A date with Kasbekar
Making of Kingfisher calendar is one much-awaited event and its creator, the ace photographer Atul Kasbekar, takes us behind the scene
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Known for his attention to details and elegant aesthetics, Atul Kasbekar has a job profile that any shutterbug would give his right arm for. From shooting Big B to the Little Master to immaculate Ratan Tata many pose to be painted by his lens. But, it's that time of the year when we usually see Atul keep his date with the calendar creativity. To be precise, it's time to unveil the eighth edition of the most awaited calendar of the year-the Kingfisher swimsuit calendar. And, marking the days with style is ace photographer Atul Kasbekar who shares note on models, mood and more…

Spoilt for choice

Known for its choice of exotic locales from South Africa to Australia, the 2010 calendar shoot saw Atul and the calendar girls shoot at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Gili at Six Senses Resort in Maldives. Coming to the issue of choosing locales, Kasbekar says, "Our locales have always been exotic and it's Vijay Mallya who personally chooses the location as he knows what does his clients want. I take on from where he leaves. My job is to take the pictures and I do it with all my passion."

Trend talk

About dressing up the models, he says, "Aki Narula has done the styling part. For the calendar we have an amalgamation of Indian, or I should say Bollywood, and Western sensibilities. We have used Rajasthani bangles with Mochino outfits to create a different kind of look.

Shoot at sight

"This year's calendar shoot has something different. We have underwater shots with a bunch of black tip sharks," says Atul. Ask him if he believes that every image has a story to tell and he says, "Yes, definitely. An image should be such that everytime you view it, you find something new."

Click @ corporate

Well, he hasn't clicked celebrities only, but a host of business tycoons. Ask him about his experience with Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani and K.V. Kamath and the reply comes, "The end result was personality driven-a synergy of style and substance. And, for a photographer it's a must to make a connection with his subject, be it a snake charmer, beauty queen, Bollywood biggie or a business tycoon. Once you break the ice and connect with people, half your job is done and you can be sure the outcome will be natural."

Date with fame

With names like Yana Gupta, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Pia Trivedi etc, the creation Kingfisher Calendar has launched quite a few stars. How do they zero down on the faces? "We receive a number of mails from girls who want to be in the calendar. Apart from that, we have modelling agencies working for us. Girls are short-listed and it's once again Vijay Mallya who takes the final call."

So, what are the parameters? "By and large, one should have a great face, a minimum of 5'8'' height, long endless legs and a great fitness level." Well, the question we so wanted to ask - what's the difference between a swimsuit model and a ramp walker. "A catwalk model maybe thin, but a swim suit body has to be thin and fit," says Atul.

Fresh face

Who were the new faces among the models you shot this time? "This time we had the NDTV Kingfisher model hunt and the amazing new faces are Ujjala Raut's sister Sonali and Isha Gupta. Isha looks like Angelina Jolie and I must say she makes for stunning pictures."

Professional call

Ask him if there is any professional milestone he'd like to achieve in the coming year and he says, "I am happy with what I've got! My company Bling! Entertainment Solutions Pvt.Ltd has become number one in three years and I am satisfied with my achievements."


Dated forever…

So, another years gone by! And what better way to end than talking about calendars. Yes, the good old wall calendar that was a pride of many homes just like Humara Bajaj. The scooter that actually brings back the nostalgia of buland bharat ki buland tasveer!

Unrelated, we know, but both these things have been an important member of a typical Indian middle class family and seeing one of them fade away definitely brings back the nostalgia. Well, back to calendar, we wonder are people still buying them and giving them their due space (read the main wall of the house). Says, Ajay Arora from Capital Book Depot-17, "Everyone needs a calendar and they are definitely in demand. Though everyone cannot afford the designer ones, simple yet elegant calendars are in demand. For office it's the table calendars that are in demand and for homes certainly the wall calendars."

Agreeing that calendars can never go out of fashion, Sanjeev Chaudhary from The English Book Shop-17 says, "For our typical Indian household the Ganesha series of calendar sells the best. And if you talk of typical Indian household calendar than we have the Kal Nirnaya, till date it's the best selling calendar." That's for the locals, what about foreigners, "A calendar of Ladakh paintings by a local publisher is a hit with the foreigners." 

Soulful sufi
Neha Walia

Carrying a legacy forward might be the hardest thing to do, but with the Sabri family, who has music instead of blood in their veins, it's no hard work. Instead, its worship. In Pinjore, the famous qawalli singers Sabri Brothers geared up for a performance at the ongoing three-day Pinjore Heritage Fest. "We have been coming to Chandigarh from quite some time now to give performances and have always found appreciation," said Afzal Sabri.

Descendents of a family devoted to qawalli or sufi devotional music, Sabri brothers have taken the music that Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri and Haji Maqbool Ahmed Sabri made famous to foreign shores, performing at various international festivals, enthralling audience across US, UK, South Africa and recent performances at Belgium and Singapore. Spiritual, deep and powerful is how one can describe their music.

But looks like the ongoing trend of commercialisation has touched their music as well. Giving hit songs for movies like Pyaar Kiya to Darna Kya, Chori Chori and Ghulam-e-Mustafa, they have an impressive line-up of Bollywood songs coming up, "Our latest playbacks includes songs for Anil Sharma's Salman Khan starrer Veer, Arbaaz Khan's Dabang and Zindagi Tere Naam," says Danish Sabri, the next generation prodigy of Sabri brothers. With music undergoing a makeover in movies now, spiritual sounds on silver screen works well every time.


Sailing point

It was a perfect evening to wine, dine and meanwhile, take a plunge into the most adventurous and attractive industry. The launch of Omega Maritime Management services Ltd in Chandigarh saw the who's who of the sailing arena enjoying conversation over cocktails at the Chandigarh Club on Friday night. Those present at the Mariner' Night were K V R Srinivas, K V R Sridhar, Captain Bhagat Singh, Captain Sanjeev Soni and S.I Nathan.

The agenda for the night, apart from having a good time, was to exploit the true potential of the most booming industry in the Indian economy. "Over 95 per cent of the worlds trade goes by sea, and in this century the seas of the world carry more good than ever before. The global shipping industry is increasingly relying on India as a favoured source of its current and future seafarer demand, because it has the means to satisfy the number shortage and strongest foundation for building high standards of skills, initiatives, professionalism and leadership," said Vikram Sarin, CEO of Omega Maritime having over 33 years of experience in the shipping industry. He also emphasised on the growing technological advancements and bright openings. 

"There are over 85,000 merchant navy ship in the world and more than 100 types of cargo ships. Institutes like Omega Maritime act as a professional intermediary contributing at two levels- creating awareness about the careers in the merchant navy ensuring a steady human resource inputs and offering trained manpower at the these academies to the shipping industry." He added, "Those who desire to make a career in the shipping industry have a chance to share the stage with the best marine service institutes in India." And while the gentlemen were high on talking business, the ladies were high on spirits. The entertainment was provided by a city-based band, Vibrations. —Neha Walia

But natural!
Shrikant Jadhav shares his fascination for simple subjects and myriad forms of nature
Ashima Sehajpal

Every face that belongs to the middle class has a story to tell. About their struggle, success, failure, various phases of life, face will say it all without the need to narrate a single instance. Though the life experiences of every face will be different, "The central idea will be the same, of success after struggle and peace after progress," says Shrikant Jadhav, an artist from Mumbai who was in the city on Saturday to conduct a refresher course at Panjab University.

In 43 years of association with art, he admits the slight changes in his style of drawing and painting but the subjects have invariably been the same-portraits and nature. "Portraits of beggars and of course middle class people, who are live characters for me. Their expressions come out the best when compared to the rest of the society," he expresses his fascination for his subjects.

And nature has always been a teacher to him, "Nature is the first inspiration for any artist to pick a paint brush. It's colours, myriad forms, seasons and everything which is a part of it, are enough subjects for an artist to put on canvas." While he has painted nature, he has also assured as to not to duplicate it, "An artist should paint nature how he perceives it rather than putting it ditto on the canvas. Copying nature would make artwork look like a photograph."

Shrikant recently retired as a lecturer from the J.J School of Arts, Mumbai after 33 years of teaching but that has only brought about positive changes in his life, "I can now devote more time to my art. I travel to different places, meet people and observe things around, which help me come up with new subjects for my art." He misses teaching only because that helped him learn new techniques of art from his students.

For the absolute freedom of art, he welcomes criticism from critics who have an in-depth knowledge of art, "As people who criticize art on the grounds of obscenity do not understand art. They take nudity, which is an integral form of art for vulgarity even when it is aesthetically done." Freedom of art, he believes comes with the opening of art galleries in all the cities in India, "Art will not be limited then to a few major galleries in the city and more people will have access to art." He has received various state awards for his artworks and has held various solo and group exhibitions but still love to work towards his aims, which is, "To educate budding artists and improvise on my art."


More than words
S.D Sharma

Aag lge unn logon ko jo aag lgaate firte hein, kadam kadam perr nafrat ki deevar bnaate firte hein…" Wishing hell for those demon like denizens engaged in spoiling Indo-Pak relations is a couplet from the London based prominent journalist and Urdu poet Iqbal Mirza, a proponent of the better Indo- Pak relations. The poet was in Panchkula for participation in the International Urdu Mushaira organised by Haryana Urdu academy and release of his new book Guru Nanak ka Safar-E- Haque by Haryana CM, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Iqbal Mirza, an editor of London's literary magazine Sda for the last sixteen years, in an interaction says, "The universal message of humanism and mutual brotherhood practiced by the great Guru Nanak Dev, the prophet preceptor, is most relevant in the contemporary times." Talking about the book, it is a 140 page book that enshrines in it the philosophy of the great secular social reformer and spiritual prophet. "The literature of a nation is the mirror of their society and writers can bring about a change in the minds of people. There should be no ban on expression as a writer or a poet is an omniscient human being who is blessed to weave magic of words. He brings the shortcomings of those, at the helm of affairs, to the light and even dares to be critical of God."

Talking of the situation across the border he observed that there is no love lost between the common people on both sides and snubs the hypocrites in his parting couplet Jhoothi ana ke khol se bahar toh aayiye, Sach keh rhe ho aap toh kasmein naa khayiye… 

From a poet’s diary
S.D Sharma

(Left to Right) Kashmiri lal Zakir, Shiv Raman Gour, Asad Mufti, Sharda Rathore and Iqbal Mirza
(Left to Right) Kashmiri lal Zakir, Shiv Raman Gour, Asad Mufti, Sharda Rathore and Iqbal Mirza 

Maukoof (dependent) kuchh hameen se nahin raunaq-e-adab, Khidmatguzar aur bhi Urdu zubaan ke hain … The couplet by well known poet BD Kalia Hamdam, rightfully acknowledges contribution of all poets and writers in the world engaged in the proliferation of literature especially Urdu.

Meet Urdu khidtmatguzar, the Amsterdam based poet Asad Mufti Naaz who has been nourishing his passion for Urdu poetry despite leading a lavish living style in a foreign land.

Born at Gurdaspur in India, raised and educated at Lahore in Pakistan and settled in Amsterdam (Holland) for many decades, Asad Mufti however feels, 'East or West, Home is the best.' By 'Home' I mean the sensibility you acquire in childhood as a fancy for a particular environment, culture or living tradition of the milieu you grow," says Asad in a conversation held at the International Urdu Mushaira at Panchkula, organised by Haryana Urdu Akademy. "But my love for Urdu and writing or reading contemporary authors serves as a common link between my passion and profession, my home land and Holland. However my past always inspires my present and future. The pangs of partition engulfed the entire region when I was a child and my father who was a postmaster at Gurdaspur was constrained to rush to Lahore with family.

I had my Masters degree in journalism and worked as free lancing journalist for newspapers like Pakistan Times, Imroze and Daily Mashriq and contributed extensively, also under other pen names. As a journalist I was in touch with filmmakers and glamour world attracted me, soon I started working as chief assistant director for films Naagmani, Parkhi agg, Vichhreya saathi and produced a social hit "Sohna Veer . Though established but with a view to improve my skills I joined the Moscow Film Institute where Prikshat Sahni, my senior and we used to unwind ourselves talking in Punjabi.

Thereafter I got advanced training at the Film Hokh Shule, Vienna (Austria) in TV and film production and finally settling at Amsterdam. The literary environment, in Pakistan in those days was suffocating due to the adverse policies of Zia Ul Haque though now in the democratic set up art and cultural activities are flourishing," he opined.

He adds, "During my long stay abroad I had mastered many languages and produced programmes for Asian communities settled there. It was indeed inspiring to interview the Bollywood stars, who now have a world following for live TV shows. My lively interactions with Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshker Amitabh Bachchan, Pran, Zeenat Aman, Neetu Singh and others virtually made me a celebrity there. My admiration for the felicity of Urdu language and literature goes stronger as my poetic utterances embellish all my shows. I wish to proliferate its grandeur to the world at large but limitations restrict. Yeh behtar tha ke mein darya hi rehta, Samandar bann ke tanha ho gya hoon .

Launch PAD
Oriental express
Tribune News Service

Rosebys Interiors India Ltd., has unveiled its unique theme "Oriental" which is inspired from India's rich artisian work. The new theme is serene, modish and spells sophistication. The Oriental collection represents the rich historical heritage of Indian crafts interpreted in modern design ethos making the collection contemporary and stylish. The immaculate collection includes the design of chakra on the top of the Jagannath temple, Lord Vishnu's most powerful weapon, which shows strength, majesty and rare elegance.

In addition, it showcases traditional ikat patterns and pipli appliqués art of Orissa villages which bring rich feel of the traditional craftsmanship in bedroom and living room.

The contemporary manifestation of fine craftsmanship is inspired by the tradition of filigree. This new collection has products for almost all type of customer lifestyles. All the products in Oriental theme have unique collection of bed sheets, cushion covers, curtains and towels. This collection with sharp geometric forms has played a motivating role in creating radical shapes and niche design forms. 

A Soldier's souvenir
Manpriya Khurana

Finally, a literature that is so, in the true sense of the term. And thank God, somebody's publishing something other than shopping disasters and bad hair days. This one's in first person account and makes a smooth transition from a scribble, a daily diary, a few manuscripts to an autobiography; it's the small things in life that lend to, lead to a meaningful whole. Just as the first person account of Late Risaldar Sunder Singh in the Punjabi book titled Darpan.

Released at Temptations Lounge, Browser's-8, present on the occasion were some members of the family and Brig Gobindar Singh, the man who compiled all the manuscripts.

Not many know, an unkindly reference to the author's uncle, the well-known freedom fighter Baba Kharak Singh, by his senior prompted Risaldar Sahib to leave the British Army and join the movement to free Gurdwaras from the control of hereditary Mahants.

Needless to ask the inspiration to collate the manuscripts must be compelling. Says Brig. Gobindar Singh, "We were a joint family, he was not just a paternal uncle, more of a father figure to us, he was an interesting man and his accounts of the stint in the Army and freedom movement all make for a gripping reading."

Among the many things, the author's narrative of active participation in the freedom struggle during Akali movement of the early 1920s is worth even revising.

He continues, "The book is divided into three parts, the first one deals with small battles in France, Mesopotamia, the second part with politics, freedom movement, the British Government and the like and the third one's all about family related matters." He throws in another interesting trivia, "An article on him was also published in The Tribune in Lahore in 1920s." And how long did it take him to get the papers and manuscripts dealing with the society and history of his times (1895-1990) collated and published? "The entire process took a year."

One thing that's expected of any good literature is translation. Shouldn't all the books dealing with countries far and wide as Mesopotamia, France, Iraq and World War-I be translated as much as possible? He says, "We are already working on its English edition, and it should be out by April next year."


Dry run
Johnson Thomas

This is a dry week for the biggies of Bollywood. Probably, that is why a C-grade sports thriller World Cup 2011, finds itself the sole hindi release in the same week that Hollywood's biggest ever and much awaited Avatar from the maker of Titanic sweeps the single plex and multiplex screens. Ravi Kapoor has nothing to lose. His film is not riding on high expectations, does not have a well-known star cast and save for a few publicity gimmicks he resorted to in the pre-release lead-up, there's very little interest for it. The story is not old hat as they say.

A recent Emraan Hashmi starrer did tackle the evils of big-time betting in the sport of cricket but never from the cricketers angle. First-timer Ravi Kapoor who dons the hats of director, lead actor and writer, tries to make the film into an expose of the nexus between a few cricketers, officials and underworld dons. His story has contemporariness but little logic and is severely lacking in finesse. It's about a famous cricketer Ravi Indurkar (Ravi Kapoor) and four of his teammates who tanks a match against arch rival's Pakistan at the monetary persuasion given by a infamous underworld don.

They are found out and banned for several years. They suffer a loss of face, their girlfriends leave them and even their families are displeased. The story then leaps forward to the time when Ravi Indurkar finds a reprieve and is selected back into the team. This time round he is on a mission to expose the corruption and the malpractices involved in sports betting.

The entire scenario is plotted in amateurish fashion, there is very little depth in the story narration and the acting is unlikely to convince anyone. The script is a morass of loopholes, the characters , though some of them are modeled on real-life cricketers, bookies and underworld dons, don't really engage and that is a killer. Just stay away!

Blend it like a Jockey
From mixing to layering and flaring, Cocktail Jockeys are adding just the right ingredients for a heady drink
Jasmine Singh

Have you ever thought how a small insignificant, not of any hyped-importance word like mixture, could change the structure of many things around it. A right mixture of ingredients in the food can make it a balanced diet, highly-recommended by the dieticians, a right mixture of metals can make a startling piece of jewellery. What more, a good mixture of patience and adjustments can make any relationship an enjoyable experience! But coming to the more basic things, a good mixture of juices, spirits makes just the right combination of cocktails and mocktails. If this 'mixture' is backed with the most-overrated word 'technology', we bet the combo is a deadly one.

This is just what the bartenders are up to these days. Mixing, layering and flaring their mixtures with techy doses and setting the house on flame. The bottom word, is an 'interestingly smart' way to make and present drinks. Here take it from the Cocktail Jockey Vinit Mishra who has devised a smart tag and an even smarter way of bartending for himself and his online community of Cocktail Jockey's. "A jockey as most of you are familiar is someone who creates different kind of sounds and music. At the same time, a cocktail jockey is someone who makes a good combination of cocktails and mocktails." However, the young boy likes to give it yet another name—Showmanship. "Bartending is all- about style and how you present it.

A bartender uses various techniques in showmanship. "Flaring is one. Before the Cocktail Jockey elaborates on this, we shares that people want style in everything, including the drinks they have and how they are served. "Flaring is the most favoured technique with the bartenders. Some opt for Work Flaring, while others especially in the foreign countries and metros, go in for Work Flare." Did you ever think about the types before gulping down those great-looking concocts. Vinit adds, "We use tricks like flipping the bottle, throwing the bottle or the jugglers 10 feet above and then catching it, shaking the mix while performing a dance step.

And all this adds jazz to our profession and is also liked by the customers." Vinit, the brain behind the group Cocktail Jockey also takes bartending classes in the city and around India, besides also providing special bartenders for various occasions. "Our group members meet once a while to talk about new techniques, cocktail and mocktail etiquettes, dos and donts' of drinking." And we just thought the man standing swanking partition did nothing but smile and make drinks as per our orders. There is of course more to his work. As Dheeraj, bartender of Crystal in sector-26 says, "Our job is pretty interesting but we hardly get to show the 'interesting' side of it." Drinking for this bartender is an enjoyment, "and we just make the enjoyment interesting and better." He then talks about the new stuff that is making rounds in the market, though it has still to make its impact on the city.

"Molecular mixology is catching up in the West. It is way wherein bartenders use chemicals to make a right blend of a drink." At the same time, all this flaring and flipping of bottles is not just about showmanship. "Everything has a scientific reason behind it, says Dheeraj. Flipping the bottles, shaking it hard, and giving the juggler a jerk while opening allows the ingredients to mix freely, giving them the right amount of heat and blend. The drink served after all these acts makes it 'gulpable'. For Sary, as he likes to be called, a freelance bartender from Mohali, who works with a liquor house in Ludhiana, "Bartending is a smart, stylish and innovative way of making and serving drinks, mocktails and cockltails." He is personally fond of the Fire Flare. "This style gives me a lot of attention. And scientifically it exposes the drink to all elements of nature, making it worth-drinking and spending on."


Best of all 
'My Name...' is the nicest love story of my career, says SRK

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, may have two decades of experience playing the romantic hero but the actor says that My Name is Khan, where he plays an autistic man mistaken for a terrorist, is the nicest love story of his career."My Name is Khan is the nicest love story I have ever worked in. It is the physical and emotional journey, that the two characters Rizwan and Mandira go through to find love.The story is about hope, love and positivity," SRK told reporters after unveiling the first look of the film which releases in February 2010.

My Name is Khan explores the sudden change in the life of the two protagonists, Rizwan and Mandira, played by Bollywood's favourite on-screen couple Shah Rukh and Kajol, but the actor said the film dealt with love not terrorism. "It's about humanity, love and sacrifice and not religion. The film is a fiction story based against facts of 9/11," he said.

The 44-year-old actor who has also co-produced the film said that Kajol and director Karan Johar supported him in the endeavour to make the "biggest film" of their careers. "They gave me freedom to make mistakes and improve my performance during the shooting. Karan is an intense director with a sense of humour. I, Kajol and Karan understand each other completely as professionals. We need not say things to each other," said the actor. — PTI

Name game
We are selling 3 Idiots on Aamir's name, says Madhavan

Aamir Khan is making waves by promoting upcoming film 3 Idiots in innovative ways. But co-star R. Madhavan is unperturbed by the actor hogging the limelight. In fact, he admits that the film is being sold on the superstar's name and he has no problems with that. "Aamir is the biggest star; so it would be foolish to think that the focus will be entirely on you when he is in the film. We are selling 3 Idiots on his name," Madhavan, who had teamed up with Aamir in the hit film Rang De Basanti, said.Aamir has launched a game where one has to spot the Bollywood star who will travel across the country in different get-ups in two weeks.

His travels have so far taken him to Varanasi, Madhya Pradesh's Chanderi district, former cricket captain Sourav Ganguly's home in Kolkata and Jaipur. "However, the fact is that the film is called 3 Idiots and I'm one of the three; so my presence is obviously felt," said Madhavan. Releasing December 25, the film also stars Kareena Kapoor and Sharman Joshi. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, it is about two idiots - Sharman and Madhavan - who are in search of the third idiot, played by Aamir.The 39-year-old actor said it was wonderful working with Aamir again."It was great getting back with Aamir and Sharman after Rang De Basanti. We stayed together in a hostel during the shoot of the film and had a great time.

Aamir is an outstanding friend and a very loving person. He pursues things till perfection. I have learnt a lot from him," he said.The actor, who was an engineering student, refrained from speaking about his role in the film, but said it resembles his own life.Talking about Munnabhai director Hirani, Madhavan said, "He is the most chilled out director I have ever worked for; he is amazing and makes an actor so relaxed on the sets. "So, does he feel that 3 Idiots has the potential to beat the Munnabhai series directed by Hirani? "Of course. 3 Idiots has the potential to beat all films," he said.Madhavan, who has earlier featured in films like Rang De Basanti, Guru and 13B, is also looking forward to Leena Yadav's Teen Patti, which stars Amitabh Bachchan and Hollywood veteran Ben Kingsley. — IANS

Feel the difference
James Cameron's Avatar leaves the audience speechless
Joginder Tuteja

Avatar is a film that leaves you 'nishabd' (speechless). James Cameron may have placed this story on a moon called Pandora with alien characters (known as Na'vi) that could have belonged to human race if not being double the size, a longer face, sharper features, blue body, white fluorescent marks on the face and tail at the back.

Still, emotions felt are just the same where Na'vis fight for their land, people, pride and right to live. In a way, the story is no different from what locals may feel in any part of the world when outsiders make an attempt to make inroads into their land to gain hold of their resources. This is what happens to Na'vis as well when their peaceful existence is challenged with American troops entering their world to gain hold of precious minerals worth billions.

While they send one of their men (Sam Worthington) to Pandora by turning him into a Na'vi avatar so that he can understand the way of the natives and talk them into handing over their land, they also nurture a plan of their own.

With round of talks merely being a cover to understand how Na'vis feel and react, there is a deadly operation brewing in the background that would has a single point agenda of destroying and winning.

Avatar is an admirable effort because not even once viewers feel that it's an 'alien story' (pun intended) being told. There is a love story brewing between Sam's Na'vi avatar with the Pandora princess (Zoë Saldaña) and soon he discovers an altogether new world. Literally. He wages a battle of his own with support from a handful of friends from 'sky people' along with tribe members and animals belonging to all shapes and sizes. The story conveys that Cameron is a big fan of Bollywood films from the 60s and the 70s.

Just like his last effort Titanic, which was as Bollywood as it gets, even Avatar has quite a few Hindi film references if one starts plotting them on paper.

After watching Avatar, the question of paramount importance is - what does one pick and what is it that should be left behind the experience that goes by the name of Avatar?

Does one admire Cameron for the sheer vision that he has put to tremendous use in the making of Avatar? Does one pick up each and every frame in the film and start bisecting it for every pixel, which has been designed to perfection? Or does one silently nod in approval for the familiar world of love, brotherhood, attachment, greed, misunderstandings and the ultimate reunion where spirit of togetherness is the ultimate winner? In short, Avatar is a film to be experienced. —IANS

Going places
Disney will release Taare Zameen Par DVD in US

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will be releasing Aamir Khan's award-winning film Like Stars On Earth (Taare Zameen Par), its first-ever Hindi language release, on DVD on January 12 next year. The critically-acclaimed film that won numerous Filmfare and Screen Awards and was selected to be India's official submission to the 2009 Academy Awards would be available on 3-Disc DVD/CD set with a new English language track. It has a suggested retail price of $29.99 (US) and $35.99 (Canada).

Like Stars on Earth includes seven infectious Bollywood dance numbers, vividly imagined animated interludes and a brand new English-language track for a cross-cultural celebration of creativity and individuality. The emotional and entertaining release features an eight-year-old misfit with his head in the stars who learns that being different can also mean being special.

"A little twinkling star of a movie" according to BBC Movie Reviews, Like Stars on Earth is a sparkling example of why Indian cinema has rapidly become the most popular film import to the US. Produced, directed and starring Aamir Khan, one of India's most acclaimed filmmakers (Lagaan, 2002 Academy Award nominee, Best Foreign Language Film, India), the film was originally brought to a worldwide theatrical audience by UTV Motion Pictures. —IANS

Melodies for marriage

The Great Big Punjabi Wedding (Music Today): It is not for nothing that the Punjabi wedding is called the great big one. As far as celebrations go, it is indeed the grand-daddy of them all. Punjabis work hard, and celebrate even harder, like nobody's business.

A marriage especially means days - if not months - of endless fun and frolic. There are numerous occasions to display one's best dresses and also singing and dancing skills. At most of these occasions, it is customary to sing traditional songs. And what a rich variety there is, whether it is at the time of Jaago or while mehndi is being applied on the hands of the bride. All these songs, which generations have grown up hearing have now been compiled in a rare collection by Music Today, presented appropriately in a gift box, which reminds one of the box meant for the bride's jewels.

In this set of seven albums and one karaoke DVD, there are wedding songs on customs starting from suhaag, dholak geet, mehndi, vatna, gharoli, churha, shagan, ghodi and sehra bandi etc.

These have been sung by Runa Laila, Jasbir Jassi, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Sunanda Sharma, Radhika Chopra, Harshdeep Kaur, Balbir Chand, Madan Bala Sindhu and others. Runa Laila is from Bangladesh but sings Punjabi songs like Kala Sha Kala, Aaya Ladiye, Nashe diye band botale, mehndi taan sajdi and Lao mehandiyan like a true Punjaban. This is her first album in India after 10 years.

Jassi figures in a cocktail night CD, which is an amalgam of bhangra, pop, R and B and House music. The CD is meant for the dance floor, which has become an integral part of a Punjabi wedding. Here tradition blends seamlessly with modernity.

Sunanda Sharma has learnt Khayal, Tappa, Thumri, Dadra and Chaiti under Dr Girija Devi of Banaras Gharana, but here she sings melodious suhags such as Madhaniyan and Chidiyan Da Chamba to wed folk with the classical. Similarly, Radhika Chopra, who pursued Ph D degree in Hindustani music from Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, Delhi University, presents the most vivacious section of the Punjabi wedding: Sangeet. Her Tappe and Geet are a cheerful treat.

Harshdeep Kaur puts her sufiana training to good use in rendering heart-rending Doli, a poignant mehndi song and several other songs. Shafaqat Amanat Ali, song of legendary Pakistani singer Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, belongs to the nine-generation-old Patiala gharana. He presents a haunting melody, Lang Aaja Pattan Chenab Da.

Madan Bala Sindhu uses the silver bells in her voice to mesmerise with several songs in the sangeet 
section while Balbir Chand brings in pathos through Lado Meriye. —ASC

Matka chowk
Resident wannabes
Sreedhara Bhasin

In my last Matka Chowk I pledged to bring to you all opinions of people who are visibly the new residents of Chandigarh - immigrants who have turned into resident wannabes. The questions put to them are not meant to reveal deep dark mysteries about their lives, but their take on things that are quintessentially Chandigarh.

My next candidate is an office peon, who works in a local office in one of the city sectors. His name is Tek Bahadur. Age - 27 years. Married with two kids. His family lives in Nepal where he originally comes from. He has lived in Chandigarh for the past nine years.

My interview follows:

What is the best thing about Chandigarh?


What is the most beautiful thing you have seen here?

The Rose garden, the lake (as an afterthought)

What is the best food you have eaten here?

Tandoori chicken

Do you know any of these landmarks of Chandigarh - The Sukhna Lake, Punjab University, Matka Chowk, Rose Garden?

Know all of them - have seen them all

Have you heard of Le Corbusier or Nekchand?

Nekchand - he built the Rock Garden. Don't know the other name.

Where do you shop here?

Azad Market in sector 20 and Palika bazaar in sector 19

Name some trees of Chandigarh

Neem, Amla, Mango

Have you seen the airport - railway station - IT Park?

Not seen the IT Park. Been to the railway station many times and also been to the airport

What do you think of the Chandigarh people? How are they different from people in your native place?

People are nice here. But, they are different in their talk, education and their ways when it comes to weddings

What is a perfect Chandigarh Sunday?

A day when I sleep the entire day

Will you spend the rest of your life here?

Don't know


Tarot TALK
P Khurrana

ARIES: "The six of cups" blesses you with new beginnings, ventures, ideas and projects. Love affairs could easily start as the result of a journey. Peace and calm should reign. Friends will be easygoing and willing to fall in with your plans. Do not gamble at all.

Tarot advice: Donate sarson oil on Saturday.

TAURUS: "The Wheel of Fortune" spins in some good fortune and emotional abundance. Be prepared to plod along slowly. Focus on planning and creative work. There will not be any great pressure placed upon you. Luck will be with you. Consider well before acting.

Tarot advice: Give feed to cow on Wednesday.

GEMINI: "The queen of cups" says you would enter this week raring to go and filled with strength and stamina. You will find people generally hard to pin down. Buying and selling is a salient feature. Do not bury disturbing emotions but work through them. An early night sleep is good for you on Monday. Trend carefully with your money.

Tarot advice: Offer water to rising Sun.

CANCER: You draw 'The Moon' rumors and gossip in office would take up most of your time and attention this week. You need to spend more time on repair work around the home. You will get satisfaction from new work. Health of your spouse needs attention on Wednesday. A pleasant week for dealing with family affairs.

Tarot advice: Immerse copper coin in flowing water on Monday.

LEO: "Six of Swords" reveals there may be some minor glitches in your plans this week and you would need to be flexible and open to change. An excellent week for romance. Avoid gossiping; because it can spoil your chance of success. Discuss investment on Thursday. Real estate matters may suffer. Sportsmen, get more exercise to keep yourself fit.

Tarot advice: Offer water to Tulsi.

VIRGO: "The Prince of Wands" shows this would be quite a hectic week since there may be some additional responsibilities and duties coming your way. Do not be afraid to get things off your chest. Go along with the wishes of your family members. Don't be too demanding from loved ones. Frank discussion could clear the air on Friday.

Tarot advice: Offer food to Brahmin on Wednesday.

LIBRA: Your card "The Universe" reveals professional endeavours could be the focus of this week. Tuesday will become rather sensitive for marital relationship. Give more attention to your health. Do not take on chores that would take you physically. Love life takes back seat. You are in a position to move and motivate others.

Tarot advice: Help a poor student.

SCORPIO: "The Wheel of Fortune" spins in some good fortune. It is a week to forget worries of the work. Let your hair down and enjoy yourself. Your ability to keep a secret is likely to be very helpful. Time to get away. Loved ones will be difficult and moody on Tuesday. The planet Mars and Moon would shower fame and fortune on you.

Tarot advice: Keep a money plant in your bedroom.

SAGITTARIUS: "Ten of pentacles" bode extremely well for relationship and romance. You are noted for your resiliency. You are refused to be between even when the odds are against you. Romance takes a turn for the better. Keep extra cash in hand to cope with additional expenses. You might find that your workload has increased.

Tarot advice: Donate gur on Tuesday.

CAPRICORN: The "Ace of Wands" says you would attempt to enhance your skills, knowledge and broaden your horizon. Creative work is favoured over mundane routine jobs. Teenagers, you may meet someone on Monday who set your heart aflutter. Partnership favoured on Wednesday. Life is not likely to run according to plan.

Tarot advice: Give food to black dog on Saturday.

AQUARIUS: You draw "Knight of Pentacles" is an indication that you would be brimming with creativity, productive ideas and a lot of enthusiasm. You will start off in a confident and optimistic mood. Family members are congenial and co-operative. Romance could lead to much turmoil and upheaval. At home all is likely to run on well over wheels.

Tarot advice: Donate ghee in temple.

PISCES: You draw "The World". This would be a week of surprises and changes so, you would have many things to do. Enduring relationships can be formed with new people who live at a distance. Stick to your regular job as the best way of boosting your reserves. Give your creative talent an airing. Hobbies will give you much satisfaction.

Tarot advice: Keep a peace of silver in your pocket. 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |