They are back
Jasmine Singh

One is the invincible sartaaj of Punjabi music industry and the other is the doe-eyed guy of Hindi television. And now, you will see them create magic on the big screen. Gurdas Maan and Manav Vij have come together once again after the success of Des Hoya Pardesh. This time for a film called Mini Punjab, which is being directed by choreographer-turned-director duo Rimpy-Prince.

Sounds like an interesting prospect. Especially, for the guy from Ferozepur, Manav, who has made it big with serials like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi BahuThi. Known to be a lucky mascot for Maan, he is more than excited to be sharing screen space with the man he considers his mentor.

Maan files

Gurdas Maan has produced over 27 albums and has written over 200 songs. He also wrote and directed TV programmes like POP Time for Doordarshan, Delhi. When Gurdas Maan started his career as a performer, there was no market for solo singers, as the market was dominated by the duets. He declined many offers to performin a duet as he was confident of becoming successful as a solo artist.

He starred in the hit filmShaheed Udham Singh, where his true personality was highlighted as a Sikh man with no prejudices based on religion, caste or creed. As a singer Gurdas Maan has worked with music directors like Laxmikant Pyarelal, Bappi Lahiri, Anu Malik, Nadeem Sharvan, Amar Haidipur, Charanjeet Ahuja, Jaswant Bhanyra to mention but a few.

Aside from singing in Punjabi, he is fluent in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Haryanvi and Rajasthani. As an actor he has performed in Punjabi, Hindi and Tamil movies.

"I always wanted to work with Gurdas Maan for the very fact that he is a powerhouse of energy and talent,” says Manav. “Each day is a learning experience with him. So much so, I feel that he has changed my life completely. Even people have noticed a positive change in me.”

Manav plays Jeet, a boxer in Mini Punjab, which also stars Gufi Paintal, Vivek Shauqk to name a few.

“The audience wanted to see us together on screen,” offers Manav, who has done a cameo in Ekta Kapoor’s Mahabharat. “The film has a strong storyline and I am sure it will be a big success.”

Ask him about his relationship with his mentor and you get all his attention. “As I told you earlier, Gurdas Maan is a director’s delight. You don’t have to tell him how to do a scene. After every scene he would sit behind the camera and tell me how I had performed.”

As for Gurdas Maan’s work, it has always been par excellence. Whether, it is an album or a film like Waris Shah, the man with a soulful voice has treated every project like the first and excelled. With Mini Punjab, he plans to do the same. Gurdas Maan plays Prem Singh in the movie, a kind of messiah who walks into people’s life to make it better.

Says Manjeet Maan, Gurdas Maan’s wife and producer of most Gurdas Maan films, “Every director has a vision and the actor has to work accordingly. I don’t know about this project as it is completely new. It is impossible to create the magic of Des Hoya…, but who knows what’s in store!”

And we can feel the absence of Manoj Punj. She feels that too, “Working as a team with Manoj was a totally different experience. He would treat his subject with finesse and delicacy and the results are there for you to see.” Indeed.

But such is life, it has to roll on. And so does work. Sai Productions will always miss Punj, the man who created magic on screen. But at the same time, as they say, the show must go on.

And it does for Manjeet Maan who dons the director’s cap for the first time with Sukhmani – Hope for Life with Maan in the lead. “We had discussed this project even before Waris Shah. The cast and crew will be the same save for Manoj and Sooraj ji,” she adds with a heavy heart. As for Maan, he is doing another flick with Simarjeet (Manoj Punj’s assistant) Pinda Vicho Pind Sunida.

Show your true colour, man!
Manpriya Khurana

— Photo by Pradeep Tewari, Location courtesy: Style Chek
— Photo by Pradeep Tewari, Location courtesy: Style Chek

PAISLEY prints, dull pinks, purple stripes, subtle floral — No, we are not talking about a new women’s boutique that has come up on the block but about the trend in men’s wear. Surprised? Surely you can’t be. By now you must have seen men in various prints and colours.

No more boring greys or blues, guys! We just told you that pink were the new blue in the corporate dressing. But to be doubly sure, we go on a city tour scouting for what rules the men’s wardrobe these days and come back with this conclusion that there is no colour exclusive to woman any more. Men have stolen almost all colours from female wardrobes!

Whether formal, semi formal or casual — experimentation is the key word. Or what else would explain the pinks, lime greens, yellows and maroons in their closets? Make a trip to Van Heusen. Here, one can find a wide range of floral prints apart from the universal stripes and checks. In fact, the variety in colours and prints is nothing short of Kaleidoscopic view! And pink is really in the pink of health. As store manager Manoj Kaushik says, “Pink is accepted by one and all. In fact, I would say pinks and blues come in the same league now. It contributes well to our sales.”

Dressed to win

‘Your business has only one chance to make that important first impression. Make sure it’s the right one’. In this statement lies the power of power dressing. The term power dressing was coined in the late 70s and is associated with clothing styles meant to spell assertiveness in business and politics. The term has come to be used for both men and women alike. And what has changed is the concept of power dressing. While, earlier, it was just the blues and blacks for men, now even turquoise fits into the definition of power dressing.

Now, we are not running down the whites, blues and the blacks. They are the staples everywhere but a change is always welcome. At Allen Solly one can find a huge variety of conservative stripes and plains, but again they come in colours too. If you want to experiment with caution, then this is the place to head.

At Wills Lifestyle, you can find a refreshing combination of colours that comes in stripes. So expect to find two shades in the same shirt but blending effortlessly with each other. Showroom host Vipasha Laroiya says, “Talking about pink, it is popular but only the dull pink.” Here you can also choose various colours and prints in ties. Apart from the plain silk and satin ties, you can find paisley-print ties in seagreen, violet and also in checks and squares.

At Peter England, one has a wide variety of colour to choose from, especially in their Elite collection. The collection at Stanza too reinforces our belief that men can go vibrant too. Here, you’ll find bright colours like turquoise, green, blue, pink and lots of prints in the pattern of leaves, flowers or just asymmetrical abstracts. And according to store manager Govind Singh they are quite a hit with the men folk.

So, take the cue and join the gang. And remember one thing, no colour on earth has an inherent male or female character to it.

Technology ki jai
Jasmine Singh

— Photo by Manoj Mahajan

Some call him Ramji. But to most people he is chotey punditji or Pundit kaka for he is short statured. Whatever name, Pundit Rampull is one of the most loved and respected pundits of the city. The red tilak on his forehead, a jainaiu and crisp white dhoti kurta, Pundit Rampull from Chattisgarh devotes his time to the seva of the mandir, day and night.

In the evenings, when he is free, he spreads a small sheet in the temple courtyard and takes out his laptop. He plugs in the data card, connects to Internet and begins what he likes doing the most — reading the latest on line Bhakti books by foreign authors. After checking various sites, punditji gets down to yet another important task, preparing a kundali of one of his bhakt’s daughter. He taps in her name, date and place of birth and there it is, the kundali is ready in flat five minutes. “It is easy to make a kundali on computers. You get a software these days that helps to prepare it without error,” says Rampull. “And, this laptop is so much more beneficial than a computer,” he points at his HP make that his sons had gifted him. “He taught me the basics and now I practice myself,” he smiles.

Now, this is positively positive development. And you thought only the elites could operate a laptop or a computer? It’s a pleasant change the way the pious, simple, dutiful pundits have taken to technology. It has made things easy for them — connecting people, reading scriptures and the most importantly storing data like janam patris and kundalis.

Says Pundit Kuldeep, “I always wanted to read the scriptures and know more about Hindu religion, but couldn’t do so until I got a computer. I was not comfortable with the idea of going to the library to read a book. Also, the scriptures are in Sanskrit and as you know not many books are published in Sanskrit,” he says. Ditto for Pundit Sharma who got the Sanskrit font loaded in his computer, and now he can read all the on-line editions. “I didn’t know how to operate it, but I requested a young boy who used to come to the temple to teach me how to use one and now I can operate it on my own,” he proudly declares.

If making kundalis was a tedious task, keeping records was a Herculean job. The chances of a patri or tewa getting lost were always there. But, PC’s and laptops have made things simple for them. The best part is that some software’s coming with amazing features, which provides the operator an access to beneficial features like reading texts in different languages, keeping updated with what’s happening in the religious front and lastly besides making kundalis.

Pundit Sham Sunder Shastri, head pundit with Sector-30, tells us how he logs on to various religious sites for more information. “Not only this,” says Shastri, “I don’t have to worry about keeping records of kundalis. I simply store them in my laptop.” Performing aarti in the mandir to surfing net, what a pleasant change! But to Shastri it’s not a change. “I have adopted something that is positive and beneficial,” avers Shastri. “Through Net I can visit other places in India and read about various temples. Yesterday, I logged on to a site that showed the most beautiful mandir in the world,” he smiles.

Of course, change is not always bad and anything that has a positive side to it should certainly be accepted.

World at a glance
Manpriya Khurana

YOU have heard of people reading, listening to music, playing tennis or going skating. But have you met anyone taking up some offbeat hobbies like dictionary or thesaurus reading or even atlas gazing? Yes, the same mundane book of maps you lugged to school everyday for geography class. Atlas, they say, houses the universe, but for some people, it is literally so!

Be it a physical map or political, they don’t care. Nobody’s interested in the geographical aspects, but yes, what they like to do is simply open it in front of them and gaze. As Amit Sharma, B.E student puts it, “As a child I liked to look deep into the countries and continents. Even now whenever I get time, I like to do it. The colours and shapes simply fascinated me.” However, this fixation goes beyond pictorial fascination. Some of them like to call it the perfect getaway. As Ramninder Kaur, a media professional, says, “Atlas gazing always held an escapist touch to it even when I didn’t know what that meant. The fastest way to travel to some far away place is simply open the atlas.” Very true! After all, howsoever widely traveled one might be, no one has been to every nook and cranny of the world.

But day dreaming is not the only thing one can do with them. Get innovative and one can play innumerable games. As Sandesh Arora, a student of GMSS-35, puts it, “Four-five of us get around an open atlas and decide on the place from index to search for. Then we madly hunt for it, whosoever finds it first, wins. It’s fun.” They also feel that the number of games that can actually be played with an atlas can give Takeshi’s Castle a complex.

Now all the daydreaming, fun and whiling away time shouldn’t give you an idea that it’s a good for nothing hobby. For, it can actually widen your horizon and has an educational touch to it.

So next time there’s nothing to do, you know what to do. Take out your good old school atlas. You have to try it to believe it. Go around the world even if you are broke!

Ati Sundaram
Parbina Rashid

— Photos by Himanshu Mahajan

IT’s been almost two months now that Sundarams donned its new avatar. A proper South Indian — well, almost. The proper wooded ceilings, floor tiles with rangolis, matte finished walls with floral patterns in white and two huge paintings depicting village scenes from Tamil Nadu. And this is here the ‘almost’ comes. As S. Sundaram, the owner, got these painted by an artist from Jaipur, they come with a slight Rajasthani touch. But then, who is complaining as long as the food is authentic and the ambience is soothing?

In fact, there is a new addition in the offing. A sweet corner, which is going to be inaugurated in a fortnight’s time! The corner, right at the entrance, is almost complete and even the cook, Raja, whom Sundaram introduces to us as the ‘sweet master’ from Chennai. And he tells us about the sweets and savouries (namkeens) he will be making for us.

“The ingredients are almost the same as that of North Indian sweets, but it is the way of mixing them that is different,” informs Sundaram giving us the name of the sweets —laddu, Mysore Pak, badhusha, coconut burfi, jangiri and badam halwa. And in the savouries category we will get kara boondi, kara sev, oma poddi and even onion and ribbon pakoda. In fact, we even got to taste a plate of piping hot onion pakodas garnished with kadi patta and served with coconut chutney.

“We, the South Indian community living here, felt the need for such a shop. After all, nothing tastes better than food from home,” says Sundaram. But his aim is to serve not only the South Indian community but also to introduce the North Indians’ taste buds to the sweet delights from the South. After all, the sweets he just mentioned contain less ghee and that’s one thing we North people can do without.

Re-live Dev’s magic
Neha Walia

No matter how old the adage ‘old is gold’ gets, it still holds good. It holds true for the evergreen actor of the Hindi cinema, Dev Anand, the man who gave us some memorable movies, which are class personified.

Bringing back the nostalgia is the Evergreen Dev Anand film festival to be inaugurated on August 14 in the city. The festival will feature four of his superhit movies- Guide, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Jewel Thief and Des Pardes.

“Dev Saheb is an international figure. He has fans all over the world. This festival is a gift to him by all his fans in Chandigarh,” said Naveen Sharma, one of the organisers.

The festival will open with Guide, a film that is a benchmark in Dev Anand’s career. It is the only Indian film to be invited by Cannes film festival in the Classics section this year. “The film is ahead of its times and the transformation shown in the movie combines materialistic success and spiritual dimension. It had a wonderful message that god resides in each one of us,” says Naveen Sharma. “We are in touch with the Chandigarh Film Society regarding this festival and the show of Guide is house full already,” he adds.

Banking on Dev Anand’s popularity, this festival will showcase his best work. Be it his style with substance performance in Guide or romantic act in Prem Pujari, his movies oozed style and raised issues. Remember the glamourous Zeenat Amaan smoking away to glory in Hare Rama Hare Krishna or the beautiful Tina Munim in Des Pardes.

So, relive these classics and experience the evergreen entertainment with the Dev Anand film festival.

Ethnic treat

As a treat for all culture enthusiastics in the city, the Rashtriya Sanskriti Samaj Avom Sabhayata Society brings together weavers from all parts of the country for an exhibition-cum-crafts bazaar at Lala Lajpat Rai Bhawan-15. From the famous Lucknowi chikankari to kantha work of West Bengal, there is a wide range of fabrics and embroidery work to choose from. And they come in form of dress materials as well as ready-to-wear collection.

One can have a pick from both cotton and silk, especially Chanderi, Maheshwari, Banarasi, Bhagalpuri and the famous Kota doriya silk. The exhibition emphasises on printed fabrics. It has sanghaneri, batick and bagh block prints, priced between Rs 300- 800. Embroidered fabrics are also for grab in phulkari and appliqué work. The highlight of the exhibition is the Maheshwari and Narayan pet saris in silk, only for Rs1,000! With their intriguing designs and delicate borders, they sure make a collector’s item.

On till July 28.

— Neha Walia

Matka Chowk
Coming home
Sreedhara Bhasin

WHENEVER I am travelling and come back to our city, it is always the familiar air that reminds me of home. When I go to my other hometown – Kolkata – it is the smell of diesel and vehicular emission that greets me in Samurai style and I am instantly transported to the city of my childhood. It is almost like I never left it. Over the years, Chandigarh has become my city and coming back to it is usually a much calmer experience.

Whenever I come back, some of the things always make me feel happy despite whatever else I might have been unhappy about. The rows of mango trees all over the city, their leaves often coated with the road dust seem to be like the old guards who are bent and yet firm, offering a sense of rooted stolidity.

Coming back now, at a time when the city has experienced abundant rain is even more delightful. The lake is fuller than ever before and everything that exercises photosynthesis seems to have gone on a crazy growing spree. Trees and vines seem to have shot up by inches, the leaves are green as freshly-cut emeralds. Creepers have emerged where there was none and many are brandishing flowers of unusual hues.

The grass has run over the pavement and the morning air is filled with the smell of vegetation and soil. A smell so typical of the city and so dear to me.

Neighbourhood parks look like mini-forests. Overgrown branches are hindering cricket. Puddles in the park are a makeshift swimming pool for those who don’t get to use the real thing.

I have been in some big cities where after a huge rain the entire city smelled like a garbage dump. Then there are some cities where unusual things happen. I was once shopping in an open market when a huge spell of showers caught me. I climbed onto a store selling oil and waited. To my dismay, the water started to rise inside the market splashing at the rails of the collapsible gate of the store. Then emerged an army of cockroaches who I guessed inhabited the underground floor. The roaches started fluttering, flying and swimming all around and in desperation I climbed up a chair, much to the amusement of the shopkeeper.

In Chandigarh, we are very lucky. We can wade through rainwater and still retain the colour of our new sneakers. We can walk on the streets after the rains and not fear we will fall into open manholes and break our neck. We can smell the air that reminds us of green meadows, gulmohars and homemade white butter. To me, that is coming home.

(This column appears weekly)

Write to Renee

at or Life Style, The Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chd

I am 43, married and have a son. I suffer from severe depression. I have been on anti depressants for almost 10 years now. Now I have become addicted to them. I feel lonely and am always looking for company. I love going to the discos in the evening as the music gives me a sense of relief. But when I get home it’s the same. My husband is very critical of me and I cry a lot as he is always trying to control my life. What do I do to feel better? I feel most of my life has gone by and the few years that I have will also go like this. I don’t want to rely on my medicine so much.

Simi Bhanot

Take charge of your life. You are running away from yourself. Life needs to be put in the right perspective so that you can face challenges with courage and conviction. Life is all about living in balance. Your inner and outer worlds need to connect. You have probably over the years put away all your problems and just tried to have a good time. But remember life catches up with you; so finding momentary relief is not really the answer. Find a way to feel good inside. Your husband’s way of showing love is by treating you as his possession and protecting you. Your son obviously has his own life; after all he is an individual. Find yourself a goal and try and achieve it, social work would be most satisfying. Feel rejuvenated with the elixir of life itself.

I am a married man of 32 years of age. I have a 2-year-old daughter and a very attractive wife. I am extremely jealous. I work as a computer engineer and when I am at work, I keep wondering what she must be doing at home. I don’t like the idea of her going out from the house. If I do not find her at home, I get abusive. I feel bad later but I can’t control my temper. Now, I am worried that she might leave me as I have been so unpleasant to her for a long period of time. I love her very much and cannot bear to be without her. How do I change myself?

Gaurav Shrivastava

You are only reflecting your own level of insecurity by behaving this way. Perhaps, as a child you were competing for the love and affection of your parents with your siblings. So now you want all their attention and love to be focussed on you. Do not suffocate her in the relationship as love is about allowing the person to feel free. Trust me, she will love and respect you more if you give her this feeling. Your fears will actually mess with other aspects of your life also. Learn to control your anger by doing yoga and meditation. Once the mind is calm, it can think with more clarity. Fear is actually a lack of trust in our own selves. When you can’t control something you feel fearful. Trust in the power that lies inside you and have faith that your wife loves you. Once you reach out to her with love and no aggression, she will also reach out to you with love.

I am 21, leaving for the US for a degree in psychology. I am in a steady relationship for the past three years with this guy who is also studying for his MBA. Ever since I told him that I am going abroad, he has been behaving strangely. He thinks I am going to settle there. But I have no such intentions. I am very fond of him and do not want to hurt him. I have always been sure of what I want in life and I feel he is the right one for me. I want him to be happy for me and not feel disturbed. How can I make him understand?

Richa Chatwal

It’s wonderful that you are well adjusted with life at this young age. You cannot blame the young man for being insecure, as he perhaps, cannot see life without you. Since you are convinced that you are coming back, you can easily convince him too. Caring for someone’s feelings is the greatest way to show your love and affection. Tell him about your future plans. Make him realise his self-worth, he probably doesn’t feel that he is good enough for you. He actually needs to feel good about himself. That will give him a level of confidence in himself and also you. Once you have your own way, things will fall into place.

(This column appears weekly)

first day first show
It fails to Konnect
Rajiv Kaplish

Kismat Konnection
time pass

STRANGE things are happening in Bollywood. The alarming regularity with which films are flopping has unnerved the dream merchants of Mumbai. Strange are their reactions. Some moolah-crazy filmwallah has turned to magic (helmsman Kunal Kohli). Someone else has invoked a spirit (Vivek Sharma) while certain others (Aditya Chopra and Ram Gopal Varma) have become potters whose wheels keep on spinning in search of the elusive El Dorado. Director Aziz Mirza firmly believes in destiny. So, what does he do? He goes to a fortune-teller who tells him to change the spelling of his film from Kismat Connection to Kismat Konnection. Mirza goes a step further. He creates a character who is a soothsayer. The enigmatic crystall ball gazer, Haseena Bano (Juhi Chawla), predicts that Raj Malhotra (Shahid Kapoor), a street-smart but unlucky architect, is about to get his talisman. Raj bumps into Priya (Vidya Balan) who is trying to save a community centre from being demolished by hotshot builder Sanjeev Gill (Om Puri), who wants to build a mall there. Priya turns out to be the lucky mascot of the architect who manages to get a big project after meeting her. What follow are a few lies, hazaar misunderstandings and some rona dhona. But like all movies ending on a happy note, all misgivings are removed and a connection between kismat and the lives of the protagonists is established at the end.

But does it connect to the audience? Remarkably ordinary, the film is appealing only in parts. No pathbreaking cinema. No great story-telling. Just a rehash of several Bollywood and one Hollywood blockbusters. Though most of the scenes are neither high-voltage nor melodramatic, they aren’t gripping either. A lot has been written about Shahid looking much younger than Vidya. Though it’s not the casting coup of the year, the chemistry between the two isn’t exactly appalling. Shahid acts effortlessly and looks convincing, but at denouncement, he bores with his lecture on corporate greed and global warming. Balan impresses in some scenes but is pathetic in others. Vishal Malhotra, playing Shahid’s close friend, scores over even the lead actor at times. Om Puri and Juhi are victims of overacting. Except one or two songs, the music is pedestrian. The boardroom meeting at the climax looks more like an assembly of buffoons than a congregation of top businessmen.

Showing at Batra,

Fun Republic, DT Cinemas, PVR

Makes no sense


Ram Gopal Varma seems to be in no mood to end his contract with gangster flicks. Contract, he says is the third installment in his trilogy of movies based on the mafia after Satya and Company. “If Satya gave you an inside view of the underworld and Company an overview, Contract moves to the next level where the underworld meets terrorism,” he told an interviewer.

It is a tale of an ex-Army commando, Aman (Adhivik Mahajan), who chooses to be ignorant of the things going wrong in the world around him, but gets involved when his wife and daughter are killed in a blast. His mission: to catch Sultan (Zakir Hussain) who is the brain behind several blasts with the help of a cop, Ahmad Hussain (Prasad Purandare).

Varma is an experimentation mode. He experiments with the star cast, which comprises debutants Adhvik and Miss India finalist Sakshi Gulati, who plays the role of the sister of gangster RD (Sumeet). The filmmaker experiments with the theme also by exploring an underworld-terrorism link. But fails in his efforts. New characters are introduced every now and then and there are plots and sub-plots which make no sense. Not the kind of debut for Adhvik and Sakshi who otherwise show a lot of potential.

Showing at Fun Republic,

DT Cinemas, PVR Cinema

Britney loses sole custody of kids

TROUBLED singer Britney Spears has finally ended her painful custody battle with her ex-husband Kevin Federline, losing sole rights of her sons to him. K-Fed’s longtime attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan made the news public.

He said that the divorced duo have reached a settlement in their long-gestating custody case. According to the agreement signed by all parties, Federline gets sole legal and physical custody of sons Sean Preston and Jayden James and Spears will have visitation rights.

“The case has been settled,” a website quoted Kaplan, as saying. “The court still has to approve it,” he added.

The case had been set to go to trial next month but all had been hoping to settle up beforehand. But although this is theoretically good news for Federline, Kaplan maintains that this isn’t exactly what his client had in mind.

“Kevin was not [out] to get custody. Kevin’s goal was to set up some kind of template so the mother of his children can co-parent,” Kaplan said.

“He said I need to have Britney to be involved in the co-parenting of the kids but I need there to be a structure,” he said.

But this is the structure he got and “Kevin is absolutely delighted,” Kaplan added. — ANI

Health Tip

INCORRECT posture, hours spent before T.V. and computer and sedentary lifestyle attributes to neck pain.  The most prevalent postural defect is anterior head positioning and round shoulders, which increases the load on the upper back and neck muscles. Prolonged sitting can cause “poked chin” posture and muscle imbalances in the neck and upper shoulders.

Exercise: Rotate shoulders in both directions. Stand with feet apart, arms at the sides, thumbs pointing forward. Rotate arms and shoulders out and back, squeezing the shoulder blades together at back. Maintain this position while pulling the shoulders down and exhaling. Gently move head back to bring ears in line with shoulders, without moving the nose up or down.

For posture training, place a sandbag on head for some time. During winter, wear high neck pullover, scarf to keep the neck warm. Warm shower relaxes the neck muscles.

Most of the neck and back problems can be corrected by maintaining correct posture while sitting, standing and sleeping.

— Dr Ravinder Chadha

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