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Celebs ask Bappa to take away negativity, share low-key festival plans

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It’s time to welcome Bappa in our hearts and homes. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival began on 22 August and will continue till 1 September. However, this year’s celebrations are marred by rising cases of coronavirus in the country. Though it will be a low-key ceremony, celebs are not going to miss out on welcoming Ganpati. Here’s how they plan to celebrate the grand festival in Covid-19 times.

Bringing Ganpati home is a tradition and I was sure that Covid-19 or no Covid-19, I won’t be missing out this year too. This is my 10th year of bringing Bappa home and I wanted it to be special and grand. But due to Covid-19, we couldn’t do much. Ripci and I are doing everything ourselves and will have friends over for puja and arti. I just pray to Bappa that we get rid of Coronavirus and all the negativity soon and our lives can go back to normal. —Sharad Malhotra

We don’t get Bappa home. So I will be visiting my aunt and a couple of close friends who are taking care of all the safety norms and keeping social-distancing in mind. Many of them are calling only two guests at a time on a set time unlike calling everyone at once like every year. —Rishina Kandhari

 I made my own Ganpati this year. I got some organic clay and worked on my idol for three to four days. My fondest memories of Ganesh Chaturthi is all the pujas and pandals we used to visit as kids and dancing in the visarjan. I will surely ask Bappa to take away vighna and bless all of us with health and prosperity. —Meera Deosthale

This year the festivities won’t be that grand. And though I don’t bring Bappa home, I visit friends and seek blessings from their Bappa. This year I will miss visiting pandals too. Looking at the number of Coronavirus cases I will try not to visit my friends too as I don’t want to put others at risk. Pandal hopping during my first year in Mumbai was memorable. I was tired by the end of the day but it gave me such happiness and peace. —Shashank Vyas

 This time the festival will be celebrated differently but I am sure Ganpati Bappa will take away our sorrows and all the negativity and bless us with joy. Like every year we will do puja and arti at home but won’t be visiting friends and other pandals. We brought Bappa home for three consecutive years and the arti, bhog and the visarjan were memorable. —Vijayendra Kumeria

My fondest memory is Ganpati visarjan and I visit Marine Drive every year to witness this miracle. It’s a beautiful sight. I am looking forward to Ganpati season irrespective of Covid-19 but with precautions and required pre-requisites. Stay safe and enjoy the Ganpati season! —Vikas Sethi

We bring Ganpati home every year with a grand celebration. Two years ago at visarjan, we were all happy and dancing away all night. It’s my favourite recollection of Ganpati festival. This year is different, let’s stay safe and indoors. May Bappa bless all of us abundantly. Enjoy the Ganpati energy! —Jhanvi Sethi

Yes, it will be a low key ceremony this year. We brought Bappa home like every year and though the celebration won’t be the same, we intend to continue with the ritual. This time also it will be an eco-friendly Ganpati. We will have friends and family over with all the safety and precautions. My fondest memory is reuniting with closed ones and gorging on sweets. Chocolate modaks are my favourite. —Mohit Malhotra

This year, only my family will be there at the Ganpati festival and no friends and relatives. It’s special as we have a new addition to our family, we made sweets at home and kept the decor basic. With a newborn at home, we can’t take any risk. After marriage, the first Ganpati was special. Being with Bappa all the time is my fondest memory as we don’t leave him alone. During night time I used to sleep next to him which was felt comfortable and different from our daily life. —Pranitaa Pandit

Every year I bring home Ganpati but this year I am not doing so due to the pandemic. I am going to miss Bappa at my house but will keep fasting and visit the temple. This year I will ask Bappa to end the pandemic and whatever lesson we have learnt during this time, I am going to keep that in my mind and will apply it in future. —Khusbhoo Kamal

 I always keep a Ganpati at my place. When I first came to Mumbai, I prayed to bring Ganpati at my place when I will become famous and get good work. That happened and I have been bringing Bappa home for seven years now but this year it won’t be possible as I am not in Mumbai. —Angad Hasija

We started bringing Bappa home since last year. Because of the pandemic, we are in Delhi but brought Ganpati here. We will invite friends in slots and maintain proper social distancing. This time we will do artificial visarjan and once melted will put it in Tulsi plant. —Rohit Chaudhary

Ganpati festival is important for me. I brought my first Ganpati home three years ago. At that time I did not have any work and thought that it will bring happiness and his blessings are so magical that in the first year itself I gotYeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. I couldn’t bring Ganpati home for the past two years and this year too due to Covid-19. —Shilpa Raizada

 Every year Bappa›s homecoming brings happiness in my family. We celebrate it with great enthusiasm and goodwill. I am a Maharashtrian and witness the grand celebration every year. This year there won›t be any dhol or nagada but I will pray with utmost devotion for the betterment of the world, humanity and the well-being of my most dear ones. —Dhruvee Haldankar

This year Ganpati will be celebrated low key due to this pandemic and taking care of our health is necessary. Ganpati Bappa is Vighnaharata and we bring him home so that he can take away all our problems. Even Bappa doesn›t want us to crowd a place and understands the situation. Gujaratis make ladoo and put a coin in one of them, it is believed that whoever gets it has Bappa›s blessings which I cherish. —Urvashi Upadhyay Sharle

Ganpati festival is celebrated with a different level of energy in Mumbai. So every year I visit Siddhivinayak, Lalbaug and other pandals. We have been bringing Ganpati at our place for 11 days, do bhajan and arti. This year due guests won’t be there. I have made a Ganpati so it will be eco-friendly and we won›t have to go anywhere for visarjan. The best part of the festival is the moment Bappa steps into our home the whole vibe changes and there is something magical about it. —Aarvika Gupta

 I love this festival. My love for dancing started during Ganpati events near my house in Cholegaon Thakurli (Gaondevi mandir). I’ve grown up dancing in that mandap and used to get money as appreciation from people. I miss those days. I always wanted to keep Ganpati at my house and have brought him home for seven years. Since the last two years as I have been living alone in Mumbai and have not been able to bring Bappa home due to work commitments and religious aspects that need to be taken care of. —Rajit Dev

2019 was my first year in Mumbai and I welcomed Bappa at my house. I decorated it and tried my best to follow all the rituals for the sthapana. We enjoyed that one and a half days while Bappa was blessing us. I am at my native place but will try my best to match up the enthusiasm here. This is my 10th year of getting Ganpati home and every year is special. Last year›s Ganpati celebrations was like a big wish getting fulfilled. I pray that Bappa takes away the miseries and depression spread all around due to this pandemic. —Mou Das

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‘I GOT INSPIRED BY PRABHUDEVA SIR AND GOVINDA’

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Dancer and choreographer Paul Marshal currently seen in Dance Deewane season 3 has been part of many reality shows like DID, Dance Plus, Nach Baliye, India’s Got Talent and has choreographed in ABCD 2. The Daily Guardian spoke to Paul Marshal who shared with us his journey.

How has the journey been as a dancer and choreographer and how did it start? After finishing my schooling, I started with back dancing when I was in FYJC and also I used to do drumming for 4 years in boarding. Then gradually started with Marathi shows as a folk dancer and later on did my first stage show as a back dancer . Then did my first reality show as a contestant (Krazzy Kiya Re 2) and since then I have been doing different reality shows on different channels back to back. Not sure about the exact number but somewhere around 25 reality shows and still adding. My first reality show was as an assistant choreographer Dance India Dance Little Master season 1 with Dharmesh. First movie song as an independent choreographer was Happy Hour- ABCD2.

Who has been a motivation for you in dance? My initial dream was to open my own Art Gallery as I love sketching and painting. But somewhere watching movies, I got inspired by Prabhudeva sir and Govinda.

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VIDYA BALAN’S COMPELLING PORTRAYAL OF A FOREST OFFICER HELPS AMIT MASURKAR DELIVER THE PERFECT FOLLOW UP TO ‘NEWTON’

Murtaza Ali Khan

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After a hiatus of 4 years, Amit Masurkar, the writer-director of Newton, has finally returned with his next film, Sherni, released as an Amazon Original. The film stars Vidya Balan in the lead role of an honest and tenacious forest officer caught at the centre of human-animal conflict. If Newton was a satire on the power dynamics that governs the lives of the tribal people inhabiting the Naxal-prone areas across India then Sherni can best be described as a satire on the power dynamics that governs the lives of the village people living in the periphery of densely forested regions of the country and the forest officers guarding them. Sherni, based on a screenplay co-written by Aastha Tiku, Yashasvi Mishra, and Masurkar himself, also stars Sharat Saxena, Vijay Raaz, Mukul Chaddha, Satyakam Anand, Neeraj Kabi, and Brijendra Kaala in pivotal roles.

Just like Newton Kumar, Vidya Vincent is a person of principles. When Newton’s father tries to marry him to an underage girl he protests. While serving as a presiding officer during a seemingly impossible mission to conduct free and fair voting in a Naxalite territory, Newton doesn’t leave any stone unturned to ensure that every eligible individual is able to exercise their right to vote. For, he is someone who follows the rules to a tee. And the fulfillment of his duty means everything to him. Vidya, on the other hand, is quick to hand over the notice to a contractor when she finds out that he is not filling up the waterholes which are a lifeline for lifeline for wild animals in the scorching heat. But she also knows when to avoid a confrontation.

In Balan’s own words, her character in Sherni is “passive-aggressive”. As an actor she has played countless strong female characters over the years. But, unlike those characters, Vidya Vincent’s true strength lies in her passive aggression. She is a doer but she doesn’t believe in boasting about it. When a villager gets mauled by a tigress she is quick to defuse the situation by engaging with an ex-legislature on the spot which allows her team to collect the all important DNA samples from the dead body. That’s what makes Vidya Vincent a more complex character than Newton Kumar. And fortunately for Masurkar his casting was spot on. For, a lesser actor would have struggled to make Vidya Vincent so believable.

While working with Masurkar on Sherni, Balan had to let go of her old methods in order to embrace the director’s unconventional shooting style. As part of her preparation, she spent time with real-life forest officers and did forest trails with them to acclimatize herself. She also watched documentaries and read books in order to get a deeper insight into her character. Also, for the first time in her life, she lived in a tent as part of the shooting schedule. All the hard work and preparation has resulted in a compelling film with both Balan and Masurkar going the extra mile to make things look as realistic as possible.

Also, the other actors have played their parts really well. The veteran Sharat Saxena shines in the role of an egotistical hunter, Pinto Bhaiya, who is only concerned about his hunting records. “Just by looking into the eyes of a tiger I can tell if it’s a man eater or not,” he brags. Vijay Raaz is equally brilliant in the role of Prof. Noorani who assists Vidya and her team in capturing a tigress on a killing spree. While Bijendra Kala, essaying the part of Vidya’s superior, succeeds in occasionally delivering some much needed laughs, Satyakam Anand portrays the part of an opportunistic politician with menacing glee. Mukul Chaddha looks believable in the part of Vidya’s husband during the limited screen time he gets. However, Neeraj Kabi is a tad bit disappointing in a rather clichéd role. He certainly ought to choose his roles more carefully.

Sherni is deliberately paced and takes some time to set up its world and the characters that inhabit it. But the narrative picks up pace after a rather slowish first half paving the way for a suspense filled final half an hour. Masukar isn’t merely interested in making a film about a tiger hunt. He aims for something much bigger and succeeds to a great extent in examining the power dynamics and socio-politics that governs the lives of those inhabiting the forest areas. And he does so with a touch of his trademark satire that made Newton so memorable. Had Sherni released in theatres then perhaps it wouldn’t have succeeded in drawing the crowds at it isn’t really that kind of a film. While it is no Tarzan or Jungle Book, it is certainly a kind of film that the OTT audiences wouldn’t mind watching as it would come across as a breath of fresh air amidst the run of the mill content that gets churned out day in and day out.

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KARTIK SAYS SOMETHING DIFFERENT IS COMING WITH NEW POST

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NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Kartik Aaryan, who was recently speculated to have been ousted of filmmaker Anand L Rai’s upcoming film, on Friday created a sensation among fans by posting a picture of himself in a new mysterious look on social media.The actor took to his Twitter handle and along with the photo tweeted, “Aa raha hai kuch ALAG SA. Take a Guess.” In the photo, the 30-year-old could be seen standing in front of a graphical backdrop, while wearing an overcoat and holding something like a shaft in his hand. Though Kartik’s face was hidden in the dark, his long hair was clearly visible. The foreground of the photo had the date 20.06.21. Coming back to his work front, Kartik recently completed 10 years in Bollywood with his debut film ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ and will next be seen in ‘Dhamaka’ which has been directed by Ram Madhvani. The film will follow a news anchor reporting a hard-hitting incident of a bomb blast in real-time. Kartik’s character will be subjected to circumstances grappling him between tough choices, abidance to his career, or awakening the humanist within. Apart from ‘Dhamaka’, Kartik will also be seen in ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’. Earlier, he also made headlines when reports speculated that the makers of ‘Dostana 2’ dropped him from the film.

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‘HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM’ COMPLETES 22 YEARS

Shweta Verma

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It’s 22nd anniversary of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s iconic film ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’. With his flair for storytelling, cinematic sense, lavish sets, and soulful renditions, the ace filmmaker transported the audience into a different world in 1999. Not only did the film became a massive box office hit, but it also left critics awe-struck as it was the first time anyone had witnessed Bhansali’s grandeur sense of cinema. Even after 22 years of its release, the film still remains fans’ all-time favourite.

The film featured one of the brilliant performances by Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Ajay Devgn. Be it Sameer’s fun attitude and style, Nandani’s innocence and unparalleled beauty, or Vanraj’s love and generosity, each of Bhansali’s character resonated with the audience and evoked empathy for their pain. Known for his soulful and beautiful music, it was with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam that Bhansali brought to the table a taste of music that was completely new in Bollywood.

While Dholi Taaro and Kai Po Che delivered the flavour of folk music and became cult festive songs, Nimbooda became the dance anthem for every function. Similarly, the beauty and essence of unconditional love in the title track Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Jhoka Hawa Ka touched everyone’s heart. The brilliant rendition of Tadap Tadap also struck a chord with every broken-hearted lover. The concept of love, separation, patience, and sacrifice, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam received roaring applause from everyone across the nation and bagged several awards, including Filmfare Award for Best Film and Filmfare Award for Best Director.

Now the fans across the nation are super excited to watch Bhansali and Ajay Devgn collaborate again after 22 years. The celebrated filmmaker’s next highly anticipated film, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi,’ will mark the reunion of this iconic duo, and it will also be interesting to see Ajay and Alia Bhatt together sharing the screen.

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INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY: LET’S CHERISH WHAT WE HAVE

When the world is looking up to India as a global cultural icon for yoga, it is paradoxical that our educational institutions do not have them as part of their health and value education.

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A huge pan-India yoga and nutrition workshop was organised by a renowned Indian educational publisher on the occasion of International Yoga Day with celebrity health and fitness expert Dr Richa Sood. Over 3000 educators joined the session live on social media channels along with their students and their parents, as a bright start to Monday morning and for the theme “Yoga for Life”, which was the positive side of online education. It was heartening to see so many children, parents and teachers joining in with the expert and asking questions about the impact of yoga in their drastically changed lifestyle during the pandemic, as well as its impact on people’s mental and physical health. Dr Sood also gave nutrition and anti-ageing tips, apart from simple exercises for the eyes, neck, head and back, all of which are affected due to this work from home and online education scenario. She also spoke about the right nutrition in both adults and children which has become extremely important today due to various health issue diagnosed in children like obesity, eyesight, headaches, back pain and so on.

One of the main highlights of the event was about yoga being imbibed into our lifestyle for a healthier and happier life across all age groups, be it children, adults, or the elderly. It has often been a myth that yoga is only for middle-aged and older people who have health issues. On the contrary, yoga needs to become integrated with learning right from our childhood to make it part of one’s daily routine so that it can help prevent a lot of lifestyle-related diseases in the long run. The truth is that yoga is an art form with so much grace and creativity and science because precision is the key.

The NEP 2020 states that students of all levels of schools will be allowed to participate in physical activity and exercise, including sports, games, yoga, martial arts, dance, gardening, and more, following local availability of teachers and facilities. The pluralistic choices of Indians in the integrative healthcare education system makes it imperative to give a basic understanding of yoga with allopathic, ayurveda, sidhha, unani, homoeopathy, community medicine, and paramedical system of medical education (section 17.4).

 Geetika Sahu, aged 11, from DAV Public School said, “This happened for the first time and it is indeed very exciting for all my classmates and friends. Our teachers are doing yoga with us and Richa ma’am has answered our questions too on better concentration and headaches that some of us get due to screen time.”

This is an era of instant gratification. There’s no patience or excitement for anything any longer since those aren’t needed: at the touch of a button and some payment, everything is available at the doorstep or on our screens. With the online education and work from home space making up most of our daily routines, our lifestyles have changed radically with sleepless nights, fatigued days and cravings that most of us have of all kinds. The solution is also the problem: while these apps have tried to make life easier, they’ve ended up making us more lethargic with loads of health issues, stress, and obesity.

Nutrition and yoga go hand in hand. Unless the nutrition is right and local, seasonal produce isn’t part of one’s diet, bad health will reign and cause major health issues later. Eating a balanced diet with simple, home-cooked food with lots of fruits and vegetables, is the key to feeling better and living smarter. This pandemic, we have seen numerous young and dashing CEOs who have been extremely fit, but lost their lives: some to Covid but many others to stress and anxiety due to job losses, pay cuts, and others. The ability to deal with silent killers like stress through meditation and yoga is the new mantra for times to come. It should well become part of our lives, even after this pandemic is over, not only for our body but for our mind and spirit as well.

Sports and yoga not only make students keep up their physical stamina, but also helps to develop the habit of obedience, discipline, the determination to win, willpower — all of which are essentials of life. Academic learning and sports education complement each other; they resemble the two sides of the same coin. If sports education is accompanied by the academic curriculum, the overall personality of the student is increased to quite an extent: qualities of leadership, sharing, team spirit, and tolerance are learnt from sports. 

Yoga and team sports can teach inner strength, calmness, concentration, teambuilding, equality, discipline, inclusion, perseverance, and respect. It has the power to provide a universal framework for learning values, thus contributing to the development of soft skills needed for responsible citizenship. Therefore, it is imperative to integrate fitness, sports, classical music, classical dance, and yoga into formal education.

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UNIQUE GIFT IDEAS FOR FATHER’S DAY 2021

Noor Anand Chawla

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It is that time of year again — a specific day invented by card companies to honour fathers. Though in reality, the celebrate the bond between father and child should be celebrated every single day, there is no harm in demarcating one specific day for an extra celebration. The occasion can be marked through culinary treats or through an exchange of thoughtful gifts. If there is one thing most of you would agree on, it is that men are notoriously difficult to shop for. Some men hate shopping, tending to hold on to their precious favourite things for years on end, till they are in tatters! Even when asked what they want or need, most often the simple answer is ‘nothing’. This year, one should consider giving them something useful as well as unique — customised ayurvedic hair care products based on their individual needs from the Vedix brand. 

The way it works is, you take a quick dosha quiz on their website vedix.com, along with your father. Based on his responses, you receive customised hair care solutions for him, which can be purchased in a beautiful gift hamper, to make sure that your father has an effective hair care regimen, formulated especially for him. Here is a little glimpse of the products on offer. 

Most men of a certain age are battling variations of male pattern balding. Even if they are blessed with a fine head of hair, they often have to deal with a slowly yet steadily receding hairline. What then will they appreciate the most? A hair re-growth serum that is easy to use, with no smell or grease. The Vedix Men Care Hair Re-Growth Serum, retailing for Rs 1299 treats follicle roots on a micro-level. 

Since it is water-based, the serum is easily absorbed into the scalp for maximum effectiveness. This helps the hair follicles absorb the benefits of the herbs and essential oils directly, and keeps the hair healthy, bouncy and shiny. The product contains gunja to promote hair growth, kumari to repair damaged hair, grapeseed for conditioning and cedar for its anti-inflammatory properties, along with japa for thickness, bakuchi to control greys, and bhringraj to make the hair lustrous – a mix that ensures healthy growth of hair.

For those men who battle dandruff, the Vedix Men Care Hair Re-Growth Serum with Dandruff Control is the best option. It prevents dandruff through hand-picked anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal ingredients. The serum is quick-absorbing and non-greasy and easy to apply. It contains nimba which is a proven cure for dandruff, doorva to cool the scalp, tulsi to prevent scalp infections, along with gunja, kumari, grapeseed and cedar. 

For those on a tight budget with the desire to gift their father something he would truly appreciate, the Vedix Men Care Anti-Hairfall Shampoo comes in at just Rs 499. It is free of harmful ingredients like sulfates and parabens and is a natural coconut-surfactant shampoo with no added synthetics that cleanses the dirt, pollution, excess oils, dust and other particles thoroughly. It also works well in conjunction with the Vedix oil and serum. This product contains yashtimadhu to treat patchy baldness, kumari, gunja, bhringraj, and quinoa protein to add shine. 

The shampoo works best when used with the Vedix Hair Conditioner, which is also made from herbal ingredients and protects the hair from external damage. It contains aloe, bhringraj, brahmi, and hibiscus for hair growth, and shea butter, cocoa butter and mango butter for tangle-free hair. It is designed to keep your hair bouncy and voluminous all day. 

The last of the products that can be added to this Father’s Day gift hamper, is the Vedix Men Care Anti Hair Fall Oil Aloe Vera + Licorice. It is well known that oiling the scalp is an essential step in a holistic ayurvedic hair growth regimen. The Vedix Anti-Hair Fall Oil is customised with 12 herbs that work together to nourish the hair and keep it healthy. This product contains yashtimadhu, kumari, shatavari to arrest hair fall and reduce scalp dryness, amalaki to promote hair growth, and tagara to reduce hair fall caused by hypertension and stress.

This Father’s Day, gift your dads a hair-care range made uniquely for them, and they will never forget the gesture!

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

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