Green treat
This is just the right time to visit the Cactus Garden and see these plants bearing flowers. Joggers and walkers can head towards winding paths of the Topiary Park

Green expanses soothe the eyes, relax frayed nerves and revive the spirit. And we are among the few fortunate ones to have plenty of greenery around. One is spoilt for choice when it comes to gardens in the tricity. With great difficulty we pick up two interesting yet underrated ones.


Dr JS Sarkaria National Cactus and Succulent Botanical Garden in Sector 5, Panchkula, is considered as Asia’s largest outdoor landscaped cacti and succulents garden. Spread over seven acres, this garden hosts over 2,500 species.

Unless one has been there, it’s hard to believe how fascinating cacti can be. Elliptical, rotund, short and stout with bristles as fine as spun glass slivers or sometimes thick, the garden has an amazing collection. Popular with tourists and locals alike, this garden has imposing 25 feet tall Pachycereus Pringlel at the entrance. A favourite picture spot, this one probably gets clicked most in the garden.

Well-labelled and detailed notes tell about the journey that different plants have undertaken to be here. There is Mammillaria Collection dedicated to the nation by Alfred B Lau, a famed explorer of Mexican and South American Cacti. Pachypodium Geayi comes from Madagascar and Pachypodium Lamerei is gifted by a plant lover from New Jersey, USA, vie for visitors’ attention. Most are gifted or planted by botanists. One section is dedicated to GC Jain, an industrialist and a passionate naturalist. In fact, going by the cross section of people ardently observing cacti, one feels that age and profession has nothing to do with enjoying natural beauty.

NATURAL WONDER: Enjoy a walk among animals at Topiary Park

We witnessed children as small as four to young couples resting under the canopy of trees and botanists exploring different species, equally taken in by the beauty of the place. Cacti in all varied forms and shapes are also kept in three greenhouses. There is something about opening the doors of greenhouses and peeping into the rows of potted plants; some all thorny while others are covered with gossamer thread-like layers.

The greenery is nicely interspersed with water bodies. Some of the names are enchanting Trident Tea, Deer Delicacy and Forske. “Most of the cactus bear flowers in this season,” shares Sukhbir Singh, a gardener at Cactus Garden. The garden is open from 8 in the morning to 6:30 in the evening. There is an entry ticket priced nominally.

Another garden, not as well kept as Cactus Garden, in its close vicinity is Topiary Park, Sector 6. Creepers shaped in the form of animals - elephant, kangaroo, dinosaur, camel, zebra and tiger present a beautiful site. If children enjoy various animals, the elders can enjoy a walk in the park. Trees with pink and lilac flowers, dry leaves swept aside along with winding paths offer a great option for walkers and joggers.

I've arrived…
Says Sahnewal di kudi Divya Dutta, all revved up with the response she received for her recent release Monica

Leaving an impact on the audience as Jalebi of Delhi 6, Vidhiya of Welcome to Sajjanpur and Shabbo of Veer Zaara, Divya Dutta feels 'super' as her latest flick Monica hit the screens on Friday.

A preview that had the who's who of the Bollywood has left Divya exhilarated. "The support that I received on the preview makes me feel that I belong to the industry now," shares Divya over a telephonic interview.

'Monica' inspired from real life scams is about a journalist and her stint with the world of power.

With plum projects like Sanjay Leela Bhansali's My Friend Pinto, Amol Gupte's Stanley Ka Dabba, Bangla film based on Anand Math and a Hollywood project that goes on floor mid-year, Divya is enjoying an excellent phase in her career.

She shares as she goes down the memory lane, "The day I bagged Best Actor award at Youth Festival while studying at Panjab University, I got an offer from Mumbai. Not wanting to do run-of-the-mill stuff, I almost packed my bags to come back home when I got Train to Pakistan. I stayed back and I am glad I did."

Quiz her about her Hollywood project and she shares humbly, "I just feel it's an extension; new people and new horizons."

Carving a niche takes some time in Mumbai, Divya is happy that she has found her place. Having essayed a wide array of roles, we wonder what's the real 'Divya' like? "I am a happy-go-lucky Punjabi girl." For unwinding Divya loves to spend time with her mother, brother and her pet Lhasa apso Sakhi.

But when acting, Divya lives and breathes the very character she's enacting. "While playing Monica I discovered this other side of me," her laughter rings through the receiver. "Monica has paranoia that someone wants to kill her and I have paranoia of life," she laughs away.

Moving from a small town Sahnewal to metro Mumbai, Divya has adjusted well to her new home. "The pace of the city is something that I am in love with. At the same time when I get tired I go back to my hometown, just to get revived," says Divya.

Back to Monica, "This movie got me the best of compliments. 'You are the bravest actor in town' said Sudhir Mishra. It means so much to me. In Monica, you will see a different Divya I promise," she says.

More on the plate

Artist’s space: An exhibition of wood constructions and drawings by Nitin Dutt will open on Saturday at Alliance Francaise Art Gallery-36 at 5:30. Two wood constructions called ‘Gates’ and some 16 drawings chart the journey of displacement of the artiste. Born and bred in the city, Nitin who spent almost a decade in Canada and New York, came back and is in the city from last July. “My work gives a glimpse of the different spaces that I feel strongly about,” On till April 4.

Music to the ear: Listen to noted sarod player and one of the foremost classical musicians Ustad Amjad Ali Khan at Tagore Theatre-29 at 6.30 pm on Saturday. In the city to be part of Chandigarh Arts and Heritage Festival, he will be accompanied by his sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan.

Rock the party: World DMC (Disco Mix Club, UK) Champion DJ Nasha is all set to rock the party at Kava-26. The event that starts at nine expects DJ Nasha to take to the floor at around 10 pm. Passes priced at Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 for couple entry include some freebies.

Breathing cricket: Catch the fourth quarterfinal as Sri Lanka takes on England at city eateries that dish out sumptuous offers. “At buffet we have special dishes named after the players at very competitive price of Rs 375 per person (including taxes),” says Anurag Walia, deputy general manager, Shivalikview-17.

Home décor MISTAKES

COLOUR RIOT: Don't over do

Planning to re-do your living space? Here's a list of don'ts that one should avoid-

lWrong placement of furniture makes your room look cluttered. Large pieces of furniture in a small room or vice-versa will make the room look odd.

lA common mistake committed by people is buying good-looking but uncomfortable furniture.

lToo much decoration can make your room look disorganised. Choose a few pieces and place them at strategic points.

lDon't go overboard trying to match everything. Too much matching will make your décor dull.

lDo not ignore proper lighting. Too much brightness or dimness will fail to bring out the beauty of the room. Always use layered lighting for best results.

lThe flooring wisely. Matt finish tiles are a good option for wet areas. A carpet in the dinning room is a strict no. Similarly avoid white floors in the kitchen, as they tend to look soiled.

COLOUR CODING: Balance it out

lDo not put up too many pictures on the walls. Group a few together or just use a few big ones and highlight them with track lights.

lDon't ignore the windows. Your window treatments must match your décor style.

lChoosing colours from catalogues can be risky, as they look different when put on walls. Always ask for a sample of the paint and try it out on your walls.

lDon't go overboard with colour as too many colours in a house will cause visual stress.

lWhile choosing material for upholstery and tapestry, avoid too many busy prints.

lSome people fear using colour and do up their rooms in boring cream and whites.

lNever add too many cushions on a sofa, this hinders being able to sit properly.

lAvoid using out of place themes, instead use theme based accessories.

lNever ignore foyers and hallways, since these are the best places to create a first impression on your guests.

(Sukhmani is a Chandigarh-based interior & landscape designer)

Spicy treat
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Food is the spice of life and this adage is apt for Punjabi's, as they love their food as much as eating out. And when it comes to our city, which plays host to a number of restaurants and lounges, eating out is more of a trend than a desire to try varied cuisine. This week we pick Kava in Sector 26 and ask two families to tell us about their experience of eating out at this restaurant.

Celebrating food

For Inder Giri and his family, Kaushalaya, Aditya, Veenu, Nitin, Anshu and their children Rishit and Uditi eating out is not a regular thing but an occasional affair. "It's my grandson Rishit's birthday and we are here to celebrate that," says Inder Giri.

How often do you eat out: We are not regular diners. We eat out occasionally.

The best thing you like about the restaurant: Ambience and the seating arrangement are good.

How about service: It is ok.

What did you order: Indian food.

Price: It's too high as compared to other restaurants.

What to eat: We didn't like anything specifically.

Two to tango

For Amit and Jasbeer it's their second visit to the restaurant and they like the disc of the restaurant the best. "It's a good place to dine out and spend some serene moments," they chorus.

How often do you eat out: Three to four times a week.

The best thing you like about the restaurant: The ambience here and ample space. You can choose your kind of environment and sit and eat.

How about service: Its good.

Ambience: It's the calm environment and no shor sharaba that we like about this place.

What did you order: Drinks and peanut masala.

Price: Its bearable.

What to eat: Their non-vegetarian dishes are very good.

Met by chance

Dining out and watching India and Australia play against each other for the World cup we happened to meet the actor and director JD Majethia. Better known as Himanshu of the hit TV serial Khichdi on his first visit to the restaurant he says, "Though I have come for the first time to the restaurant but I liked it somehow."

How often do you eat out: I prefer home food, but since I'm shooting often I have lost count how many times I eat out.

The best thing you like about the restaurant: Its ambience and the ample space here. In Mumbai you hardly find restaurants with so much space.

How about the service: They are taking good care of me.

Ambience: Though I would have loved to watch the match with friends but I am enjoying the quiet environment here.

What did you order: I haven't decided yet.

Price: It is ok.

What to eat: I haven't eaten here yet so cannot suggest.

Karan looks beyond usual 

Getting experimental: Karan Johar

Filmmaker Karan Johar, who has delivered his biggest blockbusters with Bollywood badshah Shah Rukh Khan, wants to battle the superstar phenomenon and says young talent needs to be empowered.

"It's the age of the youth. It's the age of young talent - directorial, acting and even production houses are going on that path now. We have such few superstars that we need to empower the every sphere... because we can't keep making movies with the same eight-10 people that we have been doing work with. We need that eight to become 80 for us to be empowered," Johar said in an interview with select journalists.

The filmmaker has worked with Shah Rukh in all his directorial ventures -- "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai", "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham", "Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna" and "My Name Is Khan". But he has been providing a platform to new directors by allowing them to make films under his banner Dharma Production. Amongst the freshers he has roped in are Tarun Mansukhani (Dostana), Ayan Mukherjee ("Wake Up! Sid") and Rensil D'Silva ("Kurbaan").

Last year, his banner released three films and two of them - "I Hate Luv Stories" and "We Are Family" - were again directed by first timers Punit Malhotra and Siddharth Malhotra respectively. The third one was "My Name Is Khan".

"I'm actually quite inspired by Yash Raj Films who did a tremendous thing by launching a film like 'Band Bajaa Baraat'. We saw Vikramaditya Motwane's success with 'Udaan'. We need many more 'Band Bajaa Baraat' and many more 'Udaan' to combat the superstar phenomenon," said Johar, 38. But isn't Bollywood known for its stars? Then why combat it? "I'm part of that process. We created stars and I work with superstars, but we can't make an industry out of just five people, we need 50. That's what I'm trying to say," he explained.

"We need many more superstars in an industry, which is so large. We are grateful and thankful that we have talents like Aamir (Khan), Salman (Khan), Hrithik (Roshan) - they are geniuses, brilliant and absolutely the masters of their game. But if we have many more masters then our game just improves," he added. He was speaking on the sidelines of the three-day FICCI-Frames conclave, an annual media and entertainment industry event that kicked off here Wednesday.

"The film industry needs to be acknowledged on a larger level when it comes to Indian policies that are made, whether it's in the budget or otherwise. We need that focus from the higher authorities as well as politicians to give us that support. —IANS

What's in the lyrics
Whether vulgar lyrics are a bad influence or not, recording artistes continue to swear and the tracks keep moving up the charts
Manpriya Khurana

Indian rap: members of the group desi beam

The Real Slim Shady was perhaps all about a couple of nouns inserted here and there to rhyme swear words; the kind of words liberally dotting any rap song. 50 Cent's Candy Shop leaves nothing to imagination. It's ditto with Lil Wayne's Lollipop. I don't give a f***, I don't need that s***, is blaring out of the radios, is tearing up the speakers. Somebody please don't even mention Akon - the only alternate is between vulgar and the violent. So are 'we going to have a problem here'? 

"We never ever use cuss words when we are rapping in our mother tongue, but when it's a song in English, we sometimes do. Hip-hop as a genre emerged in countries that have a bold culture, where such lyrics are not objected to so much," Punjabi rapper, Gurdeep Singh, aka Gfrekey of Desi Beam, shrugs. 

He adds, "Now, it's more of a blind fad. Five years back when we started there were a handful of rap crews, now anybody and everybody raps." From producing music underground to collaborating with Bohemia, they've seen the hip-hop culture and as also the cuss words' usage grow. If rock was music for the rebellious, hip-hop, they say, is a genre for the redemption. 

After all, do we know any language that doesn't have its share of 'colourful phrases' and words? Opines Kamesh Chawla, RobC, English rapper, of Extremoz Undadawgs, "Hip-hop as a genre is a very violent and expressive form of music. Starting right from the origin of this genre to every rapper down the line, each and every person has used it to express his rage." Recently back from a show with Apache Indian, he puts the reasons down to the same as the need to abuse someone. Nods Gurdeep, “Rap lyrics are autobiographical in nature. It also depends on what mood you are in when you are penning the song down. Yes, somewhere they help take out the angst." No wonder Rihanna's 'Love The Way You Lie' discusses the abusive relationship! 

Whether it's big bad boys bragging about fast cars to the lost in love dealing with infidelity, the lyrics and the subjects continue to push envelopes. While the world continues to debate whether such lyrics are a bad influence or not, recording artistes continue to swear and the tracks continue to move up the billboards. 
Shrugs Vansh Mankoo or the Punjabi rapper HK of The M brigade, "There are a lot of artists that don't use extremely abusive or violent words. For example Kanye West uses it to the minimum. I personally restrict my songs to clean lyrics. But yes, whosoever does it is does so to make their songs more aggressive." To make songs aggressive or to take the aggression out, there's hardly a difference. He laughs, "It also depends on the state of mind you are in; after you've dumped it all on a paper in the form of a song, you feel good." Feel as good as, probably after you've abused someone who overtook from the wrong side. It doesn't produce results, yet serves the purpose!

l Rapping (also known as emceeing, MCing, spitting (bars) or just rhyming refers to 'spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics'.

l Rapping is distinct from spoken word poetry in that it is performed in time to a beat.

l Rapping is a primary ingredient in hip-hop music and reggae, but the phenomenon predates hip-hop culture by centuries. Rapping can be delivered over a beat or without accompaniment. 

l Rapping can be traced back to its African roots. Centuries before hip-hop music existed, the griots of West Africa were delivering stories rhythmically, over drums and sparse instrumentation.

l It has also been argued that rap music formed as a "cultural response to historic oppression and racism, a system for communication among black communities throughout the United States". This is due to the fact that the culture reflected the social, economic and political realities of the disenfranchised youth. (Courtesy: Internet)

A different take
Tahira Kashyap's book I Promise narrates the story of a pyre-maker
Deepali Sagar

Reality is far more enticing than fiction. But, somehow we don't pay much attention to fiction," feels Tahira Kashyap at the launch of her book I Promise. “I conceptualised the story at the age of 19. Later in 2002, with my theatre group we staged it as a two-hour Hindi play. The book was the best final stage,” she adds.

Plot wise With so many upcoming young Indian writers choosing college days as their backdrop, Tahira has done it a bit differently. "My protagonist is a pyre-maker. We talk about various professions like doctors, engineers, teachers et al all the time, but pyre-makers are ignored by the society. Believe it or not, they also have a story to tell. So, I decided to write about these people," says Tahira.

Maturity matters "When you are a kid, the world revolves around you. You do not observe much. At that time your stories are not based on people, but when you get mature the intricacies of characters are better understood. This is what I have tried; I have portrayed my character in such a way that people get a chance to understand their state of mind," she says. 

Individual perspectiveThere is no point in writing things that the target audience can't understand. "I have experimented a lot with my life. From a mass communication student to an aerobics trainer to a professor and then a writer, I have tried everything. And that shows in my writing," says Tahira.

Taylor’s beauty secret

Late Elizabeth Taylor was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. But what was it about her beauty that made her so special? Of course, she had those unforgettable violet eyes and cascading mane of dark hair. But scientists have said research has helped shed even more light on what made Taylor's beauty so rare.

The violet eyes, Taylor's white skin and raven hair may be captivating, but Nancy Etcoff, a Harvard psychologist and author of Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty, said that it was the combination of them that likely boosted her allure. A higher contrast tends to make the face look more feminine," ABC News quoted her as saying.

Taylor's signature bold lip colour and dark, made-up eyes further contributed to the effect, she said. "She also had a feature that most people wouldn't think of as contributing to attractiveness, but really does,which is a small, gracile jaw," she said.

"Which means a jaw that is kind of small and very hyper-feminine." "If we think that one sign of beauty, and there are many others, is hyperfemininity, then she has that exaggerated lower face with large lips and a small jaw," Etcoff said. "That's one aspect of beauty that's very noticeable in her face." Taylor's face isn't the only attribute that science has found to be attractive.

"She combines that beautiful face with a very beautiful body, which is beautiful in a particular way," said Etcoff. "She's almost what we would call a super-normal stimulus, which means that her hourglass figure is exaggerated." Taylor's two-time husband Richard Burton may have called the actress's breasts "apocalyptic" and able to "topple empires," she said, but they were paired with a tiny, little waist.

Science has shown that the ideal waist-to-hip ratio is 0.7, she said, but Taylor's hourglass figure supposedly boasted a 0.6 ratio."You think of her as voluptuous, but that combined with a tiny waist made her exaggeratedly feminine and attractive," she said. — ANI

Bollywood doesn't need to impress foreigners: Saif 

As an actor Saif Ali Khan is choosing his roles responsibly and wants to prove critics wrong. As a filmmaker he feels Bollywood is ‘self-sufficient’ and doesn't need to impress the foreign audience."The population of Indians is so massive worldwide as well as in India that we don't need to cater to foreigners. We are self-sufficient," Saif, 40, said in an exclusive interview. He echoed his mother, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore who had recently questioned Indian actors' clamour for Hollywood.

Saif, who was in the Capital to shoot the climax scenes of his second home production Agent Vinod, being directed by Sriram Raghavan, is taking special care to make the spy thriller look different from popular international film series James Bond.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

How is Delhi treating you?Really nice. It's always been fun being here. I am going to start shooting Agent Vinod climax here.

You shot parts of your debut production Love Aaj Kal in the Capital. Will we see a different side of New Delhi in Agent Vinod?It is going to be completely different from Love Aaj Kal. There is a lot of character in Delhi that we would like to capture that. The Aurangzeb Road kind of bungalow, and 'chiks' tied to the colonial arches of these houses. There is also the old Delhi, and the slightly more crowded—a very Kashmere Gate kind of area. We will capture Connaught Place and the famous Nirula's.

Love... captured an atmosphere of being romantic, fun loving, the gol-gappas and metro rides. But for Agent Vinod, we want to capture the power of the central government, the grandeur, beauty of the visuals, things like Rashtrapati Bhavan.
We hear there will be heavy-duty action sequences in Agent Vinod. How demanding is it for you?

For me, it is extraordinary to be flexible enough to kick a certain way, run and jump and do it all in a particular style. I think the character doing action in the film is somebody meant to be comfortable doing it. Also, it's supposed to look good on him. So that is a challenge - to be stylish while doing action scenes in a particular way.

Agent Vinod is supposed to be a spy. Should we expect something like a James Bond?Everyone will expect a Bond rip-off out of Agent Vinod and that is something we are being wary of. First of all, James Bond is very debonair and, you know, impeccably dressed and unruffled in situations. Vinod is not like that! Vinod is a little bit Bond and a little bit Tintin!Most Bollywood producers are focussed on making 'globally viable' films. What do you think about it?It's great we are doing different kind of movies. The population of Indians is so massive worldwide as well as in India that we don't need to cater to foreigners. 

We are self-sufficient. We are very different from the West in our likes. We can make their form of presentation too, but we as an audience will find it dry. If we want to make a film for the West, we should make it for the West nicely.— IANS

Titanic couple most romantic

Hollywood actor Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet's doomed relationship in 1997 film Titanic has earned them the title of the most romantic onscreen couple of all reports that more than 500,000 people were polled for the ABC TV and People magazine movie rundown, and the stars earned almost a quarter of the votes for their turn in James Cameron's epic.

Whereas, 1939's classic Gone with the Wind actors Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh stood second in the list. Pretty Woman couple Richard Gere and Julia Roberts got the third position in the survey.

Casablanca couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall came fourth, while Spencer Tracey and Katharine Hepburn-who starred in nine films together - rounded out the top five. — IANS

I think I am terribly over rated as an actor: Abhishek

Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan has described himself as a ‘terribly overated actor’ in the industry and said he has to improve a lot."I think I am terribly overrated as an actor. They have given me more due than I deserve. I have a very very long way to go. I have lot of improvement to do", said the actor who won praise for his performances in films such as Bunty aur Babli and Guru.

The actor was in the city to promote his forthcoming film Game. Bachchan, in the field for over a decade, said he did not see the new crop of actors as a threat."They are so talented, so prepared they are doing great work," he said adding that he felt there was enough work for all.

"I am not the insecure type. I am very secure about who I am and what I do. So, I am happy we got new blood coming to the film fraternity and getting more talent I think they are wonderful", said the 35-year old actor.

Asked, who his favourite actor is and he said, "Me myself" and jokingly added, and "apart from me I think my father has some potential.” Answering questions ranging from doing theatre to doing television, he said he would like to consider both once time permitted him. He said he was involved with his father's firm ABL corp and there was a film on the floors and once completed there would be two more that would be taken up.—PTI

Miss Talented

Anushka Sharma has said that she can act the pants off of any of her contemporaries and thinks only Kareena Kapoor is better than her. We agree. That pretty and talented girl is quite a phataka!

Jolly good affair

Sameer Dattani married his long-time girlfriend, Richika Jolly recently. Sonam Kapoor, his co-star from I Hate Luv Storys was among the many guests present. We congratulate the happy couple and wish them a lifetime of happiness.

Vidya, Pradeep bury hatchet

Vidya Balan and Pradeep Sarkar have buried the hatchet and agreed to work together. Their second film together will be one for Yash Raj Films. He is convincing Aditya Chopra to cast her in his third film for YRF and he hopes to finally deliver a hit.

SRK promotes Ra.One 

Shah Rukh Khan will begin promotions for Ra.One soon even though the film is releasing in Diwali (October).

It is a new promotional strategy and the promo will be launched at one of the matches.

He wants to familiarise people with everything related to the movie before they go and watch it. 

Desi Boyz go to London

John Abraham has gone to London for the shoot of Desi Boyz. The film is directed by David Dhawan's son and stars Deepika Padukone, Chitrangada Singh, and Akshay Kumar. John and Akshay play strippers in the movie. John will be back on April 20.

Read Rahman

Om Books International will be launching the authorised conversational biography of A.R. Rahman, The Spirit of Music, to be launched on April 6. It should make a good read for his fans.

Hema to replace Rekha

Hema Malini might fill in for Rekha after she walked out of Rajnikanth's next multi-starrer down South. The film is called Rana and has three female leads. Rekha had some monetary issues with the producers and walked out. The makers have only Deepika Padukone as their confirmed heroine. —HRM

Chatter box
Tusshar back to comedy

Laugh Riot: Tusshar Kapoor

Getting cozy: Urvashi Dholakia

Tusshar Kapoor became famous for his mute comic act in the Golmaal series and now he has donned a new avatar. Riding on his comic forte, he has taken on the role of judging Sony's Comedy Circus Jubilee with Archana Puran Singh. Talking about his experience on the small screen, Tusshar speaks about comedy on TV, acting talent on the show and his future movies.

Why did you decide to judge Comedy Circus?

Comedy Circus is a popular show. After Golmaal 3, I got a lot of television offers. So I decided that if I did television, then it had to be something worthwhile, something that had a brand value. And Comedy Circus did. I started off as a guest judge for one episode in January and I realised it was fun. I really enjoyed myself. The acts were very funny so I was sure that this show would be fun to work in.

How is your rapport with co-judge Archana Puran Singh?

Archana is a lovely person and I get along with her very well. One of the reasons that I accepted the show was because she is a part of it.

Which has been your favourite act till date?

I really liked an act recently performed by Bharti, Shweta Tiwari and Manish. Bharti and Shweta played kothewalis and Manish played Aamir Khan which made the act hilarious.

Whose performance do you look forward to watching every week?

I look forward to watching Bharti Singh, Manish Paul and Rajiv Nigam as all of them are excellent performers. Krushna Abhishek is another one of my favourites.

Any tips that you would like to offer to contestants to improve their acts?

Although the contestants are good, I feel that once the acts are decided the teams should edit the acts themselves before the come on stage. Sometimes a long act is not as funny as a shorter one because the impact of the act is lost.

Will we see you more on TV after this show or are you concentrating on films?

I am focusing on films for now. I will do TV only if I have the time and only if the offer is as good as the Comedy Circus one.

What are your upcoming films?

My next release is Shorr in which I play a petty thief named Tilak. In Rajshri's romantic Love You Kalakaar, I play a cartoonist. It is a very chocolate boy kind of role. In Dirty Picture, I play a South Indian writer who is in a relationship with Silk Smitha. I play a serious event manager in Hum Tum Aur Shabana which is in the comic genre with funny situations. 

Urvashi in love with Anuj?

Urvashi Dholakia, aka Komolika of Kasautii Zindagii Kay, might have excelled as a vamp on telly but she seems to have found her love in real life. The mother of two, Urvashi was seen having a cozy dinner with actor Anuj Sachdev, of Sabki Ladli Bebo, at a lounge in Mumbai. The two looked lovely as a couple and were very comfortable with each other. But instead of admitting to their relationship, the duo is sticking to -we are good friends line. Pity!

Adaalat twice a week

Dual treat: Ronit Roy

Sony TV has yet another hit on their hands. This time, it is the Ronit Roy starrer court room drama Adaalat that has caught the viewers fancy. Adaalat is so popular now that the channel plans to make it a bi-weekly from April first week. This weekend 26th March, Adaalat will have a two hour special episode with a special track where Hollywood actor Garry Richardson, super model Nidhi Seth and well-known Bollywood actor Arun Bakshi will join hands to create suspense. 

Ekta's show delayed

Wait and watch: Sakshi Tanwar

A lot has been written about Ekta Kapoor's Sony show Bade Acche Lagte Hain, starring Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar. Now, fresh news on the serial is that it will be delayed and will air post IPL 4. Director Swapna Joshi, had to undergo a major surgery which caused the postponement. Initially, the plan was to air BALH at a prime time slot in April. The serial is a love story of a middle-aged man with a younger couple too thrown in the mix. Swapna, who has done numerous shows with Ekta, will be directing first 50 episodes and setting the tone of the show.

Comedian VIP to act

VIP, who is a well known comedian thanks to Comedy Circus, will now turn actor with Sab TV's Papad Pol. With the current cricket fever, he will be seen in the role of a cricket coach in his telly acting debut. The guys in Papad Pol will hold a cricket competition with the landlord's son, and VIP as a coach will train them. In real life, everyone on the sets was surprised to know that VIP, who is a great mimic, has poor knowledge of cricket! Guess, this show and the role helped him both professionally and personally.

Two winners in Comedy Circus 

Comedy Circus Teen Ka Tadka's finale was a huge surprise for everyone as there were two winning teams this time. The finale shot yesterday, had a tie between Krushna Abhishek-Rakhi Sawant- Rajeev Nigam's team and Rahul Mahajan-Shikha Singh- Kapil Sharma. The trio of Bharti Singh-Manish Paul-Shweta Tiwari was the first runners-up, Parul Chauhan-Rajeev Thakur and Paresh Ganatra were the second runners-up. Cool.

The year ahead

Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is March 26...

The number 8 is ruled by Saturn and the digits 2 and 6 form your number combination. The basic number of the year is 4. Both are hostile to each other. But this is not ultimate in astrology and numerology. Something is beyond such calculations and traditional number game. If you haven't experienced good fortune in 2010, lady luck will smile this year.

This lady luck will emerge as some supportive lady either here or in overseas land. She can either import you there or may descend here to tie the nuptial knot. In October, the ice will melt. Isolation will turn chirpy with change. If planning for a career, either computer software or information technology may become your slice of bread. Rendering help without being asked for it, giving credit to not so needy people, getting involved in social work without motive, wandering aimlessly are some anticipated deeds, which will be totally fruitless. Channelise your energy in right direction. Avoid risk taking. Control emotions and think thrice before you sign agreements with known persons. On the whole 2011 is a mixed year for you.

Archana Puran Singh (26 Mar 1962 Dehradun) shares her birthday with you. A familiar judge since four years on Comedy Circus, she started her career with ad-films. Archana did small roles in big banner blockbusters. Lady luck will smile on Archana Puran Singh in 2011-12 and she will successfully complete 5 years of judgement .

Tarot talk
P. Khurrana

ARIES: Your card The King reveals an unusual streak of good fortune. Put your head down and apply maximum efforts to the tasks of the day. Get truly organised. Bosses expect a solid performance so, be productive. Businesspersons may expand their activities. Tarot message: Be grateful for the gains coming your way. Lucky colour: Orange. Magic number: 65.

TAURUS: Take business offers calmly. Investment is favoured. Heavy expenses at home and outside could be depleting. You may have to attend your family matters. Stick to physical health routine. You can find time for domestic chores to round off a busy yet satisfying day.Tarot message: You need to cultivate understanding & humility.Lucky colour: Crimson.Magic number: 26.

GEMINI: Your physical condition needs more care. Bosses will have to be very patient with their employees. Students: make every possible effort to get ahead. An affectionate relationship may be developing with a fellow worker. Allow a love experience to develop.Tarot message: Be practical and do not let trivial problems daunt you.Lucky colour: Saffron.Magic number: 54.

CANCER: You will be pleased to pursue your profession or trade. A dream job could appear without any effort on your part. Pay more attention to health. Influential people will be very helpful in your business. Love life blooms. Show partner or spouse how much you care. Tarot Message: Don't be dismissive of advice originating from the young.Lucky colour: Peach.Magic number: 31.

LEO: Unattached? Cupid is out to get you. Accounting will not be a problem. You are not going to have all the things your way. Do not rush through your work. An auspicious day for housewives. Juggling work commitments with relationship expectations could be a real stretch. Address genuine priorities first. Tarot message: It is no longer necessary to take risks. Lucky colour: Ebony.Magic number: 45.

VIRGO: Really busy! Request aid from your family especially for domestic responsibilities. Feisty neighbours and meetings need calm discipline. Maintain a dignified public image at all costs. Keep out of the limelight. Love life suffers due to hectic schedule. Tarot message: Extend your circle of friends, as people are your best bet against a hostile situation.Lucky colour: Metallic grey.Magic number: 35.

LIBRA:Everything is not what it looks like. Pitfalls propelled by false hopes might appear. Ensure that all is smooth on the domestic front. Love life may run into excitement. Women: cut down on your everyday spending. Excellent day for hosting a party or dinner. Tarot message: You must share responsibility with others.Lucky colour: Red.Magic number: 56.

SCORPIO:The day starts on a cheery note. Push ahead business affairs. Try to get an early start. Unexpected hitches are unlikely. Avoid speculation if possible. Someone is not telling the truth. Household expenses may be larger than usual. Tarot message: Take new challenges in your stride and deal with them sensibly. Lucky colour: Black.Magic number: 63.

SAGITTARIUS: Generosity towards others might put you on a spending spree. Make sure you can actually afford it. Women: Cupid is all set to strike. Secrecy continues to be important. Students: Gossip could spoil your chance of success. B.P patients should go for a medical check up. Do not ignore doctor's advice.Tarot message: No time to rest. Take action.Lucky colour: Burgundy.Magic number: 30.

CAPRICORN: A close friend or even a loved one might offer help with a loan. There will be more time available for family affairs. Romantic life changes with passion. Be straight while dealing with employment affairs. You may throw a party at home.Tarot message: Use your instincts to get into the top circle of power.Lucky colour: Golden.Magic number: 60.

AQUARIUS: A win-win day, if your approach is positive. A minor health problem may arise. Co-ordinating with friends is a challenge. Have flexible approach to bring about beneficial outcomes from available circumstances. Chance encounters might bring excellent results.Tarot message: Learn to rely on your mind.Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 25.

PISCES: Expect a topsy-turvy experience today as unexpected events disrupt the routines and plans. Just make sure that official records and documentation are accurate and up to-date. There may be argument at home this morning. Loved one will be difficult and very demanding. Tarot message: Do what is right.Lucky colour: Emerald.Magic number: 57. 

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