Raising the bar
The tricity’s pub and lounge culture is seeing a growing presence of youngsters, especially the fair sex
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

My word!

If an invitation were required to take to the reading habit, this cover laid out on World Book Day makes for an attractive one.
Lifestyle photo: Vinay Malik

The cocktail lounge has re-emerged on our cultural map as a popular site for socialising and spending an evening out, particularly among urban trendsetters in their twenties and thirties. Having become a philosophy for many, to our surprise and, probably yours too, in contrast to the so-called lazy or no-lounge or pub culture in some towns, the young and not so young in our city are gung ho about it.

“People usually perceive bars and lounges to be one and the same thing. But both have a subtle difference. And when we talk of a lounge and pub culture and the trend of boozing out, the tricity is definitely high on both. But unlike other cities, we are open to girls and boys both visiting them. And when we talk of a lounge culture, more than a place to drink, the lounges have become socializing sites where friends catch up and working couples let loose the load of work,” says Ashutosh Kapoor an employee of a telecom company in Mohali.

“We are blessed to be in a city that is open to change,” says Gaurav Gupta, a student of UIET, Panjab University. And hey, we wanted to know how about girls visiting pubs and lounges? He says, “We live in a democratic country where everyone has his/her right to live. And if it’s not wrong for boys to visit pubs, it’s not wrong for girls too.” “Girls lounging in a bar with a glass of drink was almost a taboo in the past, but today, it is a different scenario, with many girls visiting the bars to unwind over a few drinks,” says Kirti Karol, BA student of GCG-11.

Ask the people who are in the F&B business and they too agree that we are more open to changes and the city is opening up to nigh tlife.

“We were considered to be more conservative as a society but I guess, we are now opening up,” says Aman Bir Singh, director, Hot Millions. He adds, “ If you talk about night life, Chandigarh had little or, for that matter, no night life some years back. But we are definitely shifting towards a metro culture and are more open to a pub and lounge culture now.

With the pubs getting popular here, the owners are in no mood to spare any possible effort to woo women customers. One can notice a lot of woman becoming regular tipplers at the pubs and lounge bars. “Girls visiting pubs is a common site here in the city and people don’t mind it too,” says Eitika Garg, assistant manager, public relations, Taj-17. She adds, “It’s only considering the number of girls and ladies who visit the bar that we have a ladies night every Wednesday.”

Opened some months back, Hard Rock Café-43 sees a lot of young crowd. Ask the MD Arun Grover about the lounge culture and he says, “I cannot say its limited to boys or to girls, we see a mixed crowd from both the sexes.” And what does our city rock to? “The city is high on music but not on hard rock. We started as a hard rock café but have now changed to a karaoke lounge.”

In the end, we can say our city is definitely high on sipping spirits and that too in the right spirit.


Beyond borders
Artistes from across the region pay rich tributes to ghazal and thumri singer Iqbal Bano

Maut uski hai, kare jiska zamaana afsos, yun toh duniyan mein sabhi aate hain marne ke liye … " Urdu poet Mehmmod Rampuri seems to have penned the couplet for the legendary ghazal and thumri maestro, Iqbal Bano, whose sudden demise has plunged the music lovers of India and Pakistan into grief.

“The golden voice which immortalised ghazals like Ulfat ki nai manzil ko chala bahen daal ke bahon mein,Daag-e-dil hamein … and many others virtually stilled the flow of time,” says Kamal Tewari , chairperson Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy. Paying a rich tribute to the great maestro, he recalled that Iqbal Bano sang the ghazal Dasht-e-tanhai "with such immaculate and unmatched perfection that poet Faiz dedicated his masterpiece to Bano."

"Artistes, with the purity and serenity of their art, command respect and rule the hearts of the masses, irrespective of boundaries, and belong to the world at large. Iqbal Bano and Shanti Hiranand had carried forward the legacy of the old masters of ghazal wherein melody reigned supreme," added Tewari.

Sharing her feelings, Gurgaon-based ghazal maestro Shanti Hiranand, who met Bano during her performance at Lahore, remarked that Bano was unhappy over some restrictions imposed on musicians in those days. She was, however, one of the few great maestros of the century, said Shanti on the phone.

Padmashri K L Zakir recalls that when Iqbal Bano rendered his ghazal "Jab bhi aata hai tera naam mere naam ke saath , jaane kyon log mere naam pe jal jaate hain" with melodious precision and emotional expression such that the poet Qateel Shefai penned a poem "Ek sanwali ladki.." after her. "Since she was born and raised at Rohtak, I call her the pride of Haryana," commented Zakir, citing references of various meetings with her in Delhi and Pakistan.

Talking to Lifestyle, the Delhi-based Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan, the grandson of Iqbal Bano's mentor and guru Ustad Chaand Khan of the Delhi gharana, said that she had been visiting them after she settled at Multan in 1952. "She had done some albums too under my music direction, which is indeed a great honour for me," he said, while his daughter Vusat Iqbal expressed shock at the artiste's demise.

Pandit Yashpaul , the Agra gharana maestro, said that Iqbal Bano was the most versatile singer of the Delhi gharana, with an adroit mastery over the classical, thumri and ghazal genres of music.

"When I had the privilege of singing his ghazals in the presence of Faiz Ahmed Faiz at the Tagore Theatre, the great poet admired my singing style, saying it bore similarity to that of Iqbal Bano," says Ratnika Tewari, head, Music Department, GCG-11. 

Weekend wows
Jasmine Singh

Hers is definitely a fairytale journey. From the shy Bani of Kassam Se to the supportive wife in Rock On, this petite beauty is on her way to stardom, which we believe she already has a taste of. And the success of Rock On has definitely paved way for many more exciting projects that keep Prachi Desai on her heels.

Lately, she has been shooting for an upcoming movie Life Partner opposite Tushhar Kapoor.

Wonder how this self-confessed television junkie manages to slip time for herself, and when she does it certainly calls for a party. We ask the blue-eyed girl how she spends a hard-earned and much-awaited weekend, and this is what she does….

Which movie tonight?

“Watching the latest flick is my favourite weekend must-do. If I have good time at my disposal, then this is ‘the’ thing that I want to indulge in. I don’t leave any chance to watch new movies at the theatre with my mother or friends. I just have to see the latest flicks.”

Cook me not

“No, I don’t cook. I rather like to binge on my mom-made Gujarati food. I really don’t have time for it. But, I have all the time to relish good food.”

Eating out

“On weekends, my friends and I go out for dinner. I like to eat at restaurants that serve good food, and most of them are in Andheri. I like places such as Shatranj and Gantz.”

Weekend shopping

“Yet another activity that I love to do. All the same, this depends on the availability of time. If I have time, then definitely it is converted into a good shopping spree. In addition to this, I like to show myself up at places where I am required.”

Time Out

“The only thing, which I am running short of these days is time. Weekends come and go, and I find myself still working. In this scenario, if I get an iota of time, I like to spend it with my friends, checking out our favourite hangouts and also the new ones. I am not fussy about food. At the same time, I would binge of good healthy stuff. Nothing too oily and bland for me, a balanced diet is the bottomline.”


Living legend
Veteran actor, writer, producer & director Manoj Kumar will be awarded the coveted Dada Saheb Phalke Ratan

The Dada Saheb Phalke Committee will award veteran actor Manoj Kumar with Dada Saheb Phalke Ratan on 4 May, 2009 at a ceremony in Mumbai.  Manoj receives this award for completing 50 years in films this year and for his outstanding contribution to cinema with memorable films like Shaheed, Upkar, Purab Aur Paschim and Shor.  The first actor to receive this award was Dilip Kumar, last year.  

The Dada Saheb Phalke Committee consists of 38 unions of all sections and representatives of the film industry, which constituted this special award to honour, top level film personalities.  Accepting the award, Manoj Kumar says, “I am honoured and feel elevated, that the film industry, which is my own fraternity, has taken all efforts to recognise my contributions, which sadly were going unnoticed in my golden jubilee year in films.  I am not crazy for accolades and awards.  But this award has a special place in my heart as it is from the industry which made Hari Kishan Goswami to Manoj Kumar.”  In his 50th year, Manoj Kumar, specially remembers, Prithviraj Kapoor, V. Shantaram, Motilal, Guru Dutt and late Raj Kapoor, whom he holds in high esteem for their contributions to films.  Director, Raj Khosla, with whom, Manoj Kumar worked in three big hits like Woh Kaun Thi and Do Badan is his most favourite along with Raj Kapoor.  

He laughs at being called a Dilip Kumar clone.  Says Manoj, “See Aadmi.  Do you notice, two Dilip Kumars?  I was influenced by his underplaying, but never copied him.”  And in the immediate future, Manoj plans to start either, From India With Love or Murder In Palace On Wheels, with a big cast.  He is producing, scripting and directing this venture, in which he himself will not act as there is no suitable character for him in the film. — TNS

Chal mere bhai
Salman passes on lucky name Prem to Arbaaz 

Bollywood star Salman Khan has found a new way to pass on his luck to younger brother Arbaaz Khan - by passing on his lucky screen name Prem. The actor suggested that Arbaaz name his character Prem in his upcoming film Prem The Game, where he plays the lead.

“Earlier, Arbaaz’s character was called by a different name. But Salman suggested that he call his character Prem. So, Arbaaz changed his name to Prem,” said a source close to the actor.

Salman’s character in 1989 hit Maine Pyar Kiya was called Prem and the actor never looked back since then. He later went on to do many films with the same character name as he considered the name lucky. Some of these movies were Hum Saath-Saath Hain, Biwi No.1 and Chal Mere Bhai, among others. —IANS

Tome of wisdom
On the occasion of World Book Day on Thursday, British Library organised a quiz and an exhibition
Manpriya Khurana

Fill in the blanks, pick the odd one out, match the following… high school English teacher, Shakespeare's plays, Wren and Martin grammar classes…The good grand world of literature awaits you! Time to go back to school, do your homework, and take a quiz…British Library on the occasion of World Book Day put together a quiz and exhibition.

One of the speakers could be heard saying, 'Books don't mean just Harry Potter…well, the quiz had first question 'Name the magician…from the famous Harry Potter'! The day celebrated to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property, had students from fifteen city schools testing their 'literature quotient'. Familiarity with Wodehouse, Keats, Jane Austen would've helped. Test yourself! Heathcliff and Cathy appear in what classic? Heard of Tale of Two Cities, all right name the two cities. What about the sequel to John Milton's Paradise Lost? Lost? What about the name of the captain in the novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?

Apart from quiz master T.P.S Jassal's lively compeering, every question had soft murmurs, subtle reactions, subdued expressions…from those who knew and ones who didn't. "I am here not to take the quiz but only to cheer for my team," whispers Karthick Raghunath from Satluj Public School. "Out of the twenty questions, honestly I could answer only about six to eight," says class VIII student Arjit Sood, there to just cheer his team.

"This time the quiz was specifically for school students, shortly we'll organise one for adults and college adults," apprises Christina, deputy manager. The exhibitions spread over few racks, half a dozen rows and columns had Ruskin Bond, Tarun Tejpal, R.K Narayan, Amitav Ghosh…. in short, Indian authors. Says Christina, "Every time, it's thematic, like last time on the UK authors and this time on Indian." Take your pick, tuck in the book; curl up in bed and Happy World Book Day!


Looking beyond
City woman inspires Mithun Chakraborty and others on dance show to pledge to donate their eyes

Let not her calm and composed exterior mislead you. For, she is a woman whose unsung battle with life could put any hero to shame.”Dance India Dance’ had discovered Rashpal Kaur during the Chandigarh auditions. She’s an ordinary woman like any of us. But the pain that she’s had to undergo and the odds she’s battled are what set her apart.

Rashpal succumbed to a deadly brain tumor while she was pregnant. Though the doctors saved her life, she lost her eyesight in the process.

As a result, though she delivered a healthy baby boy, she was bereft of all the happiness and pleasure of beholding him.

Rashpal’s only wish and desire now is to see her son once. “ I just ask God to lend me my eyesight just for three hrs so that I can see my child once….”

Even a misfortune of this kind could not deter this woman. Rashpal is a martial arts exponent and is quite proficient in the gatka. Dance India Dance once again invited Rashpal to showcase her unique dance form. Everybody on the show was touched by Rashpal’s zest for life and some like actor Mithun Chakraborty, Master Terence and contestant Mayuresh were even inspired to make a pledge to donate their eyes. Says Rashpal, “I’m so thankful to Dance India Dance for helping me to reach out to so many people. Before I die, I want to do something for my guru Kuljeetji and his martial arts school, where he teaches young girls about self-defense. — TNS

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