Rooted yet flying
Eminent Bharatnatyam dancer Geeta Chandran might epitomise the dynamic vocabulary of Indian classical dance, she is dead against trivialisation of tradition
Nonika Singh

Without a doubt acclaimed Bharatnatyam dancer Geeta Chandran, with a dimple in place, is a beautiful woman. But once she gets talking, her striking good looks move into the background, it’s her sharp incisive mind and clarity of thought that holds your attention.

Indeed, her big eyes still say a lot… but speak in a language of passion and abiding commitment to her muse. As she stands as a bridge between tradition and contemporary, often between different art forms too, she echoes the words of renowned dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy, “You take a handful from the river of tradition and offer it back.”

So while her dance choreographies might represent themes as diverse as female foeticide, gender discrimination and of course Gandhi based on whose principles she brought a dance piece to Chandigarh, she guards against mindless change.  She says, “One can’t compromise on tradition. Innovation can only begin once one has mastered the tradition.” She rues that sadly dancers today under pressure from market forces and the need to survive are swayed by the kuch naya karo fad, even before they have begun to understand the ABC of tradition.

Sure she agrees that nothing remains the same, only, “You can’t lose the cultural context of what you are saying.” So whether she revisits the myth of Kakei and Dropadi or creates a new myth by way of Mythology Retold or a piece set to western classical music, all of it, she insists is rooted in the basic movement of adavus.

Indeed, translating abstract themes in the idiom of codified Bharatnatyam isn’t a cakewalk. In the choreography on Gandhi which tackles six major aspects of Gandhi’s beliefs, she shares how the most onerous part was bringing alive Gandhi’s spiritual facet.  She must have sieved through hundreds of pieces by Kabir before zeroing on the one that reinforces Gandhi’s faith in how God dwells within us.

Interestingly, when asked to do a piece on Gandhi, to begin with she was a trifle circumspect. But once she agreed and browsed through writings on him, the piece that makes no value judgments gelled beautifully. At Gandhi Rama Conference at JNU, New Delhi, where it was premiered, so awestruck were the audiences that they even forgot to clap. She adds, “Even in classical music you can at least have a CD but dance is just a moment.” That’s what makes it fragile. Indeed, she feels classical dance is under threat for, “The way things are, the choices and the options that today’s generation has, few will opt for dance where the gestation period is rather long, as a full time career.”

What made this Lady Shriram College graduate in mathematical statistics pursue it single mindedly? She laughs and attributes it to her gender, “Don’t we women end up doing what we want to?” Not all?  She agrees, “Guess, I had a fire in my belly.” And it’s that fire which continues to add luminosity to each one of her dance piece.


Fit to dance

There is no one way of doing things.” Well, this yardstick Geeta Chandran not only applies to her dance choreographies but also to her physical fitness regimen. Stressing the need for dancers to keep fit, especially with growing years she asserts that dance practice alone won’t suffice. So she not only does yoga but often hits the gym too.

Heritage bound

The Padma Shri recipient, who is on the governing body of many an institution, Geeta Chandran’s prime time concern is to make the Gen Next sensitive to arts. Stung by the lack of pride among the youth in all things Indian, she avers, “Let them reject their heritage but not out of ignorance. Let them be exposed and thereafter make an informed decision.”

The culinary king
Celebrity chef, Rakesh Sethi, talks about his love for cooking and how he got started
Sabia Talwar

healthy way: Rakesh Sethi

As he recounts his gastronomical journey, every instance from the past stands witness to his love for cooking. Celebrity chef Rakesh Sethi comes calling to Chandigarh, on Sunday, to promote his latest outing as a mentor to Spark Punjabi’s Big Punjaban participants. Says Rakesh, “I basically belong to Delhi, but for the past two years I have been residing in Mumbai. Cooking has been a part of my life since my childhood days.”

We wonder when he actually began mastering his culinary skills. “When I was young and my mother used to rest, I and my brother used to prepare something innovative and that’s how I identified my hidden passion for cooking.” Rakesh joined the hospitality industry in 1982 after graduating from the Institute of Hotel Management, New Delhi and polished his skills working with many reputed hotels.

It was in 1980’s he got his first job at Centaur Hotel, Delhi and at that time Asian Games were going on. “I wanted to do better than my co-employees and everyday was a new challenge for me.”

When Rakesh opted to become a cook, it was not considered a high-profile job. “But now times have changed. Nowadays, chefs can break or make an image of a hotel.”

So, it’s not weird for him when he compares a white plate to a canvas and colourful ingredients to colours. Health food is lately catching up, what does he have to say about this? “Health food can be scrumptious too. You cannot have fatty foods all the time. I have an inclination towards health foods and the trend is really catching up, which is good in a way.”

In 2000, he got an offer from Star TV to do a show titled Mirch Masala which was aired for ten years. “While I was doing the show, I travelled a lot, which helped me learn new things about regional food,” he signs off.

A new beginning…

Punjab and its youth caught in drug snare has troubled young director Gaurav Sharma time and again. His second Punjabi film, announced on Sunday, Inquilab 2012 deals with the same theme. Having worked on the subject in his previous film Sapolay, Gaurav has been wanting to address the issue in a full fledged movie. With Inquilab 2012, which goes on floor on October 20, he fulfills his dream.

"Drug abuse has far reaching consequences. This is what I want to warn the youth about, with my film," says Gaurav. The lead is played by Rajinder Singh Marshal (he is also the producer), while Jazzy Loharia plays the negative lead. Set in a rural background, it took Gaurav well about a year to gather facts and attitudes around this menace.

"This film comes with a message that a common man has the power to change the set up," says Gaurav. Having worked with TV serials like Tumhari Disha, Sathi Re, Kumkum and Bhabi, this arts graduate has learnt filmmaking on the job. "I have worked as assistant, associate and chief director for many serials and documentaries," says Gaurav, who relocated back to Chandigarh after a seven year stint in Mumbai.

"Opportunity brought me back to my hometown and I am happy for it," says Gaurav, whose only regret is not getting to work with Anurag Kashyap. "I am fond of his work. I often applied for his production house, but working with serials left a little chance and time on hand." In Inquilab 2012, he aims at bringing something experimental like Anurag's works.

Quick take

Ring Ka King has been an amazing experience for Jazzy Loharia who has been continuously occupied in Punjabi, Haryanvi and Bhojpuri films. Having done more than 400 music videos and a few serials, he is a busy man with high hopes from Inquilab 2012, "I was in Mumbai when the script was narrated to me. It's going to be a revolutionary effort to free Punjab from drug menace."

Evil designs
Ashima Batish

The God of Oh My God got lucky. He didn't have to wear the heavy metal jewellery to affirm his status as God. He got a relief from huge headgear, curly, shoulder length, unkempt hair and flowing outfits. The God, Akshay Kumar looked dapper in Raghavendra Rathore's creations. And why God should be deprived of easy and stylish clothes! Haven't human beings progressed from animal skin and heavy silks? On the same lines, students of INIFD, Sector 8, have worked on the looks of Ravan.

No experiment has been done with his moustache, a trademark of the biggest villain in Indian mythology. A welcome change comes in the form of light weight metal sheet. You can cut on a few grams but not on the bling part! Damini Sawhney, a student designer shares the details, "On the sheet, embossed are images of Lord Shiva and Kuber. There are also 64 lotuses engraved on it, which depict all the art forms Ravan was an expert at." To make it a bit more grand, studs and stones have been generously used. All in all, the outfit is practical for the Ravan to be, Sunil Sharma to carry on stage. Pankaj Bhardwaj says, "Accessories were used to accentuate the look but at the same time, we wanted to ensure that it doesn't get difficult for him to perform on stage." Thus there is an anklet, earrings and handbands to complete the look."

Gujarat at your door step

Artefacts from Gujarat

Gurjari, on at Lajapat Rai Bhawan -15, brings a fabulous range of handlooms and handicrafts of Gujarat to Chandigarh. From typical bandhani saris to colourful puppets, it brings the culturally rich state alive. At the very entrance is a heavy brass statue of Ganesha (only Rs 1,07, 000), though the range of brass knick knacks starts from Rs 70.

Must see is lovely trousers, capris and three fourths, solid colours with a bit of mirror work on bottom, they offer comfortable wear (Rs 350 onwards). Block print from Bhuj, ganji silk saris in fine bhandhej, readymade kurtas from Ahmedabad are here too. As is the traditional jewellery (do check big, broad bajuband in silver base with gold polish).

One can fetch traditional daris, brass lamps, idols, door decorations and more. If you want to stock on to bulk gifts there is a range like folders for Rs 100 or a pair of multicoloured puppets for Rs 120.

On till October 28. — TNS

get physical
Set realistic goals
Vishal Thukral

Aerobic exercise is believed by many scientists to be the single best predictor of weight maintenance. You can even lose weight without exercise by reducing your caloric intake, but it takes a regular dose of exercise to keep your weight off. Somewhere between 30 to 40 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days per week is probably the right way to do.

Keep it simple

Write down what day (s) of the week you’ll exercise, what time of the day, minutes of activity, location and the activity you’ll do.

A simple plan might look like this …. The first and foremost thing is that the apparel you choose to wear should be loose fit, so that there is adequate provision for free flow of air. Take a 20 minute brisk walk early in the morning or evening. You can add some abdominal crunches and push ups.

Record keeping

Keep records of your weekly progress. Then at the end of the month, you can evaluate your progress and see if any changes need to be made. Most of us who exercise regularly can understand that exercise can elevate your mood. The list of studies show that aerobic exercise prevents or reduces the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases.

Eat right

Ideally, the day should begin with a low fat, energy boosting breakfast, the main meal should be taken at lunch time, and the final meal of the day should be relatively light. However, many of us are likely to wait until evening for the main meal. If this is the case, try and eat early enough to allow the body time to digest – two or three hours at least. If you go to bed on a full stomach, you are likely to wake up sluggish and muzzy- headed. Body clocks and metabolic rates vary from person to person, so we get hungry at different times. When and how often you eat also depends on lifestyle and activity level. Some people prefer four or five light meals a day, others feel better with one or two largish meals a day, supplemented by snacks.

(Thukral is an aerobic fitness trainer)

star track
Walk the talk

Close up: Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone is one of India's glittering sweethearts. The actress gets candid about Ranbir Kapoor, feeling lonely and her family.

On Ranbir Kapoor

Ranbir and I had a great relationship and now we are absolutely great friends. We are very comfortable with each other and honest too. We are not pretending anything. After the break-up, we did not talk but I got over my anger, hurt, and grudges and today we are friends. I take credit for the friendship we have today. We will always be special to each other. Ayan Mukerji cast us because he saw that we genuinely got along.

Home alone

I feel lonely all the time because I am living without my family in Mumbai. I have been working non-stop too and I run my household and have to do everything single-handedly. I come home after shooting to an empty house and have no one to talk to. I chose this life though because I knew my parents can not move to Mumbai with me.

Daddy’s dearest

I am very attached to my family. My daddy is the perfect gentleman and men like him are not made these days! He misses me and so he asks my mother to call me or if she has spoken to me. They want to come to Mumbai to meet me and I feel bad because I am working all the time and cannot give them much time. They are happy to meet me just for dinner too. They raised me, teaching me the difference between right and wrong. They never hit or yelled at me.


The wedding planner

Maid of honour: Gauhar Khan 

Gauhar Khan always ends up being a wedding planner for her friends' weddings and she looks into all the events, the costumes, the functions, favourite things, needs, guest list, etc. We hope she finds a groom for herself too, amidst all this planning!



Net loss

Yaami Gautam 

Vidya Balan and Yaami Gautam have impostors on Twitter. The two fake people have been chatting with fans and industry people and also posing as the actresses, who are in shock and have informed everyone they know that they are not on social networking sites as yet.


Yash Chopra down with dengue

Bollywood veteran Yash Chopra, who has been admitted to a hospital in Mumbai, is suffering from dengue, the filmmaker's spokesperson said. Chopra, 80, was admitted to Lilavati Hospital on Saturday after he complained of weakness.

"Mr. Yash Chopra was admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with an attack of dengue. He has been kept under observation. He is feeling much better and should be home soon. Thank you all for your concern and best wishes," the spokesperson of Yash Raj Films said in a statement.

The veteran filmmaker has been busy shooting his last directorial venture Jab Tak Hai Jaan. The film is slated for a Diwali release on Nov 13 and will see Shah Rukh Khan romancing Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif. Chopra is known for making hits like Daag, Deewar, Chandni and Dil To Pagal Hai. —IANS 


‘Bookies’  of B-town
Bollywood celebrities are not as shallow and dim-witted as we are sometimes made to believe. Many of them are dedicated bookworms. We bring you a list of books that actors have recommended over a period of time. Which one appeals to you?

Character sketch: Shah Rukh Khan 

Read and right

Shah Rukh Khan: King Khan carries his kindle everywhere and has more than three-thousand books on it. He spends a lot of time in his library. It was Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night Time that helped him prepare for his autistic character in My Name is Khan.

Back to the classics

Arbaaz Khan: He may love cricket and sports but he also likes to read. The producer loves The Godfather by Mario Puzo and has read it a couple of times. That is quite something, we tell you!

Flip art

Neil Nitin Mukesh: The brown-eyed actor likes motivational books so his favourite is You Can Win by Shiv Khera. He has read it several times because he loves the positive and uplifting wisdom in the book. Moreover, he likes to watch films that are made on books after he has finished reading them.

Like mother, like daughter

Kajol: Kajol reads all the time and her daughter has also picked up the habit from her. She reads teenage fiction and finds Harry Potter series quite well-written and intelligent.

Bookish charm: Soha Ali Khan 

Signature touch

Soha Ali Khan: She loves to read. She's always reading some book. Her favourite is Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. Luckily, she even bagged a role in Deepa Mehta's adaptation of the book. Interestingly, when Rushdie got to know that Soha likes the book, he gifted her a signed copy with a personal note.


The world’s a stage…

Item girl: Sameera Reddy 

Sameera Reddy has done a saucy item song in Prakash Jha's Chakravyuh. She enjoyed it and it should help her bag more stage shows! She has done item songs before but this is touted to be her best so far.


Festive timing

Rising up: Raveena Tandon 

Raveena Tandon acted in a film directed by Sudipto Chattopadhyay and the film has won her the best actress award at the Houston Film Festival. It has also got good reviews at the Chicago Film Festival. Way to go!

Jessica Alba refuses to strip

No show: Jessica Alba

Hollywood actress Jessica Alba insisted on a body double for her stripping scenes in Sin City 2. The 31-year-old actress is not happy with her body after having two kids and had a stand in used for the more provocative scenes, reported a magazine. "She was crushed when filming began and she didn't have her original body back so she told producers that she wanted a body double. Her body is incredible, but for her it's not good enough," a source said. —PTI

Couple of gifts
Raj Kundra pampers Shilpa with a flat in Noida

Push present: Raj Kundra with Shilpa Shetty 

Raj Kundra time and again makes Shilpa feel special by endowing her with precious gifts. It was not very long ago that Raj gifted Shilpa a flat worth Rs 7 crore at Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world in Dubai on her birthday.

And now the businessman husband of Shilpa has bought a flat for her and the baby in Noida. A source told, "He had been visiting Noida frequently. Obviously he had been checking out properties there." Apparently, Kundra wanted to surprise his wife and the baby with a present which he has been planning for a long time.

Raj recently thanked Shilpa for her stardom status where he said that being married to a celebrity is quite a privilege as one gets a VIP treatment wherever one goes. Shilpa and Raj are blessed with a baby boy and they named him Viaan.

chatter box
The best in the list

MOVIE MENU: Daljit Bhanot 

Daljit Bhanot, who plays the lovable Anjali in Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon, is a huge movie buff. We get the pretty actress to list her all time favourite movies.

Notting Hill

Notting Hill was the perfect romance between an ordinary man and an extraordinary woman. Normally in movies it is the opposite, the guy is well to do while the girl is a common person. Besides that Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts are my favourite actors and that’s why I love the movie even more.

Andaz Apna Apna

This movie is the best comedy ever. I believe that Aamir and Salman Khan created history with this movie. Also Paresh Rawal’s double role has to be mentioned, his performance was outstanding. I can’t even recall how many times I have watched Andaz Apna Apna.

The Mummy

I remember bunking college to watch The Mummy. At that time, there were not many sci-fi movies so The Mummy was a must watch.


I am a big fan of animation movies and Shrek is my absolute favourite. I liked the original Shrek the most. I keep watching the movie often and my hushband Shaleen tells me to stop but I don’t.

When love threatens... 

Being popular and gorgeous comes with a price, this time it is having a stalker! Recently TV actress and host of the upcoming show Superdude, Madhura Naik started receiving calls from a private number repeatedly, according to a source.

The stalker claims to have fallen in love with Madhura during the auditions of Superdude. Things became really uncomfortable for the lass when besides the calls there came in letters and even an engagement ring. The stalker resportedly stated in letters that he didn't want to hurt anybody, but would do anything to get Madhura.

Madhura was quite terrified thinking he is watching her at all times," said the source. A terrified Madhura was contemplating getting help from the police, but the calls and the gifts stopped and she dropped the idea of taking any action. We wonder how Madhura’s boyfriend Karan Kundra deals with all the attention his pretty lady gets from her admirers! 

Getting the steps right

just dance:Ahem

Though Ahem on Saath Nibhana Saathiya plays a Gujarati on the show, he isn’t so in real life. The reason why he got nervous when he had to rehearse dance steps for a Dandiya event. No doubt he worked hard and got them right. Let’s hope that he remembers all his steps and we get to see a great performance by this talented actor soon.

Mind over money

It’S DIFFERENT:Shama Sikander

Shama Sikander, who has returned to TV with Sab TV’s new show Baalveer feels she wants to do good work and money isn’t a criteria. She stayed away from TV as nothing excited her and focused on her designing business.

But after her last fantasy show Seven, guess Baalveer hooked her. She is loving the work she is doing now and hopes to get challenging roles in future as well. She is happy not to be a part of a family drama.

A modern twist

A broadway musical version of Ramayan will soon unveil on Life OK. Producer Wizcraft Has roped in Bollywood celebrities for the same. Ajay Devgn will be the sutradhar, while Swanand Kirkire will write lyrics, Shankar Mahadevan will compose music. Called Ram Leela, this version of Ramayan will have Rajneesh Duggal playing Ram.

Tough time for Karan

ALL’S NOT WELL:Kunal Karan Kapoor

When Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha on Colors ended, everyone was sad. At the same time, actor Kunal Karan Kapoor fell ill. He was diagnosed with dengue and was hospitalised. Though he’s home now but a bit weak. Well, we hope he recovers soon as he has season two of the show to shoot in January.

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: Sacrificing today can put you in a far better place in future. Any kind of real estate transaction should not be started. Sudden travel could disturb certain plans. Tarot message: Go easy with spending because rational decisions made at present will help in future. Lucky colour: Black. Magic number: 60

TAURUS: Speak your mind to your beloved to clear any kind of misunderstanding. Domestic issues come up for urgent consideration. Have no worries your work is well under control. Tarot message: Don't be too certain about obtaining a permission. Lucky colour: Ebony. Magic number: 42

GEMINI: Talk to superiors regarding any issues and see what they can offer. Romance is likely to rule your mind. Sportsmen may feel restless. Confide in a friend; take time for out from work to feel relaxed. Tarot message: You need to take things slowly. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 62

CANCER: Today you will be in an enthusiastic frame of mind. Loss through speculation is on cards. Family matters can blow up and get out of hand unnecessarily. Tarot message: Change the status quo both at work and relationships by voicing your feelings. Lucky colour: Silver grey. Magic number: 29

LEO: Trying to get some time for yourself could be the hardest thing today. Relax and a try to be a little more tolerant. You will find fault with people who are dear to you. Tarot message: Follow your instincts and don't hesitate to act accordingly. Lucky colour: Purple. Magic number: 30

VIRGO: Teamwork is the key note of the day and will make tasks easy. Home life will be pleasant. Check your car before you set out for a long journey. Keep control on intake of drinks. Tarot message: Draw on your positive energies to move from thought to action. Lucky colour: Rusty. Magic number: 64

LIBRA: Relatives will be sensitive and difficult to get along with. Do not get involved in any land deal. Emotions have to be controlled. No pain no gain. Look after yourself now, and you will avoid problems. Tarot message: Confrontations needs to be managed with care. Lucky colour: Royal blue. Magic number: 59

SCORPIO: You will be happy in the company of your friends. It is a good time to strengthen ties with partners. Handle property matters carefully. Some of you could be suffering from financial insecurity.

Tarot message: You must realise that it's important to live your dreams. Lucky colour: Crimson. Magic number: 41

SAGITTARIUS: Relax; there is no work pressure at all. Friends will be easy going and willing to fall in love with your plans. Property matters are highlighted. A romantic alliance is likely to blossom by the evening. Tarot message: Do not let anyone get the advantage over you. Lucky colour: Burgundy. Magic number: 46

CAPRICORN: A good day to get things done by people in power. Family affairs run along smoothly. Take a look at why you are putting up with the situations you do not like. Tarot message: Be determined and increase your self confidence. Lucky colour: Forest green. Magic number: 25

AQUARIUS: Making a spontaneous trip can fill a need for variety. Students will get down to their tasks and creative hobbies. Businessmen can expect help from their clients. Tarot message: Win the war with honesty, not by distorting facts. Lucky colour: Crème. Magic number: 27

PISCES: Tendencies for manipulation or revenge should be controlled. Believe in your own worthiness. Right day for investment in property. It is time to formulate your goals and pursue them.Tarot message: Trust your heart and intuition rather than confusing yourself. Lucky colour: Yellow. Magic number: 43

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is October 15...

Your birthday falls this year on the last day of Shradh Paksha, known as Sarvpittara Shradh. Do remember your ancestors if they left for heavenly abode on this Lunar Tithi or any unknown date in any year. Donate some thing to the society in the name of the departed souls.

You're a live wire on birthday with abundant energy. There may be times when you'll find it hard to sit still, and you'll certainly be happy to move around. You're feeling competitive, making you want to thrash your opponent if you're taking part in a sporty or athletic activity. But don't go overboard and injure yourself.

You have an enormous amount of emotional and physical resilience, and it would be a shame to waste them. You might be inspired to take out the paintbrush at home or do some painting or to sort out some old belongings even though this will bring a tear in your eye. This is also a day for defending your beliefs and standing up for yourself.

You may be headstrong and reckless. However, it would be much better to think about things first, because that will save time later. If you believe you've got things under your control at the beginning, think and check again. You'll never regret having firmed up what you think you know. Then, priorities are more than a matter of what's most pressing or profitable. You'll be loquacious and a superior will be pleased at the way you express yourself. If you work in a team or closely with others, you'll have to use all your communication skills and be as available and flexible as possible.

If you address the emotional appeal, a once-damaged relationship can once again flourish.  Better wisdom directs you to construct an open doorway instead of a barricade.  If you are still unable to fully open your arms, you can still be more giving and forthright.

You are prone to making judgment calls too fast; be patient with Capricorn, Virgo, Sagittarius and Libra. You will make a good decision about your family and it may involve spending on a grander scale of some kind. Weekend plans may include travel. Be more realistic and don't jump to conclusions. Seek expert advice before you make any financial commitments, especially if you intend to invest in the stock market. Friends are most helpful, especially for those of you who are running short of time. Mood: Slightly judgmental early and then creative and eager

Compatible signs: Aquarius, Leo

Lucky colours: Blue, grey

Lucky days: Monday and Friday.

Lucky numbers: 6, 9, 15, 21, 22

Victor Bannerjee (October 15, 1946, Calcutta) appeared on a number of TV series, has worked for prominent directors like Jerry London, Shyam Benegal, Satyajit Ray, Roman Polanski, James Ivory and David Lean. In 1984, he acted as Dr. Aziz Ahmed in David Lean's adaptation of the book A Passage to India. He acted in Merchant Ivory Productions Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures and Satyajit Ray's Ghare Baire. He has also dabbled in Indian politics, and was once a parliamentary candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from West Bengal.

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