‘ORIGINAL SIN’ MEETS ROALD DAHL IN A HALF-BAKED MISHMASH OF IDEAS & GENRES - The Daily Guardian
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‘ORIGINAL SIN’ MEETS ROALD DAHL IN A HALF-BAKED MISHMASH OF IDEAS & GENRES

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Haseen Dillruba, the latest offering from Netflix India, begins on a note of suspense. Just as the film’s female protagonist Rani (Taapsee Pannu) is about to enter her house, there is a huge explosion which kills her husband Rishu (Vikrant Massey). The misogynistic police officers don’t think twice before arresting Rani for plotting to kill her husband with the help of her lover Neel (Harshvardhan Rane). Since there is no murder weapon and the lover has escaped the scene, they grill Rani as hard as they can. They seem least interested in arresting the lover. After all, he is a man in a patriarchal society. But an example needs to be made out of the woman. So the case in charge, Inspector Rawat (Aditya Srivastava of CID fame), doesn’t leave any stone unturned. Writer Kanika Dhillon’s narrative follows a nonlinear structure with the events leading to the explosion unfolding in flashbacks as narrated by Rani to the inspector. When she refuses to plead guilty, the inspector even gets his female officers to brutally torture her. And when all his efforts fail he also forces her to take a polygraph test. But, all the while Rani proves to be the epitome of stoicism. Having passed the ultimately test of patriarchy, almost everyone around her gradually begins to see her with respect that was never accorded to her prior to the torture.

Haseen Dillruba is produced under the banner of Aanand L Rai’s Colour Yellow Productions and Bhushan Kumar’s T-Series with Rai, Kumar, Himanshu Sharma and Krishan Kumar serving as co-producers. The duo of Rai and Sharma is responsible for films such as Tanu Weds Manu, Raanjhanaa, and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Now, there’s a great passage early on during the flashbacks when Haseen Dillruba’s screenplay stations itself in the familiar Rai-Sharma territory. It suddenly becomes a film about marriage that an average Indian viewer craves for. After all, it’s a time tested formula in a diverse and colorful country loves to see. It is no secret that festivities are an innate part of our lives. And marriage functions are the grandest of them all. For us, marriage is just not a union of two individuals but it’s an alliance of two families. It’s an occasion that gets everyone excited—be it the children, the young, or the old—for it is perceived as the greatest celebration of life. In short, the marriages are a singularly viable business. For Indian filmmakers, it’s a bankable subject like no other and no one understands this better than the Rai-Sharma duo. So, it’s really no surprise that Haseen Dillruba works best when it operates in the familiar Rai-Sharma territory. But, the moment its screenplay drifts into the Hitchcockian domain of mystery and suspense, it begins to lose its edge. It would really be interesting to find out how much influence the Rai-Sharma duo exercised on the film.

Now, a major trouble with the film is that Vinil Mathew’s direction fails to match the fast tonal shifts as well as the temporal and spatial fluctuations of Dhillon’s ambitious screenplay. It feels as if there is a huge gap between the screenplay and the director’s interpretation of the text. Speaking of the screenplay, Kanika Dhillon is known to borrow ideas from literary classics. While a 17th century French folklore called “Bluebeard” served as base for her screenplay of Judgementall Hai Kya, for Haseen Dillruba she looks towards Roald Dahl’s short story ‘Lamb to the Slaughter” for inspiration. Also, there are striking similarities to Michael Cristofer’s 2001 film Original Sin starring Angelina Jolie and Antonia Banderas. Some may also find a few similarities to Bryan Singer’s 1995 film The Usual Suspects. And the character of Rani is a huge fan of a local writer of pulp thrillers named Dinesh Pandit. So there’s actually a lot going on. The end result is a half-baked mishmash of ideas and genres

The film’s strongest point is the performances of the three lead actors. While the interesting pairing of Taapsee Pannu and Harshvardhan Rane holds a lot of promise, the screenplay somewhere lets them down. But, the duo certainly deserves another movie together given the promise they show here. It is Vikrant Massey who surprisingly owns Haseen Dillruba. From starting his career in television to playing hero’s sidekicks (Lootera and Half Girlfriend) to stints at character driven roles (Death in a Gunj, Lipstick Under My Burkha, and Chhapaak) to playing a boy next door character in Ginny Weds Sunny to portraying a well fleshed out protagonist with anti-heroic shades in Haseen Dillruba, Massey has indeed come a long way. During his performance, he goes through an entire gamut of emotions that reminds one of a young Shah Rukh Khan at the beginning of his career. Massey can simply use Haseen Dillruba as a vehicle to catapult himself to newer heights of stardom. But he must continue to show the same consistency with his selection of roles.

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Lifestyle & Entertainment

HEMA SARDESAI SINGS FOR MARGAOTHECLOSEDFILE

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PANAJI : Renowned playback singer Hema Sardesai on Tuesday said that she is back to work with Music Director Nikhil Kamath of Nikhil-Vinay fame and well known bollywood film director Kapil Kaustubh Sharma . In a post on Facebook, she said, ‘’Back to working with Nikhil Kamath of Nikhil-Vinay fame..and Kapil Kaustubh Sharma well known bollywood film director. God’s Will. Thank you for your kind support. God bless you.’’

Nikhil Kamath said,’’Proud to compose a new song for Kapil Kaustubh Sharma sung and lyrics by Hema Sardesai. It was great working with Hema Sardesai.’’ Director Kapil Kaustubh Sharma said, ‘’Who can forget mesmerizing voice of Hema Sardesai in Awara Bhawre Jo Hole Hole Gaye or Badal Pe Paon Hai from Chak De India or San Sana San or Gupt and many more…Glad to share she sings a fun filled song for MargaoTheClosedFile. She also pens it and the fabulous composition is by Nikhil Kamath. It stars Kittu Gidwani, Pallavi Joshi.”

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SWARA BHASKER’S NEXT WILL BE A MURDER MYSTERY

Uday Pratap Singh

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NEW DELHI: Murder mystery as a genre has always been something that grabs a lot of attention, and well, donning the role of an investigating officer once again is Swara Bhasker.

Produced by Moffy Production and co-produced by K.P production the film titled Mimamsa promises to keep you on the edge and will be directed by Gagan Puri. After receiving rave reviews for Flesh, this will be the second time Swara will be seen as a cop. She will take on the role of Adhira Dixit in the movie that is based in Bhopal.

Talking about the same, Swara said, ‘’The experience of shooting for the movie was one of its kind as it kept me invested throughout the shoot and I am sure that the viewers will be too when they get to watch it. This was also the first film I shot for after lockdown last year, and that makes the movie extremely special to me, and it helped me have a sense of gratitude for the work I do. Without revealing much, I am just going to say that the movie will take you on a journey that is layered, is mysterious, and thought-provoking.’’

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AYUSHMANN SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE ON DOCTOR G

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NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana said that he is lucky that he chose acting as his profession because it has not only enabled him to live so many remarkable characters but has also taken him to so many incredible destinations.

The actor added that this is the first time in his career that he has shot in Bhopal. He said: “For Doctor G, I’m fortunate to be visiting the heart of India and seeing it in its full glory. I’m shooting in Bhopal for the first time in my career and the city of lakes is a beautiful place. I’m bowled over by the warmth of the people and they have won my heart forever.”

Ayushmann feels he is blessed to be born in a beautiful country like India.

“Earlier this year, I was in the North East for Anek and experienced the spectacular Kaziranga National Park. India is the most beautiful place on the planet. I’m blessed to be born in this country which gives me the opportunity to cherish so much in my lifetime,” he added.

Ayushmann has a big lineup of films including “Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui” directed by Abhishek Kapoor, “Anek” by Anubhav Sinha and “Doctor G” helmed by Anubhuti Kashyap.

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ENTER UNIQUE BESPOKE FURNITURE MADE IN INDIA

Noor Anand Chawla

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An innate appreciation for one’s abode has been a welcome effect of the pandemic. Finding themselves spending more time at home than ever before, people have begun to re-do their interiors, making their dwellings comfortable yet stylish reflections of themselves. Homegrown furniture brands are doing particularly well due to their ease of access, affordable prices and unique designs. One such brand is Mangrove Collective, co-founded by Suman Sharma in 2015, that witnessed tremendous growth over the last year.

This award-winning collaborative design and build studio, which crafts customised furniture and millwork, is an offshoot of the multidisciplinary architecture and design practice called Studio Lotus. When the studio found it challenging to translate design concepts into reality, they decided to begin making their own pieces. “It’s easy to find people who specialize in a particular material like wood, metal, etc., but to strike a balance between different materials and assimilate regional craft into the work, was a difficult task,” shares Sharma, the Principal and Head of Business at the firm. Mangrove Collective was launched with a vision to use indigenous and largely forgotten crafts, by combining traditional know-how with aspects of engineering.

Born and raised in Lutyen’s-era Delhi, Sharma was greatly inspired by its colonial architecture of bungalows adorned with tall ceilings, fireplaces, and verandahs. She also took inspiration from her father who was a photographer. Pursuing a Master’s degree in Furniture Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, cemented this love further. Over the years, she has worked with leading lifestyle brands such as Good Earth, Samir Wheaton Design, and Krea, and has also dabbled in her own entrepreneurial ventures such as Viva Design through which she exported furniture, and Sotomoto, where she retailed a range of furniture and lifestyle accessories for children. Sharma also taught at Pearl Academy, New Delhi.

Its identity as a collective sets Mangrove apart from other brands. The team follows a conscious process of celebrating local resources and traditional craftsmanship, by ensuring that designers, craftsmen and clients are equal partners. Sharma explains, “for us, design, art, craft and technology go hand in hand. When we say our work is craft-based it doesn’t mean that our products look ‘hand-crafted’. Depending on the nature of the commission, the requirements, and the function, either handiwork or technology can take precedence over the design of the products. We are constantly challenging ourselves to look at products and processes in a unique manner by combining traditional craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology.”

Designing high-quality furniture requires a balance between ergonomics, joinery details, functionality and aesthetics. The natural synergy between their furniture designers and artisans enables them to create one-of-a-kind products. “Each product for us is a journey where all stakeholders – the craftsmen, the designers, the technicians, and the consumers have a takeaway – a memory that lasts a lifetime. With every product and commission, we try to feed into the vision and aspirations of the user. We aim to breathe life into spaces and narrate stories by reinterpreting indigenous and largely-forgotten crafts, uniting traditional know-how with engineering to develop exceptional products,” shares Sharma with a smile.

The pandemic induced lockdown and subsequent supply chain disruptions compelled homeowners to look at local brands that are capable of producing furniture at par with international standards. And a homegrown furniture brand can offer a high level of customisation – representative of and suited to the client’s personality and lifestyle. Quite interestingly, the pandemic has resulted in a renewed appreciation for local artisanal skills that allowed furniture brands to incorporate age-old craft forms into furniture, giving them a new meaning in this era.

“Space optimisation has been a top priority during the lockdown, and homeowners have spent a considerable amount of time sprucing up nooks and corners, creating spaces for rest, rejuvenation and recreation. Specifically, when it comes to living areas, we have observed a massive demand for sofas and lounge chairs that strike a fine balance between ergonomics and durability,” shares Sharma.

As a bespoke furniture studio, Mangrove makes pieces mainly on order. However, their experience centre setup in their design studio allows clients to visit and feel the products as they would in real-life. International shipping is available and they have clients in countries like Mauritius, Dubai and London. Each piece is unique and the process of making it depends on the complexity of the product—roughly between twelve to sixteen weeks. Their most popular products are the ones integrated with crafted elements or those whose design reflects the context of the space, in turn resonating with the clients on a deeper level.

At Mangrove, the team attempts to develop pieces that are inspired by traditional crafts interpreted in a unique manner, making this brand one to watch for.

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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THE GREAT INDIAN SALAD FEST

We bring to you some binge worthy, guilt free salads that are bound to cheer you up, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

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With monsoon in its full bloom and the dreadful pandemic threatening to make a comeback with its third wave, our focus on health and nutrition has doubled. Fresh foods, greens, and a wholesome diet is important for building our immunity and at the same time giving us the energy and zing to cope with stressful work from home routines, which can make us lethargic after a heavy afternoon meal. The pandemic has also been a little heavy on families in terms of both cooking and eating because it is natural for a lot of us to consume more when families are around all the time. It is important to get hooked on to salads at this point for people of all ages to get those essential nutrients, micronutrients and minerals, which our regular meals cannot fulfill.

The need of the hour is to add in freshness and seasonal produce and that can help in many ways and o add in that dollop of health so as to keep other issues at bay. Immunity has been the operative word since 2020 and it is showing even more heavily today with so many Covid related diseases cropping up, making I even more important to focus on our health. Here are some binge worthy, guilt free salads that are bound to cheer you up!

Let’s start with a Mango and Grilled Tofu Salad, which is perfect for the summers. I’m not a tofu fan, so I prefer to replace that with either chicken or paneer.

MANGO AND GRILLED TOFU SALAD BY TARUN SIBAL OF TITLIE

Ingredients (salad) 

• Mangoes (ripe) – 2 

• Carrots – 2  

• Cucumbers -2 

• Mixed Greens – 1 bowl (arugula, mixed lettuce, mint, sweet basil, fresh coriander)

• Tofu – 80 gm (or chicken/paneer)

• Sweet Paprika powder – 1 tsp

• Fresh ground pepper – 1 tsp 

• Salt – ½ tsp 

Ingredients (dressing) 

• Zest of 1 lime

• 1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)

• Sweet Paprika Powder – 1 tsp 

• 1 tsp salt

• 2 tbsp olive oil 

• Freshly ground pepper

• 1 tsp honey 

Method

• Cut the mangoes into wedges

• Cut the tofu into wedges, season it with salt and paprika

• Grill the tofu on both sides with some olive oil on medium heat and keep it aside 

• Take out carrot and cucumber ribbons and add them to cold water so that they remain crisp 

• Add the mixed greens to the ice-cold water 

• Mix all the ingredients of the dressing in a jar and shake well  

• Pat dry the leaves, carrots and cucumber ribbons and mix together

• Add salt, pepper, paprika, mangoes and tofu. Add 3/4th dressing to the mix 

• Arrange it on a plate with tofu and mangoes on top 

• Garnish with mint leaves and paprika powder 

• Drizzle some of the remaining dressing on top

Voila! Your Gourmet Casual Summer Salad is good to go! The best part about this salad is that it is a full meal in itself. There are no cravings after a portion of this. It also rids me of the guilt about the ice cream and mango shake binges that are on at this time of the year!

KOSAMBARI BY CHEF AROKIYADOSS AT THE APPUMM HOUSE

Kosambari is a simple moong dal salad popular in Karnataka. It is a delicious, protein-packed lentil salad that is an integral part of Kannada cuisine. It is my go-to recipe during these sultry months because it is easy to make and uses the bare minimum ingredients. Chef Arokiyadoss adds, “It is also popular as kosumalli or hesarubele kosambari and is part of every festive meal or wedding feast. In Andhra, it goes by the name vadapappu. Vadapappu is nothing but soaked moong dal while Kosambari is a salad comprising of soaked moong dal, cucumber, fresh coconut and coriander leaves. Undoubtedly festive, yet simple. It is a light yet filling salad that can be eaten as a meal by itself along with a glass of neer mor or South Indian buttermilk. It is quick to make and very versatile in terms of the ingredients used. Basic moong dal salad recipe calls for soaked moong dal and cucumber. You can add grated carrot and raw mango too for variation. Soaking of moong dal makes it easily digestible and more nutritious. A perfect protein rich salad for those looking to lose weight!”

Ingredients

• 1 cup yellow moong dal

• 2 teaspoon lemon juice

• 2 tablespoon coriander leaves

• 2 medium cucumber

• 1 teaspoon ginger

• 4 medium carrot

• Salt as required

For Tempering

• 1 pinch asafoetida

• 2 teaspoon vegetable oil

• 4 green chilli

• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Method

• Soak the moong dal in water for 2 hours and then, drain the water and keep the dal aside. Now, peel and chop the cucumber, carrots, ginger and keep them in different bowls.

• In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped veggies along with salt, lemon juice, coriander leaves and soaked moong dal. Mix the ingredients well.

• Now, heat oil in a pan over medium flame and add mustard seeds in it and after a minute, add asafoetida and green chillies. Fry them for another minute and turn off the flame.

• Pour the tempering on the salad dish and wait for few minutes before you put it in the refrigerator. Serve chilled!

DUO OF MELON SALAD RECIPE BY CHEF PAWAN BISHT AT THE ONE8 COMMUNE

This is my ultimate favourite, since the melon salad recipe is the simple, delicious, and healthy with a burst of flavours.

Ingredients

• 1 cup scooped watermelon

• 1 cup scooped cantaloupe melon (I use musk melon)

• 2 cups washed and dried aragula (rocket) leaves

• 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 2 tablespoons organic honey

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 cup balsamic vinegar

• 4 tablespoons of roasted pumpkin seeds

• Salt to taste

• Pepper to taste

Method

• Take a bowl and blend olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper thoroughly.

• Add balsamic vinegar to it and put it on a low flame.

• Reduce the mixture till it comes to a glaze consistency.

• Scoop watermelon and cantaloupe melon, keep in the fridge to chill.

• Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, add the balsamic glaze and the aragula.

WATERMELON-E-FETA SALAD RECIPE BY CHEF SAHIL SINGH

Even though this recipe needs a slightly elaborate preparation with the different kinds of lettuce and the feta, it is totally worth it. I of course substitute a few ingredients with what is available at the moment, but it turns out best this way. Of course, I do not worry about not finding one variety of lettuce. I use a little more of the ones I have or add spinach or rocket leaves.

Ingredients

• Romaine lettuce – 50 gm                          

• Lolorosso lettuce – 50 gm

• Iceberg lettuce – 50 gm

• Balsamic (Reduction) – 10 gm

• Watermelon cubed

• Greek feta – 15 gm

• Salt as per taste

• Pepper  

• Walnuts – around 15 gm (I add some raisins and roasted almonds, too)

Method:

• Cut the watermelon into cubes and roughly pluck the lettuce.

• Chill watermelon cubes for a few hours. 

• Once ready, marinate the watermelon and lettuce in balsamic dressing separately

• Add salt and pepper.

• Take a fresh bowl and spread lettuce first. Add watermelon on top of salad and sprinkle

The Greek feta cheese and walnut/nuts.

• Serve immediately.

These are simple recipes using seasonal fruits, vegetables and ingredients that are mostly available in our kitchen or the fridge. Eating five portions of fruit each day, greens for the vitamins and to fulfill all the protein requirements per day is all very tedious, and most of us fail at getting the right nutrition, which is the need of the hour. Salads can be boring but with some of these brilliant recipes, it can be a fabulous add on to our meals, as well as something that can be snacked on for those mid-day and evening hunger pangs. Keep safe, keep healthy and keep eating the right stuff this summer!

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THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF HARSHVARDHAN RANE

Uday Pratap Singh

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Actor Harshvardhan Rane has garnered a huge fan base over the years, thanks to his performances in films like Taish and Sanam Teri Kasam. Besides his acting ventures, Rane is also loved for being an adventure enthusiast. While he loves riding motorbikes, he also owns an off-roader, which he’s named Jango. Interestingly, he’s owned the 4×4 for eight years and now he’s become the face of the brand! 

His friends and fans call him ‘the mountain boy’ and they are well aware that Harshvardhan holds Jango very close to his heart. He’s done various adventure trails with it and he’s spent days eating, sleeping and literally staying in it at deserted locations. Now, becoming a face for the brand Mahindra is like life coming a full circle for him.

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