Independence day
Singing an independent tune
Chandigarh’s musicians have found a way to voice their opinion against issues like social injustice, corruption, poverty, crime against women through their songs
Amarjot Kaur

Be it the Woodstock Peace and Music Festival of 1969 that advocated against the war, or a free concert in protest of the two-party system at Democratic National Convention by Rage Against the Machine in 2000, music has had an interesting relationship with nation and politics. Perhaps, that also reasons the recently conducted music tour in Chandigarh by Aam Admi Party during the elections this year.

While music can define a nation with an anthem, its integrity lies not only in glorification, but also in its ability to question. In conversation with the city-based independent (indi) music artistes on Independence Day, we are acquainted with the music of the youth of Independent India. While these city-based bands express their relevance with the right to freedom of speech and expression, the nationalist in them aches for a change and hope for a better India, while quoting Rabindranath Tagore, "The mind is without fear and the head is held high…"

Live and let live

Band: Saahil and Ipshita

Song: A song by Saahil and Ipshita, Jeene De, is a plea to live and let live. It explores the basic right to freedom that further implies that people must be able to live in the country without any oppression from the government and the society as a whole.

Inspiration behind the song: "It was quite a common sight to watch a couple sitting in the park being harassed by a cop and there are so many such incidents. This song is a plea to live and let live," says Saahil Kapoor.

Best patriotic band: Rabbi Shergill

Best patriotic song: Jugni and Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par by Rabbi Shergill.

Wish for change: "In India, music has not been associated with politics as much as it should have been. However, now with AAP doing a music tour in the city during elections, there is slight upward movement in the graph and I only wish it continues," says Saahil. "There's always a line when it comes to music and politics and I wish we can push it a little further probably like in the West," he shares.

Spirit of nationalism: "I love India and I will not want to change it. I care not for the price of onions, if only I have the freedom to eat them on any day I want," he says.

The cause and effect

Band: Just Ittefaaq

Song: Written by Polly Saghera, who is the mother of Jasleen, lead vocalist of the band, the songs, Paisa Paisa and Mera Supna, elaborate on the social issues that have heavily infected the social setup of our nation. While Paisa Paisa talks about the greed for money that has corrupted the soul of the nation, Mera Supna is a hope for a better world for women, where they are free and respected. Both the songs are a part of Just Ittefaaq's album, Polly's Diary.

Inspiration behind the song: "I wrote Paisa Paisa with a view that greed for money has poisoned our minds and destroyed our conscience, thereby affecting families and the nation," says Polly Saghera. "However, Mera Supna is a cry of hope for a better place for women where they can live freely,” she says.

Best patriotic band: Sushmit Sen Chronicles and Indian Ocean.

Best patriotic song: Six String Salute by Sushmit Sen.

Wish for change: "We say that an artiste has a licence to speak his mind and then when we see what happened to Salman Rushdie and MF Hussain and how the government is keeping a constant tab on the leftist comments on Facebook and Twitter, is quite upsetting.

Spirit of nationalism: "Nationalism in general should mean freedom and secularism, but in India minorities don't have a say, the system is too rigid. I am a nationalist in hope," shares Jasleen.

A chord called revolution

Band: The Local Train

Song: Written by the lead singer, Raman Negi, their song, Ganjay, is a satire on the corrupt politicians of the nation. Their other song Yeh Zindagi Hai laments the vacuity of materialistic pleasures, which have played a significant role in dismantling the moral core of our nation's society.

Inspiration behind the songs: "That the idea of having an ideal government is surreal and far-fetched, one cannot dismiss the system of its flaws, the primary of which are the leaders and politicians," says Ramit, the bassist of the band.

Best patriotic band: Rage Against The Machine, Sex Pistols and U2.

Best patriotic song: God Save The Queen by Sex Pistols.

Wish for change: "The only thing that we should be able to change on an individual level is to be able to accept the freedom of speech and expression as a fundamental right, which implies that everyone should be able to voice their opinions fearlessly," says Ramit.

Spirit of nationalism: "I am not a patriot, but I am a nationalist and I respect my nation and its people!" he says.

Be ‘cause’ it matters

Band: Swastik, the band

Song: Their song, Andhere Shehar, which talks about the social evils of our nation, including poverty and crime, is creating waves on MTV and MTV Indies.

Inspiration behind the song: "This song talks about our society as a whole, which is being eaten up by poverty and crime. In our nation where a majority of people live below the poverty line, are deprived of their basic needs and their circumstances push them into the dark world of crime. This was the main motivation behind writing this song," says Rohit.

Best patriotic band: Indian Ocean

Best patriotic song: Bande and Maya by Indian Ocean.

Wish for change: "For our country, I wish that it rises above poverty and crime. And as a musician, I wish people go beyond the commercial Bollywood songs and listen to original songs by Indi artists," he shares.

Spirit of nationalism: "India has so many classical gharanas, but it's a pity that the majority listens only to the commercial music!" he says.

Fashionably patriotic
A pair of white pants, a dash of orange lipper and a green top—there, you are ready for Independence Day
Manpriya Singh

There is a truck loads that can be done with saffron, green and white. And then there's a teeny bit of blue. Unfortunately, there have been as many controversies as celebrities making the three colours cool for us. Should patriotism be worn on the sleeve? It should certainly be worn on the silhouette!

And certainly without looking like a flag spinning fanatic! Young talent from Chandigarh's fashion fraternity tells us how to put together the three colours we associate with Independence Day.

Nail the spirit

By now, we have all seen the tri-colour nail art. It's there and can be attempted without much ado. "There is actually a lot that one can do with accessories. The fact that a very subtle version of saffron, that is orange colour, has been in for the past so many seasons only helps make things better. By now, all of us have at least an orange coloured top or a clutch to make it easier," Manveen Kaur, from MK's Wardrobe, gets started on the I-day looks. "One can also just wear I-day make-up. An orange lipper with a subtle green eye pencil and a small white bindi should do the trick." Do we even need to suggest tri-coloured bangles paired with just about any outfit?

East meets West

Pull out the ever versatile white pants and go crazy with a million options of teaming it up with saffron and green. "A saffron colour scarf or a green top should take care of most of the teaming up," opines Gaganjot Kaur, student, B Sc fashion design.

If not the white pants, then everybody certainly has a white shirt. How about a white shirt and any green accessory with just a dash of coral on the nails? "Think a white knee-length dress, green sling bag and orange neck piece. One can also use a white crop top with green flared bottoms and an orange clutch. If somebody wants a formal look then think of a white blazer, navy blue denims, similar to that of wheel, sported with orange or green top," Amanjot Bajwa, city-based stylist, dishes out the options.

Desi touch

Satya Paul came up with a tie-and-die saree against the white base during Lakme India Fashion Week back in 2010. We have all seen Preity Zinta feverishly supporting the country during India Pakistan cricket match while donning a white suit with saffron dupatta. Or, Mandira Bedi's not so popular appearance in a tie-and-dye saree. "A long green kurta teamed with a white salwar and orange lipstick will look patriotic and subtle," shares Gurpreet Kaur, final year student, INIFD. "It is casual enough to last the rest of the days." So is the white kurta paired with a tie-and-dye dupatta in green and orange."

Time and again, several celebrities have been able to co-ordinate colours without courting controversies. For instance, the very stylish Malaika Arora Khan who turned up at the screening of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, looking as stylish as nationalistic. It is possible.

Colour decoded

What do the three colours of Indian National Flag stand for?

Saffron: Renunciation, courage and sacrifice

White: Truth, peace and purity.

Green: Prosperity, vibrance and life.

The Ashok Chakra (wheel): Righteousness, progress and perpetuity. The 24 spokes of the wheel represent the 24 hours of a day.

Salute on screen
Lala Jagat Narain, Lala Hardyal, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Vinoba Bhave, Annie Besant, Madam Bhikaji Cama…there are many heroes of our freedom struggle who deserve their rightful place on celluloid
Jasmine Singh

A still from Gandhi
A still from Gandhi

Ajay Degvn in the Legend of Bhagat Singh
Ajay Degvn in the Legend of Bhagat Singh

Gurdas Maan in Shaheed Udham Singh
Gurdas Maan in Shaheed Udham Singh

There are at least four-five films based on the life of Bhagat Singh, there is one-odd cinematic piece on Mangal Pandey, a television series on Rani Lakhsmi Bai is going strong; a good number of films on our freedom struggle see Indian and international actors collaborate.

When it comes to immortalising the heroes of the national movement, Hindi cinema hasn't extended its reach far and beyond. Barring two or three heroes, many others have always been ignored. So, which freedom fighter's life do people want to see on celluloid?

More the merrier

Kartar Singh Sarabha, Vinoba Bhave, Annie Besant and Bahadur Shah Zafar are some of the heroes people want to see on the screen as well. "I have only read about Annie Besant in my history class. I wonder why any director hasn't made a film on her life? In today's time when we debate on the role of women in society, this should be an ideal figure whose life can prove to be an inspiring story," shares Dr Param Preet Ghuman, Senior Medical Officer, Mohali. On the actress who can justify her character, her daughter, Diljot, who is making her debut in Punjabi film Yaar Anmulle 2, is quick to add, "I think Rani Mukherjee is just right and if only someone like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra directs it."

Expand the horizon

Bhagat Singh, undoubtedly, is one of the most celebrated freedom fighter who has inspired many directors and a historical figure whose life has been translated into films. However, those who have read about him feel filmmakers haven't been able to do justice. Says Manish Singh, Bollywood art director, "I was always intrigued about his family life; I want to know what happened to his parents, how was his upbringing, his studies, his college life and the episode where he chops his hair."

Mahatma Gandhi is another influential figure whose life has been captured in Hindi films. The only modern-day version of his teachings was seen in Munna Bhai MBBS.

DJ Sameer Sandhu from Chandigarh wants film directors to explore the lives of Banda Bahadur, Rani Lakshmi Bai and Madam Bhikaji Cama." He adds, "A short film on Madam Bhikaji Cama, who designed the flag of Independent Hindustan and was a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement, can be inspiring. I know it can't be given a commercial twist, but I am sure it will go to film festivals." Sameer is also quick to suggest another name—Kamla Nehru. "If not a complete film, at least her character should be given preference and depicted elaborately."

Home ground

Sukhdev, Rajguru and Udham Singh are figures from the freedom movement who have been given prominence in films, both Hindi and Punjabi. Says Amit Prasher, director, "Life and struggle of Lala Jagat Narain, Lala Hardyal and Kartar Singh Sarabha can also be explored. In fact, I think the writers who ignited fire in the hearts of people have never been given any credit." Amit feels that proper research should be done before making such films. This Independence Day think of your favourite freedom struggle hero and draw inspiration and maybe let the industry know what you want to see!

Saare jahan se acha…
Our nation is a mixed bag. While a lot has been achieved, a lot remains. Here are some well-known people listing the 'good' and the 'bad' this Independence Day
Jasmine Singh

Given a chance, you would probably come up with more things that annoy you about India and being an Indian - corruption, child labour, pollution, poverty and more. Later, you will definitely sit back and come up with an equal number of points that make you feel proud to be an Indian. We ask some celebrities to come up with the things that make them swell with pride and the ones that make their heads hang in shame.

CULTURAL MORES: Dr Tejinder S Bhatti, hair transplant specialist

He has made actors from the Punjabi film industry and otherwise look handsome by putting back a thick tuft of hair on the bald head!

The good

Diversity: There is diversity in religion.

Freedom: We have freedom of speech, which is why we can say everything.

Culture: I am proud of the cultural and spiritual diversity

Natural resources: Nature is in bounty in our country

The bad

Corruption: This has always been an issue in the country.

Moral laxity: The decaying moral fibre is something that perturbs me; rape and robbery is rampant

Soft state: India is a soft state; we don't give a befitting reply to our neighbors who intrude.

BEING FESTIVE: Delnaaz Irani, TV actor

She showed how headstrong she was when she handled her divorce with grace on the reality show Bigg Boss. She also makes her choices in the same way.

The good

Rich history: We have such a rich history that if I get down to reading about it, it will take an year and still wouldn't finish!

Love all: This is the only country where any stranger will offer help. People in India are friendly and warm.

Never say die: It is Indians who have this never-say-die-attitude. They wouldn't give up till they achieve their goals.

Ready for change: People here have willingness to change, which is something really nice.

Festive fervour: Any festival and we slip into lovely clothes, decorate our homes and enjoy.

The bad:

Lack of awareness: People need to know more.

Corruption: This is the root of all problems, let's handle this first.

Shirk responsibility: Why can't we be a little more responsible; I am sure India will be so much better a place to live in.

Unemployment: It pains to see people without work getting into all kinds of crime.

Lack of education: Education can solve many problems.

DIVERSE LAND: A Kay, singer

He is a young singer who has just returned from a world tour, obviously smitten by the 'system' abroad.

The good:

Cultural expanse: This is something I have loved about India. I am from Punjab, I moved to Delhi; I travel extensively across India, the cultural diversity is beautiful despite the difference in the way it is expressed.

Love thy neighbour: I stayed in London for a week; no one is bothered about anything or anyone there. Back in India, you just need to shout and the neighbors come calling!

Big fat wedding: Where else will you get to see lavish weddings with the rituals running into ten days at a stretch?

Emotionally yours: India is a country flooded with emotions, something that you can't get to see anywhere else.

Big B is here: We have Amitabh Bachchan here, we have Bollywood here; the entire world is envious of us.

The bad

Mind your business: I don't understand why people are more interested in knowing about the lives of other people.

Traffic: There is no streamlining when it comes to traffic; if you are stuck in a jam then you are gone.

Long queue: Whether it is telephone bill line or at the shopping mall, everyone wants to stand on your head.

No value for work: Horses and donkeys are seen as one. An average colleague will get away without doing any work and will earn the same.

HAIL HERITAGE: Rubina, script writer

She is a young script-writer who recently put together the story of three friends in Yaaran Da Katchup.

The good

Cultural diversity: It is quite marked

Cuisine culture: Can someone count the number of different cuisines we have in India?

Ancient India: The heritage; India beats every other country on this.

Love all: There is a sense of warmth in this country.

India's Ayurveda: We have a cure to every problem through Ayurveda.

The bad

Orthodox thinking: This is something that I completely dislike about Indians. We have a thing for misinterpreting our religion.

No respect for women: Men are still uncomfortable sharing space with women.We have too many rights and too much freedom for men.

Taste of freedom
One of India's most noted celebrity chefs, Sanjeev Kapoor, doles out easy-breezy tricolour recipes
Somya Abrol

Not very long ago, when young India wasn't busy updating their patriotism on Facebook, the Independence Day morning used to be marked by the sweet sound of Doordarshan TV, as the bugle sounded our 'tryst with destiny'. Being propped in front of the not-so-flat TV for the next two hours, while 'maa' fried pakodas of all sorts was the grandest celebration of our independence from school for the day!

Now, since I-Day parade time has been hijacked by FB updates, it is only customary that we replace the fried pakodas with choicest Independence Day offerings from the very first celebrity chef of India, Sanjeev Kapoor. And, doing what he does best, Kapoor has recipes for calorie-counters too. To use or misuse the freedom is the big question!

Tricolour Sweet Medley


1 cup grated carrot

¼ cup blanched green peas

2 tbsp rice powder

2tbsps ghee

½ cup + 4tbspsmilk

¼ cup + 4tbspscastor sugar

Few strands of saffron + for sprinkling

½ tspgreen cardamom powder

4tbsps chopped white chocolate

3tbsps blanched Iranian pistachios

2 tbsp blanched and peeled almond slivers


  • To make gajar ka halwa, heat 1 tbsp ghee in a non-stick pan, add carrot and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • To make green phirni, heat remaining ghee in another non-stick pan.
  • Grind green peas with 3tbsps water to a smooth puree. Add peas puree to the 2nd pan and mix well. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Combine rice powder and ½ cup milk in a bowl.
  • To make white chocolate phirni, heat milk-rice powder mixture in a 3rd non-stick pan. Cook till it thickens.
  • Add ¼ cup castor sugar to the 1st pan. Cook till the sugar melts, add 2 tbsp milk and mix well.
  • Add 2 tbsp milk and 2 tbsp castor sugar to the 2nd pan and mix well. Remove from heat. Add ¼ tsp cardamom powder and 2 tbsp white chocolate and mix well.
  • Add a ladleful of rice milk mixture to the 1st pan. Add saffron and mix well. Simmer for a few more minutes.
  • Add 2 tbsps castor sugar, remaining cardamom powder to the white chocolate phirni and mix well. Add remaining white chocolate and mix well. Simmer for a few minutes
  • Add 1 tbsp pistachios to the peas phirni and mix well.
  • Pour a portion of peas phirni in individual shot glasses, sprinkle ½ tbsp pistachios in each, add a portion of white chocolate phirni, add ½ tbsp almond slivers. Top each glass with a portion gajar ka halwa, sprinkle few strands of saffron and serve immediately.

Tricolour Penne with Fresh Mozzarella


2 cups tricolour penne pasta, boiled

150 gm fresh mozzarella cheese balls (Bocconcini)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves

16-18 cherry tomatoes

Salt to taste

Crushed black peppercorns to taste

1 tsp red chilli flakes

8-10 fresh basil leaves


  • Heat extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan. Crush garlic cloves and add to the pan, sauté for half a minute.
  • Halve cherry tomatoes and add to the pan, mix well. Add salt, crushed peppercorns and cook till tomatoes are soft.
  • Add tricolour penne and red chilli flakes, mix well.
  • Roughly tear basil leaves and add. Also add half the mozzarella cheese and mix well. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Transfer the pasta onto a serving plate, garnish with the remaining mozzarella cheese and serve immediately.

Carrot and Ginger Juice


10 medium carrots, halved

1-inch ginger, peeled

¼ cup castor sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

2 lemons

20-24 ice cubes

20-24 fresh mint leaves


  • Pass carrots and ginger through a juicer, and collect the juice in a jar.
  • To make syrup, heat sugar with 2 tbsp water in a non-stick pan. Add lemon juice, mix well and stir till sugar dissolves.
  • Quarter lemons, place some of the quartered lemons in serving glasses, add 1 tbsp sugar syrup, 5-6 ice cubes and 5-6 mint leaves. Pour carrot juice over them, stir well and serve chilled.

(Recipes contributed by celebrity Chef Sanjeev Kapoor.)

Master Chef
Nutty nourishment
Kandla Nijhowne

It's a given that nuts are good for us. Healthy and filling, it's a creamy delight, every which way. For many years, peanut butter was considered a guilt ridden indulgence strictly to be avoided. Not any more, dear readers! The fiber and protein combo in peanut butter keeps you pepped up and full for longer, helping you fight cravings of the sinful variety.

Don't even think of buying the so-called 'reduced-fat' jar; it carries a bigger price tag as well as a bigger punch of hidden calories than the normal one! Here's my family's all time favourite — the classic peanut butter cookie. It will be a recipe you will treasure forever and pass on to the young ones.

Peanut-Butter Cookies


  • ½ cup grain sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup peanut-butter
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ cup maida
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence


  • Sieve the maida, soda, baking powder and salt together.
  • Crack the egg in a deep bowl, whisk lightly.
  • Add the sugars and the peanut butter; then mix to combine well.
  • Add softened butter and mix again.
  • Lightly fold in the maida mixture.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate till firm (about 1½ hours)
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Shape the cookie dough into walnut-sized balls; then place on an un-greased cookie sheet.
  • Use a fork dipped in powdered sugar and flatten the balls in a crisscross pattern.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet and cool further on a wire rack.
  • Store in an airtight jar.

Note: The cross-hatching pattern is typical of such cookies, but you can try your own ideas too. Press some crushed, roasted nuts on to each cookie before baking; decorate them for kids with coloured bits of candy or a sprinkling of choco-chips!

(Nijhowne is a Chandigarh-based culinary expert)

Coming soon
Play on

Suchetak Rangmanch is all set to bring two of its plays for theatre-lovers in Chandigarh. Both solo acts, one by established comedian, actor and writer Rana Ranbir titled Khetan Da Putt and another by Anita Shabdeesh named Chirhi Di Ambar Vall Udaan are deeply set in the Punjabi milieu.

Rana Ranbir, who is a postgraduate in theatre and television from Punjabi University, Patiala, played an active role in theatre before turning to the small as well as the big screen. The play Khetan Da Putt is his own script culled from known revolutionary poet Paash's poetry, letters and diary. About his return to theatre, Rana says, "Theatre has been my mother who has given me love, care and courage; while films are akin to my father who has given me pocket money! Now that I have enough pocket money, I am here to look after my mother." Rana will be next seen in Punjabi film Goreyan Nu Daffa Karo.

Chirhi Di Ambar Vall Udaan has a script by Shabdeesh with poems of Dr Gurminder Sidhu. The play brings out the status of Indian women over the years, right from mythology to the modern era. "The play is not against men, but a call for equal status for women." It's going to be the play's 100th show.

(Catch Khetan Da Putt on August 16 and Chirhi Di Ambar Vall Udaan on August 17 at Punjab Kala Bhawan-16, 7 pm) — TNS

Going with the flow

Good choice: Arjun Kapoor Arjun Kapoor has done only four films and the quirky Finding Fanny will be his fifth film. It is a risky move at such an early stage in his career. He talks about the movie and more.

No calculative move

I didn't think much about doing this film. In fact, I am getting an opportunity to work with such good actors, so I will become a better actor, hopefully. So, I did it just for the experience. I am not trying to calculate it like 'whether it's the correct time for me to do this kind of film or I should do it now or later'.

Homi's offer

I was offered this film at a very interesting time in my life. He (director Homi Adajania) offered me the film after he saw me in Ishaqzaade and said 'I think you can play this character and live this world'. I found it interesting that the director has that vision for me at such an initial stage of my career. So, I didn't think much about doing this film.

Being Savio

I play Dimple Kapadia's son Savio Da Gama and he is hot-headed and has his own quirks like the other characters. He keeps things bottled up and then he explodes. It was different to speak in English throughout and it was fun working with such a diverse cast. The entire shoot was a party.


A still from Singham Returns Singham Returns

Producer: Rohit Shetty Productions, Reliance Entertainment, Ajay Devgn Films

Director: Rohit Shetty

A sequel to Singham, Singham Returns is a much-awaited action flick that has been directed by Rohit Shetty. Releasing this Friday, Ajay Devgn plays the lead, Bajirao Singham, in the movie. Once again, Kareena Kapoor pairs up with Devgn after Golmaal Returns. Anupam Kher will also be seen in a pivotal role. Devgn will be seen battling the widespread evil of black money in this film and taking on villainous forces. Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor groove with rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh on the song Aata Majhi Satakli, which has been choreographed by Ganesh Acharya.

— Dharam Pal


With a free mind
This Independence Day, television stars talk about their fond memories and also underline the true meaning as well as the significance of freedom

Happy affair: Shabbir Ahluwalia

"In school, Independence Day used to be like a celebration. The entire school was given goodies to eat. It was very colourful and even though children may not completely understand the importance of the day when they're in school, it was definitely a happy affair. It was like a mini-holiday, a festival with celebrations. So I guess everyone has fond memories of celebrating Independence Day during their childhood. Obviously, as you grow older you understand the meaning and significance of Independence Day, but at the same time, you still cherish those childhood memories."

Take an oath: Sriti Jha

"I remember Independence Day during school days was always fun. There was a flag hoisting ceremony in the morning and that day we used to be off studies. After the ceremony, I would go home and watch the Independence Day rally on TV. The time I was in Delhi, I always had this wish to attend the rally live but somehow never got a chance to do so. Nevertheless, even today I never miss watching the rally on TV every year on Independence Day. If we talk about India as an independent nation, I don't think it is the same as our leaders left it for us. Just saying things like 'I love my country' will not help. What we need to do as citizens of this country is to ensure that we develop independent thoughts and act as responsible citizens. On the occasion of Independence Day, every person should take an oath for working towards the welfare of people in the country.

Going strong: Hiten Tejwani

"My last memory of celebrating Independence Day was back in school when we would all attend the flag hoisting in neatly ironed uniforms. My school would have a small parade followed by the march-past. I remember being very excited about it as a kid because it would mean that we had to be in school for only two hours! Those were seriously the good old days! Today, as actors, who shoot round-the-clock, but we look forward to some family time on August 15 as we usually have the day off. As far as India emerging as a truly independent country, I would say we have come a long way from being ruled by the British; we have asserted our rights, we have seen enormous development but we have some issues that need resolution before we emerge as a superpower. Corruption, security for women and moving away from fundamentalist views are the core issues that need to be addressed!"

Being human: Ravi Dubey

"During my school days, Independence Day used to be a huge celebration. It gave students an opportunity to work closely with each other - not just as friends but team-mates working on a project collectively. I clearly remember the flag-hoisting ceremony, it used to unify the whole school and it was at moments like these that one closely felt the spirit of patriotism. It inculcates a sense of belonging that stays with you for life. Every year around Independence Day, I try and do my bit for a cause I believe in. So whether it is connecting to a cleanliness drive or feeding the hungry at Juhu beach, I contribute my bit. I haven't really thought about what I'll do this year, but I'll definitely be a part of some initiative.”

Good going: Achint Kaur

"As far as India being actually independent goes, if we look at it from a holistic point of view, the graph of comparison between India and other countries that have emerged out of slavery in the past, we have been progressing consistently. But if one were to take a look at some of the disturbing things happening in the country, it is equally evident that we have miles to go before we can truly feel proud. I think it's about collectively working towards a better tomorrow!"

Change mindsets: Roopal Tyagi

"Like every other creative child, even I used to love performing on stage for Independence Day to all the 'desh bhakti' songs, so knowingly or unknowingly the spirit of being Indian would sink in. As a kid, it was fun but as we grew up we realised the importance of this day and why it should truly be celebrated. This year, my friends and I have planned to support a group of street-kids who want to study but do not have proper facilities. We have chosen this day to help them study. In terms of India being truly independent, we have come a long way but we still have a long way to go. The mass mentality has evolved gradually but needs to further be liberated, especially the double standards displayed by men at times."

Social eye: Karanvir Bohra

"On Independence Day, we used to go to school to hoist the flag and then the rest of the day would be an off. After coming back home, we would run to the terrace of our building in Cuffe Parade and the flag-hoisting ceremony would happen again. We used to spend the day savouring special goodies and playing different games. These days, since I usually get an off from my shooting schedule on Independence Day, I take the opportunity to visit an NGO and attend the flag-hoisting ceremony with them to lend my support. It's a day when I take the time out to do my bit for the society and that's how I like spending the day. If there's one thing I could change about us as a country, I'll root for freedom of expression, free will and being less judgmental about each other." — HRM

Big plans

Shah Rukh Khan is leaving no stone unturned to make his upcoming film Happy New Year a big success. He plans to make Rs 200 crore profit before the film releases. The cast of the film will be touring USA for a concert in September.

Getting it all right

Kanpoora is the promotional song for Katiyabaaz, the documentary which is making waves around the world. The video is directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Devanshu Kumar Singh while the song is composed by Indian Ocean and the lyrics are by Varun Grover.

Aditya back to normal

Aditya Roy Kapur has a very different avatar in Daawat-E-Ishq, which is sporting a crew cut hairstyle, wearing surma in his eyes, a handlebar moustache and wearing vibrant shirts throughout. He is promoting the film is his normal avatar which is different from his look in the film.

Full throttle

Take a look at the launch of Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami which was graced by the presence of Shah Rukh Khan and the cast and crew of the film.

Aamir at his best

The controversial poster of Aamir Khan in PK has been shot at a real location and not against a chroma screen. It was shot in Rajasthan long back when Aamir was still busy with Dhoom 3. He was in his best shape during the shooting of Dhoom 3.


ARIES: New business deals offered to you are worth considering. Artists get acclaim for their work and make good money. If married, you draw closer to your spouse and hence plan a romantic evening together. Tarot message: You are on the right track. Lucky colour: Lotus pink. Magic number: 27.

TAURUS: Business and work opportunities are aplenty. Take one step at a time to climb the ladder of success. You make an important effort to resolve family issues. A business venture is gainful. Tarot message: Business problems must be solved. Lucky colour: Black. Magic number: 59.

GEMINI: You could have many public rivals. A loving interaction with your beloved is indicated. Focus on routine work and maintain a low profile. Overseas contracts are lucrative. An important project is likely to encounter hurdles. Tarot message: Pursue your goals. Lucky colour: Green. Magic number: 26.

CANCER: You are on your own, as friends and close relatives refuse to come to your aid. Despite your best efforts and willingness to compromise, domestic life may remain disturbed. Tarot message: Your determination to succeed will pay dividends. Lucky colour: Blue. Magic number: 48.

LEO: Participation in a charitable activity is indicated today. The share market yields good profits after the recent uncertain phase. Tune in to your favourite music and unwind with loved ones. Tarot message: Don't allow others to interfere. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 45.

VIRGO: Finances need urgent sorting out and your idea and plan is to invest and save wisely for a secure future. A happy event celebrated at home is enjoyable and keeps you on your toes. Tarot message: Lack of confidence can leave you in losses. Lucky colour: White. Magic number: 25.

LIBRA: Thoughts of giving up midway are high. So, weigh pros and cons wisely. For some, a flirtation is likely this evening. A Cancerian surprises you with a generous gift. Socialising will keep you busy. Tarot message: Seek out solid, well-researched information. Lucky colour: Red. Magic number: 50.

SCORPIO: There could be new career opportunities due to your past efforts. Spending quality time with your partner will be a priority. There could be good news regarding a family member. Travel plans for business or pleasure are possible. Tarot message: Try to be active in financial opportunities. Lucky colour: Grey. Magic number: 58.

SAGITTARIUS: Meditation takes you deeper within. Health and physical energy is good, but you need to take frequent breaks and watch your diet and fitness routine. Work will be hectic and you will have to juggle your schedule. Tarot message: Leave things open-ended. Lucky colour: Magenta. Magic number: 51.

CAPRICORN: There could be appreciation for your ideas from colleagues. Monetary gains due to astute financial planning are indicated. If there are important meetings today, you need to be focused and prepared. Tarot message: Don't read too much into ordinary situations. Lucky colour: Yellow. Magic number: 34.

AQUARIUS: A trip or distant news is on the cards. Your past efforts will start to show results. You may be unable to make up your mind about an important decision, spend some time mulling over your options. Tarot message: Feel free to change your mind. Lucky colour: Forest green. Magic number: 39.

PISCES: You will be in a cheerful frame of mind. Going out of your way to help colleagues or loved ones will earn you good will and appreciation. Students need to fine tune their plans for higher education. Tarot message: You concentrate on projects with reliable outcomes. Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 57.

Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is August 15...

You are very lucky to be born with New India on Independence Day. It was Friday on 15-8-1947 and today also is Friday, a Venus day; so, you'll enjoy dashing around and keeping busy, especially if you're doing things that are enjoyable and stimulating. It's the perfect day for taking charge of a group, as in making sure a social event runs smoothly or taking the lead at a big meeting of people who share the same objectives. Your talent for bringing out the best in children, animals and plants should be applauded. This is your year to make your next big mark on the world and take your rightful spot in the spotlight.

Positive colours: White, Cream.

Select days: Friday, Thursday and Tuesday.

Favourable numbers: 5, 6.

Gems recommended: Diamond, Emerald.

Charity on birthday: Donate to the families of martyrs.

You share your birthday with Raakhee (August 15, 1947, West Bengal) popularly known as Raakhee Gulzar after her marriage with lyricist-director Gulzar. She won three Filmfare Awards and one National Film Award. Her stars indicate a peaceful life now, away from the screen.

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