to face destruction in a matter of a few days and announces his discovery to the Kryptonian Council. His theory gets dismissed and is laughed aside by the council. Feeling disgusted with them, he sets about building a spacecraft so that he can make good his family’s escape from the doomed planet. But Krypton moves into a state of imbalance and begins emitting a particular type of radiation that begins to take its toll on the natives. Realizing that he doesn’t have enough time to save his family, Jor-El rockets his infant son Kal-El from Krypton, programming the spacecraft to land on Earth- his preferred planet of choice! The spacecraft escapes an exploding Krypton in the nick of time and ends up crashing on a farm in an American town called Smallville,
where it is discovered by a farming couple Jonathan and Martha Kent. Being a childless couple, the Kents immediately adopt the surviving infant who has miraculously survived the crash and name him Clark Kent. The Kents bring up Clark imbibing him with American values and culture. From his early age, Clark feels that he is different from the other kids in school as he slowly begins to realize that he has extraordinary powers that enable him to fly at incredible speeds, see through objects, melt metals with his heat vision, freeze objects with his breath, hear conversations several miles away and is also indestructible. At first, he is shocked and confused as to the changes he is undergoing until the truth of his origin is revealed to him by Jonathan Kent who also shows his son the remnants of the spacecraft and clears all his doubts. Clark realizes that it is his dense Kryptonian molecular structure that makes him indestructible and that it is Earth’s Yellow Sun and lesser Gravity that provides him with all his other super powers, making him a human solar-powered battery. He understands his purpose on Earth and
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never-ending battle against villains on earth and beyond as Superman! THE ART
Cover of Issue 1 of Action Comics, June 1938, Artwork by Joe Shuster
swears to use his powers to serve and protect humanity. His parents approve and help by designing his costume. Realizing that he would not be able to save the world on a 24 hour basis and for the safety of those who are close to him, he assumes a secret identity, where he wears spectacles, acts mildmannered, walks with a hunch and also modulates his voice. Shortly after this, Jonathan Kent dies of a heart attack. Clark then decides to move to Metropolis to become a reporter, which he does at the Daily Planet, when he is recruited by its Editor Perry White. Around this time, Martha Kent also dies, making Clark feel that he’s been orphaned twice. He quickly settles into his new surroundings and his fellow colleagues including Jimmy Olsen and the Daily Planet’s ace reporter-Lois Lane. It is in Metropolis where he makes his first public appearance preventing an airplane crash, that Lois witnessing the event christens him as ‘Superman’ and promptly reports the same in the Daily Planet. She is also the first reporter who gets an exclusive interview with Superman through which the world gets to know about the phenomenon that he is. And thus begins the adventures of Kal-El as he fights a
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The adventures of Superman have been appearing in DC COMICS who own the franchise and the journey has gone through several transformations. In the comics, he is often referred to as ‘The Big Blue Boy Scout’, ‘Supes’, ‘The Man of Steel’, ‘The Man of Tomorrow’ and ‘The Last Son of Krypton’ and also gets romantically involved with Lois Lane and after a long courtship, eventually ends up marrying her. In fact, when he first meets Lois Lane, he wonders why does he end up with women with the initials LL, as his first crush was with a mermaid called Lori Lemaris, his childhood sweetheart was Lana Lang… even his Kryptonian cousin Supergirl assumes the secret identity of Linda Lee! Lex Luthor (LL again!), originally
Superman. The character has evolved from a scientist to the CEO of Lex Corporations- a billion dollar business enterprise and has also become the President of USA. Siegel and Shuster’s’ original idea of a bald villain looking at world dominion took its shape in Lex Luthor. Superman’s other villains include the android Brainiac, Mr. Mxyzptlk an imp from the fifth dimension, Darkseid the dark lord of Apokolips, Solomon Grundy- with whom he has had many violent battles, Bizarro, the imperfect duplicate of Superman, General Zod from Krypton to name a few. DC Comics slowly expanded the character’s supporting cast through the years. Superman’s back story was altered to allow for adventures as Superbaby, Superboy and other survivors of Krypton were created, including Supergirl and Krypto the Superdog. While the initial issues
Artwork by Curt Swan
his childhood friend, goes on to become his most significant rival, who constantly plots to bring Superman down and on some occasions even succeeds. Being extremely intelligent, Lex goes to great lengths to destroy
featured the artwork by Joe Shuster, the artwork by Jack Burnley, Fred Ray and Wayne Boring are the best remembered during the late 40’s. It was also during this time that the
Artwork by Jim Lee
S-Shield on his chest also evolved from being an inverted triangle with an S in it to the now famous pentagram with the stylized S against a yellow background. The same symbol also appears on his cape completely in yellow. During the late 50’s, 60’s and the 70’s, the artwork by George Perez, Kurt Schaffenberger and Curt Swan immortalized Superman all around the world. But it was Curt Swan who took Superman to the next level in terms of visual appeal, perfection and sheer awesomeness. His artwork is remembered even today the world over and is considered legendary in the comic book fraternity. The first significant overhaul attracting the media attention occurred in 1986, when artist/writer John Byrne revamped Superman not only visually but also altered several parts to the original story, like the Kents being alive and residing in Smallville to whom Superman makes frequent visits. However, the biggest event in comics book history occurred in the early 90’s when Superman encountered a new villain called Doomsday with whom he has the fight of his life and in the end dies while stopping him. The death of Superman
sent the whole world into a state of disbelief (it was even reported in Doordarshan’s news network) and in a brilliant storyline that followed; Superman was resurrected and brought back to life! Lois also marries
Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Hawkman. Over the years, Superman has also had several crossover projects where he is either teamed-up or is pitted against characters from other comic publications including Spider-Man, Tarzan, Fantastic Four, The Hulk, The Silver Surfer, The Thundercats, Aliens Vs. Predators. However, the series that remains a favourite with comic fans even today are his adventures with his best friend-BATMAN. Superman and Batman are the perfect juxtaposition of the opposites. Each is unique in his own way-the style, the costume, the methodology and the action. Superman admires and totally respects Batman for what he is and what he stands for, even though he does not always approve of his methods. He often consults with Batman and takes his advice on strategy and planning. It is also Batman who has trained Superman in the martial arts so that he can still defend himself, if he loses his powers! Superman completely trusts Batman and that is the reason why he gives the last bit of Kryptonite- the deadly remnant of his foster planet
Artwork by Alex Ross
Clark Kent in 1996. Superman also established and is the leader of the Justice League of America (JLA), comprising other superheroes from the DC universe including Batman,
that can actually kill him, to Batman, for him to use against him if he ever loses control of himself and goes on a rampage to destroy the world. The artwork by Alex Ross on both these characters is legendary as it features
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was again animated in 1966 in the animated series ‘The New Adventures of Superman’ which was even telecasted by Doordarshan in India during the 90’s. In 1978, motion picture history was made with the release of the first full fledged movie ‘Superman’ starring Christopher Reeve in the title role. Several A-list actors were considered for the role including Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman, Robert
Real Name: Clark Kent (Kal-El In Kryptonian) Occupation: Journalist Height: 6 Feet 3 Inches Weight: 225 Pounds Eyes: Blue Hair: Black
the most realistic portrayal of both Superman and Batman. Artist Jim Lee’s portrayal is also responsible for taking comic art to a whole new dimension. THE MOVIES Superman has appeared in various media aside from comic books. The first Superman cartoons appeared in 1941. In 1948, a filmed serial ‘Superman’ hit the movie theatres, with Kirk Alyn becoming the first actor to portray Superman on screen. From 1952-1958, a television series with 104 episodes titled ‘ Adventures of Superman’ starring George Reeves was telecast and appreciated by the American audience. In 1966, Superman was adapted for the stage in the Broadway musical ‘It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane…It’s Superman’. He
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Redford, Sylvester Stallone, Paul Newman, Christopher Walken, Nick Nolte, and Jon Voight. Both Neil Diamond and Arnold Schwarzenegger lobbied hard for the role, but were ignored. The script was initially written by Mario Puzo (for a $600,000 salary). Francis Ford Copolla, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were considered initially to direct the film which later went to Richard Donner, who had just delivered the blockbuster The Omen. Marlon Brando was signed on to play Jor-El with a salary of 3.7 million dollars and 11.75% of the box office gross profits. Oscar winner Gene Hackman was cast as Lex Luthor. Beating 200 unknown actors and after pumping himself from 170 to 212 pounds, the title role went to Christopher Reeve. Margot Kidder was chosen to play Lois Lane. In the movie, several concepts and items of imagery have been used in Biblical comparisons. Jor-El casts out General Zod from Krypton akin to Satan being cast out from Heaven. The spacecraft that brings Kal-El to Earth is in the form of a star (star of Bethlehem). Martha Kent upon discovering the
child says “All these years how we’ve prayed that the good Lord would see fit to give us a child”, which can be compared to the Virgin Mary. It gets very obvious when Jor-El says “Live as one of them Kal-El, to discover where your strength and power are needed. But always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack a light to show the way. For this reason, above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you…my only son”. The theme resembles the Biblical account of God sending his only son Jesus to Earth in hope for the good of mankind. In fact, the name Kal-El resembles Hebrew words that mean ‘voice of God’. The suffix ‘el’ meaning ‘of God’, is also found in the name of angels (Gabriel, Ariel). The movie opened in 1978, quickly grossing $300.22 million worldwide! It was at the time Warner Bros’ most successful release. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were very delighted with the movie. Featuring some of the most ground-breaking special visual effects, for which it won an Oscar, the film left movie goers spellbound as they were finally able to see Superman fly on the screen and carry out all his superhuman exploits. The romantic flying sequence between Superman and Lois Lane is even today remembered for its sheer movie magic. But the greatest impact on the world was Christopher Reeve. No other actor before and even after him has been able to portray Superman/ Clark Kent both convincingly and effectively. His voice modulation, body language and expressions were spot on for both the characters. Who can ever forget Superman falling to his knees with a dead Lois in his arms, looking up with anguish and finally erupting into the sky with a roar of anger, in what is arguably the most powerful scene from the movie? The film’s legacy helped to foster the establishment of the Superhero film genre. The film spawned 3 sequels, Superman II (1980), a blockbuster hit, Superman III (1983) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), which were both box office failures. In 1988, a live-action series ‘Superboy’ ran in
television from 1988-1992. In 1993, ‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’ premiered on television starring Dean Cain as Superman and Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane, focusing primarily on the relationship between Lois and Clark. This was followed by ‘Superman: The Animated Series’ which ran from 1996-2000. In 2001, a new television series was launched titled ‘Smallville’, focusing on the adventures of Clark Kent as a teenager before he dons the mantle of Superman which starred Tom Welling as Clark. For a long time, a new Superman movie was not able to take off owing to the so-called ‘Superman Curse’ that was doing the rounds in Hollywood. The mysterious death of George Reeves followed by the terrible horse riding accident of Christopher Reeve that left him paralysed with a broken spine, made
many actors believe that Superman was jinxed and though many plots and scripts were developed, no actor was ready to play the part: the common response being ‘Thanks! But no thanks!’ But all this was put to rest, when in 2006; the Bryan Singer directed ‘Superman Returns’ hit the screens featuring a new actor Brandon Routh as Superman. The movie which starred Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor and Kate Bosworth as Lois was loosely based as the sequel to the first two Christopher Reeve movies. Despite being a box office success, the movie was not appreciated by the fans and critics worldwide, who did not like the direction in which the franchise was heading to. To set things right and to rekindle attention, it has been confirmed that a new Superman film tentatively titled ‘Superman: The Man of Steel’ is to be filmed and is set
for a 2012 release. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen), the movie will feature Henry Cavill as Superman, making him the first non-American actor to play the part and will look to successfully re-start the Superman film series. THE MUSIC The ‘Superman Theme’ from the 1978 movie composed by John Williams remains to date the most recognized, powerful and remarkable movie theme ever composed. Said John Williams“Overall, this was one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on and among the most satisfying in my career. Right off, I saw the need for at least 3 major themes. One for Superman’s flying scenes, very strong and positive because he is, after all, a symbol of good. Then a love theme for Lois and Clark. Finally, a theme
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for the Planet Krypton”. Listening to the theme, one can actually feel the grandeur and glory of being Superman and it brilliantly captures the mood to complement his on-screen exploits. The theme has remained constant in all the 5 Superman movies made till date. Superman’s adventures and popularity has been an inspiration for musicians, with songs by numerous artists from different generations celebrating the character. Scottish singer/guitarist Donovan utilized the character in both the title and lyric in his single ‘Sunshine Superman’. The Kinks released a song in 1979 titled ‘(Wish I could fly like) Superman’. The Texas band The Clique also released their song ‘Superman’ which was later covered by the band R.E.M in 1986. Bryan Adams makes a reference in his song ‘Can’t stop this thing we started’ with the line ‘I ain’t Superman and I can’t Fly’. On the other hand, rapper Eminem in his song ‘Superman’ makes things very raunchy by assuring his lover about his love making abilities and that he’s super at it! American rock group Spin Doctors paid their tribute by naming their debut album ‘Pocket full of Kryptonite’ which featured the song ‘Jimmy Olsen’s Blues’- that deals with Jimmy Olsen, who is attracted to Lois Lane and is jealous of her romantic feelings for Superman. Following the success of both the album and the song, subsequent Superman comics depicted Jimmy Olsen wearing a Spin Doctors T-Shirt. Rock band 3 Doors Down released a very successful single ‘Kryptonite’ which featured the lines ‘If I go crazy would you still call me Superman?’ ‘Superman’s Song’ by the band Crash Test Dummies, explores the isolation and commitment inherent in Superman’s life. But the song that really nails it is ‘Superman (It’s not Easy)’ by the band Five for Fighting. This song presents itself from Superman’s point of view and dwells on the emotions that he goes through on a daily basis, the burden he carries on himself and concludes by declaring that it’s not easy being Superman.
Superman has also left his impact in the world of fashion. Countless musical artists have performed displaying Superman Shirts, belts, costumes. Rock Star Jon Bon Jovi has a permanent tattoo of the Superman Shield on his left arm. Many celebrities around the world have been spotted wearing a Superman Shirt either at events or in films, serials and interviews. Empire magazine named Superman the greatest comic book character of all time. Superman came at number 2 in VH1’s Top Pop Culture
Artwork by John Byrne
Icons in 2004. In Feb 2010, an original Action Comics #1 was sold at an auction for $1,000,000! Still remaining culturally relevant, Superman was placed 1st on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes in May 2011. In the last seven decades of his career, he has gone from strength to strength, leaving his mark in art, cinema, music, and fashion and becoming a cultural Icon who is most definitely here to stay and is poised to take off even higher in the decades to follow. He is faster than a bolt of Lightning. He can stop a missile with two fingers. He can mould titanium between his molars like gum. His name is Kal-El. He calls himself Clark Kent. But the world knows him as SUPERMAN.
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June 1, 1926 Marilyn Monroe was born at the Los Angeles County Hospital. Monroe’s birth certificate names the father as Edward Mortenson. December 6, 1926 Christened as Norma Jeane Mortenson on December 6th 1926 at the Hawthorne Foursquare Church April 18, 1944 Arranged by her mother-in-law, Norma Jeane takes her very first job at the radio plane corporation and is assigned the task of spraying varnish on plane fuselages. August 26, 1944 Photographer David Conover takes pictures of Norma Jeane as part of the Army’s assignment to boost morale for the boys overseas. August 2, 1945 Norma Jeane signs with Emmeline Snively’s Blue Book Modeling Agency. Emmeline Snively, director of the Agency, told Norma, “You’d better learn secretarial work or else get married.”
March 11, 1946 Illustrator Earl Moran paid Norma Jeane ten dollars an hour to pose in various costumes, as well as topless, at his Sunset Strip studio in sessions from 1946 to 1949. April 26, 1946 Norma Jeane appears on her First National magazine cover, “Family Circle”. August 2, 1946 She applies to Blue Book Modeling Agency. August 26, 1946 First studio contract with Fox. Changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. October 12, 1947 Marilyn appears in the play ‘Glamour Preferred’ with the Bliss-Hayden Miniature Theatre Company. The theatre is now called The Beverly Hills Playhouse. July 20, 1947 In just a swimsuit and heels, Marilyn poses for photos at Fox’s Annual Golf Tournament and Dance held at the Brentwood Country Club.
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May 27, 1949 Marilyn poses nude across a curtain of wrinkled red velvet. October 23, 1951 Marilyn appears on the cover of Look magazine for the first time. March 29, 1951 Dressed in a dark violet chiffon gown and white fox stole, Marilyn attends the Academy Awards, where she presents the Oscar for Best Sound Recording. September 1, 1951 Marilyn begins study with acting teacher Michael Chekhov. September 8, 1951 First full length feature in Collierâ€™s magazine. April 7, 1952 Marilyn appears on LIFE magazine cover for the first time June 26, 1953 Marilyn and Jane Russel place their hand footprints in the forecourt of Graumanâ€™s Chinese Theater.
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December, 1953. “Golden Dreams”, the second nude pose of Marilyn was used to launch the premiere issue of Playboy magazine. September 14, 1954 On September 14, 1954, Monroe filmed the skirtblowing scene for The Seven Year Itch in front of New York’s Trans-Lux Theater. December 31, 1955 Formed her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, with Milton H. Greene February 23, 1956 Obtained order from the City Court of the State of New York to legally change her name from Norma Jeane Mortenson to Marilyn Monroe. February 9, 1960 The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce awards Marilyn a star on the ‘Walk of Fame’. Its address is 6774 Hollywood Boulevard. March 8, 1960 Marilyn wins a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Comedy for Some Like It Hot. March 5, 1962 Marilyn wins a Golden Globe award for Female World Film Favorite.
Female Movie Star of “All Time”!
May 19, 1962
June 1, 1995
Marilyn sings “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” at a celebration of President John F Kennedy’s forty-fifth birthday, ten days before the actual day of his 45th birthday.
The first Marilyn Monroe stamp released in the United States Postal Service’s Legends of Hollywood series, issued June 1, 1995.
May 28, 1962
Marilyn is listed No. 8 in the UK’s Empire Magazine’s “Top 1OO Movie Stars of All Time”!
Marilyn is photographed nude during the filming of the Something’s Got To Give pool scene. June 1, 1962 Marilyn makes her final public appearance at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. June 22, 1962 Marilyn appears on the cover of Life Magazine for the last time before her death. August 5, 1962 Marilyn is found dead in her Brentwood home, her death was ruled as a “probable suicide” due to an overdose of sleeping pills. October 1, 1995 Marilyn is voted in UK’s Empire Magazine’s Sexiest
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October 1, 1997
October 1, 1998 Marilyn is voted Playboy’s Magazine’s “Sexiest Female Star of the Twentieth Century”. December 1, 1999 Playboy Magazine names Marilyn as “The No. 1 Sex Star of The Twentieth Century”! December 1, 2003 The first Playboy magazine cover, featuring her, is pictured on one of six stamps issued in a souvenir sheet, issued by Grenada & the Grenadines on December 1, 2003.
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JACK is back! For Johnny Depp, making “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” was, quite simply, a labor of love. The film marks the fourth time he’s played Captain Jack Sparrow and he relished the opportunity to step back into his old friend Jack’s boots. “After finishing ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,’ somewhere in the back of my head I was thinking ‘I sure hope that I get the chance to play Jack again…’ I kind of expected that somebody would come round a couple of years later and say, ‘Hey, we have this idea…’” And, to Depp’s delight, that’s exactly what happened. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer—who has steered all of the “Pirates” films to the big screen— and writers Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott based their story on a novel by Tim Powers and presented the idea to Depp. The actor said “yes” and “On Stranger Tides” was ready to set sail. “On Stranger Tides” is a stand-alone adventure that sees Jack set out on an epic journey to search for the fabled Fountain of Youth with a host of adversaries—some old, some new— determined to stop him. “The main quest is to find the Fountain
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of Youth,” says Depp. “But Jack’s not the only one interested in finding it; there is King George II, there’s the Spanish and there are other pirates, including Blackbeard.” For Depp, the screenwriters have come up with a story that is exciting, spectacular, funny and romantic and, in style and pace, pays homage to “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” which launched one of contemporary cinema’s most successful franchises eight years ago. “I think the story is more simplified,” he says. “Things are a little bit more clear-cut in ‘Pirates 4’ and it really feels like it’s close to the spirit of the first one. We introduce these characters and they get from point A to D to Z without too much meandering or subplot or too many complications.” Playing Jack occupies a special place in Depp’s heart. “There’s a great safety and a great comfort in playing Captain
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Penélope is a heavy hitter; you can throw all kinds of stuff out there into the atmosphere and she’ll snatch up something and just throw a curve ball back at you, so she is very stimulating
piece action scenes in “On Stranger Tides.” Marshall had a clear vision and expected these complex sequences to be executed with pitch-perfect timing, he notes. “He was incredibly efficient. It was like ‘I don’t think we need this.’ Boom, done. His approach was ‘let’s stay true to the heart of the story and have fun while we’re doing it.’ He has an incredible sense of timing. “And his timing, his delivery, comes out of his knowledge of choreography. But boy, if you’re off just the slightest second in terms of delivery, he was on it,” says Depp. The film opens with a spectacular chase through a labyrinth of cobbled streets in 18th century London, where Jack Sparrow is perched precariously on the back of a horse- drawn carriage as he tries to escape the King’s men. Depp worked closely with a stunt double but filmed many of the chase scenes himself. “It is important because there’s a physical language to the character that I think is important and even though the stunt double has
Jack,” he explains. “Because you have license to be anything you want to be, essentially. “You can be completely irreverent, totally subversive, absolutely abstract in any and all situations, so there’s a real safety net. There’s a real pleasure for me to play Jack and having done it a few times, I know him so well that he just comes so naturally.” A mammoth 107 day shoot would see the production travel the world— from Hawaii to Puerto Rico, from Los Angeles to London, where the film finally wrapped—before director Rob Marshall (“Chicago,” “Nine”) would head to his editing suite to put the finishing touches to his film. With Gore Verbinski, who directed the first three films, moving on to other projects, it was time for another filmmaker to bring his own magic to the pirate world. For Depp, and indeed his fellow cast members, Rob Marshall was the perfect choice to
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take over the reigns. “Certain names were mentioned,” says Depp, “and when Rob’s name came up I thought, ‘That’s got to be it. Let’s just hope he’s a nice guy.’ I’ve seen all of his films and he’s got a great sensibility. He’s got a great and unique approach to characters; his aesthetic sense is magnificent and his timing is perfect. So we sat down and talked, and from the first second I knew he was the guy. I just knew it. “I don’t think there’s anyone better who could have come in and followed Gore. Rob’s approach was very respectful of what Gore built in the first three films but at the same time he has his own signature. He gave it a very new angle; he brought a brandnew pair of eyes and a fresh look.” Marshall’s impressive résumé includes both theatre and musicals and that background, says Depp, proved to be invaluable when it came to choreographing the many set-
got it down to a fine science, there are still times when you have to see Captain Jack’s head in there now and again,” he laughs. Physical comedy is an essential part
of the mix on a “Pirates” film and Depp loves it. “Oh yeah, I do. I love it because all my great heroes were basically silent film guys who didn’t have the luxury of words—it was all body language and stuff. “And the beauty of the specific physical bits in ‘On Stranger Tides’ is that we had Rob Marshall on board. Coming from that background of movement and dance he could sense a false note. He was fully and deeply committed to the work and he was magnificent every single moment—he didn’t miss a trick,” comments Depp. “On Stranger Tides” saw Depp reunited with some of the cast from previous “Pirates” films, including Kevin McNally who plays Jack’s right hand man, Joshamee Gibbs, and Geoffrey Rush as Depp’s arch foe, Captain Hector Barbossa. “Kevin is great and Joshamee is Jack’s ever-loyal second in command,” Depp says. “And you still have that great dilemma between Jack and Barbossa.” In the past, Jack and Barbossa have been sworn enemies but in “On Stranger Tides” they forge an uneasy alliance to search for the Fountain of Youth. Depp clearly loves his oncamera verbal dueling with Rush.
‘n‘ roll legend Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones guitarist first made an appearance as Captain Teague— Jack’s wayward father—in the third film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” in 2007, and he’s back again for number four, much to Depp’s delight. “Keith was more than ready to come back,” he smiles. “As long as it made sense in the context of the story. And I thought the way that Terry [Rossio, writer] handled bringing him back was wonderful. He comes in at just the right moment and kind of takes care of his boy—he takes care of Jack. “I first met Keith back in about 1994 or 1995 and we became friendly back then and we’ve hung out together over the years. And it was great to have him back for ‘On Stranger Tides’ because he was wonderful and he was so much fun,” says Depp. “He’s a fascinating man, you know. I’ve known him for a long time and to get periods like that where it’s just him and me hanging out, sitting around in the trailer yakking about
with her own agenda who is his equal in every way. Depp and Cruz last worked together ten years ago on the contemporary thriller “Blow” and have stayed firm friends. “Penélope is a serious force to be reckoned with,” says Depp, smiling. “We did a film together years ago called ‘Blow’ and it was wonderful to work with her then and wonderful to see her on ‘Pirates.’ She really is a treat.” Depp continues, “Penélope is a heavy hitter; you can throw all kinds of stuff out there into the atmosphere and she’ll snatch up something and just throw a curve ball back at you, so she is very stimulating. She is someone I adore—one of my best friends and it’s been great having her here. Another new character is Blackbeard, one of the most feared pirates who ever lived, played with relish by Ian McShane. “The beauty of the character of Blackbeard is that on the surface he seems to be a rational man,” Depp explains.
“Jack and Barbossa have like a ‘lovehate’ relationship,” he says. “And it’s almost on the level of like an Abbott and Costello kind of thing. I’ve always felt that Geoffrey and I were put in the ‘Pirates’ films to bicker like a couple of old housewives at a bridge club or something. “We’re just picking each other apart with the tiniest details and he’s definitely a most worthy opponent. In this one Barbossa’s changed quite a bit and not for the better. Everybody is kind of out for their own thing,” explains Depp. “Geoffrey’s a fantastic actor who is constantly investigating the possibilities of a scene, the possibilities of moments. It’s always fresh, always new and it’s always interesting with Geoffrey.” Another “Pirates” veteran is rock
music, movies, whatever, was a real pleasure.” A host of new characters also joined the “Pirates” adventure this time around. Penélope Cruz plays Angelica, a woman from Jack’s checkered past
“But then the more you get to know him the more you realize that he’s a stone-cold killer without an ounce of heart. He would double-cross anyone to achieve his objective. “Historically, Blackbeard was the
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fiercest of them all—he was the guy who would stop at nothing and he was totally unpredictable. And I don’t think there was a better actor to play him than Ian McShane. “Ian was a gas and an absolute blast to be around. I think ‘seasoned’ is the right word to use to describe him because he’s done the work and he’s been there for a long time. He still enjoys the process and he loves what he does and he does it really,
well—flawlessly, effortlessly, and seamlessly,” says Depp. The production filmed at some of the historic landmarks in Greenwich, London, including the Royal Naval College, for a sequence that will link up with the chase scenes filmed on a huge dockside set built at Pinewood Studios. “I think it’s interesting to see Jack
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wandering the streets of London. It’s interesting to see him in a London pub or for that matter, in great proximity to the King of England,” he laughs. “So I thought it was a great idea to shoot there, and to film at the Royal Naval College was really, really magnificent—it was like time-traveling as far as I was concerned. It just looked so perfect,” comments Depp.
against the teachers and we’d love it if you could come and help.” Depp and a group of extras from the film duly did exactly that—surprising Beatrice and her classmates at a hastily arranged school assembly.
During the shoot in Greenwich he turned up in costume dressed as
“That was nice,” he says. “And it happened so innocently and that was the beauty of it. This little letter came from the school and went to the production; the production passed it on to one of the guys I work with and
Captain Jack Sparrow to surprise, and delight, children at a London school. One of the pupils at the Meridian Primary School in Greenwich, 9-yearold Beatrice Delap, heard that Depp was filming nearby and wrote asking Captain Jack for some help.
I read it and thought ‘we have to do this.’ And the school was about 300 yards away. It was just me and a bunch of pals dressed as pirates and we gave them 15 to 20 minutes of improv. It was great and those kids were so sweet.”
“We’re a bunch of budding young pirates,” she wrote. “And we were having a bit of trouble mutinying
In addition to the new “Pirates” experience of shooting some scenes in London, Depp had another first: “On
Stranger Tides” was filmed entirely in 3D. “It was my first time shooting in 3D, although ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was rendered in 3D. It’s different; it’s an interesting process,” says Depp.
future. Indeed, he reveals that once he had finished “On Stranger Tides,” there was a small sense of loss at leaving Jack behind. “When you’re done playing Jack there’s a real decompression. To an extent there is with all the characters that you play, but with Jack, especially, it’s like getting out of that skin and it’s semi-unpleasant because I like being in that skin. I really enjoyed it,” comments Depp.
“For the last 25 years when they reloaded the camera it was this giant magazine that they clipped on to the back. And now it’s re-loaded with a computer chip. It’s interesting and fascinating because your relationship to the lens becomes different,” Depp
explains. Depp points out that the four Pirates movies simply wouldn’t have happened without producer Jerry Bruckheimer. “He knows these films so well. I’ve been in umpteen script meetings with the guy and there’s never a false note and he always comes up with really great ideas. “He’s always the guy that says ‘don’t
worry about it, we’ll get it taken care of.’ The best way to sum him up is to say that he really produces and he allows all of us to be in an atmosphere that’s conducive to making something interesting, something different,” says Depp. For Depp, simply stepping back into the wondrous world of “Pirates of the Caribbean” is a joy and he doesn’t rule out playing Captain Jack again in the
“And I don’t mind the idea of stepping back into Jack’s boots again. I love the character and I don’t feel like there’s any possibility of running out of new situations, new stories to tell. So depending on the scenario, depending on what we can come up with, I would most definitely consider it.”
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The Photojournalist and a Historian!
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hile classical music masters are looking for the divine through their music, the great photojournalist Raghu Rai looks through his lens to capture the soul of his subjects. Raghu Rai, another great name in the history of Indian photography based his career on the coverage of the native Indian land. Rai became a photographer quite by chance, when he chased a donkey for three hours and clicked a picture in the end. He trained as a civil engineer in the early 1960s, but did the job for a year in Delhi and hated it. His elder brother was already earning a living taking pictures and suggested to Rai that he accompany a friend on a shoot to take photographs of children in a local village. When he got there, Rai’s interest was sparked not by the children but by a donkey foal in a nearby field. India’s most celebrated photographer, Raghu Rai became a photographer in the year 1965 when he joined The Statesman, a daily New Delhi publication. He became a freelance photographer in 1976 and did some extraordinary work with his camera. Later in the 1990’s he joined India Today as the director of photography and till the year 1997 he served on the jury for World Press Photo.
The renowned Raghu Rai is immensely famous and acclaimed because of his extraordinary work featuring the Bhopal Gas tragedy. Raghu Rai arrived in Bhopal hours after the gas leak to find chaos, as the dead were being buried and the hospitals overflowing with thousands of patients. Rai realized he was witnessing a disaster of unprecedented proportions and the start of a long nightmare for the gasexposed survivors. One of his pictures from the same went on to win the Press Photo of the year 1984. Also highly acclaimed is his work with Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity. Raghu Rai had featured regularly in some of the world`s leading publications including Time, Life, Paris Match, National Geographic, New York Times, Sunday Times. He also won a Padmashree in the year 1971 and compelled the world’s prestigious Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris to put up a permanent exhibition of 25 of his best works. Championed in the west by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Rai joined Magnum Photos in 1977 and went on to judge the World Press Photo Awards from 1990 to 1997. His impressive body of work is now being featured in a retrospective at the Aicon Gallery in central London and in a landmark exhibition at the White Chapel, charting 150 years of photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Later Rai had teamed up with another master of the writing craft- author Khushwant Singh, to bring out a coffee table book, titled, The Sikhs. The 12 inch by 12 inch, 144-page coffee table hardback is a treasure trove of rare glimpses into the Sikh community’s beliefs, rituals, traditions and culture. It showcases through pictures why the Sikhs are an assertive and extrovert people with a zest for life. In his book, “India’s Great Masters: A Photographic Journey into the Heart of Classical Music” many famous and illustrious names including Bismillah Khan, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Ravi Shankar and Bhimsen Joshi are portrayed quite soulfully. The portraits of Raghu Rai depict famous classical music exponents deep in meditation and in a state of ecstatic release. The way Raghu Rai takes his pictures speaks volumes about his personality and his non intrusive style. Not all of his work deals with brutal subject matter. Many of his photographs of daily life in India are full of humor and affection. Often, his images intrigue rather than merely entertain, causing the viewer to question what they are seeing. According to him, two things are important for a good photograph: It should have the freshness of vision and must have the power to stay alive.
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Romance and Revenge in Nandini Reddy
dark comedy inspired by the “The Visit” by FriedichDuerrenmatt which was an eclectic mix of street theatre styles with some very creative props combined with some excellent music made for a perfect evening at the theatre. The story begins with a village, Pichampuram eagerly welcoming back Ms Meena to her home town after nearly two decades during which she has become an iconic film star. She is back to seek revenge on her ex-lover who humiliated her and left her with child. Now Ms Meena offers a suffering village the chance at a good life if only they would agree to kill her former paramour, Ravi. The play with its mixture of humour, pathos and musical elements had us laughing, crying and tapping our feet. The play definitely ends with a macabre portrayal of Ms Meena and the villagers who are willing to go to any extent for their own gain. The brilliant script by RashmiDevadasan and direction of Rajiv Krishnan has
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made for some engaging theatre. The story also showcased the lure of cinema and how everyone blindly gets attracted to the glamorous medium. It also showcased the moral and ethical dilemma of the villagers who had to choose between their friend and a prosperous life. The characters represented also pick up from everyday stereotypes. The
use of several languages like Hindi, Tamil, Kannada along with the major part of the play being in English added to bring in an extra dose of authenticity. The was really a story within a story – the past events that led to this gruesome decision by Ms Meena are showcased through a film
shoot, while along the way there are several situations showcasing the angst of Ravi and the desperation of the villagers. With some exemplary performances by the cast who doubled as musicians and even sometimes as being part of the set, Ms Meena was a stellar play that was a sheer delight to watch. The timing of the cast and the ease with which they switched from various characters to village folk to film crew with minimal costume change was exceptional. KarunaAmarnath as Ms Meena had audiences hooked with her portrayal. Anish Victor’s depiction of Ravi as a man defeated and unable to climb out of the situation of impending death was excellent. There was hardly a set to consider but the phenomenal way in which the actors utilized the props helped transport the audience from a village square to a departmental store to a film set and also to a jungle with a cascading waterfall. One definite highlight is the manner in which simple props were used to construct a Ganesh and also stimulate a train sequence. The costumes that transformed into a variety of ensembles with just basic additions were a brilliant design by KaveriLalchand. Ms Meena which was on at The Museum Theatre, from June 3rd to 5th was a joint effort of Performers in Chennai (Perch) from Chennai and Rafiki, from Bangalore.
“Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.” — Lady Gaga I’m here to fight for truth, and justice, and the American way. — Superman Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. — Marilyn Monroe
I don’t pretend to be captain weird. I just do what I do. — Johnny Depp
Contest of the month Win a surprise gift by answering this simple question.
Q: When did the first Superman Comic appear? Rush in your entries before June 30th to rathy@ brandmuni.com. The right answer will win a surprise gifts from
Previous Contest Winners
Congrats to Anand Nat & Prateek Kotha on winning the Pirates of the Caribbean contest. They win a Pirate T-shirt sponsored by Pirates of the Caribbean team.
Follow our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/thebrewmagazine to participate in many more exciting contests. Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | JUNE 2011 | 51
Conversations at Caffe Pascucci Rathy
Musician Devan talks about his interests and future projects
Initiation into the music industry: I was a heavy metal guitar player. I used to play with a local South Indian band called Geethanjali at New Jersey. Over time we found ourselves playing for Singers who were touring USA at that time like Yesudoss, SP Balasubramaniam and others. My big break came when I signed up with Magnasound. I did my first album with them. Madhava Das of Magna sound has always been my mentor. First they came out with a compilation of songs by various budding artists. This album was “Dance Party” and my song was “Maligai Poove”. After that, each artist was given a chance to come out with their own album. That was my first very own album, “Kamban Oru Kannile”. Working with ARR: In the year 1999 I received an unexpected call from the veteran music director, A.R.Rahman’s assistant. I seriously believed it
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was a crank call and missed it thrice. Then I realized it was really Rahman’s assistant. I was called for a voice audition by his assistant, got a chance to sing for a song in the movie Khadalar Dhinam where I sang the song “Oh Maria” along with Yugendran. Working with Different Music Directors: It was a great experience working with well established music directors of the industry. The chance of singing was a fluke for me. I was working with S.P.B. Charan as his guitarist and just asked him to let me sing. From there on I have come along a great way. My Career Path so far: Each level has been a stepping stone for me. After 2-3 years of singing in the Tamil film industry, I got a chance to dub for the lead character of the ‘Little John’ movie. Here the requirement was to speak with a US accent but also needed to know enough Tamil. I was considered apt for this. Then I got a
chance to act as a character artist in the movie “Parthiban Kannavu” But I was more interested in staying back in the music industry rather than branching out my interests. That was when I got a chance to work with Harish Raghavendra on his next project “Mudhal Mazhai” Then my mentor, Madhava Das had started a new venture called Desibeats (2006). I did 5 video songs for him with each video shot in a different exotic location. Around 2007, I had come out with my first Telugu Album “Cheppana
Photography: Rathy Location: Caffe Pascucci
Prema” and had gone closer to Naresh Iyer. I also went to compete in a music reality show named “Mission Ustad” on a major national channel.
and I found myself as a Music Director. I had to wait almost ten years to get a nice project that I felt closer to my heart.
Then I worked with A.R.Rahman again for the background score of Jodha Akbar. And I signed to act in Jayam Kondan in 2008.
The whole music fraternity supported me with this project. One of the songs “Happy” was completely different. Here each line was sung by a different singer and except Malaysia Vasudevan every one appeared in the video. Here again I couldn’t have achieved this without the support of my fellow singers.
As a Music Director: When I returned from the European tour, my good friend Sudha Chandresekhar was on the lookout for a music director. I just volunteered
It was a stunning experience. All of the
singers took off to Pondicherry on a 5 day holiday and the song was pictured there. Each singer came to the spot, did their part and went back to their vacation. It was major fun. My association with Social Media: Social media has always been a positive platform for me. I have met many singers through Orkut and Facebook. All of my International concerts have been arranged mainly through the Orkut or Facebook. And I have a tour in Canada next week which
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was arranged through a Facebook contact. Lyrics or Composition: I prefer working with lyrics and composing a tune around it. A perfect example is “Kangale Kamalayalam” song from Bale Pandiya movie. Lyricist Thamarai wrote an andhadi format for the song and I worked the tune completely on it without changing the lyrics even a bit. Future Projects: My next movie with Alwin Peters, “Pattarai” is a character movie and has a rustic touch to it. This is a script based movie and very different from my first project. I am looking forward to working with leading music artists of the field and want to really contribute to the Tamil music industry.
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Published on Jun 12, 2011
Penelope Cruz on Caribbean Tides | Johnny Depp is back again | Fly away with Superman | Catch up with the photojournalist Raghu Rai | Rememb...