Sunday, 17 September 2017

Mughal- E- Azam - The Play

Last Saturday Night , my Man surprised me with tickets to the play " Mughal- E-Azam" .

For the uninitiated, " Mughal- E-Azam"  was a blockbuster epic Indian movie that was released in 1960 after being for 9 years in the making and it broke all records at the box office after its release ad shut the mouths of the sceptics .The original movie starred Prithviraj kapoor ,Madhubala, Dilip Kumar and Durga Khote in the lead roles .It was directed by K. Asif and its soundtrack by Naushad consisting of 12 songs still evokes awe .It was the love story of the Crown prince Salim and a nautch girl Anarkali and how it shook the very foundations of the Mughal sultanate .

The play has been directed by celebrated director Feroz Abbas Khan who has also directed Tumhari Amrita,Salgirah ,Salesman Ramlal and Gandhi Viruddh Gandhi etc.

So you can imagine my excitement as well as curiosity as to how will Feroz Abbas Khan treat a story that is known to all and has already created records as a film .

The Cast of The play" Mughal- E-Azam" :

 Akbar - Nissar Khan               
Anarkali - Neha Sargam 
Salim - Dhanveer Singh
Bahar  - Aashima Mahajan 
Jodha  - Sonal Jha
Narrator /Sangtarash - Rajesh Jais
Maan Singh - Ram Bahadur Renu
Suraiya - Palvi Jaswal

                                                           The Plot 

The plot is exactly the same as the movie.It is the story of the  tumultuous and tempestuous love of Crown Prince Salim for a nautch girl Nadira who was conferred the title of "Anarkali " by the Emperor Akbar himself .

What worked for me 

1. The dialogues in the original movie were written by Kamal Amrohi ,Wajahat Mirza , Ehsan Rizvi and Amanullah Khan .Feroz Khan has retained most of the original dialogues and when delivered by the artsists with proper voice modulation and perfect diction - It created the ground for a stimulating performance .

2. The original soul stirring music by Naushad has been retained with the only change being live singing by the female artists and beautiful Kathak based choreography to accompany the songs .

3. The technical direction , the Sound system and the stage management were excellent .The background and foregrounds seamlessly and noiselessly would interchange creating a magical film like finesse on the stage .

4. The actors were impressive in their performance and singing specially touched by Salim (Dhanveer Singh ) and Jodhabai (Sonal Jha ) and the singing of Anarkali (Neha Sargam ) was soul stirring too .

5. Since the original dialogues have a lot of heavy weight Urdu words , the director did well to include translations projected on the side walls .

6.Besides the regular songs of the original movie , this one had a Sufi song "Salim Chistiyan " which was rendered beautifully by Mujtaba Naza . 


What did not work for me 

1. O.k.,this is besides the actual play, but it irked me that people kept coming late and scurrying for their seats well after 15-20 minutes of the start of the play.Since you cannot really see mush of the facial expressions , the dialogues become much more important in a play .

2. The voice of Anarkali (Neha Sargam ) could not really take the strains of certain notes and cracked.I suspect she had a little hoarse throat and  at some places she was lagging behind the cue music.

3. Akbar was not as powerful a force to reckon as in the original movie .His performance could have been more forceful.

4. Feroz Khan did full justice to the original in terms of the splendor and scale of the movie .He has  maintained the same large scale and dazzling sets and beautiful costumes that had been designed by the famous fashion designer Manish Malhotra himself .Yet where is his creative stamp ?
It is just a clever and technically smooth theatrical take on the original trail blazing movie .

FINAL VERDICT - I rate it a 4/5 . 

The play recreates the magic of the bygone era .See it for its great Music, Dance ,costumes and technical aspects .Even if you have seen the original multiple times you will still come back spellbound . A must watch for all !

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Book Review - Lovin' a Hero

Price  - Rs 166/- for paperback , Buy it here 

Genre - Romantic Fiction

About the Author  -  The author has been blogging at "The Scented Words " and this is her second book,the first one being ' The Mirage of Love ' .

What I liked about the Book 

The book tells  the story of a 28 year old single mom Aditi Sharma or Adi ,a Page 3 journalist for “Bollywood Masala ” magazine . She is a woman of substance and chutzpah who does not take any non sense and has given up any thoughts of finding love again in life for her world revolves around her work and her young son .But everything changes when she is assigned to cover the shooting of a movie by  the "King of Romance " Aditya kapoor ,on the pretty island of Madives …

Once bitten twice shy and yet love comes tapping at Adi's door .On one hand is the dashing and sexy Aditya Kapoor - the onscreen King of  Romance and on the other hand is the simple Gaurav who had been her childhood friend.

It sounds like 'Chick-lit '(pardon the expression ) but it has a  sincere narration .The opening lines of the book seem to come straight from the heart and touches a cord somewhere, it urges you to let the dreams twinkle in your eyes .

 I quote the author  "…  when reality seems really difficult to believe and when it appears to be a nightmare then believing in magic becomes far easier than accepting that reality ."

I could relate to Aditi , the feisty and yet lonely woman who is too scared to love again for fear of letting down her child and her parents or herself .

The book has some hilarious situations that include Adi's Father and the sexy Aditya .

It is easy to read and has a nice ending and gives you that fuzzy warm feeling in your heart .A book you would like to curl up in bed with !

What I did not like about the book 

Other than the fact that at the end of the day it is a romantic fiction (Mills and Boon type) , I really can't find any faults here .

Final Verdict - I rate it a  4/5 . A sweet , bitter but ultimately  nice love story .


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Make Over at Sukul n Archana 's Make up House

People who are close to me know this for a fact that I was a tomboy in my growing years - mostly wore jeans and shirts and never liked dressing up like girls .I remember sulking for days when my Mom made me wear a pretty flowery sleeveless dress !
It took some effort to post pictures of myself in this state -
unwashed,sweaty and starving but I wanted
 to give an honest review to my readers 
Well I learned a few things about how to use make up to just pass muster but recently after meeting me a friend of mine commented that  I had gone into a style rut and needed a freshness to my skin care regimen and the way I dressed .The friend being a much in demand make up artist,so I had to take his views seriously and I took it a step further and agreed for a make over session with him and his better half Archna , a lovely and sweet lady who made me feel instantly at home when I walked into their studio .
The first pic shows the kits that were used during my make
 over and the rest of the pics give a glimpse of the Salon 

After the initial meet and greet and refreshments were over,we got down to business and Archana selected a few clothes for me to try on.I was hesitant to wear certain styles but she edged me on to just give it a chance and so after a change of clothes ,I was ready with my heart racing in anticipation.

Archana felt that my skin looked dull and dehydrated so after tweezing my brows into a little more shape ,she treated my face to some cleansing and exfoliation and hydration after which my face looked much fresher .
As I was fasting that day , they also made me have juices and water at regular intervals .
The artist and her Canvas 

Archana then prepped and primed my face and upper body and did my eye make up using Kajal,eyeliner, mascara and false lashes and my eyes started looking bigger and better.
Being a myopic generally gives you smaller looking eyes and so eye make up was central to the make up .
Myself - Somewhat taken aback
by the change in my look
 It was now Sukul's turn to create magic and he started  with using concealer to hide the dark spots on the face and then he used foundation through airbrush which is a mechanised fine spray that spreads foundation evenly and does not give a layered look .After airbrushing , he contoured and defined my cheeks forehead and nose and then used loose powder for sealing the make up .Finally some blush and highlights and finally the lips were done. For different looks Archana and Sukul played around with the eye-shadow and lips colours and hairstyles .

The lunch date look and my apparent discomfort !

My hair was teased and crimped and shaped into different styles as per the look they wanted to create. It was as if my face was a canvas and they were splashing around colours and using brush strokes to get the desired result .I think they are called "Make up artists " for the same reason that they take make up to a whole level of artistry .

I asked Sukul about the various products that were used and he rattled off many names and numbers and alphabets most of which I forgot but I remember his assuring me that they only used international and reputed brands for their work mostly using MAC, Makeup Studio, Anastasia, Inglot, Urban Decay, Temptu etc.
The Evening Out look 

I was sceptical about using make up on my face as I had some pimples and irritation of skin at that time but surprisingly they did not get worse nor did my skin felt itchy or red as it usually does .Rather disbelievingly the next day my acne started reducing ,maybe it was the superior quality of products and the cleansing and exfoliation by Archna that did the trick for me and I internally vowed to take better care of my skin in future .

The Semi formal Cruise look 

They wanted me to try more looks but I was really tired and also it was time to break the fast so we decided to end it there but not before Archna and Sukul shared with me some tricks of the trade and valuable skincare and make up tips .

Me in a Fuschia Saree - The Ethnic Look 

Why go to Sukul N Archana's Make up House ?

1. They instantly put you at ease and give a boost to your confidence ,which is very important .If you      feel beautiful and happy inside it shows on the outside too .
2. Years of experience in Bridal Makeup and Party make up
3. Specialization in airbrush make up
4. They only use premium and best make up brands
5. Thousands of happy customers all over India

The lovely couple with magic fingers 

Sukul and Archana can be contacted at:  
 +919999679565, +919818079565

Monday, 7 August 2017

Five Amazing Blouse Designs For Your Wardrobe

The Sari is a versatile piece of clothing .It just does not serve the function of covering up or give warmth and protection just like any other garment .It is a statement too. It can conceal, reveal, invoke respect or provoke desire, depending upon how you wish to drape it.

But the blouse is the most important part of the sari draping. A well fitted, rightly embellished blouse can make your look while an ill-fitting and wrongly selected blouse can ruin your look despite selecting the best and most expensive of the saris.

Getting a stylish and well-fitting blouse is not an easy task. You first need to get the matching material then look for a decent and skilled tailor who would give you the right fit and design and horror of horrors if it does not turn out the way you had visualized .Though nowadays you can get ready to wear blouses online too in all colours and styles .

I recently shared tips about some basic footwear every woman must possess; today I will be sharing certain blouse styles that will add a lot of charm and freshness to your saris .In fact you can wear the same saree with two different blouses and mix and match to create more variety .

    1. A heavily embroidered raw silk based blouse in Red or Black – These look good with light weight sarees with minimal work on the sarees except for an embroidered border on the sari .The best part is that these can be teamed up with any other saree for a party wear .You can even wear them like a waist coat with your Anarkali suits.


    2.   A plain Gold toned or sequined blouse – This blouse because of its rich fabric and gold tones is ideal for party wear and would go with most sarees that have golden work in the borders or pallu .If you are adventurous enough you can play around with different neck and back styles - give the upper half a sheer look at the neck line or go strappy .An interesting back or cut out back designs ups the style quotient immediately but make sure you keep the area to be highlighted well maintained .

Style 2 

3.    A contemporary blouse – Sarees for work are a great choice and I think these blouses that are easy to maintain and color blocked look great with simple linen and cotton sarees for work  not to mention that their slight stretch makes it fit even if you gain or loose some weight . I personally love linen sarees for their comfort and preferably get one in colour blocked style which add more color to the outfit and also makes it easier to pair with another similar colored saree .

Style 3 
4.    An off shoulder blouse – You just have not arrived on the saree scene if you do not possess an off the shoulder blouse .An off shoulder blouse instantly adds glamour to any saree and you all figure types can flaunt this style with panache .

Style 4 

5.Designer Blouse - Gone are the days when black or white blouses would be worn under any saree .Now the Blouse has become a bold fashion statement and you need a well crafted designer blouse to show off at weddings and parties .A blouse that does not need any further accessories in a shade that compliments your complexion and goes with your best sarees .

Style 5
Arm your wardrobe with these amazing blouses and all your saree woes will be sorted and you shall be the Belle of the Ball too !

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Book Review - The Return of Damayanti

This Book is the second book in the Detective series by Nisha Singh, featuring our own home grown sleuth Bhrigu Mahesh , an ex-police inspector and his friend Sutte , a writer .

The book starts with a rather innocuous but interesting case of a retired head clerk Nataraj Bhakti ,whose wife Damayanti seems to be haunting him after few days of her death .He requests Brighu Mahesh to take up his case and solve this mystery .Bhrigu and Mahesh then set out for Krishna Dwar the village where Natraj Bhakti resided.Krishna Dwar also happens to be a famous place for pilgrimage where devotees flock from all over India .Once the duo reach there , they are met with more mysteries , a murder and many more colourful and interesting characters .The rest of the book deals with unfolding of the mystery of the ghost of Damayanti and solving the murder mystery .
In some places I was reminded of "Malgudi Days " for the immaculate narration of the life in a small village and in some places I was reminded of Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who created "Sherlock Holmes and Dr.Watson ".But it would be an injustice say that the book had any more of the similarities .The similarities end just here .Brigh Mahesh is a gum chewing socially affable Ex-cop and Sutte is no war veteran but is a sensitive writer.

What I liked about this book

For such a young writer, Nisha Singh has already developed an inimitable writing style and to foray into the relatively male bastion of detective stories with success is a commendable feat .One generally associates female writers with either light ad frothy Chick-lit or mostly women centric books .Nisha has done a fine job of storytelling and also of binding the readers interest till the very last .Not only this , but certain observations of human nature that the lead character makes seem to come from a very mature and experienced mind that belies her years .

I was elated and very happy that after so many years I got to read a very different writing style which I had not seen among the current crop of writers .It has a laid back and elaborate feel to it where the author takes her time to give us fully blown characters from their mannerisms to their insecurities .In fact this book and Brighu Mahesh the main character who investigates the Saga of the Ghost of Damayanti , talk in depth about human behaviour and its peculiarities.

The writer transports you to Krishna Dwar with her narration, it is quite in depth and detailed.

The story is interesting and the interest and mystery is maintained till the very end.

What I did not like about the Book
At some places the author gets too much into details,theories and postulations , and the book starts feeling tedious and the story trails .But since it holds your interest you cannot skip any paragraphs !

FINAL VERDICT  - I rate it a 4/5 , A good book , well written and well executed though tedious and slow at places . “The Return of Damayanti ” makes for an interesting read that will keep you engrossed.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!