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A designer with the Midas touch

People call Manuu Mansheet an interior stylist but he is more like a ‘visual maestro’ who has an inner aesthetic scanner.

Anshu Khanna

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Ever heard of Midas and his touch, turning all into gold? Now meet Manuu Mansheet, the designer with the Midas touch, who, with the swish of his hand, the dash of his brain, makes everything look picture perfect. People call him an interior stylist but I prefer the word ‘visual maestro’ who has an inner aesthetic scanner. He can walk into a room, find its design fault lines and set it right in a jiffy. Voila!

Visualiser, food stylist, design academic and a self-taught interior designer who has this inborn knack to ‘turn things around’, his design bastion is using heritage and making it look modern, liable and warm. Even a rare, vintage ‘Pichwai’, a ‘Jamevar’ throw, a precious ‘Pattachitra’ can blend in seamlessly into the classic environs he conjures. In this day and age, when the call to go local for vocal is turning everyone into clones of Indian, ethnic, we catch up with this cultural mixologist to find out how the twain meet in his design horizon.

A visiting faculty of visual merchandising in front running design schools like NIFT and Pearl, Manuu is a brave designer who takes on any design challenge. To him, the idiom ‘art has no boundaries’ holds true. Hence at the wedding of Ambani’s daughter, you found him doing up the favor corner as a heritage store calling it the Swadeshi Bazaar. At the famed Diacolor-Chaudhary wedding, he was busy styling food at a vibrant, experiential chaat corner. “Indian weddings are like James Bond thrillers. They call for all the frills, fancies and the shenanigans but it all flashes by in jiffy,” says Manuu.

He humbly submits, “My journey so far took me from being an amateur stylist to a professional one. Growing up on Indian mythological stories, the famous comics and many more rooted art influences, naturally made me gravitate towards the purest of arts, Tanjores, Pattachitras, Pichwais, Tangkhas, Urdu calligraphy, Catholic iconography… the list can go on endlessly. Even the design elements I source are Indian in their technique and historic reference: wood work, lacquer work, carpets, durries, metal work, textiles, jamawars.”

The delicate shift from ethnic Indian to classic contemporary happens in the way Manuu curates the entire look of a space which might be modern but never a replica of a New York studio apartment or a minimalist, Norwegian home. He says, “I have never understood (not that I condemn it or look down upon it) the need to ape the West. The newfound and newfangled theories of interior design, use of glass, steel and foreign materials; these and jacketed, non-aired (windows not allowing fresh air) air-conditioned havens, leather sofas and large minimalist spaces.”

Instead Manuu, in his many design journeys including the visual merchandising for acclaimed brands like Ikea, Godrej and Boyce, Taj Khazana, Tata Westside, goes for rooted maximalism, classic contemporary. Not just in the choice of elements but also the entire zoning of design, the pantone shades he carefully selects, the textures, materials and props. He says, “A lot of clients these days come up with inspirational pictures from Pinterest and other sources and think that the same colours and textures that were used in in- fancy houses in Manhattan or Mykonos or Paris or London would look great in Delhi also. India is a diverse country. It’s got different regions, different states, different cultures, different weathers and different seasonal conditions. Our diversity is our essence.”

He goes on to say, “We have our own inherent styles which are unique to various cultures and states. India is a land of colours and artisans and textiles. There is a lot to learn and still discover in various rural and urban areas then why must we ape the west? Why must we look for inspirations elsewhere when there is so much more available within our country? I do not agree that all the colours and all the designs and the style of living in different parts of the world can be incorporated in India.”

Associated with Tata’s craft project, Taj Khazana for years, Manuu had the good fortune to work with masters of ‘hand- made’ in India up close. What thrilled him in this experience was the skilled way in which even an artisan living in a distant village was able to adapt his technique to a newer dialect. He says, “Creativity is not a destination. It is a process which keeps evolving with time. India has gone through its own journey with regards to its motifs, colours, product design etc. Design has its own shelf life. Hence you will still see the use of Kutchi mirror work, miniature art, Tanjore and various other textile forms embroideries and embellishment but the entire interpretation is subtle, contemporary and a paradigm shift from its ancient avatar. India can no longer be associated with snake charmers, elephants, the bindi or the sari. India’s stance today on the world map as a producer of world-class art products textiles jewels etc these need not be ethnic village centric or rustic if I may say so.”

Talking on the need to go vocal for locals, he suggests that first we need to make all those marvellous products we export available to the Indian consumer. “ It surprises me when I go abroad and I see products at Crate & Barrel, restoration hardware, Ikea etc. which are made in India yet we do not see them in our own country even more appalling is when I get to see homes here designed with products from China and the Middle East,” he adds.

“We live in a country where artisans are ready to produce whatever we like, whether it’s a frame, a piece of furniture, metalwork, a lamp ,an accessory. Having said that using traditional art forms needn’t take us through the ethnic route. Our artisans need a little bit of handholding and they are capable of producing amazing products that perfectly fit our contemporary way of life,” says Manuu. And this mastery over the two realms, one rooted and the other euphemistic modern is best portrayed in his Delhi home that is like walking into a candy store for design sore eyes. Picture perfect, lived in and full of art, some rare some rooted but always divine.

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KARTIK AARYAN TO FEATURE IN LOVE STORY ‘SATYANARAYAN KI KATHA’

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B ollywood actor Kartik Aaryan, on Wednesday, announced the details of his new film. Taking to Instagram, Kartik revealed that he has bagged a role in ‘Satyanarayan Ki Katha’, which will be helmed by Sameer Vidwans. Fans have become super excited after knowing about Kartik’s new film. “Congratulations. Cannot wait for this one,” a user wrote. “Wow. All the best champ,” another one commented.

The forthcoming movie will be produced by Sajid Nadiadwala in collaboration with Namah Pictures. Speaking more about the upcoming project, Kartik said, “I have been wanting to work with Sajid sir for sometime now, I couldn’t have asked for a better collaboration. ‘Satyanarayan Ki Katha’ is a musical love saga which brings together a powerhouse of people who are National award-winning names.”

‘Satyanarayan Ki Katha’ is all set to go on floors towards the end of this year. Nadiadwala also spoke about the upcoming project and said, “’Satyanarayan Ki Katha’ has been a visionary project for me. We, at Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment are excited to collaborate with Namah Pictures, national award-winning Director Sameer Vidwans and very talented Kartik Aaryan for this one.” “This will be our first time working with Kartik and he brings a new energy to the project, altogether. ‘Satyanarayan Ki Katha’ makes for a script that calls for this perfect union and we are looking forward to bringing this ultimate love story to the audience,” Nadiadwala added. ‘Satyanarayan Ki Katha’ is touted to be an epic love story that will bring Kartik in the lead after ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ franchise, ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’, and ‘Pati Patni Aur Woh’.

While Kartik’s previous ventures too were in the romantic space, we will see the actor bring a narrative that has not been explored before with this one. The film promises to be an unforgettable love story. Apart from ‘Satyanarayan Ki Katha’, Kartik will also be seen in ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ and ‘Dhamaka’.

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VIDYA BALAN GETS CANDID ON REAL-LIFE LIONESSES

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MUMBAI: Vidya Balan, who is currently basking in praise after the release of her action-thriller movie ‘Sherni’, says she thinks every woman is a lioness in real life, much like the character she played in the film. “Every woman is a ‘Sherni’. A few of them are bold and badass; while others are introverted just like Vidya Vincent, but does that make them inferior? I think they have the ability to do the right tasks in the right ways— even if that makes her liable for punishment”, says Vidya in a conversation with ANI. The actor essays the character of Vidya Vincent- an upright forest officer, who powers through the brutal beasts of social barriers set by the patriarchal society and the lackadaisical attitudes within her department.

“Vincent gets a transfer in the movie but she continues to work with honestly! So, I think every woman is a ‘Sherni’,” says Vidya on the fictional story which is about the journey of a forest officer who strives for balance in a world of man-animal conflict. The actor also shared that she was excited to sign the Amit V. Masurkar directed film because of the concept that the movie will be shot in a jungle. “Amit didn’t have the script when he came to me, he just narrated to me the plot and the concept of the film and I was so impressed by the very fact that it will be shot in a real jungle,” says the 42-year-old actor. The movie showcases Vidya’s incredible journey, set in a world full of quirky yet relatable characters, as she navigates through her marriage with her rather unusual job, all this while trying to resolve the man-animal conflict. The movie also has an eclectic mix of actors like Sharad Saxena, Mukul Chaddha, Vijay Raaz, Ila Arun, Brijendra Kala and Neeraj Kabi in key roles. On a related note, Vidya also shared her excitement on the trailer launch of the movie earlier, and said, “The film deals with a sensitive topic that touches upon respect, mutual understanding, and co-existence, not just between man-animal, but between humans as well. It gives me immense joy to bring this unique character and story to the global audience through Amazon Prime Video and hope to engage them in unexpected ways,” she says. Directed by Amit Masurkar of ‘Newton’ fame, the film will premiere on Amazon Prime Video. Produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Vikram Malhotra and Amit Masukar, the film was released on Amazon Prime Video on June 18, across the globe in 240 plus countries.

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AYUSHMANN KHURRANA RECALLS HIS COLLEGE DAYS

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NEW DELHI: It must be a nostalgic Wednesday for actor Ayushmann Khurrana as he went back in time and shared his college memories on social media.“(Circa 2006) Baat hai Panjab University ke hut number 14 ki. Muskan hai befikra everyday routine ki baat hai. Mass comm dept ki purani building ke peeche samosa aur chai. University ka most famous guy fir bhi quite shy,” he wrote on Instagram, adding a picture of him from his college days. In the image, Ayushmann can be seen sporting a beard.

Ayushman’s throwback picture caught the attention of social media users. “Hahahaha. You look so different in this image,” a user commented. “Dreamboy,” another user quipped.For the unversed, Ayushmann had studied mass communication at Chandigarh’s Panjab University.Meanwhile, on the film front, Ayushmann will be seen in films ‘Anek’ and ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’.

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RAM KAMAL’S ‘BROKEN FRAME’ SELECTED AT MADRID IMAGINEINDIA FILM FESTIVAL

Rohit Roy and Ritabhari-starrer film will be competing with world cinema this September in Spain.

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Author-turned-filmmaker Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s next Hindi venture Broken Frame is all set to travel to Madrid for ImagineIndia IFF Madrid 2021. The film is based on Mukherjee’s short story collection Long Island Iced Tea. The film brings two celebrated actors Rohit Bose Roy and Ritabhari Chakraborty as an on screen couple for the first time. Talking exclusively about the selection, Festival Director Qazi Abdur Rahim from Spain says, “After watching Ram Kamal’s Broken Frame, I remember Don Quixote’s famous quote, ‘Love and desire are two different things; not everything that is loved is desired nor everything that is desired is loved’. Director Ram Kamal beautifully evolves in his latest film around similar thoughts.

Wonderfully shot by Modhura Palit, the film sees Ritabhari Chakraborty as a gorgeous Moushumi as she melts you down with her heartwarming performance to those who demand quality in cinema. Broken Frames will be shown in the Competitive Section for Shorts at Imagineindia IFF Madrid 2021.” Produced under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures and GeeDee Productions the film is produced by Aritra Das, Sarbani Mukherjee and Gaurav Daga. Speaking about the selection, lead actor Rohit Bose Roy says, “I am over the moon that our labour of love, Broken Frame has been selected at the prestigious festival. To be showcased amongst other jewels of cinema is in itself an achievement to be proud of. I have known Ram Kamal as a journalist, author and editor of a reputed magazine. Now I am fortunate enough to know him as a passionate filmmaker also.”

Ram Kamal will be scoring hat trick at Madrid, with Broken Frame, as his earlier films Season’s Greetings and Rickshawala were also selected at the prestigious film festival. “I am extremely happy to know that my Hindi film Broken Frame will be competing with cinemas across the globe. I am excited that our cinema is creating that impact worldwide. I guess as a filmmaker I feel proud to represent my own country on a global platform and hope I can do that everytime I attempt to make a movie. I am grateful to Mr Qazi Abdur Rahim and Spanish jury members for accepting our film.”

Producer Aritra Das and Gaurav Daga says, “We are extremely happy and honoured that our cinema will be sharing a platform with world cinema. Our director Ram Kamal is talking about a subject that is so contemporary and relevant amongst youth and married couples. This is a subject that anyone can relate to and react to.” The screenplay and dialogues are written by Sameer Satija, while the music is composed by Shhailendra Kkumar and 9Emotions (Dhrubo Siddharth).

Leading lady Ritabhari Chakraborty shares her emotional journey with the film. “I am on cloud nine, because Madrid is a prestigious festival and our film will be competing with cinemas from various parts of this world. Dada (Ram Kamal) made such a beautiful film that every woman and even men would relate. I have come from a broken family, I have seen what my mother had to go through. While playing Moushumi in the film, I felt that I am going through the same emotions that probably my mom went through. This film will always be very close to my heart.”

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AMYRA DASTUR PROVIDES COVID RELIEF TO THE DISTRESSED

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Amyra Dastur believes in giving back to the society by doing some good and noble deeds. Amyra Dastur says “We should pay attention to small NGOs and do our research while helping COVID stricken people & families.” Bollywood actress, Amyra Dastur has always been known to voice her opinion in subjects that matter and are relevant. This time is no different.

The Tandav actress has surely been doing her bit by providing aid during this pandemic which has affected and displaced millions of Indians. COVID-19 has deeply affected the world and uprooted several families, adversely affecting their health and financial status. The Mumbai based starlet decided to initiate her own CSR activities by stepping up and lending a hand to the families in need. Instead of simply donating money to notable NGOs, Amyra has been doing her research and helping those who have no shelter or support from these big charitable organisations.

She has been tapping small scale NGOs who are not privy to big donations and helping them gather funds and attention to feed those families who have no source of income to put food on their tables on a daily basis. She also has been assisting those households who have more mouths to feed, in other words, families with lots of children. Amyra Dastur spoke to The Daily Guardian and told us about her noble cause towards the society. “3,200 rupees is all it takes to feed a family of 4 for as long as one month! I urge everybody to help and donate in any way they can to these families but to also carry out their homework and help those NGOs who are working on a small scale without a well known face or corporate backing” said Amyra.

She further adds “The smaller NGOs are the ones who need donations and they’re often overlooked because they aren’t as well promoted or as popular as the bigger NGOs but I know for a fact that the small ones make the biggest impact. We should pay attention to small NGOs and do our research while helping COVID stricken people & families. Our efforts pooled together will surely make a difference to the world in the long run” Amyra feels it is also her responsibility to shed light on households who have lost their main income earners due to the pandemic among others who are in need. She’s managed to send food to 30 families.

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DID YOU KNOW THALAPATHY VIJAY IS A BIG TIGER SHROFF FAN?

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MUMBAI: Kollywood superstar Thalapathy Vijay, who celebrated his 47th birthday on 22 June, is a big Tiger Shroff fan. This was revealed a day before his birthday by when a few celebrities like Keerthy Suresh, Anirudh, and Malavika Mohanan gathered on Clubhouse to recall their fond memories with the superstar. During their chat, organised to celebrate Vijay’s birthday, Malavika revealed that Vijay is a big fan of Tiger. 

The ‘Master’ actress revealed, “We had gone to watch the film together as a crew. During the intro scene of Tiger, Vijay got visibly excited and cheered for him shouting, ‘Thalaiva!’ Not many people get to see this fun side of him. He later mentioned to her that he likes the young actor.” Tiger’s father Jackie Shroff has shared screen space with Vijay in 2019’s blockbuster ‘Bigil’. He played a baddie in the film. 

This is quite an interesting revelation about Vijay and we can’t wait to see him work with Tiger.

Meanwhile, Vijay will be seen in director Nelson Dilipkumar’s film titled ‘Beast’. Its first look and title were released recently. Keerthy Suresh, Dhanush and many other actors praised the first look of ‘Beast’ oozing style and swag. 

The film also stars Pooja Hegde, Yogi Babu, Shine Tom Chacko, VTV Ganesh, and Aparna Das. The music is composed by Anirudh Ravichander and the film is backed by Sun Pictures. 

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