Pavilions, podcasters and playlists
Jasmine Singh

Season 2 of ICL brings with it old players but new playlists. Here’s tuning into what’s making our boys swing off the pavilion

Cricket, cricket, cricket. There appears to be an overdose of it. Still, every time a team reaches a venue, there's that rush for autographs and pictures. No dampening of the spirit, no let-up in the excitement. So, when Chandigarh Lions and Dhaka Warriors hit the city for the ICL match at Tau Devi Lal stadium, Panchkula, we knew there was something interesting to dig out.

This time, we got all those boys sweating it out in the winter sun chatting about the gizmos they are hooked on to, the must-haves they just can't do without even when they are travelling. Given the fact that they miss out on ghar ka khana and yaar-dost, there has to be something, which gives them company. Here's meeting their tech companions.

Handycam's hot with Amit

Amit UniyalDitto for Cricketer Amit Uniyal, who carries a Sony camera or handycam whenever he is touring. "I can capture some nice locations and moments on the camera."

Along with this, the inevitable iPod goes with Amit wherever he goes. "I keep updating the playlist and you bet, it works as the best de-stress device." Besides, he also carries a laptop.

"It is important to check mails and chat up with friends This is one exercise that helps me relax," smiles Amit.

So, you thought cricket is the only thing that's on their mind. Of course, it is but they can switch off to easy mode whenever they want. Gizmos are one thing they can fall back on for relaxation.

Rock On on Ishan's iPod

"Ipod," says the 24-year-old fast bowler with Chandigarh Lions, Ishan Malhotra. "I can't think of travelling without music, the latest songs on the playlist, which are a mixture of Bollywood tracks, trance and hip-hop. The 'Rock On' score is my current favourite.

Ishan Malhotra"In addition to this, I always carry my hard disc that has movies and songs, and a Blackberry, fully loaded." For Ishan, these gadgets are like stress busters. "Whenever, I want to switch off from cricket, music and movies help me getaway." And this time, Ishan has brought his Yamaha RI, supersports bike with him to Chandigarh. "I'd like to drive around the city when I am not playing or practising," says Ishan, who is making his debut in a Hindi movie based on cricket, Victory, along with Harman Baweja.

What’s the score
What's on their I-pod

  • Rock on
  • Teri Deewani
  • Titanic
  • Rise up
  • Rhythm divine
  • Hooton sey chho lo tum
  • Papu can't dance

Harpreet's speaker struck

Harpreet SinghSays Harpreet Singh, an all-rounder with Chandigarh Lions, who relies heavily on his iPod, laptop and speakers for some masti. "Whenever I travel long distances, I make sure to carry my speakers, which I can plug into my iPod and have some nice music being played in the coach." Harpreet, who is hooked on to slow romantic numbers, has his cell phone equipped with the latest functions.

Ditto for Karanveer, whose 80 GB iPod allows him to tune on to some awesome numbers all the time.

Shoppers stop
Where these cricketers pick their gadgets from:

  • England
  • Australia
  • Mumbai
  • Malaysia
  • Sydney

Shutterbug Alok

As for the run machine of Dhaka Warriors, Alok Kapali, a digital camera is a must while travelling. "I am not much into music but, yes, I have to carry a digicam with me for some interesting shots."

Honey, I shrink the role
Parbina Rashid

A psychiatrist’s role in Bhandarkar's Fashion was a pleasant experience for homemaker Archna Chawla

Archna Chawla Photo: Parvesh ChauhanIt may have been a blink-and-miss kind of a role but hey, playing Priyanka's shrink in a flick like Fashion does not happen everyday. And when it does, it brings a few sleepless nights along with the usual excitement and pride. And this is exactly what Archna Chawla is going through these days. Joy - because hers were the shoulders Priyanka Chopra cried on when she was going through depression in Fashion, and sleepless nights because her five-year-old-son Hoonar is often posing her this question, 'After Fashion, what? Is Bollywood the destination for his mama?'

"A little bit of disappointment too. Because they did away with all my dialogues while editing and when I watched the film yesterday, I was kind of surprised to see only background music being played instead of the actual conversation Priyanka and I had on screen," Archna fills in.

Well, that's Bollywood! Things happen when you least expect it. Like her entry in the film. A full-time mother, Archna never dreamt of facing the camera until Madhur Bhandarkar approached her on the sets at Sukhna Lake. "My son is a Priyanka fan so I took them to the lake to have a look at her while the unit was shooting there. So, it was quite unexpected when Madhur came up to me to say that he had a role for me in the film. I declined at first because I had never acted before, but I was tempted at the same time, as I was curious to know how a film gets canned. So, I did it and it was not so tough, after all. I could deliver my dialogues well and a simple suit and a little make-up is all I could pass off for a psychiatrist," Archna tells us.

Now that the whole thing is over, only memories linger. And Archna cherishes each moment she spent with the unit. "They all are so down-to-earth people, no air at all. Priyanka gave me so much moral support to face the camera, I would never forget her." Didn't we say when it comes to Bollywood, one should expect the least expected?

Body beautiful
Parbina Rashid

As an artist, Sawan thinks himself to be a subject as good as any

A picture by SawanSome call him Narcissus, some call him Husain. They either hate him for his garishness or simply adore him for his eccentricities. But ignore? They can hardly do that. For Sawan's presence in the campus hardly goes unnoticed. It's not easy being Sawan, to sport a new look everyday, find the right coloured nail paint to go with his attire, colour his hair accordingly, draw temporary tattoos or find the right shaped bindi and then ride on his BMX bike from Mohali to the Government College of Art-10.

A final year student of Sculpture, Sawan is known for his image, photography and self-portraits. "Call me just Sawan, for I do not use a surname," he introduces himself. So what is this obsession with self-image? "I like being myself, use my face and body as a canvas and paint it to my heart's content," he answers. How much time does he spend in front of the mirror? "I think about myself all the time. However, what I want to become is an impulsive decision that I make each morning."

People's reaction? No, it does not bother him. Though initially he had problem with his parents when he got a huge dragon and snake tattoo done on his neck and got his ears pierced-seven in the left and three in the right. "However, my parents could not take it when I got my nose pierced, so I discontinued," he says.

But is that all to this boy. Not really. This eccentric lad has a talent of photo manipulation, does painting and writes poetry — anything creative apart from his chosen area — sculpting. "I am not interested in making sculptures," he makes it clear. But using his camera and multi-media, Sawan has come up with a spectacular photography series which gives a fair idea of the talent hidden behind his painted face. "I am going to put them up for a show soon," he tells us.

What about his self-portraits, which one can we see on the display boards in the college campus? "I do paint myself because I love drawing bare body and there are not enough willing models to pause for me. So I paint myself, click myself as I am as good a subject as any," he says. His sound bytes let us ponder on the campus buzz — maybe a Husain in the making, or maybe the Narcissus re-incarnate!

Side Lanes
The ancient one
Joyshri Lobo

It always lay in the passage, rather forlorn and ragged. Badshah, my mother's pointer, slept on it, curled into a warm circle in winter. In summer, his posture changed to expose his stomach and manhood to the whirring fan above. This particular sofa, with a lot of coir padding and ancient upholstery, had travelled with my grandmother from Jalandhar to Chandigarh, the day she relocated from the ancestral home. It was perfectly contoured to support a weak or tired back. Its arms were wider under the hands and its legs were carved into sturdy balls that ended on a slimmer note. Above all, it was deep enough to hide in.

By the time we returned to Chandigarh from Goa, the coir was spilling out from torn, flowered tapestry. It had a peculiar doggy smell. It was often sunned to get rid of fleas. Worse still, it was looked at with disdain because the stains could have been doggie ones or from the last incumbent. Few touched it.

Used to curling up with a book on a soft contoured settee, I eyed the ancient one with interest. My mother assured me it was too filthy and ragged to revive. When Miyan Bhai finished with the painting and white wash, I showed him my potential comfort, book-reading zone. Miyan was silent. Never at a loss for words, workers or a lucrative idea, he asked for an hour to contact various people. By dusk he had arranged for a friend to visit next morning.

The friend arrived on the dot and looked at the wounded, rejected piece with a surgeon's precision. I am sure he was very discouraged but put on a stoic front. I asked for softness, depth, cleanliness and good springs. Each request was greeted with eagerness as it swelled the costs. By the time the final estimate was made, the proposed bill was Rs 1500. My better half gasped. We could buy a newer, modern version for less. But, I countered, would it be as comfortable? The upholsterer read my thoughts and hung on every word I spoke. He assured the Sahib that such wood and carved legs were both impossible to find. The bill went up further till I dug out some dull, old curtain cloth. There was a hush. The man tried to convince me that the material had neither shine nor sheen and was too old fashioned to be considered. I stuck to my guns he stuck to the cost.

Adequately padded, as soft as a baby's bottom, the ancient one welcomes various people throughout the day. Early in the morning, Ossie reclines in its depths, going through the horrors of the sensex. Somehow the ancient one comforts and cajoles and reminds us of better times to come. Perhaps it is reminded of its own past. My mother, who rejected it for being too low, too deep and perhaps dirty, now adds extra cushions and goes through a series of Sudokus, all her misapprehensions laid to rest. With numerous contenders to compete with, I sneak into its welcoming arms in the afternoon. It is quiet and comfortable and adds richness to the books I read. I pat it and say, "Welcome back, my Ancient One!"

Launch Pad
Bags on your mind

Hidesign launches Pearl 02, an exquisite 'Hobo' bag designed especially for women. The Hobo bag is a fashionable and dynamic trend in accessories this season.

Hidesign's Pearl 02 is handcrafted using supple Ranch leather. Hand stitched details on the exterior of the bag enhance its crafted design. Pearl 02 cleverly includes an interior zip compartment to carry mobile, PDA, MP3 players and other daily essentials, all fitted with Hidesign's exclusive logo lining . This bag has adjustable shoulder straps making it comfortable to carry all day. The custom-made nickel buckle complements the Hobo's natural appeal.

Available in earthy hues of black, brown, dark green, grey and Bordeaux, the bag is priced at Rs 3,495.

Paint my wall

ICI Paints, the name behind the well-known brand Dulux, has introduced unique paint options to cater to the fast changing lifestyle of the Indian consumer. It has introduced a unique fungus and bacteria resistant paint — Dulux 3-in-1 StayClean. Recent research has shown that walls at home provide the largest surface area for the bacteria to breed on. By ignoring these walls we can encourage the growth of disease causing bacteria & fungus. Thus to safeguard the walls from bacteria & fungus, ICI Paints steps in with the Dulux 3-in-1 StayClean paint. — TNS

Picks & Piques
Quite a style statement

Behind the runway dazzle is a sinister dark world, where conspiracy is the code and evil the design. Maverick filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar is back, and this time with the ramp-reality check Fashion, which explores the gloom quotient of glam arena.

With Mumbai fashion industry as the backdrop, the film is an emotional journey of a small-town girl Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) who wants to zip into the big league ruled by supermodel Shonali (Kangana Ranaut). Fighting for a foothold, Meghna struggles to find her way through the dream-weavers - model coordinators, ad agencies, photographers, event managers and designers. Meanwhile, she also romances a wannabe model Maanav (Arjan). Not before long the right 'moves' bag her a contract in Abhijit Sareen's (Arbaaz Khan) top agency Panache where she replaces Shonali. Crest-fallen, further humiliated by wardrobe malfunction, Shonali sinks into deeper psychological mess as Meghna's career takes off.

Success breeds confidence, which soon becomes attitude and then finally turns into arrogance. Our showstopper protagonist proves that she is no exception - she dumps her boyfriend for well-heeled boss and turns ungrateful to real friends. Thus begins her downward slide. Heart-broken and desolate, Meghna takes refuge in drugs. A rave party leads her to a one-night stand with a complete stranger. It's time to confront her inner-self. She decides to take a break and returns to her hometown, Chandigarh. And when the moment of self-realisation comes, Meghna starts feeling a kind of a bond with ailing Shonali.

Solid screenplay has always been the hallmark of Bhandarkar's brand of cinema. In Fashion too, we see the deft artist at work, carefully crafting his characters and sketching the details. The ace director effectively captures almost each and every nuance of the fashion circuit: Casting couch, label lifting, wardrobe malfunctions, cut-throat rivalry and petty politics. However, unlike his other films, Fashion ends on an optimistic note.

Priyanka Chopra gets the author-backed role and perfectly fits into the groove. The remarkable ease with which she showcases an array of emotions clearly reflects her growth as an actress. Kangana gets into the skin of her character well.

The two leading designers of the industry, Sameer Soni and Harsh Chhaya, are shown as gays. While the former is reserved and married to Janet (Mugdha Godse) for ‘Mom's sake’, the latter is more schematic with the characteristic gay lisp. Debutant Mugdha Godse shows she is no rabbit when it comes to acting. Newcomer Arjan Bajwa carries his role as an honest non-compromising model pretty well. Overall, a chic flick.

Spoof saga

Sequels are meant to be bigger and better. But Golmaal Returns takes the retrogressive route - where things get sloppier and shoddier. What sours Rohit Shetty's comical broth is the lack of an all-important ingredient called the script, reducing the narrative to a spoof-saga.

Inspired from Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar ( 1973), Golmaal… revolves around Gopal (Ajay Devgan) who has an over suspicious wife Ekta (Kareena Kapoor), an avid K-serial fan and a dumb brother-in-law Lucky (Tusshar). Gopal plays a knight to rescue a damsel in distress Mira (Celina Jaitley). The duo ends up spending a night on a yacht. The hero returns next morning only to face a barrage of questions from his wife.

To save his skin, Gopal invents a character Anthony Gonsalves. However, Ekta decides to double check and Gopal finds his Man Friday in form of Laxman ( Shreyas). Enter ACP Madhav (Arshad Warsi), who suspects Gopal's involvement in a murder case, and the plot takes a chaotic turn. After few more twists and turns, the things are finally resolved in an overboard ‘suicidal’ climax.

Dismal screenplay destroys Golmaal. Comedy is not just about scripting bizarre sequences, spoofs and gags. Also, the director gets overambitious and overzealous to tickle the funny bone.

The only saving grace is the witty dialogues-Main Tulsi ya Parvati nahin jiska pati jal kar vaapis aa jayega, twisting of proverbs -Darji ka kutta na ghar ka na school ka and wacky performances by Tusshar and Shreyas.

The movie belongs to Tusshar who with his mute act again shows he's a scene stealer. Ajay Devgan and Kareena look okay, while Arshad needs some more screen space. Other ladies, Amrita Arora, Celina and Anjana, have little to do.

There is only one song Tha Karke in the film apart from the title track which is again a parody on a number of Bollywood hits.

Mock Tales
Hair-razing fun
Neha Walia

Kitu GidwaniThere are no short cuts to success. And the big bad world of our television dramas makes sure that these lines are followed, literally. Wondering how? Try to remember those pancaked, sati savitri personified, glycerin-laden women on the boob tube, who can give any baba a run for his money with their life gyan. And one common factor among them, apart from the umpteen tribulations they have to face in every episode, is their lambe ghanne reshami baal.

Now we know Indian men's fascination for long haired beauties and our own stereotypical defination of a bharitiya nari is not complete without those long tresses. But while we talk about women liberation and empowerment, the first revolutionary yet simple act of our freedom is symbolised through a chic cropped haircut. But this breaking-out-of-the-mould act has not gone down well with our TV wallas. So we have our desi clones of Rapunzal waiting to get liberated (from their problems and of course those looooonng hairy wigs). For a female protagnist to rule the charts, long hair have become as important as the storyline of the serial. Whatever profession the female plays, successful and adarsh nari means long hair. So what happens to the bobcut ones? Oh they play the scheming and plotting vamps.

Urvashi DholakiaBut then we have so many examples in real life where it's the short version of Rapunzal that rules the roost. The stylish parliamentarian Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the former supercop Kiran Bedi, the glamorous Madhu Sapre, we have women with chic and short hair who lead the pack of modern, powerful yet very Indian women. Most recently we see so many glam queens from tinsel town going in for chopped look. Say Bips, and on TV, Sonali Bendre looks cooler in her chic bob cut. The Indian television audience had their very first tryst with the out-of-the-usual woman in Tara where Navneet Nishan with her chic short and urbane hair became the face of contemprory Indian women. Then we saw Kitu Gidwani looking her glam best with her short hair and Achint Kaur followed, with her roles in Saaya and Dhadkan where she played powerful roles sans the oh-so-long tresses. And they became the trendsetters for a generation of women to follow.

But when thinking of our small screen vamps, they are the only source of glamour and style when it comes to these sob operas. The most popular vamp Komolika chopped off her hair to look devilish best in short hair. And check out any dharawahik on TV and you see chotte parde ki vamps in chotte baal. Yet, we see these short locked women high on power factor with their cropped hair, ruining lives and bringing all the twists in the tales. They are the actual key players in the serial, with their innovative and evil plots they bring the excitement and thrills. So technically, somehow even if negatively portrayed still these women are shown as powerful characters.

But again, our heart goes to the long lock ladies with wet eyes who in some weird way have come to be known as the ideal example of Indian women.

Hello Tunez
Plug in

DOSTANA: Karan Johar's films are known as much for their music as they are for their own cinematic quality. This expectation level can be a liability, considering that everyone wants it to be the very best.

Well, the music of this Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, John Abraham starrer is no less than that of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Kaal, Kal Ho Na Ho, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham or Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Vishal-Shekhar know as the pulse of the young, have included songs of various genre to appeal them.

The film tackles a difficult topic of man-man relationship, but at least the music does not reduce that to a caricature. Its core strength lies in three soft songs, which have been included here and are bound to appeal to every romantic heart. Jaane kyun is already up high on popularity charts. Anvita Dutt Guptan's lyrics have been sung with feelings by composer Vishal Dadlani himself.

The next song, Desi girl, is also a chartbuster stuff. Shankar Mahadevan and Sunidhi Chauhan hit the right notes all along. Kumaar's lyrics are simple and yet piercing.

Maan da laadla is one song in which the reference to the gay relationships comes through. Saleem sings it more like Kailash Kher. Kumaar's lyrics take care that there is no titillation involved.

Shut up and bounce is ideal foil for the Miami beach bouncing by Abhishek, John and Shilpa Shetty. It is from the pen of Anvita Dutt Guptan and has been sung by Sunidhi Chauhan.

Khabar nahin (Vishal Dadlani, Shreya Ghoshal, Amanat Ali) has tremendous softness and silkiness about it. If you are impressed, you have to wait for what comes next, because the very best has been reserved for the last. Surprise of surprise, Kuch kum has been penned by Vishal, although even Javed Akhtar and Gulzar would have been proud of its lyrics. It has been sung equally fluently by Shaan.

One interesting feature of the album is that the names of people who play the guitar in various songs and also those who lend their voices to the chorus have been mentioned.

Musical medley

YUVVRAAJ: It's not only Karan Johar who has a reputation to live up to. The same holds true to Subhash Ghai. The demand is perched even higher when you also have the names of Gulzar and A R Rahman on the marquee. Well, this one is not quite as fluent as it should be but the experimentation is interesting indeed.

The album opens with strains of all-time great opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (performed by the Chennai String Orchestra) with an introduction by Salman Khan. The songs proper hit off then.

Tu Meri Dost Hain (Benny Dayal, Shreya Ghoshal, Rahman) has superb lyrics and music. The use of string instruments is impeccable. But right next to it is a letdown, Shano shano (Sonu Nigam, Srinivas, Karthik, Timmy, Sunaina, Vivienne Pocha and Tina). It is too pedestrian to fit in here and even the remix version is no better.

Tu muskura (Alka Yagnik and Javed Ali) is about the best offering both in terms of melody as well as softness. Equally impressive is Manmohini morey by Vijay Prakash.

Mastam mastam reminds you of the older albums of Rahman where lyrics were more about rhyming.

Zindagi by Srinivas brings out the joys and sorrow of ups and downs of life. Dil ka rishta (Sonu Nigam, Roop Kumar Rathod, A R Rahman, Clinton Cerejo, Suzanne D'Mello, Vivinenne Pocha) is remarkable as long as the piano is in operation but becomes rather shrill when keyboards kick in. — ASC

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