B-town guests
The year 2010 saw a host of celebrities descend on the city beautiful. Ashima Sehajpal does a round-up

Like everytime, we welcome you to the city. You are invited to share your thoughts on life or discuss future plans with us. We would also love to hear gossip from you and know the spicy tidbits of B-town citizens. But just in case you don't want to divulge anything on your private life, sorry, we aren't that hospitable!

We would nudge you; we can't help our prodding and prying nature because that's what fills up our blank pages. And had that not been the case, we wouldn't have got Deepika Padukone's take on her and Farhan Akhtar's mysterious chemistry in Karthik Calling Karthik or Punit Malhotra's (director of I Hate Luv Storys) view on his and Sonam Kapoor's alleged affair. Here's summarising who came to the city in 2010 and shared details that found space in Lifestyle.

She came, saw and conquered everyone with her infectious smile. The cold month of December saw hottie Anushka Sharma endorse Parachute hair oil. She wanted us to believe that her 'blow-dried' hair were healthy and bouncy because of the oil brand. We believed in her "learnt by heart" speech! The actor, riding high on the success of Band Baja Baraat after Badmash Company, expressed her loyalties towards the YRF (Yash Raj Films) banner once again. Anil Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna held another press interaction. The film bombed at the box office, but they obviously had good things to say. What surprised us was Akshaye Khanna's statement that he carefully weighs his options before picking films. Somebody please tell him, beggars are not choosers!

To tell you the truth, Jhootha Hi Sahi got flak from the critics for a poor screenplay, but what we loved about the film was that it brought John Abraham to town. The actor joked, "Abhishek is my true life partner," and we enjoyed it. We might see him again in his famous yellow trunks in Dostana 2. The encouragement has flowed in from producer Karan Johar, who the actor says asked him to be unapologetic about showing off toned abs!

Then there were Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Hold on; they didn't come holding hands this time. Both were in the city on different occasions. Chotte Nawab promoted the flavours of his Taj tea and was, of course, asked about the Padma Shri award. The actor very sportingly said he would try to live up to the expectations of those who think he didn't deserve the honour. His arm candy Kareena promoted the soap brand Vivel, when she touched the slippery issue of size zero. Without mincing words, the actor zeroed in on the topic and termed it a "national phenomenon". Those who failed to achieve the magical figure, she said, were jealous of her. Well, the list of those going green in the eyes is a lengthy one!

Controversy's favourite child Vivek Oberoi dropped in to promote Prince-It's Showtime. It was a pleasant change to meet the modest actor, who only wants to concentrate on his sinking career. Career is also a matter of concern for Esha Deol who with her mother, Hema Malini, was in the city on the invitation of Talwarsons Jewellers. The mother daughter duo talked at length about their home production, Tell Me O Khuda, since that's all scarcity of work leaves Esha with!

City girls also had a date with the two chocolate boys of the industry, Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan. Ranbir proved his ability to talk about something else than the usual, 'his cordial relationship with his ex-flames.' While promoting the hit of the year, Rajneeti, he said casting votes in India should be made mandatory. Only if his opinion mattered!

His contemporary Imran Khan preferred to stick to the safer topic of his fiancé Avantika. He highlighted the fact that he is extremely loyal to her, which his courtship period of nine years substantiates.

Sushmita Sen once again did what she is best at — giving an articulate speech. As far as films are concerned, she had nothing to say for the simple reason…she hardly has any in her kitty! Her only release this year, No problem, bombed at the box office but that's not a problem as long as 'I Am She, the Miss India Universe contest' keeps her busy. And that's what brought her to the city. Although more stars came shining down to the city this year, they didn't leave us star-struck!

ashima@tribunemail.com

Koffee break
Her name is Khan

Farah Khan is certainly the Goliath at the box office. The choreographer-turned-director, who debuted with Shahrukh Khan starrer super hit Main Hoon Na in 2004, is better known as female Manmohan Desai of Bollywood.

Her second film Om Shanti Om was another blockbuster with lavish sets and a perfect storyline. Her enviable track record has made her one of the most bankable directors in Bollywood today. Her peculiar brand of sequences may not be a critic's delight, but as long as it sets the cash registers ringing, no one is complaining. In conversation with Lifestyle she talks about her film Tees Maar Khan starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif.

How did you go about casting your characters?

I have found Akshay Kumar extremely professional, extremely punctual. I narrated the story to Akshay, Katrina Kaif and Akshaye Khanna. All the three were very excited. My husband Shirish Kunder wrote the screenplay keeping them in mind.

You have developed a reputation of being an actor's director. How much credit do 
you take?

I give them a script, which stimulates them. Then I begin to mould them at the subconscious level. On the sets, I keep talking to them to bring out the best in them.

Why did you choose Katrina Kaif for the lead role?

I did not really want Katrina in the beginning but later I realised she is the best choice for the film. She looks hot and the song she has done, Shiela Ki Jawani it has become an absolute rage over here.

Tell something about Salman Khan?

Salman Khan makes a guest appearance and is seen performing to a qawwali number with Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif. The number is, an ode to Meena Kumari's Pakeezah.

How do you think you have grown as a director over your three films?

I do not try to show off any more. I have just become a little simple in the way I shoot. — Dharam Pal

BRUSH with genius
Russian-Swedish painter Anna Rochegova is in the city with a few of her remarkable paintings,
Mona

It was a childhood dream to come to India," says Anna Rochegova, a celebrated Russian-Swedish painter, in the city on a personal visit. Comfortable at her host and friend Geeta Singh's residence in Sector 10 that has few of her remarkable paintings, Anna calls her association with India a 'fairytale'.

"India has always been a mystery to me. Having my paintings in an Indian home is so very special to me," shares Anna.

Daughter of an eminent painter Maria Engelke and well-known architect Alexander Rochegov, Anna inherited art. "My mother was painting a mural in one of the skyscraper in Moscow when she was pregnant. I got it in my genes, I guess," she shares softly.

Anna's works are a fine combination of heart and logic. "I paint, as I cannot but paint. I paint when an idea or image has seized me so strongly that it is necessary for me to let it out," Anna avers. After the surge of emotions, Anna analyses why a particular scene has moved her so much, and it's only after this that her work begins.

Her works span through three stages of her life — living in Russia (she was there till she turned 39), time with her Swedish husband Lars Cederholm in their New York pad and then in Sweden.

"I did not have the experience of painting a vast sea till we settled in Lars' home country," says Anna.

A painter of nature, she is moved largely by the beauties of the sand, sea and light that her Swedish home offers. The very 'pearly' light that covers the Baltic Sea lends her work a mystic touch.

Her works — NYC 2000, Autumn in Catskills (1996) and From the Roof (1998) — have a life of their own.

Apart from paintings, Anna has done amazing murals in the Soviet Embassy in Cuba, Dmitrievsky Cathedral at Rostov Velikiyand and Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. The very mural that her mother was painting when Anna was born in Leningradskay hotel at Moscow has become national heritage today.

Being a practising Buddhist, Anna has painted murals along with her teachers in monasteries in India as well as the US. Reflecting Ganga River, Stairs to the Ganga - are her reflections of the country that she has vastly travelled.

"Good art can take people to the spiritual level. When someone is able to relate to my work, it is truly precious for me," she avers.

mona@tribunemail.com 

Controversy’s child

Pakistani actor Veena Malik, the latest celebrity to be booted out from the Bigg Boss house, says she has grown very close to her co-contestant, Bollywood actor Ashmit Patel.

The 32-year-old actor, who got nominated seven times - the maximum for any housemate on the show - thanks to her antics which included her extreme closeness to Ashmit and her confessed liking to Hrishant Goswami, says she is happy to have survived on an Indian show without being a known face here.

Veena, the ex-girlfriend of Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif, came into the news earlier this year by claiming that she knew about Asif's match fixing scandal.

"I was tired of the controversy around me and Asif so I decided that I will go away and when this show was offered I jumped to it because I could stay away from media for some months," Veena said.

But instead of lying low, the Lollywood lass ensured that she generated enough headlines while on the show and her closeness to Ashmit and Hrishant helped her sustain the ordeal of being locked up in the house for months.

Veena, however, says she does not know about the kind of reaction her behaviour generated in the audience.

"I don't know why there is so much confusion. I admit that I am very close to Ashmit. We are very close friends. I love him and he loves me. We never crossed any boundaries on the show. As far as Hrishant is concerned, I like him because he is a very handsome man. But that does not mean I am close to him. I also like Salman Khan," Veena said.

The actor said she was surprised to have remained on the show for so long despite being nominated seven times and felt bad that she was evicted at this point when the show was coming to a close."I would pack my bags every time I was nominated but the audience were so generous that they saved me each time,” she said.—PTI

They mean business

Bollywood actors Ajay Devgn and Katrina Kaif will be crowned the most profitable actors of 2010 at the "ETC Bollywood Business Awards 2010 - Evaluating Movie Moghuls" Tuesday. First timer Abhinav Kashyap will get the most profitable director trophy.

On evaluating the industry players on the basis of return on investment for the first time, the actors have won the top spots after the economic quotient of their movies was taken into consideration as a cornerstone for mapping their success.

"Figures talk, you cannot manipulate it, you cannot play games with it," said Ajay, who has had six releases this year, including Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? Raajneeti, Golmaal 3, and Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai and except Aakrosh and Toonpur Ka Superhero, all his movies did good business. — IANS

Rear view
Note by note
SD Sharma

The UT administration, Haryana Cultural Affairs Department, three academies and amateur theatre groups ensured that the city continues to be a pulsating cultural hub in the year 2010. However, amateur theatre groups kept a low profile, staging mostly nukkad nataks.

The UT administration organised the first-ever Henrik Ibsen Theatre Festival, Chandigarh Theatre Festival, Heritage Festival, the 10-day National Craft Mela at Kalagram and many more events. The SAARC festival featured artistes from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries.

City-based classical vocalist Pandit Yashpaul was bestowed with Punjab Sangeet Rattan Award while thespian Kamal Arora won the national Sangeet Natak Academy Award. 

Theatre

The first-ever Ibsen Theatre Festival and National Theatre Festival, organised by the UT administration without tickets was a welcome move against the ticketed shows for local plays earlier. The Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, led by Kamal Tewari, held its fifth six-day festival of socially relevant plays in nearby villages, which was highly appreciated. The Theatre for Theatre (TFT) Institute held two festivals — the Baisakhi festival in April where five plays were staged and the TFT festival at Inderdhanush where four plays were held.

Music & dance

An immaculate vocal recital by 103-year-old Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan of Kolkata and 83-year-old Dhondubai Kulkarni organised by SPIC MACAY and Indian National Theatre, respectively, were the major highlights of the year. Besides ‘baithak’ programmes of classical music and dance, the Pracheen Kala Kendra featured eminent artistes, including Grammy award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Mohan Veena), Pandit Bhajan Sopori (santoor), Lachhman Das Seen (tabla), Ustad Allaudin Khan (dilruba), Salil Bhatt (Satwik Veena) besides kathakali and kathak 
dance maestros. 

The Durga Das Foundation brought to the city Ghazal king Jagjit Singh while Anup Jalota performed for the DPR, Haryana. ICCR brought the Hannan Puppet and Shadow Group from Bulgaria; Dance ensemble from Poland and Bostwana besides young pop singer Shafqat Aman Ali from Pakistan. Young music exponents Ustad Tari Khan (Pakistan), Rimpa Shiva (tabla), Kamal Sabri (sarangi) and Prateek Choudhuri (Sitar), while vocalists Sadolikar Katkar Adrim Khan, Shakur Khan, Suhasini Koratkar, Ustad   Iqbal Ahmed Khan gave recitals for DPR Haryana, Triveni Sangeet Sabha and others.

Acclaimed Odissi danseuse, Padma Shri Madhvi Mudgal performed twice in the city as also did Meera Das, Probal Gupta (Kathakali) and Sonal Mansingh.  The Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy (CSNA) paid rich tributes to old masters in “Yaadon ki Kasak” programme.

The 33rd Indian National Theatre’s music festival saw performances by Ustad Saeed Zafar (Sitar) and vocalists Jayteerath Mevandi, Onkar Dadakar, Ruchira Keda and Dhondutai Kulkarni.

Literature

The Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi led by Manju Jaidka held an international seminar on contemporary writings and ‘ru ba ru’ sessions with well-known litterateurs, including Ravinder Kalia, Mamta Kalia, SS Noor, Sukriti Paul et al, besides literary workshops.

HEAD start

Jabra, the specialist in the headset industry, has introduced three new products the Jabra Chill, Rhythm and Active, which are now available at retail stores nationwide.  Created by GN Netcom, a world leader in innovative headset solutions, the products are designed with users’ needs in mind — whether they are always on the go, listening to music or engaging in athletic activities.

With a user-friendly design, the new portfolio focuses on sound quality and an ergonomical design that follows the contours of the ear for a perfect look and fit.

Speaking on the announcement Jonathan Tang, managing director of Jabra said: “Jabra has always strived to provide its customers with the best quality products. We are now trying to bring the company’s expertise in sound quality, comfort and design to the corded headset market. Our latest range of earphones are designed specifically for people on the go, music lovers and athletes and we hope that our range is able to meet the desired requirements of people.” —TNS 

Neglected cause

An Australian study has pointed out that child neglect could be as harmful to children’s cognitive development as physical and sexual abuse. Ryan Mills, a paediatrician and co-author of the study, said child protection systems struggled to deal with chronic cases of neglect.

“But neglect needs to be given equal attention because its long-term effects are at least as severe as physical or sexual abuse,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying. The study of almost 4,000 children aged 14 revealed that those with a history of reported abuse or neglect scored on average three IQ points lower than children who had not been maltreated.

However, the loss in educational attainment was a ‘’waste of human potential’. — ANI

FIRST & foremost
A recent study reveals that a professor’s first interaction with pupils has a strong impact on them
Manpriya Khurana

Perhaps it’s the uptight walk, or the way of introducing yourself, or taking introductions, or of taking attendance, or asking questions…of first impressions, which last longer than ever. A recent study has found that a professor’s first interaction with pupils has a strong impact on them.

Students in a physiology course at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine were asked to evaluate 16 professors who lectured during the course. The study or the story isn’t any dissimilar with city students either.

“It doesn’t take more than the first introductory lecture to realise whether a teacher is strict or not,” Ankuna Mehra, B.Com student, GCG, opines. She adds, “You can’t pinpoint what makes you evaluate or judge a teacher, but like with any first meeting, it’s the remote vibes exchanged that play a part in forming first impressions.” There’s a reason why that gaze scanning through the entire rows and columns sends shivers down the students’ spine. Even though there’s not a word exchanged!

According to the study, the first lecture a faculty gives sets the impression. The students had the option of evaluating each professor concurrently during the course, or waiting until the course ended. Students were allowed to change their minds before the evaluations were finalised at the end of the course. Only three per cent of evaluations were revised before they were finalised. The findings were published in the journal - Advances in Physiology Education.

The perceptions of a person often extend to even extra-curricular behaviour. Shares Kamaldeep K Sekhon, M.Com student, Panjab University, “It’s not just the level of strictness, but students form an impression on even things like whether the teacher is going to be good or not, whether she’ll be interactive or not or will take feedback etc.” Not to forget whether she’ll let in the latecomers or not, grill during the viva or be fair or firm. Accordingly, chorus many, if a lecturer is specy, has a loud voice and there’s pin-drop silence in the class, you get the point.

On what basis do they judge a teacher? The answer could also lie in a lot of contributing factors. “Sometimes, the previous teacher that’s left might be very popular with the class. That could be one reason, the new one is not liked instantly,” opines Charvi Batra, student, University Institute of Engineering and Technology. She adds, “In the introductory class every professor tries to be best and interactive, it’s only after a week that you come to know the finer things like how they teach, how they are as a person etc.” Dr Shyam Sunder, principal, Government College-11, opines, “Certainly, there are first impressions but how lasting they are can be questioned. If I were a student I’d judge a teacher on the basis of how he speaks, how loud his voice is, his grasp of the subject matter etc. Fortunately or unfortunately, these days students judge on the basis of looks as well.” Interestingly, a good sense of humour is what makes a teacher click with any batch of students. “If any tutor starts the interaction with ‘When I was a student, I was a ruckus maker’ he, for sure, instantly connects with all of us,” laughs Ankuna. “It’s these kind of things that we remember the most from the first impression,” she adds. Arguments anyone?

manpriya@tribunemail.com

Personal touch
Tarun Arora has come up with a concept of personalised cartoon characters in DVDs and storybooks
Deepali Sagar

Imagine your son as the next Spiderman or Dora! Can’t believe it? Well, you should. Tarun Arora has come up with a unique concept of personalised cartoon characters in DVDs and storybooks.

“The concept is new to India. This is our second exhibition in Sector-34 after Taj. What we do is take the photograph of your son or daughter and then according to your wish create a gift in DVD or storybook form,” says Tarun.

And where did the idea come from? “I was in the field of education for a long time and for me every child is a star. This is a step that will help parents realise that their child can be a star too,” says Jyoti Arora, Director, Indian Party Shop.

Lets talk about what is in store for the customers. “Till now we have six personalised DVDs, which have Spiderman, Dora, Whose birthday is it et al and in storybooks we have eight varieties from which customers can choose,” says Tarun. “And that’s not all. In your personalised book, your child’s photograph would be printed and to give a more authentic feel, the story will revolve around the chosen star, whereas in the DVD, the name as well as the picture of your child will be shown. The major idea behind all this is not just personalisation. We have worked closely on the details and we have tried to work on the narrating skills of the child,” says Jyoti. What about authenticity? “Every product is copyrighted. There is no such concept of cut and paste,” replies Tarun. What about the response? “We are getting a good response. As we are delivering the storybooks and DVDs at affordable prices, people are coming in huge numbers,” says Tarun. Apart from this they have come up with personalised lunchboxes, lamps, clocks, jigsaw puzzles, ties, notepads and mouse pads. “Each of these items will have pictures of your child printed on it,” says Jyoti.

As for the future, “We are planning to come up with five more personalised gifts,” says Tarun. 




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