Twinkle toes 
She could still put the North Star to shame. In city to meet up with her husbands’ relatives, we have an opportunity to meet Vyjayanthimala Bali 
Jasmine Singh

VEILED in restricted captivity and yet shining radiantly in it, she enters the room with a calmness that traverses her entity. Age, as if, caught up with her for a while and then left with a promise to return, but hasn’t still. And she, in the meantime, savours every minute of her life, soaked in an ecstatic flight of spirituality called dance. It’s life for her and the only form of bhakti she has known.

“Dance is a form of devotion, a discipline, a religion, the way to connect to god,” says Vyjayanthimala Bali. And, coming from the reigning queen of the 60s, we know it’s not a statement but an omnipresent truth that she has lived by throughout her life and still is.

It’s difficult to get your eyes off her, beautiful and impish. Yes, only Vyjayanthimala could have played the scary girl darting nervously in the mahal trying to hide a raaz or of the legendary Buddhist seductress courtesan Amprapali or that of bold village girl in Sangam.

If only a spectator’s gaze could make for copy, but we have to slip into the real world. So, what brings Vyjayanthimala and son Suchindra to the city? “A family visit,” she reveals. “I came to Chandigarh in 1982 for my niece’s wedding in Ludhiana. It’s been a long gap. I always wanted to visit the Golden Temple and managed to do so for the first time in my life during this visit,” tells the actor, looking radiant in a maroon sari, with a long tikka and an arty neckpiece. “It was a beautiful spiritual experience. I interacted with the holy men who explained us everything; I did the parikrama and then sat inside the temple with my eyes closed, lost in the beautiful hymns. And then had the jal, can’t tell you how peaceful it was,” she narrates.

Any special reason behind the visit? “No, I visit all temples and dhaams. I am a spiritual person,” the dancing queen adds. Spiritual she is, why else would she be dancing. “Dancing is a form of spirituality,” tells Vyjayanthimala, who made her debut in Hindi cinema with Bahaar, highly praised because of her dances embedded in mudras, movements and various gestures. For the actor, bharatnatyam is a form of bhakti, which offers direct contact with god. “Dance atma ka milan parmatma se karwata hai,” she adds.

Besides her ability as an actress – also her greatest legacy to Indian cinema — Vyjayanthimala has always had a dance sequence evoking classical dance associations in practically every film. “Films didn’t take me away from dance,” she tells. “Films are also a form of fine art that include dramatisation and acting. You have to be quick with your reflexes so that the audiences understand,” offers Vyjayanthimala, who got her a break in AVM Tamil movie Vazhkai when she was barely 15.

For an actor who has been witness to the glorious period of Hindi cinema, worked with stalwarts, danced her way into the hearts of millions, seen the glitz and glamour, how is life in oblivion? “Looking back, I have no regrets. I was never chasing success. Plus, I like to live in the moment. Back then I worked and lived every moment and now, I am living the present,” says the charming lady, who refused the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress award for her role in Devdas in 1956 because it was against her principles. “My grandma taught me never to take praise to your head and criticism to your heart. I’ve had a fruitful career, which I chose to quit after marriage with Mr Bali,” she shares.

Mere mention of her real hero brings a glint to her eyes. “He was always very encouraging. My grandmother and Mr Bali share so many qualities,” she laughs in a childlike manner. Not many know the actor has an awesome sense of humour and Mr Bali’s relatives, D.S. Grewal, Harjit Kaur, Parminder Bains, Harinder and Parneet Grewal validate it.

It’s been almost 40 years we last saw her on screen. Vyjayanthimala has since devoted life to her family, sharing a bit with politics and mostly for the seva of dancing tradition. But a lot has changed in Hindi cinema. It is an industry now that reaps dividends in crores and has an international reach. Not only this, it has new vocabulary — packaging, marketing, selling, corporatising... “We never had these things before,” says the lady, who was part of Hindi cinema and not Bollywood. “We had defined scripts, the actors would know the beginning and the end of the story, there was dances and not gyrations. Roles were realistic and portrayed with equal sincerity,” adds Vyjayanthimala, looking at her son who wants to work in a movie that offers him a complete package.

But the 360-degree change has had no affect on her sadhna. “I am busy with my research on reviving the rare and forgotten temple dance forms of India,” she tells. “One lifetime is not enough for my service to dance,” and she leaves the room to be photographed by equally besotted photo journos.

Great expectations

WHAT is the most challenging task for a child? To live up to the name of his parents and also make his own name. It holds true for Vyjayanthimala’s son, Suchindra, also in the city. “We are like buddies and I am proud of the fact that she is my mother,” tells the bespectacled guy, a law graduate from Columbia University.

Movies must have been a natural choice for Suchindra? “I completed my studies before getting on with movies. I did a couple of cameos in Hindi films, but acting was the last thing on my mind,” he tells. Suchindra will now make his debut as a solo hero in a Tamil movie. “For me to do a movie, it should have a good script followed by a good banner and director. Infact, the whole package should be good,” offers Suchindra, who doesn’t speak much. “Given a choice I would love to do action movies,” he signs off. Actions speak louder than words?

Dialling for disaster
If you thought the cellphone would only bring you closer to your partner, Jasmine Singh has news for you 

DID you ever think that your mobile phone could cause problems in your marriage? According to a study conducted last year, mobile phone is the new villain. The excessive use of mobile phone was responsible for about 8,000 out of a total number of 9,800 marital disputes. That is, over 80 per cent of the cases registered with the Crime Against Women Cell.

Any call made or attended in the middle of the night can raise suspicion. Even calls after office hours are looked at as a kind of hushed romance. The sensitivity of relationships now rests upon the tiny gizmo. Ever thought?

Maheep Virk, a homemaker from Sector 11 married into a business family, loathes the word mobile phones. “Why don’t we ban mobile phones at homes? They are irritating to the core.” And she tells us why? “As it is I don’t get to spend much time with my husband, because of his work. And when we do meet…it is even worst,” she sulks. “Mani’s (as she fondly calls her husband) phone is constantly ringing. And he cannot ignore them as most of them are related to business. I feel so infuriated,” tells Maheep. “This cell phone is spoiling everything. I wish I could hide it somewhere.”

Ditto is the case with this newly married couple Jashan and Ekroop, who work with a city-based private firm. Their work demands them to be on the phone 24X7. “We can’t switch off or put our mobile on vibration mode,” says the couple, who also feel that the mobile is causing friction in their relationship. “Our mobile never stops ringing,” says Ekroop. When I am relatively off the phone, Jashan is busy attending calls. But the worst are the late night calls. And Jashan gets loads of them. It used to bother me earlier but now, I guess, I have got used to it. But then again the phone buzzing in the middle of the night does spoil our peace of mind.” Jashan on the other hand complains that it is very difficult to get across Ekroop’s cell. “It’s always busy, he adds with a puckish grin. I get really put off by this, but what can I do. It’s her work.”

The brute force with which the curse of cell phone conversations has hit Indian homes has surprised marriage counsellors who are beginning to hand out survival mantras to young couples. Says Neeru Bajwa, who works as a marriage counselor with Perfect Partners, “You wouldn’t believe the havoc that cell phones has created. We used to laugh when couples would pin point cell phone as the reason of discord. But now we take it pretty seriously,” she smiles. “For a relationship to work, it is important to give time to each other. But with both husband and wife spending more time chit chatting or making and taking official calls, it becomes irritating,” chips in Neeru. “Jokes apart, I can list cases where mobile phones are the reason for major family discords. Especially, if the man is always of phone it can invite unpleasantness. And if the woman does the same then it gets really difficult.”

Write to Renee
at or Life Style, The Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chd

l I am 19, studying in a college. There is a boy in my class I find extremely attractive and I feel he is also attracted to me. I am a little hesitant to start a relationship, as I do not know where this will ultimately lead us. I don’t even think marriage is possible as he is from a different caste and community. We just exchange glances. I am wondering, to strike a friendship if I should ask him out for a cup of coffee or do you think it looks too forward? I am in dilemma. Please advise.

Hema Bhinder,Patiala

Not much of a predicament actually. Why are you jumping so far ahead as marriage without even knowing the guy? As you grow in years, you will realise that issues like caste and creed are not real issues and can be dealt with as long as you know which way you are headed. First of all, you must try and be friends with the boy. Sometimes, what is an attraction from far, definitely does not look as attractive once you get to know the person. Any relationship is about knowing and understanding each other and who knows you might actually find a friend in him. Go ahead and ask him out for coffee. Once you do at least you will be able to focus better on your studies. If it works, it’s wonderful and even if it does not, move on and focus on studies. The right relationship will surely come your way.

l I am 32 and recently moved from Mumbai to Chandigarh. I work in a company, which involves a lot of field work. My problem is the language. I feel even the attitude of the people here is different and I find it difficult to deal with customers here. I keep thinking of getting my old job and moving back. But on the other hand I feel that I should learn to survive in a different environment. I have had a habit over the years that each time I have a difficult situation, I run away from it. This time I feel may be if I stand my ground. Can you suggest what would be the best way to deal with this situation?


I like your resilience to hang on. Life is all about surviving a situation with the correct attitude. Yes, in our country with its diversity in cultures, you will definitely find people reacting differently to different situation. I am glad you have decided to stick to your ground. Quitting is easy and normally it is human nature to fine the easy way out. But making a comfort zone like this is really not a healthy sign. How long will you run away situations? So stop running from situations and try dealing with life and make your inner self stronger. Once this hurdle is crossed, other aspects of your life will also clear up.

l I am 21, trying to find my way in life. I have taken up a job after graduation and drawing a good salary. My problem is that I suffer from low self-confidence. I was treated badly during my childhood both by my parents and siblings. With the result, I hesitate to make friends or reach out to new people. I thought, having a job would make me feel more confident but I feel it is not helping me at all. I can still not make friends. I feel low and miserable. How can I change?

Sameera Malhotra,Chandigarh

Not to worry, don’t we all go through this one at some age or stage in life? Yes I can understand that as a child you have felt bullied but may be that’s how you perceive your situation . Ask your other two siblings, they might have a similar story to tell. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. When you feel helpless you are allowing unnecessary fears to enter your domain. Just pull yourself together and affirm to yourself — “I am smart, intelligent and beautiful, everyone wants to know me”. Give yourself the love you deserve. Self- confidence stems from self-acceptance, and that comes to us when we develop self love. So all you have to do is change your attitude towards your own self. Very soon you will see this charming self-confident girl and that is you!

(This column appears weekly)

First day First show
No match for Superman!

time pass

Rajiv Kaplish

HE is a misunderstood guy. A well-intentioned super human whose heroics cause unfathomable damage. A twisted genius, who drowns his sulks and finds it hard to relate to those around him. A maverick, who hurts more than he helps. Tossing a vehicle full of goons in the air and vanquishing a bunch of baddies is no big deal for John Hancock (Will Smith). So what, if in the process of doing all this, he breaks a few bones, destroys a couple of buildings and houses, smashes trains and makes mincemeat of some cars! To him, saving human lives is more important than anything else. A view not shared by many LA denizens who are appalled at the antics of the good Samaritan and are baying for his blood.

Enters Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a PR executive, who is saved by Hancock in the nick of time from being run over by a rampaging train. Ray makes it his mission to give the burnt-out do-gooder an image makeover and persuades him to submit himself to the rule of law and go to prison. Amidst all this, Hancock meets Ray’s vivacious wife, Mary

(Charlize Theron). Turns out Mary doesn’t approve of her husband’s idea and wants Hancock to stay away from their lives. The reason: She also belongs to the same stock of the 3000-year-old race to which Hancock belongs.

The storm of hype surrounding its release — “It will give Superman and Spiderman a run for their money” and “Hancock is a loveable rogue you will hate to hate”. Now, for reality — No searing tale of human emotions. No zany vehicle that leaps from one comic misadventure to another. A few laughs, some brooding and another superhero who just got human. Time not yet to say, “Move on Superman, Spiderman, Hancock is here.”

Showing at: DT Cinemas, Fun Republic, PVR

This one’s for world tourism


SO many years (eight to be precise) in the making. So little to write about Mehbooba. What can you write about a movie, which at times seems to have been made by a dreamer and at others appears to have been the work of a tourist guide?

The director dreams of a plot which has a rich guy, Karan (Ajay Devgan), fantasising about a mystery girl and making her paintings in his house in Budapest. Payal (Manisha Koirala) who comes to the city from New York turns out to be the girl of his dreams. Ajay is desperate to marry her. But Payal has a tormented past. She once become a victim of a womaniser, Shravan (Sanjay Dutt), in NY and won’t have anything to do with men now. It is after a great deal of persuasion by Ajay’s lawyer (Kader Khan) that she agrees to marry him. But there is a twist. Playboy Shravan is none other than Ajay’s elder brother.

The guided tour of majestic Rajasthan havelis and exotic foreign locales fails to perk up the narrative, which begins with a song and gets flawed subsequently. It ultimately turns out to be the kind of romantic flick that even Sanjay, Ajay and Manisha won’t be able to recognise.

Showing at: Neelam, Fun Republic

Watch & Learn
If your child is watching too much TV, don’t panic. He must be learning about Newton’s Law of Motion 
Parbina Rashid

ASK him if he is the brain behind Toppers, and he is too humble to give us a point blank answer. “Kind of, but too many people have chipped in. So, I cannot take the credit,” says Sricharan Iyengar, co-founder of Topper Learning System, an interactive and integrated educational service introduced by Greycells-18.

In the city to announce its annual subscription and liaison with 500 schools in Punjab, Iyengar explains the concept of Toppers, which is already available on Tata Sky and Dish TV. “We teach science, mathematics and biology to students of class IX, X, and plus I and plus two with the help of visuals. We also have a website called through which a student can learn,” he explains. And to access the facility one has to pay an annual fee of Rs 899.

Iyengar, who has about 10 years of working experience in various television channels, is happy at the response Toppers has received in past few months. But how did he hit upon the idea? “You see, TV technology is evolving. We took this opportunity to create our niche segment which is not just students but teachers too, and we have been successful.” But isn’t it a tough call to lure them off, specially the children, entertainment channel to watch something which is like a hi-tech coaching rooms, we wonder. But he proves us wrong, “At that age children gets serious about their studies and if we can provide that materials to excel in their exams, then they do not mind sitting in front of the TV and watch these half-an-hour episodes.”

If you all students out there wondering whether the topics they cover will tally with your syllabus, then Iyengar reassures us, “We have tied up with CBSE, Punjab Board and also Haryana Board and our module of teaching covers 100 per cent of their syllabus. But for ICSE Board students, it may be around 85 per cent. But then, A Newton’s Law is a Newton’s Law in any board, any language.” Well, so is a student’s will to do his best, we guess! 

Health Peg
Dig into chocolate to lose weight!

Here's some good news from all those chocolate lovers trying to lose weight — instead of shunning your favourite sweet, dig into it for breakfast. Wondering just how this is going to help you shed those extra pounds? Well, as it turns out eating chocolate is part of the new 'Big Breakfast' weight-loss plan that involves 700-calories worth of carbohydrates into your body when you wake up.

Along with 30g of chocolate, you will also have to dig into a glass of milk, two slices of cheese, 85g of lean meat and two slices of buttered whole-grain toast every morning.

Doctor Daniela Jakubowicz, who has used the diet on her patients for 15 years, told the Daily Express that the breakfast works because it helps curb hunger cravings later in the day. She said: "Very low carbohydrate diets are not a good method to reduce weight. They exacerbate the craving for carbohydrates." — ANI 

Aniston cool about Diaz and ex-beau

JENNIFER Aniston apparently does not have any objections to Cameroon Diaz dating her ex-beau Paul Sculfor. Both Aniston and Cameroon discussed the matter recently and the former appeared to be cool about the situation.

“Jen is friends with Cameron. They talked about the situation as Cameron felt awkward. But Jen is okaywithit,” a source said.

A Chinese addition?

ANGELINA Jolie and Brad Pitt will not be welcoming two but three kids into the family, if reports are to be believed. The couple, currently awaiting the birth of their twins, are said to be also contemplating adoption for the fourth time. And this time, a source says they’ve decided that their new child will come from China.

“She’s devastated over the earthquake she has been in constant touch with relief workers as part of her U.N. involvement and even got her hands on photos of a few orphaned kids,” the source said. — ANI

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