Maan ki baat
Although Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan’s fan list is huge, a special one among them has dedicated a dhaba to the master artiste. We dig in more…
Jasmine Singh

While driving at 90 kilometres per hour on the Chandigarh-Ambala Highway, the life-size posters of Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan outside a dhaba draw immediate attention. You slow down for a better view. The board says—Sethi Dhaba. Everything else inside the small dhaba is a story that we share with you, in case you missed out on it.

This small and interesting story begins with the man Sonu Sethi, who has dedicated every inch of his life and dhaba to the renowned Punjabi singer and actor Gurdas Maan. The Sufi poet Rumi would find god in his songs, poetry and dance. Bulhe Shah attached himself with the lord by clearing his soul for him. And Sonu Sethi, “finds Gurdas Maan in everything inside the dhaba.” He lives in constant joy at this place, which bears the mark of the singer -posters and cut-outs of Gurdas Maan performing on stage, his dafli hung on the ceiling; every dafli has his song. Sonu sits coy, observes us. He waits for the moment when he can share his story. Sonu adjusts his ruffled hair, sits down with us, pulls out his mobile (which of course has Gurdas Maan as the wallpaper), “I was a driver earlier and loved to listen to Gurdas Maan’s songs. I wasn’t bothered how much I would be getting to ferry people, but just wanted to hear Gurdas ji’s songs while driving. One day a dhaba-owner asked me to shift gears and do something else. So, I rented this dhaba where I could have Gurdas Maan all around me,” he says.

We don’t wish to interrupt. “This dhaba is dedicated to Maan ji because he is a god to me in human form; I wanted to dedicate every bit of space to him,” Sonu calls out to the helper who brings out the menu - a dafli with the prices and names of vegetarian dishes written on it! “People ask me why I idolise him so much; all I can say is that he is a man who knows the kala of uthana, baithna, jeena and sehna’. If a man knows this art, he is nothing less than a saint.”

Sonu never misses celebrating any event that is important in Gurdas Maan’s life such as his birthday, album or movie release or the success of any album. “I feel blessed to have him around me, I feel great when people stop by to have food and get their pictures clicked with his posters,” adds Sonu Sethi, who also runs a free ambulance service on the highway. “Maan ji handed me the keys of this ambulance,” he points towards the white car parked outside the dhaba. We know of fans idolizing stars, making temples in their names, writing letters in blood, keeping fasts for them…do we ‘dare’ say cashing on a big name…Sonu is quick to add, “Whatever I am doing is due to Maan ji’s blessing. So, I don’t mind that he is my guardian angel. I will bring in new posters and re-do the whole place. I will wait for the day Maan ji comes here. He tells me he will come the day he is destined to.”

Sonu Sethi I was a driver earlier and loved to listen to Gurdas Maan’s songs. I wasn’t bothered how much I would be getting to ferry people, but just wanted to hear Gurdas ji’s songs while driving. One day a dhaba-owner asked me to shift gears and do something else. So, I rented this dhaba where I could have Gurdas Maan all around me. — Sonu Sethi

On wings of wishes
Avneet Setya, the only contestant from Chandigarh in UTV Bindass Dell Inspiron Road Diaries, says he lived his dreams and overcame his worst fears during the show
Vasudha Gupta

What is on your wish-list? Building a home? Buying a virgin island or taming a lion? For Avneet Setya it is packing a note for a loved one in a bottle and throwing it into the Ganges. “Hopefully, whoever I have sent it for will know about it,” he shares with us. The only contestant from Chandigarh in UTV Bindass Dell Inspiron Road Diaries, Avneet Setya, 24, lived his dreams and came across his worst fears. Being a part of theatre during his education at DAV College, the concept of doing something different always appealed to him.

Working as a marketing manager for a start-up and previously having worked in a bank, Avneet was always drawn towards public interaction. “I faced problems with my Dell laptop and found out about the show when I went to get it fixed,” shares Avneet. Now that the show is over, Avneet goes back into time talking about the toughest and the best part about this life-changing experience. Staying with three boys and two girls came in easy for the spiritual guide of the show. “Every time I would not be able to clear a task, I had a smile on my face because I knew it will only happen when the time is right,” he says. Tasks always end up pulling the contestants out of their comfort zone. “I was the only person who had a fear of heights. Each time a related task would come, I would just want to give up,” he says. Having battled it out, today Avneet is confident that he can do anything. “From zip-lining, to cliff-jumping, I did everything,” he says. Not only facing his worst fears, Avneet ended up even driving a truck for the first time. “I had never even thought about it. It was a fun thing to do,” he adds.

With women being a part of the show, surely the bonding would have been tough. “Well, the tasks ended up bringing out the competition and the wish-lists contributed in bonding,” he says.

Having enough experience in theatre, dancing, public-speaking and the media, Avneet spent lot of his off-camera time just meddling with the crew. “It was the point where I learnt several aspects about cameras and would love to explore the opportunity on television,” he shares with us. With some good friendships on the show, Avneet is certain the relations will remain strong. “The format is such that we will never be able to forget each other.

Show Time

The show gives five youngsters, complete strangers, a chance to go on an enthralling journey and complete their wish-list. It is a list of everything these five have always wanted to do in their lives. During the show, the contestants have to finish the tasks and then complete one activity on their wish-list.

Voice of tradition
Dolly Guleria speaks about the pattern music follows and how it manages to shine in every Punjabi heart
Vasudha Gupta

No matter how far we end up calling ourselves modern, the charm of turning back to the legacy will never fade away. Dolly Guleria quotes an example of the same. “We keep talking about going Western, but I have been approached by a Punjabi couple based in the UK to sing for their wedding,” Dolly says, smiling ear-to-ear. Recognising the true talent in Punjabi music, Dolly Guleria and Atul Sharma will be judging the second edition of UK music studio Big Punjabi Awards. Dolly Guleria, the traditional jewel of the Punjabi music industry, speaks at length about her devotion towards music and changes in the industry.

Atul Sharma, one of the most renowned directors in the Punjabi music industry believes that music awards tend to provide the right kind of encouragement to the budding artists. “It is only when good music is encouraged that the artists prosper and are encouraged to make it better,” he says. Hoping that this continues, the director did not mind strumming the guitar, handed over as a gesture of goodwill.

Shining bright and pretty in a sequined sea-green suit and dazzling in diamonds, she sits pretty and talks about her upcoming projects. “My albums on ghazals, songs, sufi, maata Ki bhentain and bhajans are already ready,” she smiles. If after such a long list you think this lady is taking it easy, think again! She is also coming up with an album with her sister on the very traditional wedding suhaagan and ghodiyaan. “Once trained in classical singing, I have to ensure that I convey to the young singers that you can move to any genre of music,” she says. Being 35 years into the Punjabi music industry, she adds, “This is also the point where I have to prove my versatility.”

Focusing on her association with the awards, her experience as the witness speaks loud and clear, “Earlier, popularity was judged on the basis of numbers of records being sold by one singer. Today, it’s just a bit more commercial,” she opines. Considering Punjabi singers are mushrooming all along the length and breadth of the state, Dolly again strikes a comparison. “The only way to make it big in the past was radio auditions. Today, one song, one arrangement, a good video and Punjabi singers are born overnight,” she says.

Lack of censorship is spelling doom for the Punjabi music industry? “My criterion for judging music is totally different. Music should always have the capacity to touch the soul and be calm on the ears,” she says. Hoping to keep the heritage of music alive, Dolly is aware that change is also important. Several choices in music are also dependent on age. A smiling Dolly shares her story, “When I was young, I would sing Lata Mangeshkar’s songs and considered my mother’s music as very passé.” Today, she is living the legacy of traditional Punjabi music. “People will always go back to retro,” she laughs.

J.Lo still single

Jennifer Lopez has dismissed reports claiming that she married toy-boy Casper Smart in a secret ceremony. The superstar found a photo of herself on the cover of a magazinemagazine alongside the headline, "J.Lo Married in Mexico!" The accompanying article alleges the singer/actress married dancer Smart in a low-key ceremony onboard a yacht with no guests in attendance.

The story also suggested Lopez had signed a prenuptial agreement promising her new husband 1 million dollars a year for the next decade.

However, Lopez who split from her third husband, salsa singer Marc Anthony, last summer has brushed off the new tabloid claims.

"I keep seeing something about getting married. Surprise, surprise "they" are wrong...Again. #boredtweet," a website quoted her as tweeting.

It' the second time the singer has had to deny rumours she's heading down the aisle again last week, she shut down false allegations claiming she had asked fashion designer Roberto Cavalli to create a new wedding dress, insisting the style guru's page had been hacked. — ANI

Barrymore planning a summer wedding?

Looking ahead: Drew Barrymore

Actress Drew Barrymore is reportedly planning to tie the knot with beau Will Kopelman this summer before their baby is born.

"She wants to marry Will fast. Not just because she's pregnant but because she loves him and wants to be married before the baby is born.

Drew's checking out dresses that will fit her then," a source said.

Barrymore has previously been married to comedian Tom Green and British bar owner and former child star Jeremy Thomas. — IANS

Destination Alabama

Thoughtful step: Octavia Spencer Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer has called on Hollywood bosses to shoot more movies in her native Alabama to help boost the economy in the state.

The star, who received an Oscar for her critically acclaimed role in The Help, was the guest of honour in the capital city Montgomery to celebrate her film achievements, reported a publication.

"I never would have known that Hollywood could come to you. I thought movies were only made in Hollywood and so I just want to make sure that we can get more movies filmed in this state because not only does it get creative to work but there are a lot of crafts people that it puts to work," Spencer said. —PTI
                                                 Thoughtful step: Octavia Spencer

Cruz learning ballet
Lucky boy: Cruz
Lucky boy: Cruz

Soccer star David Beckham and singer-designer Victoria's son Cruz is taking ballet lessons in a bid to get closer to girls.

The couple's seven-year-old son, who also does tae kwon do and breakdancing, decided to take up the hobby after being inspired by his "lucky" cousin who gets to "lift up girls".

"Cruz was inspired by the fact his cousin is very lucky because he gets to lift up girls," Victoria said. "He's very good at breakdancing. He spins on his head," she added.

Victoria also said that Cruz is extremely close to brothers Brooklyn, 13, and Romeo, nine, and they love to have sleepovers in each others' rooms whenever they can. "They cuddle up like little peas in a pod, but only on a non-school night," Victoria said. — PTI

Second home
Gracious girl: Kate Moss
Gracious girl: Kate Moss

Supermodel Kate Moss has reportedly given hairdresser James Brown one of the seven bedrooms at her new London mansion.

The 38-year-old beauty has told Brown to consider her 8 million pounds mansion as his second home.

Kate has done up a bedroom especially for her faithful hairdresser and best friend James Brown. She told him to make it his second home. He now has his own exotic boudoir which is a blank canvas so he can put his own stamp on it," a source said.

Moss bought the house in north London's Highgate after tying the knot with Kills guitarist Jamie Hince last July.

"Kate doesn't mind getting her hands dirty and has been putting in some graft. The workmen really enjoy her visits and find it funny she's helping out. Especially when she pops into the kitchen and returns with a tray of teas," a source said. — PTI

Third Hangover in line
Another shot: Bradley Cooper
Another shot: Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper and his three buddies are returning for another drunken misadventure in third Hangover film, which will release on May 24, next year.

Warner Bros is moving forward with the threequel of the film, whose second part became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever with an impressive haul of $ 575 million worldwide. The film, however, was slammed by the critics.

A third installment in the comedy franchise had been talked about previously. Cooper mentioned about it several months ago but this is the first official announcement from the studio, a publication said.

Warners is currently negotiating deals with film-makers and actors including Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha for Hangover 3.

The studio, meanwhile, plans to release 300 sequel on August 2, next year while alien invasion film Pacific Rim has been moved from May 10, 2013 to July 12. — PTI

Watch out for the neckline this summer. It can make or mar your style quotient
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Spring is here and it is time you show off some bare necks and trimmed waist-lines. From statement-making prints to cool new colour combos, discover tons of new outfits and necklines for the warm weather ahead. And trust us, you’ll find something you just can’t wait to put on. Talking of neck styles they are the very basis of a good outfit, so we list what is going to be hot in the coming season. Boat neck is one trend, as it showcases the beauty of the shoulders. As for the designers, they are playing with the versions of this trend where necklines can go as deep as you wish. “During summer, neck-lines are an important tool to woo the customers,” says Ankush Mahajan, manager, Whistles, Sector 17, Chandigarh.

Spelling trend he says, “U, C and boat necks are the hottest trends for this season and other than that, we are also seeing necklines with bow-ties and side-knots for an added embellishment.”

Though halter-necks have been in and out of fashion for sometime now, we did catch some mannequins wearing them. Sporty, cool and stylish, when worn with jeans they can make your neck and chest look long and thin. So, halters can be a good choice if you want the attention on your neck! “V-neck is another trend for summer. This is deep and one of the reasons why quite popular despite being ordinary. Another reason for its popularity is that it gives the illusion of a long and thin neck.

Other than this, boat neck is sure a winner. Sleeveless or cap sleeve tops in boat neck are ideal styles, but one must avoid full or three-quarter boat necks,” says fashion designer Nidhi from brand Walnut.

Boudoir fashion has seen a revival for Spring/Summer 2012. Sheer slinky fabrics, lace trimming, ruffles and revealing necklines as also splits are the trends; in this we would also see scoop necks. In this style, cap sleeves scoop tops are the best to look stylish and thin.

So, pick your style and look stylish!

Fight anxiety attack
Simmi Waraich

My son was a good student. However, in the 12th he did poorly. That really upset him. I feel he did not manage his time well and as a result even average students did better than him. He still does not prepare well and then gets very anxious before the exams to the extent that his mind goes blank during the exams.

— Ashita Dewan

Many children who are doing well may suddenly do poorly in bigger classes as they may have poor study habits like cramming the night before, putting off studies till the last minute, poor time management , poor organisation etc. Still, there is always time to change. They can try the following 

  • Before exams, just sit in a chair and take five deep breaths. Close your eyes, feel the breath going in. As you breathe out, feel your whole body from your toes to your forehead relaxing. Do this daily. You will feel purposeful and confident. You see yourself at a desk in the exam room environment. You feel entirely at home and attuned to that moment, working effectively and concentrating well.  
  • Develop good sleeping habits, and maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • Avoid cramming, develop good study habits by making a time table together. Review the time table after a few days if it is not working and identify what you need to change.
  • During the exam. be aware of time allotted for the test, read directions carefully, and identify which questions you will answer and leave questions blank that one is not sure of and attempt to answer them later.
  • Take deep breaths and attempt to regain composure when anxiety levels are high or when negative thoughts are present. Focus on the wall or on a picture and remind yourself “Just focus on now.”
  • Refocus if you find yourself getting anxious. On getting anxious, some people press fingers tightly together or pinch themselves hard—mild pain can shift the focus and reduce anxiety.

Or, mentally counting backwards from 20 to 1 and telling oneself, “I am getting calmer and calmer with each breath and count. If you feel you will waste time on this, remember, spending some time on this will help you answer most questions calmly rather than letting the anxiety build up.

My daughter was doing well but after she did poorly in college, she lost her confidence. She has given up trying. She attempted suicide once which really scared me. I spend time with her and talk to her. She seems unclear about what she wants to do now.

— Divya Sharma

Continue to spend time with your daughter. Find out options, write them down and then weigh pros and cons. Identify with her the steps she would need to take for this and plan how she can start taking those steps. Discuss that you can review the steps every five days to ensure continuity and identify problems as they come along. Discuss how talking this out with a trained psychologist or psychiatrist can help and set up a meeting. At times, underlying anxiety needs to be dealt with and attention deficit needs to be ruled out. Many adults with persisting Adult Attention Deficits have poor planning, poor organisational skills and need help.

(Waraich is consultant psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital, Mohali)

it’s rocking
One for the romantics

The upcoming movie Blood Money, starring Kunal Khemu and Amrita Puri, has the track Chaahat which proves yet again that love songs do sell like hot cakes. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s magical voice makes the song suitable for everyone in love. With melody as base, the song has various shades, starting on a slow note and then going on a high as Sayeed Quadri’s lyrics turn passionate.

Love line

It is a pleasant number and is for those who believe in love. The lyrics are mushy and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice gives the track its real meaning.

Kanika Sharma, student, MCM College

Meaningful dedication

I’m addicted to the song and my husband dedicates the song to me every morning. It is for the people who have liking for Sufi music which is slow and meaningful.

Ramanjeet Singh, housewife

Perfect tune

This song has the perfect words and the perfect tunes that needed to give the track its true essence. Even the video is so touching that you can feel the romance.

Jaina Gautam, student, GGDSD College

(As told to Sabia Talwar)

Gursharan Singh Maha-Utsav
Sahib Singh(centre) with his team
Sahib Singh(centre) with his team

To salute the legend of Punjabi theatre Gursharan Singh, the Adakar Manch is staging a series of 101 plays written by Gursharan Singh from March 27, 2012 to March 27, 2013.

In the first phase, 25 plays will be staged in 16 days at the Open Air Theatre of Punjab Kala Bhawan Chandigarh.

Then this series will travel to different venues of Punjab — Patiala, Ludhiana, Banur, Mukatsar, Gurdaspur, Nangal and more. “We want to showcase the rural idiom of Punjabi theatre,” says Sahib Singh, festival director. Gursharan Singh’s plays capture the events that happened in Punjab over last 50 years. “For anyone interested in Punjab’s recent history, these plays are a good window to the past,” says the director wishing to carry forward the legacy of the late playwright.

Venue: Open Air Theatre, Punjab Kala Bhawan — 16 Time: 7pm

Play on
Mera Laung Gwacha highlights the plight of women
A scene from Mera Laung Gwacha
A scene from Mera Laung Gwacha

The Community Theatre Workshop is coming with their latest production Mera Laung Gwacha, a Punjabi play directed by Parveen Jaggi.

The play will be staged on March 26 at Punjab Kala Bhawan-16. The play is written by eminent playwright Gursharan Singh and will be performed by young and promising actors.

Mera Laung Gwacha is about a Muslim woman who is first deserted by her fiancée for the want of dowry and later deceived by her nonresident Pakistani husband who abuses her and abandons her in an alien land. Ultimately, when she bears him a daughter, the husband threatens to disown both mother and child. This is when the protagonist takes the final stand to safeguard her dignity.

On: March 26

Time: 6:00pm

Venue: Punjab Kala Bhawan 16.

Master Chef
Heart smart!
Kandla Nijhowne

Don't scowl! You needn't be a bed ridden patient to read further. It would 
be good to remember from time to time that food related to the heart's good health is beneficial to one and all, no matter what your age or fitness-level is. Healthy food consists of bright coloured fruit and veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts and soya products.

Foods containing antioxidants and fibre would also help your heart, irrespective of your age or condition. Even if you are on a low cholesterol diet, it doesn't mean you're restricted to eating cardboard. I bring you a recipe where the flavours of fresh mint and paneer enliven a healthy brown rice. You can even toss in any leftovers to create a satisfying meal.


  • Bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
  • Add rice and bring to a simmer; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a separate pot and lightly toss the peas with either jeera or a herb of your choice.
  • Add the spring onion and crumbled paneer along with the salt and pepper.
  • Add tomatoes and chilli powder if using.
  • Add all the vegetables into the rice, cover, reduce heat and continue to cook until the peas are hot and the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. (about 6 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts and mint.


  • 1¼ cup vegetable stock or 1 stock cube
  • ¾ cup brown rice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp jeera, dried oregano or rosemary
  • 1½ cup peas
  • ¾ cup sliced spring onions
  • ¼ cup crumbled cheese(low fat)
  • ¼ cup chopped mint leaves
  • ½ cup broken bits of walnuts
  • 1 chopped tomato (optional)
  • Chilli powder(optional)
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

(Nijhowne is a Chandigarh-based culinary expert)

its happening
Food that sizzles

It’s time to sizzle your tastebuds. Hometel has organised a sizzler food festival at the open—air Terrace Grill in the evenings. The beautiful ambience of the open-air restaurant lends a perfect match to the sizzling sound of the food.

Celebrate the taste of smoky sizzler with a variety of delicacies in vegetarian and non-vegetarian category The enticing aroma of succulent sizzlers come from different places—India, Pakistan, China, Mexico, France, Italy, North American and Mediterranean countries.

The variety of the dishes includes Nizami lobster marinated with Awadhi spices, Chappli kebab. Lamb used here is tender and juicy, cajun spiced chicken served with smoked mushroom sauce and rock lobster “a heavenly dish flavored with grape brandy”. Fish steak with chimmichurri sauce, Oriental prawns and Bombay pomfretare are the other delights that melt in your mouth.

Vegetarian sizzler specialties are mix grill kebab, mezze platter and zattar paneer tikka marinated with Arabic spices, enchiladas, cottage cheese steaks, ratatouille dolmans, spinach mushroom crepes and exotic vegetable tacos.

Finish your meal with Terrace Grill signature desserts like homemade apricot ice cream, fig ice cream and steamed chocolate pudding.

Sreejita De: I’m not a perfectionist

Popular show Uttaran is all set to take an 18-year leap, with actress Tina Datta playing a double role as 35-plus Ichcha and her young daughter Meethi whereas Sreejita De will be playing the role of a perfectionist —Mukta Rathore, daughter of Tapasya and Raghuvendra Pratap Rathore. 

Sreejita De, popularly known as Ash of Miley Jab Hum Tum, is returning to television after a hiatus of almost a year. We caught up with the pretty actress to talk about the show, movies etc.

How did the show happen for you?

I auditioned for the role in February and within a week I got a call to come for the look test. And I was selected. I’m really excited about the show as it is one of the leading shows in India.

You were off TV for a while. What kept busy?

I was busy shooting for films. I was in Luv Ka The End and after that I shot for Anurag Kashyap’s Monsoon Shootout which is slated to release by the end of this year.  

Tell us about your character.

She is best at whatever she does. She’s hardworking and achieves success.  I play a confident girl who might come across as an arrogant and egoistic person but she isn’t. She doesn’t like to party, go out or hangout with friends because she thinks it is a waste of time. She is one perfectionist. 

How much of a perfectionist are you in real life?

I am not a perfectionist in real life. I am very casual about things and deal with them as they come. However, I try my best to be a perfectionist in front of the camera. I try and get into the soul of each character.

You have done quite a few shows. But which one has been the closest to your heart? 

Annu Ki Hogayi Waah Bhai Waah is the closest to my heart because it was my first breakthrough. I enjoyed shooting for Mile Jab Hum Tum. It was fun and I am having fun shooting for Uttaran as well. I am really looking forward to it.

Can you tell us about the new plot?

After discovering that I am Tapasya’s blood, I will be brought to Jogi Thakur’s house and raised with much care. Nani takes over my upbringing and leaves no stone unturned to make me realise that I have to get back my grandfather’s lost glory. As a result of nani’s constant interference, I turn into a strong personality who wants to take over the world.

Waiting for Hollywood?

Even as her father Anil Kapoor graced Hollywood screen with Slumdog Millionaire and the latest Mission Impossible series, actress Sonam Kapoor feels she is not lucky enough to get right opportunity on that front.

Slumdog Millionaire opened Hollywood gates for Anil, who soon landed a role in a US television series 24.

The 52-year-old actor was also seen sharing the screen space alongside Tom Cruise in the fourth series of MI franchise Mission Impossible—Ghost Protocol.

Taking a cue from her father, the 27-year-old actress is awaiting her term to act in Hollywood.

“I am not lucky enough to get the right opportunity but I would love to do it,” she said.

Sonam, who would be seen opposite Farhan Akhtar in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Bhag Milkha Bhaag, says she is not doing the “running part” as Farhan is doing.

She is keeping her fingers crossed when asked about her pairing with southern star Dhanush in Anand Rai’s upcoming movie Raanjhanaa.

“I would love to do the film with Anand Rai and Dhanush.

All I would say is it would be better to ask the director or producer,” the Saawariya actress said. — PTI

Vidya Balan my best co-star: Parambrata Chatterjee

Bengali actor Parambrata Chatterjee, who re-united with Vidya Balan in Kahaani nine years after beginning their film journey in Bhalo Theko, says she still remains an instinctive and spontaneous actress.

“Both of us have moved ahead from those days, she has now turned out to be Vidya Balan, one of the best actors in the country. But she remains a very instinctive actor, very spontaneous till this date”, Parambrata said.

The 31-year-old actor, who plays a policeman and helps Vidya in the search of her missing husband in Kahaani, says they talked about Bhalo Theko, the 2003 Gautam Halder-directed film, on the sets of the Sujoy Ghosh film.

“We would talk about the Bhalo Theko days, my second film and her first. I was a kid when I did my second film, but she instantly recalled my character’s name in Bhalo Theko. That shows how involved she was with both films,” he said.

Vidya went on to become a Bollywood star after the success of Parineeta, but Parambrata says she made him feel comfortable while working together.

“She is an excellent actor, possibly the best I have shared the screen with so far. As a co-actor she is very friendly, cooperative to work with.

“I think Vidya is one of the best among the present day actors and these things help in making a scene real and connect to the audience”, he said.

Asked to narrate any funny incident with Vidya during shooting, Parambrata said, “There are endless, she is a prankster. I remember, once I came back from my sabbatical for film studies and I had a slight accent in those days. Vidya regularly used to taunt me for that, she mimicked so well.

“And that helped in making things easier, build-up the camaraderie, raise the comfort level between her and me, a newcomer in Hindi films, and probably that helped in delivering the scenes.” —PTI

The new brand ambassador

Branded: Sonali Bendre Durian Industries Ltd has appointed Sonali Bendre Behl as their new brand ambassador to promote Durian in India. Sonali will endorse the products and services of Durian through advertising, marketing and promotions.

Speaking on the occasion, Sonali said “It is an honour and privilege to be associated with Durian, which is a leading interior infrastructure brand. I am happy to know that Durian is very serious and commitment in their plans and they have an exciting range of products lined up beginning with the Swarovski edition.
Branded: Sonali Bendre

Noble soul

Something serious: Russell Brand

Russell Brand recently reduced a homeless man to tears by handing him over 400 pounds. The 36-year-old comedian, who is waiting for his divorce from estranged wife Katy Perry to finalise, withdrew 400 pounds from a cash point and handed it to the man.

“Russ was feeling a bit bad about his behaviour. He hates causing anyone any grief and decided to do something charitable,” a publication quoted a friend of Brand as saying.

“He met a homeless guy on Hollywood Boulevard, just around the corner from the home he shared with Katy Perry. Russ was with his new girlfriend and they struck up a conversation with the guy.

“After chatting for a few minutes he decided he wanted to get a roof over his head for a few nights. So he went over the road and withdrew 600 dollars for him. When Russell handed over the wad of cash, the fella had tears in his eyes. “Russ told him to spend it wisely and to make sure he says ‘Hello’ if they ever cross paths again,” the friend added. —ANI

Agnee for The Avengers

A special Hindi theme song titled Hello Andhero has been composed by popular band Agnee for the release of much-anticipated Hollywood movie The Avengers, which hits the screens on April 27.

Agnee’s members have composed and performed the number, while its lyrics have been penned by writer-filmmaker Abbas Tyrewala.

“This one’s been a song that’s taken us on a long and very satisfying journey,” Agnee’s Mohan and Koco said in a press statement.

“At the end of it all, we’re not very sure who’s contributed the most Abbas with his super lyrics, Aditi (Aditi Singh Sharma — female vocals) with her voice and outstanding singing, the band with the composition and delivery,” they added.

The song and its video will be officially launched in Mumbai’s Blue Frog Monday.

The Avengers will bring together the superhero team of Marvel Comics’ characters including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and more, as they are forced to band together to battle the biggest enemy they’ve ever faced.

“The Avengers is one of the most awaited films this year, and seeing the video, we’re sure it’ll be well worth the wait,” said Mohan.

The upcoming action-adventure flick is produced by Marvel Studios and being distributed in India by UTV Motion Pictures. It will release in India a week before it hits screens in the US.


Chatter box

Those embarrassing moments
Had a great fall: Rakshanda Khan
Had a great fall: Rakshanda Khan

Rakshanda Khan who is best remembered for her role in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi started her career with modeling in her teenage days. However, the experience wasn’t so pleasant.

She recalls, “It came about when I was a model. It was probably one of my first few shows. While the show was still on, some people came backstage to tell me how beautiful I was looking! Of course, I was flying high with all the compliments! The next entry was my solo from the top of a long flight of stairs. I entered with my head in the clouds and of course I didn’t see where I was heading. I lost my balance and fell down the stairs in a second.”

“I have never been so embarrassed in my life! The worst part is the audience was within touching distance of the ramp. Till today, I can’t climb down stairs without repeatedly looking at them,” she adds.

Back on track
Quiet and sober: Iqbal Khan
Quiet and sober: Iqbal Khan

It has been almost a year when actor Iqbal Khan was last seen on television in Sanjog Se Bani Sangini. Now according to our sources, he is all set to make a comeback with Yahaaan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli.

“Iqbal will play a doctor named Viren Roy, a quiet and sober person who later turns into an angry young man. The revolution happens after a major twist in the story.”

Iqbal was unavailable for comment. Nonetheless, we hope this is true!

Mytho cartoon scores high
A still from Chhota Bheem
A still from Chhota Bheem

Chhota Bheem has once again emerged as Kid’s favourite TV Character (Ormax Media 2011). To add to these celebrations, Pogo is launching a new movie based on this larger-than-life series called Chhota Bheem: Dholakpur to Kathmandu. The movie will premiere on Pogo on March 25. Full of adventure and humour, this movie is about Chhota Bheem’s latest rescue mission in the snow-clad mountains of Nepal, battling vicious creatures to save the day yet again! Migo, a yeti cub is kidnapped by the evil snow leopard clan to be sacrificed to their goddess. If Migo isn’t returned to his yeti father, the yeti will soon descend on Kathmandu and destroy all in its wrath. It is now up to our Dholakpur superhero – Chhota Bheem and friends to travel to Kathmandu and battle on treacherous terrains and the snow leopard clan to save Migo and return him in time to the Yeti, else all of Nepal is doomed.

Copying the King Khan

Shaleen Bhanot, who plays an undercover cop in Star Plus’ Sajda Tere Pyaar Main recently, had a makeover in the show. The actor who earlier was seen in the role of a drug peddler actually was an ATB agent in the show. For the new look, he had to go through a lot of trials for desired results. After few tests, when he dressed up like Shahrukh Khan’ character in the movie One Two Ka Four, where the star played a Special Task Force cop, did the makers love the look.

Shaleen who plays Ranveer said, “I always wanted to play a cop and thanks to my role in the show I am playing an ATB agent. I am a huge fan of Shah Rukh and I am very happy with this look.”

Lavni on Pavitra Rishta

Purvi (Asha Negi) and Teju (Mrinalini Tyagi) on Zee’s Pavitra Rishta found themselves in quite a fix as on Gudi Padwa, the producers wanted to shoot a lavni sequence with the two of them! The ladies had to shake a leg to the popular track Apsara aali song from the Marathi film Natrang. Asha and Mrinalini watched the original track to grasp the nuances and expressions.

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: It is a case of making hay while the sun shines. Relationships move to closer intimacy. Once you have decided on a certain course of action stick to your guns. Women should watch their expenses. Tarot message: You have to push to succeed and your efforts will pay off. Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 40

TAURUS: Turn on the charm and the world’s your oyster. Be sure to take full advantage of the good opportunity comes your way. Singles are in luck, and those with partners are back in the saddle. Tarot message: By applying yourself you can build great success. Lucky colour: Peacock green. Magic number: 51

GEMINI: A day is built for workaholics. Income may dwindle and expenses could rise. Improve your state of mind. Enjoyment can be obtained in the company of the person dearest to you. Friends and finance will not mix. Tarot message: Focus on the better to mitigate the bitter. Lucky colour: Forest green. Magic number: 65

CANCER: Make efforts to apply for a job you really want. Do not neglect the daily grind by focusing all your attention on your partner. Warmth and joy can flow to you in romance. Tarot message: Empty promises are certain, therefore try to put your terms and conditions in writing. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 61

LEO: Get real about your daily routine and make it a happy one. Meetings and negotiations with potential contractors, employers, employees and consultants can be productive. Tarot message: You find within yourself a fountainhead of a will power. Lucky colour: Orange. Magic number: 47

VIRGO: Your card is The Magician so you are not likely to be taken unaware by surprise happenings. If worried about health you should consider alternative therapies as an additional aid to recovery healing. Tarot message: At work don’t hold back anything from your employer. Lucky colour: Metallic grey. Magic number: 42

LIBRA: Spend this perfect day with your sweet-heart. Drop whatever you had scheduled and dedicate yourself to the one you love most. Exciting new contracts emerge from encounters. Tarot message: You must share responsibility with others before continuing. Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 35.

SCORPIO: If you have recently taken on a new job or contract make sure to negotiate and organise all the specific terms and conditions. You may feel rather tired latter in the day, do not extend yourself. Tarot message: Don’t make impulsive decisions in personal relationships. Lucky colour: Ebony. Magic number: 40

SAGITTARIUS: Your performance is on public view and those in charge will be carefully watching your moves. The day favours those of you now treading unfamiliar ground. Judge all situations yourself. Tarot message: You gain by being practical; don’t be emotional. Lucky colour: Saffron. Magic number: 32

CAPRICORN: Sudden encounters with an extraordinary character will leave a mark on your life. You are unlikely to forget such incidents quickly. You will find it difficult to reach agreements with loved ones. Tarot message: You gain by being practical; don’t be emotional. Lucky colour: Yellow. Magic number: 25

AQUARIUS: Your lover may be insistent on your attention whether you are in the mood or not. Do your best to comply and satisfy them. Employment affairs may be somewhat unsettled especially in the morning. Tarot message: Do what is right and watch your best interests. Lucky colour: Sky blue. Magic number: 28

PISCES: The cash should be flowing into your account today. This abundance is not due to luck but all because of your hard-work. Mental work will be stimulating. Be cautious about who you get involved with. Tarot message: Focus on professional changes. Lucky colour: Deep red. Magic number: 32

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is March 25...

Your birth on the 25th day of March adds a tone of selflessness and humanitarianism to your life. Certainly, you are the one who can work very well with people, but at the same time you need some time to rest and meditate. There is a very humanistic and philanthropic approach in most of things that you do. This birthday helps you be broadminded, tolerant, generous and very cooperative. You are the type of person who uses persuasion rather than force to achieve your ends. You tend to be very sensitive to others’ needs and feelings.

Influenced by number seven and the planet Neptune, you are active, friendly, ambitious, independent, honest and possess a sharp memory. You are an optimistic person who possesses many in-built talents to impress others, but you need to control your tendency to be impatient and erratic at times. This year you should move in handling finances.

Trust your instincts about a troublesome colleague. By offering a helping hand, your work environment will become much more relaxed. You’re about to witness the power of redemption. Quietly moving forward with a new idea or project is great, sure, avoid pushing boundaries. Seeking blessing from a spiritual person during this period will bring mental peace and comfort.

Don’t justify yourself for an error you’ve made; probably, nobody even noticed and it’s neither relevant nor important anyway. Have more faith in yourself. Those born in the first decade should cast aside stubbornness and listen to the opinions of others before rejecting them. Otherwise, they will regret their actions.

Cooperation is low but not all that bad. Chances are other members will be having challenging days and you will be required to solve and support. An emotional discussion may be a hot potato. Stick with your original plan. Job opportunity in the field of sales and marketing will prove promising. There could be some financial pressure. However, you would be able to take control over the situation if you choose to be frugal for the time being.

Mood: Be aware of emotional powder kegs. Compatible signs: Taurus, Virgo. Lucky colours: Orange and Purple. Lucky days: Monday and Wednesday. Lucky numbers: 2, 10, 19, 21, 100. Lucky gem: Aventurine - The gemstone of luck. Lucky flower:  Sun Flower. Suggestion on birthday: Donate flour to needy or sprinkle where ants can eat.

Farooq Shaikh (March25, 1948, Baroda) did most of his films during the 1970s and 1980s. He has worked with directors like Satyajit Ray, Muzaffar Ali, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Ketan Mehta. He has acted in many comedies on television and performed on stage in famous productions such as Tumhari Amrita. He has acted in films such as Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Noorie, Chashme Buddoor and Kissi Se Na Kehna. Farooq will remain in theatre and films for a long period.

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