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A WORTHY SLICE OF LIFE

Noor Anand Chawla

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This column titled ‘Snippets of Life’ shares interesting perspectives from varied fields. Hence, when I came across Smita Das Jain’s latest book, ‘A Slice Of Life: Every Person Has A Story’, I was curious to know more. Jain refers to herself as a personal empowerment life coach, executive life coach, speaker, and writer, and she has just published her first book, a collection of short stories.

She wrote her first story when she was twelve for publication in her school magazine. It made her an overnight sensation. She followed it up with an article and the series continued, eventually leading her to become the chief editor of the school magazine. College at IIM Indore, however, meant that creative writing took a back seat. Then in 2018, she enrolled in Stanford Continuing Studies for Creative Writing and Novel Writing courses. As part of that, she completed the first draft of her novel and produced fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, which people appreciated. She has also done Certification programs with the Henry Harvin Institute and is a certified creative writing specialist as well as a certified digital content writer.

She loves writing in all forms and writes both to express herself as well as to inform others. The short story format worked best for her first published work, as it was aimed at busy professionals like herself who have short attention spans. When asked about the choice of subject for the book, she explains, “I thought it would be best to write stories from everyday life that readers can relate to. People have had enough of make-believe fantasies. I have taken inspiration from real life to write this book on human relationships. The truth is often stranger than fiction, and the more you observe people and things around you, the more stories you can narrate.”

It is perhaps this relatability that struck readers as well. The book reached the number one spot in the short story and anthology category in the Kindle Store in its first weekend of release, with over 200 four star+ reviews on Amazon. The book has certainly paved the way for Jain’s inclusion in the competitive arena of the Indian writing community.

Referring to her writing process as a matter of discipline, she highlights that she wakes early every morning to work on a word document from scratch. “I don’t write with a set plot in mind and let my characters lead me in my stories. This is my routine every single day. I find the idea of following a plot very boring; I have written a couple of stories that way but didn’t like the output, so I prefer to be spontaneous,” she says with a smile.

Jain is a fast worker, as it took her only about three months to write this book, and another two to edit, market and bring it out for publication. She derives inspiration from real life, and all the characters in her tales are based on real people placed in fictional settings. “I like to observe people and my surroundings and record everything in ‘My Observation Diary’. I do this every day, which makes every page a source of inspiration.”

Riding high on the success of her new book, Jain is now working on editing the fifth draft of a novel that spans ten years and two Indian cities amidst the backdrop of corporate India. The protagonist of this work is an unapologetic and ambitious woman who wants more out of her career and life. She describes this upcoming novel as a tale of love, ambition, deceit, and betrayal. Simultaneously, she continues to write two to three short stories every week.

For those looking to enter the field of writing, she signs off with this sage advice, “Writing is a long process, and the job doesn’t end after completing the first draft of your manuscript. Editing, publishing, and marketing collectively take more time than completing the draft. Patience is as much a virtue in writing, as it is in real life!”

‘A Slice of Life: Every Person Has a Story’ and other works of Jain are available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback versions, Flipkart and the Notion Press store also keep paperback versions.

The writer pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on nooranand@gmail.com.

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ARJUN MATHUR TO ADARSH GOURAV: HERE’S LOOKING AT THE TOP THREE OTT NEWSMAKERS

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MUMBAI: The past few years have been a revelation for Indian cinema with the influx of OTT content. From handling an out-of-box idea to bringing forth a crucial issue in the limelight – our actors are going all out with their digital ventures!

While we saw some of the finest performances on the streaming platforms last year, there are a few names that define the space with their path-breaking performances, unconventional takes, and impeccable cinema sense. So, here’s rounding up the top four OTT newsmakers.

ARJUN MATHUR: You cannot have a list of the ground-breaking stars without Arjun Mathur. The international Emmy Award-nominated actor has pushed the boundaries with his non-conformist choices, like playing a gay wedding planner in Made In Heaven or shooting a show in a lockdown with The Gone Game. Now, he has Made In Heaven S2, Gone Game 2, Lord Curzon Ki Haveli, and Lionsgate Play’s next series.

PRATIK GANDHI: Pratik Gandhi became a household name with his blockbuster series, Scam 1992. The actor earned massive acclaim for his apt and flamboyant performance of Harshad Mehta. Later, he stunned the audience with his brave selections – Bhavai and Shimmy. Coming up next for the actor are Atithi Bhooto Bhava, Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan?, and Six Suspects.

ADARSH GOURAV: With his solid performance in The White Tiger, Adarsh Gourav has made it into everyone’s watchlist. The new-age actor bagged the BAFTA nomination for his performance and is all set to step into Hollywood with his next venture, Extrapolations, starring Meryl Streep. 

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PANDIT BIRJU MAHARAJ WAS MY GURU BUT ALSO MY FRIEND: MADHURI

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NEW DELHI: Behind every successful person, there are unfailing efforts of teachers. Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj played the role of that guru in actor Madhuri Dixit Nene’s life.

After learning about the demise of Pandit Birju Maharaj, Madhuri, on Monday, took to Twitter and opened up about her relationship with him. “He was a legend but had a child like innocence. He was my guru but also my friend. He taught me the intricacies of dance and Abhinay but never failed to make me laugh at his funny anecdotes,” she wrote.

“He has left behind grieving fans and students but also left a legacy we will all carry forward. Thank you Maharajji for everything you taught me in dance along with humility, elegance and grace. Koti koti pranam,” she added.

Alongside the note, Madhuri posted a throwback picture of her doing mukhdas with Pandit Birju Maharaj. For the unversed, Pandit Birju Maharaj, who breathed his last on Monday, had worked with Madhuri in films like ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’, ‘Devdas’ and ‘Dedh Ishqiya’.

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Bollywood in awe of Pushpa & Allu Arjun

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Mumbai: Pushpa star Allu Arjun, the talk of the town, has absolutely impressed
his fans,audiences, actors in the South and also many bigwigs in Bollywood. The
stylish star with his emphatic performance has won the hearts of many in the Hindi
speaking regions. Now, Bollywood is all praise for Pushpa Raj aka Allu Arjun and
the movie, reiterate what the stylish star has said in the film, ‘Pushpa is not flower,
it is fire’. Completely entranced by Allu Arjun’s splendid work in “Pushpa”,
and also as the Hindi version in the North belt alone grossed Rs 100 crore
in box office collections in 25 days of its run, actors and big producers
in Bollywood have taken notice, and are now speaking about the
stylish star’s ability to charm viewers.
At a time when Allu Arjun has amassed a big fan following in
Hindi-speaking regions, there are reports of Bollywood producers lining up to cast him in their next Hindi films. Also, many
Hindi actors are showing interest to act in his upcoming pan-India movies. It is also reportedly said that producers are looking
to get Hindi dubbing or remake rights of the icon star’s upcoming films as they feel he will dominate the cinema space now.
The passion Allu Arjun put into his Pushpa Raj character is
so evident that people are just captivated by him.

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LATA MANGESHKAR TO REMAIN UNDER SUPERVISION FOR A FEW MORE DAYS

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MUMBAI : Giving a health update regarding legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, her doctor on Sunday shared that the megastar will still remain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), under the supervision of doctors for a few more days.

The Bharat Ratna recipient was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai last week and her treatment is still going on. The 92-year-old star is suffering from corona as well as pneumonia. Dr Pratit Samdani who is treating the veteran singer said that “Lata ji is still in the ICU, she still that is why she is kept under the supervision of the doctor in the ICU.” “Lata ji will remain under the supervision of the doctor for a few more days, it is difficult to say how many days it will last. No one is allowed to meet.” The doctor also said that there is a need for people to pray for her recovery.

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MOUNI ROY TO RETURN TO SMALL SCREEN AS A JUDGE ON REALITY SHOW

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MUMBAI : After working in films like ‘Gold’, ‘Made in China’, and the yet-to-be-released ‘Brahmastra’, actor Mouni Roy is back to the small screen — the place where she first made her acting debut. Mouni is all set to appear as a judge on ‘Dance India Dance Li’l Masters Season 5’. Talking about the same, she said, “For me, dance is an expression. It is an amalgamation of various art forms. I am incredibly excited to be a part of Dance India Dance Little Masters as a judge. I can’t wait to watch the young kids showcasing their talent on such a huge platform.”

Mouni started her acting journey with TV shows and rose to fame with supernatural ‘Naagin’. 

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KURUKKU VAZHI IS A CRIME THRILLER: SHIRA GAARG

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CHENNAI: What started as a surprising opportunity for actress Shira Gaarg to explore her passion became her career path once she started getting good reviews from reputed film critics for her role in her debut Tamil film Baby. Hailing from Bengaluru, Shira Gaarg was pursuing her college studies when a photoshoot caught the attention of director Balaji Sakthivel and his production team. They were looking for a fresh face for the movie Baby. She did not have any experience in acting then but after motivation from the director and support from her family she accepted the offer. Later after completion of her MBA she decided to take acting as her full time profession. Actress Shira Gaarg has recently completed the shoot for Tamil film titled Shot Boot Three directed by Arun Vaidyanathan and is currently shooting for her next movie Kurukku Vazhi directed by N.T. Nantha. In a candid conversation the actress avers, “Kurukku Vazhi is a crime thriller. It describes about what happens when people take short cut in life and how it would impact others. It is a very emotional role and the character has to go through mix of emotions. The story is about four people and what choices I make while dealing with them.” The film is produced by K Singh and A. Sharma. Apart from writing and directing the film, N.T. Nantha has also handled cinematography and composed the music. Apart from these projects, Shira Gaarg has also played the lead role in a Tamil web series Chewing Gum for Hotstar Network. She further added, “All my roles are unique and distinct. I am looking at playing meaty kind of roles. Fortunately the roles which I have played are all different and diverse.” 

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