Reality check
The Punjabi entertainment industry is gradually falling prey to stereotypes. So, what’s in store?
Neha Walia

If there is someone who has the audacity to claim that he is more popular than Shahrukh Khan, he has to be a Jatt! And anyone who has been a part of the Punjabi entertainment industry would not disagree.

At a recent promotional event for his upcoming movie, Sukhmani, Punjabi actor Bhagwant Mann said, "Jatt te koi kanoon laagoo nai hunda, they are above the rest." This statement made in good humour might not have had an effect there and then, but it does get support from the umpteen songs and movies made to glorify them.

Albeit we love and respect the community, (on which an entire regional industry depends), there are issues beyond it, like glorifying violence, clichéd concepts, dozen-a-dime singers and clones in the name of songs. Not to mention, some weird star makeovers. Punjabi entertainment industry is gradually falling prey to stereotypes, that too in abundance.

"Like its star singers, the industry too needs a makeover. It's high time we break the herd mentality. Either they are busy with Kacheri or Kudi; nothing seems to be working apart from a few stale elements," says Akash AD, a Punjabi singer, who was recently in city to promote the Rose Festival.

He does have a point. If one singer gives a hit song on daaru, every singer starts worshipping Dionysis (Greek god of wine and liquor). In an industry that has seen the success of Mika, Harbhajan Mann and Gurdaas Maan, talent is aplenty but so are the clichés.

"Usually, the new singers lack versatility and then they are misguided into falling in line with the particular system of work. Not everybody can be Jazzy B, but they are made to believe so. The content being produced fails to attract a large audience and remains confined to a particular region or area," adds Akash.

He shares an incident where one of the representatives of a top record label mentioned the similarity of Punjabi songs to be annoying. "The exact words were, all songs sound the same." The only transformation ever seen was coming of crossover artists with their global beats, rapping, English lyrics and cool style. But that too became typecast.

Rajeeta Hemwani, vice-president, content and A/R, Universal Music, feels that the tried and tested formula is commercially a better option in Punjab. "Traditional and folk rule in Punjab. Even with the western influences, the sales of albums, genres of music and popularity of artistes suggests that there is a very little room for experimentation."

Even the movies function around similar countryside concepts, rich NRI characters, family fueds, suppressed females and love stories. Seems like everything else fails!

"There is no dearth of versatility and audience for meaningful cinema and content in Punjabi entertainment. The notion that people like mediocre stuff, being fed to them, is being broken by some. Problem is the same school of thought being followed for ages now," shares Jatinder Mauhar, Punjabi scriptwriter and director.

Another reason, he says, are the clashes within the industry, which are damaging its image. "It's the star system that is draining the meaning out of cinema. With no different dimensions being explored, how can you expect to connect commercial and social values in a phase of intellectual bankruptcy?" he questions. We are waiting for the answer as well!

Jazzing it up!
Neha Walia

They have more than just music binding them. Both started young, both share a romance with music and grew up learning its language - one with jazz and the other classical.

If one got insipred to come to India after watching Pandit Ravi Shankar play in Copenhagen, the other has played along with John McLaughlin, also known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, the best guitar player in the world. If one is known as the best bamboo flute player in the Indian and international music world, the other has the credit of forming a band that was entitled the Danish State Ensemble by the royal family of Denmark.

Pierre Dorge and Shashank Subramanyam, now a part of Peirre's band New Jungle Orchestra, performed together at the Tagore theatre on Wednesday evening. The show was held in collaboration with the department of Information, Public Relations and Cultural affairs, Haryana.

And both have their own reasons to feel excited. "Its Pierre's first visit and perfomance in India and I am glad that I am in the city after 20 years or so. Bringing an unusual fusion of Western classical and Indian classical music, the band used the clarinet, trumpet, trombone, Sax, bass cello, the mridangam and flute to weave magic.

"There were lots of jungle and tribal sounds, a Danish summer folk song and a composition called Whispering Elephants, which is based on Pierre's imagination on how elephants communicate," says Shashank Subramanyam.

Their music, even in combination, reveals individual influences. Pierre, with his elements from Europe, Asia, African, Arabian, Belanese and American jazz, is extrovert and global, while Shashank adds his traditional Indian sounds with equal precision.

"Traditional music is like an everyday diet while fusion is presenting a different menu each day. Our aim is to mix inspirations from evrywhere, pick up new compositions and develop something that is different from each of our earlier compositions," adds Shashank.

Although Pierre is double the age of Shashank, both musicians have proved their metal when it comes to their sounds and melodies. Pierre with his brand of growling, jungle-inspired Jazz and Shashank with his Grammy-nominated performances with artistes like Zakir Hussain.

Hip & happening
Three students of INIFD — Sukhwant Singh Buttar, Aastha Sharma and Sabah Khan — will make their debut at the Lakme Fashion Week
Ashima Sehajpal

It took us a little more time than usual to compile this piece. Consider the same on the surface, then it's no big deal: Three students of INIFD will showcase their collection at the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Gennext show.

Get into the details, do a comparative analysis and the underlying truth begins to surface. A truth that's not bitter, is pleasantly sweet: Three students of INIFD — Sukhwant Singh Buttar of Panjawa village near Malout, Aastha Sharma, from a middle-class family in Ludhiana and Sabah Khan from Mumbai, who already has a designer brand, Sabahshe — will make their debut at the LFW. Different backgrounds, starkly different lifestyles, but the same ambition - to excel as designers.

Delve further into details; their themes are on the same lines. Sukhwant and Aastha's is Auction of Humanity and Sabah's subject is No Class. 'Auction of Humanity' is inspired from slavery in Africa for which the designer duo did enough research work, "We searched on the Internet for information about the time period when slavery was prevalent in South Africa, how people survived and what they wore," informs Sukhwant. To reflect the pain and apathy of those times, they have used symbols in tandem with the theme, but have still kept the designs stylish, "We have used fitted waistlines, belts below the waist and small-sized locks to depict bondage and slavery."

All the eight dresses in the collection are asymmetrical, which, as Aastha says, was part of the designing, "Slaves must have had fluctuating emotions from feeling extremely depressed to resigning to fate and being content. Also, they could be bought and sold anytime, making their life unstable. Thus, the collection has nothing in symmetry." It took both of them three months to design the collection. The colours used are grey, beige and black, as per the theme.

For Sukhwant, it's a dream come true to be a part of the LFW, "It's hard to believe that we will be showcasing our collection on the same platform shared by designers like Rohit Bal, Manish Arora and Ritu Kumar."

On the other hand, glamour is not new to Sabah, since her mother runs a designer store. "But it wasn't the bling factor that fascinated me. I was looking for something unexplored, which I found in Dharavi, the biggest slum area of Mumbai."

Her theme 'No Class' was a result of this exploration. "Slum-dwellers live together despite different religions and the work they do. Some might be working in five-star hotels and some might have a small stall of vada pao, still they live together, forgetting their class." Unlike the collection by Sukhwant and Aastha, Sabah has used bright colours. Also there is a lot of patchwork without any detailing, "That's how their clothes are. They stitch together rags or whatever small pieces of cloth they can find, irrespective of colour." Her eight costumes also have digital prints from slums.

And her source of information? "Kalpana Sharma's book, Rediscovering Dharavi, my bai, my dhobi, anybody from the slums, and Dharavi of course, the place I visited several times."

A lot many details could still be added!

Making a difference
Teaching underprivileged children, harnessing your inner talent, looking after the elderly, tending flowers... women clubs in the city are doing all this and much more

Women and nurturing go hand in hand. No wonder when it comes to women clubs in the city they are making significant contribution in their own little ways. Be it underprivileged kids, bored housewives, lonely elders or even natural surroundings, women are extending a helping hand to them all.

(Above) Revisiting school days with Aspiration club; and Dr Gunita’s chrysanthemum blooms

"Every individual is gifted with some innate talent. Women get so busy with household stuff that sometimes their aspirations take a back seat," says Monica Singhal, one of the founder members of the Aspiration club that now has over 100 members. "Nurturing that hidden talent is what we aspire for. Recently on a picnic, the members appreciated pickles prepared by one of the members so much that now we are having a cookery workshop in which she is going to share her recipes with other members." The club keeps organising informative events that deal with parenting. "Recently we had a party based on school theme. Not only members loved reliving their school days they also realised how much pressure are our kids under through some skits that we presented," says Singhal.

Hamari Kaksha, an endeavor started by Anuradha Sharma, a college lecturer and supported by her sister in Sarita Tewari seven years back is helping the underprivileged kids and their families. "Our motto is 'Potential Unlimited' where not only is the latent talent of these children explored and tapped but also a platform is provided to the young volunteers to make them socially aware and responsible," says Anuradha Sharma. "We provide a support home to first generation school going as well as non school going children who have either never gone to school or are on the brink of leaving school - the so called dropouts, back benchers, branded as hopeless cases by society, school as well as their parents so that they become morally, emotionally and intellectually stronger and do not become victims of crime, abuse and ignorance," she adds.

Dr Gunita Gill's love for flowers has led to a lovely chrysanthemum tradition where in a lot of her friends gather for fun, food and appreciating the beauty of the blooms that Dr Gill tends to round the year. "It was 25 years back that on one moonlit night fell in love with the chrysanthemum flowers and started collecting and tending them." Every year on the last Sunday of November this club (mostly doctors) gather to enjoy the beauty of blooms along with snacks and some lighthearted fun.

Thursday Ladies Club, now 35 years old, is largely working to save elderly from the perils of loneliness. "We are a 400 strong members club from the age group of 25 to 85. Initially started for elderly, we encourage our daughters and daughter-in-laws to join the club," says Sushma Malhotra, secretary of the club. "We do a range of activites - games, fashion shows, picnics and seminars on health-related issues to keep the elderly amused and aware," she adds. This club is out for picnic today to Kotbilla wherein a number of games, song and dance activities are on the cards.

God willing!

Belief in a concerned God can improve clinically depressed patients' responses to medical treatment, claims a study at Rush University Medical Centre.

A total of 136 adults diagnosed with major depression or bipolar depression at inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care facilities in Chicago participated in the study. The patients were surveyed shortly after admission for treatment and eight weeks later, using the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Hopelessness Scale, and the Religious Well-Being Scale - all standard instruments in the social sciences for assessing intensity, severity and depth of disease and feelings of hopelessness and spiritual satisfaction.

Response to medication, defined as a 50-percent reduction in symptoms, can vary in psychiatric patients. Some may not respond at all. But the study found that those with strong beliefs in a personal and concerned God were more likely to experience an improvement. Specifically, participants who scored in the top third of the Religious Well-Being Scale were 75-percent more likely to get better with medical treatment for clinical depression.

The researchers tested whether the explanation for the improved response was linked instead to the feeling of hope, which is typically a feature of religious belief. But degree of hopefulness, measured by feelings and expectations for the future and degree of motivation, did not predict whether a patient fared better on anti-depressants.

"In our study, the positive response to medication had little to do with the feeling of hope that typically accompanies spiritual belief," said Patricia Murphy, PhD, a chaplain at Rush and an assistant professor of religion, health and human values at Rush University. "It was tied specifically to the belief that a Supreme Being cared." "For people diagnosed with clinical depression, medication certainly plays an important role in reducing symptoms," Murphy said. "But when treating persons diagnosed with depression, clinicians need to be aware of the role of religion in their patients' lives. It is an important resource in planning their care." — ANI

Relatively speaking
A healthy trend
Keeping updated

Women clubs came into existence in urban areas to break the isolation women face and afford them an opportunity to socialise. Clubs enhance their knowledge on a variety of issues prevailing in the society. They discuss these issues, formulate an opinion and look for solutions. Clubs give women an opportunity to express themselves freely.

Women while going to clubs are conscious of their dressing, speaking style etc, which ultimately helps in grooming of their personality. Their self-esteem is raised. Clubs help them learn from the experiences of others. They can also prove to be good counselling centres for women. Ultimately, clubs help them broaden their mental horizon.

Rupinderjeet Pandwala, Dera Bassi

Beating stress

Women clubs have become ubiquitous in upper middle class communities and are considered an important medium of social networking. In modern day living, where leisure activities are less, these clubs provide an opportunity for women to meet and interact with each other once in a fortnight or on a monthly basis. The meetings are hosted in turns and the menu is always kept simple: a cup of tea and two healthy snacks.

I am a member of two such clubs and always look forward to the periodic get-together. These are running very successfully and make me feel that I am a part of the neighbourhood.

Apart from the socializing, clubs keep me updated. There is always a healthy exchange of views on household stuff as well. Efforts are made to pass on the suggestions to the appropriate welfare association of the area. Most importantly, such clubs act as a sort of anti-depressant, particularly for non-working women!

MP Sidhu, Patiala

Wonderful experience

Women clubs provide a great platform for interaction and relaxation in today's fast-paced world. For housewives it is a great source to keep their knowledge updated.

These clubs have helped women in getting together and fighting various social evils. It motivates them to work for others. Such clubs have greatly helped women in getting an equal status with men.

Poonam Popli, Chandigarh

Lifestyle invites responses from readers on the following issue:

How can kids cope with exam pressure?

Please email the responses in around 200 words to or post along with your photo and contact number to 'Relatively Speaking', Lifestyle, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh. The best few responses will be published.

Renee Writes
Live in the present
at or Life Style, The Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chd

I am a 26 years old girl, who has just finished a degree in medicine and am currently doing my internship. But I feel I am not happy with what I am doing at all. I would love change my line of career but no one in my family will allow it. I feel listless and completely unenthusiastic about my work. How can I regenerate myself? Is there anyway that my parents and peers will agree with me? Please help me.

Anuradha Bhasin, Ambala

Your letter makes me feel that it's about time you took charge of your life. Remember it is always the present moment and what you are feeling then which is your point of power. From their point of view your family is right they feel that you have spent years of your life in the field of medicine, so you should be encashing your investment. But their life is not only about what you did in the past and where it took you. We are in the here and now, and if there is no joy there in our present moment then is life really worth it. You are the most important person in your life and you must value your own needs first. When you evaluate your own needs and start working towards them you will naturally feel rejuvenated. Life be the most wonderful experience if you allow it to be so.

Take another chance

I am a 34 years old doctor in the US. Presently I am visiting my parents in India. The problem is that my parents are pressurising me for marriage. I have already been though one bad marriage and I am really not willing to go into a commitment once again. I am happy with my job and barely get time to myself. Although sometimes I feel it would be nice to have someone to share one's life with I am very scared. My ex husband used to abuse and beat me. I feel all men are the same and do not want to risk going through the same pain once more. I want to stay away from my parents most of the time as all they discuss is my marriage. Can you please tell me what to?

Lata Dhingra, Chandigarh

Do not ever be afraid of life. Life is meant to be lived. I understand the most Indian parents want their children to be settled in a safe and secure marriage. You cannot overrule their conditioning. The idea is that you should be happy and secure. No need to be scared of stepping into a new relationship and a new life. I do not believe all men are the same. Every person is an individual in his own right with his own set of values and principles. You are not risking anything. If you reach for a new life with a new level of confidence things will surely work your way. Tell your parents you will think about it and give it another chance.

You should commit

I am a 27 years old guy engaged to be married to this girl who is 23 years old. Our marriage was arranged by our families as we both come from a similar background and caste. She is a nice girl and I have nothing against her but I seem to be getting the jitters now that I know the date of my marriage is fast approaching. I told her apart my apprehensive feelings . Now she is sulking and does not even want to see me or discuss the issue any further. I feel I would like to have her back but I feel at the same time unsure. If I leave her my parents will be very upset and so will her whole family. What should I do?

Sumit Reheja, Panchkula

I feel that you really need to take hold of yourself and your feelings you seem to be randomly getting carried away by the flow of every passing emotion inside of you. You must spend some time in analysing your thoughts and feelings and come to a level of self-understanding. The girl will naturally get offended if you show her that you are not interested. I suggest that now that you have already decided to take the plunge, go ahead with it. The apprehension will fade away once you learn to approach life with more clarity. Don't shy away from commitment.

Happi time
I'd work with Pankaj Kapoor again and again: Bhavna Talwar

After critically-acclaimed "Dharm", filmmaker Bhavna Talwar is ready with her second film Happi and she is all praise for veteran actor Pankaj Kapoor. She says the "perfectionist" was the right choice for her second film too."He is a perfectionist and extremely committed to his craft. A stalwart with whom I would love to work again and again. He has changed my entire perception about the industry. After working with him, my expectations from other actors in the industry have increased," said Talwar, who teamed up with Pankaj in her directorial debut.

Apart from playing the lead role, Pankaj has written the film's script as well."Pankaj-ji had written this script long back. When he had shown me the script, I just loved it. Then nothing happened. So one day, I just went to him and told him that I would very much like to make a film on the script and he agreed. So, he was just the right person for Happi," the director said.The National Award winning Dharm, their first film together, was set against the backdrop of the holy city of Varanasi and was a touching tale of religious harmony. Pankaj had excelled in the role of a portly Brahmin priest in the movie. Happi, however, is a simple comedy drama but with a message."It is a comedy. Set in Mumbai, it is about a simple man Happi (Pankal Kapoor) who doesn't have much expectations from life. It is a topical film that throws light on the loopholes in our system.

"The movie gives a message that in this fast world, we should take some time to sit back and look at our life in a simple manner," Talwar explained.Just like Dharm that explored religious undercurrents, Happi too gives a social message and Talwar stresses that all her films will have a message associated with them.Filmmakers are nowadays thinking up out-of-the-box ideas to promote their movies; so what will be her mantra to promote this film?"We are looking at promoting the concept of happiness in big cities because that is something missing in our everyday lives," said Talwar. Dharm had received a lot of appreciation from critics as well as audiences; so does it add to the expectations from her second film?"Well you can't always live up to the expectations of the people. All I believe in is doing my job well and with honesty and it pays off." Happi is set to release April 16 and also stars Supriya Pathak and Hrishitaa Bhatt.— IANS

Fan club
After Big B, Shraddha wants to work with Aamir

Veteran villain and character artist Shakti Kapoor's daughter, Shraddha, who is all set to make her Bollywood debut with Amitabh Bachchan starrer Teen Patti, aspires to work with perfectionist Aamir Khan.

The debutant, who stars in Serendipity Films thriller, Teen Patti, which will hit cinema houses this Friday. Though her first film is yet to release but the newbie is keen on working with Aamir.

"I would love to work with Aamir. I have seen 3 Idiots and he was superb in the film. He is a very good actor who through his films touches everyone's heart," Shraddha said. Shraddha, who is seen sharing space with Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley and R Madhavan in her debut film, still can't digest the fact that she worked with Big B. “After working with Bachchan sir, Ben Kingsley sir, Madhavan all my fears subsided,” she said. — PTI

New-age Man
In the city, upcoming designer Rohit Kamra, talks of fashion and fashion weeks
Manpriya Khurana

Isn’t designing all about redefining a couple of creative philosophies? Like a leaf from his Lakme Fashion Week’s Spring Summer 2010 theme, he’s the ‘New Pure Man’. Dressed in pink, hunting safari jacket, Rohit, from the designer duo Rohit and Abhishek Kamra, dares dressing men in formidable reds and forbidden oranges. In city to interact with customers of Soh Koh Clothing Inc.—26, Rohit Kamra, talks of fashion, Bollywood flick Fashion and fashion weeks.

“I’ve studied in Chandigarh, was in DAV College and would go on geri route in Sector 11. It’s a nostalgic feeling to be back…I’m originally from Punjab; was born in Mandi Dabwali,” with the city and regional connections in place, Rohit moves onto business.

Business of fashion, plus his recent spring summer collection ‘New Pure Man’. “We wanted to add fun element to a man’s wardrobe. How he can have a splash of orange, purple and red as against the browns or navy, and still not be feminine.” Perhaps that explains his pink summer jacket!

“This four-pocket hunting jacket is a trend originally from India; now it’s a rage all over and we’re importing it back from abroad. Especially for summers, it’s an in-between of a jacket and shirt.”

Apart from this, what trends he sees ruling this summer? “In colours, it is definitely lots of orange and purple, black is back and brown cannot be ruled out either.”

He adds, “In silhouettes, it’s safari jacket, shirts, Nehru jackets; I have orders from all across the world for them.”

What of the flood of weeks, if not the fashion? Think Chandigarh, Kolkata, Hyderabad Fashion week. “Kolkata Fashion week recently got cancelled, Hyderabad’s was lukewarm and, from what I have heard, so was Chandigarh. See, organising a fashion week is not a small thing; if it’s done correctly I’m game for it. It’s good awareness but when it comes to business or platform, the original Wills and Lakme fashion weeks rule.”

The next big question, Bollywood? The place that fits into all designers’ ultimate schedule!

“I did a cameo in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion, have done clothes for Jackie Shroff, Arbaaz Khan, Tisca Chopra and some of the model friends.” The rules of designing for celebs differ. “Celebrities are a brand in themselves, styling should suit their brand image; my designs shouldn’t overpower. But when a common man buys my clothes, he proudly flaunts the label. So I do stuff that I’d like to wear myself.”

A name he’d love to lay his hands on? “There aren’t any particular favourites, I’d like to do clothes for Bollywood and dress up the current younger lot. Apart from this, I’d like to dress up Rahul Gandhi in a way that complements his look and style. But that’s when that happens.” That’s when that happens!

Launch PAD
Rich taste

Rich Beverages & Foods Pvt. Ltd. (RBF) on the occasion of 25th anniversary of the company, launched their new brand of tea by the name “ Yuvraaj “ at a resort in Zirakpur with much fanfare. RBF is already selling Rich Muskaan Tea in the market. With the launch of Rich Yuvraaj tea, RBF has offered more variety to tea lovers in the region. Ghungaroo Aggarwal, MD, Rich Beverages & Foods Pvt. Ltd, did the honours of launching Rich Yuvraaj Tea. The event was marked with scintillating performances by punjabi and western dance troupes, along with a splendid show of fireworks.

Rich Group of Tea offers exotic tea from the gardens of Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri. Selected from various gardens of Dooars and Upper Assam, Rich Muskaan and Rich Yuvvraaj Tea magically refresh over a million people across India.

Established in 1985, Rich Beverages & Foods Private Limited sister concern of Rich Nutri Foods Limited, Kolkata, has its headquarters in Zirakpur, Punjab, India. What started as a family business has now grown and branches have been set up in several parts of the country. Manufacturing Biscuits and Confectionery products since 1985, Rich group has now entered into the era of hot beverage like tea. It has also been exporting biscuits to countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Russia and Middle East.

The RBF team pays enormous attention to quality of the product. The tea is chosen from 2nd flush crop and passed through several quality tests before it is packaged for shipment.

Armed with over three decades of experience, RBF is easily your one stop destination for every tea solution. Whether you’re looking for packaged tea or loose tea, tea boxes or tea bags or just tea they have it all. — TNS

Home-ing in

Godrej Interio, India ‘s leading home, office furniture and interior solutions company offers its trendiest, most stylish furniture on exciting discounts! This exciting offer is valid on furniture – bedroom sets, kitchen sets, sofa sets, kids furniture and storwels.

Also, on the purchase of different furniture sets Godrej Interio is offering free gifts. One could get either a free chimney, bean bag, pillow covers, cushions, bed sheets and cushions covers. The offer is guaranteed to make heads turn. Offer valid till 28.

Enjoy this fabulous offer on at all Godrej Interio stores across the India.

Godrej Interio integrates the concept of functional and contemporary furniture. A perfect amalgamation of time tested values and contemporary outlook. It’s vibrant stylish and comfortable. When it comes to furniture, be it office or home, Godrej Interio has the entire range under one roof. It delivers ergonomically designed and contemporary seating, desking, open plan office systems, storages, bedroom sets, dining sets, kitchens, labs, hospitals, interiors, carpets, modular accommodation and kid’s furniture that are comfortable, healthy and productive. — TNS

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