In step with the times
Chaman Ahuja on how the National School of Drama has evolved over the past 50 years
Last year, when the National School of Drama celebrated its golden jubilee, the timing caused raised eyebrows in theatre circles because there was a gap between NSD’s conception and inception. After the idea of setting up a Central institution was mooted at a seminar in 1954, a draft scheme was prepared in 1955, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi  resolved to establish a school for theatre.

Devoted to cleanliness
Once a virtual garbage dump, the temple town of Chottanikara in Kerala today stands out as an example of hygiene, thanks to the efforts of dedicated women led by panchayat president Alice George. She has also managed to remove slums from the area and build houses for the poor, writes Leela Menon
THE scenic Chottanikara, 18 km off Ernakulam, Kerala, was once a garbage-strewn, polluted and unsanitary temple town. Today, the area leads by example, and is hailed across India for winning the Nirmal Gram Award, the most prestigious recognition for cleanliness and hygiene awarded by the Government of India.

From Buddha to Radio Mullah
The picturesque Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, where Gautam Buddha
once walked, has now become synonymous with bloodshed and violence, writes Manish Chand

Celebrated in the Hindu scriptures as udyan (garden), it’s a stunningly picturesque place where Buddha once walked, cultures intersected, poets sang and mystics came in search of peace. But, sadly, Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan has now become synonymous with unrest, bloodshed and Talibanisation.

Tulip bonanza
Nearly 12 lakh bulbs in more than 60 colours will greet the guests in one of the world’s largest tulip garden situated at the foot of the Zabarwan Hills overlooking the famous Dal Lake, being thrown open for public from March 20.

‘Today’s musicians are more versatile’
Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain’s performances have brought him countless national and international honours. A Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan recipient, Zakir was recently awarded another Grammy for his album Global Drum Project along with Mickey Hart, writes Deepak Sen
After winning the Grammy for a second time recently, tabla player Zakir Hussain is elated, no doubt, but the percussionist says that his most unforgettable experiences, more rewarding and than any award, were when his father Ustaad Allah Rakha Khan appreciated his performance and when sitar maestro Pt Ravishankar addressed him as ustaad.

A life in music
M. L. Dhawan on Gulzar, whose Oscar award-winning number from Slumdog Millionaire has taken the world by storm
Little did Makhan Singh Kalra, father of Sampooran Singh, alias Gulzar, know when he once reprimanded Gulzar for writing poems that his son would one day do him and India proud by winning an Oscar. In no uncertain terms he had told him, "As a writer you will have to depend on your brothers".

Chip of the old block
Neil Nitin Mukesh, who got accolades for his Johnny Gaddaar, is back with multiple releases this year. Ritesh Sharma chats up the actor who will sing in his new film
One-and-a-half years are a long time indeed after a promising debut. Why this delay?
Indeed it’s a long time but I was busy shooting back to back for my films. I am still very busy and will be so for almost this year. I have hardly had time to breathe after Johnny Gaddaar but that’s because I do one film at a time.

Will Smith most bankable star
ill Smith is the most bankable film star in the world, according to a new survey by


'ART & sOULParables from a Chinese master
by B. N. Goswamy


HOLLYWOOD HUES: Imperfect plot
by Ervell E. Menezes

Food talk: Vinegar special
by Pushpesh Pant

CONSUMER RIGHTS: Buy good quality inverters
by Pushpa Girimaji

by David Bird

ULTA PULTARight note
by Jaspal Bhatti


Perspectives on religious pluralism
Sunita Pathania
Inter-Religious Communication: A Gandhian Perspective
by Margaret Chatterjee.
 Promilla & Co.
Pages 200. Rs 425.

Books received

Panchayati raj: Governance beyond govt
Ash Narain Roy
Inclusion and Exclusion in Local Governance: Field Studies from Rural India
Ed B S Baviskar and George Mathew.
Pages 453. Rs 750.

Leisure time adventures
Khushwant S. Gill
Looking Beyond
by Hugh and Colleen Gantzer.
Pages 276. Rs 295.

Exploring uncharted territories
Ramesh Luthra
First Proof: The Penguin Book of New Writing from India 4
Pages 236. Rs 250.

Mosaic of life in Mumbai
Nonika Singh
Window Seat: Rush-Hour Stories from the City
by Janhavi Acharekar.
Pages 244. Rs 250.

The importance of being Oscar
S. Raghunath
What Oscar Wilde himself would have thought about adapting his plays into movies or indeed what he would have thought about movies in general is something to titillate the imagination.

Agatha Christie’s home
Emily Beament
HE holiday home that was once described by murder mystery writer Agatha Christie as "the loveliest place in the world" was opened to the public recently, as a `A35.4m restoration returns it to how it looked in 1950s.

Literary fibs
WO out of three Britons have lied about reading books they have not, and George Orwell’s 1984 tops the literary fib list, according to a survey. Commissioned by organisers of World Book Day, an annual celebration of reading in Britain, the study also shows that the author people really enjoy reading is J.K. Rowling, creator of the bestselling Harry Potter wizard series.

Undiplomatic ways
Randeep Wadehra
Clueless in California
by B. S. Prakash.
Pages x+213. Rs 195.

  • Colours of India
    by Inder S. Mehta. Heritage.
    Pages: xvi+152. Rs 595.

  • The World’s Best Inspiring Stories
    by G. Francis Xavier. Jaico.
    Pages 164. Rs 195.