Grand designs
In the city, Vikram Phadnis gives an insight into the fashion world, his designs and much more
Ashima Sehajpal

Mike Yam, president, India operations, Raffles Education Corp, Singapore, in city for the launch of International Design Centre, a design institute.
Mike Yam, president, India operations, Raffles Education Corp, Singapore, in city for the launch of International Design Centre, a design institute.

Why are fashion institutes important? Should or shouldn't Bollywood celebs be the showstoppers at fashion weeks? Are local fashion weeks justified? What are the designs and colour palette for the season? Another question, then next, next…ask as many, because not everyday one gets an opportunity to know everything about the fashion industry…not everyday Vikram Phadnis is in the city!

Vikram doesn't mind answering either. He begins with the first, "I miss never having attended a fashion institute. I still don't know how to sketch designs after all these years in the industry, which every students with professional training is an expert at." That answers why is it important to pass out from a fashion institute.

Being a science student, it wasn't easy for him to convince his parents regarding the shift to the glamour world. Things, however, gradually fell in place and he became a fashion designer, showcased his works at fashion weeks, launched his brand, designed clothes for films and even made Salman Khan, Sushmita Sen and Priyanka Chopra walk the ramp for his show.

And we got our next answer in the form of a question, "What's the harm in having a Bollywood celebrity as a showstopper? I make them walk the ramp because they are my friends. I don't make efforts to reach out to them. The designers who are against it, in fact don't have an access to them or can't afford them", adds Vikram, in the city on Saturday to inaugurate Raffles Millenium International, a design institute in Sector 25.

Vikram has taken a six-month break from designing costumes for films and is devoting time to write the script for a movie that he will direct, "And it's not a movie based on fashion, but relationships". He feels designing for a film has an edge over designing for ramp. "My designs reach out to a thousand people when showcased on the ramp. The audiences go up to a billion when showcased on the celluloid in India and millions abroad. Films are a stronger medium."

Fashion shows still haven't taken a backseat for him. Besides participating in Wills Lifestyle and LFW, he also presented his collection at the Pune and Chennai Fashion weeks. Next could be the Chandigarh Fashion Week (CFW), "Provided it is organised well. Such fashion weeks help masses to know what fashion is."

Buyers or no buyers aren't an issue with him either: "I would come to CFW to make people aware about the latest fashion trends," which he feels is only possible through the prêt porter collection.

As Vikram says, in all these years in the industry, he has worked on three basics of fashion, "Affordability, pragmatic and availability in all sizes." Haute couture was never an option him, "Fashion makes sense only if people can relate to it. Creation that limits itself to the ramp or display windows of stores are a waste of creativity, hard work and material."

His latest collection on Spring Summer was about less embellishments, softer colours and fabrics, "Chiffons and cotton made up the entire collection. In summers, embellishments go down by 50 per cent and colours for the season are baby pink, light yellow, lots of beiges and whites."

Through with most of the questions, there was one left; not related to fashion, but the team he supports for IPL, especially after he designed for a fashion week by Rajasthan Royals, "Loyalty towards Rajasthan Royals began just before the fashion show and got over with it. I am a Mumbai Indians fan and hope they win. Also, I design for Sachin Tendulkar." Fashion finds its way here too!

Going global
Virsa will be the first Punjabi film to be screened at the Dallas Film Festival on April 10 in the foreign film category
Jasmine Singh

(L) Aarya Babbar  with Aman Dhaliwal
(L) Aarya Babbar with Aman Dhaliwal

No matter how different Punjabi cinema tries to be, repetitive scripts and storylines, heavy duty moving dialogues, often the same kind of fields in the backdrop, nearly similar NRI bungalows, archetypal Punjabi suits for the village girl and fake accent for the NRI actor…shrinks the Punjabi directors' effort to be different. In such a scenario, if a Punjabi movie makes it to a foreign category, it definitely requires a zoom-in on the achievement.

A Wize Mindz Entertainment production presented by One World Entertainment, Virsa is the first Punjabi film to be screened at the Dallas Film Festival (US) on April 10 in the foreign film category. Directed by Pankaj Batra, Virsa boosts of an international star cast with Punjabi, Pakistani and Australian actors sharing screen space. Aarya Babbar (son of Raj Babbar), Aman Dhaliwal, Gulshan Grover, Mehreen Raheal (Pak actress who debuted in Virsa), Kanwaljit Singh, Gulshan Grover, Naumaan Ijaz and Aparna Sharma lend an international feel to Virsa.

If you think the title Virsa falls in the 'been there done that category', hear it from the cast and crew of the movie, who have tried their best to introduce the element of difference.

Says the director, Pankaj Batra, who makes his debut with Virsa, "I agree that Punjabi movies can have a sameness in them. Through Virsa we have tried to look at a topic in a different manner. It deals with the expatriate Punjabi community and its crisis of identity and morality. Virsa gives an international feel as it tries to blend the new and the old community, trying to preserve the age old values, and at the same time trying to understand the needs of the new generation."

Produced by Dr Amanullah Khan (Famous Pakistani Poet living in US), Jawad Ahmad, Vikram Khakhar, Aman Mahajan, Virsa will be showcased at Dallas in Punjabi and English subtitles.

Sounds enterprising. What makes it even more interesting it the approach of the actors, who look at the movie as a step towards offering something substantial to the audiences. Aarya Babbar, who makes a debut with Virsa, is flooded with offers for many Punjabi movies. So, what makes him put a bet on Virsa? "Solely for the reason that my character, Yuvraj, a lazy bindaas kind of a boy, is not like the goody boy. It has shades of grey, which doesn't happen in Punjabi movies. Besides, the entire old and young relation between me and my grandfather on screen Gulshan Grover makes for an interesting plot," says the actor shooting for an upcoming movie with Akshay Kumar, Tees Mar khan.

As for actor Aman Dhaliwal, "It is a matter of pride that Virsa is selected in the foreign film category. This definitely works as a tonic for actors like us who have high hopes from the Punjabi film industry."

(Virsa sees a worldwide release on May 7)

Simple to swanky
Smart computer counters, trolleys, bar codes, enormous range of products, CCTVs...our desi baniyas are riding high on the departmental wave

Kumar Departmental Store, Mohali.
Kumar Departmental Store, Mohali.

Dals in green, red, yellow, black; atta and chawal heaped neatly in boris and wooden squares, an iron taraju dangling in the middle of the shop…the sight of our old baniya has long disappeared from modern cities.

Stylish, trendy, neat — it's all about packaging and presentation today. In a world that's ruled by brands be it apparel, jewels, cosmetics, gizmos or even regular dal chawal, our local desi baniya has had an image makeover. A quick survey of the city stores reveals the industry is getting challenging day by day and retailers are taking up strategies to be in business.

Peshawari General & Provision Store-19, which was a regular kariana store in 1960, today is Peshawari Super Market with another outlet in Manimajra. "Today we house as many as 15,000 odd products from some 200 different companies," says Hitesh Kumar, an MBA in marketing. "To keep up with the challenge that multinational chains put forward we keep abreast of the international scene, checking out giants like Walmart and Sears online," he says. Not compromising on quality along with constant interaction with customers makes Peshawari a success, feels Hitesh.

"Times are not the same so one has to adapt accordingly," says Sudhir Budhiraja, proprietor, Amarnath & Co. Departmental Store - 21. "My family started this business 42 years back and I am looking after it for the last 25 years. As the times changed, the regular dal chawal placed in sacks gave way to wooden boxes that further turned to shelves to the now pre-packaged goods," he says. Sudhir has a plush new store today renovated about a year back with computers in place. "Today a customer has no time for us to weigh and pack things, so one has to bank on ready to go stuff," he adds. "The variety today is amazing, earlier the only option was Dalda, today we have around 20 options in the same category," he says.

And how do they maintain such diverse stock? "It's the professionals who help us maintain stock. Distributors of companies visit us once or twice a week to make sure all is in place."

Interacting personally with each customer is Sanjeev Bhatia, at Bhatia International Supermarket—35. "I came up with this store about eight years back realising the scope for Chandigarh's upmarket clientele." The variety that the store offers is its USP, believes Bhatia, "We have range of good quality products to retain our customers. And we keep on adding according to their demand." Bhatias have recently added bakery products on buyer's demand in which their desi ghee biscuits, especially sourced from Punjab, are the latest addition.

Moti Provision Store-15 established in 1956 has also been keeping up with times. "I remember the time when one had to weigh each and every item and put it in khaki packets. Our hands were always dirty and shirts soiled," reminisces Surinder Kumar. "We partially did away with that system in 1978 and completely in 1998. We are looking forward to having computers, CCTV cameras and bar codes in place, because now customers prefer self-service," he avers.

Rajeev Garg started grocery business only eight years back but had to renovate last year. His Kumar Departmental Store (supermarket) in Phase 2, Mohali, has a plush look spread over two floors. "One needs to keep a watch on market pulse to survive in our business," he shares.

"Multinational companies have taken over locals today," says Sunil Gupta, proprietor of four-decade-old KL Provision & General Store-29. "Although the sale has increased, marginal profits offered by multinationals have made work pretty challenging today. The only good part is the packed stuff has expiry date and other details, which eases the burden of keeping a check on quality," he adds.

Nature’s best

It's an affair between the lens and far off lands, remote villages, forests, glaciers, sand dunes, nature… the photography exhibition "The Nude Tree" by Nisheeth Bhatt, captures the landscape colours, nude trees and human feelings over two decades, across three continents.

"I was taking a morning walk on the outskirts of London when I came across this really beautiful tree. I was so charmed that I named the exhibition after this." He adds, "I don't know the name of the tree or anything, I just clicked it, it was so fascinating."

What's on display is the beauty of the tree minus leaves, an autumn tree in all its charm, time when its sheer structure is on full display. "I put up the exhibition now, also because this time of the year trees are shedding leaves." There's Entrapped Moon, depicting moonlight piercing through the dense branches of a barren tree. While yet another covers the interplay between sunset, autumn tree and hills. In Life, the shed leaves of the trees stand for a new generation of flowers to blossom under them.

He says, "I never thought of the theme before clicking. These have been clicked over two decades. It was an exercise in sifting out these 45 prints from over thousands."

Moving on, part of the collection is devoted to myriad human emotions; bliss, serenity, innocence, introspection, indefatigability, moksha, contentment, Then there's a section freezing the picturesque landscapes, far off places, lakes, glaciers. There's the Edinburh Castle, the Karakoram range reflecting in a pool of water, Nubra valley in Ladakh with nine different shades in the same frame, from the colours of sand to snow, a couple of aerial shots of river and roads. It's nature converted to pixels!

— Manpriya Khurana

(On till 5th April at Government Museum & Art Gallery -10)

The fun day
Today is Easter Sunday that the world celebrates in various ways, so how about some ‘do it yourself’ fun?

Today is the Easter Sunday - the day of fun and festivity. As the world gathers to celebrate in various ways, we bring to you some ideas on how to make it a special Sunday.

Easter marks the end of 50 days of lent period in which Christians do not take non-vegetarian food and alcohol. "I am so looking forward to meals after the morning worship," says Christina Joseph, a teacher in a city school. "Easter Sunday marks the end of lent period - almost 50 days of fasting. So a big meal is in the offing," she says.

"The lent days are an effort to sacrifice a little for the fellow beings and share your surpluses with the less privileged," says John V George, ex-Haryana DGP. "There is a special breakfast that comprises regional food, like we have Ayyapams with chicken and meat curry in Kerala," he shares.

"Easter spreads the message of love as laid down by Christ. So today we will be looking forward to meeting friends and having a nice time together. My kids Rebecca and Robinson are very keen," says Rakesh Kumar, an LIC employee.

Easter bunny is the counterpart of Christmas Santa, which gets candies and goodies for kids. Bunny is the symbol of fertility connected with the resurrection of Christ. Children over the week paint eggs and it is believed that Easter rabbits hide these eggs around the houses, which later kids hunt for.

And don't worry if you have not painted the eggs yet, why not do it today? You can help kids hard-boil the eggs. Choose from natural colours (haldi, coffee and spinach), or colour them using crayons, oil paints or tissue wrapping. You can draw nice patterns for smaller kids to fill in the colours. Decorations around the house steeped in Easter spirit will lend the festive flavour. Later during the evening, an egg hunt with a bunch of children in some nearby park can be fun. The team that collects the most eggs wins.

And not to forget, Easter marks the victory over the forces of evil so let the 'good' in you shine. How about helping someone who needs you - a friend who is moving in, another who needs a shoulder to cry on!

Mix & match
A band of young rappers is set to rock the city
Jasmine Singh

It takes a second (even more) to understand and finally register the name of this rap group - Raptilez 1-0-1. Eek it sounds crawly! But we didn't have an iota of an idea that the name could spill creativity.

Yogi, by the way the name is Yadwinder, singer-cum- rapper of the group explains. "Nothing, don't go into the nitty gritty of the name of our group Raptilez 1-0-1. We are rappers, so the name 'Rap' and 1-0-1 means ek sey bhadkar ek." Understood, wonder what does 'tilez' in Raptilez denotes. Some homework to do people!

The good news is that the rap group of four B.Tech students, Yadwinder, P Sidhu, Tubonez, Rider 911 gives a live performance at Zinc Lounge on Saturday. Rider 911, Tubonez, what could these names mean?

"We are a group inspired from the Western rappers, and our names are a reflections of this," Yogi proudly puts across. "I was learning classical singing when I met other members of the group. We just clicked, thereon we are making good rap-cum-music tracks."

Inspired by Bohemia and Honey Singh, these rap groups have added 'substance' to their rapping style. "There are different kinds of rap, gangster, social, cultural. Our style is a mix of all. We have singing fused with rapping, which has a social message as well," tells Yogi. "Even when we draw our inspiration from western rappers, Raptilez tries to retain a strong connect with the Punjabi culture. We don't go about rapping about drugs, guns and crime, themes popular with quiet a good number of rappers."

Adding to the substance is 'reality.' "Rap is interesting if listeners can relate to it. Hey Baby, what's up, oya oya is not rap. Rap has to move a particular theme, on some socially relevant issues," shares Yoginder. "Our performance has always been well received by listeners and they are danceable as well."

Youth connect

Reinforcing the bond and connect with today's youth across the country, ITC's John Players announces the signing of the hottest youth icon Ranbir Kapoor as its new brand ambassador. The move adds a punch of freshness, dynamism and energy to the trendy apparel brand for men, while highlighting its commitment in making strong statements in the fashion and lifestyle space.

The company also launched exquisitely designed John Players' Spring Summer Collection 2010. The look for John Players' Spring Summer 2010 is effortless, expressive and vibrant.

According to Atul Chand, divisional chief executive, ITC, "With Ranbir, we plan to strengthen John Players' connect with the youth and the foundation has been laid with the launch of new brand logo. John Players' new logo reflects the evolution of the brand in keeping with the changing consumer attitudes. I'm particularly happy that the "New Face of Cool" for John Players, Ranbir is unveiling the new John Players' Spring Summer Collection 2010 in person which also marks his commitment for the brand."

"As a youth icon, Ranbir is a trend-setter and appeals to a young audience. His style, charisma and attitude are reflected in the sentiments of millions of young Indians who aspire to be fashionable and trendy. He brings with himself a refreshing new look which we believe will go a long way in reinforcing universal appeal for the brand," he added. As per Ranbir Kapoor, "It is a pleasure to be associated with John Players, a strong brand in its segment that understands existing and emerging needs of the fashion conscious youth of today. Moreover, it is wonderful to associate yourself to a brand with whom you are able to relate to. I am able to connect to John Players' ideology of fashion as I feel it's an inherent part of me. The collection this season is cool yet stylish and is perfect for today's go-getter generation." — TNS

Tender & Soothing

Madame, a wear brand, has launched the much-awaited spring and summer collection that is marked with its unique and distinctive style.

Launched by the actress and the brand ambassador for Madame, Sophie Choudry, the 2010 spring andsummer range is both contemporary and versatile, ranging from ravishing silhouette to luxurious summer party looks.

Available at all Madame Stores, the collection amalgamates the finest fashions, latest trends and Madame's signature styles.

The look for this summer is classy, sophisticated and smart. Crisp, clean and well-turned out women's wear that makes a statement about the wearer's discerning taste.

The Madame collection for women offers an exciting combination of classic colors with a splash of bright hues. The collection will comprise of blacks and whites with a stroke of red or fresh lime, green or lilac reflecting the cheery summer mood.

Wake up and get going for your daily workout with fitted yet comfortable track bottoms from Madame.

Drape into a Kimono and team it up with denim shorts to give that rock and punk look or slip into a short elegant day dress for that extra wow effect! Knee length Capri is certainly not to be missed out this season as you plan to extend your wardrobe with a few more dozens of clothing.

To add more to your elegance, pick up a nice party outfit from Madame as you hit the DJ floor or hold an exclusive pajama party.

For the home-comfort wear pull on a sleep-shirt as you relax yourself into the world of dreams and fantasies with Madame Lounge Wear.

Says Akhil Duggar, Creative Director, Madame, "The collection of Madame is high on fashion, full of colour, exciting, vibrant and full of energy this spring summer. As always, comfort and style were the main ingredients while crafting the collection. Every item is made from sheer soft fabric. It exhibits clean silhouettes and comfortable cuts.

“The colour palette is very spring-like with the use of violets, pinks, purples, white and more.

“The collection is the reflection of cool wind and soft weather. It is a chilling break from this year's hot season." — TNS

Wash it off!

As per a research, six out of 10 clothes in India are still left with a stain at the end of the wash. FMCG major Reckitt Benckiser India has now launched new Vanish specialist stain remover — that can get rid of even tough stains in the very first wash!

Unlike ordinary detergents, it contains a special ingredient — ‘active oxygen’ — along with enzymes and surfactants that can easily remove tough stains. The new Vanish formula has been developed to deliver a superior performance on tough Indian stains like those of curry. It also has a lovely fragrance. The packaging has changed from a tub to an international quality re-sealable pouch, which is easy to use and store.

The biggest objective is to generate trial among Indian consumers who have so far only depended on detergents for stain removal. Therefore, the price of the trial pack has been dropped from Rs 35 to Rs 29.

As for Sridevi : "Vanish is a great International product that we use at home all the time. I find it immensely useful with young children at home.” — TNS

Puppy love
Bollywood actor Abhay Deol is as passionate about dogs as he is about cinema

The actor has been an animal lover since his childhood. "There are three dogs at my parent's house. I've grown up with these four-legged creatures all my life," said Abhay.

He has also worked closely with Wildlife SOS, an NGO, to protect and conserve India's natural heritage, forests and wildlife wealth.

"A decade down the line, I don't want to sit back and think that I didn't do anything to stop disasters like the extinction of certain species. I'd rather point a finger at myself than others," Abhay added. — IANS

Beauty with brains

Bipasha Basu, whose much-awaited film Pankh directed by Sudipto Chattopadhyay released Friday, boasts that if she had not been smart and intelligent, she wouldn't be where she's now.

"If you all have been seeing me over the years, you know that I have a good level of smartness," Bipasha told reporters at Mumbai's Le Sutra hotel where she unveiled the Globetrotter Glam special issue of Marie Claire magazine.

"It's a tough job being an actor and (that too) being an actor coming from outside without any support system, making your name in this business," she added.

"I think if I was not smart and intelligent I wouldn't have been here today on the cover of Marie Claire and here as Bipasha Basu. It's very important to be smart and have a personality," the actress added.

Bipasha even gave some tips for the scorching Indian summer.

She believes cotton clothes are the best for the season. "Being in a country like India, I think it's very important that we wear clothes friendly to the weather. Any kind of cotton clothing like linen pyjamas, linen dresses and shorts with sandals - I think that's what is needed for this weather," she said. The actress recommended taking more water and juices to keep one's system hydrated during summer.

"In summer we need hydration because it is really hot in India. So I would suggest drinking lots of water, fluids, juices and curd with your food. You need to keep your system a little cooler and hydrated all the times," she said. — IANS

Bare act

Newcomer Maradona Rebello, who plays a lead role in just released Pankh, confesses he had a harrowing time doing unconventional things like getting smooched by a man in the movie. But he says going nude in front of his screen mother, played by Lilette Dubey, was the toughest. "It's been a harrowing time for me. I've given the role everything because I believed in the film," Maradona told.

"It's the story of a pushy mother and a male child who's pushed into the movies dressed as a girl. My character grows up confused about his sexuality. I had to do many things that didn't come naturally to me because I'm a straight guy. I had to kiss a man, get pushed around by him," he added. Directed by Sudipto Chattopadhyay, Pankh is a wild ride through the underbelly of the film industry. It also stars Bipasha Basu, Dubey, Ronit Roy, Sanjeeda Sheikh and newcomer Amit Purohit.

"When I came on the set wearing stocking and lipstick, my director Sudiptoda freaked out. He was so apologetic. He asked everyone to leave the sets. I told him to chill. But in the nights, I just couldn't sleep.

"I was harrowed. Luckily, my parents supported me. They saw the film and loved my performance. My mom didn't flinch even when I stripped in front of my screen mother," said Maradona.

At the climax of the film Maradona had to take off all his clothes and show his screen mom he's a man. "Right through the film she keeps taunting me that I am no man. Finally, in a fit of rage I had to undress and show her that I am a man. It was a very difficult scene to do. — IANS

Shweta’s shoe fetish
Shweta Agarwal owns 150 pairs of shoes

Actress Shweta Agarwal, who featured in Vikram Bhatt's Shaapit, seems to have a shoe fetish, considering her collection of over 150 pairs of shoes, one of them being a Jimmy Choo gifted to her by filmmaker Vikram Bhatt.

A source close to her says she owns brands like Gucci, Christian Louboutin, Prada, Marc Jacobs and the likes. "Shweta has a staggering collection of shoes and picks them up wherever she travels. She has a shoe closet that hosts the best brands," said the source. It is said that Bhatt was so happy with Shweta's performance in Shaapit that he gifted her a pair of Jimmy Choo. — IANS

Picks & piques
Love, life & relations
Johnson Thomas

There is diverse stuff at the cinemas this week. Tum Milo to Sahi is popular TV actor Kabir Sadanand's directorial attempt, The great Indian Butterfly is Sarthak DasGupta's premier attempt at art house cinema and Sadiyaan, Raj Kanwar's latest, harkens back to a bygone era. Take your pick…but first read on.

Film: Tum Milo Toh Sahi
Cast: Suneil Shetty, Dimple Kapadia, Nana Patekar, Vidya Nalavade, Kabir Sadanand
Director: Kabir Sadanand

This film is basically a fantasy set in an Irani café that goes by the name 'Lucky café'- One huge spacious café that also extends into a library. It's a place where everyone and anyone come for their bun pav and bun maska with special chai, and the young and old alike congregate to while away their cares.

About love, life and relationships in Mumbai, basically three stories intermingle in the main narrative but the threads of each are never developed well-enough to matter either way.

Dilshad (Dimple), a lovable Parsi lady is the one who runs the café and cares for it's clientele

with a lot of love and a little less finesse. Her story is part of the main café story - Lucky café sees an usurper in Blue Bell, which wants to takeover the space for it's high-end plans. Blue Bell is run by a bunch of hysterics (Suneil Shetty included). First Amit (Shetty) offers Dilshad 40 crores, then 45 crores for the café but Dilshad is adamant about not selling. We don't know why and we presume it has something to do with age-old sentiment. But Blue Bell's solicitors scrape the bottom to find that Dilshad is not the true heir to the café and so use fair and unfair means to get her out. Dilshad wears her heart on her sleeve, is always smiling and carefree despite having many demons to slay.

Nana Patekar plays the recently retired law clerk, a reticent loner who keeps people away from him. He prefers to live in the past, as the present appears too fast-paced and distinctly lacking in integrity. He meets up with Dilshad through her grandson (who is on holiday from America), and then promptly sets out to help her in her effort to hold on to the café. The rest of the café clientele also do their song and dance bit to help out.

This is a slice-of-life attempt and as such it is interesting, but the logic is suspect. Rajen Malkani, Sameer Siddiqui and Kabir Sadanand who combined on the script have done a poor job in making it realistic. The characters are half-baked, we never get to learn their underlying motivations. Even Dilshad, efficiently performed by Dimple,

lacks empathy. Suneil Shetty sports a ridiculous accent and Amit Behl gesticulates wildly. Nana Patekar playing a South Indian works hard to get it right. For the most part he is in character but there are little bits and portions where his Maharashtrian accent takes precedence. Despite all this, it's a decent film by Bollywood standards. Kabir Sadanand shows a great deal of promise.

Elusive search

Film: The great Indian Butterfly
Cast: Sandhya Mridul, Aamir Bashir, Koel Purie, and Barry John
Director: Sarthak DasGupta

A copiously shrill, pseudo art house movie, this one is more likely to fry your brain than energise the gray matter. The moniker The great Indian Butterfly is in fact merely a symbolic representation for the elusive search for happiness and love. A search that cost the author of the book Joan Cordiguez, his wife, and left him in eternal bafflement - one that is painful to watch -interspersed as it is in the main narrative as a monologue that quite fails in it's attempt to connect. Director Sarthak DasGupta's narrative is heavy-handed in its effort to derive symbolism from the parallel stories of Joan (Barry John), and the bickering young citified couple Meera (Sandhya Mridul) and Krish (Aamir Bashir).

The film is in fact a road movie of sorts. The young couple leave their home in Mumbai for a holiday hoping that the break will relieve them of their cares and give them new motivation to re-ignite their faltering love for each other. Meera is at her bickering best, extremely irksome, full of self-righteous indignation that her hubby fell asleep and caused them to miss the flight. You might well ask what she was doing… couldn't she have woken him up in time? Well as a member of the audience you are not expected to pinpoint the lacunae, just go with what the director is willing to let on. Thereafter it's one long tirade after another and there is no let up. In fact we are even hard-pressed to wonder why the poor man is tolerating it at all. He exhibits supreme calm in the face of such volatile provocation. He infact keeps telling Meera to concentrate on the holiday. The holiday is part of the excuse to visit the Cordiguez valley and see if the butterfly really exists. Enroute Meera experiences pangs of jealousy regarding her hubby's unresolved previous relationship with Liza (Koel Purie), who he is still in constant touch with. Her other bugbear is the abortion she had because she wasn't ready for a child then. DasGupta tries some misleading tricks, interspersing scenes of lovemaking between Krish and Liza and the jealousy angle fits in with it, but it all appears to be a mirage. The end is also extremely feeble and unsatisfying. The performances are engaging save for Mridul who is unwaveringly shrill, the dialogues are a tad stilted, the camerawork is quite enticing and the pacing is constructive. It's the central conceit that requires attention and also the character of Meera - she is far too unsympathetic. For a first-time director this is a good attempt. But that's all!

Wrong timing

Film: Sadiyaan
Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Hema Malini. Rekha, Luv Sinha, Ferena Wazeir
Directpr: Raj Kanwar

This film is basically a misfit in today's world. I am sure even the audience will think so. Raj Kanwar has always made retrograde cinema and he is quite lucky that some of them did well at the Box Office.

His films always had good musical support and that may have been the key to his successes. This one though does not have that advantage. The music for this film is quite insipid and the songs just about passable.

The story harkens back to partition days. Benazir (Hema Malini) loses her son Shaan in the chaos of partition and he is then fostered by Amrit (Rishi Kapoor) and Rajveer (Rekha). Now Shaan (Luv) is all grown-up and he falls for a Muslim girl Chandni (Ferena Wazeir). But Chandni's parents are particular that their daughter marries a Muslim. Suffice to say Amrit and Rajveer are forced to come clean and in the nick of time Luv is also reunited with his biological mother.

The story is old hat. We have seen countless films with similar stories. Kanwar's narrative also has nothing new to offer. The same litanies about Indo-Pak relations, Hindu-Muslim amity, mother-son bonding, etc. Luv Sinha is not really hero material. He doesn't have the looks nor does he seem to have much talent. Maybe he should take the villain route before he tries being hero again. The only interesting bit about the film is the casting of Hema and Rekha, two stalwarts who come together in a film after a long time. Both the ladies look regal and appealing, their performances are also typically playing to the gallery variety. There's not much for Rishi Kapoor to do either. Frankly, this is a film that should never have been made!

Design excellence

Be it designing exotic cane furniture for the British Council, Trident Gurgaon, and Trident Chennai or for the British Embassy in Egypt and Nepal, and the Oberoi hotels and towers in Mumbai, she has worked herself on every piece of furniture she has made.

Manju Singh, whose furniture goods are also available at Serenity, Sector-7, is back with her latest collection in the exhibition at the Chimaya Mission Centre in the Capital. The ongoing five-day exhibition showcases premier quality cane, wicker and rattan furniture from her manufacturing line, "Vetesa".

Vetesa's furniture is 100 per cent handmade and designed by Manju herself. For putting up this exhibition, it took her almost three years. From sofa sets, designer chests, planters, dustbins, dining table sets to comfortable recliner chairs and beds, Manju's collection offers it all.

"Vetesa's designs range from the classic to contemporary,” she says. — TNS

Tarot Talk
P Khurrana

ARIES: The Empress takes you towards the fast and protective lane. Love and romance lead to promise and commitment. Be careful not to burn the candle at both ends, or there'll be heavy consequences to be paid. A Taurean person needs your support. Tip of the week: Use your judgments and be firm in extracting a commitment. Lucky colour: blue.

TAURUS: Five of Cups takes you through a difficult speculative situation. Emotional relationships are temporary as you come out to them. You gain from choices made on the spur of the moment. Long pending disputes will end amicably. Tip: Do not leave things up to chance. Lucky colour: Orange.

GEMINI: The King of Pentacles blesses you with an inner flowering that allows many possibilities. You have worked hard, grown spiritually in the past and built a sound foundation, which leads to success and good fortune. Tip: Try to be active in catching financial opportunities. Lucky colour: Old rose.

CANCER: The Three of Pentacles reveals family pressure and responsibility. Be careful, as you will be distracted and run into trouble if you don't pay attention to what you are doing. It is important to look after hair, nails, skin, etc. Tip: Remember it is the thought that counts and not the price tag. Lucky Colour: Purple.

LEO: Don't let a misunderstanding cause rot to set into a close relationship. Job satisfaction will increase if you decide to be more independent and entrepreneurial in everything you do. Tip: It is best to get a clear perspective and balance your energy before making important decisions. Lucky colour: Cream.

VIRGO: A romantic and dreamy time gives you a break. You are right not to rush into things, but others will not wait forever. Things have been all work and no play and you have let things get out of balance recently. Tip: Yet work could pose certain minor difficulties but don't worry. Lucky colour: Peacock Blue.

LIBRA: The Hanged Man shows some decisive moments as well as surprises in store for you, particularly in relation to your personal plans. You can arrange travel on Sunday and Monday, as you seek out adventure and discovery. Tip: Be sure involving yourself as much as possible in new project. Lucky colour: Wine red.

SCORPIO: You may find it hard to find companions who share your interests and ideas. Wednesday's scenario is highlighted by changes in your love-life. You must learn to practice and avoid flying off the handle until you know exactly what is happening. . Tip: Try to relax in the middle of the week and put your cares to one side. Lucky colour: Pomegranate red.

SAGITTARIUS: Don't waste time counting pennies this week. Look at the overall cost of things and try to balance your budget. A Scorpio person influences your decision and moves in a progressive direction. Your soul mate will be appreciative of your efforts. Tip: You will be happier if you retain the fruit of your hard work. Lucky Colour: Black.

CAPRICORN: The card The Devil reveals that you will be running late on everything you do. Domestic unrest can be avoided if you watch your steps. Some career choices have to be made before an important opportunity passes you by. Tip: Dare to accomplish those tasks which normally take up a lot of time. Lucky colour: Golden yellow.

AQUARIUS: Your destiny may well be handed to you and it may help you to make your dreams come true. Your ambitious nature may sometimes attract criticism, so try to be careful on Friday. Tip: Take care of interests and portfolios of your work. Lucky colour: Silver Grey.

PISCES: The Temperance inspires you to climb new heights and actualise creative ideas. A small sum spent now will allow you to make big profits later. You have a tendency to be overly generous and forget that you have a budget to respect. Tip: Do not play into the hands of a shrewd set of colleagues. Lucky colour: White.

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