Fast feast
Fasting on the Navratras needn't be a lacklustre affair. Now five-star hotels in Chandigarh too have taken it upon themselves to make these nine days a culinary experience for us
Somya Abrol

Remember a simpler time when mom said, "No non-veg, no outside food for nine days," and you willfully obliged? Well, those days are long gone. Though most of us still stand in favour of a shakahari diet during the Navratra, we seem to have evolved enough to make 'outside food' a regular feature during the nine days of fasting this time of the year. So much so, that the trend has taken Chandigarh's 5-stars by storm.

From your regular kuttu aata roti and sabudaana kheer to akhrot (walnut) and lauki (bottle gourd) innovations—our charmers behind the kitchen slab have put their creative side to good use for their respective Navratra menus. So, here's a sneak peek into city's 5 Star Navratra thalis.

Exotic twist JW Marriott

From innovations such as lauki mussalam and raw papaya kheer to your regular fare comprising, Marriott has enough in its kitty to keep you full through the fasts. "We will not be serving our a la carte during these nine days. The Navratra thali menu has been made with special care to satisfy all your cravings and nutritional needs," says JW Marriott's executive chef, Chef Pallav Singhal. A must-try dish from the menu is shakarakandi aur kiwi ki chaat.

Unlimited thali for one: Rs 550 (+tax)

Innovative platter Hotel Taj

Executive chef Dadhwal has created an extensive menu for the Navratras, which will change every day during the nine days of fasting. "From innovations like chawal ka halwa to saib ka halwa, we've tried to innovate plenty with the available ingredients. But, certain staples like kuttu ke atte ki poori and aloo sabzi remain unchanged throughout." Dishes worth trying at from the thali are aloo aur akhrot ki tikki and seviyan ka muzaffer.

Unlimited thali for one: Rs 700 (+tax)

Home coming The Lalit

Available at their 24x7 all-day diner, Lalit's Navratra thali has its eyes set on reigniting the old. Their makhana kheer, for instance, drives you straight to your naani's house. Other items on their menu include aloo kuttu ka pakora, sabudana ka phalahaar, chirongi ki dal, swank ke kesari pulao and ananas (pomegranate) raita.

Unlimited thali for one: Rs 799 (all inclusive).

Other restaurants serving the thali

  • Hotel Hometel, Industrial Area, Chandigarh
  • Sagar Ratna, Sector 35
  • Shree Ratnam, Sector 35
  • Sankalp, Sector 26
  • The Yellow Chilli, Sector 9, Panchkula
  • Toy Hotel, Sector 34
  • Kava, Sector 26

Significance of fasting

The nine days of Navratras are a celebration of the Goddesses of power or shakti. For these nine days, considered sacred in Hinduism, devotees are made to abstain from non-vegetarian food, onions and garlic, as all of the above fall under the definition of tamasic (sedative) food, which are believed to lead to a less refined state of consciousness. Devotees usually survive on fruit through the day during the Navratras, allowing themselves one proper meal a day. Sattvic food on the other hand — a part of the fast diet — are believed to lead to clarity and equanimity of the mind.

Take it easy
Happy to skip the gym and look good in clothes instead of showing rippling muscles, actor Khalid Siddiqui is one chilled out soul. He likes his character in Tum Sath Ho Jab Apne, which comes to life only in flashbacks

Khalid Siddiqui comes as a breeze of fresh air…the handsome hunk one has seen, loved and lusted after on small and big screen. Years on, Khalid is still an eye-candy. He blushes when complimented on his looks and what surprises is his easy-going manner. Claiming to be a totally laid-back guy, Khalid is happy living a relaxed life.

It is, indeed, heartening to meet a man totally chilled, savouring each moment, taking out time to know the person standing next to him, and answering questions, admitting his shortcomings and being totally cool about it.

In Hulk's shoes

His appearance, on Wednesday in Chandigarh, was in connection with Zee's upcoming show Aryan. Touted to be the youngest superhero on Indian small screen, Aryan is a finite series, first in the trilogy Maharakshak. Khalid plays Aryan's uncle, a superhero himself on earth to protect the precious mani that the evil forces are after to destroy earth. In a dual role, that of a regular journalist and a superhero, Khalid found the experience challenging. "I have always played the regular guy and it's all right but being a superhero I had to do some action sequences, being tied on harness and all, and it was tough."

The series is bound to appeal to the young and old alike, promises Khalid whose most favourite superhero remains to be Hulk!


From a top model to actor, Khalid is happy on how life has panned out. Telly was not something he had been really keen on. "Talking of late nineties, we models considered ourselves to be a league apart. TV was hard work and involved working 30 days at a stretch, when one could earn the same amount in a day's ad shoot. We considered TV lowly," admits the actor flashing his beautiful smile. And, says in same breath, "So it was my folly. TV has changed so much, today superstars like Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan are doing TV shows." However, Khalid wouldn't be tempted by too many roles. "I can't work too hard," he laughs. Apart from series Aryan, he is seen in Sony Pal's show Tum Sath Ho Jab Apne. He elaborates, "My character comes in flashback sequences for he is no longer alive."

Khalid did a few films too, including Jogger's Park, Apaharan, Mission Kashmir, Vaastav: The Reality to name a few, but here too the actor is happy at what is coming his way, "I really wanted to act with Aamir Khan whom I admire a lot, I got that chance too in Ghajini."

Then and now

Khalid sees a sea-change in advertising industry when he started and now. There used to be only 25-30 models, and they knew that work will come to them. Today there is an explosion. At that time people yearned for a life partner or a son-in-law to be a model, today one's husband or son-in-law is a model.

"That time only the conventionally good looking people were in this business. Every second person is modelling these days, so are cricketers and film stars, then there are foreign models. Competition is fierce," says the model, who has been the face of brands like Perk, ICICI, Bombay Dyeing, Maruti Alto, Gillett and many more.

He agrees that today there is work for almost everyone, but there is no surety. "What I suggest to youngsters is to have a fall back plan ready," says the actor who is also a restaurateur.

Home front

In reel and real, this good-looking actor takes it easy. "I am 'from the sets to home' kind of guy. I love to spend time with my wife and kids," says Khalid, who is married to an interior designer. Keeping fit, he is not the one to labour hard here either, "I don't go to a gym or diet. Nor do I boast of being super fit like today's guys who can take their shirt off and look good; I look nice in clothes," says, Khalid hoping to enjoy his work and life in future too!

A secular script
Script writer Anjum Rajabali, who gave us films like Aarakshan, Rajneeti, Chakravyuh and Ghulam, highlights the issues that mar our society through his creative abilities…
Somya Abrol

A still from Rajneeti Being in the business of entertainment, it's difficult to come across an 'artist' whose agenda is not dictated by, well, business. Script writer Anjum Rajabali, however, has always aimed at highlighting issues that mar our society through his scripts, and has found a creative outlet, and friendship, in directors like Prakash Jha and Rajkumar Santoshi.

Screenplay writer for movies such as Aarakshan, Rajneeti, Chakravyuh, Ghulam, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Satyagraha and Pukar, among others, Rajabali believes in doing his bit beyond the reel too. In April this year, he filed an appeal to spread awareness about secularism in the country and received support from the likes of Zoya Akhtar, Imtiaz Ali, Kabir Khan, Nandita Das, Aditi Rao Hydari, Mahesh Bhatt and Shubha Mudgal. There was, however, a section of the society that wasn't exactly pleased with his appeal. He talks about his relationship with Jha, the appeal on secularism and more.

All of your ventures with Prakash Jha have garnered critical acclaim. How do you define your relationship with the director?

There are two directors that I've worked substantially with, Rajkumar Santoshi and Prakash Jha. Some of those films have worked out okay, some haven't. The most important relationship in the entire filmmaking process is actually that of the director with the script. However, before the director takes over the script to transform it into celluloid, he has to absorb and interpret the vision that the writer is proposing for the script. Hence, it is critical that the two of them are on the same wavelength. I personally am very sensitive about who I work with, as it demands very close and vigorous interaction. Prakash and I have been collaborating since 2002. For Gangaajal and Apaharan, I was his script consultant, and then we co-wrote Raajneeti, Aarakshan, Chakravyuh and Satyagraha together.

Tell us a little about Cinerise.

The Mumbai Mantra Cinerise initiative is a substantial programme for new and aspiring screenwriters. One aspect of the Cinerise programme is to offer these new writers guidance and intensive mentoring on their stories. For this, we are requesting senior screenwriters and writer-directors to pitch in and be mentors to these youngsters. So, 100 stories will be selected from 500-odd applications that we have received. These 100 will receive feedback and critiques from seniors with suggestions on how to develop their stories into scripts. Each participant will receive five exclusive sessions of three hours each with different advisors. This should help them revise and rewrite their script into a final draft. Now, the other difficulty that so many writers complain about is that after completing their scripts they don't know how to approach studios or producers or directors. Hence, the final stage of the Cinerise process is to organise a pitching event, where these selected writers will get to meet and pitch their scripts at studios, producers, directors, festival organisers etc to see if they may be interested, and if so, offer them a contract to take the film rights of the script.

What's your take on secularism? What made you take on the appeal?

Secularism means the freedom to believe in and practice one's religion, and not be discriminated against because of it. India has been a secular country; else we would never have been able to contain the tremendous diversity that our society has. This pluralism is, in fact, our strength and it is impossible for us to imagine India as anything but multi-cultural. The appeal was issued by some of us merely to bring back the factor of secularism into the pre-election discourse, as we noticed that this was not even being discussed. It is obvious this is the India that Indians want and hence we just thought that we would remind our fellow citizens and our political candidates that they need to hold this idea central when thinking of the future of our country.

What's your take on people from the fraternity condemning your appeal?

See, the film industry is a large community and is made up of as much diversity as our society is. Hence, debate, dissent, disagreements are bound to be there, and that is essential to the health of the social fabric of the fraternity. And, given that at election time people usually react with intensity, there were some sharp reactions. None of them were really unexpected. Without disagreement, how can there be a debate, after all! So, I'd say it was a good thing that our expression generated some discussion within and outside the film industry.

What should we look forward to next?

Currently, I'm writing a script for Mahesh Mathai (who had made Bhopal Express some years ago) and another one for Shaji Karun (the director of Piravi and Vanaprastham).

Let’s talk about women
Pakistani actor Mahira Khan, who has made a name for herself with television serial Humsafar, says women are heroes of the small screen in Pakistan

A still from Humsafar As Mahira Khan gets set to make her presence fely on Indian telly, she has only one prayer…to replicate the success of her show Humsafar back in Pakistan. Humsafar turned Mahira into a celebrity overnight and the actor is as proud of her work and the show alike. "Humsafar could do what Tanhai did decades back, bringing masses and classes back on small screen," shares Mahira.

"Tanhai was such an attraction that roads were deserted during the show time, no one had a wedding on the day the show was to be aired, and, Humsafar could pull that again." Mahira plays Khirad in the show, an independent, self-respecting woman. Mahira and Khirad have some common traits, as Khirad would never be rude to any person howsoever angry she is; neither would Mahira, in real life, "But Khirad is great, I am nowhere close to her," Mahira giggles over the phone. The show has the current heartthrob Fawad Khan opposite Mahira. It is a love story between the two, love post marriage; and separation. "How Khirad carries herself with dignity in marriage or when she goes through the separation, is what I admire about the character."

If life on the sets has been interesting, it has not been any less for Mahira in real life too. Born in Karachi, Mahira went to Los Angeles to study, and, no, it wasn't an acting course that she picked up but chemical engineering. She justifies, "Whatever I studied, in my mind I was always acting. Even when holding tubes in my hand, I would be dancing in my mind." She did change to psychology for her major but post studies back home in Karachi, acting happened. There has been no looking back ever since. Humsafar became a game changer for Mahira. "I had to be very cautious on picking up my next project, such responsibility to deliver was thrust on my shoulders. And, I could no longer roam around freely and eat a burger enjoying every morsel of it without being photographed," she laughs, "I always tell people around me, I will pose for a photograph but please not while eating."

How's life being an actor in Karachi?

"For a TV actor, it is easy. Women are the heroes of the small screen in Pakistan and stories are written around them. I wonder why so few women are actually taking it up."

And what she loves the best about television in her country is that one doesn't need to compromise, "No need to shed clothes, you can be what you are in real life, such are our shows. Yes, it's not considered that honourable still in our society to be an actress, but with time it's changing."

Humsafar would be aired soon on Zindagi.

Short & sweet
First-time filmmaker Nirnimesh Dube, television actress Gargi Nandi and director Pankaj Roy have joined hands for a two-month weekend film-making programme for people in Chandigarh
Manpriya Singh

Film-making is a fever; one that supersedes and refuses to toe the line of any academic background. Could be applied sciences or medical studies. "I am so happy to have done a film-making course albeit a little late in my career. I am a lawyer by profession and continue to be so, but now I can make my own films and am already working on the script for next one.

"When the audience appreciates your film, that is the biggest reward," shares Nirnimesh Dube, former student, Institute of Moving Images, a Mumbai-based film school, having shown his short film Truth or Dare, a film exploring relations between an urban, married couple, before a handful of audience.

Joining him is the programme director and television actress Gargi Nandi. "I would say one needs these three key things to be a film-maker — passion, patience and perseverance," she shares, while announcing the launch of the two months weekend film-making programme by the institute in association with Alliance Francaise Chandigarh.

"It is 72-hour programme with all the hands-on practical training thrown in, at a discounted programme fee of Rs 18, 200," Pankaj Roy, the director fills in with the rest of the details. He adds, "We first ask you to make a one-minute film, two-minute film, moving onto five-minute and so on."

What the students continue with at the end of the programme depends on the stage at which they enroll for the course. "A corporate professional, who is doing this course just for fun, is not likely to go through the struggle a beginner will be ready for. A lot of youngsters are working in the industry as assistant directors and the like."

Any vocational workshops and training programmes always raise queries of future scope and possibility for growth. He adds, "There is a huge market for short films. They are a window to today's world and increasingly people prefer to watch a forty minute film rather than sit through a two to three hour drama."

Neither is there a censorship on exploring bold subjects nor a bar on experimenting with different genres. "Students come in with their own ideas and subjects. We help them break it down to a script and teach them the technical knowhow involved in making a film," shares Gargi Nandi, seen in some episodes of Crime Patrol, in the serial Kahin Toh Milenge; Murder 2, apart from other similar stints. She shares, "As of now I am busy travelling, running a film institute but I am working on a script that explores human relations." As for the technical know-how, we are sure she's quite equipped to take that further.

Web of fashion
Chief creative officer of Myntra, Gautam Kotamraju, believes their new merger is helping the online fashion store reach out to a much larger audience
Somya Abrol

'Myntra is now with Flipkart, right?'

"Well, we've merged."

Starting off on the right note is essential, especially if it's accompanied by a crafty smile from the salt-and-pepper man in front of you. With a cool air of confidence, Gautam Kotamraju, chief creative officer, Myntra, declares his purpose of visit to Chandigarh, "We'd started a shop-and-win contest at Myntra in June 2014, the prize for which was a Harley Davidson, which we thought was the most aspirational 'ticket to freedom' possession for youngsters.

Chandigarh boy Pulkit Soni, a final-year MBBS student, was declared the winner today (Wednesday) through a lucky draw."

About their 'merger' with Flipkart, Gautam says, "When we joined forces with them they gave us access to funds. When they brought us on board they provided us with possibly the fastest route to profitability and in exchange, they added a fashion arm to their business. Our scale, our reach has changed, widened, enormously. Now we cater to a much larger audience. But, the way we work hasn't changed."

Myntra has been around since 2007, but unleashed its new avatar in 2011. One does wonder, though, what a creative officer at an online fashion store does. "A similar designation is only found in ad agencies, usually; or any other creative field. But, now, as we work towards making ourselves a fashion destination, which is slightly different than your superstore — since here we can advise people about fashion, work towards making people 'look good' - my prime job becomes to make Myntra's visual, PR and communication imagery speak one language; we can't be disconnected. So, I work at bringing all such creative forces together," he says.

What about competition? "I don't want to give a diplomatic answer, buti beleive there is Jabong, who are very similar to us in terms of fashion. But, in fact, we welcome competition, because it makes us look better. Call it creative ego, but, the more the merrier. We want people to go through other websites and then come to us." So, does Myntra live in that security? "No, there is no security; you can't be complacent. We have faith in our power of competence, the effort and hardwork we've put in and, of course, our conviction."

vanity box
Turn the heat up!
Go bold, glow and shimmer this festive season. Here’s a make-up trend prophecy for Fall 2014
Manpriya Singh

Thinkstock If fall make up trends are anything to go by, then it is high time to go and be a glow-getter! That is a prophecy not just for the festive occasions, but the entire winter months.

Make-up, unlike clothes, is usually a mish-mash of influences that are never completely out, nor completely in. Unless, of course, they are referring to something as historical as frosty lipstick. As for colours, some are not out, some are so in and some are just in between. A few of the fall make-up trends de-cluttered.


It is not without a reason that latest ranges by major make-up brands have metallic shades in the collection. Internationally, from metallic eye shadows to just a hint of gleam on the inner corner of the eyes, metallica has been spotted on the runways for labels like Issey Miyake, Donna Karan and Emporio Armani.

Berry berry hot

The traditional bright red lipstick just got a shade darker. Get inspired from Dita Von Teese and pull out all the bold dark colours. Think deep shades of plum, dark cherry, rich shades of burgundy to the classic wine colour. Just in case you are both experimental and bold, there's the ever fashionable purple.

At this year's IIFA celebrations, Deepika Padukone decided to walk the green carpet in a Sabyasachi beige outfit paired with deep maroon lips. During one of the recent promotions, Alia Bhatt finished off a casual look in ripped denims and a white top with very dressy berry lips. Then there's Priyanka Chopra, who has been spotting the famous pout a tad bolder. Need we say more?

Defined eyes

Whether through a winged look, black cat eyes, through a liner or the evergreen smoky eyes; by all means define the eyes. Defining the eyes is back in fashion. "Even for bridal make-up trends, a lot of brides had started to avoid smoky eyes, now once again the technique is back in fashion and with a vengeance. Though this time, the colour palette has happily given way to various shades of brown," shares Shivani, from city-based label Odara-Make-up palette by Shivani. She adds, "We've always seen colourful eye shadows on international ramps; they make a subtle appearance here. Even metallic make-up has made a come back this season."

Neon hangover

Aren't some of us still recovering from the neon hangover? Well, when neon has happily given way to bright colours, there's no reason to be looking at anything that was clearly in the previous season. Bright red, peach and pink on the lips are absolutely acceptable.

Here to stay

Then there are a couple of things that are here to stay, for now and later.

Picture-perfect skin, nude make-up, smoky eyes (preferably brown this season), baby lips, well arched brows and pale colour on the cheeks. Go on and look good.

Par Excellence
Short game: fold the right elbow
Jesse Grewal

The backswing determines the angle of approach of the club head as well as the position of the club face in the short game. During the full swing, the club need not follow the same route on the downswing as it did during the backswing.

As the swing is longer, the club head can be re-routed. With a shorter backswing in the short game the club tends to follow the same route as it did during the backswing. The worst condition is when the club goes inside during the backswing and ends up behind the body and the hands.

The club head should be outside the hands when viewed from behind when the club shaft is parallel to the ground (picture 1). At this point the leading edge of the club head would point upwards as a result of the opening of the club face.

To get to this position the right elbow (for right handed golfers) should fold and stay close to the body (picture 2). This helps the club head stay outside the hands and gets the club face to open. This also gets the club head in to a steeper position leading to a descending arc during the downswing. This allows the club head to hit the ball first and then the ground. This prevents 'duffed' shots and also increases the backspin on the ball.

Place a wood cover or a towel under each armpit. This helps the right elbow stay close to the body on the backswing (picture 3) and the left elbow stay close on the follow through. The arms would remain soft and the turning action of the body would create the power for the shot. This improves the quality of the impact with the ball and makes the swing repeatable.

(Grewal has coached several national champions and professionals apart from being coach of the Indian golf team for the Eisenhower Cup (World Cup) in 2008. He is currently the Director of National Golf Academy of India and CGA Hero Honda Golf Academy. If you have any queries get in touch with him at

Fashion fiesta

Razzmatazz, a bridal and lifestyle exhibition will be held on Setember 27-28 at Hotel Mountview, Chandigarh. A number of famous designers will participate in the event. Presented by Forever Diamonds, in association with BMW, the two-day fashion fiesta will see innovative themes and the out-of-the-box conceptualisations that will surely delight the people.

The exhibition will be open for the public from 10 am to 10 pm on both the days. Designs by Masaba Gupta, Archana Kochhar, KHEM and Aprajita Toor will be showcased at the event, which will be inaugurated by former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

There will also be luxury wedding cards by Aanandam (Jaipur) and ethnic wear for men by Pranay Baidya (Kolkata). Snacks and refreshing mocktails will be served from leading food brands. A separate play area and photo booth will be set up for the entertainment of kids. — TNS

Wearing her attitude

Model Diandra Soares, who is famous for her bold and quirky look, is one of the 15 contestants in the eighth season of the reality show Bigg Boss. Before she entered the house, we caught up with her for a quick chat.

How did the show happen for you?

Well, I got a last-minute call to be part of the show and I jumped in. I didn't have enough time to shop, so I spent less money!

You earlier participated in another reality show, Khatron Ke Khiladi, on the same channel. How was the experience?

After Khatron Ke Khiladi, nothing scares me. Not even ugly fights. I mean we fight even in the outside world and it is just about how you look at it.

Do you have any agenda for this show?

I neither had an agenda when I got my tattoos nor did I have one when I shaved off my head. So why would I have one now?

Do you have any strategy for the game?

Well, I don't have any particular strategy. I think I will just go with the flow. I am not going with the intention of being rude. I will be honest and stand up for myself. But I will try not to get involved in any fights. I am a fun and quirky person, so you will see a lot of madness, fashion and never a dull moment in the house.

You've been single for the past 12 years. Are you ready to mingle now?

Yes, I am happy to mingle and tingle. I am hoping that there will be some good guys inside the house. — HRM

A happy family

The set of the alien-comedy show Badi Dooooor Se Aaye Hai is buzzing with talent. Real-life couple Tannaz and Bhakhtyar Irani, who play couple Lisa and Ronnie D'Souza on the show, are known for their dancing skills.

The creative team seeks their inputs and directions whenever they are shooting a dance sequence, so much so that they have become the official choreographers for the team of the show. But that's not all. Actor Sumeet Raghavan, who plays Vasant Ghotala, is an accomplished singer and treats the entire cast to pleasant melodies when they sit together during breaks between shots. Bhavna Khatri, who plays Anna D'Souza, joins him on these musical expeditions. The team is like a big happy family that eats, sings and laughs together. Badi Dooooor Se Aaye Hai airs from Monday to Friday 9.30 pm on SAB TV.

Big bonanza

Big Magic promises to give its viewers an extra dose of entertainment under the umbrella of Mahotsav from September 25 onwards, touching festivals like Navratri, Dusshera, Karva Chauth, Diwali, Christmas and New Year.

Navratri will have special episodes of Ajab Gajab Ghar Jamai and Har Mushkil Ka Hal Akbar Birbal; Karva Chauth will figure in all the key shows and Diwali is being planned as a special two hours of musical entertainment on October 18 from 8 pm onwards.

Each programming spike has been tailored on the basis of research and feedback from audiences in its core markets across the Hindi heartland, to ensure an engaging and entertaining watch for the entire family. With some of the biggest faces in comedy like Kiku Sharada, Delnaaz Irani, Kishwar Merchant, Upasana Singh, Humani Shivpuri and Sumit Vats, from across its key shows of Har Mushkiil Ka Hal Akbar-Birbal, Ajab Gajab Ghar Jamai and Uff! Yeh Nadaniyaan, the stage is all set.

Here comes Birbal!

Popular TV drama Jodha Akbar will now focus on Mughal emperor Akbar and his brightest minister Birbal. The upcoming episodes of the period drama will see the entry of Birbal, played by actor Gopal Singh, who will eventually become Akbar's chief advisor.

The show from next week onwards will unfold how this man becomes one of the most dear and special advisor to Akbar and helps him resolve his current problems.

Rannvijay gets lively at 3 am

As the clock strikes 3 am, celebrities across India are taken over by fear, not of the dark or of the supernatural, but of falling prey to Rannvijay Singh's midnight pranks! All of them found it interesting when Rannvijay posted on social networks a couple of days ago that he would shoot himself doing interesting things at 3 am, every night and post the clips online. Little did they know that these clips would be at their expense!

Rannvijay has taken to making prank video calls to all his celeb friends at 3 am, disturbing them, recording their conversations and posting the clips on his social networks for everyone to see, enjoy and share!

So far, celebs like Yuvraj Singh, John Abraham, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana, Raghu Ram and Rajiv Lakshman have become unwitting victims of his midnight masti.

"I was surprised to get Rannvijay's call at 3 am," says Yuvraj Singh. "The chat was crazy, stupid and great fun as usual. But I was even more surprised when my friends told me that they had seen our video chat online. I've warned my friends that Rannvijay could well be coming for them next."

"This is not cool" fumes Raghu. "Years ago, I had got a similar midnight call when Rannvijay had a bad accident. That time it was true. Since then, I have been traumatised about midnight calls, and for Rannvijay to knowingly joke like this is not on. Wait till I get my hands on him!"

Ask him about this, and Rannvijay can't stop laughing. "Shooting for 3 AM made me a nocturnal person and I feel the urge to do something crazy at that time every day.

I have a close relationship with my fans on social networks, and decided to do something fun for them. I'd love the fans to also shoot themselves doing fun stuff at 3 am and send the clips to me. Let's see who can get crazier! I've got a lot more planned, so watch out!" he signs off with a mischievous smile."

Deepika turns Lovely

While already in news for the 'cleavage row' and her acting in Finding Fanny, Deepika Padukone continues to stay in focus for a different reason this time. After the sneak peak of the Deepika Padukone's item song Lovely was released on Happy New Year's music launch, the official video of the hot and spicy number is finally out.

Composed by Dr Zeus, Lovely has been penned by Jiwan Mann, Kumaar and crooned by Kanika Kapoor, Ravindra Upadhyay, Miraya Varma and Fateh.

Lovely features the actress in an avatar that is poles apart from what she is portrayed in other HNY songs like Manwa Lage and Indiawaale. The song, being touted as the 'item song of the year', will be Padukone's entry song in the film.

Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood and Vivaan Shah, HNY is dance heist film and follows the story of six oddballs set to loot a handful of diamonds. Slated for a 24 October release, it is director Farah Khan's third film with SRK after Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om.

The Happy New Year team, along with singers Yo Yo Honey Singh, and Kanika Kapoor are busy with their world tour.

Sushant denies walking out of Paani

Actor Sushant Singh Rajput has denied reports that he had dropped out of Shekhar Kapur's ambitious project. "We were very amused to read speculations that Sushant Singh Rajput is not in Paani due to a variety of absurd reasons. There is absolutely no truth to it. Sushant keeps a low profile and let's his work speak for itself.

"He has recently completed Detective Byomkesh Bakshi and is deep in preparations for Paani given the scale of the film," said his spokesperson.

Rajput started his acting journey as a TV star with Pavitra Rishta before moving to Bollywood with films like Shuddh Desi Romance and Kai Po Che.

Kapur's long-gestating project is set in a futuristic world where water is controlled by multinational companies.

Two lovers spark a war in their bid to bring water back to people. The film is being produced by Yash Raj Films for a 2015 release. 'Black' actress Ayesha Kapoor has reportedly been finalised as the female lead. — PTI

Sonu’s killing fitness regime

Sonu Sood has risen from strength to strength; from Dabangg to Happy New Year. He is a star known for his disciplined fitness routine and killer physique which has maintained with consistency. He shares his work-out routine and diet plan.

Starting young

I started working out when I was in college. For me going to the gym is like performing a daily ritual. I eat right and live a disciplined life. These are golden rules, which will keep you fit forever. As a child, I watched movies of Hollywood actors like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger and dreamt of having a body like them. While studying engineering in Nagpur, I started attending a gym and the habit has stayed on. My current trainer, Yogesh Bhateja and I share a close bond. I was required to have a great physique for Happy New Year. Yogesh guided me well.

My workout plan

I spend almost 2 ½ hours in the gym and work on two body parts a day. I start my day by doing 30 minutes of cardio, followed by cross training and functional training. At times, I even do yoga. Basically, it's a mixture of weights and weight-free exercise. I focus on both lower and upper body parts. It's imperative to strike the right balance. I have been concentrating on my lower body of late. I had a serious back problem. So, I need to tackle it with the right exercise. Apart from weight training, I follow different forms of workouts. I love cycling on the highway and go up to 40 km, especially on weekends and holidays.

No-cheating policy

There are no cheat days for me. I stay disciplined with my food habits. When you have worked so hard to sculpt your body, you can't let your efforts go waste. I have strong willpower. When you set a goal, there are no shortcuts. I find time to work out even while shooting. There have been times when I've packed up at 2 am and have still worked out after that. My gym is open 24-hours, so that's a blessing. It's all about what is on your priority list.

No carbs, please

I try to avoid salt, especially when there are body shots or close-up shots. I am not fond of carbs otherwise too. I used to love dal and roti but now I have given up rotis. They add to the water retention in the body. So, if I have to look lean for a role, I avoid salt and carbs completely for a day or two. I lived on salads when I was shooting for Dabangg.

Diet plan

I used to follow a chart prescribed by a dietician. But now I read about various diets that keep you fit. It is important to eat at intervals. It's advisable to have six meals a day. Eat after every two hours and avoid junk and oily food. My diet includes plenty of fruit, omelettes and oatmeal. I have a light lunch comprising a small bowl of brown rice, dal and salad. I have either fruit or coconut water as evening snacks and egg whites and protein shake for dinner. It is a myth that protein shakes lead to kidney problems and adversely affect your system. There is no harm in having two scoops of protein supplements every day. It helps after your workouts.

Being a Punjabi, I love sweets but after choosing this profession, I gave them up. But I just cannot refrain from eating rasgollas. However, I squeeze out the sugar syrup before consuming them. Though, I still feel guilty.

Sonali’s family is safe

There were several reports doing the rounds that members of actress Sonali Bendre's family died in a road accident on September 16. However, the actress clarifies that there is absolutely no truth to these rumors.

While the state mourned the death of civilians who lost their lives at the tragic accident that occurred near Kolar at Halekuppa Gate on the Mulbagal-Nangali Road , there was a lot of speculation that members of Sonali Bendre's family were part of the car accident. However, the rumors have perplexed the actress and her family, who clarify that the news is untrue.

Putting speculation to rest confirms Sonali, "I would like to clarify that nobody from my family was part of the road accident that occurred near Kolar .I do not know where these rumors are stemming from. May God give strength to the families of the deceased."

Lady Gaga flaunts ‘oriental’ dress

Singer Lady Gaga, known for her outrageous outfits, opted for a feminine look when she stepped out in an oriental gown in Brussels during her ArtRave tour. The 38-year-old paired up her Japanese geisha look with a long full-sleeved gown as she left her hotel recently.

The olive green ensemble featured an exotic flower pattern, which she complemented with a bold eye-liner design. The Applause hitmaker chose a slick, straight hair styled into a fringed bob.

The tour, promoting her latest pop offering "ARTPOP", is due to end in late November. — IANS


New season

Take 2: a still from Downton Abbey Downton Abbey is among the most-talked-about and acclaimed dramas on television, and in addition to its Emmy and Golden Globe recognition, the British produced series has seen its stateside fan base expand considerably from season to season.

Take 2: a still from Downton Abbey

The Season 5 will pick up six months after the events of the Season 4 Christmas special, and Michelle Dockery's Lady Mary will be feeling more like her old self after grieving for so long. Catch the latest season of Downton Abbey, starting from September 25 at 10 pm on Star World Premier HD.

Manish walks the ramp

Actor Manish Paul, who is known for his anchoring skills, took a break from hosting and was recently seen in a different avatar when he walked the ramp for the opening show of India Runway Week Winter/Festive Edition 2014 for designer Kirti Rathore in New Delhi. Manish was seen wearing an ethnic piece by the designer while the designs showcased on the ramp were Outwears in Pastel Shades. He is currently working on his next film Tere Bin Laden 2.

Amrita’s telly debut

Following her sister Preetika, Bollywood actress Amrita Rao too is set to foray into television. Earlier rumours had suggested that she would feature in a serial by Shashi-Sumeet Mittal Productions, but now we hear that she has auditioned for an Ekta Kapoor soap.

Some more hatred

Hate Story 3 will go on the floors in November. Vishal Pandya who directed Hate Story 2 will direct this one as well and the casting will be finalised in two weeks. The movie will release in summer 2015.

Wedding bells for Dia

Dia Mirza is all set to wed her boyfriend Sahil Sangha after seven years of dating. The cards have been sent out and the wedding will take place in Delhi on October 18. We wish them a lifetime of happiness.

Shooting stars

No problem: John Abraham and Shruti HaasanWelcome Back's shooting for an engagement scene featuring actress Shruti Haasan and actor John Abraham was held at a famous studio in suburban Mumbai with the entire cast and crew in attendance. They shot the entire day in the heat without complaining. That’s call dedication. The pair looks sizzling too.

No problem: John Abraham and Shruti Haasan

Tag team: Priyanka Chopra and Hrithik Roshan Daring duo

Hrithik Roshan has dared his friends in Bollywood to do daring stunts as part of #BangBangDare. Priyanka Chopra did a headstand and three-push-ups in heels and it was a cakewalk for her!

Tag team: Priyanka Chopra and Hrithik Roshan

Nobody likes Govinda

Govinda might be replaced by Jackie Shroff as Ranbir Kapoor's father in Jagga Jasoos. The makers are not happy with his lack of professionalism and interference in the script so they might replace him and re-shoot the portions.

A still from Daawat-E-Ishq Not too bright

Daawat-E-Ishq and Khoobsurat have not lived up to the industry expectations. The former's weekend collections were nearly Rs 14 crore while the latter's collections were nearly Rs 12 crore. Khoobsurat has got a good opening in Pakistan due to Fawad Khan.

A still from Daawat-E-Ishq

In happy space

Kunal Kapoor says that he is in a happy relationship with Naina Bachchan, his fiancée. The duo has not set a wedding date yet though the wedding will happen soon.

P Khurrana

ARIES: The day will be quite busy. Once you are through, you will be able to lie back and take things easy. Money matters will not pose a huge concern and health will be good. Tarot message: Don't take financial decisions impulsively. Lucky colour: Navy blue. Magic number: 32.

TAURUS: Interactions, travelling and intellectual pursuits are likely today. Many of you will travel for pleasure and explore interesting places. Don't spend time and energy in trying to change certain people. Tarot message: Be true to yourself. Lucky colour: Orange. Magic number: 44.

GEMINI: Many of you have been experiencing a profound, philosophical inclination for the past few days and today it will become stronger, motivating you to introspect, contemplate and reflect. Tarot message: Follow the right advice. Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 35.

CANCER: Things will move at a relatively slower pace today and you can use the time to relax and catch up with friends. If planning to put your money in real estate, you will receive good returns. Tarot message: Do not cover up your own mistakes. Lucky colour: Black. Magic number: 50.

LEO: This will be an active and positive day for professionals, especially women, who would have the stamina and enthusiasm to accomplish just about anything. Tarot message: Be diplomatic with colleagues. Lucky colour: Red. Magic number: 62.

VIRGO: Business people will need to work out the finer aspects of a partnership or contract while professionals will need to display intelligence, tact and efficiency at work. Tarot message: Don't get embroiled in long-term ventures. Lucky colour: Purple. Magic number: 55.

LIBRA: This will be a day where you need to adopt an unconventional yet productive approach so as to accomplish the maximum. Professionally, you should be careful of who you trust. Tarot message: Start a saving plan and also curb expenses. Lucky colour: White. Magic number: 27.

SCORPIO: You will have to be strong and make the decision to save and invest. In relationships, do not get entangled in temporary, meaningless affairs. Tarot message: Pay attention to your inner feelings. Lucky colour: Grey. Magic number: 35.

SAGITTARIUS: Today you will be quite generous, optimistic, expressive, tactful, compassionate and creative. Help from a spiritual guide will be valuable. Tarot message: Keep a close eye on savings and investments. Lucky colour: Brown. Magic number: 65.

CAPRICORN: Taking care of an elder will give you great happiness. The day will be filled with romance, excitement, travel and friendships. Business people should conduct deals with caution. Tarot message: Finance and health will need care. Lucky colour: Green. Magic number: 40.

AQUARIUS: In relationships, don't become too controlling, since everyone needs his or her own space. You will be able to identify and understand the real intentions behind others' actions. Tarot message: Keep other people's secrets well guarded. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 51.

PISCES: When faced with someone who is absolutely rigid and stubborn, don't waste your time in arguing. If holding a social get-together, take a close look at the guest list. Tarot message: Do not spend beyond your capacity. Lucky colour: Crimson. Magic number: 29.

Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is September 25...

There is no need to feel less courageous at any time. Watch out for difficult situations at the work front. You'll be great at making judgements and be able to highlight your strengths as a speaker as well as entertainer. You are static, which will make you edgy and dissatisfied with everything you'll do; try to get some imagination. You'll treat your partner with great tenderness and want to spend as much time as possible together. This will make you aware of your deep feelings. Health can bloom by sharing happiness with others. You will make good money, but try not to let it slip through your fingers. Romance will be exciting.

Positive colours: White, Cream. Select days: Monday, Sunday. Favourable numbers: 2, 7. Gems recommended: Pearl, Diamond. Charity on birthday: Donate yellow sweet rice at any religious place.

You share your birthday with Divya Dutta (September 25, 1977, Ludhiana), who has won more than 25 awards in the film industry, including the Zee Cine Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Veer Zaara. Astrologically, Divya, besides acting, will do well in scripting and direction after 2016.

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