Ladla lad
In the tricity, the guy behind the hit Maa Da Ladla, Master Saleem, talks about his first love music and his first Hindi single for an album 
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

It was on Thursday at the Press club-27 that we met this guy who has a mellifluous voice that melts into soul. Christened as Master Saleem, his is the voice that has hit the charts with numbers like Mast Kalandar (Hey Babyy), Tashan Mein from the movie Tashan, and Maa Da Ladla (Dostana); that set his ball rolling in the Bollywood playback planet.

Apna Punjabi puttar from Jalandhar, who has to his credit a number of Punjabi albums, started singing at the age of six and released his first Punjabi album at 10. Ask him about his foundation in music and he says, "I am born into a musical family and at my home, we eat, sleep and drink music."

Born to an accomplished sufi singer Ustad Pooran Shah Ji Koti, it was his father who initiated him into music. " My father is my guru, and I must say he has trained me the harder way. I got a beating even for a small mistake and I guess, that has made all the difference. I still remember my father used to say, "Tusi Pooran Shah te puttar ho, galti di gunjayish nahi hai."

Well, here we must say he has surely groomed a soulful voice.

Ask him about his first album Charkhe Di Ghook (that he released at the age of 10) and he says, "It was at the launch of Bathinda Doordarshan that I sang this song Charkhe Di Ghook and it created a frenzy among people and yes, it was here that I got the name Master Saleem." The rest is history.

Well, so far so good, now the guy has added another feather to his musical cap with his first Hindi single for the music album Teri Sajni. Ask him about the song and he says, "Nobody would believe this, but this very song was recorded four-and-a-half years ago." And the story goes,

"It was Jasbir Jassi who introduced me to music director Sandeep Chowta. And believe it or not, it was a telephonic meeting, where he heard me signing Charkhe Di Ghook. He called me to meet him in Delhi and we recorded the song. And today it's topping the charts."

A great fan of Sufi doyen Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, his preference obviously is Sufi but he says, "After Mast Kalandar, I have been getting songs that have fast beats but this song Sajni Ho from the album Teri Sajni meets my hearts desire of sufi."

Having released number of Punjabi albums, is there a difference between recording in Bollywood and Punjab? "Here, in Punjab anyone can record an album. But in Bollywood talent matters."

And we hear him next in? "I am doing playback score for Toonpur Ka Super Hero (Ajay Devgan and Kajol starrer), Right or Wrong, Click (That has Salman) and last and the best is Rooslan, in this movie I am singing a Sufi track Maula. And I am sure people are going to love this track."

Well, we cannot end the copy without the one must ask question, what about musical reality shows, "It is an answer to talent," says Saleem.

Simply sufi

Teri Sajni' is the third installment of the series of sufi Love Albums Teri Deewani and Teri Justajoo. A complete sufi love compilation, the album is packed with haunting sufi numbers by Kailash Kher, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and led by a new track sung by Master Saleem. And we must say the track Sajni scores a perfect ten. 

Lone ranger
Studied silence. That best describes Richard Gere’s present stay in India, where he’s come for his annual lessons in spirituality
Lalit Mohan

The presence of Richard Gere, the Hollywood actor who created quite a stir by kissing Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in a public appearance last year, might attract the attention of locals and the media in any other art of the country, but his stay at Mcleodganj, the headquarters of the Dalai Lama, is relatively low profile and limited to meditation and interaction with his Tibetan teachers.

Gere, considered as one of the high-profile disciples of the Dalai Lama, has been in McLeodganj to attend a conference on 'Mind and Life'. It is being organised by the Mind and Life institute at the residence of the Dalai Lama.

He has generally confined himself to the meet and doing meditation under the guidance of his spiritual guru. Staying at Chonor House, located near the Dalai Lama's residence, a smile is all he gives the locals or tourists who recognise him, as he evades media attention. His activities are limited to between Dalai Lama's temple and his place of stay.

The locals are so used to Gere's presence that he hardly evokes interest or curiosity. Lobsang Wangyal, the Tibetan showman known for organising the Miss Tibet contest, says that when he met Gere, he just said a hello and they did not have further interaction. "He (Gere) is a regular visitor and since we have met him many times, the locals do not want to disturb him," says Wangyal.

Gere known for his performance in Pretty Woman, Run Away Bride and An Officer and a Gentleman came in contact with the Dalai Lama in 1982-83 and became his student. He has embraced Tibetan Buddhism as a religion. The sources available here told that most his teachers are from the Gelupa School of Tibetan Buddhism. He claims to have learnt various techniques of meditation for his Tibetan teachers.

He is a regular visitor of Dharamsala, the home for Tibetan government-in-exile and is considered close to the Dalai Lama. He visits Mcloedganj at least 2 to 3 times in a year and is a strong advocate of Tibetan freedom. The sources said that he was likely to stay there during the entire conference.

Gere was born on August 31,1949, in Philadelphia, USA. He was the second of five children. His father Homer was an insurance salesman and mother's name was Doris. He started out as a musician is school and later, won a gymnastics scholarship at the University of Massachusetts. However, he shifted to theatre subsequently and then to Hollywood.

These days, due to lack of any hit movie his popularity graph is down by 13 per cent, as per star meter.

Director’s hat 
Drew Barrymore desires new challenges

Hollywood actor Drew Barrymore has revealed she is craving to face a new challenge such as directing a film.

“I’m in my thirties now, and I really want to try all the things that I haven’t got to do yet, like directing, and doing a drama,” she said.

“I’ve produced and got to do a lot of optimistic love stories, and that was so where I was at for 10 years in my life. And now I feel like, ‘okay, now I know how to do that’. I want to get scared again,” she added. —IANS

Moore wants more

Moore, whose last flick was License To Wed, has not taken up any acting assignment because she wants to do meaningful roles, and has decided to consider only the roles she thinks are well-tailored.

Moore insists that she can deliver powerful performance if offered a worthy role, and that she is ready to toil together capability recognised.

“That won’t cut it anymore. I don’t want to be a wallflower. I don’t want to be shy. Give me the opportunity to get in the room and have a conversation as to why I know I can do this. It’s OK that you see me as this person, but I’m an actor, and I’ll work my a** off to play the part,” Moore was quoted as saying..

“It has to be right. I’ve had the opportunity to play the drug dealer who gets gang-raped, and I’m like, for what reason? Doing it just to do it? To just show people that I can be sexy or dark? I don’t want to do something just to make that point. It needs to happen organically and I’m really confident it will. I’m a pretty patient person, and I’ll wait until we find the right stuff,” she added. —ANI 

Ravishing rivals 

Two of Hollywood’s hottest leading ladies, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johannson will play love rivals in the upcoming superhero sequel Iron Man 2.

The two bombshells will compete for the affection of Robert Downey Jr, who plays the lead in the film.

In a recent press conference to promote his other film The Soloist, Downey Jr confirmed reports of a love triangle between the film’s main characters Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and Black Widow.

While Paltrow will reprise her role as Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts, Johannson will play Russian femme fatale Black Widow in the film, which will see Mickey Rourke as Iron Man’s chief nemesis. —PTI 

Koffee break
Best of both worlds
Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh’s latest album Inteha has the best of traditional and contemporary music

Gifted with a mellifluous golden voice, ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh is a man of few words. Just like other ghazal singers, Singh too began his career with ditties about love, romance, women and wine. He then began using ghazal to send out messages of peace and love. He is one of the most renowned ghazal singers of modern times who juggles with different genres. From light-classical ghazals, to devotional to Punjabi folk, every note he sings he does it with the soul. Having launched his album Inteha on board, in one of the airline the maestro talks about the much-awaited Inteha tour.

You are off on a music tour to US and Canada. Does it come after a long time? What are your expectations from this tour?

Three years back I was on a music tour to the US. Last year I had concerts at UK. And India I’ve been touring. As for expectations, we always expect the best. I think the Inteha tour will be very successful.

What about your three-album deal with the Big Music?

The first album was a Gujarati one, Jeevan Marann Chhe Ek. It has an eight track album and the lyrics are by Abbas Vasi “Mareez”. The second Mahamrityunjay Mantra is devotional. And Inteha is the third one.

What are the points of similarity and difference that Inteha shares with your earlier compositions.

It is entirely new. New tunes, new lyrics, new music.... Everything is absolutely different.

How does it feel to sing lyrics written by a team of young lyricists?

The lyrics are good and the music is good. As long as the work is good, old or new does not matter to me at all.

Your favourite track in the album

Kuch khona kuch pana.

Tell us about the album Inteha

Inteha, features six romantic tracks and two ghazals. I have composed and rendered all the tracks in Inteha while the lyrics have been penned by a team of young and contemporary lyricists, Aalok Shrivastav, Payyam Sayeedi, Faragh Rushvi, Rajendranath Rahbar, Sanjay Masoom, Amjad Islam Amjad and Naseem Ajmeri. Inteha presents the best of traditional music in a contemporary garb. 

— Dharam Pal

Ecologically speaking
Neha Walia

Well, now when the word eco-friendly finds a place in our everyday life, nature and everything natural is in fashion. Literally! After the big league designers adopting the natural and organic way of fashion, designer Neeta Lulla showcased her eco-friendly collection at the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week, it’s time the budding designers from city get inspired. A check at their annual exhibition ‘Vivid-India-2009’ and the inspiration is at its best. Portraying the aesthetic tastes and artistic talents of the students of interior, fashion and textile designing, the exhibition is a myriad of traditional and natural elements, and also spells out the trend for the season.

Bringing a collection that is best for your body and soul is Alankrita, showcasing traditional Indian embroideries of eight states and an eco-friendly, the word again, collection. Based on the Yin-Yan theme, the collection has specifically designed clothes for meditation and yoga, in black and white and is 100 per cent organic. “These are made from bamboo and doesn’t require any fabric treatment as it has naturally soft and smooth finish,” says Simarjeet, one of the students of Alankrita. They recently did a show with organic denim collection down south. Apart from clothes, the collection has jute bags, with patchwork and embroidered motifs. It also has traditional works like dori marodi and buckwheat cushions. Then there was the Mithila Tantra, the designer boutique taking inspiration from the traditional Mithila paintings from Bihar. “We have used a lot of traditional motifs, like bamboo, lotus plant, sunflowers and even mythological motifs,” says Smriti, in-charge for the collection.

Earthy colours and elements ruled with the home furnishings too with its Tuscan-themed collection. The unpolished, rugged interiors, marble floorings and woody appeal, intricate wrought iron furniture spelled rustic charm and simplicity. And an accessory store Osmotic Desire that breathes sunlight, air and water with its every element. Earth-inspire colours dominated the entire collection deep red, green, browns, blues, colours depicting purity, freshness, growth and positivity. 

Cruise muse

So, if you are in for a reason besides fashion, then the exhibition gives you a trip to Hawaii. Now, before you pop those eyes wider, let us explain. The exhibition, based on the theme of Marvel Cruise, gives you an experience of a cruise to the Hawaiian Islands. With a colourful entrance, a café on the deck, a bedroom with your private piece of ocean, everything is lively and warm. Palm tree motifs, bamboo partitions, earthy textured walls, Hawaiian umbrellas and floral interiors add to the feel.

And you have to choose what’s more exciting? Traditional tiki masks on walls or the dressed up girls in Hula Glass Skirts.

Some interesting features of interiors include Fielin, an oriental themed spa, Velocity, the Bar and discothèque with energy, music and light done against Texan backdrop and well, city’s very own casino, Blue lagoon. Don’t get excited, but you don’t have to go to Vegas, just get the experience. 

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