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Bohemian rhapsody
The 13-hour drive from Guwahati, Assam, to Ziro valley in Lower Subansiri district, Arunachal Prad-esh, was like a bone-rattling amusement ride. The rain gods, thankfully, were lenient. The retreating monsoon was a mere spray across the dangerous high-range roads, often obstructed by landslides and fallen trees. The sight of Ziro was reinvigorating. It was a mini paradise, with lush paddy fields...
King of cool
It is not easy to pull off being cool. Some do, some don’t. Shah Rukh Khan, as the mauve paisley shirt-wearing metrosexual don, managed to do so. Even at 72, Amitabh Bachchan does it effortlessly. Some like Saif Ali Khan have tried and failed. Love Aaj Kal extinguished all hope for him. It is tougher for Chetan Bhagat who just turned 40. His insouciance—the prerequisite for being...
'Film festivals broaden your perspective'
MAMI 2014's international competition jury head British filmmaker Peter Webber on his love for Indian films and why film festivals in smaller cities are the real eye openers
'Paid film journalism is frightening'
If there is one person who was hailed as the real superstar at the MAMI opening ceremony, it was the creative director of the festival, Anupama Chopra. From MAMI President Shyam Benegal to the chief guest Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, everyone had something good to say about her. And why not. Chopra was the first one to tweet about the dying festival on Twitter, contribute generously to it and convince...
High on mocktail
Comedy is the flavour of the season. And, there is something for everyone, from in-your-face humour to the more refined
MAMI kicks off
Mumbai: It was a special evening for Bollywood as the 16th Mumbai Film Festival (often referred to as MAMI) was declared open at the 40-year-old Chandan Cinemas at Juhu. Not because this was the year that the festival was almost scrapped due to lack of funds and was nursed back to health by generous donations from the industry. But because as actor and host for the night Kalki Koechlin candidly...
Australia's Flanagan wins Man Booker prize
London: Australian novelist Richard Flanagan said that before winning the prestigious Man Booker prize for literature on Tuesday he had considered becoming a miner because he found it so difficult to make a living at his craft.Flanagan, 53, won the prestigious 50,000-pound ($79,530) prize for his novel "The Narrow Road to the Deep North", set during the building of the Thailand-Burma...
India really needs humour: Kapil Sharma
What is the Kapil brand of humour?My brand of humour is desi. Its not for a particular class or elite society like in some English shows. Kids, parents and grandparents should be able to watch it together—a family show. There should be no vulgarity... others do it but I told my team let us get two laughters less but we will never go below the belt because families trust us. Today we have...
Saving marooned bride
It is a pleasant evening, and the people inside Mumbai's Palladium Hotel are waiting to feast their eyes on designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil's bridal wear collection. Think bridal wear, and you would expect shimmering lehengas and saris in typical maroon or red. This show, however, displays unconventional hues as models walk the ramp in white, grey, blue, bronze and black, leaving the...
Ouso effect
It is an incongruous setting. His 12th floor apartment is like a jarring, large installation art, with bright canvases, grim photographs, musical instruments and sculptures vying for attention.A few steps away, from his balcony, it is a numbing grey view. The grumpy clouds are about to open up their woes. And the backwaters off Kochi are flowing towards oceanic glory.“Cooking... ha!”...
French writer wins Nobel prize in Literature
French writer Patrick Modiano has won the Nobel Prize for Literature as "a Marcel Proust of our time," The Swedish Academy said on Thursday.The academy said the award of 8 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million) was "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation".Modiano's works have centred...
ISI has ties with terror groups: Panetta
Pakistani spy agency ISI having close ties with terror groups is an open secret and this was the reason why the US did not share the intelligence about the raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout with Islamabad, former defence secretary and ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta has said. "We had been discussing this for months, and it was an open secret that Pakistan's intelligence agency had ties...
Never a dull day
A spirited mother and a sedate son. Theatre personalities Dolly Thakore and son Quasar Thakore Padamsee speak about living life to the full
Risky business
Two women, one passionate about art and journalism and the other about filmmaking, have come together to create a platform to highlight the issues of safety of journalists and the importance of free and fair media. V.R. Devika, 60, an art critic and Uma Vangal Shivakumar, 49, professor of film direction at LV Prasad Film and TV Academy in Chennai, are organising ‘Behind The Lines, Between...
Out of tune
Geeta Chandran believes in keeping up with the times. In a dancing career that spans 40 years, Chandran has embraced technology to connect with her younger students and audience. She is accessible on social networking sites, gives talks on forums such as TEDx and interacts through her dance company. “I'm active on Facebook and get several mails every day—it helps me keep a...
Style without borders
Neither the political turmoil nor the floods in Pakistan hampered the enthusiasm of Pakistani designers at the Alishan Pakistan lifestyle exposition in New Delhi, where they showcased their latest collections. After food and music, it is Pakistani fashion—lawn cotton fabric, pant-style salwars with wide lacy cuffs and ankle-length voluminous kurtis in bold prints—that is attracting...
The Bhardwajian saga
What happens when you try to juxtapose an already intense and complicated story onto a volatile backdrop like the insurgency-hit Kashmir? It could well turn out to be explosively beautiful or excruciatingly disastrous. It would then be only fair to say that Vishal Bhardwaj's telling of the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, Haider, is more inclined towards the former albeit a few flaws. Set in...
Telling the Parsi story
A stay in Mumbai wouldn't be complete without bumping into an eccentric Parsi. An integral part of the city, they also have and are still playing a huge role in making Mumbai what it is today. An endearing group of mavericks, the Parsis are one of the few communities who can take jokes made on their expense quite well. Their only concern is, however, their dwindling numbers, thanks to...
Rolling the dice
A young tribal woman, a four-year-old girl, a mysterious stranger and a goat. This forms the cast of debutante filmmaker Geetu Mohandas's Liar's Dice, which has been selected as India's official entry to the 87th Academy Awards. Mohandas recalls how many of the producers she approached were confused about this unusual ensemble and had quizzed her on why the film had no songs. "It...
Ethical dilemmas
His "profound sadness" as he watched Dr Manmohan Singh "being unfairly treated as an object of public ridicule during his second term as prime minster” made former media adviser Sanjaya Baru write a book, The Accidental Prime Minister. Now, the former comptroller and auditor general Vinod Rai has come out with the book Not Just an Accountant: The Diary of the Nation's...
Rebel with a cause
Neel Mukherjee’s Booker-shortlisted The Lives of Others has everything that makes a Bengali novel¯exploitation, class struggle and family drama
Amitabh is a commodity, not an actor
Naseeruddin Shah's memoir, ‘And Then One Day’, is almost a confession of unresolved personal relationships. Excerpts from an interview with the actor:In your book you ask, ‘Is this a story worth telling?’ I didn’t think that I would actually ever complete it. I did it as an exercise in memory. I wrote it because I needed to write it for myself. I have come to...
Being Homi
A backpacker, rugby player, scuba diving instructor and now a filmmaker, Homi Adajania is living life on a whim and has no regrets about it
Making sense of rituals
The enigmatic and rather elaborate rituals of the traditional Hindu marriage often intrigue and puzzle onlookers. In fact, with the exception of Sanskrit scholars and priests who solemnise the marriage, most Hindus themselves are clueless about these rituals. Often, the bride, groom and their families merely go through the motions of the ceremony, without comprehending the tenets these rituals...
Back with a Bang Bang
Hrithik Roshan is a survivor. While shooting for his upcoming film Bang Bang in Thailand last year, he suffered a major head injury. It was during an action shot that involved a 30-foot drop from the sky into water. “Any other actor would have cancelled the shoot and thrown a tantrum, but Hrithik came back post surgery to perform tougher stunts on his own. This just shows his determination...
India nominates 'Liar's Dice' for Oscars
Hindi film 'Liar's Dice', a road drama about a tribal woman's journey to find her missing husband, has been selected as India's official entry for the upcoming Academy awards in the best foreign film category. Directed by Geethu Mohandas and starring Geetanjali Thapa and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in lead roles, 'Liar's Dice' beat 29 other films to represent India at the...
Telltale therapy
In Stolen Years, Pavit Kaur recounts the bitter experiences her father had in prison and what the family went through
Lama lore in gore
Tibet had fascinated orientalists in the late 19th and early 20th century, when Charles Bell and such other scholars from India explored the region, studied the culture and wrote tomes. Empire-builder George Nathaniel Curzon sent an expedition led by the young adventurer Francis Younghusband, and that itself became a much-chronicled adventure of sorts. The 'invasion' from India in the...
Voice of the lesser adepts
Translator Rakhshanda Jalil wants to be the Urdu voice in English, not the Muslim voice and not in the Queen’s English
The Khan for all seasons
"If you were to make a Hindi film about my childhood, people would walk out of the theatre midway cursing 'yeh kya exaggerated sob story banaya hai?'," says the ever candid Farah Khan. The 49-year-old choreographer-turned-filmmaker's sense of humour is legendary in Bollywood circles. She has that unique trait of being able to laugh at her own struggles and shrug it off as if...
Social change, a click away
In these times of widespread hashtag activism, it is archaic to debate the power and impact of social media. What we need to devote our efforts to is to build a platform that helps identify various opportunities and ways in which we can put social media to good use. And, that is exactly what this year's Social Media Week (SMW) aims to do. An international crowdsourced festival which will be...
Roll to the dhol
From 'Ram-Leela' ghagras and radium eyeliners to lyrical hip-hop garba, there is a twist to this Navratri season
Craft, pure and gutsy
Once the numero uno in Bollywood, Rani Mukerji had to give way for younger actors. Her latest film Mardaani has been a fitting comeback
MAMI can make it
In 1997, filmmakers under the leadership of director Hrishikesh Mukherjee founded the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) for conducting an annual international film festival. Now the 16th edition of the festival is on the verge of being called off for shortage of funds and lack of sponsors. To organise the festival, MAMI needs Rs5 crore.For the past five years, the festival was sponsored by...
More Bad Time Tales
More Bad Time TalesThe book is a collection of short stories reflective of the turbulent times we are living in. So there is the story of the taxi driver who slashes his Muslim name to escape Hindu fundamentalists; a woman who marries a man at an Alzheimer’s centre. He is snatched away by the ‘sarkar’ on the day of their marriage; a Muslim child hacked to death. The stories are...
A kind ‘mother’
UR. Ananthamurthy was a superstar by the time I first encountered him as a student in 1975. He had shaken up the placid, complacent state of Karnataka, especially the conservatives who believed in the supreme value of their traditions. Samskara had left serious dents on the conservative culture and Ananthamurthy became a hero to some and a hideous figure to many.But the image I would like to...
Bangalore Lit Fest to begin on Sept 26
Bengaluru: September in Bengaluru will end on a literary note with nearly 150 authors being featured in the third edition of the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF), to be held in the city from September 26 to 28. The event will have a special focus on the northeast and will be dedicated to the memory of the recently departed literary giant Prof U.R. Ananthamurthy. Writers from the...
It is an unusual life...
It has been a while since Angelina Jolie has presented herself in a movie, and thus in public. But when the 38-year-old faced the press again in London ahead of her last film, Maleficent, it became apparent that she had lost nothing of her beauty, warmth and wit. She elegantly fielded questions on her relationship with loved ones, her daughter Vivienne’s acting debut and the day when her...
An actor with many questions
A decade ago, Sohum Shah was a builder in a small town in Rajasthan. Today, he is the force behind films like Ship of Theseus and Tumbad
Acting for Attenborough
It was through Dolly Thakore, who was casting for the film Gandhi, in the early 80s that I first met Richard Attenborough. I was called to the Centaur Airport Hotel in Mumbai, where Richard was halting between his journey from Delhi to England. I met him over a cup of tea. As he also hailed from a theatre background, the conversation mostly centred on theatre and it lasted for a good 45...
Venerable vegetation
Sacred Plants of India, written by Dr Nanditha Krishna and M. Amirthalingam, takes readers on an intriguing and rewarding journey as the duo unravels the association between plants and sacredness in Indian culture.“This was a book waiting to be written,” says Krishna, a historian, environmentalist and director of the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation and the CPR Environmental Education...
Pistol, peas and perfection
If it were not for Guruji and his yoga, my brothers and I would probably not have been born. My mother, Dhan Palkhivala, had been told by allopaths that the shape of her uterus was not conducive to childbirth. After she started practising yoga with Guruji, mom gave birth to my eldest brother, Aadil, now a famous yoga teacher in the US. My mother had been specifically asked by Guruji to do yoga...
Scene Change
From the drawing room of a house to the basement, a protected monument and even a basketball court, theatre groups are opting for unconventional settings to make the experience more intimate and informal
Sailor as hero
If sailing was as popular as cricket, Indian Navy Commander Dilip Donde would have been feted as much as Sunil Gavaskar or Kapil Dev. But, as a vice admiral hinted at in a conversation with Donde, Indians are not born sailors and we do not have seawater flowing in our veins. He discouraged Donde who met him to discuss the first Indian solo circumnavigation mission. “We cannot do it. It is...
More Inside THE WEEK
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Friends forever
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On the field
Bird in hand
freewheeling  |  Derek O'Brien
Knowing Kolkata, via satellite
Did the writer spend a significant time of his or her formative years in Kolkata?Was the writer educated in one of Kolkata’s best-known and elite institutions?Is the writer an exile from Kolkata and West Bengal, ...  »
grand slam  |  Sania Mirza
American dream come true
It is sheer love for the game that nurtures an upcoming tennis player.  As one begins to follow the sport with a growing passion, it is Grand Slam tournaments that capture your imagination and, soon, for a ...  »