Book-ing them young
Ashima Sehajpal

Take your pick at the State Library- 34
Take your pick at the State Library- 34

Aladin jumps on his magic mat and does a somersault to save his ladylove Jasmine. Spiderman comes flying from the 100th floor of the building to rescue people caught inside the building on fire. Julian and Anne along with their three partners help police nab the kidnappers to justify their tag of the Famous Five once again… Then takes place the gradual shift to a bit serious stuff. Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, mythology, biographies of famous personalities…the chronological order makes sense. For the first level leads to the next, when it comes to reading in the children's section in any library. So here's every bit of information on children's section, books, members and membership fees, décor and the activities that fall under the programme to generate interest among kids to pick a book from the shelf.

In the children's section at the State Library-34, where there's a chiclit collection of over 1500 books, there's also a decent count of children's books on Mahabharata. A few shelves are also dedicated to biographies and of course books by Ruskin Bond. In total, there are a whopping number of 20,000 books in the children's section enjoyed by 4087 members. Equally important is the information on the membership fee, "All one needs to pay is a refundable security of Rs 150 to get two books issued," informs Sawinder Singh, library in-charge, children's section, "There is no monthly charge. The books are available in English, Hindi, Punjabi and even French. Also, we have reference books in every subject to help students with academics as well."

Located in the basement of the library, the children's section has a decent area to itself. The hall has a table and chairs for children of every age group. Not to forget, there are a few beanbags for comfy reading. "We realised that the décor of the library was equally important to ensure that children enjoy the reading experience," Sawinder adds. Without going overboard, a wall of the hall is done in dark pink decorated with posters of kids' favourite cartoon character, Mickey Mouse. The bookstand outside the hall has covers of the latest addition to the books.

Décor gets innovative and experimental at the children's section in The British Library. Based on the Spiderman theme, it has the superhero hanging from the ceiling. A web covers the walls of the section. Namrata Sandhu, assistant librarian, has designed the look of the area. Quips she, "The look has to appeal to kids so that they develop reading as a hobby. You can't stack books on racks, that might scare kids away." Last year, the library followed the jungle theme, "An artificial tree was placed in the centre of the section. Animals were painted on the walls. Also, we had a fish aquarium painted in between." Besides 6,000 books, there are 1500 DVDs of games and children movies. "The idea is to lure kids to visit the library. Once that happens, they will gradually start picking up books."

Undertaking a slew of activities to encourage children to read books is a priority for library authorities as well. "We hold quiz competitions, reading challenges, in which we award the member who reads the maximum number of books in a given time period. Numerous workshops are conducted to educate children about the benefits of reading," Namrata adds.

At The Browser-8, children's books are divided into two categories as per the age group. "Only if children will pick up right kind of books that suits their age, they will develop an interest in reading," asserts Pankaj Singh, owner of the library. There is a series of Bruno and Pepper and Dr. Seuss for toddlers. The children section is often visited by primary school children, "That helps kids know the range of books available for them. Events like painting competition and book-mark making competition inspire budding readers to spend more time with books rather than with easy distractions like video games and television," Pankaj adds. Anything to churn true book lovers!

Tuned in
SD Sharma

A few weeks back at the concert of ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh, city lad Shushant Sharma produced brilliant music on his guitar that left the audience spellbound. He has indeed taken rapid strides in the last few years.

"With the blessings of the almighty, my parents and guru I have performed at many venues across the world, but it is a great feeling to have performed at your home turf in front of your family and friends," shares Shushant. Better known as Rinku in art circles, Shushant comes from a family of classical artistes, including his elder brother Dr Harvinder Sharma, an acclaimed sitar player, and Virender Sharma, a noted tabla exponent. "Music runs in my family and I don't even remember when I took to it. But I vividly recollect various instances when my father and guru, Megh Raj Sharma, used to pull me up for not doing riyaz like my elder brothers," recalls Shushant.

And over the years, he has even mastered other Western musical instruments like the synthesiser and guitar. "In art everything originates from intuition, which is spontaneously expressed through creative forms," maintains Shushant.

At a very young age, he moved to Mumbai in 1995 and learnt the nuances of Spanish guitar playing from Ustad Arshad Khan. "I was fortunate enough to accompany the likes of Ghulam Ali saheb, Hariharan, Roop Kumar Rathod, Pankaj Udhas and others," he says. And in between, he has returned to the city and composed music for over 35 educational DVDs for children. "Since the last few years, I have been permanently staying at Mumbai with my parents. I perform with Jagjit Singh in his national and international concerts now."

No wild side

Sonam and Rhea Kapoor
Sonam and Rhea Kapoor 

Tinsel town is abuzz with Diwali celebrations, but Aisha producer Rhea Kapoor says she is in no mood to party. "Nowadays I am never in a mood to party, all I want to do is curl up with my iPod or laptop and watch shows or documentaries," tweeted the 23-year-old. Rhea feels age is catching up on her and that her idea of partying is changing accordingly.

"My idea of a rollicking good time is a bottle of pinot, great conversation and good music," she added. Nevertheless, she is trying to get into the Diwali mode with some card parties. 

"Aah well, going to throw on an (outfit by) Anamika Khanna, some kajal and play some cards at my friends' Diwali party. Sonam Kapoor is fully decked." — IANS

Chilled out

Abhishek Bachchan
Abhishek Bachchan

Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan loves Mumbai monsoon, but wishes the city also has a winter like Delhi. "I love Delhi winters. Wish we had a winter in Mumbai. We just have two seasons... summer and monsoon," Abhishek posted on Twitter.

The actor experienced a foggy morning in the capital before leaving for Shimla Thursday to inaugurate a 108-foot-high idol of Hindu god Hanuman. The statue has been erected at the famous Jakhu Temple. Abhishek is also rejoicing completing a year of being on micro-blogging site Twitter.

"Just realised that today I complete a year on Twitter! Never thought I'd do it and definitely didn't think that you would tolerate me. Thank you all for the company, honesty, support and most of all love. Here's looking forward to the next year," he added. — IANS

On a spiritual quest

Actress Minissha Lamba, who was last seen in Well Done Abba, seems to be praying a lot these days possibly in the hope of some good Bollywood projects. The actress went to Ajmer Sharif shrine Thursday.

"It's been a week of divinity. On my way to Ajmer Sharif… it's my very first visit. Will pray for all who need peace in their hearts," Minissha posted on Twitter. She had also gone to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar Monday. "Had such an blissful darshan at the Golden Temple today! Truly a golden experience," she added. — IANS

Role Call

‘Gossip Girl star Blake Lively is reportedly interested in the lead female role of Daisy in Baz Luhrman's adaptation of The Great Gatsby. According to US Weekly, the 23-year-old actress dined with Leonardo DiCaprio and director Luhrman in New York to discuss a possible part in the adaptation.

DiCaprio has been cast in the lead role of Jay Gatsby in the project based on the great American novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Several Hollywood starlets are reportedly gunning for the role of Daisy including Keira Knightley and Michelle Williams, according to Deadline. —ANI

Bindi babe

American popstar Miley Cyrus is known for her risque outfits but it looks like the teenager is taking a cue from Indian fashions as she has been regularly sporting a bindi on her forehead now a days. The 17-year is a fan of the crystal bindi and pairs the traditional Indian accessory with her western outfits, reported People magazine online.

The bindi is traditionally worn by Hindu women, although it is now also worn by women from other religious denominations as well throughout South Asia and South East Asia. Indian outfits and accessories have entered mainstream fashion in the West, with many Hollywood celebrities embracing ethnic styles.

R&B star Alicia Keys recently wore a mang-tikka (forehead accessory) to a charity event while socialite and designer Nicole Richie uses Indian designs in her jewelery line 'House of Harlow'. The sari has moved on from being a daily Indian staple to an international style statement. Sugababes, the popular girl band sported sarees and bindis in their avatar as Indian brides for a magazine shoot.

The musical trio of Amelle Barabah, Heidi Range and Jade Ewen got an Indian make-over for the cover of Asian Woman magazine. Earlier the American group 'Pussycat Dolls' had walked the red carpet wearing saris to announce their single Jai Ho. Liz Hurley, Victoria Beckham and Ashley Judd are some other Hollywood beauties who have worn the Indian ensemble. — PTI

Depp turns dark

Johnny Depp Onscreen vampires in Hollywood are set for some close competition with Johnny Depp deciding to portray a lovelorn vampire in his next movie, the big-screen incarnation of Dark Shadows. The actor and the director are reteaming for Warner Bros gothic vampire TV soap opera, slated to go on floors in April. Depp was obsessed with the series as a child with the character of Barnabas Collins, a vampire living in a Maine manor who is searching for his lost love.

With Dark Shadows being named as his next starring vehicle, the actor is unlikely to find time for other projects including Kathryn Bigelow's Triple Frontier as well as Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman. Richard Zanuck, Graham King and Christi Dembrowski are producing the vampire drama. Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the current draft; John August also penned the script. Depp and Burton last teamed up for movie adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. — PTI

Picks & piques
Merry go round
Satyen K. Bordoloi

Film: Golmaal 3

Cast: Director: Rohit Shetty;

Actors: Kareena Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Mithun Chakraborty, Kunal Khemu, Tusshar Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Johny Lever, Ratna Pathak-Shah;

It is touted as the first trilogy of Indian cinema. It's about time that the distant cousin of Hollywood had one. Yet, what's important is that Bollywood did not need to have trilogies as one hit film has the habit of spawning a whole generation of films that look and feel like the original. Golmaal 3 also suffers from that syndrome. Thankfully, it only feels like its previous avatars. Despite retaining most characters from its previous outings, Golmaal 3 enters a hitherto uncharted territory. Madhav (Warsi), Laxman (Khemu) and Lucky (Kapoor) are the three scheming sons of Pritam (Mithun) who manage to lure Vasooli (Mukesh Tiwari) into one scheme after another.

However, as luck would have it, in everything they start, they find competition from three other down-on-their-luck kids Gopal (Ajay Devgn), Laxman (Shreyas Talapade) and Dabbu (Kareena Kapoor) with funding from Puppy bhai (Johnny Lever). Gopal and Laxman are the sons of Geeta (Ratna Pathak Shah).

Inevitably, locking horns they end up destroying each others businesses. What the two groups don't know is that their parents are unrequited ex-lovers. When Dabbu finds out she schemes and unites the two lovers in a marriage without letting their children know about their step-brothers. All hell breaks loose when they finally find out and a hilarious war engulfs between the two groups right under their parents noses.

Like its predecessors Golmaal 3 has enough laughs going through the film to keep the momentum. Johnny Lever as the Ghajini-style forgetful don who adopts a new filmy avatar every few minutes has the audience in splits. The few spoofs of old Hindi films, full of camera pans and quick zooms, will nostalgically tickle the funny bone. The twists of various popular phrases and known adages, raises more than a chuckle.

Mithun gets to do his Disco Dancer once again. Theatre veteran Ratna Pathak-Shah waltzes through the film with aplomb. Arshad Warsi is his usual tapori self while Shreyas Talapade and Kunal Khemu do a good job. It is however the beefed up Tushar Kapoor who seems to be trying too hard, and despite raising giggles, fails to arouse laughter. In the first part he looking the most vulnerable, was the funniest of the lot.

Director Rohit Shetty tries his best in merging comic vignettes into one comprehensible film. However, had it not been for the funny dialogues, his lack of directorial verve would have shone out. He is spared the fate by some ingenious dialogue writing by Robin Bhatt (Aashiqui, Sadak, Baazigar) and Yunus Sajawal. Now that Bollywood finally has a trilogy, will it please also make one that also has some real standing in the world of cinema?

Blast from the past

Film: Action Replayy

Action ReplayyCast: Aishwarya Rai, Akshay Kumar, Aditya Roy Kapoor;

Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah

Hollywood and Bollywood, despite similarities in their names, hardly have anything in common. Except that the latter often borrows concepts from its older cousin. Yet, it manages to make something different from the original. Action Replayy is an example of that. When proposed to, Bunty (Aditya Roy Kapoor) refuses to marry his girlfriend because he has seen his parents Kishan (Akshay Kumar) and Mala (Aishwarya Rai) fight since he was born. Even on their 35th marriage anniversary, they fight as if they were sworn enemies. A determined Bunty steals a ride on a time machine invented by his girlfriend's grandfather to go back in time to make it all right.

Doing this will be tougher than he had imagined as he finds his parents very different from what they are today. Parenting ones parents, Bunty would realise, is the toughest job in the whole wide world.

The basic premise isn't new. Even before Back to the Future made it famous, travelling to the past to correct one's present was staple food of science fictions. It is, after all, the ultimate human fantasy. What is new is how Action Replayy lays bare the difference between two of the biggest commercial filmmaking centres of the world, Hollywood and Bollywood. While in Back To The Future the stress is on science fiction and survival of the time traveller, here it is on human relations and the various emotions associated with it. Also the paper thin, clichéd villains of the film shows that Bollywood is still in a time-wrap. But Action Replayy can perhaps afford to, it being a time-wrap story.

Lot of efforts have been made to get the sets right, and surprisingly it often works. Vignettes of ancient advertisements, painstakingly made a part of the set by the filmmakers, make it a thrill to watch, especially for those from that era. The costumes, however, try too hard to be retro. If you watch films of those period, they were not so flowery and jazzy as in this film. However, given the lighter vein in which the film is made, it is perhaps justified.

Aishwarya and Akshay are as good as Bollywood can get, which isn't much. Pritam's music is average and only when we do an action replay from the high plinth of the future, will we come to know the corners of the world he has plagiarised from.

Few spoofs are hilarious, especially the one on the Gujarati band led by Mahesh Kumar whose brother can sing in two voices. The one where the son is desperately trying to make his retro father understand the concept of sex and uses the typical Hindi film analogy of two flowers meeting is a laugh-riot. Despite this the film misses many opportunities for gags that can easily be part of a time travel film. Just the inclusion of names common today like Obama, Mallika Sherawat, Saif Ali Khan etc., does not necessarily make it humorous.

Action Replayy despite its best intentions and few successes, fails in many others. Perhaps it will take someone else to say action-reply and better the present for Bollywood. — IANS

Fashion gets funkier

Experience casual, free spirited expressions of creativity with Esprit's Bohemian inspired collection. The collection draws inspiration from its modern designs and non- conventional fashion forms to make every season a fashion extravaganza. Bohemian inspired edc by Esprit is sheer, a classic bohemian signature.

New cargo styles, used leather jackets with sturdy laced boots can be matched perfectly with flannel shirts or colourful shorts. Crank it up a notch with oversized loop scarf, long tank top, white tops and shirts. Break the conventional fashion norms with sexy boyfriend jackets for a bolder and edgy look. What never fails to work is a riveting tank tank top with boyfriend jeans.

The leather jacket is an all- timer. Esprit brings you the edc collection in ravishing tones of neutrals, grey shades and black accents and in teal, blue tones, red, berry tones. Bohemian inspired Esprit Women Casuals is made to suit every wardrobe. Try the boho-chic fashionista look that will spell a million bucks. Recapture some of the free-spirited '70s romance with down jackets and gilets, including new shapes, duffle coats, pea coats and feminine trench coats is a real winner. The collection starts from Rs 590 onwards. — TNS

R for Retro

John Players has lined up an array of shirts, trousers and denims which are classy yet trendy, rugged yet stylish. Cotton slim-fit shirts in heavy washed fabrics are available in block checks and classic stripes in dark tones of navy blue, dusty green, brown and black.

The range also comprises of the retro-look John Players Jeans taking you back to the 70s and the 80s. Internationally, denims are no longer just for weekends. With a wide variety of fabrics and washes to choose from, denims seem to fit every mood, style and occasion.

The shirts start from Rs 799 onwards. The denim range of half and full sleeve jackets and jeans start from Rs899 upwards . — TNS

Visual feast
Food or décor… Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra finds out the USP of restaurants in the city

What's food got to do with décor? A well-cooked dal makhani would taste the same in a five-star hotel or a dhaba that only has a manji to sit. But still we have a never-ending discussion on hotel decors more than the food they serve. Our hoteliers and restaurateurs definitely spend a whooping amount on the hotel décor since people first feast with their eyes.

Says Zorawar Kalra, founder and managing director, Wrapster Foods and son of Jiggs Kalra, the celebrated food crtic and the man better known for his dal Punjab grill, tandoori duck and murg makhani at the famous restaurant Punjab Grill, "For me food comes first than the décor. As a restaurateur one has to spend on the décor as people should find the ambience pleasing, but going overboard is not the name of the game. In all our restaurants we have a lovely décor but our focus is food."

Having opened in Sector 17, Punjab Grill restaurant has an Indian or we may say a Punjabi theme to it. The colours used are bright, red and gold predominates the entire look of the restaurant and it's the golden chandelier that actually is the centre of attraction. Didn't he ever think of giving it an actual Punjabi theme? He says, "Not really. Themes don't work for long, people come to eat and they get easily bored with one particular look. So its better to have an all-time pleasing look."

Adding to the list of restaurants whose USP is their décor, The Lobby in sector 26 has some interesting takes. Designed as a lobby, the restaurant is designed on straight lines. Says Ramanpreet Ahluwalia, executive chef at The Lobby, "Food definitely tops our list, but décor is equally important as it makes the eating experience all the more better." Talking of the décor the restaurant has three sitting areas and all of them have a different décor. The restaurant has a living room kind of feel to it, with warm colours, lovely lamps from Singapore, wooden flooring and a tinted coloured glass as the USP. The private dining area is more refined with leather padded walls, crystal chandelier and wooden flooring. And the best is the bar, with three different sitting arrangements (swing like seats, high seats and couches), a water body, and natural light for day-time and concealed light for the night.

A hotel that spells an English décor, Big Ben in Sector 35 has worked wonders with their interiors. Step inside the restaurant and you can make the difference. English style leather furniture, subtle wallpaper and wooden floor along with pictures of Big Ben and Peddlers (The famous English band) make the look of the restaurant and the bar.

Vipul Dua, owner of the restaurant says, "The hotel we had here before this was by the name of Heritage. So I wanted something that has a history and what better than Big Ben and Peddlers. Since we choose the name Big Ben so the décor had to be English." Serving Irish, English and Scottish meals this is a multi cuisine restaurant with a bakery of their own.

Talking about food and the concept of the restaurant Vipul says, "Food and décor go hand in hand. Though it's the food that's the USP of a restaurant but interiors too make a difference. People wouldn't like to eat in a restaurant that's not neat and beautifully done." That's a point.

For your knowledge, the furniture of the restaurant has come especially from London for that 'real' feeling.

Tarot Talk
P Khurrana

ARIES: The Wheel of Fortune spins in some good fortune and emotional abundance. It will be an easy going week. Wednesday is good for service matters. Love stars are bright. Travel, education and legal matters are expedited. Avoid yellow color if you are going out for party this week. Tip of the week: Don't be dismissive of advice Lucky colour: Scarlet.

TAURUS: You card, The Strength gives you self-esteem and a good feeling about yourself. Sun will bless home property & health. Beware of deception. Ignore tips from friends in business matters. Rash act will be regretted. Executives will enjoy meetings and dinners with foreign clients. Tip: Do what is right and watch your best interests. Lucky colour: Deep Red.

GEMINI: Your card, The Princess of Cups manage to maintain clarity and direction in complicated work situations. Lawzers and bankers give you a helping hand. Saturn shower luck on women in black especially those between 28 to 35. Disregard rumour & gossip in kitty party. Students will have a good time. Tip: Beware of depleting your energy or resources on others. Lucky colour: Peach.

CANCER: The Magician conjures up some travel and business opportunities. Businesswomen must stick to routine work. Hold down on entertainment expenses. Youngsters will love stars twinkle in the weekend party. If you are thinking to buy a new vehicle, postpone it for next week. Tip: Take no chances as despite the assurance of people. Lucky colour: Aqua.

LEO: The Knight of Pentacles brings healing and attention to practical and earthy matters. Love stars are stormy. Curb your impulses. Pleasant & easy going week for sports persons. Good offer for writers, artists or actors is on the cards. Gain from the opposite sex. Tip: Don't reveal your plan of action to anyone. Lucky colour: Turquoise.

VIRGO: The Knight of Swords instigates you to be active and clever. Health wise women above the age of 45 must take care of BP and heart related problems. Students should read something useful. Cultural activities are slow. Beware of close associates. Avoid drinks & extra marital activities. Tip: You need to be creative if you want to retain your grip over your business. Lucky colour: Golden Brown.

LIBRA: Your card, The Moon reveals you gain balance, perspective and clarity in relationships. Thursday is auspicious for investments. Good offer for models and cine artists. Consult your lawyer before dealing in property matters. Domestic front is quiet. Elders: plan short holiday just for relax your mind. Tip: A positive and caring attitude heals old wounds. Lucky colour: White.

SCORPIO: The Hanged Man manifests the spirit of enthusiasm & new courage. Be alert & responsive. Push your luck and follow hunches. You pull off tricky deal or situation on Tuesday. Use tact with emotional loved ones. Tip: Plan your life to avoid the inbuilt delays that come your way. Lucky colour: Blue.

SAGITTARIUS: 'The Wheel of Fortune' brings change, opportunity. A satisfactory week for businessmen. Go ahead with new ventures. Bosses should be generous and lenient to your staff. Relief for BP or Asthma patients. Students should focus on a present project. Tip: Strive for perfection at work. Lucky colour: Yellow.

CAPRICORN: You card, Nine Golden Cups, full of light greet you with love & happiness. Exert for a better financial status. Do not be over clever or over smart. Health trouble is likely on Saturday. Children bring joy & happiness to their parents. Regarding employment affairs deal straight. Tip: Be sure while involving yourself in a new project. Lucky colour: Pink.

AQUARIUS: The Ace of Swords invokes mental power to achieve professional goals. Home & family affairs flourish. Travel opens up a new activity vista. Young girls will have a great week while shopping. Routine goes smooth. Financial position is stable. Tip: Set the unpleasant set of events into motion. Lucky colour: Sea Green.

PISCES: The Queen of Pentacles blesses you with the finest qualities. Venus caste passionate glow on women. Students should not ruin their chances. New contracts spell loss. Constant diligence will save students. Shun time wasting colleagues. Tip: You gain by being practical; don't be emotional. Lucky colour: Rainbow pastel.

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