Reality trip(ped)
The road from the auditions into a reality show is not all smooth sailing. Here’re some bumpy rides city contestants have had…
Neha Walia

DPL: Izzat ka Bawaal hai?
DPL: Izzat ka Bawaal hai?

We were hungry, thirsty, badly treated and then thrown out on the streets at two in the morning.” What may sound like a homecoming disclosure of a captive is just another chapter of the controversy and accusations associated with reality shows. The above statement is how Rahul Gupta, a classical dancer from city, describes his experience at the auditions of DPL (Dance Premier League), the upcoming dance reality show on Sony.

Now, after all the fixing and casting couch scandals that reality television has popularised, this may just be another revelation in order to show the ‘real’ picture. 

So, this time it’s DPL at the receiving end. As grand as an IPL, the dance reality show that will see a clash of six zones for the best dancing talent in the country has been in the news constantly. Sometimes for its elite B-town celeb list or for the accusing and ‘suffering’ claims of some of the participants.

“All the good behaviour and shower of praise end with the camera rolling. It happened with us at the auditions. The celebrity judges will become your best friends, hug you and tell you that you are the best. But once you are off the camera, they’ll simply ask you to stay away because your sweat can cause them allergies,” claims Rahul.

He was one of the participants in the DPL, who got selected from the city and went to Delhi for the final selections from North Zone. While the Delhi auditions got out of hand, he is not the only one to cry mismanagement.

Ankita Sharma, another participant from the city, and Vishal Mishra from the Capital too complained about bad behaviour. “The entire team of choreographers and even the judges misbehaved with participants. They were rude and sometimes passed comments that were not in good taste. So many of us were left shocked and confused after this experience,” Rahul adds.

But is this ‘reality’ just another case of grapes being sour? “For a big show like DPL, we want the best of talent, accomplished and versatile. The problems in the Delhi auditions occurred because the participation exceeded our expected numbers. But these things are common for any talent hunt,” clears Danish Khaan, VP, marketing, Sony Entertainment Television.

About the other claims, well, he says, “Why would somebody like Salman Khan, Arshad Warsi or Shaimak Davar be partial towards anyone? Every participant expects to get in, which is not possible. And so, when they don’t make it, it is natural for them to react in a certain manner.”

Sure, with the fame and money riding high on these shows, everybody wants to get lucky. But what happens when your dream run gets bumped over by the ‘real’ encounter? Jashanpreet Singh, who was short-listed as well, answers this one. “It was nothing new for me. I know how it works and so wasn’t much surprised. Though, for first timers, it was a bit of a disappointment.”

He was one of the finalists in Star Plus’s dance reality show, Aaja Mahi Ve, along with his partner Tahira. Jashan spells out the details of happenings. “People who were not allowed to perform even after getting selected. I heard people begging the organizers to select them, for which they were willing to do anything.” Ouch…some talent hunt.

With so much fame involved and the X factor working, reality shows work like a barter-system. Give them masala and they’ll make you stars. “And once it is over you are dumped and back to square one,” says Jashanpreet. For him the fascination with these shows has ended. But for all others, who think they are the next big thing, well, reality awaits with all its charms and ‘cruelty’!

Bindaas Baba
On his way back to tinsel town from the tricity, actor-cum-singer Baba Sehgal chats about music and movies… 
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Having started his career with a big bang, Baba Sehgal rose to fame with his hit singles (remember Thanda-Thanda Pani, and Rukmani-Rukmani from the film Roja), but there came a time when we heard nothing about him and saw him nowhere. Now, Baba is back on track, doing what he loves, rapping, singing, acting and making his presence felt on the small and big screens.

In the city, on his way back to Mumbai from Ludhiana and Jalandhar (for the promotion of his serial Jugni Chali Jalandhar), Baba says, “I love my visits to Punjab and never miss an opportunity to be here.” Ask him is it only for the promotion of the serial that he is here and he says, “Not exactly, I was also studying the market for the release of my new music album.”

So, what does the market trend say? “Punjab is definitely a lucrative market and a good product will always sell, but one needs a lot of money and good sponsers to push a private album.”

What about playback singing, “For Bollywood, I did the title track for 13-B, with music director Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy and other than that I am more into singing for South Indian movies. ”Is it difficult to sing in a language you are not well versed with? “Punjabis can do anything, and language has never been a barrier for me.” Hmmm that’s the USP of a singer, but don’t we know music knows no language.

Playing Balwinder in Jugni…do we see him more on television? “ For the time being, I have this stand-up show, Babagiri Ab Tou Yehi Chaligi coming up. This will be aired somewhere in November.”

What about Bollywood, “ I have completed My Friend Ganesha a children’s film. Though this was supposed to release early, due to the multiplex strike, the movie release got delayed.” So, what role does he play in the movie, “I play a truck driver in this film, who’s the father of the lead guy.”

That’s for Bollywood, but comparing the big screen to television, which is a better medium? “Both cannot be compared. Bollywood has that star charisma attached to it but for the small screen it definitely is a mass medium.”

Now, to the most talked about topic: Bigg Boss. How was his experience on the show? “It was a fantastic experience, lovely house and good money. Forty cameras, and 13 unknown people to share life with, it actually was amazing.” So, with Season III on, does he want to go back, “Definitely, I’d love to be there.” We wish you all the best, Baba.

Wah Taj!
Cameron Diaz wants to see the epitome of love, Taj Mahal

Golden Globe nominated Cameron Diaz wants to see universal symbol of love Taj Mahal and palaces of Jaipur in India, according to reports. She reportedly loves the dances depicted in Bollywood movies and has expressed desire to learn Bollywood dance. She would also like to plan a visit of India.

Welcoming Diaz's interest in India and things Indian, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has urged her to explore the rich philosophical thought which Hinduism offers.

Globally admired masterpiece mausoleum of white marble, Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, and was completed in 1648 after 17 years utilizing about 20,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants. It appears in several listings of seven wonders of the modern world.

Oscar winner Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) reportedly recently visited Taj Mahal. — ANI

Playing playboy
Boman Irani does a Hugh Hefner in Fruit And Nut

He has tickled audiences' funnybone many a time with his comic acts. Now actor Boman Irani is to play the Indian version of Playboy magazine chief Hugh Hefner in upcoming comedy Fruit And Nut.

Boman plays an old Maharaja, Harry Holkar in the film who not only lives with young and pretty women, like Hefner does in real life, but also claims authority over Mumbai as his princely state that his forefather’s have ruled.

“There are different shades to the character but it is some of the funniest characters I have ever played. It’s weirdly funny. We are aware that Mumbai never had a maharaja but there is a meaning to it,” Boman said in a statement.

He has also been shown to have his own dungeon very much like Hefner’s Playboy mansion where he celebrates life in style.

Even the initials of Boman's character have been consciously kept the same as Hefner's to attribute a similarity to the flashy billionaire. -IANS

Return of Ben

Teen Patti, a thriller starring movie legends Ben Kingsley and Amitabh Bachchan is set to release in February next year. Oscar-winning actor, Kingsley, who became a household name in India with his portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi in 1982, is set to return on Indian screens with Teen Patti after a gap almost three decades.

The film starring the two legends will hit the theaters on February 12."The movie is an emotionally riveting and razor sharp thriller set in India and England that revolves around greed, deception and giant feats of imagination," said director Leena Yadav. 

The film, which also stars R. Madhavan and Raima Sen has been produced by Ambika A Hinduja under her banner Serendipity Films. Musical score has been given by duo Salim Suleiman and cinematography credit goes to Aseem Bajaj. — PTI 

Role of an actor
Hosting reality shows is a part of an actor's job, says Shekhar Suman 
Nikhil Agarwal

Shekhar Suman is enjoying his new role as a reality show judge on small screen but the actor has no plans to act in daily soaps. Once known as the 'Shah Rukh Khan of television, Shekhar feels that serials today lack variety and are dominated by women-oriented stories.

Shekhar, who is currently busy mentoring candidates on matrimonial reality show Perfect Bride on Star Plus, is happy judging reality shows, which he believes is the extension of an actor's job.

"Somewhere, an actor's role is not just to act in films but also be a judge, a mentor, or a host on television. And I think he is doing that in the capacity of an actor only as he uses his experience and status of an actor while being on the show," Shekhar said.

The 49-year-old, best known for spoofing politicians on his show, says, "I am not very keen to act on television as I don't want to see myself being surrounded by sari-clad women all the time. But reality shows are a different ball game altogether." Talking about the show Perfect Bride, where Bollywood beauties Amrita Rao and Mallaika Arora Khan are also among the celebrity mentors, Shekhar says that it gives him an opportunity to use his philosophies to help someone find a suitable life-partner.

"I study the relationships as they develop over a period of time on the reality show and advise the contestants on what I think is right or wrong. We give them options, but its finally upto them to chose their partner," says the TV personality, who had earlier judged the Great Indian Laughter Challenge.

Marriages may be a 'personal' decision but the actor believes that there is nothing wrong in youngsters seeking life-partner through a television reality show.

"The contestants are here on the show because they don't mind being on television for their marriage.

"In fact, they are very happy about it. Marriage has now moved on in our society. And all this falls within the social domain, so there's nothing wrong in it," he said. —PTI

Koffee break
Dhawan drool

David Dhawan, the king of comedy is back with a bang with Do Knot Disturb. In a candid chat with Lifestyle he talks about his new film, his association with some of the big names in the industry and his favourite topic for filmmaking, humour.

With this film you are back with Vashu and Govinda. How does it feel?

Yes, we are back and I feel good making movies with my old gang. It’s like working with your family.

What took you guys so long to make a movie together?

Well, in between Govinda got busy with his political career and Vashu was busy with his other business.

Why didn’t you cast Salman Khan for Do Knot Disturb?

We will be working together soon. Salman is a superstar.

Back to Do Knot Disturb, what’s the USP of the film?

It is a total family entertainer. Like all my previous films, one can enjoy the film with the whole family.

DKD has two former Miss Universe, Sushmita and Lara, coming together for the first time. What’s the high and low point?

It was not an intentional decision to cast them together, it just happened.

Why is it titled Do Knot Disturb and not Do Not Disturb?

Because, Do Knot Disturb suggests naughtiness.

Why are the comedy films still male-centric?

It has set me thinking too. But when we develop a story we always take the protagonist to be a male, while even a female can play the lead.

Do you think Indian audiences will not accept a female comic heroine?

Why not, but we have to try, if we don’t how will we get to know. So, I will try to make a female oriented comic flick in the near future. — Dharam Pal

Objet D’art
Bull’s eye
Parbina Rashid

An accidental Google search acquainted me with the German artist Iz Maglow. He would have been any other painter one comes across in the cyberspace and who disappears from the memory without leaving a trace had it not been for his wacky Bull series. His bull paintings, inspired by basic elements like earth, water, rain, sun…and surrounded by various signs and symbols, is mainly a representation of his own self in colour. I take the liberty of calling it wacky because along with energy, vibrancy, steadiness, each frame comes with a dose of humour that is supplemented by titles like Me — As Bull With Laurel Garland, Me — As Bull in Pentagon, Me with a Yellow Tie and so on.

Iz’s bulls surely came quite in contrast to the early images of the animal I had. For instance, Manjit Bawa’s Krishna and the Bull in which a purple Krishna plays his flute sitting next to a powerful yet tranquil-looking bull. With bright yellow in the background, the painting makes a lasting imprint in one’s mind. Or, his white charging bull in a bright red background capturing the energy of the animal like no one had ever done before.

That’s the lure of the animal – its vitality and not many artists can escape its charm. Madan Lal has been one artist who fell prey to its charm and did a complete series on Bulls — huge canvasses, energetic bulls, human form with multiple hands and legs that symbolises a man’s mad rush to keep pace with life.

One can see Madan’s signature style — forms within forms, a hint of calligraphy here and there, symbols and even motifs — are evident in his latest series too. But it also marks a prominent tilt towards figurative work. And, images are often enlarged for dramatic effect.

“Form is definitely a strong point of this particular series, but I have used various symbols to capture the raw energy a bull represents,” says Madan. Out of a total 12 frames, he took about four to Stockholm’s CCA Gallery for a group show. He soon will display this series in a solo show.

Madan’s show may not materialise immediately, but one of his frames is on display at Punjab Kala Bhavan-16, the venue for the annual exhibition of the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi. There are other bulls too, one by Jagjit Singh titled Anger right at the entrance. In monochrome, the young artist has captured the energy of two bulls charging at each other.

The best explanation for artists going for bulls comes from Anjali S Aggarwal whose two huge frames on the same subject are part of the exhibition. “Bull is a strong animal and yet so docile. Not unless it is provoked, it utilises its strength. We are afraid of them and most of the time try to ignore them on the street, but they are an important element of any Indian cityscape.” And that’s precisely why Anjali took up the subject, which brought her fame in 2004.

Her two frames on display are done with minimalist strokes in the technique, which she calls her own. In a nutshell, her bulls are executed with wash technique on an acrylic filled canvas. A side view and a frontal profile, her bulls exude raw power.

And that power on canvas brings us a step closer to the bull, an animal, as Anjali puts it, we love to ignore in real life.

Honey, I shrunk them all

Nek Chand inspires — be it a child learning to create something out of waste as part of his school project or a 62-year-old trying to create his own niche in the creative world. And, in the case of the latter, the sizes may have shrunk, but aspiration soars. “I want to be known as the Nek Chand of miniatures,” as this retired journalist turned poet-artiste Upendra Bhatnagar confirms.

So, what we get to see is a collection of three dimensional miniature magic — a tiny helmet made of a walnut shell, a pint-size harmonium made from hardboard, a stereo system made of stapler pins and paper, an one inch by one inch chess board with pins, a railway engine, belongings of Mahatma Gandhi, his familiar round spectacles and khadau in a tiny glass box and an UFO, made from parts of a mosquito repellent.

So, what makes him go around hunting for the tiniest particles and mould them into his imagination? “People have different hobbies – some collect coins, some stamps. I wanted to do something that combined creativity and talent without having to spend a fortune. That’s why I started making things out of waste,” says Bhatnagar.

Though Nek Chand is the main source of inspiration, there is another story too. “Once while flipping through a magazine from Netherlands, I saw an artist creating an entire city within an area of few feet.

Delicately and beautifully carved buildings, streets, cars, trucks even pedestrians…it was like watching a land of magic. I was spell bound. The seed of doing something similar germinated in my mind and here I am, doing my bits to create miniature magic,” he says.

So now, most of his time is spent on finding the ‘right thing’. “These days wherever I go, my eyes look for waste material. Usually I have the form in mind and then go around looking for things to shape that form, but sometimes it is other way round.” Well, most of his creations are symbolic and imaginary but without distorting the reality they represent.

And one thing he would like to do, is like that Dutch artist, create a mini Chandigarh on his dining table out of waste materials. Now, we have a connecting thread between Nek Chand and Le Corbusier, other than the city itself. — Parbina Rashid


Optical illusion
Delhi-based artist Devajyoti Ray introduces India to a new genre of art and guess what it is? It’s called pseudo realism!

In a rare piece of artwork on canvas, a series of paintings on the unique theme of ‘pseudo-realism’ are on display in the national capital. Titled ‘Pseudo-realist Renderings’, the collection by artist Devajyoti Ray, who is considered the first to introduce this particular genre in Indian art, features mostly abstract optical images with random use of colours and geometrical shapes, borrowing heavily from everyday life situations.

“The word ‘pseudo-realism’ was first coined in film criticism in the US and is a new and untried style of art in India,” says Ray, who’s also a Superintendent of Police. “The idea is to portray a realistic thing without painting it in realistic colours and yet making it three-dimensional and comprehensible and almost realistic.

Human element is strong in all the paintings and their actions are very basic,” he says. Ray started experimenting with ‘pseudo-realistic’ concepts in his paintings in 2003 and since then he has held exhibitions in Dubai, Arizona and Havana, apart from India, on this relatively nascent art form.

Another distinguishing element of this art form is the use of metaphorical figures and shapes in the attempt to express realism, Ray says. — PTI 

Creative zone
Poetic justice
S.D. Sharma

Bualndiyon ko chchoone ka ehsaas bhle na ho unmein, Lagan se kaam karma unki aadat hai

Living amidst the realities of life, noted educationist, author, poet and proponent of literature and theatre, Dharam Swaroop Gupt has been encapsulating his experiences into his literary creations for over five decades. His upbringing at Lahore in an environment charged with patriotic fervour during the struggle for Independence and later close survival in the catastrophe of Partition provided enough thematic content for him to write.

Gupt recalls pasting anti-British posters in the city at night along with others barely 10 years old then, much to the wrath of his father, a divisional accounts officer in the Railways. Those pangs of Partition he witnessed as a child later found expression in a play Ek Aur Refugee Camp co-authored with his son Prabhat, when the Dev Samaj College-36 won laurels at the seventeen nations International Youth Fest under his direction.

Credited with six publications in poetry, prose, 15 one-act plays, 650 features in three languages Gupt has recently edited four books for the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi of which he is the vice-chairman. But it is his latest book Kavita Ke Ayine Mein Chandigarh, comprising 62 poems and 108 photographs, is the closest to his heart. He says this book is an ode to City Beautiful.

The book traces the evolution of the project at the behest of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru as a world-class modern city. The book will be officially released shortly.

A self-made man Gupt shares many struggles of his life, some may sound unbelievable. “An astrologer had predicted that education on him would be a sheer wastage, vidya iss ke bhagya mein nahin hai and I was made to drop studies after Intermediate.

Left with no alternative, I worked as an unskilled worker at Bhakra Dam for three months when my mother came to my rescue and helped me to try my luck. Her blessings and my hard work paid and I completed masters in Hindi literature in 1960 and Ph.D in 1965, winning the UGC fellowship and a post-doctoral research at PU,” he says.

Having worked as principals at various post-graduate colleges, the septuagenarian Gupt is still not complacent and engaged in literary and theatrical pursuits. The annual Sambhang Theatre Festival organised by Gupt has become a tradition of the city that has completed 20 years and still growing popular.

Side Lanes
Shotgun saga 
Joyshri Lobo

Towards the latter years, my father looked rather like an aristocratic stork, pondering over an enigma called Life. He had developed old age diabetes and could not indulge his Bengali passion for sweets. He continued reading a lot, grew thinner but responded well to Ma’s constant ministrations. His aristocratic, hooked nose became more Roman in profile.

The lines around his mouth and eyes became deeper and the irises seemed to be a golden tea brown, though he never suffered cataract and could still read bold lines without spectacles. He continued to ask me to read “Jean Christophe,” which I never did. It had too many pages and was too philosophical. I might start tomorrow to honour Baba’s memory.

He still smelled books before reading them. Though bird-like and frailer by the day, he showed great physical courage, but mentally seemed to be retreating into a shell and the past.

When his youngest sister Shiela Chatterji asked him to sort out the very rude and stubborn cook, I went with Baba as he looked very thin and weak and had been suffering from bouts of depression. He rolled up his sleeves to show golf ball sized biceps and then paced the room as he gave the very sullen khansama a sound tongue-lashing interspersed with choice Punjabi abuses.

I saw the mundu’s defiant look change to shock and awe. I did not have to help Baba at all as another crisis was averted and he had protected his sister. 

Baba was as psychic and sensitive as I am. As he cradled my arm and we reached the church door, just before we marched in to the tune of “Here Comes the Bride,” he asked, “Would you like to go home?”

I baulked, as two hundred invitees were waiting inside. I went through the wedding but my father was right. The relationship did not work out. As I waited for my divorce, Dad waited with his double barrel, 12 bore Charles Boswell, aiming for offending kneecaps. Fortunately no one walked in through the door at that particular moment.

He waited with the same gun to shoot my sister’s husband, “…in case he misbehaves.” Fortunately Oz turned out to be a good man and I married him when Binny hitched onto Clive. To show that there were no hard feelings with his son-in-law-twice-over, Baba gifted him the double barrel and a box of cartridges. 

Oz, who had never owned any firearm, was very proud of his bandook, and went hunting for deer with other tea planters. As the herd thundered past, there was a hail of bullets. A large animal fell. Oz was absolutely silent when he discovered that the cartridge from his gun was still safe. It had not fired due to age, moisture or both. He kept the gun for years in memory of a man who was the perfect gentleman as well as a loving father-in-law.

The Charles Boswell had many happy memories for me. It was given to my father by E.N.Mangatrai, ICS. Baba, A.L.Fletcher and Ernie Campbell often went shooting for venison and partridges at a time when game hunting was allowed in India. Empty, red cartridges were given to Binny and me. We used to smell the cordite and use them as whistles. I still love the smell of gunpowder, pipe tobacco and un-leaded petrol as they remind me of K.N.Dutt, my precious father.

Festive fair
Tribune News Service 

The 14th edition of CII Chandigarh Fair is back again at the parade ground, Sector 17. The four day shopping extravaganza, starting on October 9 will provide an ideal platform to country’s leading brands to showcase their latest offerings and establish a direct connect with their users.

The fair will exhibit diverse categories like electronics, computers and software, consumer durables, automobiles, décor, healthcare, security equipment, real estate and more under the umbrella of ten concurrent expos: States of India, International Arcade, Consumer Fair, The North India Auto Show, Infocom, Mega Brands, Décor, Finmart, Persona and Security Ex. On till October 12.

Call on art

The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi indeed has come of age. There have been ample of signs of its maturity lately — lectures and slid shows by eminent artists like Ashok Vajpayi, Raghu Rai, Muzaffar Ali, Janin Das, Anjolie Ela menon and the like, starting this trend of making greeting cards, T-shirts, coffee mugs with art works of all well known artists, an annual exhibition with a eclectic from all known and unknown city-based artists to name a few. But what impressed us the most is the catalogue the Akademi has come out for their ongoing annual exhibition. Not in the recent history of City Beautiful we have come across one, which spell such a degree class as this one.

One can call it a pictorial diary of the city artists as 91-page-thick catalogue gives an idea of the latest work of major tricity-based artists along with his or her particulars. And, it comes with an interesting introduction with Diwan Manna, the Akademi chairman raising a few pertinent questions — Is the artist fraternity fulfilling its role and responsibility the word ‘artist’ brings along with it?

Or, is the lackadaisical interest and half-hearted participation in the art exhibitions an indicator of the lack of significant art activity in the city. Diwan, in his write-up provides solutions too. One of them happens to be a serious attempt by art galleries, institutes, museums and other art organisations to join hands and come out with research-based curated shows. It’s heart warming and definitely a step in the right direction. — TNS

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