Soul music
Jasmine Singh

Singing is like meditation for Kanwar Grewal. It is in every word he says, every line he hums...

Walking straight out of his world where nothing is defined; those loops hanging from his ears, a blue saafa tied neatly around his head, the man in a strong blue coloured kurta pyjama sits amidst curious onlookers and those who would be scrapping every bit of his existence. Kanwar Grewal, the singer, the Sufi; the malang we think we know too well (thanks to the YouTube videos on his live singing shows) does not flinch, prying eyes don't cast any spell. Nothing can distract him from the bliss of the present moment.

Mauj Fakiraa di...we see him! "Singing is meditation for me; all I wish is eh maujan chaldian rehan," he shares with no extra effort to make it gel with his image.

A man who was lost in the dark alleys discovered himself once he met Mira Bai, a fakir in Malerkotla, Punjab, who he refers to as bebe. A friend suggested that he should go to her kutiya at least once. "I knew I wasn't coming back," he says. He did not return, stayed back; singing and composing songs sitting at her feet while bebe would break into a dance with her ghungroos creating a mystical sound.

"Songs come from the soul and music is created in the brain; if music is mediation how do I talk at length and breadth about it," he says looking wherever he wants to. Today when Speed Records releases his second album Jogi Naath, you expect Kanwar Grewal to talk about it gesticulating, making symbols with his long fingers; something he have seen a Darvesh doing. There is no drama here. "Why do I have to do any drama after all," he is seriously curious to know. "There is an inner journey that takes me wherever it has to and I move along. This is one journey that no one can touch, no one can take away."

Student of MA Music in Punjabi University, Patiala, doing background score for theatre plays, Kanwar left everything for the journey that changed much and created even more. Now, more than once, he has to come face to face with gods other creations as well, who wouldn't probably see the mysticism. "It doesn't affect, I am okay with everything — with flak, with criticism. I am not lying, no sham; I am open to everything," says Kanwar dealing with the momentary criticism regarding an objectionable word used in his song. "This is how you understand and it can be very different from how I do."

Living with and living along with something you totally believe in is a challenge. And the next big challenge is to be unfazed by the temptations around. "I am alive from inside, I am aware of things. Besides, whenever I go back to bebe, the energy around is positive, I am shielded," he adds. Kanwar Grewal will soon return to his own world, to his bliss.

Loud & clear
Ashima Batish

Singer Aman Trikha, who has to his credit hits like Go Govinda, Po Po and Hookah Bar, believes in hardwork and leaving nothing up to chance…

The problem with Bollywood is that it typecasts and seldom breaks rules. A formula hit film is followed by similar pot-boilers, a hit item number brings in a deluge of them; an actor who does a few high flying stunts gets the tag of an action hero! "A singer with a hit peppy number in his account gets flooded with offers and ends up singing more peppy numbers," says Aman Trikha, who has to his credit hits like Go Govinda, Po Po, Hookah Bar and many more similar tracks.

After two years of being a part of it, Aman is now resolute to change the industry's perception about his singing style and is ready to release his first romantic single — Mahiya Tu Hi Tu.

On a fleeting visit to Chandigarh recently, he speaks about his life post the celebrity singer tag was attached to him and what a simple life he lived before that! "I was an engineering student and it was in the first year of my graduation that I discovered my singing talent, after I performed at a couple of college festivals." Then there was no looking back. More college festivals happened and so did several performances. An academic degree landed him in a management firm, where he worked as a business development manager for a year. "I realised this was not it and began the rounds of studios. I auditioned and even faced disappointing times, before I got the big break."

The shelf life of a singer is very short. Like others singers replaced Kishore Kumar, Udit Narayan… someone will replace me as well. The sound of music keeps changing; it will change in the next few years, generating demand for new singers. I don't want to leave anything to chance or time.

Aman's life changed after he got selected as one of the contestants of Sur Kshetra, a reality show that saw participants from the across the border as well. He won the show and life changed for good. It started with Go Govinda and is going well, especially with a romantic single on the anvil. "There was a time when singles and independent music sold off the shelves in no time. It was the era of Alisha Chinoy, Hari Haran and Sonu Nigam, before Bollywood overshadowed every other genre of music." With Honey Singh's single already a rage, and actor-singer Ayushmann Khurana too taking to singing big time, he thinks the time is right for those like him to showcase their talent…minus Bollywood films. "I am lucky to have finances but those who don't even release their music with labels, do it on YouTube. There are ample opportunities now, provided one wants to utilise them."

His album has been produced by Crescendo, the production house responsible for catapulting the careers of Mika, Mohit Chauhan and KK. "Production houses are ready to back you once they are convinced with your talent."

He does not a have a degree in music, but Aman is a now a professionally trained singer. He pursued lessons in singing with Ustad Maqbool Hussain Khan of Rampur Sahaswaan Gharana after he quit his job. Some finances for the production of the album also came from his bank, a move he doesn't regret. "The shelf life of a singer is very short. Like singers replaced Kishore Kumar, Udit Narayan…someone will replace me as well. The sound of the music keeps changing; it will change in the next few years, generating demand for new singers. I don't want to leave anything to chance or time."

Next on the cards is a track from Kanchi and a song for a Marathi film. In-between he rendered his voice to a song from the Punjabi film, Risky Munde. Like he says — he doesn't want to leave things to chance!

Sweet cadence
Jasmine Singh

Singer Yuvraj Hans has a soft voice. So is his music. In Chandigarh, he shares notes…

The rumblings in his heart create a beautiful sound that only he can hear. He plucks notes, carefully; vary of the fact that this is the most delicate thing. Days are stretched to months, but he cannot take any chance. "It is a matter of utmost importance," says Yuvraj Hans placing his hand on the heart.

"Somewhere, I don't know exactly where, all my songs are here, they live here and I nurse them well," he is still slowly patting his heart. Yuvraj Hans, his trademark moustache twirled just right, sun-glasses hiding his eyes, comes to Chandigarh to perform for an NGO Teach A Child at SD College 32. Giving back to the society is the bottom-line for this event. "I feel the blessings of my parents and god all the time; when I see my fans shouting, cheering me, I feel humbled and I want to spread this joy as far as I can," says the singer-actor whose voice is as soft as is his music and image.

He smiles, "I really don't know what my image is - I think I fit into romantic roles well," he adds. Sufi Sufi naina and now Wafaa, Yuvraj's new single will soon be hitting the music scene. Is it another soft number? "I don't categorise music, it comes when it has to and how it has to; the mind has nothing to do with it."

Yuvraj Hans will also be seen in the upcoming Punjabi film Mr and Mrs 420, which is a romantic comedy. But our buck stops at the word comedy. Why the overkill still? Yuvraj doesn't hide his concern. "I can see that Punjabi cinema is not doing as well as it was. I am worried. What we need right now are good directors dedicated to films, producers who understand the content and scripts," he adds. Although he sounds soft and malleable, the singer-actor has another side to him. "Not many know about that. I am passionate about life in general, about my work; when I work, time loses existence. I want to work on different subjects. As an actor, I would want to experiment with my roles," he adds. Yuvraj's next film is action-oriented. "I am not changing my image with it, as an actor I am changing my frame that's all," says the actor who falls back on his father Hans Raj Hans and brother Navraj Hans for advice. "I am closes to them first and then my mother, she makes sure I have my head on my shoulders," he signs off.

They mean business
Poonam Bindra

It was an afternoon session of exchange of ideas, solutions and challenges at Mont Blanc in Park Plaza when the Fab Forum from the Fabwomen foundation held a meet for the businesswomen of the town. Anchored and guided by Neha Singh, the editor of UK-based Fab Magazine and Nimrit Gill, the India representative, the participants had an intriguing blend of seasoned business women like Ripi Chhatwal from the beauty business and Vijay Dhingra from the house of cosmetics, Swastika from Cake Square, Mukata Sharma of the Idea showroom and Ballie Kler, a Nursery school owner and Sonu Gandhi, from a fashion house.

Fab Women Foundation creates a support system for women entrepreneurs, which promotes the 'business' mindset. "We work to build sustainable business for women. It is our firm belief that challenging and changing existing mindset will increase individual success and collective influence of women in society," says Neha Singh.

This open forum will also help women-led enterprises, female leaders in the public sector and in the corporate sectors. For the enterprising ladies this 'hand holding' initiative by the Fab Forum was rather intriguing and beneficial too. Harpreet from Ficsher's Furniture said, "Such forums can be useful for helping each other."

Fab has also partnered with Reliance Capital as well as the National Entrepreneur Network and government agencies like MSME to help women to sustain and scale their business. Keeping the number of participants at thirty, Fab has held forums in 12 cities across India and two more are on the anvil. "We hope to make it a regular initiative," said Nimrit Gill.

Fiery taste
Manpriya Singh

Barbecue is one of the oldest methods of cooking, but if you are a novice, then experts are here to help you out

Chefs demonstrate how to make a perfect barbecue

A barbecue is as close as you can get to playing with fire, some smoke and not getting burnt. Throw in some food, call friends over and it's the perfect way to celebrate the winter chill with sizzling platters.

There is an unusual activity at Barbeque Nation, as the chefs are gearing up for a live demonstration on how to barbeque and getting ready for an array of beginner's questions. "The best thing about barbecue is that it is one of the oldest methods of cooking. It is also the healthiest way you get your food as it lets the natural juices of the meat flow," shares Chef Shamsher Gill, the executive chef.

While the method of cooking immediately conjures up the image of various meats, there's enough to make it favourable among vegetarians. Shares Chef Taranjot Singh, "Apart from the regular mushrooms, cheese and pineapple, there's guava, jackfruit, broccoli, zucchini and cucumber that adapts well to barbecue."

Traditionally speaking, a barbecue is a slower method of cooking where the heat is imparted indirectly through the smoke of a wood fuelled fire.

While a charcoal barbeque might be complicated to maintain, but it lends a smoky flavour every time you grill and the fact that it has the feel of some real fire. The practice might be getting popular by the day, nevertheless there's a lot that needs to be put in place for a perfect experience. Shares Shamsher Gill, "First thing is that charcoal should be properly burnt. The entire process needs patience. Only properly burnt charcoal lends the smoky flavour to the food. The marination too should be done properly. While red meat would need a lot of time, chicken is ready in two hours…A fruit doesn't require beyond 15 to 20 minutes."

Do it like a pro

With the sauces in place and cutlery arranged, just when you are ready to grill like a pro, a couple of commandments for the perfect barbecue experience.

  • Store charcoal in a dry place. Charcoal absorbs moisture readily and won't burn well if it is damp.
  • Always use tongs or a spatula when handling meat. Piercing meat with a fork allows delicious juices to escape and makes the meat less moist.
  • If you partially cook food in the microwave or on the range, immediately finish cooking the food on the grill. Do not refrigerate or let stand at room temperature before cooking on the grill.
  • Don't try to turn or move food too soon. It takes about ten minutes over high heat for the surface of a steak or piece of fish to cook enough so it will hold together and release easily.
  • Never brush on barbecue sauce until the food is almost cooked through. It contains sugar, which burns easily.

Get glamorous

I don't wear make-up unless I have to. I'll just wear mascara and a Neutrogena lip balm with SPF. My mascara brand varies; I just pick it up while I'm travelling. Right now I'm using the Dior show mascara.

Deepika Padukone is gorgeous and glamorous. She talks about beauty and fitness regimes she follows.

Day & night

For the day I go for a no-make up look. If you have a good lifestyle then your natural beauty will shine through. A work out itself makes your skin look great. A lot of us ignore our hair, even if you don't do much to your face and get a hair treatment followed by a blow dry it will always look great. For the night, because I'm in a profession where I'm always dressing up, I keep my make-up clean and subtle. I would wear a coloured lipstick; blush and some mascara, I'm not fond of gloss, matte works best for me.

Must haves

Moisturiser, lots of water and sunscreen are your best bet. A speedy work out followed by a quick spa session, sometimes just a steam and sauna, will instantly make you feel good about yourself. Exercise followed by a spa treatment makes me feel great.

Vanity essentials

I don't wear make-up unless I have to. I'll just wear mascara and a Neutrogena lip balm with SPF. My mascara brand varies; I just pick it up while I'm travelling. Right now I'm using the Dior show mascara.

Spa junkie

I have a weakness for spas especially Thai and the pressure point massages. I love Myrah in Mumbai, Banyan tree in Phuket in Thailand.

Emraan is a funny guy!

The latest episode of the popular chat show, Koffee With Karan will see the uncle-nephew duo Mahesh Bhatt and Emraan Hashmi getting gossipy.

The chatting over hot coffee turned very interesting when Emraan and Mahesh Bhatt passed some hilarious comment about their industry friends.

The chat room burst into laughter when Emraan Hashmi called Aishwarya Rai Bachchan a 'plastic' in the rapid fire round and Aamir Khan a 'boring actor'. Uncle and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt was also not any way less than his actor nephew Emraan Hashmi to make controversial remarks. If Emraan has called Ash a 'plastic' and Aamir a 'boring actor' than Mahesh Bhatt called Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Kajol an overrated director and actor.

Admit it or not, we think Emraan is a funny guy!

Angel for animals

British model-turned-actress Amy Jackson, who made her Bollywood debut with Ekk Deewana Tha opposite Prateik, has teamed up with People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for a brand new ad campaign.

In the ad, she appears as an angel holding Alfie, a cat that she had rescued and later adopted. Jackson had found Alfie when the cat was just six weeks old, abandoned on the side of a busy road in a box with four other kittens. Three of them didn't survive and Jackson and her sister adopted the other two, Alfie and Frankie.

"Every time someone buys a cat or a dog from a breeder or a pet shop, a cat on the streets or in an animal shelter loses his or her chance of finding a good home," Jackson said.

"We can stop the cycle of animal homelessness and save lives by opening our hearts and homes to a loving cat or dog from an animal shelter instead of buying animals from breeders or pet shops," she added.

Jackson has been a long-time animal rights supporter and often speaks out on social-networking forums about issues such as animal adoptions.

Bonded for life

Amita Pathak got married to her singer beau Raghav Sachar earlier this week. Kajol and Ajay Devgn were among the celebrity guests.

Comic dig: Emraan Hashmi

Look, who’s back!

The first look of Ameesha Patel starrer Desi Magic will be unveiled in 3D on Valentine's Day. The team is currently shooting in Italy. This is the first time when Ameesha will be seen in a double role.

Chatter box
Final countdown

This Saturday we will watch the couples of Nach Baliye-6 burn the dance floor with some of the most energetic, dynamic and popular dance groups. Gurmeet and Debina will be seen with Fictitious group, Asha Ritwik with Loyola Dream Team, Ripu Shivangi with D Maniax, Kiku Priyanka with winners of India’s dancing superstar MJ 5 and last but not the least Vinod Raksha with Rohan and Group.

The judges will find out who will leave the stage at this point on Nach Baliye. Don’t worry, the action will still continue on Sunday as the stars of Hansi Toh Phansi, Parineeti and Siddharth, will come on the show for the promotion of their movie. While Siddharth will be seen dancing with Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Parineeti will entertain the audience with her singing.

This Sunday will be the final performance of the top four couples as they will appeal for the final time to the audience for vote before the finale on February 1. To find out who are the top four couples tune in to Nach Baliye- 6 this weekend at 9 pm only on Star Plus!

Making Jalandhar proud!

Actor Adhvik Mahajan, who is currently being seen as Soham in Baani, debuted few years back in Ramgopal Verma's film Contract. He belongs to Jalandhar and had completed his MBA before joining the entertainment industry full time. Adhvik has a strong desire to work in Punjabi films as well.

Talking about his aspirations Adhvik tells, "In the last five years I have done Hindi, Telegu and Tamil films and now I am doing television. During my college days I have done theater for three years and I am comfortable with every medium. People do ask me about my decision to do Punjabi films. My answer to them is why not? My hometown is Jalandhar and there the industry for Punjabi films is good and if I get a good role and script surely I will do it. I will not have the problem with the language unlike in South where I faced the problem initially. Punjabi films have come a long way in terms of production value and concepts."

Adhvik also shares, "It’s been a year since I am working on television. Initially the working hours were long and tiring but I am used to it and enjoying the success of my show. ”

Adhvik is also learning dancing, mainly freestyle. On being asked if we can see him in the next season of Jhalak Dikhla Ja, his answer is, "I love challenges so I would love to do that."

Naved's kahaani

Talented actor Naved Aslam, who got fame with his role in Pyaar Kii Ye Ek Kahaani, talks about his other TV roles, not having a TV at home and getting praise for his role as Osman Abdullah in Beintehaa.

How challenging was Osman Abdullah's role to play?

Not at all. I am familiar with the Urdu language and its nuances. So, I didn't have to do any homework for the role. It all came easily to me. I am enjoying playing the role.

How do you relate to Osman?

He is a self-made man like me. He is honest, hard-working and is in touch with his roots like me. Most of all, I love the fact that irrespective of his stature he doesn't let go of his principles.

How is the audiences' response?

I have been getting a good response.

No fear

Post announcing their love in reality show Bigg Boss, lovebirds Gauahar Khan and Kushal Tandon will be seen in another reality show. The two have been approached for Fear Factor — Khatron Ke Khiladi and they might be doing it but will be in opposite teams. Mugdha Godse and Pooja Gor are confirmed for the show.

Mouni returns

While Mouni Roy and Mohit Raina might not be making their relationship public, but the two lovebirds who met on the sets of Mahadev, will be back together – on screen. Mouni was a part of the show as she played the role of Sati when the show began and later as the story made way for Parvati, her character ended. But now Sati will be brought back on the show and so it will mark Mouni’s return.

First day first show
Sallu does it again!
 Jai Ho 

Directed and produced by Sohail Khan along with Sunil Lulla, Jai Ho is an action drama feature film that stars Salman Khan and newcomer Daisy Shah along with Sana Khan and Suniel Shetty in major roles. The film has Tabu playing Salman's sister, while Danny Denzongpa plays the villain. It is a remake of Telugu film Stalin.

Jai Ho is the story of Major Jai Agnihotri, who creates a nation-wide movement by convincing people to do good deeds.

Salman dazzles

The film is a mix of the recent Bollywood masala films. Since I am a huge fan of Salman Khan, I enjoyed the film to the core. Also, Salman is looking very handsome in the film.

Seema Kadam, student

Worth it!

Though the story of the film is useless and in many ways, repetitive too, it's worth a watch because of Salman Khan. The story of film runs along the lines of Dabangg, Ready and other such kinds, that Salman has done earlier.

Aakansh Bedi, businessperson

Just spicy

It's a typical Salman Khan film and that makes it a one-man show. I didn't like the film that much because it has no story and all Bollywood masala.

Aneesha Gupta, student

— As told to Amarjot Kaur

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: Your card Eight of Wands suggests that extra money is likely to come from somewhere. You will start off in a confident, optimistic mood. Life is not likely to run according to plan.

Tarot message: Take time before reacting.

Lucky colour: Red.

Magic number: 40

TAURUS: There is breathing space now to get your act together and clear your mind. Stay with a focus on business because that’s what will pay dividends. Family members are congenial and co-operative.

Tarot message: New offers must be put on hold. Lucky colour: White.

Magic number: 29

GEMINI: Reckless spending will be cause for regret. So no matter now tempting or urgent the purchase is, think twice before pulling out your credit card or handing over the cash.

Tarot message: Consolidate your gains.

Lucky colour: Purple.

Magic number: 52

CANCER: Although you have sufficient funds, stick to window shopping. Arrangements made to meet with friends can change at the last moment. Pay bills so that you can work out exactly where you stand financially. Tarot message: Ignore minor official pin-pricks. Lucky colour: Ebony.

Magic number: 26

LEO: You will enjoy tidying up and sorting all your paperwork into coherent order. Check your bank account. Romance will be happy; try to be true to your feelings.

Tarot message: Be positive.

Lucky colour: Crimson.

Magic number: 32

VIRGO: Do not bottle up emotions and become agitated. Plan some fun with loved ones and leave stress behind. Influential people will like your style.

Tarot message: Look at the overall cost of things and try to balance your budget.

Lucky colour: Orange.

Magic number: 42

LIBRA: Your personal skills and style of working are likely to shine. A financial matter that has been delayed will move forward now. There will be no problems to deal with at home.

Tarot message: Don’t dismiss the advice of youngsters.

Lucky colour: Peach.

Magic number: 28

SCORPIO: Lots of secrets and undercover scenarios can make for an interesting day. Stimulating and thought-provoking ideas will be in abundance. Business will tick over smoothly.

Tarot message: Avoid being hurried.

Lucky colour: Pink.

Magic number: 64

SAGITTARIUS: It is a day when dreams come true. If you believe in something with enough heart and hope, it might just happen. You are in a position to move and motivate others.

Tarot message: You will not get away with wrongful doings.

Lucky colour: Saffron.

Magic number: 30

CAPRICORN: Career affairs can reach a triumphant climax. You are in an ideal job, doing what you have and showing the world just how capable you are.

Tarot message: There are times in a relationship when it is wiser to 
be silent.

Lucky colour: Silver-grey.

Magic number: 27

AQUARIUS: The card ‘The Page of Swords’ reveals that you are resilient. Romance takes a turn for the better. Keep extra cash in hand to cope with additional expenses.

Tarot message: Spend time meeting experienced people.

Lucky colour: Rainbow-pastels.

Magic number: 63

PISCES: You need more clarity in financial or business matters. It is important that you get expert advice to help you sort out the problem. Creative work is favoured over mundane routine jobs.

Tarot message: Don’t waste an opportunity.

Lucky colour: Brown.

Magic number: 51

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is January 25...

Career front will be progressive and finances will be good this year. Favorable opportunities will come your way. Health will be fine. This is the year of expectation; do not push forward and take no decisions. Postpone everything. It'll be a busy 2014. Don't plan to finish a project that you started last year. For some, there will be a big change in career. As soon as you finish your study, you end up with a totally new life, which means career, responsibility and struggle. Your health will remain good. Keep up your exercise schedule and take preventive medicines for controlling your chronic ailments.

Positive colours: White, Cream, Yellow.

Select days: Monday, Sunday.

Favourable numbers: 2, 7.

Gems Recommended: Pearl, White Coral.

Charity on birthday: Donate utensils to the needy or at any religious place today.

You share your birthday with Kavita Krishnamurthy (January25, 1958, New Delhi), who has also sung some very popular Hindi film songs. Mercury, which signifies Vaani (voice) in astrological jargon, is the strongest planet among the stars. It will bestow the best in her singing career. The sum of 2014 and her birth date coincide well to ensure good opportunities.

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