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‘The writing process was magical as we put together my research and my stories of the stage from women’s empowerment with the mother goddesses.’

Noor Anand Chawla



Indian classical artists have long been the flagbearers of our country’s rich heritage. Sohini Roychowdhury, founder and creative director of Sohinimoksha World Dance and Communications, founder and director of Sohinimoksha Artes De La India in Madrid, Spain, dancer, movement director, professor of Natyasastra, Bharatanatyam Guru, and author, is one such prominent flagbearer. Currently, she is on her 30th tour of Europe, which started in May and will end in August, and is being sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Culture. Earlier this year, she also released a fascinating book called “Dancing with the Gods” about Bharatanatyam and her practice. She speaks to the Sunday Guardian about this book and her vision for it. 

Sohini with Kristina Veselinova and Farah Daoud.Sohini Roychowdhury.Sohini Roychowdhury.

Excerpts from an edited interview

Q.  Please tell us about your artistic practice.

A. I grew up in Kolkata as the daughter of Sitar maestro Pandit Subroto Roychowdhury and sculptor Uma Roychowdhury. I learned Bharatanatyam from Guru Thankumani Kutty and Guru Kalamamdalam Venkitt and lived in Spain for 12 years. Currently, I am based out of Kolkata, but I travel six months of the year between the UK, Austria, Germany, Spain, and New York. I have students in 14 countries who perform at my dance operas along with me. Some of our performances have included the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas for the President of India, the opening ceremony at the Oscars at the premiere of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ for Danny Boyle, the IIFA opening, performances for UNESCO in Austria, and many others. I have performed and am a visiting professor at 18 universities in Europe, including the UK, South America, and Russia. My work on the Natyashastra and its comparison to Aristotle’s theories of Dramatic Unity is taught in various colleges on the subject of Indology and performing arts. My repertoire includes training marginalised children as budding artistes of tomorrow. This includes the children of “Little Big Help” in Kolkata, who are being trained to be Bharatanatyam dancers. I have worked towards healing with dance with the women inmates of Byculla jail and their children, the children of red-light areas under Apne Aap, and the deaf and mute abandoned girl children in Rajasthan.

Q. Congratulations on the publication of your book, “Dancing with the Gods”. How did it come about?

A. This is my first book, and my version of dance and mythology seen through the prism of humanism and empathy. I was asked to put together a coffee table book that captures the multicultural world of Sohinimoksha and its magic. The COVID lockdown seemed like the right time to do so, and that is how “Dancing with the Gods” came to be published by Roli Books. I chose this subject as it is a reflection of my world, and I put together all my seminars at various universities and cultural centres, along with photographs from our shows that feature my troupe members and students from different parts of the world. It’s my love story and my eternity, and it defines the core mantra of my work, which is ‘Connecting Civilizations.’

 Q. Please tell us about your writing process from start to finish.

A.The writing process was magical as we put together my research and my stories of the stage from women’s empowerment with the mother goddesses – Durga, Kali, Santa Sarah, and Ishtar. The many moods of the Ashtanayika, the movement of dance through patriarchy and Victorian hypocrisy, and the plight of the Devadasis We worked towards breaking the myths around them, as the western world considers them prostitutes. I have also written about the LGBTQIA community by exploring the character of Shikhandi in the Mahabharata and all its counterparts in Greek and Egyptian mythology. I talk about lesser-known goddesses like Mansa, our Snake Goddess, and her Egyptian counterpart. I wrote about Shiva as Ardhanareeswarar-part man and part woman to be a complete human. I have spoken about our sacred philosophies, our sacred stories, the magic of our Vedas and Puranas and their inclusive, humane aspects that need to be understood beyond India’s exotica. My art director, with her magical and surreal vision, put together the visual aspect of the book, including the cover, the colours, in the true spirit of our Sohinimoksha World Dance operas. I made sure that all my troupe members and students from all over the world were featured in the book in their stage avatars. Writing the book was retelling and reminiscing a love story like a gypsy who travels from place to place and celebrates a connectedness, an eternal truth—that the world is one. My book ‘Dancing with The Gods’ is available at all leading bookstores like Oxford, Starmark, and all others, at Waterstones in the UK, and on Amazon, to name a few. I encourage everyone to get a copy.

Q.  Please tell us about Shaktism and your relationship with it.

A.A large portion of my book is dedicated to Shaktism, and I have explored Shaktism through dance and storytelling. I speak about our mother goddesses and the need for the world to acknowledge the ills of patriarchy and bigotry. Durga stands for a woman who can choose good over evil and has the right sense to judge and choose. Saraswathi symbolises education and how it brings about the light of evolution. Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and abundance, is all about the economic empowerment of women. We refer to the Ardhanareeswarar as a man complimenting a woman without the feminisation of a man. Forgiveness is also an important part of empowerment, and in our dance production, Ma Durga doesn’t kill the bull demon Mahisasura but shows him mercy and transforms him. The Sufi philosophy, Rumi’s poetry, and Tagore’s humanism are aspects of women’s empowerment for me. I have performed themes of Shaktism with my troupe all over the world—in museums, universities, and festivals.

Q. What exciting project are you working on next?

A.Besides my dance productions, I am working on ‘Stage-Stories’, my next book, that is a comparative study of the Natyasastra in the prism of Aristotle’s dramatic theories-the core philosophy being ‘It’s one world’. I also speak of world cinema here to explain the Navarasas.

Q. A message for the audience?

 A. I would like to mention the prologue of my book. It’s written from my heart and sums up my core beliefs about my art and life as follows:

To you, with a dance in your heart—the boy branded effeminate for wanting

To you, the girl who was forced to choose physics lessons over dance,

You, the 70-year-old, were made to feel too old to dance to the music.

to you, the young adult compelled to abandon dance at the altar of a god

a’serious’ career option; to you, the trans-man stigmatised out of dance; to you,

body-shamed into not swaying in public – may this dance be successful

yours – now and forever. “ 

Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog,

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Lifestyle & Entertainment

Pippa trailer out, shows a glimpse of 1971 Indo-Pak war




Pippa, starring Ishaan Khatter and Mrunal Thakur, is set to open in theaters.The makers released the new trailer on the occasion of the nation’s 75th independence day. The movie is set against the backdrop of the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Raja Krishna Menon has helmed the movie, and other actors, including Soni Razdan and Priyanshu Painyuli, will also be seen on screen with Ishan Khatter and Mrunal Thakur.

In the one-minute trailer, Shaan is seen portraying Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, a former member of the 45th Cavalry Tank Squadron who fought for Bangladesh.

In a film full of strong emotions and brutal battle sequences, Ishaan plays a young military hero who commands soldiers to liberate then-Eastern Pakistan.The first scene of the warm drama strikes the perfect note with phrases like “Joy Bangla,” the well-known battle cry of the liberation war. Soni and Mrunal, who will be seen as Ishaan’s mother and sibling, respectively, were also given a brief appearance.

Ishaan posted the trailer on Instagram and said,  “PIPPA in cinemas December 2nd, 2022.On the momentous occasion of our country’s Independence Day – presenting a glimpse from a film we’ve collectively put our heart, gut and soul into. May our soil, our people and our culture be blessed always. It’s been an honour to represent the valour and bravery of our defence forces. More to come.”

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Lifestyle & Entertainment

Amber hired Investigator to uncover bad things about Jhonny, deets inside



Jhonny depp And Amber

Last year, actor Johnny Depp prevailed in a slander lawsuit brought by his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Amber made various accusations against Johnny during the six-week trial, claiming that he had mistreated her both physically and mentally. Investigator Paul Baressi has confessed that Amber hired him to “discover nasty things about Johnny.”

Paul admitted to Law and Crime Network, “I collected all of these historic document on him (Johnny Depp). The home he used to live in, the places his father worked, just really great stuff. Amber hired me in the summer of July 2019. I searched on every rock, every stone, all over the world to find out bad things about Johnny and we all came empty handed.”

He further added, ” She fired us. It was not until April of 2020, when I decided to share my time as a private detective with Amber. Johnny’s father was four years younger than his mother when they got married. He was a passive man and did not like confrontation. Johnny is just like his father, from what we have heard in court. However, the father let his mom call the shots rather than arguing.”

After dating for over three years, Johnny and Amber exchanged vows in a private ceremony at their Los Angeles home in 2015. Amber separated from Johnny in May 2016 and obtained a temporary restraining order against him. She said that during their relationship, Johnny had physically abused her, most frequently when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. On June 1, Amber was ordered to reimburse Johnny $10.35 million after he won his slander suit against her.

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‘Maybe bit too overstated emotionally, superficial politically’, Hansal Mehta reacts to Laal Singh Chaddha



Laal Singh Chaddha

The film Laal Singh Chaddha, starring Aamir Khan, has received mixed reviews from Hansal Mehta. The director acknowledged the effort put into developing the movie and stated that it deserved to be successful. He said that he found the movie to be a little too politically superficial.

Around midnight, Hansal posted on Twitter his thoughts after having watched Laal Singh Chaddha. He wrote, “Watched #LaalSinghChaddha. It is a very engaging film, made with passion and love. Maybe a bit too overstated emotionally and a bit superficial politically for my taste, but a film made with so much care, heart, and honesty. It deserves to succeed. So much to admire.”

He additionally said, “But the truth is I found myself either moist-eyed or smiling for a major part of the film. Go watch #LaalSinghChaddha. Stop spreading Malaria.”

The film Laal Singh Chaddha, which has been directed by Advait Chandan, is the authorised Hindi adaptation of Tom Hanks’ 1994 Hollywood classic Forrest Gump. Aamir Khan makes his comeback to the big screen with this movie, following the failure of Thugs of Hindostan in 2018. Kareena Kapoor, Mona Singh, and Naga Chaitanya all play significant roles in it as well.

However, the movie hasn’t yet received the anticipated response at the ticket counters. In the first three days after its release, it grossed almost 27.70 crore.

Aamir was the subject of a complaint on Friday for allegedly disparaging the Indian Army and offending Hindu feelings with the movie. In one of the scenes, Laal Singh Chaddha is asked by Pakistani staff, “I offer Namaz and pray, Laal, why don’t you do the same?” Laal responds, “According to my mum, the entire puja paath is malaria. It causes riots.” The way in which a mentally challenged person was permitted to enlist in the Indian Army and participate in the Kargil War in the movie has also drawn criticism.

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Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ concludes shooting



Siddhant Chaturvedi

The shooting for ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ has come to an end. The movie is directed by Arjun Varain Singh and is scheduled to release in 2023.

Actor Siddhant Chaturvedi shared a heartfelt note for the cast and crew and thanked Zoya for the film.

Taking to his Instagram handle alongside the pictures Chaturvedi wrote, “and its a wrap! #KhoGayeHumKahan. We were young crazy, and restless. Fun, curious & a millennial mess. It’s a story about you & me, and we were just… A bunch a cool kids makin’ a film.”

Thanking director Zoya Akhtar Siddhant said, “Thank you @zoieakhtar @reemakagtil for the best filming experiences ever. @tigerbabyofficial @excelmovies Hail! @arjunvarain.singh Our Captn! My brother! Thank you for showing this mad faith in us. You’ve been strong & vulnerable in a timed beauty of its own.”

“My creative pillars @yashsahai and @sapanv. It wouldn’t have been possible without your Wit, Wohoos, and WTFs! My Co-stars and now friends for life @ananyapanday @gouravadarsh @kalkikanmani. I’ve only grown working alongside you both. You guys are freaking beautiful. And lastly to the whole Cast and Crew, Dadas and Dudes, and my core A-team @radhikamehta9 @gautam0099 @poonamsrv @sandeep.rasal82. Thank you guys, it was an honor,” Chaturvedi wrote.

‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ is a story of three friends in the city of Bombay. The movie is written by Zoya Akhtar, Arjun Varain Singh, and Reema Kagti.

Meanwhile, the new age drama by Excel Entertainment stars Ananya Panday and Adarsh Gourav. Moreover, Arjun Varain Singh is making his directorial debut with this movie.

However, the 29-year-old actor will be next seen in the movie ‘Phone Bhoot’ alongside Katrina Kaif and Ishaan Khatter.

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Comedian Raju Srivastava’s condition is stable, says family; urges fans to ignore rumors



Raju Srivastava

Comedian Raju Srivastava who went through successful angioplasty following a heart attack is stable.

Raju Srivastava released a statement, “Dear all, Raju Srivastava Ji’s condition is stable. We are praying for his speedy recovery. The doctors are treating him and are doing their best. Thanks to all the well-wishers for their continued love and support. Please ignore any rumor/fake news being circulated. Please pray for him.”

Picture Credits: ANI

Comedian Raju Srivastava on Wednesday suffered from a heart attack after which he underwent angioplasty and now is on ventilator support. According to sources Raju is “responding to the treatment”.

Comedian Srivastava’s health deteriorated on Tuesday night after which he suffered from a heart attack.

Earlier on Wednesday, Comedian Sunil Pal said that Srivastava’s health is good now. He is recovering rapidly and will be home soon.

Meanwhile, just hours before Srivastava suffered a heart attack he shared a stand-up comedy piece on his Instagram. He mimicked a few veteran actors on information being spread on Covid-19 via caller tune on the phones.

However, Srivastava got recognition by participating in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and Big Boss. He has done roles in films like Bombay to Goa, and Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya. Moreover, Srivastava is also the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Film Division Board.

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Latest trends in beauty: High-end fashion to street-style looks

Aashka Goradia Goble



“Confidence” is an essential element of “beauty”. It is important to have confidence. While people’s opinions, what we see and read online, and what society considers to be “beautiful” may influence us; one should not seek external validation about beauty. Beauty is what we perceive and believe. It lies in the confidence that comes from within. The most important thing to remember is to be a champion of your unique beauty.

In today’s world, there are several ways and benchmarks of beauty, and there are different ways to meet those; it should be left to the individual how they want to enhance their beauty. When it comes to aesthetics, I believe there should not be any definitions or standards and one should be able to express themselves as they want rather than following trends or abiding by any sort of rules or standards.


As much of a luxury as they are in our daily lives, beauty products take up a great deal of space in our routines and wallets. Thus, multi-use items provide simple solutions that address multiple concerns at once. There are all-in-one products, from lip and cheek tints to SPF foundations, which take up less space and time to help spruce up one’s looks. Multi-purpose beauty goodies are not very uncommon today, with most top beauty brands having at least a few of them in their line-up. Switching to these ‘do-it-all’ formulas crafted for the modern, multi-tasking woman is indeed a great move. Adding to the novelty in the industry is Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is closing in the gaps between physical and digital experiences of wearing make-up. It adds to the shoppers’ experience and thus sales conversion, something that’s surely helping, especially given the disruption owing to the pandemic. In addition to all this, there is a growing demand for “clean” beauty products with added health benefits, which are increasingly appealing to environment-conscious consumers.


With all the beauty trends washing over the industry, it’s simple to stand out by making your own style statement. Be true to yourself and your own sense of style by bringing your attitude with you. Incorporate styles that are built on your sense of individuality rather than merely being fixated on the current beauty trends. By the way you choose to dress, you may say a lot about yourself, your mood, your ideas, and what you perceive. Street style is a very contagious and instantaneous aspect of beauty that has revolutionised the way it’s manufactured and consumed. High-end beauty trends, on the other hand, are stylish and extravagant—leaving behind a style statement. Nevertheless, it is wise to accept your inherent beauty and know what works for you. You must discover what sets you apart from other individuals, and then cultivate an appreciation for what makes you special. Own your individuality and take pride in it. There’s no better medium to communicate beauty than with self-preference. All that counts is to be your original self. It doesn’t matter if you want to dress up or down; the most important thing is that you feel confident, comfortable, and beautiful in the clothes you’re wearing. Style, poise, and good taste are not things that can be purchased, but they can be learned and acquired. So, whether you decide on a vintage street style or high-end chic.

The author is Co-Founder, Renee Cosmetics.

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