A new dawn
Architect-author Vikramaditya Prakash is carrying forward the legacy his father Aditya Prakash had created
Manpriya Khurana

To most of our readers, the news that Vikramaditya Prakash, son of Aditya Prakash, was here for 10 weeks, will practically mean nothing. It was 'the event' in the architect's world and 'significant development' tangentially concerning the city’s history. Just before leaving for the US, the professor from the University of Washington, shares with Lifestyle, the projects he took up during this period.

It's actually impossible to put in a few hundred words the exhaustive works for which he was here, launching the memorial symposium in his late father's name, conduct a study programme, make a proposal etc. Nevertheless, here's putting context, preface and purpose into place.

New beginning

Most know him as the prominent Indian architect closely associated with the Le Corbusier's Chandigarh project, but Aditya Prakash was more than the sum of his buildings. As an academic, he was an early advocate of self-sustaining settlements and described Chandigarh planning as 'escapist'. Commenting on one of his works, Tagore Theatre's dismantling, Vikramaditya says, "They've done a nasty job. They still call it Tagore Theatre." He adds, "What they've done is retained the basic structure while ruined the exteriors, while drawing the characteristic triangle of the rough format in front." Back to the Aditya Prakash memorial symposium, apart from the two exhibitions, there were panel events, "I actually plan to turn this into an international event with lots of research."

The fine print

'Aditya Prakash Architecture and Painting' — one of the countless events and two exhibits as part of the Aditya Prakash memorial symposium launched on March 10, the exhibition also underscored the facts not many know. The architect famous for low-cost buildings, painted for two to three hours every morning during his lifetime. The display juxtaposed the original documentation of his buildings and research with select paintings. Even a careless stroll around his works testified architects can be prolific too. There's District Courts, Military Rest House, Indo-Swiss Training Centre, Punjab Agriculture University-Ludhiana among the never-ending structures and of course, the Tagore Theatre.

It's India

Another of the twin-exhibits brought under the initiative of Vikramaditya Prakash straight from Amsterdam, the exhibition, Building India, currently displayed on the seminar hall of Chandigarh College of Architecture, emphasises five Indian cities namely Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore. Upshot of ARCAM, architectural body of The Netherlands, asking younger generation of architects how they see the future of Indian cities, the exhibition 'dissects' few works and some projects. Mumbai's Dharavi, one of the biggest slums of Asia, finds a place as does the Ahmedabad's Sabarmati River Front Development. "Post Chandigarh, it moves to Delhi," says J.P. Singh, dean, Academics, Chandigarh College of Architecture, "Team CCA is also working on a project on the similar line and we might add Chandigarh too, to the existing cities." More on the team led by him, he discloses, "The Chandigarh panel shall portray the architecture of last decade and also predict the future shape of the city in the regional context.”

Course of history

"We don't have a sense of history, because we have so much of it," says Vikramaditya while handing out the list of topics he taught to students as part of the University of Washington India Programme 2009 conducted at the Chandigarh College of Architecture.

Understandably there's a comprehensive course titled 'A history of the Architecture of India, from Mohenjodaro to Chandigarh'. "History is important," he continues while telling us, "My introduction was based on Amartya Sen's The Argumentative Indian and the Question of Indian-ness." So, there goes a long list enveloping Varanasi, Sanchi, Khajuraho, Jaipur, including Chandigarh and where do we go from here? Needless to say, as much of thought went into conducting the course as into devising.

Where are we heading?

Sixteen US undergraduates led by Vikramaditya Prakash from January 5 to March 10 conducted joint studio workshops wherein the students worked out a solution for the future development of the city. One of the final proposal to emerge was that peripheral ribbon area of the Patiala ki Row rivulet, would accommodate 2.5 lakh people. This brings us to yet another point. What does he have to say about the development already taking place and the changing cityscape?

He says, "The problem is Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana don't talk to each other. They've destroyed any sense of vision and started work on the peripheries as if there was no reference." Anybody out there listening?


Pride, no prejudice
Lushin Dubey teaches us how to be proud Indians

Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Myriad traits and roads of influence meet in the persona of acclaimed actor, director Lushin Dubey, who along with her illustrious sisters Lillete Dubey and Bubble Sabharwal, has taken the contemporary modern Indian theatre to a spectacular level. This time Lushin brings her prestigious panorama Salaam India under the aegis of the Durga Das Foundation at Tagore Theatre.

Talking about Salaam India, she says it inspires us to hold our heads up and say with pride that ‘We are Indians, and proud to be who we are’. The theatrical spectacle is a salutation to the rich cultural heritage of eternal India. “Delving deep into diplomat Pavan K. Varma’s classic Being Indian and the theatrical script sculpted by eminent playwright Nicholas Kharkongor, I had taken up the challenging task of director and production,” she says. Lushin feels theatre must become a parliament of sorts to project and discuss issues and maladies ailing all segments of society.

Lushin, apart from being a well-known theatre personality, has a master’s degree in science of education, with emphasis on special education. She taught specially abled children in the US and at the American Embassy School in India. She is involved in two theatre companies – Kidsworld and Theatre World. Kidsworld, is a pioneer youth theatre outfit in India.

Under the banner of her group Theatre World, she has acted and directed social issue-based plays and performed all over the country and overseas. Plays like The Life of Gautama Buddha emphasise the need for peace and compassion in a war-torn world, while Untitled and Bitter Chocolate are based on the complex issues of women’s empowerment and child abuse. These were followed with Muskaan based on HIV in India. Besides theatre of social relevance, Lushin has acted in seven films. In November 2006, she won the Gemini award in Toronto, the equivalent of the Emmy in Canada for her role as Kuldeep in Murder Unveiled, a film on honour killing. Rightfully honoured with several national and international awards Lushin got the Best Stage Actor-2008 award.

Objet D’ ART
For Christ’s sake
From Michelangelo, the great Renaissance man, to Michenangelo Francis, the homegrown artist of this century, Christ still makes for a great artistic muse
Parbina Rashid

(above) Crucifixtion by Jasmine Kaur and the ceiling of Sistine Chapel (bottom).

Had Pope Julius II not commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508, we wouldn’t have been able to write this story. Agreed, the popular belief is that it was his contemporary Raphael and Bramante who convinced the Pope to commission Michelangelo this huge responsibility in a medium which was not familiar to the artist out of sheer jealousy, but it still makes a great reading. Modern historians may rubbish it, but some things stay in mind, as does the colourful painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel in Rome. It took him four years to complete his assignment but when he did, it must have shut the mouths of his rivals for sure!

Now, let’s rise above such personal pettiness and get on with our story. Centuries later, we have one more Michelangelo doing similar kind of works in the city. Well, this Michelangelo comes with a surname Francis and he teaches art at St John’s School-26. The starting point for him is his own school, the entrance of the school auditorium to be precise and his medium is glass paints.

“I want to paint glass panels for churches and as a preamble to this, I have taken up this project for our auditorium,” says Micheangelo. As for his subjects, he has chosen Jesus Christ as the central piece, surrounded by one vertical panel of Brother Edmund Rice, the founder of Christian Brothers, Ireland ,along with his daughter and a little boy who is attired in St John’s blue uniform. “Brother Rice is always seen with his daughter, but I added this little boy to give it a Johnian touch,” says the artist. The Jesus in his frame comes as a welcoming figure in bright red and white and Brother Rice with a halo. Another frame shows an eagle, the symbol of the school. Next, he plans to carry out similar works for St Anne’s Church-32.

Even before we asked about his source of inspiration we knew the answer — Micheangelo the original, of course. But what we didn’t know was that his inspiraion solidified only after he visited Lima, Peru last year and saw the churches over there. “Most chruches over there have glass panel paintings based on Jesus’s life and teachings for windows and doors. I wanted to add that element to our churches here.” And now, helping him out in his mission is his Peruvian wife, Kelly Cabrera Francis.

However, one does not have to have a missionary zeal to paint Christ. Jasmine Kaur shows us how. The artist, in her painting Crucifixtion, based on her own dialogue with Gaugin’s Yellow Christ, takes Jesus and his crucification to show a modern day woman’s misery. So, along with the Christ, one sees a woman getting crucified — crucified for her failures and successes in life. Jasmine, who specialises in miniature art, has executed this painting too in the miniature format, her medium being acrylic on canvas.

And when one looks at them working on their chosen theme, Jesus as a metaphor or Jesus as God’s son, religious sentiments or emulating a great master — all become irrelevant. What becomes important is spreading joy through their art and they both are doing precisely that.


Record fame

The Limca Book Of Records celebrates its 20 glorious years by felicitating 20 extraordinary Indian luminaries who have made India proud. The icons are — Amitabh Bachchan and Naseeruddin Shah and Mohanlal, renowned space scientist and chairman, ISRO, Dr G. Madhavan Nair, distinguished sports personalities – Sachin Tendulkar, Abhinav Bindra, Saina Nehwal and Baichung Bhutia, leading media personality Rajdeep Sardesai, legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, renowned heart specialist Dr P. Venugopal and other eminent dignitaries.

The 20th avatar of Limca Book of Records incorporates achievements across 19 buzzing fields like Sports, Medical Science, Government, Development, Painting, Literature, Cinema & Theatre etc.

According to Vijaya Ghose, Editor, Limca Book of Records, “Limca Book of Records, now in its 20th year celebrates two decades of extraordinary achievements of Indians across the globe. The record book truly catalogues ‘India At Her Best’ and provides us with the opportunity to acknowledge and applaud these inspiring efforts. After introducing the Hindi edition last year, we are extremely proud to launch the first Malayalam edition of the record book this year. We are overwhelmed with the appreciation that the book has got all these twenty years for its determined effort in unveiling the incomparable talent of the people of India.” — TNS

Side Lanes
An Indian abroad
Joyshri Lobo

Travelling abroad, most of us stick out like sore thumbs. It's not that we are a race apart, uncouth or untidy, as is the general impression. All that is true but our most endearing habits are not understood by the rest of the world. Yes! That's what we are-the brownies who have the most beautifully defining features with khol-rimmed dark eyes, full pouty lips and glistening black hair. We travel in herds and share all that we have with the gushti. If one of us has landed in New York, many of us will follow in the near future. The strong, sturdy nucleus is there and attracts us like bees to the hive, joeys to the pouch, calves to the herd, vultures to the corpse, ants to the sugar and beta/beti to mummyji and daddyji. In the end uncles, aunts, 'cujjin' brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces are all a part of this whirlpool group. Their unity and loyalty remains unbroken and with each addition the unit becomes stronger. This separates us from the western world and causes insecurity amongst them.

Generations of Indians on foreign shores, maintain their traditions, customs, gotras and family jewels. The family does not allow a single coin or diamond to be taken over by the host country. In fact, when Amma makes her final journey back to the motherland for the final rites, she will be loaded with all that she saved and slaved for all her life - heavy gold trinkets, several layers of saris and makeup in every pocket and bag. Everyone at home will know how to distribute the goodies. The bad boys and girls will get nothing.

All of the above point towards values that are likely to help a world save itself from disaster i.e. family values, so much a part of Mera Bharat Mahan. Obviously the world does not accept this momentous truth at the present. These are also values, which make us very insular, inhibited, short-visioned and non-adjustable. We cannot look beyond the family wherever we may be. Is that a crime or worth emulating, remains to be seen.

Australia has been an eye-opener regarding efficiency, cleanliness and precision. However, I miss my country for I understand it well. At Bangkok airport, a father distributed amongst his brood, healthy parathas and achar from a stainless steel dubba, encouraging them to eat as the meal on the plane would be impure. Another group tried to while away eight long hours by listening to music. As there was a single I pod, the siblings shared and swayed to the sounds emanating from one earphone a piece stuck in either one's ear.

At my son's home, I could not face any more meat products. Bhindis, packaged by Vadilal, were sun-dried and fried. As bread is the staple cereal, I made some rotis using a Heineken beer bottle instead of an absent rolling pin. Monday will see us shopping for one. Moong dal, alu matter, sambar, rasam and biryani are all on the menu. A friend's product, Passage Foods, keeps the Indian diaspora going. Family forever! That seems to be our motto. It has never failed us as a race. I have travelled from another continent and am thrilled to see my family gobbling simple Indian meals. Kunba zindabad!

Fast feast

On the auspicious festival of Navratra, Nirula’s will be offering a Saatvik thali till April 4. These thalis will be available both at restaurants as well as through delivery, affordably priced at Rs 130 plus taxes. Absolutely free of onion, garlic, in these Saatvik thali ingredients such as sendha namak or lahori namak are used. It is offering favourites like paneer makhani, aloo zeera, malai kofta curry, arbi ajwani etc.

There will also be sweet dishes like samak rice kheer, makhana kheer and paneer rabri. These thalis are available at the Nirula restaurants and Fuel Station Units. — TNS

Koffee break
Bollywood calling
Multifaceted actor and director Nagesh Kukunoor talks about his latest— 8x10 Tasveer

A surprise is what Hyderabadi boy Nagesh Kukunoor (who started as a chemical engineer in the US and then debuted with Hyderabad Blues in 1988) wants to spring on his audience every time he directs a new film. One of the new breed of directors, who has given meaningful cinema to Bollywood he is now ready with his supernatural thriller 8x10 Tasveer, which stars Akshay Kumar and Ayesha Takia. The filmmaker talks 8x10... and more….

From Hyderabad Blues to 8x10 Tasveer tell us about your experience in Bollywood?

I have learnt a lot from Bollywood. For me, a good filmmaker should stick to his stand. He should be able to tell a story as never told before.

The strength of your films is your stories, how do you go about script hunting?

I write my films and anything I watch or see can trigger of a story idea. My mind keeps absorbing the new ideas.

Out of all the actors why Akshay Kumar

When names of the stars were coming in for the casting, it was Akshay’s face that came to my mind. His action thrillers have always impressed me and in this movie he has done a stunning underwater sequence.

What is the storyline of 8x10 Tasveer

It is a psychological thriller about an Environmental Protection Service officer in Canada who possesses supernatural powers. His father’s murder leads him to use his supernatural powers to solve the murder mystery.

Ayesha Takia seems to be your favourite?

Ayesha is a multifaceted actor its good to work with her.

Your upcoming projects

Aashayein and Yeh Hausla are my next projects. Yeh Hausla is a true story of ten women in a village in Andhra Pradesh. — Dharam Pal


This Friday’s movies 8 X 10 Tasveer and Oscar- nominated The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will offer thrill and drama

Say Cheers
After hockey and cricket, Shah Rukh promotes cheerleading

After promoting hockey through his hit film Chak De! India and joining the Indian Premier League (IPL) to encourage cricket in India, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is now popularising cheerleading as a sport. The actor says he is doing so through his TV reality show Knights and Angels - that aims to find six cheerleaders who will cheer for Shah Rukh’s Kolkata Knight Riders team at the IPL starting April 18. During last year’s IPL season, the American concept of cheerleaders at sporting events was replicated here to add a dash of glamour and entertainment, but many felt it was vulgar and obscene and did not suit Indian sentiments. To this, Shah Rukh said: “As the controversy hit our nation last year regarding this sport, I decided to add respectability to this profession (through my show). I think it can create great opportunities for the youth brigade.” —IANS

Inspiring Aamir, admiring SRK
Imran Khan says uncle Aamir is his motivation, but 
he is a big SRK fan

He finds inspiration in his uncle Aamir Khan, but Imran Khan says he is a big Shah Rukh Khan fan.

“I am a big Shah Rukh Khan fan. In fact, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is one of my favourite films. It’s one of the very quintessential Bollywood films - I just love it,” Imran said.

After having worked in romantic comedy Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na and thriller Kidnap, Imran is now working in action thriller Luck and comic caper Delhi Belly. — IANS

No big deal!

While the rest of the film industry is buzzing about the famous hand pump wielding scene from Gadar recreated by Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone in Kambakkht Ishq, Bollywood’s original action hero Sunny Deol just wonders what the hype is about.

“If they recreate a scene from Gadar, they are obviously trying to cash in on the film’s success, on the other hand it’s great that Stallone, an action legend is recreating the scene. But on second thought it’s no big deal,” Deol said.

Deol who was last seen in the multi starrer Heroes, is currently busy with his directorial venture The Man, which will be a home production under the banner of ‘Vijayta Films’. And for all the fans who liked Apne, the three Deols will reunite on screen for a film directed by Anil Sharma. — PTI

Penning melody

Sikandar (Big Music): I have always been of the firm belief that a good story line is an absolute must for a great film and good lyrics are equally important for a song. How good lyrics can elevate a track is more than visible in the haunting nazm, gulon mein rang bhare from this film which has been borrowed from Faiz Ahmed Faiz while the rest of the song has been penned by Neelesh Mishra. That is enough to make this a memorable number. It is not quite the same as what the incomparable Mehdi Hassan has sung in his voice of god but this is one of the most accomplished songs.

It is there in two versions. Mohit Chauhan has sung the “serene” version under the direction of Justin-Uday. The upbeat version is by KK with music by Sandesh Shandilya.

Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy contribute only one composition, but it leaves its mark all the way. Dhoop ke sikke has been sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Anusha Mani and somehow reminds you of the songs of Aamir Khan directorial venture Tare Zameen Par, because it pays a tribute to the innocence of kids.

Since the film is set in Kashmir, the music is typically Kashmiri. Arzoo is a traditional Naat sung in school assemblies, for which the voice of a boy Mehrajuddin has been used. It has no musical instruments in the background.

Allah hoo too stays true to the roots. Yash Narvekar and Hrishikesh Kamerkar have rendered it with spiritual fervour. In fact, Justin-Uday duo has taken care to maintain authenticity in Manzarat (Shilpa Rao), which is a song sung during Mehndi functions in Kashmir, and a youthful Chaal apni (Hrishikesh Kamerkar and Hamsika Iyer) also.

Not so sweet

EK... (Virgin Records): From Kashmir, we move down to the plains of Punjab. Here Pritam takes charge of the music for the Bobby Deol starrer. But is has no pretensions to be true to the soil and so only one song, Sohna lagda can claim to be Punjabi. Its music and lyrics are based on a traditional Punjabi folk song and its music has been recreated and composed by D J Phukan. Shashwati has crooned it.

It has later been remixed by K and G. Can you imagine what this remix is called? Kilogram mix!!!! Anyone coming up with a “Quintal mix”?

Another song, which could have been passable, is Sambhale kaise dil sambhale but neither Sukhwinder Singh or Sunidhi Chauhan’s voices nor Pritam’s music rise above the mundane level.

Tum Sath ho in the voices of Abhijeet and Shreya Ghoshal is extra-sweet, while Bang bang is marked more by its heavy instrumentation than the singing of Rana Mazumdar. —ASC


1. Dilli 6 T. Series
2. Slumdog Millionaire T.Series
3. Dev D T.Series
4. Billoo T. Series
5. Aa Dekhen Zara Eros
6. Jai Veeru T. Series
7. 8x10 Tasveer T. Series
8. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi Yash Raj Music
9. Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye T. Series
10. Aloo Chaat T. Series

Courtesy – Chandigarh Music Centre- 18

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