LOOKS matter
With more and more people visiting salons, the beauty industry sure is getting bigger and better
Jasmine Singh

So, when was the last time you spent an entire day at a nice, swanky salon? "What are you talking about? Last time when we visited a saloon? Which age is this!" Samira Sidhu, a political science student from GCG, Sector-11, finds the question absolutely inane, as we are trying to nullify some gospel truth. "I visit a saloon twice a week. Even if I am busy, I make one visit to the salon for sure," she cannot take that 'what in earth are you talking about' gaze off her face!

Of course, with beauty products growing like congress grass and Ram Dev too having a line of natural products in the market, the beauty industry sure is getting bigger and better. The 'obligation' to look good is one aspect; there are other reasons that back the growth. Hear what statistics have to say. According to ValueNotes Database, Pune-based research firm, India has over 61,000 beauty salons in towns that have a population of over one million. More on the growth: The beauty salon industry's estimated turnover is over Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion), with the metros accounting for about 60 per cent of this. The large beauty salons take up over 27 per cent of the revenue in the towns.

This sounds like a serious business. And how? Munish Bajaj, executive director, L'Oreal, started with just one salon in 2003. The total number has grown to 12 now. "People are definitely growing conscious about how they look. In fact, looking good has become some kind of a necessity. Earlier we would depend on homemade stuff, but now with so many factors like pollution and stress, it is not possible to maintain that glow or perfect look without taking help from beauty experts at parlours or what we call salons today," he says.

Whether we debate on inner beauty taking precedence over outer looks, there is no denying the fact that looking great has a direct effect on confidence levels. "The industry has grown manifold with salons providing best of services in terms of customised packages. Ambience of the place plays a major role in getting the customer back to the place," offers Munish, who plans to come up with a L'Oreal academy very soon wherein they will train students for the beauty industry. "Wellness is the second chapter of the beauty industry, where we focus on the health of mind, body and soul. De-stressing with a spa is probably the best thing a 24X7 working mind needs."

Feeling good is important and the beauty industry is well-equipped to handle this demand. Asmi Ahuja of Asmi's-Creative Strokes, Sector-8, shares, "parlours offer more than threading, waxing or bleaching. Their services include all kinds of treatment like hair revitalising, various kinds of facials, natural mud sea packs, radiance facials and a lot more. It is like a total de-stressing package that we offer." Zahid Khan from Asmi seconds Asmi's take on the growing industry. "I see an equal number of men opting for beauty treatments compared to women. They use all kinds of spas, they go in for chest wax, threading and manicure and pedicure." The idea is clear, all and sundry want to look good at any cost. Who minds it? Do you?

"I don't think customers mind spending some money on themselves," says Anil Kataria, owner, Head Turner. "In addition to this, it is the ambience and services provided at the salon that have also made a difference. Imagine an ideal day, when you step into a salon, from being greeted as a privileged customer, to being served tea, coffee, juices to enjoying music while you wait for your turn, to being treated by the experts…doesn't pinch much when one ends up looking and feeling good."


NET work
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Internet is a boon for mankind, especially for youngsters who are not only tweeting, blogging, chit-chatting, uploading their pictures on Facebook, but are also into the serious business of shaping a career with the help of these sites.

Meet Eshan and Manit from our city, who are ready with their first single (Dil Ne Kaha) to be digitally uploaded on Facebook, YouTube and ibibo.com. Final-year students of Information & Technology, and electrical engineering, respectively, at SUSCET, Tangori, the boys met each other a year back and now are a musical duo called Soul. And what made them choose the name? "We are not into rock or punk, we sing and play only soulful melodies. So our name Soul," says Manit.

After participating and winning at the college and inter-college level, the guys took their passion ahead and now have a fan base of more than 1,000 people on the Net. "We usually make our videos and upload it on the Internet. With the grace of God we get a song request daily," says Eshan.

While it's quite interesting to see Internet doing wonders to youngsters' passion, the boys also have a radio show to their credit where they played the host and sang songs on request. In fact, Eshan was the Jammu Idol (a local talent hunt) and has also won a singing competition conducted by ibibo.com and Sony music. He also re-recorded a song Teri Sajani under Master Saleem's guidance. "I participated in this online music competition and won it. I was chosen by Kailash Kher and got a chance to record a song. Although it was an old song, the feel and experience was novel." That's not all; Eshan also has recorded two bhajans in Dogri (regional language of Jammu).

As for Manit, he started playing guitar four years back and now is an e-guru himself. He has more than 2,200 students online, but what's the concept all about? "It's like teaching online. I record my lessons and upload it online and my students pick it up from there. If they have any queries they text me back and I reply." That's what technology can do to us - learn at a click of mouse.


Soul searching

About their musical training the duo says, "We had no formal training in music. Its our passion that has brought us so far." Says Manit, "It was after seeing Atif Aslam (singer) that I took fancy to guitar. I took lessons for some months and after that I have learnt to play the instrument all by myself.” For Eshan he too had a brief training of six weeks and now does riyaz daily and is a self-tutor. Ask them if they would continue as a group if they get a Bollywood offer and they chorus, “We are a team and would like to reamain that way.” 

Dream team 
Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai has said she is looking forward to working again with national award winning director 
Rituparno Ghosh.

"I loved working with Rituda. It was a wonderful experience. I loved being Binodini in his Chokher Bali. Even working with him in Raincoat was a brilliant experience. I am looking forward to experiencing it again. So far my schedules have not permitted," Aishwarya told reporters while addressing a promotional of Guzaarish.

In Ghosh's Chokher Bali, Aishwarya played a young beautiful widow Binodini who falls in love with a married man Mahendra, played by Prosenjit Chatterjee.

The film revolved around the characters of Binodini, Mahendra, Mahendra's wife Ashalata (Raima Sen). The film received the 2004 National Film Award for best feature film in Bengali.

Raincoat was a story of two lovers Neeru, played by Aishwarya, and Manu, played by Ajay Devgan, who were separated by fate. The film won the National Film Award for best feature film in Hindi in 2005.

"Rituda is also a very dear friend. He has discussed a lot of subjects with me. Recently we met at the national awards ceremony. He was asking me when we can work together again. I told him 'you tell me, Rituda'," she said.

"I was very busy for the last two years. I am looking forward to working with him. So let's see what lies in store," Aishwarya said. — IANS

Rising to the occasion 

Bollywood actor Salman Khan has pledged to donate his bone marrow to spread awareness on stem cell donation. Khan urged people to donate their bone marrow to save lives.

"It's simple to donate bone marrow. You don't have to spend money for it. I think everybody should go and donate bone marrow," said Khan.

Bone marrow is used for transplants that are life saving for patients suffering from blood cancer, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, congenital immuno-deficiency states and other such blood related diseases.

"Do it for yourself. God forbids if you ever require bone marrow, then people who think like you will also donate bone marrow for you. So, it will be easy for you to find one," said Khan. — ANI

Food for thought

Sonam Kapoor lost oodles of weight before entering Bollywood, but her taste buds are still very active and she is busy binging on Goan food along with her Players co-star Neil Nitin Mukesh. And guess who is jealous? Abhishek Bachchan!

The actors are shooting in Goa for their upcoming film Players, which is the remake of hit Hollywood movie The Italian Job that also stars Abhishek and Sikandar Kher.

Sonam wrote on microblogging site Twitter: "Eaten so so much at Mum's Kitchen in Goa!! Nothing beats Goan food."

Neil also tweeted: "Got the day off in Goa. With my father at baga beach @ britto's. Great to see so many kids here. Lovely weather. Awesome place great food".

To which Abhishek replied: "Will the two of you stop eating and get serious about your work please!! Start starving like the rest of us!!! These children are out of control!!!"

Neil, who calls Abhishek his big brother, then said: "When I have a big brother like you I know you won't let me ! So please work harder than you already do for us."

Abhishek said: "Good try!!!!! Not gonna happen."

Sonam also joined in the conversation, saying that Abhishek was jealous.

"You are just jealous!! Bwahhahahahahaha!!!", she posted.

Abhishek then said: "Jealous?? We'll discuss that when you see the rushes and both of you will be looking like the house we're shooting in."

Neil replied: "Ok this is what you give us on Children's Day. Fine we will." — IANS

Show business

Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow sported a racy avatar donning a sexy mini-kilt and knee-high boots for her performance on the hit US TV show 'Glee'.

The 'Iron Man' star turned a saucy singing teacher for a guest spot on the show and performed on hip-hop star Cee Lo Green's hit track 'Forget You', Daily Mail reported.

"She loved it, actually. She's just the best. She's the easiest, breeziest girl around - she's such a professional. She was so prepared, she worked so hard," said the show's creator Ryan Murphy.

Meanwhile, Cee Lo has said he was flattered to have his hit track performed by an Oscar-winning actress on such a popular show.

The 38-year-old actress recently performed live at the Country Music Awards, crooning 'Country Strong', the title track from her upcoming movie and received a standing ovation from the audience.

However, Paltrow insisted that taking on a film role which required her to perform was daunting but was lucky enough to call some of her friends for advice.

"I asked Faith Hill a lot of questions... and Beyonce actually too. I studied Beyonce a lot and her concerts for her kind of confidence," she said. — PTI

Out of the Twilight zone

'Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has dismissed rumours about any tiff with Twilight star Robert Pattinson. As the leading men of two of America's most popular fantasy fiction series, the actors share a lot in common.

But according to Radcliffe, any feud pales in contrast to the perks of the pair's similarities.

"Someone was talking about this supposed rivalry between Rob Pattison and [me]," the New York Daily News quoted Radcliffe as telling Access Hollywood.

"What's awesome about this is, between the pair of us, we are striking a blow for the paler man ... We are white as sheets, so it's a comfort," he added. — ANI


Filmmaker Kunal Kohli was forced to cut down his promotional tour of upcoming film Break Ke Baad in US and Britain after falling seriously ill.

"Fell seriously sick in London. Aborted by trip. Imran continues in London and New York City. Deepika in London too. Me back home, severely ill. Me recovering to start promotions again," Kunal wrote on microblogging site Twitter.

The director also heaped praises on the hospitality of the staff on his London-Mumbai flight as he flew home to recover,

"I have to thank Jet Airways staff for looking after me beyond the call of duty when I was so sick on my London-Mumbai flight. Indian hospitality rocks," he added. — IANS

Call off, Craig

Hollywood actor Daniel Craig is said to have called off his engagement to producer Satsuki Mitchell.

"Things seem to have cooled between them," telegraph.co.uk quoted a friend of the couple as saying.

Last week, sources close to the James Bond star denied that he had played any part in the break up of actress Rachel Weisz's relationship with American director Darren Aronofsky.

Reports suggested that the Mummy star is smitten by Craig. — IANS

First in India

Indian fans might be ecstatic to know that the third in the Narnia series, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, will release in India a week before its US screening.

To be the first outing in the series to come out in 3D format, it will hit Indian screens Dec 3 with over 800 prints in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It is being distributed by Fox Star Studios here. In the US, it will release December 10.

"We are delighted to offer our Narnia fans this unique opportunity and that too in 3D and multiple Indian languages. It's great entertainment, which will appeal to a wide cross-section of demographics across the country. The buzz that is building up for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is very encouraging," Vijay Singh, chief executive officer, Fox Star Studios India, said in a statement.

The Narnia franchise features in the top five Hollywood film franchises in India of all time. — IANS

Smooth walk

Pop princess Christina Aguilera has received her Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Aguilera, who launched her career nearly 20 years ago as part of The New Mickey Mouse Club, received the elite walk's 2,432nd star.

In an interview, she called the honour 'pretty surreal'. The 29-year-old singer was still a teenager when she won her first Grammy in 1999, for best new artist and has collected three more in the years since.

Aguilera is all set to make her movie debut in 'Burlesque', which will hit the theaters this month.

She stars opposite Cher, and is playing a small-town girl raised in foster homes, who chases her dreams to a Los Angeles burlesque club. — ANI

Generation Bridge
Here is a family where melody binds three generations
SD Sharma

In modern India music with its spontaneous and aesthetic appeal remains progressive and dynamic. Passing on the legacy of music to his disciple and daughter Sangeeta and her progeny Ragini and Nandini, violin wizard N Rajam's family boasts of a generation of talented violinists.

Rajam incorporates vocal music and the ancient veena into her playing. Her yearning for self-development took her to the holy city of Benaras, where she embarked on a rigorous musical journey for fifteen years under the guidance of legendary singer Pundit Omkarnath Thakur of the renowned Gwalior Gharana.

In the city for a concert, N Rajam and her violinist daughter Sangeeta Shanker and her grand-daughter Nandini share their views on contemporary music scene in their respective generations.

"The guru must teach their disciples without any prejudice of family bonds, cast or creed. The students must be subjected to rigorous riyaz and they must cultivate a spirit in them to teach others with the same zeal," feels Rajam who chose classical music and violin as her calling because it was in the family. But for her violinist daughter Sangeeta Shanker her mother initiated her into music at the age of three. Says Sangeeta, "I am in the process of launching a project, an educational package for prodigious children. It will help in inculcating awareness of ethical values or sansakar through music. After a careful study I have drawn a syllabus that will cover at least 99 ragas. All the ragas would be covered in eleven DVDs and with the help of DVD's an average child can learn all the ragas with out any constraint by the time he turns 15."

Youngest in the family, Nandini (17) says it is the burden of family legacy that inspired her to emulate them and do even better. "I learnt and imbibed the ragas under the guidance of Ma-guru and Nani guru, but embellish the compositions by improvising in my style."

The trio performs on Wednesday, at Tagore theatre at 6.30 pm.

Rhythm & melody

"Geetam vadyam nrityam yats tal-e-pritishtam, which means all musical genres of vocal, instrumental and dance are based on the rhythm which articulates their flow and melody meter," says Taalyogi guru, Pandit Suresh Talwalkar, tabla doyen of Keertanakar Gharana. He says, "The credit of using a vocal accompaniment for providing lehra or nagma at solo tabla recital goes to Guru Talwarkar as most soloists use sarangi or harmonium." But why are there only a few takers for tabla? He replies, "Indian classical vadya system has 364 taal patterns varying from 3 to 108 matras and it is very intellectual and complex process. Not even the stalwart performers can claim to be perfect in taal timings."He sees his son and daughter carrying forward his family legacy. The shy and composed Savavni Talwalker (23) explains why, " I chose tabla as it is a challenging art form for women but offers an equally bright chances in future. I work very hard to emulate my brother Satyajit Talawalkar and papa guru."

Eye contact

An audio-visual presentation, Eye of the Architect, sub-titled Photographing Buildings & Beyond was delivered by Prof Rajnish Wattas at the Chandigarh College of Architecture on Tuesday.

Addressing a packed hall of students, faculty and visitors attended the presentation, Wattas initially talked about the fundamental concepts of architectural photography. He emphasised that one did not need expensive cameras to do good photography, for this was more a pursuit of passion for the art form than merely technology; though it assists. He recalled his own journey into photography with a second hand low cost Russian camera with a fixed lens, later on only acquiring a Yashica non-expensive camera and then only shifting to a good Nikon one.

He presented about a 100 pictures not only taken with his primitive and low cost cameras - scanned images from prints and slides-but also of his travels covering world famous buildings in Chicago, Paris, New York; and interspersed builds with landscapes, people and street scenes. Quaint scenes from Himachal Pradesh, hill railway to Simla were some of the themes presented. —TNS

All set

Luminarc's Carine Opal Dinnerware sets the new standard in elegantly chic. As far away from the mundane and commonplace as you can get, the range literally makes the dining table a canvas to display wonderful art.

Flaunting a very signature style with the contemporary square shape and rounded corners, the international quality dinnerware derives inspiration from the graceful charm of French boudoir designs. The range is christened with evocative names that instantly conjure up picturesque imagery - blue wave, crazy flowers and ming black.

The delicate looks of the dinnerware beautifully camouflage its inherent strength. Fully tempered and toughened to render it almost unbreakable, the attractive range is crafted to resist all the hard knocks, while handling and cleaning, with remarkable ease and panache. Complete care has been taken to ensure that all the colours used are lead-free which makes the dinnerware 100 per cent safe as far as serving food in, is concerned.

Carine Opal is available at all leading retail outlets across the country and is reasonably priced from Rs 695. —TNS

Healing touch

Art here has another purpose that goes beyond a visual treat for the eyes. At times, art acts as a therapy for problems that medicines haven't been able to cure. For Kanwal Kundhal, art is a medicine and a way of life. A patient of chronic arthritis, she lost all hopes to lead a normal life after she became bed-ridden.

"It was during that time that I had this strong urge to pick up a paint brush and play with colours. My will power helped me recover and take to the canvas." Now settled in Canada, Kanwal is in the city to put her collection of 40 artworks on display at the Punjab Kala Bhawan-16.

Every painting reflects her state of mind. The paintings of landscapes by her usually have a dead tree in the centre painted in earth colours. "I was in depression before I started painting. The sole tree drawn in the middle of the canvas reflects my condition in those times. Also the paintings have a lot of bold strokes in different areas that indicate the aggression in me to deal with problems." She feels that medicines fail to provide the soothing effect that nature has on us. "Nobody has time to listen to our problems. The peacock in my paintings depict that nature is the sole companion that we can depend upon."

Her medium of work is oil on canvas. Besides landscapes, she has painted many mixed compositions that convey a message. In one of her paintings, she has shown a frog playing tabla and peacocks enjoying the music. "I hope it inspires people to go back to our traditional art forms. It's an attempt to tell people that we have to value art since no other form of living being can give it the same kind of respect." — Ashima Sehajpal

Joys of colour

In an effort to promote design as a career and hunt for budding designers in the region, Raffles Millennium International, Asia Pacific's premium Design Institute, organised a poster making competition at its Chandigarh campus. The competition was inaugurated by Sim Keng Lim, campus director, Raffles Millennium International, Chandigarh. More than 750 students from 45 schools across the region participated in this week-long competition which culminated on Tuesday.

The poster making competition on the topics Fashion & Trends of Future, Interior Design of Future and Gadgets & Products of Future brought forward the creative and imaginative potential of the students. These aptly chosen themes helped in bringing out the innovative and creative designer in each and every participating student, and provided the students freedom to let the creative juices flow and present their ideas in an expressive manner on drawing sheets.

The participating students were guided by the RMI Fashion Designing and Interior Designing batch and the internationally renowned RMI faculty members, including Omar Benitez from Mexico and Maija Berzina from Europe. Using colors and paint brushes the participants portrayed their rendition of the design world of the future.

Students from leading schools of the region like the Lawrence School, Sanawar; Delhi Public School, Sec 40; Strawberry Field World School, Sec 26; Banyan Tree; Mount Carmel; St Mary's, Kasauli; Carmel Convent and Eicher, Parwanoo took part in the competition.

Speaking on the occasion Nitin Dutta, head admissions, Raffles Millenium International, Chandigarh, said, "We are delighted and encouraged by the response received for the activity from the participating schools and the students. This competition is part of the ongoing campaign to promote design as a career in the region. With the help of this competition, we at RMI are looking to identify the budding designers of the region and create awareness. The campaign will help us look for talent that can be nurtured and developed into design leaders of the future with the help of our faculty."

Omar Benitez, Head of Department, Fashion Design, RMI Chandigarh Campus, said, "It is refreshing to see the magnificent creions that the participants have put up. —TNS

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