Moment of pride
After his role in Dabangg was widely appreciated, actor Sonu Sood shares what it means to be in Bollywood
Jasmine Singh

It takes that one moment for the world to sit up and notice what the steam is all about. That one moment when the world rolls out a red carpet for you to walk on. Sometimes, this one moment extends a little longer than you comprehended. While this happens…just sit back and enjoy!

Actor Sonu Sood laps up his moment of fame, but with a pinch of salt; he has seen the film industry in and out to take things seriously. In the city to launch Healthyway scratch card scheme and celebrate their astounding feat of 1650 visas in 13 months, Sonu Sood finds it too early to map his career.

Yes, Bollywood has taken note of the Moga (Punjab) born and bred actor, but it is still too early to draw any conclusions. “When I did Jodhaa Akbar, I told myself this is going to be it. I have made my mark, which I did in a way. Then, came a moment when I had to tell the industry there is more coming from my kitty and I did Singh Is Kinng. I hadn’t even basked under it and there came Dabangg,” he says, defying everything politically correct, at The Tribune office on Monday.

“Bollywood has a replacement for everything; an actor cannot sit back and bask in the glory of a few films. For someone who doesn’t have a godfather to set the stage, it is a constant effort to remain in the chapters of Bollywood.”

Chedi Singh of Dabangg is fearless. Tinselville has provided him with work, but the ‘person’ remains untouched, very Punjabi at heart still. The aspirations are not skyrocketing; quality work is the only demand, which by the way he gets ample from Down South.

Sonu, who was honoured with Nandi Award for best villain for the movie Arundhati, loves the industry that works with professionalism. “I began my career with Tamil movie Majnu in 2001. This industry is very professional — script, actors, technicians…everything is in place and sorted out before hand,” he says.

Something absolutely contrary to Bollywood functioning, where scripts are left to the last minute and can be manoeuvred anytime, including the roles. Sonu smiles. This comes from the been there done that boy! “Actors always improvise on roles. Off late they have started giving ‘meaningful’ suggestions too. My character Chedi Singh in Dabangg was supposed to be serious in nature. However, I thought a lighter touch to it would look good. It was hard convincing Salman Khan on it, but finally I did manage.” This comes as good news. Actors are no longer dummies. Sonu explains it, “We can take liberty with the new lot of directors; with the old and established ones we say what actually makes sense.”

For Sonu now, it is time to be more selective with work and more hardwork to live up to the fame! This definitely does not mean he has said goodbye to cinema Down South. “I have perform the balancing act now. I will do cinema there as well,” says the actor who is all set to explore the funny side with his next project Budha with Amitabh Bachchan. “I am glad not be stereotyped, this gives me a chance to explore new characters.” This indeed is his moment!

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Roopinder Singh

Should Facebook be banned? Many school administrators say so; some teachers agree, some parents nod their heads approvingly at the suggestions, and most students are totally riled at the very idea of denial of what they practically regard as their fundamental right.

Students use the Internet for various reasons, primary among them being browsing, communication, downloading and sharing music or videos, and, of course, gaming. They take a tremendous interest in social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Orkut. Face the facts - you just can’t ban an activity because it has been misused by some! Social networking sites have taken off in India and while the Google-owned Orkut was the clear market leader, now, with 1.5 crore users, Facebook has taken the number 1 spot.

Social networks are a technological bridge for people scattered by geography and economic compulsions. They allow them to interact and share each other’s lives. Talk to users and you will find them saying that their bonds have strengthened through social networking sites.

Any new social environment poses new challenges. You have the capability to instantaneously communicate with hundreds of your friends (an average user has 130). You could post something, or merely react to what is posted by your friends. The young demographics and the newness of the media give users a feeling of informality, and thus users tend to write as they speak. Here lies the catch—in the real world, often what we say is transient because it is confined to a small number of people and also not meant for posterity. However, even if it seems similar on social networking sites, there is a vital difference.

You talk differently if you are chatting with few friends, rather than say 130 of them. On social networking sites, what you upload goes to a large number of friends, what you write is more permanent, and sometimes can come back and haunt you.

Recent headlines in Chandigarh have reflected an incident in which some school students were suspended because of their social media infraction. One student had posted something negative about a teacher, and others had commented on it. When the comments were discovered by another teacher, action was taken against the students.

While no one condones the actions of the students who have used harsh, some even say abusive language, against the teacher, there has been some controversy regarding the quantum of punishment. Some parents assert that the administrators react with excessive gravity. Criticising a teacher is nothing new, however, nowadays technology enables people to sometimes do it anonymously and what they say is long lasting and public, and thus attracts more attention than it would have if the incident took otherwise.

Worldwide, there are no clear precedents to guide us when such situations arise. In one instance, Syracuse University, USA, held students accountable for what they put on the Internet, and punished them for trashing their teacher on Facebook.

However, in another instance, a Pembroke Pines Charter High School, Florida, student posted about “the worst teacher I’ve ever met” after apparently clashing with her English teacher over assignments. She took down her post a few days later; meanwhile, a number of those who viewed it responded with remarks defending the teacher. She was disciplined two months later. Her case went to court and she won it.

There is a lot of difference in the way young people and adults view social networking sites. For the young, they are just a mode of expression. They expect their peers to participate in it and use it extensively for all kinds of social interaction, including communication. What they don’t realise is that their privacy is nebulous at best, that what is posted has a nasty way of coming to life at a time when it is most embarrassing, and even though they may not like it, the best advice that can be given to them is “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it all, certainly not on Facebook or Orkut.” 

Parents and school administrators too need to loosen up a bit. No one should overlook the use of abusive language, or any other inappropriate content. However, many a time, youngsters are just venting off steam. The context should be looked into and only serious violations punished. There is a strong case for providing counselling and teaching children dos and don’ts about using social networking sites. Children face various threats from people who abuse social networking sites, and thus they need to be sensitised to these dangers.

Banning Facebook for schoolchildren is simply not possible. Social networking sites are a reality. What we need is greater understanding from both the users and the administrators. We need to have fun, and at the same time, we must remember that we are responsible for our actions, whether we are online or off line.

Tandoori special!
Jasmine Singh

Celebrity stars and their ways! If only we could understand, getting an interview would be a child’s play. The catch is if it becomes a child’s play…who would call them celebrities!

Anyways, cut to the story of such ‘please go through my secretary’ stars shooting at Khyber restaurant, bringing the traffic at Sector-35 to a standstill. Some curious, eager, over-excited onlookers managed to catch a glimpse of the picture perfect Ms Katrina Kaif in white formal shirt, and dekha dekha star of Bin Tere Laden Ali Zafar in yellow tee and denims. Others waited, holding on to every ounce of patience.

It would be nice to mention about the ‘tight’ security around the hotel. Chandigarh police is always equipped to handle any untoward incident! The word spreads around, more people gather outside Khyber. If only we could understand stars, taking pictures would be a child’s play…making it more difficult for them, Katrina Kaif and Ali Zafar shooting Aditya Chopra’s Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, which also stars Imran Khan, were whisked inside the restaurant for the shoot.

Cut to the scene inside the hotel. Dark room, shadows moving around…just when you wonder whether Ramsay Brothers have anything to do with the movie, camera lights go on highlighting two, need we say quiet figurines — Katrina and Ali Zafar. Sitting across a lunch table laid with Tandoori chicken, Dal makhani, Tandoori naan, chicken fry, Katrina plays with the cutlery as Ali looks on. It’s a long scene, never ending and back we are to scribbling notes on it. Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, Yash Raj Film’s Mere Brother Ki Dulhan is a romantic comedy.

If only we could understand stars and their ways, we could have brought in a little more on this!

Home front
True family home

A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams," they say. And it holds true for JP and Rekha Singla's abode in Sector 10, Panchkula.

This couple moved into this house in 1996 with their three sons and 14 years on, they have six more members - three daughter-in-laws and three grandkids!

Four prosperous Ashokas line the boundary of this house and the family ascribes their prosperity to their house number - 265. "There is something magical about this number. The day we moved into this house, everything took a positive turn," says Rekha, the proud mum of this growing tribe. No wonder then, every car in the house (they have six) and all the phone numbers (around nine) have 265 as last digits!

"As members increased, this home underwent changes to accommodate the growing demands, but then we are so attached to this house that we want to be here always," says Rekha, who is holding fort, although the family owns another bigger house that's lying vacant.

Since the family has three growing kids, it's them who rule this house. A very green veranda leads you to a passage where a half-circular stonewall separates the living room from the stairs.

Decorated in fresh flowers - roses and gladiolas, the living area provides a fresh whiff. The light yellow walls and curtains in happy yellow with small flower print add a cheery look. A huge, golden Budhha is the showstopper here. Mirrors separate this unit from the eating area, which is a comfortable corner with a dining table, loungers and a huge plasma TV. This is where the family loves to sit together.

A slide for kids and a basketball hoop takes the centrestage at this floor. Greenery in potted plants makes it soothing to the eyes. Stairs have kid gates lest they tumble. All six bedrooms of this house belong to kids. Their pictures, cribs and closets in various sizes and colours add brightness.

A dedicated room to play for Shriya, Diya and Rihan has all their toys, rides and games. A pin-up board displays their proud creations.

Although the base colour is almost similar in all the rooms, different members have given their individual touch to their own space. Sonali's has chiks in her favourite colour - chocolate, Swapna's room has bright golden and yellow textured wall that makes it shimmer. False ceiling inserts and wooden flooring make it look warm. This floor has a small office on the first floor for this business family to work in.

But whichever be the corner, its kids' supplies that are spread all over. After all, it's Shriya, Diya and Rihan's home!


Child-proofing the home when kids are growing up is a must. Shukhmani Bhore, an interior decorator, shares some tips. "First of all, all the furniture should be rounded off, no sharp edges please! There should be no plugs within the reach of children. Rather than switches, one can use string lights." While creating a special play area dedicated to kids, Bhore suggests, "No toxic paints or heavy carpets, which attract dust, here. Make sure all the toys have no detachable parts that children can swallow, and are good plastic as they have a habit to chew." Apart from that, all large windows should have safety bars so that kids can't open them. And all breakables out of their reach please!

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Spade work
Splash of colour
Satish Narula

A garden without colours is no garden. There are many plants to choose from to fill even the gap period when there is still time for the seasonal flowers to come into flowering. While planning any such garden, the selection of plants has to be judicious as most of these whither at one or the other time of the year as many of these are not perennials or evergreens.

One of the most colour giving plants in the garden is croton. There are many different varieties of crotons but one thing is common in almost all the varieties is that in winter they shed leaves and go dormant. This is more so when these are planted in pots. In the soil in beds there may be some of the varieties that retain leaves but in case of severe winter or occurrence of frost, there is definite damage to the plants that show twig dying and burning of leaves. Then what is the alternative?

Poinsettia is a good choice. In the winter, when the other plants start sulking due to winter the poinsettia starts puts forth its best. The plants have insignificant flowers but the bracts are very showy and bold. They have very deep colour of red. The poinsettias come as single bracted or multibracted. The latter are called Fireball. The single bracted poinsettias grow tall and may reach a height of 10 feet or more but the double bracted poinsettias have heavy head and the twigs bend downwards. They may also need support. The plans have bright bracts from November beginning and last through the winter to shed the colour in end March. It is, however, essential to provide the plants full sun so as to get the best out of it. In case, the plants do not get full sun for long in the initial winter months, they appearance of colour bracts may be delayed. The plants last till the end of March. It is the time for the plants to take rest and that is also the time when these can be multiplied by way of cuttings. The terminal twigs of the plants are hollow and are not used to make cuttings. It is the year old twig that is used for the purpose.

At a time when the poinsettias go dormant, the caladiums appear from the soil. They too have a wide range of colours and last very long. In fact, their appearance and disappearance is in contrast with poinsettias. They show up from March to November when poinsettias are not around. These are bulbous plants and as the winter sets in they go dormant and the aboveground part is gone. Left in the soil, the rhizomes sprout on their own in spring and then last through till November next. They are very short stature plants and give colour near the ground. But there is another such plant, the mussaenda that gives company to caladium spreading the colour at the plant canopy that can be kept from two feet to ten feet high. The height can be regulated by way of pruning in winter when the plant sheds its bracts and leaves.

Myth of the week

Liquid asset

The swollen roots of radish, turnip and carrot need plenty of water to make good roots. It is wrong. The said root crops need water barely and if more of water is provided they will make more of vegetative growth and the root formation will be poor. So is the case with peas too. All these crops need at the most three to four times watering all through their life cycle. 

Choco treat

Roald Dahl, the famous British novelist, wrote "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (1964) inspired by his experiences at the chocolate companies during his school days. The story which is filled with strangely wonderful fantasies attempt sensitively and imaginatively to reconcile the grim aspects of human existence through one's capacity to dream of and reach out to a better life.

It depicts a reclusive and eccentric chocolate maker, Willy Wonka, who opens the doors of his coveted factory to five lucky golden ticket winners. The story really takes off with the protagonist, Charlie Bucket and his fellow golden ticket winners stepping inside the factory gates to discover the magic and the mysteries of chocolate making.

Students of Class-V of Yadavindra Public School-Mohali are scheduled to perform a stage adaptation of this story at Tagore Theatre on October 14. The director Inderjit Grewal along with other teachers of YPS Junior School has ably helped the children to get into their respective roles through a two-month-long theatre workshop in school. — TNS

Classic revisited

Singing has always been a passion for Rana Yogeshwar. In a government job, Rana pursued his dream and on Sunday came out with a remix album titled Passion.

"This album has eight remixed tracks by Kishor and Rafi. These are the songs that are close to my heart and Passion is my version of these timeless classics," says Rana.

Some of the tracks in this album are Gane tum bhi chalo, Nakhrewali, Hal kaisa hai janab ka, Chand mera dil.

Rana credits his interest in music to his family, "My father would often sing ghazals and my mother likes bhajans. I started singing with them from my childhood."

And, he has inculcated this passion in his daughter Arzoo, and its on her birthday Rana released his album.

"Caught in the web of life, I had almost given up my dream. I am glad that by God's grace I am able to share my music with others," he signs off.

Desi beats

Continuing with the tradition of providing tasty and innovative offerings to its consumer, Kurkure Desi Beats, an extension of Kurkure, launched two new flavour variants — Saucy Mirchi and Butter Chatpata. The new variant is predominantly made of corn that makes it lighter, crunchier and tastier. Saucy Mirchi is a tongue-tickling experience of chilli combined with a hint of sweet juicy tang of tomato and the Butter Chatpata flavour delivers a great chatpata experience with buttery flavour. The two new flavours will be available in a new exciting rectangle shape.

Speaking on the occasion, Vidur Vyas, director marketing, PepsiCo Foods, said, "Kurkure Desi Beats is an innovation specially created keeping the Indian palate in mind. The product is made using common kitchen ingredients like corn and authentic Indian spices to make every snacking moment enjoyable. "

"The corn-based Kurkure Desi Beats with its two flavours is super exciting. The butter chatpata and saucy mirchi flavours are like a full masala movie ,” said actor and brand ambassador of the brand Kareena Kapoor. — TNS

Spreading out

After making it big in Bollywood with the Hindi version of her Tamil film Ghajini, Asin Thottumkal is now on a remake spree. The young actor says such offers only help her reach out to a wider audience in different parts of the country."If it's an entertaining film and a great story then I think it should be made for a larger audience and not particularly restricted to a group. Remakes help in doing that—to get a wider audience and to get the film across to a larger number of people," Asin said.

A superstar down south, Asin made her Bollywood debut opposite Aamir Khan in the hit psychological action thriller Ghajini (2008), a remake of its 2005 Tamil namesake. She played the same role in both outings.The 24-year-old is now working on Ready with Salman Khan, and a Tamil movie Kaavalan, which are the remakes of a Telugu namesake and Malayalam movie Bodyguard respectively. Apparently Salman will also star in a Hindi remake of Kaavalan after "Ready".Will she star in the Hindi remake too?"I have not discussed that yet with anyone and I don't think the casting has been decided," said Asin. Aren't there any problems of repeating yourself in a remake?"The director is there to help you in that and you know your character well. For you it's a new script and a fresh project. You are not in any way repeating yourself. So you approach it in that way," she said.Having worked in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi films, Asin is open to working in other languages as well.

"Language is not a criterion. It depends on the project. If a project excites me... I'd readily take that up. I'm basically looking at projects that are not language-bound or from different boundaries," she said. Did she miss the big screen since she's been absent after her second Hindi movie London Dreams (2009)?"Not really, because I have been busy with other stuff and the two films that I am doing have a really hectic schedule. And I'll be coming back pretty soon on the big screen. "So how is she balancing her work in Bollywood and down south?"It's not a strategy or plan that I have made. It depends upon the kind of scripts that are coming my way at that particular point of time. So there's no strategy that I'll do one Hindi and one Tamil movie," said the actor, who is also a prolific painter and actively involved in charity work.

Asin has been roped in as the face of Lux soap's new variant Lux Sandal & Cream. Any plans to take up work on TV like other stars? "I am doing my share of TV time with endorsements," said Asin, who features in commercials for Mirinda, Big Bazaar, Sure - Anti-perspirant, Tata Sky, Clinic All Clear and Fairever fairness cream.The actor was also embroiled in a row recently when Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) activists held a black flag protest against her at Mettupalayam reportedly for shooting Ready in Sri Lanka as they felt it was an 'anti-Tamil' stand."I'd much rather not talk about that. It's something that has been in the past...It was blown out of proportion. In fact, I wasn't even there when it happened...These were sensationalised," she said.Rumours are also rife that the actress is in Anurag Basu's next, Silence."I'd like to maintain my silence about that," Asin said adding that she will "be starting two new projects by early next year". — IANS

Watch out

Bollywood star Salman Khan has launched a limited range of luxury watches named after his Being Human charitable foundation.

The 24 pieces are conceptualised and designed by Salman himself and the money from their sale will support the causes of education and healthcare.

"I personally think watches are a great way to express one's personal style. With 'Being Human' watches, the wearer also expresses his or her support for the twin causes of education and healthcare. Being Human watches are about looking good and doing good," Salman said. The watches will be available in a number of stores and are being distributed by Mak Luxury Watch Pvt. Ltd.

"These watches have Salman's vision to combine three excellent components - great watch-making, signature style and affordibility. These three elements inspired us to develop these watches," said Arun Malhotra of Mak Luxury Watch. The watches are priced Rs 7,500 onwards. — IANS

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