Cobra, directed by Chiyaan Vikram, premiered in theatres on August 31 in different languages. Fans and critics have been griping about the movie’s three-hour running time ever since the initial showing. In response to the feedback, Cobra’s producers declared that the movie had been trimmed by 20 minutes. The reduced version of Cobra will start playing in theatres this evening, September 1.
The film’s creators believed that it might be trimmed to better appeal to the audience based on both fan and critical reviews. “We Heard You! #Cobra is now Trimmed by 20 Mins as suggested by film-goers, fans, media friends, distributors, and exhibitors,” according to Seven Screen Studio’s official Twitter account. All the screens will have an update starting this evening. “Do see the movie and show your support for it.”
Their statement read, “Any movie is a form of entertainment specifically curated to cheer audiences and make them enjoy the cinematic experience. It’s of great happiness to the team if the content delivered is worth the audience’s time and ticket money. We heard you! Cobra is now trimmed by 20 minutes as suggested by film-goers, fans, our media friends, distributors, and exhibitors. Now, watch the trimmed version of Cobra from this evening in all shows across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka and Kerala. Do watch in theatres and support (sic).”
The Cobra, a film directed by Ajay Gnanamuthu, revolves around the assassin and brilliant mathematician Madhiazhagan. The movie’s lead actors included Chiyaan Vikram, Irfan Pathan, Srinidhi Shetty, Meenakshi Govindarajan, and Mirnalini Ravi. In supporting roles, Roshan Mathew, KS Ravikumar, and Miya George appeared. AR Rahman composed the music for the movie.
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The perils of ‘perfectionism’
A ploy overused by interviewees, over countless job interviews and employee appraisals, has been to disguise a strength as a weakness. As the interviewer asks the candidate to share his or her greatest weakness, pat comes the reply, ‘I am a perfectionist’. While the interviewee hopes to convey the impression of a meticulous go-getter, it has dawned on me over the years that ‘perfectionism’ can indeed be a serious derailer to people’s careers and life trajectories. This is a roadblock that can be overcome; however, what makes it difficult is that society and work environments often actually laud this trait.
The early years of a person’s career are usually shaped by a focus on achievement and individual contribution. The emphasis is on being reliable, on being down in the trenches, on dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s. ‘Perfectionists’ usually thrive in this environment. But as they get promoted and rewarded, and their responsibilities expand, they need to evolve to lead through impacting and influencing others, rather than through individual contribution alone. Many ‘perfectionist’ managers struggle to make this transition as they are forced to navigate an imperfect world. Using terms from McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory, those whose deep underlying motives are achievement-driven rather than power-driven, find this transformation particularly difficult. ‘Perfectionists’ are also often very harsh on themselves and their teams, setting themselves up for burn-out.
Another phenomenon which often afflicts perfectionists is that of ‘analysis paralysis’. A drive to get everything perfect often translates into a deterministic view of the universe, less tolerant of grey areas, and of ambiguity or uncertainty. This comes in the way of decision-making. I have seen this at close quarters during my years in the investment world, where fund managers would sometimes obsess over getting inconsequential details right in a spreadsheet, while not wanting to ‘bite the bullet’ and come to terms with the inherent unpredictability of investments. As the saying goes, “it is better to be imperfectly right than perfectly wrong”. The rapidly-evolving world that we face today often requires decisions to be made based on emergent patterns rather than perfectly mapped-out parameters.
I often come across budding writers who lament that they have gotten nowhere with their manuscript because each aborted writing session ends with the realization that they have fallen short of the lofty standards they have set for themselves. This mirrors my own experience from my early writing days. While the quest for perfection can spur people on to excellence, more often than not, it instead ends up becoming a noose around the neck. As the feeling of dissatisfaction and being ‘not okay’ becomes progressively shrill, we end up procrastinating and often abandoning the creative pursuit altogether.
Our creative instincts thrive in a free-flowing non-judgmental environment. The harsh glare of criticism and perfectionism serve as an unwelcome ‘censor’, chilling the creative drive and often killing it altogether. It is actually the fear of failure that masquerades as ‘perfectionism’, the lofty standards a convenient excuse to delay having the rubber hit the road.
None of the above is meant to be apologia for shoddy work, or for not striving for excellence. However, to quote British politician Rishi Sunak, “It’s getting that balance right between understanding every aspect of something and then realizing I have done as much as I need to on that and my time is better spent elsewhere”.
What then is the way forward for someone who has the traits for a perfectionist?
At a practical level, whether it is writing a book or preparing a work presentation, we need to be okay with imperfect beginnings, and stop putting pressure on ourselves to get it right the first time. While writing, for instance, till I finish the first draft of my book, I try to switch off my ‘inner critic’. As the saying goes, ‘don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good’.
At a deeper level, it involves a true acceptance of oneself; recognizing one’s strengths and capabilities, but also accepting oneself as a person with flaws, as someone who is bound to encounter failures and make mistakes. In this process of accepting ourselves, we accept others too, and pave the way for deep, lasting connections. Shedding the illusion of perfection is a small price to pay for this reward.
S.Venkatesh is the bestselling author of AgniBaan and KaalKoot, a leadership coach and an investor who has held key positions with JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Macquarie. He writes about mindfulness and its link to creativity, business and wealth.
Raising a toast to handmade fruit preserves
It was almost three decades back when India heard the footsteps of artisanal handcrafted hundred per cent naturally preserved ‘fruit conserves’.
An English woman married to an Indian who hailed from Bhuira, a small village in Himachal Pradesh, started on a very small scale with multi-fruit and bitter marmalades and preserves with chunks of luscious fruit that eschewed synthetic colours, flavours and preservatives. But people’s palates were not used to the natural taste of these products. They were addicted to brilliantly coloured (artificially) and cloyingly sweet mixed fruit jam. Even single fruit jams strawberry, mango were enhanced with added (synthetic) flavours. It was about the same time that Karen Anand started her venture of gourmet foods near Pune. Both Bhuira and Karen’s kitchen attracted a small but discerning clientele. Karen catered to the uppermost crust of First Class passengers in International airlines and super deluxe hotels. Bhuira carved a niche for itself by introducing new flavour blends and attracting the upwardly mobile Indians who had acquired a taste of homemade preserves and were worried about the added sugar in mass-produced jams.
The words preserves and conserves gained currency during the 1990s to differentiate these from the run of the mill jams. Tatas had come out with an interesting strawberry preserve but it failed to make a mark. After another decade ITC of Welcome Group Hotels fame came up with a line of preserves and conserves that was branded as a product far superior to ordinary jams.
All this while the battle for brands was fought in the marketplace and popular Indian labels changed hands and multinationals with muscle pushed out smaller competitors. Several factors combined to impart a powerful thrust to artisanal fruit preserves. Sustainable became a buzzword. ‘Farm to Fork’ was another phrase that captured the popular imagination. Small once again became beautiful and conscientious citizens were inspired to support village-level enterprises that generated livelihood at the grassroots. Dr Paul set up a women’s cooperative Umang near Ranikhet and trained local women to produce high-quality jams, jellies and pickles from fruits sourced locally. These were sold under the Kumaoni label.
Inspired by these pioneers a group of youngsters tired of corporate life set up Him Nectar Foods in 2015 in Bageshwar and slowly stepped out to the village Pilkholi near Ranikhet. Sushma Nambiar and Jatin Khetrapal remember gratefully the advice and assistance rendered by Bhuira to them when Him Nectar was experiencing birth pangs. Finally, a small factory cum training unit was established in Kalika amidst a cluster of fruit trees. Another corporate dropout who had set up an NGO Himjoli placed his confidence in the new hundred per cent natural product.
This region is famous for its apricots, plums and pears and there was a time when apples were abundant in the Chowbatia Gardens.
Luscious Alexander Pears, Dark Purple Centosa Plums and many varieties of apricots–morpankh, badami and gola are sourced locally. This is the philosophy followed by Bhuira and Karen’s Kitchen. Upgrade skills of local villagers, empower women and come out with a product that matches the global quality.
There are many chefs who use these natural conserves in innovative dishes. CauldronSisterss in Jaipur delight their guests with Alphonso Kalakand made with Alphonso Preserve.
The duo Ratika and Richa prepare natural fruit preserves (strawberries, bael, phalsa, jamun) to enliven cakes and other desserts.
Nishant Choubey loves to work with natural homemade handcrafted in small batches fruit preserves. He firmly believes that marmalades and jams may have been accompaniments to buttered toasts, the use of preserves is restricted only by the chef’s imagination. He has used chunky apricot preserve in his rendering of khubani ka meetha in Michelin plated Indus in Bangkok and has worked the magic of Jamun preserve in smoothie fortified with oats.
Many people harbour the misconception that handcrafted preserves are an exorbitant and unaffordable extravagance. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Top of the line products are available in the range of Rs. 275- 375 for a 330 g jar. You need a small blob–a teaspoon full to taste the nectar!
Ripple effects are clearly visible. It’s an idea whose time has come. From Himalayan hinterland to Sahyadris and the Nilgiris Ranikhet, Pune and Bangalore the preference for artisanal fruit conserves is registering steady growth. The post-2000 generation is given threading labels carefully– ‘nature identical’ flavours are losing ground. Who needs chemical preservatives if you can keep the small jar after opening it in the refrigerator?
Some exotic flavours are also available in sampler baskets in mini jars. Like the resurgence of other handicrafts, this trend is most likely to stay with us.
Archana Pooran Singh desires to follow Neena Gupta’s plea for work.
Actor Archana Pooran Singh who is currently seen in The Kapil Sharma show has revealed that she is ‘dying to perform’. She expressed her frustration at people knowing only one aspect of her craft.
Popularly, she is known for her comic role in the classic movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, in which she performed the role of Professor Ms Briganza. She developed such a strong comedic reputation, thanks to the role that even 20 years later, she hasn’t been offered a serious role.
The actor added that she can do so much more in acting than comic roles, she can cry and make people cry too. She said the side of her is yet to be explored and this will happen someday.
Archana said, “That chhaap (image) is so solid. Also, a lot of people feel that what they should offer me after Ms Briganza. It’s been almost 25 years since Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was released. And the character is still following me. People also feel that I am best suited only for comedy. As an actor, I feel deprived, cheated and I have been left yearning for good roles.”
She stated that she is considering approaching filmmakers for work in the same way that actress Neena Gupta did. Neena, once posted on her Instagram asking the filmmakers for work as she wasn’t offered any roles in a long time and was sitting at home. After this, she got great opportunities and delivered a blockbuster film, ‘Badhai Ho.’
Archana made her film debut with Abhishek and then featured in Jalwa opposite Naseeruddin Shah. She was also part of several films such as Agneepath (1990), Saudagar (1991), Shola Aur Shabnam (1992), Aashiq Awara (1993), and Raja Hindustani (1996). Fans saw her in comedy roles such as Love Story 2050, Mohabbatein, Krrish, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Masti, De Dana Dan and Bol Bachchan.
Malayalam filmmaker Ashokan dies at 60
Raman Ashok Kumar, also known as Malayalam filmmaker Ashokan died on Sunday (Sep 25). He was 60. Recently returned from Singapore, he passed away while receiving medical care in Kochi, Kerala, at a private hospital.
Ashokan, a Varkala native, began his career in film as filmmaker Sasi Kumar’s assistant. After roughly 25 years of working as an assistant director, Ashokan released his first picture, “Varnam,” in 1989. The ensemble cast of the critically acclaimed movie “Varnam” included Jayaram, Suresh Gopi, Ranjini, Thilakan, Meena, Jagathy Sreekumar, Parvathy, and Mukesh. He collaborated with director Thaha to co-direct the Suresh Gopi and Parvathy-starring film “Saandaram” a year later, in 1990.
He teamed up once more with Thaha in 1991 to co-direct the slapstick comedy “Mookkilla Rajyathu,” which starred Mukesh, Thilakan, Jagathy Sreekumar, Siddique, and Vinaya Prasad. The movie “Mookkilla Rajyathu” earned positive reviews and became hit. After that, Ashokan directed “Aacharyan” in 1993, starring Thilakan, Suresh Gopi, and Sreenivasan, and the movie also succeeded in attracting viewers. After that, according to reports, Ashokan relocated to Singapore and concentrated on business, but he never lost his love for movies. The telefilm he later directed, “Kaanappurangal,” earned him the Kerala State Award for best telefilm.
The filmmaker’s funeral will take place on Tuesday at his Varkala home. Ashokan is survived by his wife Seetha and their daughter Abhirami.
Jacqueline Fernandez granted bail in 200 crore extortion case
In the 200 crore extortion case, Jacqueline Fernandez received a momentary reprieve when she was given an interim release. The primary defendant in the case is imprisoned conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar.
The Patiala court in Delhi has granted interim bail to the actor for a bond of ₹50,000. The subsequent hearing in the case would be held on October 22. Jacqueline was interrogated for over 7 hours by the Delhi Police Economic Offences Wing.
The con man is said to have been friends with the 37-year-old Sri Lankan actress, who received many expensive gifts from him including luxury bags, clothes, jewellery, etc. worth Rs. 5.72 crores. The actor also told the ED that Sukesh had hired private jets as well as booked helicopter rides for her.
Earlier, the actress denied her friendship with the con man but after the intimate pictures of the actress with Sukesh surfaced on the internet she accepted dating him. The alleged pictures were taken in April-June of 2022.
Her friendship with Chandrashekhar – accused in more than 10 cases – started on WhatsApp in January 2021, and she had secretly met the conman on several occasions at a well-known hotel in Chennai and other places, she had told the officers, the report further highlighted.
The actor had admitted before the officers that the jailed conman had paid a huge amount of money to fashion designer Leepakshi, for designing exclusive costumes for her. The ED will now interrogate her designer as well.
Teaser for Ram Setu: Archaeologist Akshay delves deep into National Treasure style
Akshay Kumar has finally released the teaser for Ram Setu, his fifth film of 2022, which will be released around Diwali on October 25. The actor takes on the role of an archaeologist on a mission to save the Ram Setu. The teaser shows him putting on a special suit that looks like a space suit and diving underwater by himself to see the limestone Ram Setu underwater.
The teaser doesn’t reveal much about the film’s plot, but Akshay does give a hint when he declares that they only have three days to save the Ram Setu. The teaser includes brief glimpses of Nassar as a powerful personality in a black suit, as well as Nushratt Bharuccha, Jacqueline Fernandez, and Satyadev Kancharana. The other three can be seen in action scenes as they race against the clock to complete the mission. The video draws attention to scenic locations, underwater scenes, and Akshay’s new bespectacled appearance.
The film was shot in and around Ooty, Daman and Diu, and Mumbai. Ram Sethu is a chain of limestone shoals located between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the southern coast of Tamil Nadu, and Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. It is a bridge built by Lord Ram’s army to reach Lanka and rescue his wife Sita, according to the Ramayana.
Abhishek Sharma directed Ram Setu, which was co-produced by his company Cape of Good Films, Amazon Prime Video, Abundantia Entertainment, and Lyca Productions. The film has been in the works for a long time. Akshay released its first posters around Diwali in 2020, with the words, “let us endeavour to keep Ram’s ideals alive in the consciousness of Indians.”
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