Punjab mail arrives 
T-20 may not be happening at the PCA stadium, but tricity restaurants are catching the action. And our Punjabi puttars are driving down to taste it... 
Jasmine Singh

So what if the Indian team is not playing on the home turf, or even closer, at PCA stadium-Mohali? What if we get to catch all the T-20 action only on the television screen? Cricket has always evoked mass excitement, and it goes down well with everything that triggers adrenaline rush — music, beer and good food. However, unlike Chandigarh, the action is amiss in Punjab. So, what is the next thing that you expect? Swanky cars, loaded with Punjabi puttars zooming into the city to enjoy T-20 action with a bang.

Rohit of Chakra:vu asks us to check out the parking lot on any given day of the match, which is jam packed with cars from Ludhiana, Patiala, Moga, Muktsar and Jalandhar. “Punjab has some good pubs, restaurants and lounges. But people, especially the youngsters, like to drive down to the city to watch live matches on big screens,” says Rohit.

A recee to some of the places buzzing with the T-20 action validates his claim. Purple Rice-35 saw action for the India Vs Ireland match. And, as we get talking to people cheering and hooting at every dropped catch, we find out Rohit was right. Eight people from Patiala have driven down to this place for the T-20 match. Screams Sahil Juneja, a hotel management student and his gang, “There isn’t much happening in Patiala, and so we came here. The city has an awesome way of enjoying cricket even when it is not happening here.” Sahil came down to Purple Rice for an ideal weekend. “Besides, we read that most restaurants have rustled up some interesting menu. Cricket can be enjoyed with good food, drinks and friends,” adds Shreya from Pinegroove, Spatu, Himachal Pradesh, who too came down for the live action on screen.

The scene is no different at Zinc, which is geared to the hilt for the T-20 action. A family from Nabha, a group from Ludhiana, and pretty girls from Solan — everyone’s here for the cricketing action. “All this action is missing in Ludhiana,” concedes Paijinder, working with the HDFC, Ludhiana. “Punjab will always be a little conservative in its approach towards certain things. Ludhiana is a pretty happening city, but they haven’t done anything special for the T-20. So, I came here with my friends.” Adds Rajesh, working in an IELTS training centre, Jalandhar, who tells us his group would be pub hopping. “You have so much happening here. Waiters dressed in cricketers’ dress, menu, which reminds you of cricket, music, drinks and awesome crowd.” He adds, “I can’t imagine such action in Punjab. So, we thought there is no better way to enjoy cricket than to be in Chandigarh. Just about every hotel and restaurant has put up screens. It’s thumping here.”


Destination UK
Tricity artistes headed for the UK on North Somerset County invitation
S.D. Sharma

The richness of the Indian musical arts and cultural heritage, has, across the centuries, been maintaining its glory and winning the hearts of the people. And since 1993, the artistes from the Heritage Institute of Art and Culture Mohali too have been disseminating and presenting our musical traditions to the West,” said Prof. Rajpal Singh, director of the Heritage on Thursday.

Under the present series, six prominent artists from their respective realms of classical folk music and dance are visiting North Somerset on the invitation of the Music Services North Somerset Council , United Kingdom, he adds, introducing the artists and teachers of art in education. After an interaction with students in various institutions and a series of lecture demonstrations at Bristol, Berkley Castle, Bath and Weston, the Indian artists will put up a spectacular live performance at the Winter Garden venue of Weston Town on June 27 for the educational institutes and public.

A prestigious show indeed it will be, claims Rajpal Singh, who leads the delegation on the two-week tour. The delegates include the following from the region:

Suchitra Mitra: An accomplished classical Bharatnatyam exponent with proficiency in Kathakalli and Manipuri dances, she has performed five times in Japan, USA , UK, Canada, Thailand and Malaysia. Says Mitra, “While the western classical arts are losing ground because of alien cultural influences, due to the huge immigrant influx, we, in India, still hold on to our cultural roots. I have specially composed certain choreographies for the cultural exchange programme.”

Lucky Malhotra: The city-bred sitarist is a music lecturer at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Women and an awardee at the prestigious Harballab Sangeet Sammelan. Well versed in playing the sitar, santoor and mandolin, besides folk instruments, she had been winning medals in the university festivals and now under her tutelage her college studentshad been securing positions for the last 18 years.

Surinder Khan: Hailed once as the ‘music lord’ of DAV college, he created history by winning the National Inter-University crown in light classical music for three consecutive years from 2000. His compositions are a veritable mix of classical folk and ghazals, with which he enthralled the audience in the USA last year.

Avirbhav Verma: “ … Chhote miyan subhaan Allah” remains the adulatory comment of the audience after Verma’s thrilling tabla solo performances, especially from those who admire his father and guru late Pandit Pavan Verma, the tabla wizard.

Sufi: Better known as the Golden girl with five gold and two silver medals at national cultural meets, in academics and performing arts, she has performed in Singapore, representing her Apeejay College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar.

Rimpi Parmar: Another product of Apeejay College, she’s a lecturer in fine arts and an acclaimed gidha guru and a versatile folk choreographer. Rimpi has been a part of Heritage art group to the UK in 2003.

The four city-based artistes and two from Jalandhar fly on June 14 for London , said Rajpal Singh. 

Hello tunez
Musical notes

Aishwarya (Worldwide Records): This is one of those lowbrow films, which have come out of the woodworks while the producer-multiplex spat was working. Here we are concerned only with its music, which - whatever the quality of the film may be - is not bad. Neither the composer (Vishnu Narayan) nor lyricist (Atique Allahabadi) is from the A-list, but what they have come up is not half-baked. In fact, some of the songs could hold their own against the run of the mill. Among the singles, it is Shaan's Phool dekha phoolon ka rang dekha, which is pretty sweet. And among the duets, Kaise batlaoon tujhe by Vijay Prakash and Alka Yagnik is pretty impressive. It is Alka Yagnik who leaves good impression.

Sunidhi Chauhan sings Jhoom jhoom jhoomle in her trademark style in the company of Arvind Singh. Kunal Ganjawala is passable in Geela badan tera pyasa ye, but is lost in I like that, which also has U.V. Anuska and Alwin.

Hey baby baby baby is certainly not among Suresh Bhosle's better offerings. It is an out and out tapori song. Its weird but the use of word sala is becoming too prevalent in songs these days.

What strikes one as rather odd is that there are no remix versions. If this album can do without them, so can more prestigious ones.

Melody sans music

Meri Padosan (Worldwide Records): Things get even more crass. This album is woefully short on quality and not even one song recommends itself in any way.

The opener in any album is usually the best song on offer. Here it is Mein hoon tez garam masala by Sonu Kakkar, which is cheap, if not vulgar. You can well gauge the quality of the rest of the songs, which have been set to music by Ravi Meet and Manoj Negi (the name of the lyricist is not even mentioned).

Jeved sings the praises of his neighbour in Meri padosan hai tauba while in the next song Sona sona roop hai uska, Shaan reveals that the padosan happens to be married. That is comedy for you. Sudesh Bhonsle sings Aaja mere sang khel le Holi as if just learning to croon. Thankfully, the torture is not too long. There are only five songs in all, the last one happens to be a “religious" one, Allah madad karna in the voice of Krishna. — ASC

Bachchan hopes to learn Chinese during the IIFA weekend
Language no bar

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, the IIFA brand Ambassador, who arrived for the tenth edition of the awards said that he is planning to learn Chinese during his stay.

Here I come IIFA: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (R) and her father Krishnaraj Rai on their arrival in Macau AFP PHOTO 

The 66-year-old star said that he wants to pick up some more Chinese words and promised that by the end of the festival he will boast of increased vocabulary of the language.

"It is wonderful and lovely to be back here. I am looking forward to the IIFA. The people are very nice and they were very generous to us when we came here for the press conference," Bachchan said as he arrived the Venetian Macao-resort hotel.

Pati, Patni aur camera: Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan (L), accompanied by his wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, shoot with a camera on their arrival in Macau. AFP PHOTO

When asked about IIFA completing a decade this year Bachchan said, "We keep working to make things better each year and hope that this year is one of them." As Bachchan arrived at the hotel wearing a black tuxedo and his trademark smile, his charisma was for all to see as tourists from all over the globe made a bee-line to catch a glimpse of Bollywood's biggest star.

"I just got to know that Amitabh Bachchan is coming.

My son is a great fan of him so I am trying to get a picture of him for my son," said an excited Fionna from London, who had come here for a holiday.

Fionna said that she was not aware about the IIFA event earlier but is planning to extend her stay to watch the awards extravaganza. She also hopes to get an autograph of Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor and his daughter, actor Sonam Kapoor.

However, fans hoping to catch Bachchan at the gambling table are in for a disappointment as the mega star has no plans to visit the Venetian casino, which is the largest in the world. — PTI

Foot fall
Sonam Kapoor trips in over-excitement

Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor's bubbly nature took a toll on her when she saw a friend at the Hong Kong airport and tripped.

At the Hong Kong airport Sonam saw a friend and stepped forward without looking where she was going to wave at her and tripped.

Sonam was with her sister Rhea Kapoor and father Anil Kapoor at the airport Wednesday. She was heading to Macau for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) weekend and awards starting Thursday.

On the awards night Saturday, Sonam, who turned 24 recently, will be putting up her first ever stage performance for the film industry and its fanatics.

Bollywood bound
Mother India on singer Peter Andre's all-time favourite list

Mysterious Girl singer Peter Andre might have never visited India, but the Australian singer whose favourite film is the Bollywood classic Mother India hopes to sing for an Indian film in the near future.

Andre is in Macau to perform during the fashion extravaganza on day two of the IIFA weekend and said that he is looking forward to becoming a part of Bollywood.

"It is a massive-massive industry and I am honoured to be invited here to perform. I am looking forward to meet all the stars, dancing and singing," said an excited Andre as he arrived amid a rousing welcome at the Venetian hotel, the host of the 10th IIFA awards.

The 36-year-old singer who is a household name across UK and US thanks to a string of successful reality shows, said that he was a huge fan of Shilpa Shetty and looked forward to meeting her.

"I do not know many stars except Shilpa Shetty and I think she is amazing but wait for three days and I will give you all the names," said the singer who will also be presenting an award during the June 13th award ceremony.

The singer may not know many contemporary Bollywood stars but said that he has grown up watching old Bollywood films, his favourite being Nargis and Sunil Dutt starrer Mother India.

"When I was about 6-7 years old my parents wanted me to watch Mother India and I loved the films. I think I have watched it for like 30 times," he added. — PTI

Daughters day
On his way to IIFA, Arjun Rampal gets playful with his daughters

ywood actor Arjun Rampal, who is still riding high on the success of his film Rock On!, was spotted having a jolly time swinging and playing with his two daughters while on his way for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) weekend and awards here.

While his elder daughter Mahika (7) jumped all around him, he gave his four-year-old kid Myra a nice swing in his arms.

Even wife, former supermodel Mehr Jessia, joined in the fun as other actors looked on.

Arjun is nominated in the best supporting role (male) category for the IIFA for his performance in Rock On!

Woman in black

Indian actor Diya Mirza (C) arrives at the Venitian Hotel in 
preparation for the IIFA.
AFP Photo: Antony Dickson

Old is gold

Indian thespian Rajesh Khanna arrives at the Venetian Hotel. He will be receiving lifetime 
achievement award.
AFP Photo: Antony Dickson 

Side Lanes
Man of substance
Joyshri Lobo

Antony Leocardio Fletcher was a great friend of Baba’s. ‘Tony’ was the complete opposite of my father, ‘Monu’ Dutt. One was a loud, feisty, pugnacious, aggressive ICS officer, who brooked no nonsense, excuses or tardiness. The other, a quiet, reticent, gentle, kind man of very few words, was dedicated to education and always had a hand in the pocket to help out needy students. Both had humour, vision, imagination, British education and acquired culture as the common factors to seal their friendship. Both were charmers and drew women like bees to flowers. Both were perfectionists. They went out for boys’ weekends that included fishing, picnics and shooting trips. Occasionally they teamed up with two pastors: Ernie Campbell, an American, and Doug Riddle, from New Zealand. They set up camp under tents, by one of Punjab’s magnificent rivers and spent the weekend chatting and frying the fish they caught.

Tony was an accomplished equestrian. Monu could ride too and both wore britches, putees and sola topees. Fletcher, who was the commissioner of Jullundur District, visited many of the villages on horseback, accompanied by his British wife Patricia. She had taken part in equestrian events in Britain. At one of their ports of call, the populace raced towards Pat, as she was boyishly slim, white skinned with short hair and was wearing britches. It took the villagers a while to realise that the dark man accompanying her was Commissioner A.L. Fletcher. Tony was the moving spirit behind Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake, which he supervised and implemented at a punishing speed. In the days when floods were a common occurrence, he persuaded Doug to bring in a motorboat from New Zealand. It was Tony’s baby and he showed it off to all who cared to listen or see. It was also the starting point for similar boats crafted by Pritam Singh, Sarkari carpenter. Once the tiny fleet was ready, Tony initiated the Regatta. He wanted the Lake Club as an affordable adventure sports institution for students. Today it is more of a janj ghar for weddings. The Czars of Golf, Water Sports, Tennis, Squash and Riding have made it impossible for the common man to afford the exorbitant entry fees. Talented sports persons are hardly recognised or sponsored, unlike their counterparts abroad.

Tony also created a model Agricultural University at Hisar in Haryana. He brought in the most sophisticated machinery, know how and expertise from abroad. He raised turkeys, chickens, geese and superior cows crossed with imported studs. None of us could enter a poultry shed without stepping into a tray of disinfectant. I still have a typed out recipe book that deals with canning and pickling of vegetables and fruit. That was one of his enterprises at the university. He was a visionary who started many projects across the country. He was allotted a luxurious caravan, to be on the spot as he helped supervise the settlement of refugees at Dandakaranya. With true Fletcher enthusiasm, he rid himself of all home furniture and went to his new posting, housed in the caravan. That he had to eventually return to the city because he was at loggerheads with the concerned minister is another story. He was one of the earliest civil servants who did not capitulate to the wishes of politicians and babus. 

Power-packed launch 

Win Healthcare, part of the Rs 2,000 crore Umesh Modi group, is all set to enter Indian nutritional sector. The company has launched soyprotein supplement Soypower in Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The supplement has been developed keeping in mind the stressful and sedentary lifestyle of the urban consumers, who find it very difficult to have a balanced diet.

Soypower contains 84.5 per cent protein providing balanced amounts of all nine essential and non-essential amino acids, which are vital for growth and maintenance. Soypower is soy protein isolate powder and is priced at Rs 280 for a 200 gm pack. The product will be available in retail pharmacies and food and department stores.

Speaking on the occasion, Sanjeev Kapoor, director, Win Healthcare, said, “Soypower being smooth and tasteless and can be easily added to any food item.” Sonia Gandhi, nutritionist and dietician states that to get the heart-healthy benefits of soy protein, the FDA recommends that consumers should incorporate four servings of at least 6.25 grams of soy protein into their daily diet. —TNS 

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