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Visakhapatnam Today

11 Jul


Visakhapatnam today

Sri Jagannathaswamy Temple: Rath yatra mahotsavamulu, display of ‘Raamaavathaaram’, Panchasookta parayana (7 a.m.); Vedapaarayana (7.30 a.m.); Lalithasahasranama paarayana (9 a.m.); spiritual discourse by A. Radha Prasadacharyulu (5.30 p.m.), Turner’s Choulty.

Utkalika Cultural Association: Rath yatra mahotsavam, non-stop remix modern dance, ‘Om Shanti Om’ entertainment programme, Sri Jagannath Temple Complex, Ukkunagaram, 7 p.m.

Lions Club of VSP, Waltair: Felicitations to Vice-Chancellor of AU, B. Satyanarayana, and installation of officer- bearers, Hotel Daspalla, 7 p.m.

District Medical and Health Organisation and National Service Scheme (AU): World Population Day celebrations, VUDA Children Theatre, 10 a.m.

ACME: World Population Day rally from Mahatma Gandhi statute, opposite GVMC office, 10.30 a.m.

Andhra University Teachers’ Association: Felicitations to Vice-Chancellor B. Satyanarayana, Ambedkar Assembly Hall, 11.45 a.m.

JCI Waltair and Bala Vikas Foundation: Inauguration of training programme for women in phenyle, detergent powder and candle making, BVF Child Labour School, Fishing Harbour, 10.30 a.m.

MVP Colony Sector-IV Residents’ Welfare Association: Free dhyan training, Sri Pothuluri Veerabrahmendraswamy Temple, Sector-IV, MVP Colony, 3 p.m.

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Feasting On Fitness

28 Jun


Feasting on fitness

modern gyms offer delightful ways to stay fit. Bharath Anuroop peeks into the novelties unfolding in these fitness studios

Photo: Raju. V.


Fitness factories There are umpteen ways to stay in shape the entertaining way

When Salman Khan bared his chest in Maine pyar kiya, the Gen-X hit the gym. Now that Shah Rukh flaunted his six-pack in Om Shanti Om, the Gen-Y is eager to toe the line of King Khan. The evolution of conventional gyms in Maine pyar kiya days to the plush and swanky multifarious fitness centres of Om Shanti Om era is a compelling tale of advancement.

Fitness buffs of yesteryear were perhaps not so blessed, as they hit gymnasiums only to pump iron. Calorie-watchers today have host of other facilities. Besides allowing them to sweat it out, the client-friendly centres give the option of viewing their favourite programme on the choicest channel even while working out. Be it a yoga session or a dance class, the music in the background sets a perfect mood for a great beginning of the day. A relaxing massage or a steam bath dovetails a vigorous workout session peppered with friendly yak among youngsters in the vicinity.

Personal care

Single instructors have disappeared to make way for professional teams comprising a personal trainer, a dietician, a nutritionist and a physiotherapist. Flexible timing is yet another attraction that pulls even the uninitiated into the fold of these centres.

At Talwalkars, a hub of fitness freaks in the city, a steady stream of the health-conscious lot begins to pour in at 5 a.m. and the calorie-burning spree continues till 10 in the night.

“Kalyan Krishna, who represented Deccan Chargers in the IPL, includes our celebrity client list,” says Ch. Ravi Kumar, manager at Talwalkars. The centre offers fitness programmes for various age groups besides the stretch and flex programme for teenagers. Housewives throng the place to shed that extra flab and form a major chunk of the client list.

Since most of the happening gyms in the city import the equipment from the US and offer services of personal trainers, clients don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks. The annual subscription costs anything between Rs.10,000 and Rs.15,000. For a personal trainer, the cost goes up as high as Rs. 40,000.

No short-cuts

With the latest concept of six- pack and size zero creating a lot of buzz among the urban youth, experts suggest that what is attainable is desirable. “The fad has caught up with the youth and most of them come asking for a six-pack,” says T. Vikram, trainer at the Talwalkars. He was awarded the Mr. Andhra title in 2007 and was adjudged the State bodybuilding champion for five years. He has a six-pack but he warns youngsters against any short cuts. “Use of fat burners like shotgun, wave protein may have immediate effects but, in the long run, it leads to several complications,” he maintains.

Film stars have always inspired youngsters who want to emulate their demi-Gods. But, one thing is for sure. “Fitness awareness has certainly increased among people in the city over the years” observes V. Jogu Prasad, who runs Ice and Bubbles, yet another state-of-the-art fitness studio in the city. Irrespective of age, fitness has become a part of the city’s lifestyle.


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A Hit Recipe

24 Jun


A hit recipe

Exciting new ingredients are being added to turn out that perfect box-office bonanza, writes K. Jeshi


WOOING AUDIENCES ONLINE From “Love Story 2050”

The debate is still on — has pre-release hype on his 10 roles killed Kamal Hassan’s Dasavathaaram, or has it set new box office records? Either way, there is no denying the movie had an incredible opening and is running
to packed houses.

The buzzword

It is no longer about print media ads, posters and hoardings. A film release has acquired another dimension — of SMS contests, caller tunes, lunch with the stars, radio blitz and film merchandise. Promotion is the buzzword.

Movies gunning for a target audience to ensure box office success seem to be doing well. Young viewers say that they increasingly count on promotional campaigns to decide which film to watch. “Every film has an audience. Be it a Rituparno Ghosh film or a David Dhawan one, identifying the target audience is vital,” says Saurabh Varma, marketing head of Adlabs Marketing Division, Mumbai.

In the case of Adblab’s Love Story 2050 starring Priyanka Chopra and Harman Baweja, slated for a July 4 release, the target audience is 15 to 35 years. “So, our focus is online space. The content is based on special effects, so we have an exciting trailer, which has already created hype on You Tube, blogs and websites,” he says.

Further, the lead pair will visit various cities. A retail outlet promotion is also lined up. “As part of radio launch of the film, the stars will talk to lovelorn listeners, as the story is all about love,” Saurabh reveals.

Value addition is the order of the day and the youth look for that something extra which enhances their movie watching experience.

R.S. Prabhu, executive director of a multiplex, says pre-release hype helps in drawing the attention of the young people. “Promotion has to synergise with the movie they are watching, or with the movie watching experience. It could even be in the form of slogans on T-shirts and caps. Touring cities, signing autographs and participating in contests helps improve theatre occupancy,” Prabhu adds.

As information spreads at incredible speed, the build-up has become necessary to get the maximum crowd during the opening weekend.

Brand image

Pre-planning, building a brand image of the film and the crew, identifying the target audience, and whether the movie is suitable for a multiplex or single screen release, are critical in marketing.

For instance, Vivah had a limited release and reached out to its target audience and became a success. S. Kamala Kannan, a film buff, says the pre-release hype should be content driven.

“It should bank on the rational aspects of a movie rather than emotional or sentimental values. For instance, Dasavathaaram is packed with messages on bio-war, the Tsunami, and also about the origin of AIDS. But, because of the hype, everyone is talking only about the make-up and the roles,” he adds.

He says Aamir Khan’s Mangal Pandey – The
Rising is an example of content based hype. “Even Lage Raho Munnabhai promoted the concept of bringing Gandhi back into action and it was a huge success. It made people visit museums to know more about Gandhi. So was Swades. Though it was a Shah Rukh Khan film, people watched it for the nationalistic content,” he explains.

A commodity

Unlike other forms of art, films today are predominantly a product, so pre-commercial activity has become important, says Rakesh S. Katarey of Amrita School of Communication.

“Be it big or small, films must conform to a certain minimum spend on generating hype, or face the risk of not being noticed at all. Films like Black Friday or Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi
, which could have been runaway hits suffered because of poor marketing,” he points out.

But, the buzz alone cannot ensure a movie’s success. “Marketing cannot help in selling a bad product. We can put in effective distribution and marketing to bring the audience for the first three days. After that, later the movie sells entirely on its merit,” Saurabh explains.

He cites the success story of Shah Rukh Khan’s Om Shanti Om as an example of good marketing. Small budget films such as Khosla Ka Ghosla and Bhagam Bhag became winners based on word-of-mouth promotion.

“Be it a Shah Rukh Khan or a Rajnikant film, the ultimate winner is the story, engagingly told. And, a generation of young film directors and producers are doing just that along with some marketing magic,” Prabhu concludes.


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It’s Party Time

29 Dec


It’s party time

To give a fillip to the party mood, the hotels have also lined up exciting shows to give a fitting finale to the year-2007, writes Sumit Bhattacharjee

Photo: K.R. Deepak


‘Masti’ all the way Dancing to the beats

The Year of the Lord is coming to a close and it’s time to let your hair down and hit the party circuit hard. While some have a taken a leaf from the movie ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ to move down to a tourist spot, to ring-in the New Year, ot
hers seem to have a settled down for a bash with family and friends in one of the top hotels in the city. To give a fillip to the party mood, the hotels have also lined up exciting shows to give a fitting finale to the year-2007.

“The December 31 party is the mother of all parties. Year-long we have some parties or the other but this is the grandest of all, and there is no compromise,” says the Food and Beverages Manager of Taj Residency, Rajesh Chakraborty.

To light up the mood, the hotels have plans to spread lavish buffets, serve the choicest of beverages and pack the shows with sizzling item numbers. Let’s see what’s in store from the Hotels: The Park is bringing an international artist to enthuse the revellers. The hotel is flying in Spanish oriental dancer, Morgana, to set the stage ablaze. Amlan Dasgupta of The Park describes the show as ‘Intimate, sensual and pulsating’.

Apart from the oriental dancer, a dance troupe comprising ramp models from Mumbai and Kolkata will perform to the numbers belted out DJ Samy and Bollywood item girl Mamtaa Sharma promises to give sizzling performances. The show will be held on the Chess Board from 8 p.m. onwards and chef Srinath will be spreading an exotic buffet that would comprise a few turkey specials. The theme is titled as ‘Passion8’.

Hotel Grand Bay assures to be in tune with the present trend. Catching up with the latest Shahrukh Khan blockbuster ‘Om Shanti Om’, the hotel is gearing up to set the evening to the thematic 70s.

“Disco is the theme and we are calling it as ‘Dard-e disco’. Performers and a DJ from Kolkata will set the pace. The entire event is being organised by our event manager from Kolkata, Hints and Allegations,” informs the Executive Chef of the Hotel, Nambi Arooran.

He also pledges to arrange a sumptuous buffet with over 100 dishes and an exotic dessert spread. The event is going to be held on the front lawns and the hotel has launched a two-nights and three days package for the outstation revellers who stream down from places like Chattisgarh and Orissa.

A 38-member performing troupe comprising dancers, DJs and ramp models from Kolkata will be the main attraction at Hotel Dolphin. The hotel will be hosting the New Year bash across four venues within its premises: At it’s multi-cuisine restaurant- Horizon, Poolside, Garden (for stags) and the Front Lawns (only buffet spread).

The General Manager of the hotel Rajendra Prasad says that every person who buys the ticket will be eligible for the 2 nights and 3 days stay package in any of the select 80 hotels across 40 cities. “Moreover, we have a number of schemes like the Golden Key, where a couple can stay overnight and a plenty of gifts for the people,” he adds.

Hotel Green Park seems to anchor around the Bollywood theme and have aptly titled their show as ‘Bollywood Dreams’. To make it thematic, the hotel will be replicating a set that would look like a shooting arena in a studio.

“The theme hinges on retrospect effect. The dance troupe from Kolkata will be sequencing hits from the 1960s to the latest,” says the Resident Manager of the hotel, K.M. Rao.

This apart and the buffet spread the revellers are in for gifts galore. “The prizes include flat TVs, DVD players, microwave, gold rings and free stay packages at metro cities,” informs Rao.

The hotel also offers a ‘Golden Key’ package, wherein a couple could troop in on December 31, and checkout after a jumbo breakfast and sumptuous lunch on January 1.

Hotel Daspalla has roped in singers Suswati and Avishek to set the tempo for the New Year crowd at the hotel. Orchestra, dance performances and fireworks would add up to the show. Actress Soumya would pace the evening with her performances and anchoring.

So it’s time to keep aside the resolutions and party hard to usher in the New Year in style.


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Taking On The Big C

29 Dec


Taking on the big C

The year of six-pack abs saw many battling the bulge. The fight against calories continues

Photo: K. Ramesh Babu


Early start The Tank Bund and parks in the city are frequented by morning walkers

A lot of newsprint and television air time has been spent discussing the pros and cons of acquiring six-pack abs. Shah Rukh Khan flaunted his newly acquired six-pack and sent scores of youngsters scurrying to the gym as fitness experts expressed thei
r concern over quick-fix methods. 2007 brought smiles to the health and fitness sector.

Andhra Pradesh leads in the number of diabetics and heart attacks at the age of 30 no longer raise eyebrows. Everyone wants to play it safe or at least give it a try. Almost everything sold in the market with the health tag has takers, from treadmills to protein shakes and muesli bars.

The change is apparent on all fronts. If the Hyderabad 10K Run had more than 25,000 participants, as personal trainer Faiyaz Ali points out, IT companies and colleges too have been organising their fitness runs. “An indicator to the growth in the fitness industry is the number of courses available in Hyderabad for certified trainers. When I took to this profession, I had to go to Mumbai to take an exam for trainers,” he says.

“There are more gyms today and more people eager to join. Those who’ve already been initiated into fitness are varying their workouts with activities like cycling, swimming and kickboxing to beat the monotony and to get better results,” says trainer Farzaan Merchant.

Walkers and joggers have been making use of any pocket of greenery in the neighbourhood. While some jog or walk around the sprawling apartment complexes, the blessed ones use the larger lung spaces. The line-up of cars at the various parking zones of the KBR Park on weekends can put the number of cars at a wedding ceremony to shame.

“People read up about fitness methods than following their trainers blindly. Also, television channels inform you about workouts, yoga, what to eat and what to avoid. I’ve seen a renewed interest in fitness among the 40-plus age group after Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om. Getting a six-pack takes more than six months. A regulated diet sans carbohydrates and definite workout patterns are necessary. It’s tough to maintain the six-pack as well. Short-cut methods can have adverse side effects, including heart problems,” explains Faiyaz.

Only next to the six-pack phenomenon is the popularity of dance. Reality shows showed the way and today, dance schools that teach salsa, jive, waltz and meringue have become as common as the kirana stores.

Laying your hands on whole wheat/oat and rye/multi-grain breads has never been this easy. Your neighbourhood supermarket now boasts of an exclusive counter for freshly baked whole-grain breads and buns. All foods branded and unbranded have upped their health quotient. Packaged fruit juices come in zero added sugar variants; there are multi-grain biscuits, low absorption cooking oils, a mind-boggling choice of muesli, oats and roasted, oil-free snacks. If curd made from skimmed milk wasn’t enough, pro-biotic and fruit curds made an entry.

Restaurants too cater to the calorie conscious. Whole grain rotis, vegan milkshakes, decaffeinated coffees, more salads and clear soups, steamed dosas, zero-sugar ice creams (that relies on its natural sugars from diary products and cocoa used),… the list doesn’t end there.

The bottomline is: fewer calories no longer mean compromising on taste.“My kids hated oats when I introduced it to them. Today, with oats available in flavours like strawberry, kesar and apple, oats porridge has become a delicious snack. My daughter equates it to kheer,” laughs Aparna Rajan, who works with an MNC.

Nutritionist Kavita Kabra foresees a massive change in the health food segment. She says working professionals who’ve moved to Hyderabad from other cities contribute to this change.

“Unfortunately, majority of the Telugu-speaking population is still resistant to change. Myths such as oranges can cause flu and tomatoes can lead to kidney stones still persist,” she says.

On a positive note, she says, “Supermarkets and restaurants are taking health food to the middle class. Kokum juice, aloe vera juice, green tea, soy milk, high-fibre snacks,… name it and it’s available. People are also reading up on health food and cannot be misguided.”

SANGEETA DEVI DUNDOO


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Adieu To Fusion

26 Dec


Adieu to fusion

Round-up Women loved their tunics, shirt dresses and bubble skirts while men returned to skinny jeans and structured jackets. Sangeetha Devi Dundoolooks at the fashion trends of 2007


What’s in A model showcases tunic and leggings designed by Raghavendra Rathore.

Like every year, there was a lot of action and off the ramp in the fashion industry. For once, there wasn’t much disconnect between what the models showcased on the ramp and what made its way to the malls for mass consumption. 2007 saw a clear
demarcation between western and Indian lines.

As city-based designer Anand Kabra, who showed his collections at the Autum-Winter and Spring-Summer editions of Lakme India Fashion Week puts it, “No more cholis worn with skirts. Indo-western fusion has taken a backseat. There are either clear Indian clothes or western clothes. And until now, most people believed that Indian clothes would not do well without chiffons, georgettes and crepes. This year we saw more matka silks, jute silks and newer fabrics.”

Designer Deepika Govind affirms, “People are more open to new fabrics now. When you blend in two different fabrics, you arrive at a different texture that enhances your product.” Deepika has blended noil silk with spun silk, used silk-lycra, silk-tencel and mooga silk among other fabrics.

Of dresses and tunics

Ankle-length skirts in crushed cottons were replaced by structured, pleated skirts for formal wear and voluminous, bubble or balloon skirts for casual wear. “I doubt how long the bubble will last, because it looks good only on reed-thin women,” feels Anand. On the ramp and off it, A-line dresses, skirts, tunics and shirt dresses paired appropriately with leggings and denims became widely popular. So did empire waist dresses.

Dresses help women hide their flaws and can blend into formal and casual wear. If the printed dresses offset with bright collars and cuffs make for evening wear, plain cotton shirt dresses with large buttons worn on linen trousers, denims or tights are ideal for formal and semi-formal occasions. “Women have taken well to shift dresses and tunics because they can be made to suit different occasions and requirements,” says designer Kedar Maddula.


A summer dress by Shantanu and Nikhil

Along with pencil skirts and A-line skirts, slim jeans replaced boot cuts and flared bottoms.

In Indian wear, cocktail saris and Patiala salwars stood out. A baggy Patiala-meets-harem pant worn with a fitted top, like the one worn by Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met, made the rounds. Deepika Padukone and Soha Ali Khan advertised the glamour and class of the ‘70s and ‘60s in Om Shanti Om and Khoya Khoya Chand respectively but retro didn’t create ripples as much as the tunics and shift dresses did.

All that’s formal

There weren’t drastic changes for men. But thankfully, designers did not scream from rooftops about dressing up the metro-sexual or uber-sexual male. Saif Ali Khan didn’t have to flaunt pink tees and shirts. Machismo made a comeback and so did a culmination of casual and formal wear. So, it is perfectly acceptable to team formal shirts and jackets with cool pairs of denims as shown in an ad campaign of a leading brand of men’s clothing.

Shah Rukh Khan and Shreyas Talpade drew attention to bell bottoms and all-white attire of the ‘70s but in real life, bell bottoms and flared denims were shown the door. “Straight cuts and skinny jeans ruled. Ties and suspenders completed the formal look for men,” says Anand.

Rohit Bal endorsed linen for men just in time. It has dawned on Indian designers that denim is no so cool for Indian summers. Structured jackets and trousers came back in. Designers like Vikram Phadnis experimented with screen printed motifs on linen jackets. The prints were single and large rather than being scattered throughout, endorsing no-nonsense bling.


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Chords And Notes

29 Oct


Chords and notes


Replay A still from ‘Om Shanti Om’

Upasana Aarti Sangrah

Frankfinn, Rs.45

Here’s yet another compilation of aartis, those traditional devotional songs meant to be sung during the all-important ritual of aarti. Frankfinn Entertainment’s audio CD, ‘Upasana Aarti Sangrah,’ is an album that has eight p
opular devotional songs. The CD starts with an invocation to Lord Ganesha. This track is followed by as many as five songs dedicated to the Mother Goddesses, Gauri, Lakshmi, Santoshi Ma, Ganga and Kali. The last two tracks sing praises of the playful Krishna and the majestic Siva.

The singers, Sadhana Sargam and Vipin Sachdeva, are at their best, their voice modulations and style perfectly suited to devotional rendering. Secondly, at Rs.45, this album is value for money.

OM SHANTI OM

T Series, Rs.160

Clearly, two songs from this movie, ‘Ajab Si’ and ‘Dard-E-Disco’ stand out. While in ‘Ajab Si,’ singer KK’s soft, lilting voice does justice to Vishal’s mushy lyrics and brings out beautifully the emotions of a starry-eyed lover, in ‘Dard-E-Disco,’ singer Sukhwinder Singh keeps on the high of the chartbusting number ‘Chak De’ from yet another Shah Rukh Khan film.

A lovely, peppy score, it can easily lure you to the dance floor.

Music directors Vishal and Shekhar add a remix version of it in the album with help from DJ Aqeel, albeit needlessly.

The title song, ‘Deewangi Deewangi’ should be given some credit for its terrific energy and pulsating rhythm. You might like ‘Main Agar Kahoon’ if you love the voice of Sonu Nigam. ‘Dhoom Tana’ is a typical Bollywood young-blood song.

In ‘Jag Soona Soona Lage,’ Richa Sharma’s rich voice comes to the fore. ‘Dastan-E-Om Shanti Om,’ sung by Shaan, reminds you of the old ’70s number, ‘Ek Haseena Thi’ from the film ‘Karz.’ The rest of the numbers are either remix versions of these scores or medley mixes and as expected, is a play of techno-music. If you like such a play, then they are all yours.


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