Beyond boundaries
Filmmaker Arvind Daman Singh is unconventional and she is proud of the fact. In Chandigarh for an oral history project, she intends to record people's history of Partition & much more
Nonika Singh

A still from Arvind's film
A still from Arvind's film

“I am a born flirt." Arvind Daman Singh neither squirms nor blushes when she unabashedly states her love for the unconventional. But then this US-based lawyer-turned-filmmaker's eyes are not set on the members of the opposite sex. Rather, more often than not, she is flirting with danger and controversy. As she looks from behind the camera, its contentious issues and concerns, usually brushed under the carpet that seem to catch her attention.

Often her love for adventure gets the better of her and armed with a camera she sets about recording actual incidents. Why for one particular documentary she chased the ambulance of a fasting activist Leslie to get her footage! Taking immense pride in being a visual anthropologist, she states, "My approach is more research-oriented and more systematic."

Back in Texas, where she lives and from where she did a course in anthropological film-making, Cinema Verite i.e. direct cinema is what her experimental way of filmmaking is called. What it means is that in most of her films she neither uses interviews nor narration, and films people as they are and as they actually converse. Indeed, since many of her films deal with controversial matters, gaining access is not easy. But more often than not it works.

Interestingly, in her last film A Dream Lost in Dream she had the gall to turn the gaze inwards and used her own family as a subject to reinforce how dreams go sour in alien shores. She recalls how making this film was an incessant struggle between the mother, wife and director in her. Eventually all three won, but recording the predicament of her family going through the low phase of recession wasn't easy. But then making documentary films never is. Not even in the US, where documentary-making is treated at par with independent cinema. Funding too is a tricky terrain and many a time she ends up spending her own money. She reasons, "See, it's like this - either I film history or I go around looking for funding."

Nevertheless, rewards do come when her films are screened during academic conferences and in classroom settings. Children anyway are her prime concern and much of her work is about the impact of violent conflicts on women and children.

In Chandigarh for an oral history project, she intends to record people's history of Partition. Fascinated by intriguing facts, she wants to record how two villages Kakda and Malerkotla have disparately different takes and tales to tell on the cataclysmic event. Yet another project too is wrapped up in history and will explore the link between state and religion. Taking off from the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur, it will be based on the play Suraj Da Qatal, writer by her father Davinder Daman, a well-known theatre-person.

Whatever be the issue, her prime objective is to humanise the issue and to create empathy. Objectivity she feels is a highly overrated value as, "no one can be truly objective." In fact, at the very onset of her filming she lets her stand and her perspective be known. That is not to say she believes she has the last word on her work. On the contrary, for her, "Audience is a very important collaborator and I leave it to their judgement to take home their own interpretation."

One day she hopes the world will notice her as a cultural broker, as someone who can help shed blinkers about different cultures and civilisations. Till then she is happy submitting herself completely to her work, shooting, editing (often for 32 hours!) and researching, which anyway is the backbone of her work.

Fact vs fiction

Though by and large Arvind Daman Singh's films are based on actual footage, every once in a while for sensitive issues like teenage problems, human trafficking etc she does employ the tool of enactment. Between fact and fiction, she asserts, anyway the lines are fusing fast.

Being emotional

Arvind Daman Singh has no problems with those who think women directors are emotional. She shoots back, "Being emotional is a positive quality not some vice." However, she does not let it affect her professionalism. Besides, her films are no tear-jerkers. Rather, she believes in the Brechtian theory of alienation and in not letting catharsis happen there and then.

Basic approach
Despite the huge success of Jatt and Juliet, actor-singer Diljit Dosanjh says acting happened by chance and his heart was always with his tunes...
Jasmine Singh

Diljit Dosanjh
singer first: Diljit Dosanjh

He doesn't go bonkers hearing praises that are being showered from all corners off-late; he never thought of jumping from a building when things weren't going too well. It has always been an even ground for singer-actor Diljit Dosanjh!

After the mega-success of Jatt and Juliet, this handsome, turbaned actor still gives a blank expression when you call him a hit. "I feel strange when someone calls me an actor," he smiles, like a man who is oblivious to his great feats.

In Punjab to perform at a show, Diljit stretches his vocal chords after three years, cutting an album Back 2 Basics, which is already topping the music charts. "I have never gone far from my roots and with Back 2 Basics, I connect with it again. The album has 'typical' folk songs sung with traditional instruments. This is my way to connect to what I actually am — a singer," he says.

I will die if I don't sing

The only thing that he is sure about is his passion for singing. Diljit has given record hit songs Lak 28, Panga and the process is on. "I live music; I am nobody without it. Acting happened by chance, which also consumed a great deal of my time. Then one day in Mumbai, while I was commuting, I began humming. The autorickshaw guy looked back and said, "Why don't you try singing. You can be a good singer. That's when it hit me that I hadn't sung for so long. Back 2 Basics took a fairly long time and I am glad that people like it," adds Diljit.

Actor by chance

Jatt and Juliet was declared the super-hit Punjabi film of the year, but when you ask Diljit he has no qualms in sharing that he didn't act at all in the film. "This is how I am. I did not put in any effort to slip into the character. I don't know nuances of acting or anything about the camera. In fact, I would be told to look into the camera and say my dialogues as I would be looking elsewhere," he smiles. Albeit Diljit is shooting for Jatt and Juliet 2, he still rates music as his life and soul.


"I would see girls in my class admire senior guys who would wear a turban. This is how I developed a notion that maybe girls like turbaned guys. And I still feel so," shares the actor, who does something most celebrities would never admit to doing! "I have saved pictures of some boys on Facebook who dress up really well. I copy their style," he adds.

Feet on the ground

Diljit enjoys success, but he doesn't go overboard with anything. "I have seen people around me change after becoming successful; this is always the case. When an artist is not doing well, he is written-off and when he does, people flood him with appreciation. Nothing should be taken seriously. Believe in yourself and keep moving in life, do the work you like and find your growth in it," he says.

A rocking affair
When Rakhi Sawant and Miss Pooja get together on the sets of soon-to-be-released Punjabi movie Pooja Kiven Aa, the atmosphere has to be electrifying. We dig in more…
Manpriya Singh

The noise and the commotion at TAO, Sector 26, Chandigarh, couldput an industrial fan to shame; no, it is not a Saturday night, but the set of Punjabi film Pooja Kiven Aa that was in progress! Clear hierarchies and random helping hands run through the site. All this was coupled with an army of assistants; there’s a larger-than-life statue of Buddha in one corner and it’s all falling into place till someone remarked, “It’s a set up for an item song starring Rakhi Sawant.”

Respect her or ridicule her, the self-made woman has mastered the art of being talked about and when it’s Rakhi Sawant, she’s worth the wait.

Breaking barriers

We’ve heard of a Punjabi track fitting in a Bollywood film, but an item song in a Punjabi film is a first. “Punjabi cinema is as it is breaking so many barriers and if an item song fits in the script, why not? It’s not a concept restricted to national cinema,” Nidhi Sharma, director, justifies. She adds, “It’s a story of three boys and an out-and-out comedy. I suggest that the audience keep their brains behind at home when they come to watch this film. The script cashes-in on the confusion throughout.” There’s a promise of a laughter riot and a guest appearance by a “very big Bollywood name.”

Item list

The lady enters wearing a black gown, which more likely resembles Bedouin robe, falters with the Punjabi greetings and asks to be excused for ten minutes before revealing bright pink and lime green look of the song. Hasn’t she had enough of item numbers? “As an artist I want to do everything. Moreover, this is not an era of Hindi film industry where once you do a certain role you’ll get typecast and not given other kinds of experimental roles.”

Speaking of which, experimental roles that is, the typical characters of Punjab are welcome with open arms. “I’d love to play a Punjabi village mutiyar wearing Patiala salwars and parandi and walk around in the sarson ke khet. I’d really love to do that.” Is there anything left? After the state, perhaps the Capital! “This time, I’m staying in Chandigarh for three days. I’ve been here before though.” But this once, there’s a festive timing! “No, I’m not fasting because there has to someone to keep the fast for.”

She laughs, “But yes, I can keep Karva Chauth for Salman Khan since I adore him.” The opinion and attention shifts to B-town, “I like Kareena Kapoor and congratulate her on her wedding. We met recently and posed together for the media too.” We bring it back to regional cinema. Has she seen any Punjabi movies or know any artistes? “I know Daler Mehendi, there’s Neeru Bajwa and we meet cordially; then there’s Sukhwinder Singh, Hans Raj Hans and of course Mika.” She winks, clearly signifying it’s a faint memory now!

Act wise

The songs, the movie and even the name of the character is dedicated to her. Everything else is self-explanatory and perhaps that’s why she refuses to elaborate. “The movie releases in February, so I fear I might end up revealing too much, but I play a very self-centered girl.” The comedy as a genre, she says, “It’s not too difficult to attempt, if you have the right script and guidance.” A combination that she hopefully gets right this time after the debut Punjaban and Channa Sachi Muchi. She nods, “When those movies released, it was not the peak time of Punjabi cinema. At times production and at times promotion, if anything is lacking, it’s difficult for a movie to do well.” Which is why, singing remains her first love. “It’s due to singing that I have everything, including the movie offers and all the adulation of fans.” Post the movie Cocktail, four songs in Masti II await as also a song with Mika!

star track
Straight talk

Anushka Sharma is a talented actress who is also quite well-spoken and entertaining in person. She talks about her image, her films and more.

Dream role

I was over the moon when I was signed for Jab Tak Hai Jaan. It is an honour to be directed by Yash Chopra at such a young age and thank God for this opportunity. I had to keep myself calm and composed even though I was so excited to do this movie! I knew of him since my early days but we spoke properly during the making of this movie. He was so caring and considerate. He even cancelled a shoot one day in Ladakh because I was not well and kept checking on me personally.

Favourite directors

I feel blessed that I am only 24 and I have worked with Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra, and Vishal Bhardwaj already. I am honoured to be working with Rajkumar Hirani too. Maneesh Sharma has also contributed greatly to my career and I am also working with Anurag Kashyap on Bombay Velvet. Touch wood!

Singularly happy

I am single and I am happy. I have read those stories about Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor fighting over me but they have not showered me with that much attention! They should clarify all this, not me. I am single and happy!Anushka Sharma

No weight issue

I am naturally thin. I love my body the way it is. I do not have weight issues. People keep thinking and writing that I have anorexia and what not. I am genetically and metabolically blessed. That is it. It is difficult for me to gain weight. Why doesn't the media go after people who are not losing weight? I am fit and I have loads of energy. You never read about me fainting and stuff. I work out and eat well.

Right image

I like my girl-next-door image and it is working in my professional life. I am getting roles that are better than I can imagine and people love my work. I love acting. My character in JTHJ is really strong. I play a documentary filmmaker named Akira so I wear vests and cargos and hang out with the boys. She doesn't believe in love. This second-lead thing is absurd. I have an important role in the movie and thank God I am part of the movie. It was literally an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Candid Chat: Anushka Sharma

Aseem Trivedi accuses Salman

Salman Khan with Aseem Trivedi
Friend turned foe: Salman Khan with Aseem Trivedi

Controversial cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who was the latest to get evicted from Bigg Boss 6, turned against host and actor Salman Khan. He blamed Salman Khan of misbehaving with hair stylist Sapna Bhavnani. After eviction when Asem was called out of the house, he seemed to share a great rapport with Sallu but all this is for the reel. Reality is they are not so friendly.

Apparently, Aseem did not have any good things to say about Salman and he blamed his host for misbehaving with Sapna.

Trivedi said, “Salman Khan misbehaved with Sapna. When he overstepped the line of decency, she obviously retaliated. But then, any self-respecting individual would have done the same thing. I and Sapna were constantly talking about corruption and women's empowerment inside the house, but after coming out, I was zapped to learn that none of those things were telecast. Even Sapna`s comments on Salman were edited. When she comes out, she will be so upset that she wasted so much of time for nothing. These guys lied to us. We were told, 'you will not have to do any naach gana and you will just have to put forth your views on revolution, society and corruption’. But it was all humbug!"

Sapna called Salman ‘woman beater’ after he insulted her on the show.

Danger zone
Sunny Leone is the most dangerous celeb in the virtual world

Sunny Leone
Red Hot: Sunny Leone

Porn star and Bollywood actress Sunny Leone has emerged as the most dangerous celebrity in cyberspace, as searching for her on the web is the most risky.

In a study conducted by McAfee, Leone topped the list with 9.95 per cent chances of luring people into clicking on malicious links.

According to a research done by McAfee if you search the name Sunny Leone, it will lead you to malicious websites. These websites are designed to steal personal details and passwords of the user and will also infect the computer with dangerous viruses. The websites will not fail to rip you off all your information causing your computer system utmost harm.Sonakshi Sinha

Aunty Number 1!

Sonakshi Sinha looks way too mature for her age. She has gained weight since she joined the industry. She says she won't wear revealing clothes and do intimate scenes but we have to say that some of her dance moves in the movies she has done are quite cheap and sleazy. In this new actress, the uncles of the industry have finally found their aunty! And let me not get started on the quality of her movies! She is simply a decorative item in them.

Cheap thrills: Sonakshi Sinha

Love story Prerna Wanwari

Actress Prerna Wanwari of Bandini fame is dating Khalid Khan, a creative director for TV and cousin of Eijaz Khan. Sweet! It is such a small world. They have been going steady for a while now. The young actress is also going to be an international presenter at a popular and respected awards function in the US.

Going steady:
Prerna Wanwari

chatter box
Know the real Sonarika

the right role: Sonarika

Sonarika is enjoying the role of Parvati in Nikhil Sinha's Mahadev. The immensely popular show has given her a great platform and fan base. The actress in her teens talks about working in the show and her learning experiences

How is it working with Mohit Raina?

Mohit is a senior actor and I respect him a lot. I have learnt a lot from him. He is a wonderful co-actor and makes everyone comfortable while shooting. But he is an introvert and doesn't talk much.

Was it easy doing the fight sequences in the show?

I love action and whenever I used to see my favourite heroes jump and fight I would want to do the stunts. So while shooting for Kaali and Durga avtaar, was like a dream come true. I was very excited and learnt a lot especially sword fighting, which was amazing.

How has playing Parvati changed your life?

Playing Parvati is a blessing for me. I am very happy that I took this decision. The way people have reciprocated is amazing.

Wearing elaborate outfits must be very time consuming. How much time it takes you to get ready?

About one and a half hour for hair, make up and costume. Initially it took around 2-3 hours but now we are used to it and it has become a habit.

How are you in real life?

I am a normal 19-year-old teenager. I am Mumbai girl. I love eating and reading and spending time with friends and family.Angad Hasija & Drashti Dhami

The showstoppers

Drashti Dhami and Angad Hasjia for the first time performed together for a stage show and paid a tribute to legendary film maker Yash Chopra. They danced to the popular songs from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and his other films. As both of them love to dance, it seemed like they had fun during the event.

two to tango:
Angad Hasija & Drashti Dhami

Aishwarya Sakhuja Another Sandy sufferer

Aishwarya Sakhuja aka Toasty from Saas Bina Sasural had plans to go to New York but had to cancel them due to hurricane Sandy. After her recent illness, she was looking forward to some fun vacation but now is grounded in Mumbai.

GROUNDED: Aishwarya Sakhuja

Health’s not an issue

Ankita Lokhande Ankita Lokhande aka Archana of Zee's Pavitra Rishta is unwell with stomach infection but as episodes of her show have to be shot she has put up a brave face and has been shooting. Doctors have advised her rest for a fortnight but sources claim she took a day's break and was back on sets.
IN ACTION: Ankita Lokhande

Soaked in festive fervour

Rashmi Desai Rashmi Desai was to start shooting for her return to Colors' Uttaran on November 2 but when she realised it was Karva Chauth she asked for a break on that day. She wanted to spend time with her husband Nandish Sandhu. The production team obliged her and soon she will be seen in the 1000th episode of the show.

The game is on

In Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Akshara has had enough of Antara's antics and will decide to teach her a lesson. In the upcoming episodes, during the Dhanteras puja, she will challenge Antara to do all the work. 

A true workaholic

Karan Kundra Karan Kundra, host of Gumrah-End of Innocence, is unwell these days. He is down with food poisoning and high fever. Yet he has been shooting with the help of energy drinks. Apparently Karan is so busy that he doesn't have time to go to a doctor.

time crunch: Karan Kundra

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: Now is the time to try your luck in speculative deals. Those employed will be burdened with additional responsibility without any incentive. Domestic compulsions will make your life uneasy today. Tarot message: You need to cultivate understanding and humility. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 36

TAURUS: Social events will be a positive stimulus for you today. A trip out of town might be on the cards and take you away from your lover. Hobbies and extra-curricular activities will gain extra momentum. Tarot message: Resolve conflicts through discussion. Lucky colour: Skin. Magic number: 29

GEMINI: This is a perfect time to start practicing independence and cultivating the habit of letting go of issues. Planning for investment? Push extra cash into a safe scheme. Tarot message: Keep a close watch on any niggling health problems. Lucky colour: Copper. Magic number: 34

CANCER: Think twice before you start spending your cash on a whim. You will meet an interesting person today. Teenagers: love stars twinkle. Efforts bear fruit. An Aquarian friend is supportive. Tarot message: Boost your confidence with positive thinking. Lucky colour: Maroon. Magic number: 33

LEO: You need to honour yourself first and foremost. Your plans for the day can be changed by others. An opportunity to work unsupervised will enhance your performance and lead to promotion. Tarot message: Impatience will lead to failure. Lucky colour: Blue. Magic number: 30

VIRGO: A most tiring day if you have to work. Be willing to change your behaviour. Think of the positives and you will finish the day with a smile on your face. Women: emotionally you may be feeling rather insecure. Tarot message: Competition will push you to do your best. Lucky colour: Red. Magic number: 44

LIBRA: You are inspired today. An issue that is troubling you should be addressed. Love life sparkles. Health is fine. If you have been thinking of buying a pet, this is a favourable day for getting one. Tarot message: Concentrate on what is truly important. Lucky colour: Purple. Magic number: 32

SCORPIO: Friendly vibes and thoughts of romance bode well for singles. Internet dating might be the way to go. You will be in a mood to find fault with people who are dear to you; curb this habit. Tarot message: A caring attitude heals old wounds. Lucky colour: Grey. Magic number: 46

SAGITTARIUS: No matter how much you love your partner, do not compromise on things that are important to you. Relationships are based on give-and-take, so make sure you go both the ways. Tarot message: Do what is right and watch your best interests. Lucky colour: Coffee-brown. Magic number: 50

CAPRICORN: Be unbiased and you will profit in the longer run. Relatives will be difficult to get along with. In the evening there is an exchange of ideas with someone who means much to you. Tarot message: Take limited risks with you capital. Lucky colour: Burgundy. Magic number: 63

AQUARIUS: Gossip at the workplace can cause unexpected problems. If you work in an area where there are language barriers, be extra careful of misunderstandings. Health can be problematic. Tarot message: You find within yourself a fountainhead of a will-power. Lucky colour: Saffron. Magic number: 59

PISCES: Think wisely before you start spending extra cash, as there may be a surprise around the next corner. Politicians draw flak. Do not avoid responsibility. Keep-off travel plans. Tarot message: Do not let anyone take advantage of you. Lucky colour: Yellow. Magic number: 48

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is November 7...

Your loyalty is tested and you may find that someone you trusted has betrayed you. A younger associate may be at odds with an older, confident person, placing you in the middle of a power struggle. It's hard to play, as being neutral will just work against you. Use your charm to foster better relations at work. Get organised!

Messages may be subtle, with hidden meanings meant only for you. Follow your intuition and pay closer attention to your dreams. A secret romance is on the cards. Don't fall for flattery. Partnerships are stimulated and legal matters are supported. It seems as though you simply can't please anyone, so stop trying to please everyone. However, you are entering a beautiful new phase of creativity and ego-boosting romance!

Being number 7 and Scorpio, you seem to have plenty of willpower. The darker side of life intrigues and you are always ready to investigate. Scorpios simply never give up. They're not in the slightest intimidated by anybody or anything. Confrontations are not a problem. Trauma seems to follow them wherever they go. They possess amazing regenerative powers - the power to heal, create and transform.

In January, 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 communicative skills and be as flexible as possible. If you address the emotional appeal, a once-damaged relationship can flourish once again. 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 and somewhat 'off the mark'; be patient with a Capricorn person.

Year end plans will include travel. Seek expert advice before you make any financial commitments, especially if you intend to invest in the stock market. Your health will generally be fine. Support and co-operation from elders as well as seniors, both in your family and the professional front, will be of the highest order. If you want to make a serious point, this is not the ideal time to do it.

Mood: Slightly judgmental.

Compatible signs: Aquarius, Leo.

Lucky colours: Dodger-blue, Grey.

Lucky days: Monday and Friday.

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

You share your birthday with Nandita Das (November 7, 1969, Delhi), who is the daughter of noted Indian painter Jatin Das and Varsha, a writer. Nandita is an award-winning actress best known for her roles in Fire (1996), Earth (1998), Bawandar (2000) and Aamaar Bhuvan (2002). As a director, she is known for her debut Firaaq (2008), which has won a number of national and international awards. Nandita will be more successful in 2015 as a director due to the imaginative Moon's position in her birth-chart.

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