Young blood, grand DESIGNS
When you talk about the Gen Next in fashion, it does not stop at attaching themselves with designers; it progresses to participating in fashion weeks, prêt and haute couture stores and exquisite labels
Vasudha Gupta

Vipin Batra walks the ramp with a model
Vipin Batra walks the ramp with a model

There was a time when the young were the restless and expressed their rebellion through unkempt clothing and ripped jeans. As professionalism is seeping through in each sphere, it has ensured that even the restless take it easy and make a grand, suave entrée into the world of fashion. With the countless fashion institutes mushrooming in Chandigarh, a select few are striding ahead, making their uber chic presence felt all over!

One among the many is Vipin Batra, a young lad who has learnt the art of fashion from Chandigarh long back. His resume boasts of extensive experience at REM export house in Delhi. "It was after my knowledge base grew in the export house that I worked for Armani, Esprit and several other international labels," he shares.

Working on only consignment basis, Vipin created ripples in the fashion industry when he was short-listed for The Lakme India Fashion Week. "That was the high point. They receive applications from around the globe and only six-eight designers are selected," he says. On his was to Bengaluru to create another collection, he shares the proudest moment on the ramp. "It was the point when my collection was being showcased. My family was in the front row; I knew, it was big," he smiles.

Reality television is a part of every household today. Behind the perfect dancers, wearing the glitzy clothes goes a lot of effort. One person who has grown up with Nach Baliye and Jhalak Dikhlaja is Nitasha Bhateja. A pass-out from NIIFT, the label Sharddha Saboori is making a statement. "I mostly work on trousseaus. My main focus remains creating outfits that look good even in pictures," she says. An ardent devotee of Sai Baba, the name of her label has also been inspired out of her faith. "Shraddha means devotion and Saboori is patience. Everything that my brand is has been created out of being devoted to my work and out of being tolerant," she shares. Lucky to have worked and learnt from the experts of the industry, Nitasha gives them all the credit. "Reza Shariffi and Ranna Gill are the two people who taught me everything about the industry," she says.

Another young designer ready to launch her own label in the name of K'Ma is Karishma Singhal. A pass-out of Pearl Academy of Fashion, she aims at creating a luxury brand. "I am always focused on giving attention to detail and conceptualising an outfit," she says. Inclined towards Indian wear, she makes Western wear only on order as it "moves faster and gets sold really soon". Also designing home linen, Karishma has no real "experience" under any fancy name as she did not feel the need to take guidance. "I have collaborated with Bhavna Anand in exchanging ideas and will also promote her work," she adds.

A commerce graduate, Mani Dua completed her diploma in fashion designing from INIFD two years back. Her label, in her own name was launched a year ago and has people waiting for her to exhibit in their town. "I just love twisting and turning fabric to create traditional outfits," she says. Focused on promoting her brand through exhibits, she makes a point in her justification. "When you talk of those who open studios, they procure their materials out of Bangkok and China. As a part of the industry, I can just look at the finishing and know where it has been picked up from," she says. Without any formal fashion training, Mani has made it big due to her interest and love for fashion. "I was always constantly encouraged by my own designer, which motivated me and helped me reach where I am today," she smiles.

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Tribute to a legend

On Stage: City-based theatre directors are all set for the grand show 

Celebrating the fine artist that Rabindranath Tagore was, the Tagore Theatre Society and Department of Cultural Affairs is organising a dance, drama and painting extravaganza.

Ten plays, all by Chandigarh-based theatre groups, and, a dance drama, this 11-day festival brings alive Tagore's works. The festival opens with Chitrangada, a dance drama by Sangeet Bhavana, Visva Bharti Repertory, Santiniketan. Directed by Indrani Mukhopadhyay it brings the authentic, flavour of Bengal on August 2.

From August 3 onwards, plays on Tagore's stories and dramas take the stage. Jeevit aur Mrit, directed by Kuldip Sharma brings to the fore Kadambini's struggle for life. Chitrakumar Sabha is another play presented by group Theatre for Theatre, which underlines the value of women in the society.

The themes that Gurudev wrote on are relevant even today. Society's penchant for a son has been there even in Mahabharta's times. Chitrangada presented as a play by Sabrang group has the story of a Manipuri princess who was brought up like a boy and how Arjun awakened the woman in her.

Kankaal and Karan Kunti Samvaad from Abhinet, Tota Kahani by Theatre Age and Kabuliwala from Yadavindra Public School students are some of the other plays to be staged. "Prepared by children, the play comes out pretty well," says Zubin Mehta, director. Four of the plays Baat Suhe Phullan Di', 'Lal Kaner, Varmala and Balidan are Punjabi adaptations of Gurudev's works. "Tagore's works are a century old. We have adapted the play to today's circumstances and the music is Punjabi, but we have also been careful to retain the essence of the original work," shares Anita Sabdeesh, director, Lal Kaner.

Some 40 prints of his paintings would also be on display. "Tagore Festival is our sincere attempt to bring together artistes and give the city folks a peep into Tagore's works," says Kuldeep Sharma, director, Tagore Theatre-18.

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One with the road
Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu

Sun ‘n’ sand: The beautiful sand dunes of Hundur 

Shades of Nature: The breathtaking beauty of the Nubra Valley is unforgettable 

It took a couple of days of doing absolutely nothing for the tiredness to eventually exit our bones. But the exhilaration, of having recently completed one half of a dreamy road trip (despite, possibly, the worst road conditions in the world) to Leh via Srinagar, refused to ebb.

Snow-smothered mountains, verdurous pastures and deep gorges straddling swollen rivers gave it up for high altitude desert terrain, characterised by unbridled desolation, broad arid valleys and a punishing sun in azure skies. The inhospitable landscape takes an unimaginably dramatic twist once you hit Fotu La (highest point on Srinagar-Leh highway), hitting you with swathe upon swathe of interminable barrenness. Unsurprisingly, it takes a while to unwind.

Leh, I discovered, could very easily pass off as a foodies' heaven. And I say that after a thorough and very satisfying investigation of its delightfully named eateries; empirical evidence, no less. It also makes for a weathered springboard for trekking enthusiasts. Other than that, I must confess, this friendly enough town left me cold. A somewhat unworthy destination for a road trip this spectacular (the return via Manali was as dazzling, albeit harsher). There were abundant signs of mass tourism terror having struck this isolated idyll for solitude-seekers.

So, we reckoned the more secluded Nubra valley, nestled between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges, and accessed through the Khardung La, would make a good change. At over 18,000 feet, the pass lies merely 39 km from Leh and is a popular day excursion; providing the most breathtaking views of the Indus valley against the backdrop of the Zanskar range. As passes go, however, the Zoji La on the Srinagar-Leh highway and the Baralacha La on the Leh-Manali highway are really the two worthies to look out for.

The Nubra River snakes down from the Siachen glacier, skirts the sleepy village of Sumur and catches up with the Shyok River at Diskit. This is the largest settlement in the broad, flat valley and offers basic boarding and lodging for visitors. But our destination was the pretty little village of Hundur a few kilometers further along the Shyok. Expecting to see a willowy oasis, we were greeted instead by the incongruous sight of stunning sand dunes! Seen in isolation, we could have been in any desert on the

globe; underscored further by the sudden appearance of a camel and her baby.

Except that it was a double-humped Bactrian camel, indicative of an ancient association with trans-Asian trade. Large caravans comprising hundreds of similar camels from China had painstakingly traversed the Karakoram Mountains on their way to Kashgar in Central Asia; Nubra Valley being a bustling trade centre along one of the routes, back then. Following the demise of the Silk Road and the more recent territorial growls with China, the valley, with not many connections with the outside world save through the Khardung La, remains isolated for a better part of the year. As we walked around the hushed by-lanes of Hundur later that evening it was really very hard to imagine the slumbering hamlet with such a robust past!

(Sidhu is a travel writer and a blogger)

If you want to share your latest vacation email to [email protected] or write to Chill Out, Life+Style, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh, along with a

contact number)

Art cabinet
Vasudha Gupta

Armani, Versace, Waterford, Royal Doulton….no we are not reviewing your knowledge on international fashion designers but talking about the finest art glass dinnerware and artifacts exhibition on in Taj-Chandigarh.

The artifacts here have been handpicked to accentuate your fine dining experience. The spread includes multinational brands like Wedgewood, Costaboda and Svaja.

Apart from promoting these brands, the husband-wife duo, Sunil and Purnima Sethi, from London is also promoting artists of repute like Amanda Brisbane, Richard Golding and Helen Millard.

Talking about the consultancy, which offers contemporary art for corporate and private collectors, Purnima Sethi says, "There are many people who are aware of the brands but no one really knows where to acquire them from. We are just creating a platform to bring the finest to Chandigarh."

The collection on displayat Taj includes fine porcelain in dinner sets, handcrafted vases and exquisite Lladro pieces. A coy figurine caught everyone's eye.

"The way the face on the figurines has been created is the highlight," shares Sunil Sethi, a surgeon by profession.

Picking up a vase Sethi says, "It's a Moorecroft creation," he says. "A woman made the vase with her hands. She first drew, painted and then glazed the vase," he shares. Turning the elaborately designed vase upside down, he shows up the name of the designer, the seal of the company and a sign. "This vase comes only in 30 pieces. This is the 26th post of which even the company won't have a piece left with it," he says with pride.

With the art of colours and intricacies used, it's sure to be the one prime object to lighten up the room.

Another one out of the collection is a Royal Dux figurine from 1959. "These things are rare and lend a sense of charm where they are kept," Sunil says. Apart from the finely created glass pieces and dinnerware, it was the contrasting shades of white and blue.

(On till July 31, 9 pm)

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Guaranteed adultery or money back!

Have a 'successful' extra-marital affair or get your money back — this is what an Australian website has promised Noel Biderman, founder of the adultery website '' says in a slogan - "Life is short. Have an affair".

The website that was founded in 2001 has now launched what it calls the "ultimate money back guarantee".

The site has a worldwide membership of over eight million people who prefer cheating on their spouses. Biderman said affairs, just like marriages, had to be worked on.

"If you want to find the right level of success, we think there is the commitment level you need to make, and if it doesn't work out for you then we'll give you your money back," he was quoted as saying.

Users need not be worried as the site deletes communication between people. The users can also hide their true identities.

Biderman - who has been married to wife Amanda for eight years - however said he would be "crushed" if he ever found out she cheated on him. — IANS

Lights, cameo, action!
We take a look at superstars who are doing cameos in some of the biggest films of the year

Sweetheart's sake

Priyanka Chopra in Ra.One: One of SRK's biggest fans and favourite co-stars has done a song and a couple of scenes in his anticipated film. She will look glamorous but no more dope is out on her cameo. SRK asked her to spare him a few dates and she agreed. We doubt she could ever refuse her childhood sweetheart.

Smoke screen

Sanjay Dutt in Ra.One: He has recently shot for his cameo in Shah Rukh Khan's dream film. He probably plays a smoker and looks very bulky but nothing else is known about his cameo.

Quite a sizzler

Katrina Kaif in Bodyguard: She will do a sizzling song for the opening credits of the movie. The sequence will be like what is seen in James Bond's films. We have heard that she also has a small role in Salman Khan's movie.

Rom-com cameo

Salman Khan in Tell Me Oh Khuda! Salman Khan proposed the idea of doing a cameo in Hema Malini's relaunch vehicle for Esha Deol. Hema Malini was more than happy to have him in her film. Along with Esha, the film stars Arjan Bajwa and Chandan Roy Sanyal. Hema, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, and Dharmendra make up the senior cast of the romantic comedy.

What a cameo!

Shah Rukh Khan in Love, Breaks Ups, Zindagi: This film is Zayed Khan and Dia Mirza's maiden production venture. Zayed wanted to rope in brother-in-law Hrithik Roshan but he didn't have dates. SRK has worked with Zayed on Main Hoon Na so he approached him. SRK readily agreed to give him three-days for the cameo. The romantic comedy stars some veterans and a bunch of newcomers.

Friend indeed

John Abraham in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan: The film already has Imran Khan and Katrina Kaif with talented pretty boy Ali Zafar. John Abraham reportedly has a cameo in the film. Katrina plays a rebellious rock star so maybe John plays her special friend. This is being kept under wraps.

Katrina ROCKS!

As soon as fans heard that Katrina was shooting for Dhunki at Agra Fort, a crowd gathered within a few minutes! All the crowd and mob shots shown in the song are authentic — the only way Katrina could safely leave the venue at the end of the shoot was when a team of police was called. 

Eat, act, love!

Think food: Madhuri Dixit

Food is something we cannot live without. It is a necessity and also a luxury. Indians are extremely passionate about food feels Madhuri Dixit. The lovely Dhak dhak girl loves eating and cooking in equal measure! She endorses Sanjeev Kapoor's exclusive food channel, Food Food. She talks about culinary delights.

Hubby's favourite

He loves North Indian food like chicken tikka masala with naan and anything spicy. He loves non-veg. and chicken is his favorite. So I learnt all North Indian dishes to impress him.

Indian way

Being Indians, we love food! Even in our daily conversations with friends, we talk about what mom made today, which is the new food joint in town, what is the specialty of different places, etc. You can see so many restaurants in Mumbai today, so many cuisines. So I believe Indians are very passionate about food. Like we discuss lunch while having breakfast, we decide dinner while eating lunch. So that's the way we love food.

Bollywood & food

Every family in Bollywood loves to eat. I have worked with Yash Chopra and team, Kapoor and team and with Rajshree Films. Believe me, they all love to eat. Our conversations used to start with food.

Memorable food moments

I was shooting for Rajshree, where you only get vegetarian food. Someone asked me why I was not eating so I replied Tel bahut zyada hain. Suddenly someone said Kal se khana ghee mein banega as they really care for their employees so much. So that was a memorable moment for me.

First dish

I was very fond of kande pohe so that was the first dish I learnt to cook. And I made it and it was quite nice.

For Mr Nene

As I said my husband loves non-veg. food so I made prawns for him but it was a disaster as I cooked it more than required. It felt like he was eating rubber.

One challenging dish

You know when I started cooking I found it tough. I will say American cooking is very easy: you take a bun, put some vegetables and sauces and it is ready. Whereas Indian cooking is different, you have to cut, then you bake it or you fry it and also make a curry. Indian cooking is quite complicated so I found it a little difficult. I believe that whatever you make will be good in taste if you make it with your heart.

Buzz about Satte Pe Satta and Ishqiya

Let me clarify that I haven't been approached for these roles. I have watched Ishqiya and loved it. I haven't signed anything yet. Once I sign a film I will announce it the very same evening. There is nothing to announce as of now. —HRM

Be a loser

Shirish Kunder has asked Sonakshi Sinha to lose weight for the remaining portions of Joker. She has slimmed down from what she was but she has to tone up for an item song in the film. Good luck!

Spell bound

Zarine Khan is not into astrology or numerology but she wants to change the spellings of her name. She wants it to be spelled as Zareen. Okay!

Silence is golden

Ranbir Kapoor is maintaining distance from his good-looking co-stars. He is pally with Priyanka but he doesn't share too many words with newbie Ileana D'cruz, his co-star in Barfee. He knows that if he hangs out with her, there will be stories about them being together. So, like in the film, he is playing a deaf-mute guy on the sets as well.

Familiarity breeds...

Overstepping: Asin

Asin doesn't have too many friends in Bollywood. There is one family in Bollywood that is very welcoming to newcomers. She has already worked with the star of the family twice. We have heard that she constantly messages the star and his family members and they cannot keep up with her. She is beginning to annoy them a bit and they wish she'd stop.

Acting pricey 

Out of reach: Salman Khan 

Salman Khan used to charge Rs 40 crore for a film. For Ready, he reduced it to INR 17 crore.

Post the success of Dabangg and Ready, he has demanded Rs 50 crore for an upcoming film! Whoa! The budget of the film will hit the roof.

He has also asked for a particular director.

Teens are what they eat!

Fast food joints, sprouting up in your neighbourhood, are not a healthy sign for your teenaged son or daughter. They tempt and habituate kids into snacking regularly on burgers, fries and sodas.

A study by the University of California-Los Angeles Centre for Health Policy Research, investigated the effect of junk food on adolescents.

"You are what you eat. You are, also, where you live," said Susan Babey, study co-author and senior research scientist at the Centre for Health, according to a statement.

"And if you live in a place where there's a fast food restaurant or convenience store on every block, with few healthier alternatives, you are likely to eat more junk," Babey said.

Consequently, 75 per cent of California teens live or go to school in neighbourhoods taken over by junk food outlets, relative to the number of healthier food outlets, such as grocery stores, produce vendors and farmers markets. And unsurprisingly, teens live or go to school in such neighbourhoods are more likely to drink soda and eat fast food. Research has shown that the consumption of fast food and soda has been linked to taking in excess calories and can contribute to diabetes and obesity. — IANS

Delegates of tomorrow!
The most popular extra-curricular activity in many schools these days, the mock UN sessions (MUN) prepare students as global citizens

Ashima Sehajpal 

Students of Lawrence School , Sanawar 

It was a peculiar situation for Aarushi Kalra. Sexual orientation is not by choice; one is born with it —although well-versed with the fact, she had to take a different stand and convince all others. Representing Saudi Arabia was never going to be easy and defending the country's law on labour rights for sexual minorities was an uphill task.

"I had to justify that sodomy is an offence. It's against Islam and anybody who challenges this should be sentenced to death," says Aarushi, a student of Bhawan Vidyalaya, who despite being a moderate had to act like an extremist at the Model UN (MUN) session held at her school. 

The most popular extra-curricular activity in many schools these days, mock UN sessions often throw such challenges wherein students have to abide by the country's policies they represent! MUN functions on the model of the UN. Students represent a particular country, discuss related issues and more importantly pass s resolution on global problems.

keyed in: A model UN session at Bhawan Vidyalaya

"Committees are constituted that debate on issues like economic crises, environment deterioration, nuclear deals… the idea is to instill confidence in the youth and create awareness about global issues," informs Kavita Das, principal, St. Johns School. And then there are other complementary benefits. General knowledge gets better, public speaking skill is improved and students learn the importance of team work. "The art of participating in MUN is taught by seniors to juniors, it thus inculcates a sense of responsibility as well." 

In the general assembly of MUN, in which students' debate international issues; they need to be thorough with their country's perspective as well as the policies of other countries. "For example, on a topic like nuclear disarmament, it's important to know the stance of both the developed and developing nations.

As a delegate of India, I would research on India's relation with its neighbours, economic situation in the sub-continent and how serious Western countries are about total disarmament," says Sanya Ohja, student head, MUN, Vivek High School. In such a scenario, a resolution is passed only if all the countries support the cause. 

After all these years, there is a considerable difference in the approach of holding school level MUNs. It began as a knowledge-sharing practice, wherein every student shared details on the economy and political as well as administrative set-up of a country.

But now, it's a serious practice of debating on significant issues. "It helps students develop a logical perspective on everything around them. They work on a pre-decided agenda, rather than on a vague topic," shares Priya Chauhan, teacher co-ordinator, The Lawrence School, Sanawar.

Then there are the inter-school MUNs. While The Lawrence School has competed with Doon and Welhalm School, Dehradun, Bhawan Vidyalaya will be hosting a MUN in which students from 47 schools will participate. "Students from best of the schools in India like Mayo College and Bombay Scottish will take part in the MUN. It helps us know about new trends of MUN. The topic we chose this time is Revolution In Youth, which will focus on how to sensitise the youth towards social evils," adds Aarushi.

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Menu makeover
Poonam Bindra

Beyond continents: Enjoy the excitement of flavours from all over the globe

Fine dining restaurants in Ludhiana are getting ready to woo customers in the forthcoming festival season. Many have revamped their menus to celebrate the season.

Orient Blade at the Park Plaza and Cosmopolitan at the West End Mall have revamped their menus to offer a more tantalizing array of delicacies. These hotels have done their homework before launching the menus after great research and several trials.

At The Orient Blade you can now savour a combination of varied cooking styles like Cantonese, Sichuan, Beijing, Peking and Hunan in their revamped menu.

Here you can kickstart your meal with mint chilli prawns, lettuce wrap chicken, crispy cauliflower & fresh asparagus in scallion ginger sauce followed by Hunan style lobster, pinecone pomfret, sizzling chicken, Vegan Ma Po Tofu, Loh Mein Noodles and Xo chicken fried rice in the main course.

The icing on the cake is the special seafood selection with a dedicated river sole section and a range of vegetarian dishes. They have added a Morinaga Tofu section too. For oriental food lovers, on offer are an excellent range of mouth watering desserts having Li-chi Belly, Sultana Sensation and steamed hot pudding.

The new menu at Cosmopolitan has also been revamped with the new and exciting exotic flavours. Their chefs toss up a great meal with the tangiest and the spiciest flavours, bringing the exotic spices of Indian and international cuisine straight to your table.

One can also go in for the lip smacking goodness of their appetizers like vegetable jalfrezi, Awadh ke moti, Khasta chicken, Kalmi kebab, Murg malai tikka, Paneer aur bhutte ka seekh or Tawa ka hara bhara kabab. The hearty main course is equally addictive-burnt garlic fish with seasonal green, Dum ka chicken and even Achari gosht are hard to miss. Their mud cake on sizzler and ice cream fondue are surely desserts, which are worth a try!

So let's savour new and tasty delicacies at such like fine dining joints to relish the approaching the festive season.

Pet designer

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen left $ 82,000 of his $ 26 million fortune to his pet dogs, his will has revealedThe money is to be put into a trust to ensure his beloved pets' upkeep for the rest of their lives.

McQueen, 40, who hanged himself last year, has donated almost all of his fortune to charity, reported Daily Mail online.

The Terrence Higgins Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the London Buddhist Centre and the Blue Cross sick animal centre in Burford, Oxfordshire, have all received $ 1 million each.

"Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee," he scribbed on the back of a book before killing himself, which was found by the police.

The designer has left the remainder of his estate in a trust for his Sarabande charity which shares a name with his spring/summer 2007 collection famous for including a dress adorned with fresh flowers.

He asked the charity to consider using this money to fund bursaries and grants for students at Central St Martin's College of Art and Design in London, where he studied fashion.

His housekeepers, Marlene and Cesar Garcia, were left $ 50,000 for 'long and faithful service'.

Garcia made the grim discovery of McQueen's body hanged in a wardrobe in his Mayfair flat nearly 18 months ago.

He also bequeathed some amount to his godson and each of his nieces and nephews, and to each of his three sisters and two brothers. —PTI

Switch over

Frasier star Kelsey Grammer makes an abrupt change of direction in his upcoming new TV series, playing a ruthless, power-hungry mayor in a drama series that he calls "the greatest time of my life creatively." After years of playing comedy roles on television, Grammer, 56, said on Thursday he had decided to return to his roots for the October drama series Boss on cable channel Starz. "It has always been in my mind to play a more serious role. I didn't start out as a comic actor. I started out in classical theatre, playing tragedies. That was my first love..." "This particular role couldn't have taken place directly after Frasier. It would have been too big of a jolt," Grammer

told television journalists gathered here for a bi-annual meeting of critics. Grammer stars in Boss as Tom Kane, the brooding, manipulative, fictional mayor of Chicago who will do anything to stay in power. But he also has a degenerative brain disease that he is trying to keep secret from family and political foes alike.

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: A hazardous day. Keep your mind on the job throughout the day. Do not be tempted to

daydream of what lies ahead once your working week is done. Romance could be an anticlimax. Tarot message: Health of an elderly member at home will need looking after. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 32

TAURUS: Old acquaintances are likely to pop up and you will be intrigued to exchange notes. No need to make any important move today. Keep the law breakers at bay. Take care of your stomach. Tarot message: Feel good about yourself and prepare yourself for a mental battle. Lucky colour: Orange. Magic number: 28

GEMINI: A call or a visit from a relative you have not seen for ages brings an opportunity to remember the past and catch up on family happenings. Entrepreneurs must try for a loan. Regular employment affairs will run smoothly. Tarot message: You may encounter some difficulties regarding finances. Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 30

CANCER: This is a fantastic time to contact and visit others and to keep abreast of their news and gossip. Turning point in a personal relationship. Push hard for good results, you know you are capable. Tarot message: This is not a bad time to open new doors. Lucky colour: Yellow. Magic number: 31

LEO: The card ‘King of Wands’ reveals best moments to relax and socialise with friends and loved ones. This is a good day for household repairs. You should be lucky in your choice of entertainment. Grab a job opportunity. Tarot message: Avoid gossip session at work. Lucky colour: Fuchsia. Magic number: 64

VIRGO: Chit-chat with those in close proximity increase but you will instinctively know when to talk and when to put your head down and work. Domestic interests move at an easy pace. A nagging issue at home is amicably resolved. Tarot message: Stabilise your financial situation by making investments. Lucky colour: Burgundy. Magic number: 42

LIBRA: Catching up on tasks you have been putting off for a while seems a wise idea. Time to check out meditation and yoga. You will shine in surroundings that are unfamiliar to you. Falling into bad company will be regretted. Tarot message: Over optimism could lead to mistakes. Lucky colour: Beige. Magic number: 59

SCORPIO: You will be amazed how much lighter you will feel when you have shed concerns. New partnership can be formed. Try not to nag people on minor issues. Do not find fault in others work. Friends will be helpful. Tarot message: Do not overspend just to impress others. Lucky color: Peach. Magic number: 60

SAGITTARIUS: Be positive in your approach. Home entertaining should go off rather well. Be wary of a situation where it could be easy to make a mistake. You will inevitably repent later. Tarot message: You will get the help you need if you ask for it. Lucky colour: Purple. Magic number: 57

CAPRICORN: Where you go and whatever you do, the focus of everyone's attention is likely to be firmly on you. Check your car before you set out. Relatives will be sensitive and difficult to get along with. Tarot message: Wait a while everything will get sorted out on its own. Lucky colour: Forest green. Magic number: 52

AQUARIUS: Do not get involved in any land deal. A secret love affair will bring you some added pleasure. Accepting accolades is a healthy experience that promotes self-confidence and raises self-esteem. Tarot message: You need to be creative if you want to retain your grip over your business. Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 63

PISCES: Use your status of communication boldly with a creative expression. Patronage from powerful individuals can validate your efforts. Share problems with loved ones. Over eating and drinking will be regretted. Do not take any risk with your savings. Tarot message: Leave things open ended for best results. Lucky color: Deep Red. Magic number: 40 

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is July 31...

This number is governed by the planet Uranus and those born under it are energetic, forceful and progressive. You are naturally attracted to people born between February 19 and March 20, between October 21 and November 20. You also have an affinity for those governed by the numbers 1, 2, 4, 7 and 8. You will be comfortably well off and will never want for material things in life. Though you are frugal with your resources, you have a well decorated home. You will achieve considerable success after the age of 40. You are tall with an impressive posture. You are ambitious and proud. You have a sense of honour and would like to contribute to charitable institutions. You will have much luck in financial matters. You are extremely realistic and have strong will power. Business: The solar fire of the Sun rules your nature, so your whole personality is dynamic and attractive to others. There is no shortage of those who long to bask in your solar warmth!

So you would do well in any kind of business where you need to find new clients or customers for company. You win people over in no time, and therefore, jobs in sales, marketing or consultation would be excellent for girls.

Career: Public speaker, minister, entertainment, managerial positions, executive positions, politician and publicist etc. Finance: Good financial position is ahead. Just stay away from gossiping and backbiting. Health: Mixed bag of results in almost all spheres of life, a period of ups and downs. Some of you may suffer from coughs and colds or joint pains during. Love: Unfortunately you tend to bestow your affections on wrong men. Compatible signs: Cancer, Leo. Lucky colours: Orange, Burgundy. Lucky days: Sunday and Monday. Luckynumbers: 5, 14, 56, 67, 75.

Mumtaz (July 31, 1947 Mumbai ) entered Hindi cinema at the age of 12. In 1960s, she starred in as many as 16 action films with Dara Singh and was labelled as a stunt film heroine. The memorable song ---yeh hai reshmai julfein was picturized on her. Khilona and Do Raaste finally made Mumtaz a star. Mumtaz married millionaire Mayur Madhvani on 29 May 1974. They have two daughters Natasha and Tanya. Astrologically, she should take care of her health in coming times.

Chatter box
Ticket to Bollywood

step up: Shakti Kapoor & Veena Malik

Controversy's child Veena Malik, who shot to fame with Big Boss 4, is all set to make her movie debut with a double role in Daal Me Kuch Kala Hai. The film also stars Vijay Raaz, Shakti Kapoor and laughter jodi Irfan Malik and Ali Hassan.

The mahurat of the film was recently held in Andheri, Mumbai.Raja Chaudhry was supposed to come for the mahurat but could not reach as he was not given permission to enter Mumbai.

Knot a deal

COUPLE STORY: Rubina & Avinash

Dev (Avinash Sachdev) and Radhika's (Rubina Dilaik) tough times are over in Zee TV's Chhoti Bahu where they have exposed Rohan (Saurav Chakrabarti) and Maheshwari (Pragati Mehra). With Rohan ousted, and Dev being declared the next Rajpurohit, Dadaji will announce that Dev and Radhika should tie the knot.

On to the silver screen

Dill Mill Gayye's doctor Riddhima aka the sweet Shilpa Anand has signed a new film which is called Alert 24x7. Produced under the banner of Pankaj Productions, she will be seen playing the role of an investigative journalist opposite Ruslaan Mumtaz. Good luck.

Surprise surprise!

On the sets of Star Plus' biggest dance reality show, Just Dance- a parent's special episode is coming up. The contestants were surprised to meet their family members post the selection of top 13 but there was a surprise for the judges too! Overwhelmed parents decided to impress the judges and presented them with homemade sweets. Ironically health conscious Farah, Vaibhavi and Hrithik enjoyed various mithais from different states with much delight. Laughing over their helplessness to refuse, they ate one sweet after the other. So who hit the gym later that night that's what we want to know about.

A Bigg chance

After the success of his latest film Singham, director Rohit Shetty will now direct not just more movies but a promo of the hit TV show Bigg Boss season 5 too. He has agreed to come on board for his friends Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan. The two superstars shot for the promo recently which will be on air soon. The show is touted to air in October.

Wrong number

Big and unexpected twist coming up in Colors' Sasural Simar Ka where Simar (Deepika Samson) went for auditions but is unable to return home and her younger sister Roli (Avika Gor) had to sit in the Mandap in her place. But as Simar won't be able to come for her pheras on time, Roli will end up marrying Prem (Shoaib Ibrahim). But later Simar will be sent home with Prem. Roli, Simar and Bua (Himani Shivpuri) will share this dramatic secret.

A spirit-ed effort

Beautiful ghost: Natasha Sharma

Loved as Sia, beautiful Natasha Sharma is back with another powerful role in Rajshri production's Yahaan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli on Zee TV. After her stint in Colors' Na Aana Is Des Meri Laado, Sia enjoyed her break writing and reading and now she hopes her ghostly avatar scares one and all.

Why did you choose to do a ghost's role in Yahaan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli?

The role was different. As an actor, I think I need to play a variety of roles. I want to enjoy acting and what is more fun than playing a ghost. The atma in the show comes back to the haveli with a motive. I have shot for the promo for now and am looking forward to a fulfilling experience with Rajshris. I can't wait to get started.

What is it like working with Karan V Grover and Suhasi Dhavi?

I have met Suhasi and shot the promo with her. She is very sweet and friendly. Though I haven't met Karan yet, I have heard he is a gentleman. I am eager to shoot with the cast and get to know all of them better.

What is the most challenging part about playing a ghost?

The most challenging aspect about playing a ghost will definitely be the fact that one can't relate to it. There have been numerous ghosts in serials and films so we will try to show our version of a spirit. Having never seen a spirit it would certainly be a challenge for me to play such a role with conviction. I am going to try to make it not so gory but scary. Rest will depend on the brief and the graph of the character. Watch out for the mysterious ghost in the haveli.

What kind of ghost experiences or ghost stories have you heard? Which horror film scared you?

I have heard many ghost stories but never had any ghost experiences. While shooting, you hear stuff like someone saw something move in a certain building or off hand a person would narrate how such-n-such building is haunted. I don't know how true these stories are as there is no verification. I have heard that there are certain shows on television wherein people go and checkout haunted locations and dish out scary stories about the landmark. It makes for a spooky watch for sure but again who knows if it is true. I have seen and enjoyed many horror films -Paranormal Activity being one of them.

How did it feel to leave Na Aana Is Des Meri Laado?

It was really tough to leave the show. I was so attached to it. Laado was my baby and when I left I had to give my baby to someone else. But I guess the show must go on and it has continued well. I had a lovely time working on the show and I have fond memories of it. I too have moved on and so have they.

Tell us about your most cherished experiences from the show?

I have loads from working together on a scene, to watching the scene work its magic with the audiences, from sharing makeup rooms with cast, befriending them, chatting and being a family. Laado was very special to me. I miss the cast members a lot.

Are you in touch with anyone in that show- Aditya, Meghna?

Oh yes I am in touch with most of the actors from Laado be it Aditya Redij, who is now doing a new show Preeto. I saw his first episode and felt he looked really good and acted well. The character of an Air force pilot is cool. I wish him the best. I am also in touch with Meghna- Ammaji who is a wonderful person.

Have you seen Laado after the leap and recent Bhanupratap re-entry?

No. I never used to get time to watch the show when I was acting in it and now when I am out of it, I hardly get time to watch it. I haven't caught any episode of the show. But I am sure they are doing a great job.

What did you do in your break?

Well I enjoyed my free time the most. I met friends and family and spent quality time with all of them. I also write Hindi poetry, so I indulged in that for a while and rest of the time I read a lot and caught up on the movies. —HRM

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