Faithfully yours
Versatile actor, director, writer and poet Mangal Dhillon was in the city to promote his film about Gurbani
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

A tall, handsome man with a powerful voice, Mangal Dhillon is a name synonymous with multi-dimensional personality of a versatile actor, a well-read and equipped writer, a perfectionist producer-director and an imaginative, sentimental poet. But, what you must have missed on is his inclination towards spirituality. And it was on a Friday that we met the devout soul of an actor, who was in the city to promote his film Gurbai De Kautak (The Miracles of Gurbani).

So, what was the inspiration? “God himself is the inspiration, you just have to understand his signs. I had not planned, I would be making such films, but destiny had this in store for me. And here I am, making films after films that have a message to give.”

He adds, “ All these films that have made till now were not planned, and this one (Gurbani…) was also not. I was shooting at the Golden Temple and someone handed me a note. Without seeing that, I put it in my bag. And when I opened it was from Vasu Bhardwaj—a cancer patient from Surat, who was healed miraculously because of Gurbani jaap.

This gave me the idea to make the film. And when I went searching, I found so many people who’ve been nursed back to health because of faith. And the film showcases such people.”

So, do we call this as faith healing, “I am not defying medicine, but yes, you’ve gotta have faith to heal.”

A firm believer in destiny, Mangal says, “Before making these movies, I was also into the rat race of money making, but few things changed my life. And now, I call myself a blessed soul, because the lord has chosen me to spread his word, logically and scientifically.”

On a spiritual journey, he says, “God talks to all of us, but one has read in-between the thoughts, to what he is saying to us. In the end, we all are going to him, so why not utilise our lives doing something good.”

Turning from spirituality to the silver screen, we ask: do we see him on 70 mm. “Yes, you will by the end of this year. People think I have got no work, that is why I am making these films. It’s not that, who doesn’t like money, but whenever I go to sign something, He gives me the strength to say ‘No’. 

But yes, you will see me in what I call semi-commercial cinema. I am making this movie Savdhan Theatre Walla Pagal Hai. It’s an experimental film that will have a content of theatre and dynamics of cinema. And this will not only be screened in theatres, but I would be giving it a worldwide premiere and a live performance too. And then its for the people to decide which one is better.”

Other than that, he has Shahadat on mind that is a typical Bollywood mix and would have all the right ingredients but, of course, with a message. 

Fan fair
Ashima Sehajpal

Harshad Chopda and Additi Gupta of Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil talk about their role preferences and more as they come hunting for the ‘Star’ fan
Harshad Chopda and Additi Gupta of Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil talk about their role preferences and more as they come hunting for the ‘Star’ fan

Act and retrospect. “Once you get into the skin of the character, it seldom leaves you. It becomes a part of the personality and merges into your original self,” opines Harshed Chopda, who describes himself as a little of Prem of Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil , Ali Baigh of Left Right Left, Akshit of Amber Dhara and rest of Harshad. 

The process is very gradual; “Changes in the behaviour aren’t intentional. Just begin to live the character, the intermingling of traits will follow.” And that helps him explore the actor within him. “But a lot of improvisation is still required which I do by watching movies.” 

He doesn’t cling on a particular genre, “Art, commercial, regional, Bollywood and Hollywood. I try to lap up whatever is available as every cinema has something or the else to teach.”

He was in town on Friday along with his co-star Aditi Gupta, aka Heer, to promote the Star Parivar awards and hunt the biggest fan of the channel.“The test is going to be a bit tough. We will consider the number of soaps they watch on the channel and ask questions on them.”

The winners will get the chance to meet their favourite stars at the award function in Mumbai. As for these awards, he says, “It’s a mutual admiration of each other’s talent. Awards are an incentive to work hard and an indication that audience love you.” He won two of this last year in the category, Star Naya Sadasya and Star jodi along with Aditi.

Having an engineering background and hailing from a small town Gondia, near Nagpur, life changed after he participated in the Grasim Mr India. “I always wanted to be an actor and Grasim Mr India provided me the platform.” Now, a four-television soap old actor, he feels it is time for television to reinvent in terms of content. “An expiry date for serials is a must to make the room for new experiments.

The television industry plays it safe by presenting the soaps with same story lines but that wouldn’t work for long.” As for his personal choice, “It is Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. It assured freshness, innovation and thorough entertainment in every episode.”

Almost married once, twice, thrice…the count will continue till producers realise it’s enough for Heer of Kis Desh Mein Hai Mera a Dil (KDMHMD). “All I can do is just hope it doesn’t happen again, as finally, I am married to the opposite lead, Prem in the show,” wishes Additi Gupta, aka Heer.

It isn’t as if the 20-something girl hasn’t done every bit of saas-bahu sagas, “Conspiracies, arguments, sobbing and, of course, marriages, I have been a part of all, but now I want to grow as an actor. Considering my age, I don’t want to limit myself to these stereotypical housewife roles”.

So, just when we thought, the truth about the tiring and boring family soaps was coming out, she changes her stance, “I am not saying my soap isn’t being loved by people. The TRPs indicate the popularity and the loyal fans that still love to watch a mother-in-law fighting with the daughter in law, a villain marrying the heroine, the coming back of the hero from nowhere after his death, property disputes involving millions…”

The change in the television scenario cannot be ruled out though, “Now, that’s inevitable. People’s preferences change from time to time. They now like to watch serials on social issues, but that too might get enough after sometime.” She goes on to make a decisive point, “But the soaps with a strong storyline will go on. KDMHMD began as a passionate love story and I hope it strives to remain that way.”

A fashion design student of Symbiosis, Pune, she doesn’t have to try too hard to get the lead role. “The team of KDMHMD came to my college for auditions and I went for it. In fact, after getting selected for the role, I was in a tizzy whether I should leave my studies or not.

But I guess the role of Heer was destined to happen.” The actor, other than exploring her acting potential, has some more ambitions, “I desperately want to do fashion designing and even walk down the ramp as a model.”

Cotton couture 

An attempt to bring buyers and weavers on a common platform and popularise the Indian weaving craft, the weaver’s exhibition at Lajpat Bhavan-15 organised by Awadh Hathkargha Hastshilp Evam Gramodyog Samiti, Lucknow, under the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, brings a whole new range of cotton and summer wear options. Weavers from all over the country have displayed their collections, crafted by renowned artisans.

Fine fabrics inn cotton and silk were put on display, traditional and best collections from Lukhnowi chikankari to Chanderi silk and Kota doria from Rajasthan, designer batik and block printed dress materials from Indore and colourful designs from Gujarat. The collection includes stitched, semi-stitched fabrics, kurtis, and kidswear. And, everything comes at an affordable price range of Rs 300 onwards.

Home furnishings include imported daris, carpets and rugs, all suited for the season. The other handy pick-up options include Hyderabadi pearl jewellery. The artwork of weavers from self-help groups has also been placed on the display.

Also, two of the weavers from Uttar Pradesh, Rani Siddiqui and Kumari Shahzadi, whose work in chikan silk is also on the display, had won laurels at the national and state levels. Though most of the weavers exhibiting their stuff are regulars at such events, this time the display are for sale directly from the weavers to the consumers. S. Ahmed from Lucknow, who is the senior most weaver in the country and has trained almost 300 weavers under him, inaugurated the exhibition. —TNS

Kids day out

Ebony Retail Holdings has launched a host of activities for the month of May. There are several interactive activities planned for the customers to have fun and win prizes, gifts along with their shopping. On May 17 from 5pm to7pm, it’s Kids’ Day Out across all its stores, which include a kids’ fashion show on the theme of Bollywood actors.

Kids will be dressed up in colorful outfits imitating their favorite actors. The best boy and girl actor will win exciting gifts. To add to the fun, there will be other attractions like a magic show and tattoo makers.

Other activities planned for the month are — ‘Let your fortune shine’ on May 20 where on spinning the wheel of fortune, customers will be able to win additional shopping value on their purchases. Denim Festival on May 22, where with every purchase of denim customers will get entry passes for two to a disco and dinner voucher or cool gifts.

Ladies Party on May 24, there will rounds of games with fantastic gifts and on May 31, daddies and kids will team up to paint together at Ebony. The best team will win a gift hamper worth Rs 5,000.

Apart from this, everyday there are loots happening at the Steal Deal section, where whatever the customers are able to grab in one minute, that is given at a discount of 70 per cent.

These activities have been hosted with the objective to purely entertain and pamper the customers and their kids. —TNS


Beta-carotene in so-called golden rice converts to vitamin A in humans, according to researchers. Golden rice was developed in the early 1990s with the goal of creating rice that had beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor, in the rice grain.

In its current form, golden rice contains 35 micrograms of beta-carotene per gram.

“We found that four units of beta-carotene from golden rice convert to one unit of vitamin A in humans,” said Michael Grusak, associate professor of paediatrics at the Children’s Nutrition Research Centre at Baylor College of Medicine.

They determined this by feeding five healthy adults a specific amount of specially-labelled golden rice and measured the amount of retinol, a form of vitamin A, in the blood. 

Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent in many parts of the world where poorer community members rely on rice as their major food source. People who lack adequate amounts of this vitamin can have vision problems or even go blind. —IANS

Pitt fall
Kashmir ki Kali Brad ke naam pe khili

Jury members Indian actor Sharmila Tagore (C), French actor and president of the jury Isabelle Huppert and US actress Robin Wright Penn (R) at the Cannes Film Festival.
Jury members Indian actor Sharmila Tagore (C), French actor and president of the jury Isabelle Huppert and US actress Robin Wright Penn (R) at the Cannes Film Festival. AFP photo: VALERY HACHE

Indian actor Sharmila Tagore, who is a jury member at this year's Cannes Film Festival, hopes to meet "gorgeous" Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt.

"I adore Brad Pitt. He is gorgeous," the 62-year-old Bollywood actress said.

But Tagore says that being a jury member her primary focus would be on the films and despite her open admiration for the actor, she would not initiate any meeting.

"I am not hankering to meet anyone else except my jury members. Unless he (Pitt) meets me and we really have a chat or something," the actor told a news channel when asked whether she was looking forward to meeting him.Pitt, who stars in Quentin Tarantino's World War II drama Inglorious Basterds, is expected to walk the red carpet at the film festival.

After Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Nandita Das, Sharmila Tagore is the third Indian actress to be a part of the prestigious Cannes jury here.Tagore said that she was enjoying the experience.

"Cannes is a wonderful blend of quality and glamour, which makes it so unique. There are some very good and artistic films and it gives recognition to unknown directors," said the actor. — PTI

Lip service
Hrithik gets bold about his kiss with Barbara
Subhash K. Jha

Hrithik Roshan has made news for a lip-lock again, this time with Latin co-star Barbara Mori in Kites. But the actor says she helped him discard his inhibitions and they kissed like real-life couples.

"Why are we even talking about kissing? Is that such a big deal? Hasn't our cinema grown up? Yes, there're kissing scenes in the film, but nothing to make me squirm. In fact, I'd be more than happy and completely comfortable watching those kissing scenes with my wife, son and parents when the film is released," Hrithik said.

The star had scorched the headlines when he locked lips with Aishwarya Rai in Dhoom 2 and Jodhaa Akbar.

Rationalising the need to look at lip-locking, Hrithik said: " Kites is a love story. It's about people in love. And what do people in love do to express their mutual feelings? In fact, it was Barbara Mori who made me realise how silly we look on screen while shying away from expressing love naturally."

It happened while Hrithik and Barbara were shooting a tough and dangerous action sequence in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the US..

"We were both supposed to jump off from a rooftop at an impossible height. Before we did so our director Anurag Basu suggested I kiss Barbara since we were doing something death-defying and dangerous and potentially lethal. I reached out and kissed her on the cheeks.

"Barbara turned around to ask why I had kissed her on the cheek. 'Given the same situation with your real-life wife, Suzanne, would you kiss her on the cheek?' I was floored by her logic," said Hrithik.

The take was repeated. "And this time, I kissed her the way real-life couples would in the situation. On the lips," said Hrithik. — IANS

Game for a cause
Hollywood stars to play dominoes at Cannes for the sake of charity

Hollywood celebrities Penelope Cruz, Charlize Theron, Demi Moore and her actor husband Ashton Kutcher will pit their wits against one another at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival on May 18, when they take part in a charity dominoes (tile) game with a celebrity twist.

Cruz has teamed up with director Pedro Almodovar and U2 rocker Bono to host the charity event for The Global Fund, which raises money for AIDS research, reports

But instead of playing the traditional game, the stars will compete in Hollywood Domino - a movie board game version of the pastime. — IANS

Global warming!
Michelle Obama rated hottest woman in the world

For the first time, the US First Lady has made Maxim magazine's annual top 100 list of "hottest women in the world," with Michelle Obama making the grade at number 93.

Billed as the "stimulus package America really needs," the British-based international magazine, known for revealing pictorials of models and actresses, showcases Obama in her tasteful official White House portrait.

In the rare accolade for a political spouse, the magazine notes that her husband President Barack Obama "may be dealing with two wars, an economic meltdown, and a rapidly graying dome.

"But at least our Commander-in-Chief gets to come home to the hottest First Lady in the history of the United States." Obama has been hailed as a style icon by fashionistas around the world since her husband was elected president.

Maxim's self-described "eyeball-searing, fantasy-fulfilling, brain-exploding" list has Obama topping Top Chef host and model Padma Lakshmi (95) and Oscar-winning Wrestler star Marisa Tomei (97). — AFP

Dessert to die for!

Somewhere along the line, as the horrible hot weather descends on us poor mortals, our sweet tooth cravings alter along with the rise in temperature. We seek out light, cold and fruity desserts, sidelining gaajar halwa, date and walnut concoctions and warm chocolate puddings.

Our body actually signals a refusal to dense, hot foods though I have a confession to make to the contrary, I can tuck into anything chocolate any time, anywhere, any occasion because chocolate stands high on the Richter scale of my taste buds, irrespective of the time of the year! Here, I can safely presume that cold Indian puddings are familiar to you all! 'Phoren' desserts often look so pretty that we get intimidated by their sheer appearance. However, achieving the end-result is not so jittery a ride as it looks.

No bake Strawberry Cheesecake


10 Digestive biscuits
5 tbsp melted butter
250 gm hung curds
100-150 gm powdered sugar
100 gm whipped cream
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
2 tsp gelatin


Crush the biscuits to a fine powder. In a medium bowl, combine this with the melted butter and then press this down firmly to the base of a loose bottomed cake tin. Place this in the fridge before you proceed. Beat the hung curds with the sugar until really smooth. Dissolve the gelatin in 2 tbsp of water and then fold it into the hung curd. Gently fold in the whipped cream and ? of the finely chopped strawberries. At this stage you may add more sugar if the mixture is too tart. Make sure you fold in very gently in one direction, so it maintains its fluffy texture. Spoon this onto the prepared crust and refrigerate it till it sets. (About 3-4 hours) Un-mould carefully on to a platter and decorate with the remaining strawberries just before serving.

Milk made
Punjabis’ answer to branded ice-creams, the kulfi is still the much-liked cold dessert here
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra


w Gopal-35 & 9
w Gopal-27
w Sector 23 market
w Sindhi-17
w Verka Booth-22

For people who are trying to lose inches, this may read blaspheme. But, for foodies and lovers of full cream, summer definitely spells matka kulfi. Amazing in taste, loaded with sugar, pista and badam; kulfi is Punjabi's answer to branded ones. 

Available in flavours like pistachio, malai, cardamom (elaichi), safforn (kesar) and even mango, unlike other ice-creams kulfi is not whipped. Thus it is a solid, dense, frozen, dairy-based lip smacking summer dessert.

And for most of us, this stick of frozen milk cream, flavoured with cardamom, is an inextricable part of our childhood memory, where we would hear the ghanti (bell) of kulfiwalla and run to him.

Usually stored in traditional matkas (earthen pot), filled with ice and salt, the name originated from the device it was made in. Still popular as matka kulfi, it is usually sold by street vendors (though now we even have plush restaurants serving this sweet delight in stylish and expensive platter) and consumers do not miss a chance to savour this traditional sweet 'n' cold dessert.

Served on a plate or frozen around a stick, there are ways to savour this delight. While the easiest and most convinient way is to have the stick kulfi, you can also try Falooda Kulfi, which is a combination of kulfi with rice noodles, rose syrup and garnished with pistachios, cardamom and other dry fruits.

Available across the city, there have been no major changes or improvisation. Those who sell kulfi feel, "We don't have to make changes in the basic ingredients as kulfi sells by itself."

And the point is well proven when we see companies like Vadilal, Amul, Mother Diary and Kesar Kulfi introducing new kulfi flavours. Says a vendor at Sector 61, "Log sabse zayda kulfi hi lete hain, mughulon ke time ka meetha hai na, pasand to ayega." We must say the guy has been tutored well.

And hats off to the clever marketing campaign that is projecting the kulfi as an exotic Asian dessert.

Ask the people in the business as what attracts people to the humble kulfi and the answer is straight and simple. "Purity," says Rakesh, manager, Gopal-27. "It is completely natural, purely vegetarian and creamy-textured.

These are the qualities that attract people to kulfi." And does he see people moving away from the traditional tastes and he says, "No, not with us at least. We still sell the kulfi most." Hail the kulfi.

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