Eleven years on…
…Suhaib Ilyasi, once the famous host of India's Most Wanted, says the guilty in dowry cases should definitely be punished, but the judges should also have the power to act if the case registered is false

Emotions choked many; tempers ran high as Suhaib Ilyasi, once famous host of India's Most Wanted held a conference in Chandigarh for his upcoming film The Wedding Gift on Saturday.

The film is inspired by Syed Makhdoom, a computer engineer, who ended his life leaving a suicide video message. Syed's last words to the world bring forth his pain on not being given access to his son. A victim of Section 498-A of the IPC, Syed couldn't take the humiliation of being dragged to a police station.

Suhaib, a friend of Syed's, feels strongly on the issue and his film aims to create awareness. "I have gone through the same. Eleven years on, I am still not out of it," says Suhaib.

Life took a wrong turn for Suhaib when his wife allegedly committed suicide and he was charged under Section 498-A (commonly called the Dowry Act). From a sure, fierce host that India watched on TV, Suhaib has mellowed down. His hair is grey, his gait no more the same. His voice quivers, tears well up, he takes uncountable sips of water as he talks of his lost friend Syed and his own personal loss.

"Things are far worse than anyone could imagine. I was Suhaib Ilyasi, so my plight made headlines but millions of people become victims of the wrong use of Section 498-A," says Suhaib who comes with people who have had a rough brush with the law. Life hasn't been normal for this director-producer, "Fortunately, I will soon be out of the tangle. And, Aaliya, my daughter for whom the whole fight was, is with me. She is 15 now and a fiercely independent girl."

With his film, Suhaib hopes to create awareness on the issue he feels strongly about. The movie has roped in veteran actors from the industry Alok Nath, Farida Jalal, Reema Lagoo and also new actors Harsh Nagar and Srishti Gautam. The singers on board are Ghulam Ali Khan, Sonu Nigam, Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan.

The film will possibly release in May, but the issue he addresses will probably take a long time to resolve. Says Suhaib, "Today, if a man is tortured there is no law under which he can lodge an FIR. Women are no more the weaker section of the society. They are an equal, socially and financially, and even stronger emotionally."

But are not women being tortured for dowry still? "That's a fact. And so is the misuse of the section. We are against any form of injustice. From Syed, the very basic right of life was snatched," says Suhaib struggling to keep his emotions in check.

Not only the film, he is also working actively for the cause. "The matter is with the Rajya Sabha. We are seeking to invokeSection 498-B. The guilty in dowry cases must be punished, but the judge should also have the power to punish if the case registered is false."

Apart from the movie, Suhaib is producing a TV show Yeh Zindagi Hai Gulshan and editing a news magazine. "Every morning I wake up with a wish that all that happened was just a dream and I would see my lovely wife sleeping next to me. And I wake her up to share the nightmare I had," he says. But that's not a reality and Suhaib is trying to change what he considers is not lawful.


Close resemblance

Gurmeet Singh plays the Prime Minister in the movie The Wedding Gift. A Delhi-based transporter, he resembles Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his real life. Does it create confusion? "People generally mistake me for the Prime Minister. When I go to Connaught Place, young boys and girls throng me to get a picture clicked. Sometimes I have been hurt in the process too, but I guess that's alright. I am used to it now though."

Fusion mantra
Manpriya Singh

Jatinder Bhutta

Sitting far away in Derby, he was seriously catching up on Putt Jattan De, Lalkaara Jatti Da, Badla Jatti Da and the like. "I grew up watching all these Punjabi flicks and would repeat their dialogues. There used to be music as well in these movies and just watching them was an introduction enough to Punjabi music," he laughs and comfortably switches between speaking accented English to singing rustic Punjabi.

In Chandigarh to promote his album Gabru Punjab Da, the life for UK-born Punjabi singer Jatinder Bhutta aka JK has been a parallel ride of sorts, trying to incorporate the different cultures while at the same time retain the identity. "We are like the second or the third generation there, we adapt to different cultures naturally but trying to be good at both is difficult… and music has got different elements to it too. I like to call myself a British Punjabi."

It's been close to three to four years since the album has been underway. "We have kept a variety of tracks right from sad songs to the wedding songs to hip-hop. It's a wide range," and he likes to bring in his personal touch and experiences into the assortment of tracks. "I'm very versatile and that's why there's quite a range of songs. Somewhere it's influenced by experiences, for instance everyone's falls in love and who hasn't been a jilted lover? That's where the sad songs come from." The lyrics of the title song have been composed by the singer himself, while all others are a careful selection. "All the lyricists are very well known and have been picked out." All the eleven tracks are accompanied by eleven videos.

Super successful musicians notwithstanding, music never ran in the family. "No one in my family is into music. Rather they'd think that music is not one of the best professions. But now my mom has started reacting differently to it. Because every time someone calls her up to say that they saw her son on the TV."

It's been years of training and schooling under Tru-Skool. Have been taking music lessons for ten years now under Tru-Skool. He's one of the very big music directors in the UK, rather the whole world." He adds, "Why I have been lucky to have him as my guide is because he's also a very dear friend. Apart from that my influences include the greats such as Kuldip Manak, Surinder Shinda, Sardool Sinkander, Chamkila and Mohd. Saddiq." Back home there's a band as well by the name JK and the band and apart from the album it's wedding bookings, live shows, gigs that keep him busy. "My first performance was for a Singh Sabha Gurudwara in Derby, in which I sang shabads." Like we said, it's been a wide and parallel ride of sorts.


Divine connection
Odissi dancer Ranjana Gauhar finds meaning in life through her dance
Ranjana Gauhar Photo: Parvesh Chauhan
step up: Ranjana Gauhar Photo: Parvesh Chauhan

For Padma Shri recepient Ranjana Gauhar, her life is an extension of her Odissi dance. "Dance is something that I have carried over from my past life," says Ranjana, in Chandigarh on Saturday for a dance drama Chitrangada at the Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan.

She started learning kathak at the age of five, but it was only after graduation that she took up Odissi dance. "Seeing an Odissi performance always thrilled me and gave me purpose in life. It was like if a thousand million bulbs lit up in my soul," she says.

Since then, it has not only been dance but also a book Odissi — The Dance Divine and many documentaries. She explains, "Odissi is the base around which I have found meaning in life. Writing, choreographing and making documentaries are the different branches I have delved into."

And, years on, she is as passionate about her art as at the beginning. "I have a fire for this, which is only being whetted with time. It's like an ocean and the deeper I go, I find more meanings with which comes contentment, and at the same time longing to explore more."

Ranjana founded the UTSAV Educational and Cultural Society in 1987 and is making efforts to propagate our traditional art. "Being in the field, it's my duty to do that. Classical forms are pure and not for the masses. So it needs patronage for it to flourish. But then they have survived for some 2000 years and will do so in the times to come," she says before she walks into the make-up room.

Whole-some music
Flute maestro GS Rajan has been playing around the world and is carrying the rich Indian tradition far and wide

Concerts around the world, composing music for documentaries and driving to different destinations within the country have kept flute maestro GS Rajan busy since his last visit to Chandigarh. If being the first to perform at the Splendid Palace, Riga, Latvia and Musée Guimet, Paris, have been the high notes so far, he is flying off to the US to give lecture demonstrations in schools and colleges with concerts in Chicago and Houston thrown in. Meanwhile, Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan brings him to Chandigarh on Saturday for a Carnatic flute recital.

Happy to have driven to Chandigarh from Delhi, Rajan shares with us how he sees the future of the flute. "Some five or six years back, it was a bad phase as there was a decline in flute-making. Bamboo was largely used to make paper, but now things are much better. Many youngsters are taking to the flute and increasingly it is girls."

What makes for the popularity of flute in the western world? "The credit goes to Hariprasad Chaurasia. He is the best known flute-player so far." Flute remains in vogue in the West, but it's not our bamboo flute (bansuri), we are told. "Their flute is in steel or silver with note keys that finds favour with artistes," he says.

Is he training any disciples? "Not really. I learnt in the guru-shishya parampara. They charged no fee, but instead fed and clothed me during my formative years. If I find someone dedicated I will work on similar principles," says Rajan. Happy moving around and spreading our rich traditions, Rajan would like to compose music for a commercial film if given a chance. But then he is not compromising his independence for it!

Slow & steady
Actor Arjan Bajwa, in Patiala for the shoot of Son of Sardar, says he wants to focus on quality rather than quantity
Ashima Batish
Arjan Bajwa
Rock & role: Arjan Bajwa

We hear it yet again, for the umpteenth time. Something that every new face striving to make a mark in the industry uses as the prime defence — "it's not easy to get a break in Bollywood when you don't have back up support from a godfather." Consider the ratio of newcomers to those who have a history in the industry to understand the advantage that the latter category enjoys.

So, actor Arjan Bajwa is well-justified when he states the same — "Getting a decent break in commercial cinema is next to impossible without someone established recommending your name." Even after beginning his Bollywood career with Guru and taking it forward with national award winning film, Fashion, Arjan agrees that he hasn't been able to keep up with the pace of other actors. "But this doesn't bog me down. I believe that slow and steady wins the race. I want to focus on quality rather than quantity." As a result of which, he will be next seen in Son of Sardar, which brings him to Patiala along with Sonakshi Sinha and Ajay Devgn. He gives his take on the industry, co-actors and reveals his future plans.

Money vs fame

Son of Sardar is a romcom, a tried and tested formula in Bollywood. Arjan says that he is happy to be part of commercial cinema and experimental genre would follow soon. "Commercial cinema fetches maximum popularity. It promises fame, money and a place in the industry."

Company matters

He is cast opposite Sonakshi Sinha in the film. Prior to this, he has worked with Esha Deol and Priyanka Chopra in Tell Me O Khuda and Fashion, respectively. When it comes to the best co-actor, he doesn't take time to announce — Priyanka Chopra. "She is a thorough professional. As an actor, I have learnt a lot from her. She is a storehouse of talent and the kind of roles she does are very experimental."

Clubbing zone

While it's kind of imperative to join a star camp in Bollywood to be able to bag good roles, Arjan prefers to stay neutral and focus only on working hard. But he admits that he is a huge Salman Khan fan. "I admire him for his acting and for the person he is. He is the most misunderstood person in Bollywood. He has a big heart and is ready to help anybody in the industry."

Up next

As of now, Arjan only wants to concentrate on Son of Sardar. "Working with Ajay Devgn is a learning experience. His versatility as an actor and sincerity with which he approaches a role is commendable." He adds that he looks upon the three Khans of the industry. "It's for their perseverance that they have been able to sustain amid such a tough competition even after twenty years."


Don’t starve, balance it
Diet charts are becoming popular, but they come with the ‘conditions apply’ tag. We dig in to find out the real picture
Vasudha Gupta

So what if Vidya Balan gained weight for The Dirty Picture; no one really cares if Kareena Kapoor is seen with a few more pounds in the mujra Dil Mera Muft Ka! Talk about the ladies in town and they all still want their size zero bodies. We find out how many of these diet charts are really beneficial and if you are on a trip to lose extra kilos, what do experts recommend.

Losing weight is not just about shedding the fat deposits; it's about being able to stay fit. Talking about the same, Sunita Malhotra, from the department of dietetics, PGI, says, "Apart from the cross referrals, we do get several patients who come to us for weight loss." From guiding the ladies to taking a balanced diet, the dieticians in Chandigarh are not having an easy ride. "Several cases show the yo-yo effect, where they tend to gain back the weight that has been lost," she says. Considering how popular organic foods are these days, we take her opinion on that. "One has to understand that organic food is not meant for the masses considering its price, so we suggest fruits, vegetables and healthy food," she says.

Then there are the mono-diet patterns, which are finding fans. Nods Bhumika Batra, senior clinical consultant, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, "These diets are about staying only on fruits for one day and breads on another day. These spell doom for the body." Considering these are not even functional for a regular working woman's life, these are never suggested. "We prefer balanced diets and in regulating the basic metabolic rate in the body," she adds. From just tweaking the calorie count in the body to suggesting the regular food groups, the meal plan is mostly customised per person. "Consumption of all food groups is vital," she says.

With private experts brimming in Chandigarh, the advantages have been fewer than imagined. "These practitioners are not experts, so they really don't look at the long-term benefits," shares Madhu Arora, Chief Dietician (RD), Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh. Recommending a low calorie chart and not looking at starving as a solution is the aim. "What women don't understand is that if they starve for one day, they hog the next day," she adds. Seemingly tired of looking after gymming cases gone wrong, she asserts, "Most of them don't even promote the right methods of weight loss. A simple, regular walk is far better," she says.

Considering the tweens are also pretty much in the grip of the weight loss, anorexia has also not left them. "It becomes very difficult to get the girls to start eating again," opines Bhumika. Feeling the need to scare them, the real picture is painted for the young girls. "We tend to give them easily digestible food and remain firm on the follow ups," she adds. Sunita Sharma, a young housewife, who recently pulled herself out of a horrid diet patterns recounts for us. "It was one of these private practitioners who put me on a crash diet. Apart from losing weight, I lost energy and would feel tired everyday till the day I fainted," she says. After a six-month struggle, she has finally started putting on some kilos and colour on her face. "My family is glad I recovered well," she smiles. By the way, there is a lot of banter about Kareena's weight gain adding a glow on her face!


Expert speak

  • Consume more fruits and vegetables
  • Maintain a light schedule of physical activity
  • Don't avoid the basic food groups
  • Don't completely stop eating fats. Have it in moderation

Ranveer’s living a dream
Ranveer Singh, up close and personal on how his career has shaped up in the Bollywood industry

Ranveer Singh established himself with one film - Band Baajaa Baaraat - and became a star overnight. People cannot get Bittoo out of their heads. Ladies vs Ricky Bahl was decent and he is busy shooting Lootera. He talks about being a star, staying grounded, following his dreams and preparing for his roles.

Lucky me

I have been very lucky to have got to work with Yash Raj Films. I believe it is the best studio and facility in Asia; I feel blessed to have been mentored by Aditya Chopra and Maneesh Sir. Anushka has taught me so much as an actor.

Reel identity

I had to attend a workshop to get out of Bittoo. People loved him so much and I am glad that my first film had such a strong connect with audiences. So it took me a seventeen-day-long workshop to get out of Bittoo!

Family support

When I am shooting, I disconnect from people. I don’t talk to my family for days at a stretch and my phone is off. I am totally into the character. That is why I am choosy about my roles and want to do different roles. My family understands my working patterns now and they support me. They keep me grounded.

Grateful to granny

I am an actor because of my grandmother (dadi). She put or identified the acting ‘keeda’ in me when I was a child. She would make me watch Sholay and tell me to act, sing, and dance; recite poetry and do such performances in front of people. Her name was Chand and I am very grateful to her for the gift she gave me. She is not here today, but I am what I am because of her.

First love

I love acting and I truly enjoy it. I feel blessed to have got the opportunity to live my dreams. I am very real; still the person I used to be. I hang out with my old friends and live with my parents. Life has been good and is getting better. I am learning every day.


It’s not London Ishq!
Yash Chopra’s movie still remains untitled

Despite repeated confirmations that Yash Chopra’s film still remains untitled, large sections of the media continue to call it London Ishq. This is completely baseless, inaccurate and detrimental to the film. Unfortunately, several individual denials on the part of Yash Raj Films have also gone unheeded. However, the YRF spokesperson thanked those who have responsibly put out the true status after checking with them, while requesting those who haven’t, to please stop calling it by this name.

The shooting for this yet untitled film, starring Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma, started in the third week of February in London and has created a huge buzz all around. The film also brings together the award-winning pair of AR Rahman and Gulzar, who along with Yash Chopra, are working on creating some wonderful and meaningful music. The film is scheduled for a Diwali 2012 release. The title will be announced as and when it is decided.

Colin Farrell to play Sir Lancelot
The legendary British knight on screen
Colin Farrell
knight time: Colin Farrell

Horrible Bosses star Colin Farrell is in talks to portray mythological British knight Sir Lancelot in a fantasy film adaptation of King Arthur legend.

Warner Bros is looking at reviving the film after initially canning it over budgetary concerns.

The 35-year-old Farrell, known for his films like Phone Booth and In Bruges, is slated to star in the movie as King Arthur’s most trusted knight. David Dobkin will helm the period drama. The Killing actor Joel Kinnaman was initially cast as Lancelot opposite Kit Harrington.

Arthur & Lancelot isn’t the only Warner Bros movie focused on the King Arthur era. Filmmakers Guy Ritchie and Bryan Singer are also working on their own adaptations of the British history.


Eva shares her secret

Hollywood actress Eva Mendes says she gets beauty advice from her mother and credits her for making her appear sexy. The 38-year-old said the best beauty tip her mother ever gave was to only wear one fragrance, so it becomes her signature scent. “My mother said that you should only wear one fragrance so it becomes yours. Angel is my signature scent, as it represents the modern, sexy, independent woman,” Mendes said. The actress, who is famous for her mole on the left cheek, said her beauty secret is a lip balm she found in Australia.

“I discovered a lip balm while visiting a friend in Australia, so I stocked up on it! It’s one of my beauty secrets. Nude lips are a must for me. It’s really natural yet stylish,” she said.


Vanity Af-Fair
Vanity Fair, getting better with each passing year, comes back with the best in fabrics and accessories
Vasudha Gupta
Choose from a variety of hats
Choose from a variety of hats

It’s that time of the year again. The starched white kurtas, the high stilettos, the buffoons; the ‘excuse me please’ and ‘please watch your step’! It’s only getting better each time. The Vanity Fair comes back with many more air-blown kisses, giggles, bargaining offers and some serious sense of style, which Chandigarh rarely takes pride in. On till Sunday, here is a peek-a-boo into what’s hot and what hotter!

Suited to perfection
Raghav displays his collection
Raghav displays his collection

Heavy embellishments, gotta-pattis, embroideries, Lucknowis, chiffons, and everything else a garment can be slit and stitched up to; think of colour combinations, pinks and oranges put together, greens and maroons, and of course the classic black and white. Between the heavy embroideries and a palette-full of colours, there was the fragile chantelle shimmering with sequined work, which shone through. Nergisse and Veena from Mumbai got not only the pastel lacework, but also a lot of Parsi Gara Sarees along. Breaking the ‘oh-so-loud’ colours of Punjab was also the Lucknowis brought by Raghav’s Spirit from Lucknow. “I have a lot of cutwork and appliqué work,” Raghav says, biting into his lunch. In Western attire, Mama India takes the cake. In her heavily accented voice Karishma Bhasin shares with us, “I am mainly into exhibits and exports. My work is a mix of fusion and traditional.” Yes, we figure out with dark ganjis, Indo-western salwars and the revealing jackets.

All things bright & beautiful

Between the high-priced goodies and dripping diamonds, there was a splash of colour - all kitsch and bling! “It is the latest concept we have introduced,” shares Priya Jagat, the woman behind the fair. Desi, Indian and very cool in its appeal, the section is distinct due to the picks and the yellows bursting out of it. Jalebi Binnies, with an equally bright stall looks like a painter’s wild imagination. “We are basically into clothes, jewellery, products in all possible colours,” Ruchi says. Itum Bomb, another stall, gives tough competition on colours. Emerging like a silent beauty, FYH, makes its impact. “We are into hand-crafted, coloured consoles and hope to revive the Victorian art from,” smiles Rajan Nanda, through his shades.

Bags & shoes

If clothes get talked about how can the accessories be left behind? Glimmering like diamonds in the summer sun, the bejeweled clutches stack up one on top of the other, eyeing attention. Sunanda Verma’s bags and shoes have women topple over each other and not far too behind is Essemm from Mumbai. For the first time in Chandigarh, Sachi Maskara shows her spring-summer collection of footwear. In the brands which seep in, the sudden burst of pink hurts the eye. Namrata Kumar Couture Accessories brings the brights for the arm candy.

The love garden

Not only in terms of fashion, the Fair has taken a leap in bringing the best for the garden to adorn your home. Gaurang from Delhi brings pretty looking lanterns and stepping stones to make sure your green is much more than flowers and petals. Taking cue, Simply Classic, also into garden accessories, brings forth hand-painted glass, lights, mirrors and trays for your outside space. Log Arts takes the cake with interesting wooden bar consoles and garden chairs. So if its beers, barbeques, NGOs, the lovely fragrances, the pearls, bows, pinks and stones you are in for, this is not to be missed, yet again.

Dark temptation
Ashima Batish
Chocolate gets a new look
Sweet something: Chocolate gets a new look

Two good things seldom happen simultaneously - Hot Chocolate Shot on the table and Sachin Tendulkar taking off for the 100th run of his 100th century! So, forgive the hangover because after this it took us so much time to decide what should be tasted next - Mango Tango, a blend of mango, white chocolate and vanilla ice-cream or Spanish Latte. It’s quite a googly for us till some help is provided by a colleague sitting on the chef’s end.

“Try Spanish Latte, it will bowl you over.” We take the delivery of suggestion quite seriously; stir the heavy mix of chocolate and milk before drawing a sip at the just launched Chocolateria San Churro in Sector 9. Trust us - it deserves a round of applause.

The chocolaty affair continues - each dish getting better than before. The best delivery that made us fall flat is Churros Medio, a classic Spanish treat. Garry Sawhney, co-partner turns commentator and adds to the facts, “Each ingredient is imported from Spain, even milk and sugar. To cook churros, we also get olive oil from Spain, just to ensure that the flavour of our speciality remains same across the world.” Ninety-nine per cent of the dishes in the menu have chocolate as the base ingredient. That one per cent doesn’t matter here as well!

In India, while dark chocolate is more popular than the white form, he is confident that the white chocolate they are offering might change people’s perception. For those, who are very diet-conscious, sugar-free chocolates are also available here.

What comes as a complete bouncer is the pricing! The chocolate cubes, which were as pleasant as the full toss, cost rupees 70 each and the churros dish starts at Rs 175. Still, for chocolate lovers it’s a win-win situation because this is the only eating joint that promises 40 per cent cocoa butter in its chocolates. That calls for a hi-five for sure. 

The Foodies
Liquid asset
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Food itself is enough to entice a food lover, but when combined with drinks, it’s all the more better, and music only adds fuel to the fire.

Lava bar at Hotel Taj-17 is one such place that combines all three. Having started a concept called a Liquid Buffet, here you can drink like a fish for you can have unlimited drinks from a selected bar for Rs 1,499 per head.
Music & Masti: Andre

While you can have your fill of cocktails, mocktails and hard drinks, you can make your choice from kaali, a gingerale-based mocktail or Lava green, another refreshing mint base mocktail.

If you want to go for cocktails than Aah ki, a lava special blend of spirits, is one drink you must try.

In hard drinks you can choose from single malt whisky, Glenlivet (12 yrs, 15yrs, 18 yrs) and Glenfiddich, blended Scotch whisky, JW Blacklebel, Chivas regal, Vodka Absolute and Grey Goose. In Rum, Bacardi and Angustora are there and in Gin you have choices like Bombay Sapphire and Blue Riband. Last but the most loved, in Tequilla you can go for Camino and Sierra.

Well, that was for drinks but lending a musical note to the evening, Taj has live performances too!

And performing some hit English numbers is Andre; a singer with a deep baritone voice.

Though he is no big name in the industry but his voice is sure to enchant you and leave you wanting for more.

Singing hit numbers from Johnny Cash to Pink Flyod he adds charm to the evening.

So enjoy!

green thumb
Shade-y issue
Satish Narula

Most flowering annuals are specific to open cultivation for want of maximum sun. The shade part of the garden remains a perpetual problem area and is most of the time deprived of beauty.

There are a few flora that thrive both in shade and sun. However, the gardeners can go in for a few species that lit the area where these are placed. They can live for a long time even in the shade provided they are given good sun before the flowering starts. Klanchoe and poinsettia are the right choice for such locations. Klanchoe bears brilliantly coloured blooms in the hues of red, yellow and orange. The flowers are borne at the top of the plant in clusters so much so that if a group of plants is kept side by side, only flowers are visible at the top and the plants are not. The plant is easy to propagate by way of cuttings or even from a leaf. The water requirement of the plant is also very less and thus could be a good choice for those living on upper stories. Klanchoe does very well under shade but their performance is best when exposed to the sun in the early stages that initiates good flowering. Later, when the flowering starts the pots can be kept in shade for long.

The other plant with the same kind of nature as that of Klanchoe, is Poinsettia. It also needs good sun in the early stages, less of water and has capacity to thrive under both sun and shade after the bracts have appeared. Poinsettia too comes in varied hues like red, pink, yellow and even white. The brightly lit ‘leaves’ that appear at the top of the plant are colourful bracts and not the flowers. The flowers are small yellow in colour and almost insignificant. Although these are small but in some colour combinations with bracts, they give good contrast. The bracts develop better colour pigmentation when exposed more to the sun. The colour development starts in the month of November and by the end of December they are at their best. At that time these can be kept indoors too for quite some time. Inside the house, however, they should be watered very scantly.

Both the above species are easy to multiply. Whereas the Klanchoe can be multiplied almost at any time of the year, Poinsettias are better multiplied during May- June when these are supposedly dormant.

(Narula is a PAU horticulturist)

Birthday gift for Abhay

Abhay Deol turned 36 on March 15 and his birthday gift was a movie from Prakash Jha. Abhay has replaced Abhishek Bachchan in Chakravyuh and the film also stars Arjun Rampal and Manoj Bajpai.

Prakash Jha says that Abhishek's casting in the film was a rumour and he has signed Abhay for the lead role because he is perfect in it. Abhay is maintaining a fine balance between offbeat and commercial cinema.

Chakravyuh has come at the perfect time for Abhay. His film with Bipasha Basu titled Singularity has been stalled and there are some things to be sorted out for his film with Dibakar Banerjee, so he has dates to spare. Shanghai is ready for release and Abhay will begin working on Chakravyuh close to or after its release. Chakravyuh is his second mainstream film since 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara'.

For his birthday, Abhay went out for dinner with girlfriend Preeti Desai and his friends.

He isn't into noisy parties and bashes. He isn't a fan of celebrating birthdays and doesn't have a plan for life. Abhay goes with the flow and does things his way.

Chakravyuh is a cop drama. Arjun is training in Parkour for the same. It will be interesting to see the talent of Manoj, Arjun and Abhay merge on screen in 2013. 

Kashmera robbed again!

As if being robbed two months ago in Delhi wasn't enough, firebrand Kashmera Shah got robbed all over again, this time in Los Angeles. And as strange coincidence would have it, the robbery took place once again from her car.

Having recently sold off her plush Jaguar, the actress was using a rented car in LA. She was out on a dinner with Pooja Batra in the Studio City area, where the gorgeous ladies nibbling on one of Kash's favourite foods, sushi; when God had some naughty plans up his sleeve!

Even as Kash was telling Pooja about how she got robbed in the capital sometime ago, a robber smashed one of the window panes of her rented car parked outside the restaurant and disappeared with a portable GPS device on her dashboard and a bag containing her boots!

Oof! Aajkal ke robbers bhi na… joote bhi nahin chhodtey. Lol. Last seen, Kashmera was laughing at the police station, filing another complaint amidst bemused faces of firang cops, who weren't aware that she got robbed the second time round in two months.

Kash later gushed, "Maybe, the thief needed my GPS system and boots more than me! But if he had tried his luck in front of me, then he'd have been in real trouble." — HRM

Tweetie pie

Neil Nitin Mukesh


Taken an off from shoot for 5 days to spend with my nephews. Taking them to goa. Haven’t been on a family holiday in 3 years.

— Hey, do some work, or else you will have to spend all the time with family.

Preity zinta


Cannot figure out Y grey haired men in their 50’s call my mom AUNTY ! I think Mrs Zinta would be apt, right ? Or is It da Filmy Mommy curse!

— No Preity, the men of all age groups should also call you aunty.

Sonam Kapoor


Its really upsetting when the credit for what you do is taken away from you and people pass it off as their work.

— Not a good idea to talk of yourself on a social networking website Sonam.

Amitabh Bachchan


T 685 - India breathes normally ..!! Sachin completes an incredible feat !! A hundred 100’s .. Never done before, perhaps never after !!!

— Wish the century had added to the joys of a victory.

Mallika Sherawat


Havin a wonderful, spiritual conversation with my friend Alex Avant:)

— Mallika, spiritual has a lot to do with concepts and issues which are far beyond your understanding. Please, let’s see an item number.

Madhuri Dixit-Nene


Check out my website blogzine for an exclusive video from Madame Tussaud’s unveiling!

— No one is really keen, Madhuri. No one likes to see “mature actors” in wax.

(Compiled by Vasudha Gupta)

Star track

Guy who cries

Actor Mark Wahlberg says he is an emotional guy and often cries while watching movies. The Contraband star, who has children Ella, eight, Michael, five, Brendan, three and two-year-old Grace with wife Rhea Durham, said he even broke down watching a family film recently.—PTI

Generous Bips

Bipasha Basu has bought her parents a lavish 3 BHK apartment in Bandra in suburban Mumbai, pretty close to her own residence. Her sister stays with her and she even sponsored her foreign education. Such a lovely girl!

Family love: Bipasha Basu

Leisurely life: Sonam Kapoor Tech freak

Playing host: Dino MoreaSonam Kapoor has said that she is addicted to technology and it makes her life convenient. Her next film is titled Herogiri and has been produced by her sister. It is based on a book.

Leisurely life: Sonam Kapoor


Dino Morea had gone to receive Sunny Leone at the International Airport in Mumbai. They both are acting together in Jism 2, which Morea is also co-producing. They were also photographed together.

                                                Playing host: Dino Morea

Chatter box

An actor’s take
Pooja Gor feels Indian serials are too melodramatic

Confession box: Pooja Gor

Pooja Gor aka Pratigya talks about her TV quotient—her TV viewing habits, her favourite shows and more.

How much time do you spend watching television everyday?

I hardly get time to watch television as I am on 
the set shooting 12-14 hours a day. When I reach home, I simply want to 
eat and sleep. When I have an off, I do surf channels and check out stuff on television.

What are your favourite shows and who are your favourite personalities?

I don’t follow serials but I like watching Balika Vadhu when I can and I check out my show Pratigya too. I usually end up viewing English shows like 30 Rock, Gossip Girl, Glee and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Among personalities, I like Surekha Sikri who essays the role of Dadisa in Balika Vadhu brilliantly.

What do you love and hate the most about Indian serials?

I feel there is too much drama in our serials. It is an overload of melodrama which can be reduced. We go overboard. I wish we tone it down and make some realistic shows. I hope the upcoming shows are more real. What I love about serials is that, the common woman who doesn’t step out of her house for entertainment gets her daily dose of fun on TV. I am glad to cater to her and entertain her.

Your take on Indian news channels…

There are way too many Indian news channels but there is a lack of good content. I wish they would focus more on news elements and social issues not indulge in sensationalism.

Your earliest memories of Indian television…

I remember watching Ramayan, Mahabharat, Malgudi Days, Chitrahaar etc. It used to be fun to wait for your serial.

Your dream role on television…

None, as I never wanted to be an actress.

Good host: Arjun Bijlani Arjun’s diary

Arjun Bijlani is enjoying hosting Road Diaries on UTV Bindass. He is loving the experience and learning loads about the country. The concept of taking five youngsters from Mumbai to the Himalayas while fulfilling their wish list got him going.

Good host: Arjun Bijlani

Aashka Goradia Spooky experience

After Shubh Vivaah, Aashka Goradia has been signed on for another project. She will be seen in Sahara One’s Haunted Nights. The show has got good reviews and the next story starring her starts on Monday. The story is about a husband and wife who stay in a possessed house.

haunted tale: Aashka Goradia

This Haathi is a poet too

Dr Haathi aka actor Kavi Kumar from Tarak Mehta Ka Oltah Chashmah loves to write poems and stories in his free time. He is planning to publish his book. “I love to write, people think that my hobby must be eating but it’s not true. My name is ‘Kavi’ and that has surely given inspiration to my life and I love writing. Whenever I get in the mood I start thinking and start writing immediately,” says Kavi kumar.
                                                         poetic musings: Kavi Kumar

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: Your health could be worrying you a little, so it would be wise to see a doctor. An interest in alternative lifestyles and travel to interesting places may give you the impetus to attend a festival. Tarot message: Don’t do anything at the cost of health. Time will heal all pains and wounds. Lucky colour: Cherry Red. Magic number: 43

TAURUS: A sudden improvement in your fortune is indicated. Workmates will be rather aggressive. Emotionally you could be easily disturbed. This could be a time for sweeping changes. Tarot message: Lack of persistence can be disastrous in business matters. Lucky colour: White. Magic number: 47

GEMINI: New attractions are likely to become serious. Do not hold back anything from your boss. Talk to your counselor before confronting your partner over joint resources. Tarot message: Don’t waste an opportunity by being rash or impulsive. Lucky colour: Turquoise. Magic number: 44

CANCER: Women, do not go for idle gossips. A new project will get the go-ahead and so, engage your attention single-mindedly. A female colleague could push your buttons. Avoid getting in their path and maintain a tactful composure. Tarot message: Keep your eyes on the future. Lucky colour: Fiery red. Magic number: 28

LEO: This is a hazardous day for speculation. Pace yourself, since your energy level can be low. Take some time out for meditation to disengage from the thoughts that keep churning up. Tarot message: Don’t do anything at the cost of health. Time will heal all pains and wounds. Lucky colour: Lotus Pink. Magic number: 33

VIRGO: Get your affairs in better order. Problems can be resolved without any major stress on your side. Travel to different places for inspiration. Tarot message: Be positive; you can make things happen out of the most unlikely circumstances. Lucky colour: Peacock blue. Magic number: 36

LIBRA: Good day for negotiating contracts. Stars favour import and export. You are unlikely to get much chance to relax. Women, beware of deception. As the day progresses, things will be sorted out if you are willing to be honest. Tarot message: Do not be in the rush to spend money. Lucky colour: Silver grey. Magic number: 54.

SCORPIO: Your card The Magician casts smiles on health. Useful day for discussing long-term plans. Your energy levels are at a peak. Some might be busy packing for a journey, so be prepared for well-wishers. Tarot message: Spend time meeting experienced people. Lucky colour: Crimson. Magic number: 37

SAGITTARIUS: The Queen of Swords reveals that new love attractions are likely to be serious. If you are shopping for a gift, make sure you stick to your budget. Tarot message: Be positive; you can make things happen out of the most unlikely circumstances. Lucky colour: Brown. Magic number: 56

CAPRICORN: A day of mixed luck. Your patient stand will begin paying dividends. Today’s New Moon is in solar ninth house. Any projects connected with study, travel and cultural pursuits will be very satisfying. Tarot message: Don’t try to end all the deadlocks at one go. Lucky colour: Ebony. Magic number: 25

AQUARIUS: You may find the day quite tiring. Businessmen, avoid making any important business move. A new romance is on the offing. Try not to rely on anybody else to help you achieve your goals right now. Tarot message: Do not allow trivial problems haunt you. Lucky colour: Deep red. Magic number: 28

PISCES: Today, no speculation please. A relative may behave in a rather unpredictable way. Set your priorities. Early morning surprises can turn into afternoon achievements. Tarot message: Capitalise on your strength and do not trust others. Lucky colour: Forest green. Magic number: 32 

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is March 18...

Your negotiating skills will benefit you. If you’re willing to make minor adjustments here and there, you will not only look flexible but will be able to get your larger interests pushed through. Mars and number 9 make you highly ambitious, dignified, independent, courageous, outgoing and an enthusiastic person. You are a born leader and you have no trouble in motivating and leading others. Don’t wait till the last minute. If you work as an employee, be more willing and helpful towards your superior. Act in a timely way to avoid problems. This year you should not be too generous with your time and money.

Once you have been betrayed, you may find it hard to be so trusting again. If you want to do something right, you should do it yourself. You may no longer feel so secure in a place that used to be comfortable. Your confidence and morale will be high and you are likely to win favours. New partnership will be lucrative and investment will yield profit.

Small demands may make you feel like you are running in circles but it will be short lived. Money is definitely a topic of discussion and a need but keep a strong rein on spending if you can. Take initiative and be the responsible one. Use the opportunities that come your way to improve your earnings and living standard. You will strengthen your position in your social circle.

This 2012-13 is full of pleasant surprises. Suddenly things will start moving in correct direction and you will accomplish a lot. You will be working for a big event. Participating in cultural activities will be educative as well as entertaining. Friends or relatives can be a problem if they are having trouble with each other. Stay out. Emotional discussions with a friend are likely.

You will be more receptive to therapies, and you will find solutions to your health problems. A year of eclectic, varied encounters, with a few standout characters that become new friends.

Mood: Filled with ‘lofty ideals’

Compatible signs: Aries, Cancer

Lucky colours: Pale green

Lucky days: Wednesday and Friday.

Lucky numbers: 5, 11, 15, 21, 80

Lucky gem: Red coral and yellow sapphire

Lucky flower: Yellow rose.

Suggestion on birthday: Donate Sooji, sugar and ghee to religious place or distribute halwa to poor.

Alisha Chinoy (March18, 1972) known as the Indian Madonna, her song Kajrarey Kajrarey (Bunty Aur Babli) was a hit and Alisha won her first Filmfare Best Female Playback Award. Alisha’s initial foray into Hindi music was through her album Jadoo, the music for which was composed by Anu Malik. She also had another album titled Baby Doll. Though number 9 is quite supportive to her career but the sum of her birth date i.e. 4 which spoiled her marital status. 

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