The shoe story
Exclusive designers for shoes in India are few and often it is in combination with a clothes label. For those who only make shoes, there is a long way to go…

Ashima Batish

Since only the wearer knows where a shoe pinches, only you can help yourself by discovering what makes you feel comfortable! Even as international shoe designers are opening up stores in India, our own shoe designers are making bespoke designs. Almost every retail chain for clothes has added shoes to their display as well catalogue. However, it still remains an accessory that hasn't got its due!

Filafi Fithu
Filafi Fithu

The number of shoe designers in India is far less than the fashion and jewellery designers. Also, unlike clothes, crafts, embroideries, stones; shoes don't have much to their history that the West can allude to for inspiration, except for the rare Punjabi jutti, Mojris or Kolhapuri chappals. So, when Filafi Fithu, a young shoe designer from Nagaland, had to launch her label last year in October, she decided the make has to be Italian. "Those who understand the importance of fit and quality of shoes only want it made in Italy. It's also a way to introduce people to my designs; once they get the hang of it, I will get the manufacturing done in India without compromising on the quality of leather or craftsmanship," says Filafi.

Even the manufacturing is outsourced and not in-house. Divya Bhatia, now a ten-year-old label, was following a similar business model till two years back when she started in-house manufacturing. She now exports her designs to US, Italy, Paris, Dubai and Hong Kong. Her range begins from Rs 6000 and goes up to Rs 27,000. "There are seven to eight basic styles of heels and all designers use them. Subtle changes matter."

Divya Bhatia

To add to their profits, a readymade solution for shoe designers is a tie-up with fashion designers at major fashion weeks of India. That is exactly what Ahmed Dulla, the famous show designer from Nepal now settled in India, aims to do next. Besides, he has started a range for college students, increasing the client base, which was limited to celebrities and people who could afford earlier. "I am strictly selling through Facebook. The step is not only introducing me to new buyers, but is also a cost-cutting exercise." Another way of creating awareness, he suggests, is trunk shows, which should be held at all tier II cities. "Once people understand the difference between designer shows and what you get at shoe stores, they will come back," Ahmed adds.

In the last one decade, a lot of fashion designers are rendering their labels to accessories - shoes and bags in particular. Nivedita Saboo started her clothes label in 2002 and only added shoes to her domain in 2005. "The first reason for doing that was the untapped market and the second was to introduce my customers to bespoke shoes, a concept unheard of in India then." All in all, it will take a long for designers to be popular for their shoes as they are for their clothes. For those who only make and sell shoes, it's just the beginning!

Social eye
Short film-maker Amardeep Singh Gill, who has come up with his maiden venture Sutta Nag, believes in the power of meaningful Punjabi cinema...
Amarjot Kaur

Kul Sidhu
Kul Sidhu

Cinema holds the capacity to create, alter and influence opinion of the masses. Unfortunately, there are only a few, especially in the Punjabi film industry, who have truly explored the potential of cinema. In his first attempt at directing, producing and scripting a short Punjabi film, Sutta Naag, Amardeep Singh Gill underlines the magnitude of issues that haunt Punjab and its women through the emotional journey of a woman, Jeeto. "This film has been adapted from Sahitya Akademi Award winner Ram Sarup Ankhi's story titled Sutta Naag, which was written more than fifty years ago and was published in 1948," says Amardeep.

He adds, "This story touches upon serious subjects like infidelity and the suppression of women. The story revolves around the life of Jeeto, who is irrevocably in love with a man but gets married to someone else. On her first visit to her mother's place, she meets her beloved while her husband chases her down and kills the man who she loved. Unaware of the fact that her husband killed her beloved, Jeeto bears the pain of her lover's death as she strives to be a loyal wife for over 13 years. However, when her husband reveals that it was he who murdered her lover, she revolts and kills him," he adds.

Money matters

The production cost of Sutta Nag has been approximately Rs 3 lakhs, which Amardeep gathered through Facebook. "When we came up with this idea one-and-a-half year ago, I put it up on Facebook and all my friends pitched in. Fortunately, it turned out just fine and we started shooting for the film eight months ago. The film has been screened at The Punjabi International Film Festival, Toronto, and at Maa Boli Punjabi International Film Festival, Vancouver. We have also screened it across Australia," says Amardeep.

Future projects

While Amardeep is still in talks with several people, he intends to write and make meaningful cinema. "I am planning to make a film, which would be an adaptation of Khoon, a story by Gurbachan Singh Bhullar and Kallari Dharti by Baldev Singh. I am also writing scripts, dialogues and screenplay for Kirpaan, Yoddha and Sarhad 1947," he says.

(Sutta Nag will be screened at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh, on Feb 2 at 1 pm)

Punjabi Tadka
One on One
Guru Randhawa is making waves in the music industry with his latest album Page One
Jasmine Singh

He is the new kid on the block, different and full of life. The same shows in his music, where he makes a conscious effort to infuse life in it. Guru Randhawa from Gurdaspur, now based in Delhi, hit the music scene with Same Girl in 2012, and currently his album Page One is making rounds. Dardaa nu, Khali kartiyan sharaab di botlaa, Shadd gi are some of the tracks that you can't help humming. He lives life to the fullest, takes care of his style and wants to keep adding something new to the music pool. He talks confidently and candidly…

Had I not been a singer…

I would still be a singer, singing on a small stage, but singing. This is what I was born to do, and this is the only thing I know I can do and the best as well.

The best thing about singing…

The process of creating something new always gives me a high, I feel rejuvenated. It is like taking a small creative step towards bringing in a new thing.

Singer I want to collaborate with…

Some day I would want to jam in with Bruno Mars. He is a great artiste and I know together we can create something fantastic.

Style check

My style changes with the occasion, with friends I keep it casual, in meetings it is formal. I am stylish!

Marooned on an island

Give me pen, paper and food. I can spend time writing my lyrics. This is what I love to do.

Food for thought

Vegetable pulao is something that I love eating. I can eat that entire life.

I avoid eating…

Spicy food, I don't eat anything that spoils my throat. I have always been averse to anything oily and spicy.

Memorable moments

When first sang on the stage, a kid came running to me for autograph. This was the most beautiful thing of my life.

it’s rocking
Quite Be-coming
Amarjot Kaur

Members of Clean Band
Members of Clean Band

The new song that's creating waves this season is Rather Be, a song by a British group, Clean Bandit, featuring vocals from Jess Glynne. The track is the third single from their up and coming debut studio album. The song was penned and produced by Clean Bandit themselves, with Jimmy Napes serving as a co-writer. It is topping the UK top 40 charts. Want to know how it sounds like to the city folks? Read on!

Addictive beats

It is a very addictive song. It's been buzzing in my head since I heard it for the first time and I like everything about the song, including the music, lyrics and the beats.

Suneet, musician of Band Kalkii

Peppy notes

It's a nice song and the best thing about the song is that it is very upbeat and peppy!

Aman Suraj, musician (vocalist)

—As told to Amarjot Kaur

Cool and composed

With more and more boys studying fashion and interior decorations, aesthetics is no longer a domain of women only. And then what do we have? An explosion of ideas for trends and methodologies of haute couture! Vishwas Bhandari, a student of interior designing at the Pinnacle Institute of Fashion Technology, prefers the cool' look.

Vishwas Bhandari
Vishwas Bhandari
Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Your sense of style

Any style which is able to grab attention and that too an appreciative one denotes real style for me.

The latest addition to your clothing which you treasure?

A pair of loafers from Francus Leone.

Brand freak or street pick-ups?

Definitely brand conscious.

Who would be your style icon?

Terence Lewis.

Who do you think is the worst-dressed celebrity?

I wont say worst dressed but yes, Ranveer Singh is badly dressed.

Which look would you prefer--sporty, chic or glamourous?

Glamourous any day.

Your take on accessories?

I like various kinds of shades and a bracelet or two.

One fashion trend that goes beyond your comprehension?

Tatoos of all kinds don't gel with me.

Given a choice, which designer would you like to be dressed by?

Rohit Mehra.

What gives you a high on the confidence level?

Appreciation of all kinds and when my classmates try to copy and emulate me I feel very confident of myself.

— As told to Poonam Bindra

Doc Talk
Aloe there!
Dr Vikas Sharma

Aloe vera is known as the wonder plant for its skin friendly properties

So you are all set to apply or consume fresh aloe vera from a home grown plant! But it is better to know certain facts before doing so. Applying aloe vera to the skin is a popular practice. Today aloe vera is commonly used in cosmetic and dermatological therapy.

The antioxidants in aloe and beta carotene ingredients work to keep the skin hydrated and firm.
Applying aloe vera to sunburned skin can help to heal the epithelial layer. It can help replenish moisture that was lost, and its antioxidant properties help the skin to heal more quickly.
Aloe is an ideal moisturizer for those with oily skin as it adds moisture without making the skin greasy. Men can use aloe as a moisturizer after shave to help heal the small cuts.
Aloe vera contains the hormones gibberellins and auxin which have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Gibberellins aid in new cell formation thus helping lesions heal more quickly without large amounts of scarring.
Aloe vera in some cases can help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with insect bites, frostbite, burns, blisters and inflammatory skin disorders.
Antiseptic effect: Aloe vera contains six antiseptic agents-lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols and sulphur. They all have inhibitory action on fungi, bacteria and viruses.

Having said this, Aloe Vera is not a panacea for all skin ills. Though it has a large number of good properties, it is not effective in all individuals. While it can work good for some in some dermatological and cosmetic disorders in others if not properly used it can cause adverse effects and reactions too.

How much?

Aloe vera is commonly available in the form of creams, gel, juice or capsules. Aloe vera gel is used externally, applied to the skin, whereas the capsules and juice are taken orally. In the case of capsules, it is recommended to take 200-300 mg per day. For the juice, 2-3 tablespoons (about 30-50ml) per day is recommended.

Pure aloe vera gel should be used liberally on the skin 2-3 times per day for the treatment of sunburn and other minor burns. Creams and lotions are also available.

Watch out

Aloe vera is a safe plant. However, there is one part of the plant that can be toxic (when used internally), if it is consumed in its pure form in too great a quantity. Aloin (a yellow latex), found in the outer layer of aloe vera, makes it potentially dangerous. The products sold in the market are most often devoid of this substance. However, for those who wish to consume aloe vera grown at home, it is not recommended to consume the pure juice if it has not been treated. Indeed, the gel from the different parts of the plant (skin, thorns) must be properly extracted in order to avoid the risk of adverse reactions. In high doses, aloe vera can also provoke diarrhoea, because of its laxative and purgative effects. Due to its photosensitivity, care should be taken to avoid exposure to the sun immediately following the application of fresh aloe vera gel to the skin.

People with known allergy to garlic, onions, tulips, or other plants of the Liliaceae family may have allergic reactions to aloe. So they need to undergo a specific patch test before starting aloe vera. Individuals keeping aloe gel on skin for prolonged period can develop allergic reactions, including hives, contact dermatitis and eczema-like rash. Aloe injections can cause severe reactions and should be avoided.

Drug interaction

Aloe can have undesirable effects if used with certain medications. If you are on steroids, applying aloe to your skin can increase the absorption of steroid creams. If you take the aloe internally at the same time you take oral steroids, your risk of potassium depletion rises.

Intestinal irritation

Aloe gel/juice can irritate your intestines. Side effects of using this type of laxative can include abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. Avoid using aloe as a laxative for more than two weeks.

Oral intake of aloe should be done very carefully and under medical supervision in case of pregnant and lactating females.

Electrolyte imbalance

One may experience blood electrolyte imbalances due to aloe's laxative effect. If you have diabetes or kidney disorder, you need to be especially careful.

(Dr Sharma is a Chandfigarh-based dermatologist)

star track
Child support

Amole Gupte
worthy cause: Amole Gupte

Amole Gupte is the chairperson of Children's Film Society, India. He also goes to schools in the city and holds film appreciation classes for children. He talks about child actors and more.

Biggest peeves as CFSI chairperson

Child artistes are the last priority for producers when planning a schedule. So, the children are called before noon for a reality show and they are kept waiting till 2.30 am. By then they're sleepy and to wake them up, ice is rubbed on their faces and they are given fizzy drinks. This is a punishable crime and completely unnecessary. While filming Stanley Ka Dabba, I shot only on Saturdays for four hours. No child missed a school day or a Sunday.

Prevention measures

I want the rules of the Animal Welfare Board to apply to children too. Child artistes here are treated worse than animals. Other countries have a rule book, why can't we have one too so that we can ensure that children are not subject to such cruelty? For six years I've been campaigning for rules.

Fight for rights

I wrote a letter to Shanta Sinha when she was the chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to take up the initiative. She replied only after she retired and then directed me to the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council. I'm only asking that kids should not be pulled out of school and made to work for longer than six hours. Twelve-hour shifts amount to child labour.

Making of Hawaa Hawaai

I don't make children's films but films about children. Like Taare Zameen Par and Stanley Ka Dabba which address their concerns but are for universal viewing. Hawaa Hawaai is a film about roller skating, which Partho has been learning since he was six. It's a story I wanted to make after TZP.

Tapping talent

Ashish Gaikwad lost his father, a municipal sweeper, when he was in the 4th standard. He started cleaning with his mother, and made a short film, Tahaan, which I took as a master class to many fests. Subhash Ghai saw it and Tahaan was the closing film of 100-years of cinema. Subhashji gave him a scholarship to Whistling Woods Institute and last month he passed out. These kids have so many stories to tell. They can give long lectures on Charlie Chaplin, Italian cinema, and Majid Majidi.

Arshad Warsi injured

It seems to be a season of injuries and escapes in Bollywood. While actors Shahid Kapoor and Irrfan Khan escaped a mob attack in Kashmir, Shah Rukh Khan and Ameesha Patel recently suffered injuries on their film sets. Now Arshad Warsi, who was shooting for his upcoming film The Legend of Michael Mishra, recently suffered a near-fatal head injury on the sets. Luckily, the 45-year-old Munnabhai M.B.B.S. actor is doing fine.

Updating his well-wishers, he tweeted: "Big THANK YOU to all of you who care for me. I am fine & under observation. All I can say is I was very lucky, I think God really loves me." We wish him a speedy recovery!

No make-up for Rajat’s cast

A still from Ankhon Dekhi
A still from Ankhon Dekhi

Ankhon Dekhi is a humorous film about a man's journey. The film is shot in the narrow lanes of Shahjahanbad, Delhi. Rajat has helmed the project from scratch. He has written, directed and acted in the film. Rajat has looked into the casting of the film largely. While casting for the film, Rajat mentioned it to the cast, beforehand that there will be no make-up personnel or vanity vans. Rajat was keen to keep it as real as possible.

A lot of actors Rajat spoke to were not comfortable with this. However Rajat was very sure of the vision he had for the film. The film has even been shot at real locations houses and narrow lanes in Shahjahanabad, Delhi. With no make-up and hair personnel, it was a tight team of cast and crew. The strength of the team was 40-45 people odd.

Compliments for Monali

Monali Thakur won the Filmfare for Best Singer (Female) for Sawaar Loon from Lootera. She was complimented by none other than Rekha on the song and her singing talent. Monali is over the moon.

More of Kaminey

The buzz is that Vishal Bhardwaj is planning to make Kaminey 2 with Shahid Kapoor and probably Priyanka Chopra as well after he completes Haider. If the film is made, it will roll next year.

Caps lock on

Shahid Kapoor has shaved off his head and has put on a cap which is fixed on his head to not reveal his look to crowds in Kashmir and to the media. Aalim Hakim flew to Kashmir to shave his head.

Star presence

Hrithik Roshan, Alia Bhatt and Priyanka Chopra attended a high profile wedding in Udaipur of an NRI couple that has not been identified. The stars had a great time and were at their entertaining best.

Officially beautiful

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Deepika Padukone have been voted on the 4th and 29th spots, respectively, in a poll conducted by Hollywood Buzz and voted for by 4 million people.

chatter box
Frankly speaking

Mohit Malik
Role call: Mohit Malik

Having played various characters in shows like Pari Hoon Main, Banoo Main Teri Dulhann, Godh Bharaai, Mann Kee Awaaz Pratigya and Suvreen Guggal -Topper of the Year, among others, Mohit Malik is currently enjoying essaying the role of Samrat in Doli Armanon ki. He talks about his career and the role.

Are you enjoying playing a role with grey shades?

I am enjoying it a lot. It's a realistic character, not a typical TV hero role. I have never done that before. So, I like the way it has been written. It has a lot of shades. There are guys like him in real life, as not everyone is as romantic as Shah Rukh Khan. In reality, usually romance takes a backseat.

In your career which role gave you the most satisfaction?

The role that i played in Surveen Guggal-Topper of the Year was great. I had a wonderful experience with Channel V and I would love to do more shows on Channel V.

How much do you identify with your character Samrat?

I don't connect with him. He's completely different from what I am. But there is one similarity between us - we are both workaholics. The way he thinks is totally opposite to me. I have to work hard to portray the role.

How do you balance work and home?

It is difficult to take time out. My family is in Delhi and I meet them once in two months. I call my wife on the sets, where we can spend time together. Whenever I have free time, I take my wife out although she doesn't complain about my long hours at work.

What does your wife think of your role?

She's a huge critic of mine. She likes this show as she feels the role is unlike me, so while watching she forgets it is me acting, which is a good thing. — HRM

Accolades for Poonam

Poonam Dhillon, who is back on television with Sony Entertainment Television's fiction show Ekk Nayi Pehchaan, has been gaining a lot of accolades for her portrayal of a traditional Gujarati mother-in-law. The Twitter account of the actress tells us that after the launch of Ekk Nayi Pehchaan, Poonam has received an appreciation call from the BJP leader LK Advani and his family for her incredible performance.

They also mentioned that Ekk Nayi Pehchaan is one of their favourite shows on television. "LK Advani's daughter Pratibha Advani is a friend of mine and any feedback from her as well as her family makes a big difference to me. She said that her entire family watches the show regularly and loves the way I portray my character. LK Advani told me that he watches the show whenever he is at home. His kind words got me very emotional. It was really overwhelming to get an appreciation call from the Advani family. It feels great when you get such kind of appreciation after tremendous efforts and long working hours you put into work. Those words mean a lot to me and I will always be thankful for the support and encouragement," says Poonam Dhillon. Watch Ekk Nayi Pechchaan, every Monday to Friday, at 8.30 pm only on Sony Entertainment Television.

politically correct: Poonam Dhillon 

Friendly ties

Rakshanda Khan might be away from television, but has a business to run as well. She has great support in her family and friends, especially tennis champion Sania Mirza. Not many are aware that Sania and Rakshanda are good friends for years now. She was one of the few who attended Sania's wedding.

Goodbye time

According to grapevine, Asha Negi and Rithvik Dhanjani might not be in Pavitra Rishta for long. The two actors, who play Purvi and Arjun, were supposed to quit last year but were persuaded by the makers to stay on. Now after a long discussion, apparently they will quit the show in February.

Couple chemistry

They worked well as a couple in Geet, and now Drashti Dhami and Gurmeet Choudhary might come together in Madhubala. Buzz is that owing to their sizzling chemistry earlier, the makers of Madhubala have approached Gurmeet to play lead in their show post the leap.

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: Today, love and travel figure prominently. You can put yourself in line for a promotion or salary increase. Strong feelings can overwhelm you and distort your sense of perspective. Tarot message: Don't reveal your plan of action to anyone. Lucky colour: Pink Magic number: 63

TAURUS: Make more of an effort to attain and maintain harmony. Communication on the job can assume greater importance. Be careful that you do not get caught up in red tape. Tarot message: Don't do anything at the cost of health. Lucky colour: Blue. Magic number: 59.

GEMINI: New people whom you meet will be rather exciting. Remember resolutions about diet and nutrition. Take it easy this morning and bask in the luxury of a late start. Tarot message: Make compromises outside and come to terms within yourself. Lucky colour: Purple. Magic number: 36.

CANCER: Love life is sparklingly beautiful. Enjoy the pleasurable vibes and plan a relaxing day. Get into your hobbies or a favourite sport for mental as well as physical stimulation. Tarot message: Do not expect too much from others. Lucky colour: White. Magic number: 50.

LEO: A piece of good news, arriving by mail or phone, will cheer you up. Household affairs continue smoothly. Those in business do not invest your money in hasty concluded deals. Tarot message: Lack of confidence can leave you in losses. Lucky colour: Green. Magic number: 35.

VIRGO: It is not a good day for shopping. There can be a small get-together at home. A promotion to a management position might trigger self-doubt. Be conscious of what you speak. Tarot message: Don't take hasty decisions. Lucky colour: Crimson. Magic number: 33.

LIBRA: Sportsmen: sincerity is the key to success. Club and group activities keep you busy. Health glows. Speculate only if you are ready to lose money. Focus on hobbies. Tarot message: Don't waste an opportunity by being rash or impulsive. Lucky colour: Saffron. Magic number: 25.

SCORPIO: Working women: take complete rest today. Students: bury your nose in books. Be logical in your thoughts. Housewives: financially you are feeling very secure. Tarot message: Learn from past experiences. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 25.

SAGITTARIUS: Push routine to one side. You might fall madly in love during travel or attendance at a conference. Drive carefully. Partnership issues are likely to surface. Tarot message: Be determined and increase your self-confidence. Lucky colour: Mauve. Magic number: 31.

CAPRICORN: It is an auspicious day for purchasing ornaments. Hasty actions can lead to situations best avoided. Keep your wits about you and try to pause if agitated. Tarot message: Be articulate to prevent people from coming to their own conclusions. Lucky colour: Yellow. Magic number: 42.

AQUARIUS: There will be good opportunities to show off your artistic flair. Loved ones will do what they can to help solve family financial problems. Savour the romantic glow of the morning. Tarot message: Dare to accomplish long-term tasks. Lucky colour: Red. Magic number: 52.

PISCES: The card "Six of Wands" emphasises on fun, frolic and accelerated social activities. Your efforts will not go unnoticed by superiors. Talk to your lover about future plans and goals. Tarot message: Do not swing away from the course you have charted so far. Lucky colour: Orange. Magic number: 40.

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is February 2...

You'll be very determined, overcome all difficulties and make changes that will lead to increased earnings. Investments will not bring expected results. You will get minimal return from your fixed savings and that will not make you secure financially. You should not lend money to anyone during this year. You'll try to involve a friend in your future projects. Expect some surprises, but keep an eye out for little miracles and meaningful coincidences. If born before 1990, you will be satisfied by the way your career is progressing. You can expect little help from friends this year.

Positive colours: White, Sky Blue, Pink, Orange.

Select days: Sunday, Monday.

Favourable numbers: 1,4,2,7.

Gems recommended: Pearl, Moon Stone.

Charity on birthday: Donate wheat and gur to the needy or at any religious place today.

You share your birthday with Shamita Shetty (February 2, 1979, Mangalore), the younger sister of Shilpa Shetty. She made her debut in 2000 with the Yash Raj Films blockbuster Mohabbatein. Since Mohabbatein, she mostly found success in item numbers, including Sharara Sharara in Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai and Chori Pe Chori in Saathiya (2002).

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