Star trek

The new brigade of city-bred actors acknowledge the fact that being a Chandigarhian makes all the difference to their persona, says Anuradha Shukla

Kiran Kher
Kiran Kher

Glitz, glamour and the razzmatazz, the world of show biz has for long beckoned Punjabis. The city beautiful has many names to claim to fame in the Mumbai film world and the recent brigade of young actors from the city and around is only reinforcing the charm of the Punjabi spirit is forever ready to disarm the audiences on the silver screen time and again.

The city is making its presence felt with the list of these stars growing. From star couple Anupam and Kiron Kher to recent entries into Bollywood, Jatin Grewal and Kulraj Randhawa the names are many, all thanking the city for giving them the cosmopolitan outlook to win over the world of glamour and get on the racy world of filmdom.

City proud

Aanchal Kumar
Aanchal Kumar

Supermodel Aanchal Kumar’s name has been synonymous with sensuality on the ramp and our girl is keeping Bollywood producers waiting, for she does not want to be bound by contracts for now with the amount of work she is getting by the day. The reigning queen of the ramp is having fun at what she is doing, Aanchal says that for her Chandigarh is home and has given her the persona that was able to exude confidence when show biz happened to her after ABCL. The city reflects itself in her composure. "My upbringing in the serene, peaceful and beautiful city has made me stand in good stead when it comes to the fast, populated and pollution-ridden Mumbai," she says and adds: "The kind of individual attention we got in school and the way my teachers forced a shy bird like me to act in plays, take up dancing and all sorts of extra curricular activities, made me open up quicker and gave me the confidence to do my kind of work. Of late the city has really come alive to show biz."

USP: Punjabi

The latest entry into world of Punjabi as well as Hindi cinema is the dimpled beauty Kulraj Randhawa. The doe-eyed lass is our very own Sherry from the city and has no qualms in admitting that the Punjabi USP is in the faces, go-getter spirit, confidence and inherent strength. The city is certainly help and happening to give the kind of impetus for starry dreams, says Kulraj. Has the Punjabi kudi arrived? "Any day!" pat comes the reply.

Karishma Randev
Karishma Randev

The sheer openness in attitude has made the city come to be the nursery of the stars. "All my projects have had a Chandigarh connection," be her claim to fame serial Kareena Kareena, in which "I played a girl from Chandigarh or my first film Mannat for which we shot at Chandigarh and also my first Hindi film project Jaane bhi do yaron part of which was also shot at Chandigarh. The city is no less than a mini metro itself and for me it has always been very lucky". "The pace and professional outlook of the city is very different and that has made people like me adapt to the hardcore world of professional cinema with `E9lan", says Kulraj. Karishma Randev, won hearts all over after winning the Miss Monte Carlo contest and her path changed from studying dentistry to doing a negative role of Tara in India Calling and a bubbly village belle Basanti in serial Bhabhi. "Chandigarh was the launch pad for me and I am forever thankful." Jatin Grewal acting in Punjabi films says the sheer mix of cultures we have in the city with ambitious people from all over coming in with fresh ideas and energy makes it ideal for starters helping them to grow."

Though the generation next is making ripples it is the seasoned actors like Sunita Dhir known for her super-hit Punjabi film Chann Pardesi and acclaimed name from Punjabi theatre Navnindra Behl who was also seen in Gulzar’s Machis who have been a part of the once thriving Punjabi film world and have now taken Punjabi films to Mumbai. Anupam Kher trained in theatre in the city only. Directing music videos Jagmeet Bal a product of Chandigarh College of Art says the standard of living here is so good that showbiz dreams thrive here."

Comedy king

The famous of all Sardars responsible for making Punjabi comedy a rage Jaspal Bhatti says, "the city gives a good environment in terms of education, health, sports, facilities, to nurture above average talent. The time I entered the acceptance had just begun for a turbaned actor and the rage is so much now that the ‘original sardars’ like me are sitting at home and it is Mumbai actor like Boman Irani playing a Sardar," we sure know what he means.

Jimmy Shergil
Jimmy Shergil

"Cinema is looking for a trans audience and the Punjabi flavour has become a must, with distances becoming a non factor the banners are reaching out to good actors here", he says.

Sunita Dhir fresh from her stint at the latest Punjabi hits Dil Apna Punjabi and Yaaran Nal Baharan says the big banners are now interested in making Punjabi movies and they get good artists from the region at prices they love and the locales are good for shooting too," so the region provides a package deal. "Though the focus is on singer actors for the fame they already have is being cashed in for films but the focus should be on acting based projects".

Hot spot

Known Punjabi theatre personality Navnindra Behl, says that the city provides the complete package to directors from Mumbai who mostly visit the city for talent hunt. Besides the talent, the grooming and the particular polish that the film people are looking for is available here along with the cosmopolitan thinking and the product is a Jimmy Shergil from Patiala, Divya Dutta from Ludhiana. In an industry forever dominated by Punjabis since it was shifted from Lahore to Mumbai thus the acceptability of Punjabi actors is but natural.

Halloween Hungama

With Halloween just round the corner, city youngsters are getting ready to decorate their houses and for dancing to the tunes of spooky music during so many costume parties being organised in the city, says Saurabh Malik

Thumping beats of reverberating music booming out of the overhead speakers are all set to charm Plus-two student Simmi Kapoor into dancing. Right, to the Halloween tune on the polished dance floor of life in a discotheque illuminated by nice little psychedelic lights!

Guys, just in case you are not aware of the great dancing reality, Sector 21 resident Simmi is all geared up to slip into her stilettos and letting her hair down for boogieing the afternoon away on the Halloween this Tuesday.

In fact, her entire gang of seven is excited about celebrating the gala event they have heard of, and seen in the Hollywood flicks and hit numbers on the music channels. And for them, so many discotheques and clubs across the city are organising afternoon dance parties and special Halloween bashes.

With the in-house and guest disc jockeys spinning the tracks in the costume parties, the organisers are promising hours full of tearing excitement to the young revelers celebrating an occasion called life.

Private dancing

This is not the end of the party jingle. In case your kind of deal involves hitting the dance floor with live music and impromptu jam-ups away from the maddening crowd, drop in at one of the private dance parties being organised on the occasion in the farmhouses around the city.

Just make sure you get a pal or a friend’s friend to invite you for the bash in case you are a guy and over-and-above a single. For, like always the entry is strictly on the basis of informal invites and that also for couples. The stags are just not welcome.

But before you hop into your car for driving down to the venue, remember to pick up “special Halloween dance gear” from some of the card and gift shops in the city. “For the occasion, gift galleries have stocked masks to be worn during the costume parties and so many other goodies related to the day,” says Chetan Kumar of the Jewels in Sector 11.

Home adorn

In fact, you can pick up decorations like Jack O’lanterns. In case you do not know, it’s a carved lit pumpkin. You can also take home scarecrows, artificial spider webs and other adornments. Cassettes and compact discs of spooky music are also available in the arcades, though you will have to search for the stuff.

If you are wondering why this clatter about musical Halloween afternoon, ask ex-Capt Rajnish Talwar. The former Army officer running his own card and gift shop on the Panjab University campus will tell you all about the craze for the day that is actually celebrated in the USA.

Celebrating Life

“True, so many younglings in Chandigarh have nothing to do with the day on which children dress up as ghosts and ghouls before visiting strangers’ homes for accepting candies. But then, the young crowd here needs an opportunity to celebrate, be it Divali, St Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day, or even Halloween.”

Running business amidst students for over several years now, he says: “The parents here are also encouraging. They inspire their little ones to celebrate all festivals. In the process they not only allow them to be a part of the elite crowd, but also show how modern they are in their outlook and approach.” Whatever the reason, folks get ready to party. After all, its “Trick or Treat” time!


Imagination with style is the buzzword for as gifts, letters, trousseaus and even events come wrapped in colourful bows, packaging as trend is all set to reach an all-time high, says Gayatri Rajwade

Photo by Manoj Mahajan
Photo by Manoj Mahajan

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens Brown paper packages tied up with string, These are a few of my favorite things.

This unparalleled feel-good ode to life from the classic Sound of Music relies on the enchanting power of imagery and indeed it is the ‘visual’ that counts. But today simple images are becoming passé.

The buzz is no longer about brown paper packages as swirling ribbons, paper roses, buttons and bows, satin, silk and gauzy gossamer takes the stand.

Hurrah for the wrapping for you, my dear, are judged according to how swishy your packaging is, never mind the value of the gift inside!

Inviting Concepts

Put your finger up in the air Red-Indian style—which way does the breeze blow? Follow the winds of trend to ‘Juneja Design Studio’ in Sector 17 where bits and baubles, funky boxes, pink and lavender, light blue and sea green paper festoon the walls. Right from wedding invite concepts to parties to trousseau and corporate packing to even the text and lettering on your fit, card, whatever, is done by the sister / owner-duo Ashima and Rohini.

Odd shapes and bizarre forms take on elegant silhouettes, events are decorated to look like Christmas cakes and invites make a style-statement as event planners and designers in the city take on the packaging movement.

“Our main aim is to create things that can be reused,” aver the two sisters. So people are encouraged to go in for gift-bags with attractive shapes so that after the gift is pulled out a couple of twigs thrown in or even bulbs inside the bags can be used to decorate corners.

So convention is out and funk is in as designers and event managers prefer to use their imagination and style to create something fun but without trivialising the occasion.

According to Rajendra Garg of ‘Wedding Colour—Cards and Packaging’ in Sector 19, “simpler the better.” A statement echoed by Ashima and Rohini. “Nice does not have to be expensive because an invite reflects your and is a statement of what you believe in.

And today’s buzz, tell us event designers Hema Bedi and Saguna Jain of ‘Event it Right’ in Sector 35 is the ‘theme’. And that translated means the big whole and the whole hog!

“It starts right from the bride wearing orange,” says Hema. Gifts in gold and orange, invites, anything accompanying the trousseau to shagun envelopes to flowers, orange it is! What happens if you do not get orange carnations for instance? “We work with marigold then,” she smiles.

Colour Me Big

What is more, colour is big!

Apart from the classic gold, white and silver, people are now willing to experiment so along with fuchsia, purples and ice and aqua blues, festive greens are also finding pride of place.

But colourful does not necessarily mean jatka. “The aesthetic sense is getting better. With exposure to new things, classy is in as is festive but not tacky,” chorus Ashima and Rohini.

But no one said being creative is easy! “I had a client once who wanted everything in blue and silver. Now you don’t get blue flowers. So we spent enormous time dipping each stem in blue even going to a candle manufacturer and getting blue candles made. But it was worth it, it looked so beautiful,” smiles Hema. Needless to add, her hands were a strange aqua shade for days!

Style Statement

Finally as spending power goes up, remember the first reflection of your taste is what you send out first, so why not splurge. While ‘traditional’ are, cards in scroll form wrapped in brocade fabric and tied with mouli, embossed pink and silver flowers announces a wedding, in avant-garde style.

And how is this for ingenious: a Sahi-Chithi (a letter from the bride’s family to the groom’s family formalising a wedding) with an antique pen adorned with a red feather with every invite!

Everyone loves a good potpourri of tissue, bells, paper and sprinkling of sequins to accessorise, so spray on the goodies! 

Death of a dream: The Yamaha-RD350 story
Sukant Deepak

If ever a thesis on the Indian two-wheeler market is written, the legendary Yamaha-RD350 would definitely find a bold mention, and only then would the bike, whose speed, ‘voice’, overall built will rest in peace, satisfied that it was crucified for all the wrong reasons, one being that it was way ahead of its times.

On a muggy evening in Chandigarh, arrested thoughts beating down a deserted road in Chandigarh suddenly shatter into a million pieces as a biker approaches at a speed far exceeding the limit defined by the law. You’re allowed just a fleeting glance of the surroundings reflected by the bike’s extra dose of nickel. The extraordinary ‘voice’ coming from the engine is in fact a battle cry of the only Indian performance motorcycle to hit the road—- the Yamaha RD-350, RD standing for Race Derived.

As the bike-hit Indian shores some two decades back, motorcycle enthusiasts were all set to taste some blood, already sick with the existing machines pregnant with puny engines. Promising the ride of a lifetime, the two- cylinder Yamaha RD 350 effortlessly crossed the 150-km/hr speed. The twin exhausts made a sound any serious biker would die for.

With 32 bhp of untamed power and weighing 180 kgs, manufacturers Escort thought that they’d hit a goldmine when they discovered that the bike’s dies could be easily accessed. However, this was not to be. Considering that for most Indians, it’s fuel efficiency that takes precedence over power while choosing a bike (thereby altering the whole concept of a motorcycle), those who bought this beast were definitely shocked when they discovered that the vehicle delivered an average of below 20 km/litre.

But still, there were many across the breath of the country who were all set to relish the true magic of India’s first and only performance motorcycle. The decades of 80s’ and 90s’ witnessed formation of several Yamaha RD 350 clubs that besides touring guided other members on maintenance and sourcing spare parts, considering it went out of production more than a decade back.

However, the fact that it’s no longer manufactured, has not deterred many speed freaks from buying it second hand and going straight to the motor-market for an overhaul. Incidentally, Chandigarh happens to be one of the cities with the largest number of these motorcycles still making their presence felt on the road. A second-hand vehicle of this make starts with a price tag of Rs 15,000 and goes up to depending on the condition. Well, that’s not really bad if you’re the one who swears by speed and loves the sound of the wind. The six-speed close ration gearbox ascertains that you never have enough and the monstrous engine is always more than happy to satisfy your lust for momentum. Remember, not many bikes even today can boast of a tachometer or 180 mm drums!

And yes, it’s not just the fuel consumption that has invited harsh criticism from critics but several other things, including the fact that it doesn’t really brag of the ‘dependability factor’. Spend some time at a Yamaha RD-350 mechanic and you’re bound to come across several people pushing their bikes. Not to mention, the brakes are horrendous.

But if you belong to the tribe who wants a really responsive bike, and don’t mind the burden that comes with it, go ahead and ‘make’ your own bike.

Buy a decent second-hand machine, get the paint and nickel job done. Divorce the old wiring and battery. Of course, sourcing spares for this beauty is never an easy job, and they don’t really come cheap. But then, neither does passion, no?

Just for your information, the Yamaha RD 350 came with a catch line- ‘For those who dare to live their dreams.’

Be happy, have a life

I am a 28 year old woman, married for the past seven years having two children both going to nursery school and I have enough time to think about which way my life is going. I would really love to go back to college where I left off to get married and start working somewhere. I see lots of girls my age still studying or working and having a life of their own. Between children and husband and in-laws I have completely lost myself. Now that I have time to think I want to fulfill some of my dreams. But my husband does not want me to go back to study as he feels I will neglect the children and the rest of the family. I feel extremely unhappy, what should I do?

Sushma Negi, Ambala City

You have to be happy within yourself to spread happiness around you. It is my own experience that when people do what makes them feel joyful and fulfilled they are filled with an enthusiasm for life. Go within yourself and trust the process of life to reveal what truly makes you happy. Pursue your dream and your family will definitely support you if you are doing it within a certain time frame and not neglecting your duties towards the family. With children as first priority give quality time and attention to the family and then you can consider pampering your own needs and designs. Try to convince your husband that your inner needs and desires are important. Consider taking a correspondence course.

* * *

I am a university student suffering from severe self-esteem problems. I have a very poor self-image of myself and seem to feel that I am really good for nothing. Although my grades in university are pretty good but I never feel good enough. I am always trying to compete with others on some level or the other. Life seems a constant kind of unhappy situation and I wonder how other students around me can look so self-confident and happy with themselves. Is there any way in which I can raise my self-esteem. I am really envious of my peers around who seem to be moving ahead in life at a very good pace. Is there a way in which I can raise my own self-esteem and become more confident about myself?

Sunil Sehgal, Chandigarh

Stop being so critical of yourself. Just learn to accept yourself exactly the way you are and then move on from there. Everyone can change for the better and so can you. Become self-accepting and start viewing life positively. Trying to compete with others is a foolish way to be. You are your own kind of person with your own uniqueness and special qualities, which you have not nurtured. Stop criticising yourself only then can you see your positive qualities. Be kind to your own self. Self-esteem will gradually start rising as you begin to feel that you deserve all good things and you discover the inherent goodness within you. Take care of your body by exercising and eating healthy food, take care of your mind by having healthy thoughts. Confidence comes naturally as you learn to enjoy life.

* * *

I am a 25-year-old girl who is suffering from many fears and phobias. It is very difficult for me to find a good night sleep as I suffer from terrible nightmares. I also feel that this process has been continuing since my childhood. I grew up feeling extremely afraid of the unknown. There were many servants in the house who would tell all of us kids some scary tales of the unknown and I remember not being able to sleep visualising some strange monsters all the time. Praying to God seemed to bring some relief but it was not a permanent solution. Since I am still carrying all the negative things in my mind I feel very insecure all the time and constantly wish that I felt safe and secure.

Shaira, Chandigarh

Fear is a limitation of the mind and totally self created. Fear is a lack of trust in us. It is when we feel we must control everything at our own level and we can’t, that we begin to feel fear, as after all we can’t control everything. Yes it true that our childhood patterns of love, fear phobias etc. stay with us constantly and play havoc with our minds. Servants and many elders in homes do not realize what damage they do to the Childs fragile psyche when they are telling them these foolish fearful stories, which leave indelible impressions at that age. Please suggest to yourself that you are Divinely protected and safe and nothing can harm you ever. Love is the opposite of fear. Open your love channels. As you will learn to love and trust yourself more you will automatically start attracting those qualities to yourself. You have to work towards strengthening your heart, mind and body. Turn to the power within you and your will nationally feel protected safe and secure.

Rush in your queries to Renee at or care of Lifestyle, The Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chandigarh

Let the make-up flow
Vidya Tikari

These are three distinctive groups be it the party, shy, sporty look, which I categorise women make up styles into can be mixed and matched. Experimenting with make up is how an individual can achieve her personal style. The make up should not overshadow your personality. Be prepared to stand out!

The trick to great make up, no matter what style, is the pared down, realistic look. The skin should always show through the foundation and make up should be long lasting. Any make up can be toned down to suit the occasion; more important, the wearer should be totally comfortable in it.

Make up is all about attitude. I find that women who understand their faces and are comfortable with themselves use make up as a support system. For example:

Find a feature on your face, which you like and try to accentuate it. If it’s high cheekbones, then definitely use a pretty pink blush to soften and highlight them. For every feature that you don’t like, try, to think about one which you like and then highlight it. Slowly you will be able to appreciate the features you don’t like.

Another way to get positive about your face is to change the features that you can, simply by make up. The things you can’t change just get over them. One can easily change a ‘fat’ face by losing weight, an unshapely eyebrow by getting it plucked, facial hair by getting a bleach or a pimply skin by getting onto a sensible skin care routine and healthy eating habits. Features that can’t be changed should be left as they are. Cosmetic surgery should be resorted to only if there’s too much distress about a certain feature. Usually we tend to feel that our looks are a lot worse than they actually are.

I find beauty in a lot of features that people don’t accept as a normal or ideal. For example, freckles are my absolute favourite; they are definitely to be showed off and not to be hidden under a thick layer of foundation. Using a neutral gloss on them highlight thick lips. Thick brows should be brushed upwards with a wand. A prominent nose should be celebrated as a unique feature, for example, like Meryl Streep does. Whatever unusual feature one has, it’s important to get the best out of it by flaunting it and not trying to disguise it. Get comfortable about your facial features, remember you are unique and no one else can have what you have.

Divali Mela(ee)
Sreedhara Bhasin

I was on my way back home on Friday evening – after a speedy purchase of a few quick gifts at Sector 17. I thought it was a miraculous getaway for me that my car was not double-parked and that I managed to leave the fountain with all my limbs intact.

I had almost made it home when I hit the first bottleneck. It was the crossroads of Sector 19 and the traffic lights were functioning quite effectively. As I got close to the lights, it seemed like people had decided to charge at the lights like mediaeval knights and colour blindness seemed to be rampant. People raced to cross the lights when they turned yellow and even red – in the process cars from the other side rushed in and there was no space left for anyone to go anywhere. More cars surged in from behind and hence no manoeuvring could be done to untangle the jam. Soon, the cyclists started seeping in, hoping to navigate the maze. The rickshaws followed suit and in the process, the knot only got denser. In all the pull and push, one Maruti got its wheels entangled with an autowalla’s. Another rickshaw almost toppled over in an effort to ride over the footpath. No one was going anywhere. Then started the incessant honking – as if sheer noise was going to enable momentum. It was definitely looking like a scene from “It’s a mad, mad, mad world.”

I started looking for a policeman. There was none in sight – not even at 7 pm. One rickshaw passenger disembarked and decided to begin a harangue. Another driver just got out of the car and sat on the bonnet. I was getting desperate by the moment. Then I decided to take a long breath and digress from the melee at hand. Amidst the raging chaos, I started reflecting upon the merits of being stuck in a traffic jam. Well, once I got going I could think of a number of things. Surely, the weather God has shown mercy and that too, just in time. I have also managed to retain all the people I love dearly – in my life. And those that I miss terribly are somehow helping me from somewhere above to pursue this train of thought!

Divali gives us an opportunity to be gastronomically sinful and yet, make our friends and family happy. We voluntarily participate in chaos and go home happy. We spend money to see the smile on someone else’s face. We light diyas to warm our hearts and treasure our homes.

I have met some wonderful people in Chandigarh – some of them have restored my faith in humanity and kindness. This Divali, while I sat in an endless traffic jam, I thought of all of them. This is my way of thanking them. I hope you all had a great Divali!!

Who’s that??? Don…
Anandita Gupta

Like every consecutive year, this year’s Divali too saw many a firecrackers piercing the skies—their colourful, sprightly sparks flying off high. However, what flew higher than these festive sparks were the sparks of anticipation. For, sweeter than all that ‘mithai’ and chocolates exchanged this Divali, was the joy of seeing King Khan trying to fit into the ever indisputable Big B’s shoes (wearing those much hyped Oakley shades and Tag Heuer watch, of course).

Girls, guns and gadgets— are the fancy frills that accompany the twisting and turning thrills in the Rs 40 crore slick, stylish update of the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan starrer Don. But more than all this, Frahan Akhtar’s new Don offers what a majority of us viewers go to the movies for—style tips for those discotheque dates and cocktail evenings. No wonder, the makers of Don had a 10-day photo shoot at Mumbai’s Mehboob studio for finalising each character’s look. We save you this trouble, yet help you look like the new-age kings and queens by spilling Don’s style beans.

Eye candy

Flip through the pages of any of the recent issue of a film magazine and you’ll come across full-page adds of Oakley eyewear. Why not, when Oakleys has paid Rs 50 lakh to be on Shahrukh’s nose throughout the flick? They could be on your nose too, provided you love 3 D’s—danger, dark glasses and digging a hole in your pocket!

Tied to glamour

Of course, you can wrap glamour around you—twist and twirl it around your neck by sporting these slick ties. Aki Narula has made Don wear paisley and motif shirts, with scarfs in the identical fabrics and prints worn as ties. Or else, make your designer russle up for you a custom made shirt for you like the one with the waistcoat motif, like the shirt Shahrukh sports in ‘Khaike paan’ song.

Watch out

Tag Heuer, that adorns Don’s wrist throughout the thriller, has launched a 100 analog-turning-into-digital Monaco 69’s for Rs 3 lakh each. A great accessory to pamper yourself, especially if you are mad about everything King Khan does.

Briefed with love

If you like to state your style in a brief, crisp manner, what can be a better bet, other than an imitation of Don’s bleach-white brief case, custom-made from London. You can carry you laptop in it, if not Don’s specially handcrafted gun that was etched and fitted with blanks!

Glitzy flair

And all those pretty young ladies out there, get gorgeous with loads of sparkle and glamour. Experiment with short, sequined dresses in gold, silver, mandarin jackets and girlie jeans.

So all you yankee-shankee guys and gals out there, dress the secondgeneration Don way, until of course arrives the third generation Don!

Health tip of the day

If there is any one simple thing that makes it easier for a person to develop good posture and movement, it is to “think tall” – to lengthen oneself. If you move your head upward in relation to your body, your body will follow and come into good alignment. — Dr Ravinder Chadha


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