Fashion forecast
Strong international presence at Lakme Fashion Week’s opening show

(L-R) Riya Sen walks the ramp for Arpan Vohra, a model showcases a dress by Chaitnya Rao and ethnic wear by Preeti Kapoor
(L-R) Riya Sen walks the ramp for Arpan Vohra, a model showcases a dress by Chaitnya Rao and ethnic wear by Preeti Kapoor

The Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer/Resort 2011 kickstarted on Friday with a Gen Next show and apart from talent from India, international designers too had a strong presence at the event. Designer Aki Narula says they got loads of applications from foreigners and selected whoever they thought had talent and would continue doing so.

The show comprised collections put together by upcoming fashion designers like Deepti Pruthi, Manas Dash, Shivaji Dutta, Timsy Kamboj and Siddhartha Mittal. It also had designs of Eurasian duo Anna and Liza and Germany-born Miriam Strehlau, who is presently based out of Goa.

Aki Narula, who has mentored the team, said: "Because of the awareness of LFW, loads of applications came down and some were from international designers too. We selected whoever we thought had talent. "We will try to make this a continuing trend. I would like to make the show bigger next year. We might have more Gen Next designers showcasing next year from all over the world maybe," he added.

What was showcased were the original ideas of the designers, with Narula only mentoring them.

"We got a lot of applications and then we selected this team. We short-listed basically on the basis of the ideas and the design philosophy, so the ideas were totally theirs. I just helped them implement it," he said. While Anna and Liza have their own label deuxA in Paris, Miriam Strehlau is a women's wear designer living in Goa since the last five years.

"I'm from Germany and I've been living in Goa for the past five years now. I investigated about LFW three years ago, but that time I couldn't participate because of few reasons. Then someone told me this year that why don't you apply for Gen Next. I applied and got selected," Strehlau said.

"I have studied fashion design from the Stuttgart university. Then I travelled a lot. And I finally realised that I love India, so I started living here and working here," she added.

While Strehlau's collection at the show was inspired by India's colourful chaos, where she combined traditional textiles with contemporary designs, Anna and Liza showcased designs which were inspired by iconic American artist Jean Michel Basquiat mixed with silver screen siren Joan Crawford. This collection, with the fusion of the 1980s street art with the Hollywood glamour of the 1930s, was interesting to watch. — IANS

Kate Moss puffs at Paris show

Supermodel Kate Moss closed the Louis Vuitton show at the Paris Fashion Week by smoking a cigarette.

The 37-year-old model is known for her love of smoking and she looked stunning in a sexy black creation from the fashion house's fall-winter 2011/12 collection as she strutted down the runway while puffing away Wednesday.

Moss is scarcely seen in the catwalk anymore and her appearance was met with cheers from the glamorous audience. — IANS

Pets in the NET!
More and more people are making profiles of their pets on various social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook
Jasmine Singh

Amita Singh Chadha with her pet Chubby
Amita Singh Chadha with her pet Chubby

We mean literally and virtually, some canines with Facebook profiles have more friends on the social networking site than you do, according to a new survey. Amazing, unbelievable, funny…all of the above! Here is more - the survey carried out through social networks found dog-owners were most likely to make an account for their pet on YouTube, followed by Facebook and then Flickr and Twitter. Wait till we tell you more…some social network-savvy pooches managed to make more than a few acquaintances, outdoing many human users!

Beast on FB

Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in the Oscar-winning film The Social Network was memorable - and deeply unflattering. Now the Facebook founder is rebranding in a subtle but effective fashion. He has got himself the best possible tool to engender goodwill: Beast, a fluffy little dog. Even better, he's set up a Facebook page for his new addition.

Beast is listed as a "public figure" on his page, and a short biography informs us of his pedigree: he is a Puli - a breed of Hungarian sheepdog - and was born in Oregon before relocating to join Zuckerberg and his girlfriend Priscilla Chan in Palo Alto, California. He lists his interests as "cuddling, loving and eating", and displays a slightly immodest streak by declaring: "I am extremely cute". We'll be the judge of that, Beast Beast is no slouch either: he eats and drinks from matching (real?) silver bowls.

You wanna be friends with me

If pets are part of the family why can't they be on FB or Twitter with you? Or all by themselevs? Amita Singh Chadha, an IT professional, has created her pug Chubby's Facebook account. Surprisingly, Chubby received more than 15 friends requests in a day. "I wanted to create a community on pooches, and then decided to create his account. I selected pictures, created a profile and now he is like a stud on FB." Ditto for Garima Sood who created her pet Mojo's, a cocker spaniel's account, for fun sake. "I didn't check the account after creating it. After one week, I checked and Mojo had an unbeliveable 80 friend requests from people who wanted to interact with him." Why befriend a cat or a dog on FB when you have an option of pretty babes and smart hunks?

Animals on social networking sites have a huge number of fans. Sockamillion, a grey-and-white cat belonging to computer administrator and historian Jason Scott, tweets under the alias Sockington and has more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter. There are also spoof accounts for Bo, the family dog of the Obamas, and, of course, Larry, the newly acquired Downing Street cat. Fictional animals are doing just as well. Scooby Doo, Gromit and even Aleksandr Orlov, the meerkat from the car insurance advertisements, have Facebook pages. Actor Kulraj Randhawa of Yamla Pagla Deewana fame has posted her dog Romo's pictures on Facebook. "I keep getting interesting responses. It is a harmless activity and fun too. Besides, this is an interesting exercise for pet lovers." 

Myriad hues of nature
Ashima Sehajpal

Artist Bheem Malhotra’s exhibition at Alliance Francaise de Chandigarh-36

Artist Bheem Malhotra’s exhibition at Alliance Francaise de Chandigarh-36
Artist Bheem Malhotra’s exhibition at Alliance Francaise de Chandigarh-36

It's like taking a tour of India. Beginning from Rohtang Pass, transversing the Himalyas and a pit stop at Shimla. Moving onto Punjab and Rajasthan. Going down south to Goa, Karnatka and making a final halt at Kerela. Bheem Malhotra's exhibition of his recent watercolour works is a mix of his trademark subject, landscapes and scenes from daily life. "I wanted to highlight certain aspects of life rendered redundant. For example, a 150 year old letter box in Shimla, titled rightly 'Glory of the Past' and a steam engine kept as a relic at the Chandigarh College of Architecture, seldom catch people's attention," says Bheem.

His works on landscapes as a subject are also varied. If there are a few on snow-clad mountains of The Himalayas, there are others on valleys and gorges as well. A few are even dedicated to the seashores of Kerela and Goa. Spring has been depicted using many bright colours. His work titled 'Melody of stones' on Hampi, birthplace of lord Hanuman, comprises of painted stones of various interesting shapes.

While artists are increasingly resorting to contemporary art forms, Bheem prefers to stick to his favourite, watercolours, "It's easier to capture a moment with water colours. These give a better effect to paintings." This is quite apparent in his work titled 'Misty Hillscape'. In the painting, he has portrayed a foggy day in Shimla. "Besides the landscape, it's also important for an artist to paint the weather. It's otherwise not easy to display fog on canvas but for water colours."

His source of inspiration, evidently, is nature. "Visiting sites is very important for me to get new ideas. I sketch at the site before replicating it on canvas."

In addition, he draws inspiration from instances of daily life. Works depicting a countryside tea stall and another one portraying the famous Bikaner temple are few such creations.

Pricing on request.

On till March 22

Would you like a robotic nurse?

How would people react to being touched by a robotic nurse? Would they recoil, or would they take it in stride? In a study, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that people generally had a positive response toward being touched by a robot, but their perception of the robot’s intent made a significant difference.

“What we found was that how people perceived the intent of the robot was really important to how they responded. So, even though the robot touched people in the same way, if people thought the robot was doing that to clean them, versus doing that to comfort them, it made a significant difference in the way they responded and whether they found that contact favourable or not,” said lead researcher Charlie Kemp.

In the study, the researchers watched how people responded to Cody, a robotic nurse, when it touched them.

They found that the study subjects responded more positively when they believed Cody intended to clean their arm and negatively when they interpreted it as a ‘comforting’ touch.

Kemp said that the responses were consistent with how people relate to physical contact with human nurses.

“...if people interpreted the touch of the nurse as being instrumental, as being important to the task, then people were OK with it. But if people interpreted the touch as being to provide comfort... people were not so comfortable with that,” he added.

Kemp and his team also tested how subjects would respond if Cody verbally indicated its intentions before each touch.

“The results suggest that people preferred when the robot did not actually give them the warning,” said Tiffany Chen, doctoral student at Georgia Tech.

“This might be because they were startled when the robot started speaking, but the results are generally inconclusive,” he added. –ANI

Gurdas Maan’s latest offering 

Renowned Punjabi singer and lyricist Gurdas Maan is back with a lyrical treat for his fans in the form of his latest album Jogiya, which recently released worldwide. The lyrics of the songs have been penned down by the musical genius himself and the music has been lent by Jaidev Kumar. Further, the music videos are directed by Manjeet Maan and available on T-Series. “I am happy to put together compositions that are straight from the soul for people who like to hear me.

My music is the best way of connecting with people around the world who have given me so much of love and affection in the years gone by. I hope they also like Jogiya. I am so thankful to each and every fan of mine,” says Gurdas Maan. Already getting tremendous response worldwide, Jogiya is Maan’s first album after his honorary doctorate in World Music from the University of Wolverhampton, UK, which was conferred to the living legend last year. Jogiya is Gurdas Maan’s 35th album. 

Jogiya comprises a blend of social, romantic and energetic tracks. Maan’s songs have always had a flavor of realism and are backed by concrete lyrics, which will reflect again in his new album. Maan has been working on this album for a long time and despite the flurry of live shows and performances, he has come out with yet another soulful album. The video of the title track “Jogiya” can now be seen on different music channels. Around four more music videos will soon be released.  

This year, Gurdas Maan will take yet another leap on to an international platform when he performs at The Royal Albert Hall in UK.

God of Punjabi folk
Muhammad Sadique shares views on his kind of music and the industry today 

Muhammad Sadique is an established name when it comes to Punjabi folk. So much so that when he made a brief appearance in our office, people made a beeline to get clicked with him!

A singing career that started four decades back (he recoded his first song in 1962), Sadique is still going strong. “Folk is still going strong in rural Punjab. On many of gatherings that I address, sometimes as many as 4,000 people show up and listen in rapt attention,” says the singer dressed in immaculate white kurta pajama and pagri. Ask him on his four-decade journey and he shares, “It was a different time when I started singing. Today, TV makes one a star in a jiffy. Back then, people did not even own a radio. Panchayat radio played songs for village folks and what excitement people showed when they saw or met a singer that sung on radio.”

Sadique gets nostalgic thinking of the trips he made to Delhi to record. The voice behind Mera long gavacha, Meri aisi jhanjar chanki chankate painde gali gali, Malki Keema and many others (he puts the number to some 1,200), Sadique is due to release another album Dhudh da gadva. “This one has some five peppy numbers and two that address social issues. Vich chowk te mandi lagdi hai majdooran di talks about plight of labourers . ABout music scenario and he says, “Folk music is like a fort that holds ground over centuries. Music today is like tents put for wedding that sway to the slightest breeze. Folk is rich and would always be appreciated.”

And his piece of advice to budding singers, “Take instruction before you jump into the field, not only would you be a star but also serve music.”

Flavours from China
Jasmine Singh

A walk around the buffet table can be pretty tantalizing and yes, rejuvenating too. You think we are going overboard with it. Well, hop in at Mainland China-26 to check out the on going Chinese Buffet. Chinese Buffet! Sounds interesting. Let's see what makes it one….

Starters, a variety of main course in vegetarian and non-vegetarian and desserts, to sum up, a total paisa vasool buffet. Another must mention is that customers are offered variety on a daily basis.

The menu changes everyday. Rs 375 on weekdays and Rs 425 on weekends, the Chinese buffet is an assortment of authenticity and aroma. Chicken Taipei, diced fish in Hawaiin sauce, prawns in spicy chili sauce, mixed vegetarian in Chinese parsley, corn and tofu in mild garlic sauce, overall a sumptuous treat. Says Souro Kiran De, restaurant manager with Mainland China, "we are getting a good response from customers.

On weekends for Rs 425 we add up starters, desserts and a bottle of beer. We also serve complimentary drinks such as soft drinks, fresh lime and ice tea. "The idea behind the buffet is to provide customers with variety at a reasonable price," adds Manish Goyal, director Mainland China.

As you approach the last stop on the buffet table, it is time to dig into desserts made in house, three varieties of ice cream and five varieties of cut fruits. 

Broccoli fights cancer

Scientists have discovered how broccoli and its veggie cousins fight cancer. They found for the first time that certain substances in the vegetables appear to target and block a defective gene associated with cancer.

The finding could lead to new strategies for preventing and treating cancer.

Fung-Lung Chung and colleagues showed in previous experiments that substances called isothiocyanates (or ITCs) — found in broccoli, cauliflower, watercress, and other cruciferous vegetables - appear to stop the growth of cancer.

But nobody knew exactly how these substances work, a key to developing improved strategies for fighting cancer in humans. The tumor suppressor gene p53 appears to play a key role in keeping cells healthy and preventing them from starting the abnormal growth that is a hallmark of cancer.

When mutated, p53 does not offer that protection, and those mutations occur in half of all human cancers. ITCs might work by targeting this gene, the report suggests.

The scientists studied the effects of certain naturally-occurring ITCs on a variety of cancer cells, including lung, breast and colon cancer, with and without the defective tumour suppressor gene.

They found that ITCs are capable of removing the defective p53 protein but apparently leave the normal one alone.

Drugs based on natural or custom-engineered ITCs could improve the effectiveness of current cancer treatments or lead to new strategies for treating and preventing cancer. — ANI

Treat yourself to butter chicken 
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

A non-vegetarian's delight, butter chicken or murgh makhani is a celebrated Punjabi dish. Popular in countries across the globe, the origin of butter chicken can be traced to a man named Kundan Lal Gujral, who ran a restaurant called Moti Mahal Delux in Peshawar and after Partition moved to New Delhi.

The dish is traditionally made by marinating chicken in youghurt and spice mixture overnight, and then cooking it in a sauce made from butter, tomatoes and various spices. However, the recipe may vary from restaurant to restaurant.

This week we get for you five places in our city that sell lip-smacking butter chicken.

Foodies’ choice

Ghazal, a restaurant in Sector 17, sells butter chicken by the name of murgh mumtaz. A dish that is popular for its consistent taste, foodies who have had it swear by the taste and say there is nothing better than this eatery.

Price: Rs 550 plus 12.5 per cent VAT.

Delight your palate

Chawla in Sector 22 is another place to try this speciality. The USP of butter chicken here is tomato and veg gravy.

Price: Rs 320.

Old is gold

Progeny of the founder (read Moti Mahal), murgh makhani or butter chicken of Moti Mahal Delux in Sector 26 is a must-try. Known for their honey-based gravy here, the butter chicken is garnished with methi and cream, and is served in a handi.

Price: Rs 220 including taxes.

Two to tango

Popular by the name of murgh makhani at Copper Chimney in Sector 26, butter chicken is served in two varieties - boneless and with bones. Made in thick tomato gravy the chicken here is served with a dollop of butter and julians of ginger.

Price: Rs 220 for boneless and Rs 205 with bones.

Relish the taste

Western Court in Sector 43 is another place to try this dish.

Price: Rs 330 including taxes. 

Lucknawi delicacies on platter
Lahore Chowk at Hotel Aroma has come up with the concept of Lucknawi cuisines on a platter
Jasmine Singh

Value for money, the idea is clear, whether it is shopping for gadgets, clothes, upholstery, or whether it is taking a travel package or eating out.

Lahore Chowk at Hotel Aroma takes care of this mantra to the hilt, which is why they have come up with a concept of Lucknawi cuisines in a platter.

According to Bill Gill, promoter, Lahore Chowk, "The concept is originally from Dubai and since the style of cooking is similar to that in Pakistan, we have named in Lahore Chowk."

Dum pukht is the distinct feature of the cooking. It involves sealing on ingredients in a handi (pot), which is placed over slow fire, allowing ingredients to cook in their own juices. "Biryani served in this style looks appealing and tastes awesome," adds Bill Gill.

At Lahore Chowk, non-veg platter for one costs Rs 245, which includes Murg/ Ghost biryani, Murg/Gosht Korma and Pepsi. Veg platter for one costs Rs 195 and includes Sabz Biryani, Paneer Korma and Pepsi. The platter scores on both quantity and variety. Maintaining value for money, non-veg platter for two is Rs 595 and veg platter for two is Rs 495.

Bon Appetit
Sauces that sizzle
Kandla Nijhowne

Can you visualize alu-tikki without chutney, a samosa without sauce or butter chicken without its creamy gravy? It wouldn't really have a heartbeat now, would it? The same analogy holds for western cuisine. A dish could spring to life depending on the sauce it's served with! On the other hand, it will also jump off the diving board, straight to its doom if the sauce is unappealing to the taste buds! There are sweet sauces and savory ones, each playing a crucial role in giving that added dimension to a dish. Let's talk savory sauces today? A sauce usually has a balanced combination of some of the following shades-salty, sweet, tart, chilli and bitter. The final product must not hit you like an oncoming truck! Just a subtle blend of flavour will suffice to carry your dish to a new height!

Barbeque Sauce

This sauce is a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, paneer, veggies or hash browns.

2 cups water

¼ cup sugar

¾ cup vinegar

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 tbsp oil

¾ cup ketchup

1-teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1-teaspoon paprika

(Please don't use local chilli powder!)

1-1½ teaspoons salt

A dash of fiery pepper sauce (eg.Tabasco)


Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and saute the onion. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. You may serve the sauce separately or fold it into some precooked hot food.


An all time favourite sauce, mayonnaise is a "blessing-for-dressing-salads", as a dip for batons of veggies, a perfect match for matchstick potatoes and fish, and as a sandwich spread.

2 egg yolks

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon mustard powder

¼ teaspoon powdered sugar

Freshly ground pepper to taste

4-5 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar

1- ½ cups olive or salad oil

4 teaspoons hot water


Using an electric beater set at medium, beat yolks, salt, mustard, sugar, pepper and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. The resulting blend will be very thick and pale yellow. Add about ¼ cup oil, drop by drop whizzing it as you proceed. Beat in 1 teaspoon each of lemon juice and hot water. Add another ¼ cup oil, a few drops at a time, blending it in, as you go along. Beat in another teaspoon each of lemon juice and water. Now you can pour larger amounts of oil at a given time. Mix in the remaining lemon juice and water. Continue adding oil till the sauce is really thick. You may not use the entire quantity of oil. 

Emma dating Alex?

Hollywood beauty Emma Stone who plays Mary Jane in the much awaited Spider Man reeboot is reportedly dating British actor Alex Pettyfer.

The 20-year-old actor who recently split from Glee star Diana Agron, sparked romance speculation when he arrived at the Louis Vuitton show in Paris with the Golden Globe nominated actor. They posed together for the camera, before joining other celebs on the front row.

While the reasons behind Pettyfer's last break-up have not been revealed, there are rumours that Agron decided to end the relationship after a risque photo shoot he did with two female models. Other reports claimed that the split was acrimonious, and Agron, who plays Quinn Fabray in Glee, checked into a hotel under an alias after her I Am Number Four co-star threatened her during a heated phone call.

Meanwhile, Stone, 22, who received critical acclaim for her role in last year's teen comedy Easy A, can soon be seen starring alongside Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man. — PTI

Keira to star as Tinker Bell

Hollywood beauty Keira Knightley will play the thumb-sized fairy, Tinker Bell, in a new Peter Pan prequel movie. The 25-year-old actor will voice the character in the Neverland film which will be released this summer. The Pirates of the Caribbean star will record the part shortly and will join a cast which already includes Anna Friel, Rhys Ifans, Bob Hoskins and Charles Dance.

Knightley, who split from her boyfriend Rupert Friend in December, leads a colony of tree-dwelling spirits in the film, which imagines a world before JM Barrie's classic tale begins. Rhys Ifans plays Hook, the mentor of a gang of young pickpockets which includes Peter (Charlie Rowe), who steal a magical treasure which transports them to Neverland. — PTI

Shah Rukh Khan charms Malaysia

Hundreds of shoppers stopped browsing when Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, who is shooting Don 2, strolled into a shopping mall here.

"I call Malaysia my home, The people are very sweet," Shah Rukh told his screaming fans. The actor, who is known as Datuk Shah Rukh by Malaysians after he was knighted two years ago, was in the upscale KLCC Suria mall to launch a Tag Heuer's global concept store.

The Bollywood superstar, who has a huge fan following in the country, has been filming Don 2 in Malacca, Langkawi here. The sequel is being directed by Farhan Akhtar and star Priyanka Chopra opposite Khan.

The 45-year-old also spoke about his upcoming film with Hollywood director Martin Scorsese, which will see him playing a Mumbai don while Leonardo DiCaprio will play a cop. "Martin and I have discussed the film. India is ready for a mix of Western and Eastern films," said SRK about the movie, which will be directed by Taxi Driver scriptwriter Paul Schrader. Ready to be the Bollywood ambassador to promote Malaysia, Khan said the first thing to come to mind about the country was that "it is modern and Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) lives here, so I love it. — PTI

Justin and Jessica Biel split

Pop heartthrob Justin Timberlake has reportedly split from actress Jessica Biel after a four-year-long relationship. The break-up between the Sexy Back singer and the Hollywood beauty is mutual. "There are no hard feelings. It was completely mutual and they both decided it was time to move on," sources close to the singer told the magazine.

Despite the break-up, the former couple still "love and respect each other," added the source.

The low-key love birds, who started dating in 2007 after Timberlake split from Cameron Diaz, have been dogged by break-up rumors for years. Just last month, they were spotted together at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, where according to reports, they "barely interacted." Other sources claim that Timberlake, 30 initiated the break-up, and that Biel is "devastated."

Timberlake recently helped Biel ring in her 29th birthday on March 3 by tweeting a link to his fans in support of the actress's wish for donations to be made to charity. — PTI

Party venue… your house!
Rahul Singh

Here are a few moments captured from house parties held at various places in the city

Here are a few moments captured from house parties held at various places in the city
Here are a few moments captured from house parties held at various places in the city 

Are Friday night-outs burning a hole in your pocket? Are you sick of overcrowded bars, dance floors and deafening music? Well, don't worry because house parties are here and they are definitely here to stay! The latest fad in the city, house parties today are 'in' amongst party poopers.

The set-up

Imagine a lot of hustle-bustle with people dispersed all over the place, on the stairway, in the hall, lined near the kitchen counter, as in 'all' over. Nobody cares about what you are wearing or how you look and somebody along the way hands you a drink with a boisterous cheers! Go further and you'll have people fishing out beer from a reasonably sized tub, getting sloshed and enjoying the music. One hears a loud cackle from a corner where a small group shares a lighter moment. People occupying couches, chairs and some even hunched up on the floor. Others might be lined up on the food counter while still others occupy spots in certain other portions of the house. Welcome to the world of house parties!

Light on the pocket

With a more laidback atmosphere and certainly not as energetic as a club, house parties are a fun way to socialise, dance and have fun without the pressures of being at a crowded bar. Economically viable and 'can be thrown at the last minute' types, people of all ages are now opting for house parties as a more comfortable option. "With no cover charges, expensive drinks and parking fee, house parties are definitely the more viable option for me. Moreover, it's so much more fun getting sloshed and dancing through the night within the security of one's house," says Barkat Singh Dhaliwal, a radio jockey and a regular at such parties.

Kids at bay

House parties are also a hit amongst married couples with toddlers because one can demarcate a portion of the house for the kids and have children-specific games and grub. This way, they won't scurry around the main party area. And the best part is that you can invite only those who are close to you. Though one would definitely come across a couple of random faces, yet you are bound to know them through common friends, making it very easy to mingle.

Minimum effort

An open house party does not require much effort. Minimal decorations with booze and food in abundance are the only requirements, unless you have a theme wherein you can improvise the decor to suit it. "Organising an open house party is not a big deal since it's usually an informal affair. Last summer, I threw a party at my place wherein I had an inflatable tub out in the lawn filled with beer and lots of ice. Alongside I arranged for an awesome set of speakers, a couple of snacks that lasted the length of the party. It was great fun," says Puneet, a B.Tech graduate.

The flip side

House parties do have their limitations though. First and foremost is that you need a big house to accommodate all your guests and provide ample space for them to move around and dance. A house party also has high chances of turning into a sausage fest (read more guys than girls). That is definitely not good for the success of your party. And then there are chances of some guest or the other toppling over that expensive vase or ruining that exquisite carpet!

Whatever the case, house parties are definitely a better and cheaper bet. So this Friday when you get two invitations, one for a party at a club and the second for a house party, you know where to be! 

There is no Mr Right: Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan

She is one of the most eligible bachelorettes of Bollywood, but Vidya Balan says that she is not looking for 'Mr Right' and is instead focusing on her career.

The actor who has a retrospective section dedicated to her at the Indian Film Festival 2011, which opened here today, laughed off reports that she is engaged to Siddharth Roy Kapur, head honcho of UTV Motion pictures.

"I like his height so he might be worth considering," quipped Balan, adding, "There is no Mr Right, it just becomes right in love." The actress who won over the critics with her roles in films like Paa and Ishqiya said that she now wants to do comedy roles.

"I would love to do comedy but such films invariably don't have enough for the girls to do. Bu I have come across a script and it is being put together right now," said the 32-year-old. Vidya said that she is excited about Dirty Picture, the bio-pic where she plays which she says is a challenge to her as an actor.

"It gives me a chance to portray a real life character, Silk Smitha, a person I don't really understand and that is an exciting thing for me as an actor. That is a challenge, to portray that person with whom you don't identify at all," she said. Earlier, in a press conference Balan also spoke to local media along with other actors and directors including Arbaaz Khan, Ali Zafar, Kabir Khan and Raj Kumar Gupta who are here to attend the 10 day long festival. — PTI

Music, Punjabi ishtyle
Jasmine Singh

Honey Singh
Honey Singh

Jasbit Jassi
Jasbit Jassi

Let's talk about something that has caught the attention of viewers in Tanu weds Manu. Sorry, it is neither the funny looking pout and less frizzy, 'disturbed' hairstyle of Kangana Ranaut nor the girl-like sharmaana of R Madhavan. Against expectations, it is Punjabi tracks, kadi saadi gali by Lember Hussainpuri and Jugni by Mika that has come as a complete 'paisa vasool'.

Take two; it is Lak 28, 47 weight by Diljit Dosanjh from the movie The Lion of Punjab that has made to the top 10 songs on Youtube popular Bollywood numbers and other music channels. Does this say something? While you rack your brains on this, here is some dough. Punjabi music joins hand with a pop genre. So, it is no longer chaste Punjabi lyrics or a folk instrument in the backdrop…Punjabi music now is hip and happening!

Punjabi singer Jasbir Jassi's song Laung Da Lishkara from Patiala House is a rocking number already. "This is a change and definitely a good one, we have added another dimension in terms of hip-hop and pop. Bollywood has a lot to do with this growing trend of giving an upbeat treatment to Punjabi numbers." Singers like Daler Mehndi and Mika are already a name with non-Punjabi music lovers already. However, now lesser-known singers of Punjab are finding favours in B-town with some rocking numbers. "Hindi cinema utilises Punjabi numbers in the best possible way, they are sung, shot and marketed in a commercial style," adds Jassi.

If hip-hop is the catch, we bet you wouldn't have missed Diljit Dosanjh's Lak 28, 47 weight. The track has been tweaked in a stylish fashion with Honey Singh rapping in it too. "Punjabi music hasn't changed, we have added a bit of style and given a jazzy look to it." This song, which is the most watched on Youtube, has lyrics that would make a non-Punjabi take a note of it. Tatoo Lady Gaga wala…are words that can strike a chord with music lovers. Also, the rap element gives it a Bollywood look," says Diljit.

Not only in Bollywood, Punjabi numbers have made it to international movies as well. Most of the music here is a fusion of Bhangra with rap, thanks to singers like Sukhbir, Jazzy B, Punjabi MC, Hard Kaur and Juggy D, we have some foot-tapping tracks! And not to forget, deejays who have popularised dhol, fusing it with various other elements.

Salman grooves to Dheela character in Ready

Bollywood star Salman Khan, known for his notorious behaviour, shot for a funnily titled song Dheela character for his film Ready in Bangkok.

The song is aimed at describing his character in the comedy film, being directed by Anees Bazmee. Replete with amusing lyrics and Salman's typical dance moves, the song was shot with 100 dancers who were especially flown from Mumbai to Bangkok, said a source.

"Shot a song called Mein karoon toh saala character dhila hai. Hehehe (sic)," Salman posted on his Twitter page after shooting the song last week.

Two choreographers — Raju Khan and Mudassar Khan — have worked together on the song to give it a truly Bollywood feel.

Producers Bhushan Kumar and Rajat Rawail are ecstatic at the way the song has shaped up and are confident that this song will be one of the biggest hits this year, says the source. Ready features Asin Thottumkal opposite Salman. It will release June 3. — IANS

Captain Sparrow to become an action figure

Hollywood heartthrob Johnny Depp's iconic character Jack Sparrow from the superhit Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, has been converted into a action figure.

Toy company Lego has created a model of the actor in his pirate uniform for a new computer game based on the hit fantasy series, reported Sun online.

It will be released at the same time as the film series' next installment, On Stranger Tides, in May.

There will also be a 3D version of the game available for the Nintendo DS.

The dreadlocked pirate is the protagonist of the blockbuster franchise and Depp had based his characterization on The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. — PTI

Chang wants a long stint in Bollywood

Dance reality show winner Meiyang Chang, who made his film debut with Badmaash Company is looking for a longer innings in B-town as an actor and singer.

"In the long run, I would like to pursue singing and acting as a career. Till 40-50 years of my life I would like to do this as I enjoy doing these two things," said Chang.

Chang first came into limelight after he participated in reality show Indian Idol. Later he made his debut alongside actors Shahid Kapoor and Anushka Sharma in the Yash Raj Film. The 28-year-old recently won the fourth season of dance reality show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa.

About his acting plans, Chang, a professional dentist-turned singer-actor and now a dancer, said, "I haven't signed any films... not right now. There were few offers but they fell through… either the script was not good or the script was good but there was no backing. I am still looking for a good acting project." Chang feels fortunate to have made it in Bollywood despite not having the "actor looks".

"I know that I don't have the face of a hero but I will be happy doing supporting roles. Fortunately my looks have worked in my favour I guess for a complete new comer who is not from the get into a reality show and then another then a movie. I guess it is not easy for someone who looks like me," he said. — PTI

I'm writing a script: Udita Goswami

Hollywood bound Udita Goswami has decided to direct a movie. The actor reveals she is ready with the story, but is facing problems in shaping it up into a proper script.

"My story is ready. I am trying to write the screenplay. I am trying to get a good screenplay writer on board and finish my script as soon as possible," said Udita.

"It's a women-centric film. It's about a girl. I'm really not sure when the film would go on the floors. If it doesn't work in Bollywood,

I am surely giving it to Hollywood. Let’s see how it all shapes up," said Udita who has just come back from the US to finish shooting for Vinod Mukhi's Diary of a Butterfly.

Udita is Pooja Bhatt's discovery and was first seen in the movie Paap (2003) and then featured in Zeher (2005) and Aksar (2006). — IANS

Julianne Moore to play Sarah Palin

Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore

Hollywood star Julianne Moore will play controversial Republican Sarah Palin in a film about the 2008 US Presidential elections.

The Oscar nominated actress will play the former Alaska Governor in Game Change, an adaptation of the bestselling book by the same name, written by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, reported New York Post online.

Moore is the first member of the cast, which will feature screen versions of the top players in the election, such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

The book spilled damaging secrets and quotes from the high-tension campaign trail, including Obama and then-running mate Joe Biden's distant relationship, the Clintons' original distaste for Obama and the fallout from McCain's choice of Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate.

In one such story, McCain adviser Steve Schmidt was quoted telling Palin's foreign policy advisers after testing the candidate before a debate, "You guys have a lot of work to do. She doesn't know anything." It will take quite an acting job for Moore to play the role as she is an outspoken liberal, and backed Obama during the election.

The film will follow John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Palin as his running mate to their ultimate defeat in the general election. — PTI

Vidushi trying to carve a niche with small roles

She started her career in Bollywood by playing supportive characters in movies like Aisha, No One Killed Jessica and Saat Khoon Maaf, but actor Vidushi Mehra is not complaining. She says her priority is to play small but important roles rather than "big" yet insignificant parts.

“Every character in a movie — be it a supporting actor or someone who has a small screen space — is very important if that character helps in taking the narrative forward. And such roles are very important to me because they have substance," Vidushi, who is married to designer Nikhil Mehra of designer duo Shantanu-Nikhil, said. — IANS

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