Beauty unveiled
Sonia Ahmed founder of Miss Pakistan World beauty pageant shares how the paegant has been doing so far
Jasmine Singh

'Sorry, could you repeat that again… Miss Pakistan World.' We tried to strain our ears…Did we hear it right, the woman greeting us on a lazy Sunday afternoon is the founder of Miss Pakistan World beauty pageant. It is bad manners to stare at someone blatantly but we couldn't help scanning her. While we are lost imagining how a beauty pageant in Pakistan is practically possible, what do they ask in question answer round (What do you have to say about Kashmir?), the pretty looking woman in question approaches us in a sweet and sophisticated voice, "Hello, I am Sonia Ahmed founder of Miss Pakistan World beauty pageant, which has now entered its ninth year," she smiles wondering when will we get that "what are you saying' look of our face. Yes, we are curious right away. And Sonia has loads to tell.

After finishing studies, Sonia moved out to Canada for further studies where she started the Miss Pakistan contest. "Whenever I would Google Miss Pakistan, the search engine would dish out hundred results on Miss India but nothing on Pakistan. That's when I thought that I should do something for Pakistani modeling," she says. A beauty contest in Pakistan, models walking the ramp….unbelievable.

Sonia smiles. She is soon going to clear our doubts. "No the Miss Pakistan contest is being held in Canada for last nine years now. I can't think of doing something like this is Pakistan, not in another twenty years." Go on, this is interesting… "I have faced tough resistance from Pakistani people, the government and the embassy. They have even stopped visas of some contestants going to Japan for the contest. They cannot tolerate anything like a beauty contest," Sonia adds.

Despite the backlash Sonia has been successfully organising the contest for Pakistani girls from around the world. "I am doing this thing outside Pakistan so I am safe," she can probably read our mind. "My parents were initially skeptical with this idea. Now after nine years they feel okay about it. These pageants help Pakistani girls get work in television shows and dramas across European countries and elsewhere," she proudly states. So, what is the Miss Pakistani World pageant like? Sonia cracks, giving a deep smile, "It is like any other pageant like Miss India or Miss USA. We have all kinds of rounds including the swim suit round." This is some show we think. Well, Sonia has something exciting to add. "Last year we started Mr Pakistan contest and it has won great response. As long as you have men walking the ramp, men in Pakistan don't have a problem, but when it is women, it is a taboo," there is concern and slight anger in her voice.

Don't we have enough Pakistani actresses making it big in Bollywood? You simply can't ignore Veena Malik these days! "Yes they are. The modeling industry in Pakistan however is under warps where work is not for public display. I wish to hold a beauty contest in Pakistan some day. I hope to see it happening someday, maybe when I get old," she smiles.

Tim Robbins said something interesting in the movie Shawshank Redemption- Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies….

Know different patterns, materials and styles of scarves that are in vogue this season
Sabia Talwar

It's been rather long, frustrating wait for winter. Albeit it's time for a change in the wardrobe, the weather this year is playing weird games. Even then, mufflers or scarves or stoles are round the corner and here are a few trends as well as styles to look out for.

Check state

The check stoles were a rage last season and are in this time as well. It gives off an elegant look as it is the Burberry pattern but don't go in for warm stuff, rather opt for light material.

Ruffling up

There are mufflers available in cotton with ruffles, which add a classy look to a simple pullover worn with jeans.

Colour parade

Stoles and scarves in materials like cotton and silk, in every colour possible, are perfect for this kind of weather. Collect as many colours to go with the thin pullovers and t-shirts that you are wearing with jeans or skirts along with stockings. The multi-coloured scarves look stylish as well.

Satin effect

Scarves short in length and in the sheen of satin look elegant, and are perfect for this winter. These can be collected in various hues and prints.

Here are a few ways you can experiment with the scarves.

  • Usual one: A single and simple wrap around the neck; probably if the stole has a good length.
  • Tie knot: Even woman can carry the scarves or stoles with a tie knot, which looks elegant and executive. The strands hide your tummy as well!
  • Double game: Double wraps around the neck look stylish and glamorous.
  • Loop style: Double the scarf by length and make a loop; pull the remaining strings through them.
  • Pony fun: the scarves can even be wrapped around ponies and be pulled in front for that retro look.
  • Knotting up: A simple knot on one side gives a punk kind of look.
  • V-Neck: The trendiest style is to take the scarf or muffler and form a fall in shape of a V, which covers the chest area.
  • Shrug style: Throw the stole on the shoulders and then in front.

Available at: Las Vegas, Sector-8 Chandigarh (Rs 250 onwards), Imagination, Sector- 8 ( Rs 200), Chandigarh, Shelly's Wardrobe, Sector-8, Chandigarh (Rs 650 onwards), Pink Square, Sector-21, Chandigarh (Rs 500 onwards)

Guide to style

Dev Anand, the style icon of 1950s and 1960s, scripted a fashion statement with his scarves, mufflers and jackets and his singnature puff, inspired by his childhood ideal Gregory Peck. The newage designers describe him as a trendsetter and a mentor who gave a fillip to Bollywood fashion.

Thanks to his good looks, further enhanced by his stylish wardrobe and on-screen romantic image portrayed in songs like Abhi na jao chodkar, Jia o and Khoya khoya chand, Dev Anand had girls swooning over him. There was a time when female fans frenzy reached such a crescendo that they started sending him letters in their blood especially after seeing him in a black suit. Such was his persona that he was "banned" from wearing a black suit in public.

"I think, he was never scared of following his mind when it came to dressing up. He was someone who took that extra mile to start up those trends which were considered bold and experimental during the 1960s. He gave mufflers worldwide recognition and that too in various forms," designer Nida Mahmood.

"The two films which I actually remember of him where he was portrayed as the true style icons was Heera Paana and Hare Rama Hare Krishna. He crossed all boundaries to invent trends which were never seen before in the Hindi film industry and scarf was one of them," she added.

Do you remember Shah Rukh Khan in Mohabbatein (2000) where he is seen wrapping sweaters around his shoulders? that style was actually introduced by Dev Anand in his 1973 movie Heera Panna.

Arpan Vohra says Dev saab created style "not only in reel but also in real life. His signature strip black trousers, cap wore on one side, bright cardigans and scarves tied around his neck created sensation."

"How can we forget his effortless attempt of wearing sweaters on shoulders, which became a rage. He was the one who invented fashion 40 years back but people still follow it whole-heatedly. He gave fresh flowers a new meaning with his movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna by using it as an accessory. When we talk about retro look, the first individual which comes to our mind is Dev Anand and that's what he is known for in glamour world," he added.

The actor was climbing the success ladder in the 1960s, which is said to be one of the most fashion-conscious periods in recent history. Apart from his wardrobe, he exercised a profound influence on the youth with his puffed hair style.

"The way he created sensation in 1960's was daring, especially his little puffed hairstyle. He was the one who started the trend of boy next-door, neat look. I will consider him as the father of fashion in the lead actors wardrobe. The kind of longevity he had when it comes to making a trend popular is phenomenal. Before him, I can only remember Prithvi Raj Chauhan," said designer Rahul Mishra.

The realisation that no one can bring back that era in Bollywood saddens Mishra.

"I think that era will never come back because right now people are too much influenced by outside world. Rather than creating their own style, many people are looking at the West. But I would say Dev saab was the global style icon as his style and sense of dressing infected the entire world. How can we forget that at one time he was termed as the true competitor of Elvis Presley because of his hair style," he added.

The Guide star's clothing sense has not failed to inspire or motivate the current lot of designers and Abhishek Dutta says he would love to dedicate a collection inspired by Dev saab.

"I would consider him as the one who revived Bollywood in true sense through his style and presentation. The way he used vibrant colours in his wardrobe was phenomenal especially because people during that time were living in black and white period. — IANS

Crossing barriers
Syed Sallauddin Pasha is happy that he is able to make some difference if not much to help the cause of differently abled

"Differently abled children don't need sympathy but opportunity", says Syed Sallauddin Pasha. Known as Father of Indian Therapeutic Theatre for persons with disabilities, Pasha has choreographed world class shows.

In Pinjore, for the concluding day performance at Pinjore Heritage Festival, Pasha is happy and content. "Three decades back I started with an aim to sensitise society to those who are differently abled and also make them realise their dreams. Today, those who turned their back when we wanted their support want to be associated with us," says Pasha who runs Ability Unlimited and helps those who are labelled 'disabled'.

Today Pasha and his dance troupe perform world over, perform on the same stage as Pandit Jasraj and Zakir Husain. "It somehow validates our mission that we perform on par with the true artistes. It fills my heart with immense pride when people compliment that my children are outstanding, even, better than the normal artistes," says Pasha.

Ability Unlimited's dance calendar is full now. After rousing response at recent International Film Festival, Hyderabad and International Theatre Festival, Milan and a tour of Italy and performance at Pinjore, they are heading back to Mumbai for Bravery Awards and then in Delhi for another performance followed by Varanasi, Bangalore and Chennai.

"We have shows back to back that boost not only enthusiasm of our children but also provide inspiration to many who come in touch with," says Pasha who travels world over for workshops with special children. To fulfil dreams of many such he is establishing an ashram in Ghaziabad. "This will have all the facilities for education and training of specially abled children. We want to help them realise their dream of being an artiste," says Pasha. His message as the world celebrates Disability week, "Indulge in real art. Hollywood and Bollywood are make believe. Do something like our children do something real, spontaneous which has only one take."

Pasha's wheelchair bound children have given spectacular performances around the world on themes like Sufi dance, Bhagwat Geeta and Yoga. "Our mission has made society look differently abled in a new light. But, I guess there is a way to go before society at large makes them feel welcome," says Pasha.

Limca record holder as well as Guinness (for highest spins manually in wheelchair) and many awards, Pasha and his troupe is unassuming. "Our aim is to strive for excellence in our art. Records and recognition do pour in helping us reach wider public and we are thankful for that," says Pasha.

Real life on screen…

Star struck: Nikhil Mehta & Garima Arora Photo: Parvesh Chauhan
Star struck: Nikhil Mehta & Garima Arora Photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Real life friends enacting somewhat similar roles on an outdoor shoot - well, it's a script from real life. Nikhil Mehta, Garima Arora, Sehban Azim and Shabnam Pandey, who have been real life chums in Mumbai have landed a role in Pugmark Pictures' untitled venture.

This film that portrays life of six friends and their adventure that turns into disaster has Chandigarh girl Garima playing Simran (not the quintessential Punjabi rooted girl but a hoity-toity, rich daughter of a rich man).

In Chandigarh, to attend a friend's wedding Garima and Nikhil Mehta shares their experiences of the shoot and journey called life.

"We have been incredibly lucky to have landed role in the same film," exclaims Nikhil, the bus stop guy of Cadbury's ad who says Meri maa kehti hai koi bhi shubh kaam karne se pehle kuch meetha le lena chahiye, (My mother says one should have something sweet before one goes to do some good work). The ad got Nikhil mass recognition. With loads of print and TV commercials as well as some serials to his credit, Nikhil landed in Mumbai to become a singer but now is headed towards acting. "I am trained in music and I want to sing. In fact I did get a chance to sing a track for V TV's show Ye Parindey (he acted in it too). But somehow destiny is pushing me towards acting," says Nikhil, the Delhi boy who couldn't have asked for more from the first schedule of his upcoming film.

"We shot for about a month little ahead of Mussoorie. It was completely out of Discovery's Man vs Wild. There were snakes and leopards around and though it was cold, I enjoyed shower in falls each day," says Nikhil who plays Raghav, son of a politician in the film.

This young actor turns 19 this seventh and wants to make music his forte. "I really want to sing. However, I am content with what I have in hand. I have had my share of struggle and days when I have survived on vada pav in Mumbai. But then it fills me with pride when people recognise me and colleges and clubs invite me for events," says Nikhil. One person he credits for making him stay put when challenges were huge and future bleak is his dad. "My father RK Mehta is an advocate in Delhi. He was the strength that made me stay grounded and fight against all odds.

Happy to have three of her friends including Nikhil as co-stars, Garima who has been living life of 'Simran' for last one month is taking life as it comes. What's makes Chandigarh youngsters make a mark in industry says Garima who is swapping roles between acting and assistant director says, "Well, Chandigarh youth is a great combination of beauty and brain. During my long stay in Mumbai now I haven't come across anyone who is not doing well. It gives joy to see my compatriots doing great," says Garima.

The rich touch
Jasmine Singh

For those who are in the restaurant industry, the word innovation was probably coined for them and so was something like Business Process Re Engineering. Now this might sound something new. If the curiosity is getting the better of you, take a trip down to the redone and reopened in new style and flavour Heritage - an English Boutique in Sector 35.

This English boutique is a celebration of old and new world of the British world. The whole place has been redone in terms of interiors, hospitality, service and menu. "This is what we call Business Process Re Engineering wherein we bring in all together new concept for the place," shares Vipul Dua, managing director of the English Boutique Heritage.

It is here that you can get whiff and style of the British culture, especially London. The Big Ben café reveals its cultural diversity in its interiors, menu and ambience. With nearly 70 pictures of Big Ben showcasing either the designing or cleaning of Big Ben, this café is done up in all wooden structure. Adds Vipul, "I want the customers to get a feel of London, the subtle yet casualness of the cafes there."

From the subtle British approach to a more happening place in the English Boutique, Peddlers works on traditional English concept. The place comes alive with its live activities where customers can showcase their talent, whether it is singing, poetry, dance, mimicry.

The newly done up place has 14 rooms that are designed keeping in mind the corporate traveller in mind. The rooms have a very English design, they are smart elegant and not very traditional. For Vipul, the best place where he has brought in a new concept is in the rooms and hospitality related to them. "We don't have a service counter. So, a customer walks in the café from there we take them to the room. All the formalities for stay are finished in the room, so the customer does not need to wait at the counter," he shares. In addition to this, hotel rooms are provided with helpline numbers, which are direct numbers of chef and other room services. "The idea is to give a new meaning to hospitality, and, offer the guests a relaxed yet different experience," he says. While you wait for your London trip to finalise, take a walk down the Heritage hotel meanwhile.

Aqua fun
Hotel KC Crossroads, Panchkula, has come up with a multi-cuisine restaurant - Aqua Blue
Sabia Talwar

With a soothing blue and white theme, Hotel KC Crossroads, Sector-10, Panchkula, has recently opened Aqua Blue, a multi-cuisine restaurant as its first step towards a fresh look.

With a waterfall in the midst of the sitting area; one can just sit, relish sumptuous food and enjoy the sound of water at the same time. For a more comfortable and relaxed evening, there is a lounge-cum-bar with couches and dim lighting. There are also two private dining areas with eight and ten seats, respectively, which only need a prior booking without any extra charges.

"The concept of interactive kitchens are picking up by the day and we also have the same at out restaurant, as people can witness live cooking in front of them," says Gagan, director, sales and marketing, KC Royal Park.

He adds, "The whole concept of Aqua Blue is jazzy yet decent; where one can come with the family or for formal meetings." The menu has Indian, Chinese, Continental and Sea Food as the people are becoming more experimental with food. You also have an option of a buffet.

Time for Chinjabi food!
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Forget Oriental and fine-tune your taste buds to Punjabi flavours, as Zazen (at Page 3 in Panchkula), the restaurant known for its far eastern zest, goes Chinjabi! Wondering about this new cuisine? Well, it's the mix of Chinese and Punjabi flavours, and the restaurant tosses up all in a 20-day food festival.

Showcasing a harmonious blend of Punjabi tadka with Chinese vegetables, the festival is a tantalising journey of two cuisines blended into one, making it a palatable experience. While you can savour almost all the specialities of Chinese cuisine in a Punjabi flavour at the food festival, chef Swatantra Gautam of Zazen says, "Chinjabi food is an Indianised version of Chinese food, suitable for an Indian palate. And since Chinese cuisine is much-liked by people in the tricity and Punjabi food their weakness, we get this concept of Chinjabi food festival for the city gourmets."

Though the concept looks quite appetizing, blending two cuisines is not easy. "Chinese and Indian cuisines are two very different fares and have almost nothing in common, except the use of ginger and garlic," says Swatantra. "But my job as a chef means inventing new dishes and blend of Chinese and Indian food is one successful venture. This is the second time that we are holding this food festival."

While you can have your fill of Chinese food and Punjabi flavours at the food festival here, you can try almost all the dishes including chilli paneer, salt and pepper prawns, lemon chicken, Chinese stir-fried vegetables and more.

Master Chef
Twist of fusion
Manju Dewan

Our humble cottage cheese alias paneer like the potato is a versatile ingredient and can be served in many ways. Besides being nutritious it is quick to cook. Suitable garnishing and minimalist cooking is the key to a delectable paneer dish.


Cooking Time: 20 mins

Serves: 8


16 pieces of cottage cheese (1"*1" and ½" thick)

For topping

½ cup rice noodles (boiled)

½ cup vegetables (carrots, capsicum, onion) finely chopped

4 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp green chilli finely chopped

1 tsp sugar

Salt, acc to taste

For sauce

½ cup sugar

½ cup brown vinegar

½ tsp chilli flake

½ tsp garlic paste

4 tsp lemon juice

Salt, to taste


Take a non-stick pan and roast cottage cheese on one side till light brown. Mix the rice noodles with rest of the ingredients and refrigerate. Mix the ingredients of the sauce and boil it for a minute. Now keep the mixture aside. To serve, take a tray and pour some sauce in it. Arrange the cottage cheese slices and garnish with the noodle salad.

(As told to Poonam Bindra)

(Manju Dewan is a Ludhiana based Culniary expert)

Modelling act!
We take a look at model turned actors who are making a splash in Bollywood these days.

High on ramp: Dipannita Sharma

The leggy and shapely beauty has done films like 16 December but has not really made a mark. She is happy modelling. Her big break is her role opposite Ranveer Singh in Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl. She has been linked with Abhishek Bachchan in the past but is happily married to someone else. She doesn’t seem very ambitious about Bollywood and that is a good thing.

Rocking resort: Nargis Fakhri

The gorgeous exotic model had no plans to be in Bollywood but destiny got her here. She got mixed reviews for Rockstar but she created a buzz unlike any other. She has settled in Mumbai (at least for a while) and has her hands full with modelling and endorsement offers. She might be part of the Krrishh sequel and is looking for a script that touches her heart.

Short take: Moufid Aziz

He made his debut as Nargis’ handsome but kind of cold husband in Rockstar. He had a few scenes. He has been seen in prominent commercials and modelled all over the world. The Brazilian hunk wants to work in Bollywood and likes watching Hindi movies. There is no word on his next film and we can’t say that he has promise as an actor.

Item bomb: Lisa Haydon

The leggy and sultry beauty who is partly Indian and partly Australian made her debut in Aisha and was well-cast in the film. She shook her booty in Rascals. She looks gorgeous and is sexy but acting and Hindi is not her forte. Item songs are the way for her and independent films, perhaps.

Lucky bee: Jacqueline Fernandez

The stunner from Sri Lanka has a very lively screen presence and turns heads wherever she goes. She is a fashionista. After making her debut in Aladin and doing a couple of flop films, she was going to pack her bags and go home but then Murder 2 happened and changed her fortunes. She sets the screen on fire. She will be seen next in Housefull 2 and is dating Sajid Khan, reportedly.

Fine tune: Anushka Sharma

She is the oldest of the lot and the finest model-turned-actress we have around. She is such an amazing and spontaneous actress and genuinely different. She has had a hit streak with Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Badmaash Company, Band Baaja Baaraat, Patiala House is her upcoming film. She has wooed audiences and critics alike and this feisty girl is here to stay. And boy, can she talk!

Miss pretty: Neha Sharma

The pretty girl made her debut in Crook (opposite Emraan Hashmi) but the film flopped. You can’t get over how stunning she is and her acting is decent too! She will be seen next in Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum and has some more films in her kitty. — HRM

Anushka on the ladies

Aspiring high: Anushka Sharma Anushka Sharma is the clever and gorgeous leading lady of Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl but there are three other women in the film too. She talks about the women, their acting, casting, equations, and more.

Aditi Rao Sharma

The first thing that I feel is that every girl has been cast for this film so correctly that I don’t think you could have had a better cast. The way they are in their real life, the way they carry themselves and their demeanor is very similar to the reel characters like Aditi Sharma is playing a girl from Lucknow so she has that little tehzeeb in the way she talks.

Dipannita Sharma

Dipannita is someone who is very poised she has been a super model and she is so tall and so stunning. She holds on to a certain authority and you can’t mess around with her. She is someone who doesn’t take nonsense and that’s Dipannita in real life and that’s Dipannita in the film when she plays Raina.

Parineeti Chopra

She plays Dimple. We kept calling her ‘alhurd’ and in real life also she is like that. She is very full of life and that’s what she plays in the film. So I think these people have been cast so accurately for the film and I don’t see anybody else who could have played these characters and acting with them just became so easy.’

Motherhood calls

As she prepares to turn 30 in April, actress Kirsten Dunst faces a dilemma. She says she is ready to have kids, but she worries that guys of her age might not be. The actress, who became a huge Hollywood star at age 12, said she even fantasises about what a quiet family life would be like in the countryside north of New York City.

“I thought when I reached 30 I’d have a lot more figured out life. Until you have a kid, you’re just looking for your partner. And guys have a Peter Pan vibe. They’re 35, and they act like they’re 25. That’s what scares me about being in my 30s and not finding someone to have kids with. “I can’t wait to relive life in a little kid’s way. — PTI

Candid Conversation

Filling in big shoes: Hiten Tejwani Hiten Tejwani gets ready to make his big entry into the hit TV Show Pavitra Rishta. We catch up with him and find out about his fears and apprehensions about the big role he is stepping into.

What do you think is your biggest challenge at the moment?

Right now I think my biggest challenge is getting into the skin of this character midway through the show. Usually, I have always been used to playing a character right from the start - so giving an already established character my own interpretation will be a first for me! Manav is a simple, soft-spoken demeanor and sincere, down to earth personality is in sharp contrast to my fun-loving, mischievous manner. So I'll have to be very controlled in terms of my performance.

We hear that Ankita can be temperamental and difficult on the sets of the show. Your thoughts?

As for Ankita's rumored tantrums, that isn't even a cause for concern at my end. I will do my work and leave the sets…the rest can be handled by the production house.

Also the show's USP has been the chemistry shared by Archana and Manav who also happen to be dating each other in real life. Do you think it is possible to get that kind of chemistry at this stage of the show?

When actors are lovers in real life, their natural ease around each other and the spark they share translates into some believable on-screen chemistry. So, without a doubt, one can safely say that it helps to be a couple off-screen. But, fortunately, the sheer manner in which the characters Manav and Archana have been conceived, written and emerged over the last two years. There is an undeniable chemistry between the characters itself and it's not about the two actors playing the roles. Ankita is a wonderful person to work with and earlier she was getting little bit unforgettable but I don't find anything wrong and now I am enjoying working with Ankita.

You have been in the industry for a number of years now, do you have any dream that is yet unfulfilled?

While I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that the industry has given me over the years, there is still one more thing that I am yet to do and that is to find that one role that surpasses all others that I have attempted so far. What I mean is that I would love to do one of those iconic roles that has people talking about for decades. Also, Shyam Benegal is a dream director to work with!

You have worked both in films and in television, which do you prefer?

I do not have a particular preference between the two as they are two very different formats. While you have months to shoot a film, a television soap gets shot in just a day so as a TV actor making a foray into films you tend to learn all your lines at a much quicker pace than film actors. Film directors are usually quite taken aback when they hear that you are ready with your lines while your co-star is still coming to grips with theirs! — HRM



Real love: Vahbbiz Dorabajee and Vivan D' Sena Vahbbiz Dorabajee, who is seen as Panchi, and Vivan D' sena, who is seen as Abhay, in Ekta Kapoor's Pyar Kii Ek Kahani are a real life couple. They met on the set, became friends and fell in love. They are not paired opposite each other in the show and till date they have had only four-five scenes together. They feel that they have a lot in common between them. Both have VD as the nick name comprising of first alphabets of their name and surnames and both are born on 28th of different months. They are both foodies and love Rajasthani vegetarian food. Since they have been spending a lot of time together, it is felt that the two have grown up in their relationship. Well, we hope you don't start feeling like siblings in the long run instead of soul mates because of your habit of spending so much time together and being addicted to each other's company!

Age No bar

Looking for friendship: Manish Rai Singhania Manish Rai Singhania is in news for several reasons. One of them is that he has been cast opposite Avika Gor in Sasural Simar Ka. Understandably, Singhania is all excited about this. "Don't you dare call her a child artiste! She will kill you. Avika is a young lady and she is truly a pleasure to work and interact with. But I must admit that when I was first informed that she would be opposite me, I was shocked. I had never met her and somehow the image of the little girl in Balika Vadhu was overpowering," he says. The actor was so surprised that he actually asked the production house about Avika's age. When he was told that Avika is 14 years old, Singhani's reaction was that she is less than half his age! "When I met her, I was completely convinced that she is no longer a child artiste. She has matured in every aspect and is a fantastic actress. She even tells me every now and then - 'Manish, grow up!'! We have become good friends now. It is a real pleasure working with her," says Manish.

Romit RajManinee Misra Third time lucky

Actor Romit Raj, who is currently seen playing lawyer Varun in Adalat, will be seen with Maninee Misra this week. A source reveals that Maninee will enter as the prosecuting lawyer opposite KD Pathak (Ronit Roy). She will be there for two episodes of the show. Romit had worked with Maninee Misra in his debut show Shaka laka Boom Boom then in Betiyaan and now worked third time with her in Adalat. She has seen him grow as an actor. "It's a pleasure working with seasoned actress like Maninee and the episodes have turned out well. This is my third show with her and I hope to work with her again in future".

The wall: Vishwajeet PradhanDaily soap is like 20-20 match

Maryada Lekin Kab Tak on Star Plus is one of the few shows on Indian television which is doing well despite having a late evening (11 PM). A large share of the credit for the success of the show goes to Viswajeet Pradhan - the man who who plays the role of the fiery SSP Brahmanand Jhakar. After all, not many shows can boast of high TRPs with a 11 PM slot. "I feel the time slot is perfect for the kind of show Maryada Lekin Kab Tak is. We have a large and loyal viewer ship which is increasing daily. And perhaps, one of the reasons is the late evening slot when everyone is relaxed after a hard day's work". Pradhan goes on to explain further, "A daily soap is just like a 20-20 cricket match where you have to score maximum runs in a short span of time. You need a specialist to do that." And who is that specialist in Maryada Lekin Kab Tak? Pradhan smiles and evades a direct reply to the question. But we all know the answer, don't we?

Survival instinct: Aman VermaNo time for food

There are people who feels that knowing cooking is important for survival. But Aman Verma thinks differently and feels knowing or not knowing how to cook is no big deal. Well that is quite a statement Aman! Why do you feel so? "I can only make an omlette! Apart from this I am completely unaware of other things. According to me it's for necessary to know how to cook if you need it. For me it's the most unnecessary stuff to know.

Survival instinct: Aman Verma

Desi boy: John Abraham Lucky in love

John Abraham and Bipasha Basu were quite open about their love life and the couple has spoken about it very often but after the break-up so much is said about their relationship that John has decided not to talk about his personal life as he is said to be dating someone called Priya outside industry so when asked John about it he confirms, “There is someone special in my life,” way to go John!

Desi boy: John Abraham

Right moves: Madhuri Dixit Pick ‘n’ choose

She is just not beautiful but she is beauty with brains. Madhuri Dixit Nene who is now back to India is keeping her foots correctly. She has lost weight and looking gorgeous. You can’t just spot the actress on every filmi do or parties, she is choosing the correct products to endorse and events she attends. Recently she flew to Goa to inaugurate prestigious International Film Festival of India along with Shah Rukh Khan and Frieda Pinto.

Right moves: Madhuri Dixit

Different take: Vishal Bharadwaj Tale of the title

Vishal Bharadwaj is famous for making different films and his film titles are always different and his next project is Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola when asked Anushka what’s the meaning she reveals, “Matru is Imran Khan, I play Bijlee and Mandola is another character.” So now we know that Matru is Imran Khan, Anushka is the Bijlee so who is Mandola? It is also the name of the town where they live! — HRM

Different take: Vishal Bharadwaj

Holiday blues

Amol Palekar is currently recuperating at home in Pune after suffering a fracture on his foot while he was holidaying out of India. But the actor-cum-director wants to start work soon.

P Khurrana

ARIES: Your card Judgment is reversed so be careful not to let public opinion go against you. You may be in the mood to splurge. Fun and good times come easily in the evening. Tarot message: Try to accomplish those tasks which normally take up a lot of time. Lucky colour: Bottle green. Magic number: 32.

TAURUS: The card of The Magician brings a day of change and mutation, whether you want it or not. Spending quiet time alone will help you relax. Watch your health today. Tarot message: You will receive a useful tip at the stock exchange which can be put to profitable use. Lucky colour: Yellow. Magic number: 44.

GEMINI: Six of wands brings a gracious and aesthetic influence in your life. You are likely to face several interruptions will make it difficult for you to stay on schedule. Singles be cautious about relationships. Tarot message: Don't reveal your plans to your competitors. Lucky colour: Ebony. Magic number: 27.

CANCER: You draw Two of wands to invoke mental power and intelligence to achieve professional goals. You may feel the need for change and may take up a self development project or a new hobby. Tarot message: You shall prevent a lot of trouble by taking timely action. Lucky colour: Deep red. Magic number: 35.

LEO: You are awakened and energised by fiery Knight of Wands. Your creative abilities will be at their peak and your innovative ideas will gain recognition if you take care to present them properly. Tarot message: Don't reveal your plan of action to anyone. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 27.

VIRGO: The Ace of Pentacles leads to actualisation of personal and professional plans. You could lose your temper with loved ones. Try to remain calm during the day. Later in the day is better for travel, whether the trip is long or short. Tarot message: Don't do anything at the cost of health. Lucky colour: Jade. Magic number: 29.

LIBRA: The Lovers inspire you with love today. If you have spent time finalising the details of your pet projects, now is the time to implement them. Relationships can be blown out of proportion. Tarot message: Make compromises outside and come to terms within yourself. Lucky colour: Golden yellow. Magic number: 46.

SCORPIO: Two of Wands spin in speculation luck. You may be in an irritable mood and could react aggressively when faced with dissenting views. There could be tensions with loved ones. Tarot message: Take one step at a time and avoid being hurried and over anxious. Lucky color: Purple. Magic number: 55.

SAGITTARIUS: You draw The Ace of Wands which puts you through a touching and transforming personal experience. The day could be full of disruptions and interruptions. Travel plans may change. Tarot message: Do not swing away from the course you have charted so far. Lucky colour: Sea green. Magic number: 26.

CAPRICORN: The Priestess infuses pure and exalted influences in your life. Networking and making an effort to seek out people with similar career interests could lead to new opportunities. Your love life will be good. Tarot message: Do not expect too much from others. Lucky colour: White. Magic number: 52.

AQUARIUS: The Wheel of Fortune spins in some good fortune. Indecision about a particular situation may preoccupy your thoughts and could make you contemplative. Tarot message: Lack of confidence or lack of caution can leave you in losses; so be confident. Lucky colour: Forest Green. Magic number: 43.

PISCES: You card The Strength gives you a good feeling today. Chance meetings with associates could result in new opportunities. There could be tensions with family members. Tarot message: Don't make hasty decisions as it could lead to a waste of time and money. Lucky colour: Deep red. Magic number: 41.

Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is December 5...

Sagittarius is happiest when exploring and traveling. They just love adventure. Highly intuitive, Sagittarius is also strong willed. They are very sincere, and ardent. They also possess warm, kind and generous personality traits. However, their personality needs to feel free and they do not tolerate feeling hemmed in well. They sometimes overwork at the expense of their relationships. Playing a sport is a great way to burn calories, but you'll have to overcome some self consciousness. Find a group that is more intent on having fun than proving their athletic prowess. It's easy to have fun when you're not berated for making mistakes. Be patient if things don't go according to plan and be more remissive when faced with interruptions, avoid being invasive with your beloved so avoid calling him or her too much and you'll soon see you'll get more back. You'll become more captivating, pleasing new partners. You'll be very prudent and wise with your beloved and will try to be more patient than usual. In 2012, you must try to eliminate everything superficial in favor of what is essential. You must not consider this as a loss as what you lose on one hand, you gain on another. To be lucky, you must concentrate only on what is really useful.

January starts with a big challenge. There's good news in February. Stars support you and aspirations can be accomplished in March. Try not to be too aggressive and risk missing great occasions. Watch out for a jealous rival, who will try to push you too far! Feeling 'swept under the table' is likely for some of you. A sound decision may save you tons of work, effort and money. You'll financially improve if you can handle the professional challenges effectively now.

Alex Kapp HornerSuccess is only a few steps ahead. Your health will be fine and stable. Five signifies love of freedom and adventure, represents openness to new experiences as well as new ideas. Five is about pushing life to its limits. It is a multifaceted number with links to our state of physical and mental health.

Mood: Emotional and somewhat 'chatty'. Compatible signs: Libra, Leo and Aquarius. Lucky colours: Rosy, Brown and Magenta. Lucky days: Friday. Lucky numbers: 8, 45, 48, 50, 88. Lucky gem: Emerald. Lucky flower: Tulip.

Alex Kapp Horner (born Alexandra Kapp; December 5, 1969) is an American actress whose most notable role was as Lindsay on the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine. She began her career in Los Angeles as a member of The Groundlings comedy troupe. Some of her television credits include appearances on ER, Friends, Party of Five, JAG, Seinfeld, Will & Grace and A Mother's Prayer (1995).

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