No matter how much flak Aishwarya Rai Bachchan gets for her dress sense, one must admit that she’s getting better these days. Finally! Hallelujah! Also, when in the West, the actor makes the effort to blend in and not stand out in a golden sari and jewellery (like she used to once upon a time). Kudos! Here’s Ash at the Ascot horse races in England. Having lost oodles of weight post pregnancy, she’s back to looking gorgeous. A black and white dress, with a bow tie in front and a gigantic hat — she makes fashionable Indians proud. Following this pic are images of the most beautiful lady in the world wearing her various hats 😉
So, it’s common knowledge by now that actress Malaika Arora Khan’s great figure (read:abs) is home to a baton of stretch marks she got when she was pregnant. She’s been a bit open about it and the fact that she didn’t get them surgically removed sends a positive message to scores of women who are constantly feeling let down by their bodies post pregnancy. Joining the league of women who chose to keep their pregnancy scars is actress Chitrangada Singh. She did one movie: Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. She was lauded for her brilliant acting and great looks. It was widely reported that she was married, and that too, to a famous man from the sports world and just as the critics started to speculate if she was the next big thing on the movies scene, Chitrangada packed her bags and vanished. But she came back. And that too when she was at a phase of her life when most actresses prefer to hang up their boots. Please excuse the cliche, but you get the point — she was married, took a break to have a child, crossed 30 years of age and… AND… STRETCH MARKS! Yes. The one reason most heroines stop wearing revealing clothes and why women stop flirting! Chitrangada seems to have plenty of them on her well-toned abs. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream and winning a million hearts.
Moral of the story: Stretch marks are like creases on an excellent outfit. The outfit doesn’t really define you and the creases should definitely not stop you from flaunting it.
Skky at Ramada Hotel, Powaii has the potential to take on many five star restaurants head on. Are the foodies listening?
* Open air restaurants are always a tricky choice. The lure of a pleasant ambience will draw you to the venue but the openness ends up eating into your privacy, making you vulnerable to fellow diners stares, forcing you to become conscious of your every move.
That is why, Skky, at Ramada Hotel, Powaii, Mumbai is a game changer in many ways. The restaurant is spread over 8,500 sq ft, and can easily seat hundreds of people at a go. But Skky makes sure that the space is used with care and tables are spread out only intermittently. Separating most tables are large water bodies, in stone structures. Standing around them proudly are neatly trimmed Frangipani plants and floating in the water itself are artificial lotus flowers. In between these blocks of water bodies are the dinner tables. If you seek absolute privacy, pick a slot where there is only one table.
Another positive about the restaurant is that the menu is on a tablet. Click on the desired dish and you will get a description, the price and even a picture of how it looks. How I wish more restaurants would have pictures of the dishes on the menu. It would make choosing what to have so much easier! The menu is also user-friendly so even the not-so-tech-savy bunch will find it easy to browse through.
Great ambience and a technologically sound menu pretty much set the mood for an appetizing meal. Honestly, I was half expecting the big disappointment to come in the form of the dishes itself. But as the food items were placed on the table, it became clear, that Skky intends to please.
A Pan-Asian menu, it has Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thailand and Malaysian dishes to select from. Pizzas and home-made ice creams are another specialty. I’m a sucker for desserts, so-much-so that at times I have the sweets first and then head for main course, if there’s place left in my tummy, that is.
So I’m gonna begin with rating the sweet dishes first. Ice cream fans will love the Basil and Green Tea ice creams! The restaurant was out of Paan flavoured ice cream, but given how minty and fresh these two tasted, I have no doubt that the Paan ice cream would have rocked as well. Next on my radar was the Bourbon Whiskey Chocolate Pate (Rs 300). A slab of the chocolate pate, bitter sweet in flavour, completely tantalized the taste buds. Usually one can never taste the alcohol in a dish that brags to have its traces, which is why I was pleasantly surprised to feel the bitterness of whiskey in the pate. Chocolate Shahi Zaike (Rs 325) is for those who like typically Indian sweet dish. This one is an assortment of dry fruits and gulab jamun in a bed of condensed milk.
On the starters front, I’d recommend the Ginseng Sweet Corn Soup (Rs 225), (I could feel the bitterness of the Ginseng plant, though ever so lightly), Wasabi prawns (Rs 1050 for four pieces) (again, the wasabi quoting was not overbearing, leaving a pleasant after taste) and Wok Fried Fragrant Chicken (Rs 600).
For Mains, the chef recommended Braised Greens with Shaoxing Wine and Gingko Nuts (Rs 500) (Chinese cabbage, shitake mushroom, asparagus were the main ingredients) and Rendang (Rs 600), a Malaysian Chicken Gravy dish. All the items were well-prepared leaving no room for complaints.
Verdict: Great ambience and food, a rare combination in itself!
Budget: Skky provides a five star ambience and food but the price points are not as high as five star restaurants. You can easily wrap up a meal for two in Rs 1500- Rs 2000.
Address: Ramada, 16/17, Paspoli, Saki Vihar Road, Powai, Mumbai. Ph: 022 28585100, 022 67776000.
Menu Brief: * Soups * Salads * Main course * Rice/ Noodles * Dim Sum Bar * Tandoor * Teppanyaki * Suhi Bar * Sashimi Bar * Desserts * Pizza * Set Meals * Ice creams * Kids Menu
Hollywood beauties are smitten by Louis Vuitton’s latest checkered offering. And they all seem to instinctively pick up a version that’s most suited to their personality…
Super babes Miranda Kerr, Kristen Stewart, Jessica Alba, Kirsten Dunst and Isabelli Fontana seem to have something apart from a million women wanting to be like them and more than a million men wanting to be with them. Binding all of these beauties together is a checkered Louis Vuitton dress as each of them has been recently spotted donning one of the iconic brand’s Spring Summer 2013 offering.
Kirsten Dunst got comfortable in a long dress with oft white and caramel checks and to say that the dress seemed to just glide like honey over her milky complexion, would be an understatement. Check out the picture and you’ll know what we’re talking about. Lol… did I just say Check… Must be the LV effect!
Kristen Stewart looked smashing in a bold white and black checkered number. While she would look gorgeous in the caramel outfit that her namesake donned too, we’d say the black does justice to her goth look. Interestingly, given the controversies she’s been in and out of lately, people seem to be judging and categorizing her purely as Good and Bad – White and Black. Spooky!
Miranda Kerr’s structured shirt dress is less caramel than Kirsten Dunst’s. Thumbs up from us — the soft nude checks make her look less of an ice queen and more feminine.
Brazilian model Isabeli Fontana teamed her LV checkered skirt with an all covering white top. While we’ve nothing against the top itself, can’t say we’re a fan of the combination… just falls flat and fails impress, doesn’t it. On the bright side, thank God for her vibrant smile, it can set any wardrobe disaster straight.
We know Jessica Alba’s tired of the cute tag, but that doesn’t mean she steps out in this!!! Black and white checks are not meant for everyone and we think Jessica’s helped send that message out successfully.
Shah Rukh Khan is no stranger to controversy. Be it his sexuality, choice of films, fidelity, friends, foes or religious views, the superstar has been subject to intense scrutiny time and again on all aspects of his professional and personal life. Only recently he was accused of using his religion to constantly play the ‘victim card’ to gain sympathy from his overseas fans. The allegation came in the wake on an article King Khan wrote for a foreign pubication. The negative reactions to the article went viral in no time and almost two days were spent analysing the actor’s words by leading television channels. That Pakistan offered to give protection to SRK, if he faced threats in India, certainly didn’t help the allegations leveled against him die a natural death.
Then, I happened to attend the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA), in association with British Columbia press conference on Tuesday evening. SRK, being the face of the TOIFA launch graced the occasion at a suburban five star hotel. Sensing the media’s eagerness to ask him all sorts of questions about the incident, he took aside 5 minutes to read out a statement that summed up his opinion on the controversy and fielded pretty much all queries relating to it. I’m no fan of Shah Rukh, but this time we got to admit that he’s at the receiving end of as he aptly put it “Nonsense”. He also pleaded with journalists to stop hyping the non-existent controversy, emphasizing that this kind of attention grabbing is not good for the media or him or young, impressionable fans. The actor made it clear that he is open to criticism on the article he authored, provided one READS it first.
So here’s a copy of the article that SRK wrote and his statement clarifying the “Nonsense” surrounding it.
Outlook Turning Points 2013 [Published By The New York Times]
I am an actor. Time does not frame my days with as much conviction as images do. Images rule my life. Moments and memories imprint themselves on my being in the form of the snapshots that I weave into my expression. The essence of my art is the ability to create images that resonate with the emotional imagery of those watching them.
I am a Khan. The name itself conjures multiple images in my mind too: a strapping man riding a horse, his reckless hair flowing from beneath a turban tied firm around his head. His ruggedly handsome face marked by weathered lines and a distinctly large nose.
A stereotyped extremist; no dance, no drink, no cigarette tipping off his lips, no monogamy, no blasphemy; a fair, silent face beguiling a violent fury smoldering within. A streak that could even make him blow himself up in the name of his God. Then there is the image of me being shoved into a back room of a vast American airport named after an American president (another parallel image: of the president being assassinated by a man named lee, not a Muslim thankfully, nor Chinese as some might imagine! I urgently shove the image of the room out of my head).
Some stripping, frisking and many questions later, I am given an explanation (of sorts): “Your name pops up on our system, we are sorry”. “So am I,” I think to myself, “Now can I have my underwear back please?” Then, there is the image I most see, the one of me in my own country: being acclaimed as a megastar, adored and glorified, my fans mobbing me with love and apparent adulation.
I could say I fit into each of these images: I could be a strapping six feet something – ok something minus, about three inches at least, though I don’t know much about horse-riding. A horse once galloped off with me flapping helplessly on it and I have had a “no horse-riding” clause embedded in my contracts ever since.
I am extremely muscular between my ears, I am often told by my kids, and I used to be fair too, but now I have a perpetual tan or as I like to call it ‘olive hue’ – though deep In the recesses of my armpits I can still find the remains of a fairer day. I am handsome under the right kind of light and I really do have a “distinctly large” nose. It announces my arrival in fact, peeking through the doorway just before I make my megastar entrance. But my nose notwithstanding, my name means nothing to me unless I contextualize it.
Stereotyping and contextualizing is the way of the world we live in: a world in which definition has become central to security. We take comfort in defining phenomena, objects and people – with a limited amount of knowledge and along known parameters. The predictability that naturally arises from these definitions makes us feel secure within our own limitations.
We create little image boxes of our own. One such box has begun to draw its lid tighter and tighter at present. It is the box that contains an image of my religion in millions of minds.
I encounter this tightening of definition every time moderation is required to be publicly expressed by the Muslim community in my country. Whenever there is an act of violence in the name of Islam, I am called upon to air my views on it and dispel the notion that by virtue of being a Muslim, I condone such senseless brutality. I am one of the voices chosen to represent my community in order to prevent other communities from reacting to all of us as if we were somehow colluding with or responsible for the crimes committed in the name of a religion that we experience entirely differently from the perpetrators of these crimes.
I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in india. There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighboring nation rather than my own country – this even though I am an Indian whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave my home and return to what they refer
to as my “original homeland”. Of course, I politely decline each time, citing such pressing reasons as sanitation words at my house preventing me from taking the good shower that’s needed before undertaking such an extensive journey. I don’t know how long this excuse will hold though. I gave my son and daughter names that could pass for generic (pan-Indian and pan-religious) ones: Aryan and Suhana. The Khan has been bequeathed by me so they can’t really escape it. I pronounce it from my epiglottis when asked by Muslims and throw the Aryan as evidence of their race when non-Muslims enquire.
I imagine this will prevent my offspring from receiving unwarranted eviction orders and random fatwas in the future. It will also keep my two children completely confused. Sometimes, they ask me what religion they belong to and, like a good Hindi movie hero, I roll my eyes up to the sky and declare philosophically, “You are an Indian first and your religion is humanity”, or sing them an old Hindi film ditty, “Tu Hindu banega na Musalmaan banega – insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega” set to Gangnam Style.
None of this informs them with any clarity, it just confounds them some more and makes them deeply wary of their father.
In the land of the freed, where I have been invited on several occasions to be honored, I have bumped into ideas that put me in a particular context. I have had my fair share of airport delays for instance.
I became so sick of being mistaken for some crazed terrorist who coincidentally carries the same last name as mine that I made a film, subtly titled My name is Khan (and I am not a terrorist) to prove a point. Ironically, I was interrogated at the airport for hours about my last name when I was going to present the film in America for the first time. I wonder, at times, whether the same treatment is given to everyone whose last name just happens to be McVeigh (as in Timothy)??
I don’t intend to hurt any sentiments, but truth be told, the aggressor and taker of life follows his or her own mind. It has to nothing to do with a name, a place or his/her religion. It is a mind that has its discipline, its own distinction of right from wrong and its own set of ideologies. In fact, one might say, it has its own “religion”. This religions has nothing to do with the ones that have existed for centuries and been taught in mosques or churches. The call of the azaan or the words of the pope have no bearing on this person’s soul. His soul is driven by the devil. I, for one, refuse to be contextualized by the ignorance of his ilk.
I am neither six-feet-tall nor handsome (I am modest though) nor am I a Muslim who looks down on other religions. I have been taught my religion by my six-foot-tall, handsome Pathan ‘Papa’ from Peshawar, where his proud family and mine still resides. He was a member of the no-violent Pathan movement called Khudai Khidamatgaar and a follower of both Gandhiji and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, who was also known as the Frontier Gandhi.
My first learning of Islam from him was to respect women and children and to uphold the dignity of every human being. I learnt that the property and decency of others, their points of view, their beliefs, their philosophies and their religions were due as much respect as my own and ought to be accepted with an open mind. I learnt to believe in the power and benevolence of Allah, and to be gentle and kind to my fellow human beings, to give of myself to those less privileged than me and to live a life full of happiness, joy, laughter and fun without impinging on anybody else’s freedom to live in the same way.
So I am a Khan, but no stereotyped image is factored into my idea of who I am. Instead, the living of my life has enabled me to be deeply touched by the love of millions of Indians. I have felt this love for the last 20 years regardless of the fact that my community is a minority within the population of India. I have been showered with love across national and cultural boundaries, from Suriname to Japan and Saudi Arabia to Germany, places where they don’t even understand my
language. They appreciate what I do for them as an entertainer – that’s all. My life has led me to understand and imbibe that love is a pure exchange, untempered by definition and unfettered by the narrowness of limiting ideas. If each one of us allowed ourselves the freedom to accept and return love in its purity, we would need no image boxes to hold up the walls of our security. I believe that I have been blessed with the opportunity to experience the magnitude of such a love,
but I also know that its scale is irrelevant. In our own small ways, simply as human beings, we can appreciate each other for how touch our lives and not how our different religions or last names define us.
Beneath the guise of my superstardom, I am an ordinary man. My Islamic stock does not conflict with that of my Hindu wife’s. The only disagreements I have with Gauri concern the color of the walls in our living room and not about the locations of the walls demarcating temples from mosques in India.
We are bringing up a daughter who pirouettes in a leotard and choreographs her own ballets. She sings western songs that confound my sensibilities and aspires to be an actress. She also insists on covering her head when in a Muslim nation that practices this really beautiful and much misunderstood tenet of Islam. Our son’s linear features proclaim his Pathan pedigree although he carries his own, rather gentle mutations of the warrior gene. He spends all day either pushing people asie at rugby, kicking some butt at Tae Kwon Do or eliminating unknown faces behind anonymous online gaming handles around the world with The Call of Duty video game. And yet, he firmly admonishes me for getting
into a minor scuffle at the cricket stadium in Mumbai last year because some bigot make unsavory remarks about me being a Khan.
The four of us make up a motley representation of the extraordinary acceptance and validation that love can foster when exchanged within the exquisiteness of things that are otherwise defined ordinary.
For I believe, our religion is an extremely personal choice, not a public proclamation of who we are. It’s as person as the spectacles of my father who passed away some 20 years ago. Spectacles that I hold onto as my most prized and personal possession of his memories, teachings and of being a proud Pathan. I have never compared those with my friends, who have similar possessions of their parents or grandparents. I have never said my father’s spectacles are better than your
mother’s saree. So why should we have this comparison in the matter of religion, which is as personal and prized a belief as the memories of your elders. Why should not the love we share be the last word in defining us instead of the last name? It doesn’t take a superstar to be able to give love, it just takes a heart and as far as I know, there isn’t a force on this earth that can deprive anyone of theirs.
I am a Khan, and that’s what it has meant being one, despite the stereotype images that surround me. To be a Khan has been to be loved and love back – that the promise that virgins wait for me somewhere on the other side.
– Shah Rukh Khan
SRK’S STATEMENT TO CLEAR HIS STANCE SURROUNDING CONTROVERSY TO THIS ARTICLE:
According to me, all our lives we are defined by three identities. Two of which are fortunately acquired by birth and are a matter of unconditional love and acceptance. The first identity is acquired by where one is born. Our Motherland. That defines us. So foremost all of us here like me are proud Indians.
Second the family name and upbringing that our parents give us. Mine is Khan, like some of us here. I am very proud of my parents, like all of us are here. I love them unconditionally.
The third is the profession we choose that defines us. By some quirk of fate I am a celebrity… a public figure in the fields of art and media. Like most of us are here today.
As I said being an Indian and my parents’ child is an unconditional accepted truth of my life and I am very proud of both.
The third… being a public figure makes me open to any kind of questioning, adjectives good and bad and or sometimes makes me an object of controversy as people use my name and statements to attach any positive or negative sentiment to it. I accept all the above because this is the life I chose and will stand by it. I am what I am, because of the love and admiration that comes with being who I am in my profession…so I thank everyone for making me the star I am.
Now to address this whole issue, with regards to my Article, that has taken an unwarranted twist . I do not even understand the basis of this controversy.
Ironically the article I wrote (yes its written by me) was actually meant to reiterate that on some occasions my being an Indian Muslim film star is misused by bigots and narrow minded people who have misplaced religious ideologies for small gains….and ironically the same has happened through this article…once again.
The reason for this primarily is….I think some of the people have not even read it and are reacting to comments of people, who in turn have also not read it. So I implore you all to first read it.
Second if you read it, nowhere does the article state or imply unsafe….troubled or disturbed in India.
It does not even vaguely say that I am ungrateful for the love that I have received in a career spanning 20 years. On the contrary the article only says that in spite of bigoted thoughts of some of the people that surround us….I am untouched by skepticism because of the love I have received by my countrymen and women.
I will paraphrase the beginning and the end of the article to clarify and substantiate my stand.
“Then, there is the image I most see, the one of me in my own country: being acclaimed as a megastar, adored and glorified, my fans mobbing me with love and apparent adulation.
So I am a Khan, but no stereotyped image is factored into my idea of who I am. Instead, the living of my life has enabled me to be deeply touched by the love of millions of Indians. I have felt this love for the last 20 years regardless of the fact that my community is a minority within the population of India. I have been showered with love across national and cultural boundaries, they appreciate what I do for them as an entertainer – that’s all. My life has led me to understand and imbibe that love is a pure exchange, untempered by definition and unfettered by the narrowness of limiting ideas.
Sometimes, they ask me what religion they belong to and, like a good Hindi movie hero, I roll my eyes up to the sky and declare philosophically, “you are an Indian first and your religion is Humanity”, or sing them an old Hindi film ditty, “tu hindu banega na musalmaan banega – insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega” set to Gangnam style.
Why should not the love we share be the last word in defining us instead of the last name? It doesn’t take a superstar to be able to give love, it just takes a heart and as far as i know, there isn’t a force on this earth that can deprive anyone of theirs. I am a Khan, and that’s what it has meant being one, despite the stereotype images that surround me. To be a Khan has been to be loved and love back….”
Please I implore everyone here to read the article and convey through your respective mediums of communications, all the good things that it expresses to youngsters and my fellow Indians. It is a heartfelt and extremely important aspect of my life, an appreciation of love that all of you have bestowed upon me and also a point of view from my being a father of two young children I would like to tell all those who are offering me unsolicited advice that we in India are extremely safe
and happy. We have an amazing democratic, free and secular way of life. In the environs that we live here in my country India, we have no safety issues regarding life or material. As a matter of fact it is irksome for me to clarify this non-existent issue. With respect I would like to say to anyone who is interpreting my views and offering advice regarding them, please read what I have written first.
Also some of the views that I have been made to read are just an extension of soft targeting celebs and creating an atmosphere of emotional outbursts and divisiveness based on religion…in the minds of some. I implore everyone to understand, that my article is against exactly this kind of giving in to propaganda and aggressiveness. Lets not be misled by tools which use religion as an anchor for unrest and a policy of divide and rule.
I would also like to add here, that my profession as an actor makes me, liked beyond the borders of my nation and culture. The hugs and love that I am showered upon by Nationalities all around the world, make me safe all over the globe, and my safety has genuinely never been a matter of concern to me…and so it should not be a matter of concern to anyone else either.
We are all educated and patriotic people. We do not have to prove that time and again because of divisive politics of a few.
My own family and friends, are like a mini India…where all religions, professions and a few wrongs included, all are treated with tolerance and understanding and regard for each other. I only sell love…love that I have got from millions of Indians and non Indians….and stand indebted to my audience in my country and around the world. It is sad that I have to say it to prove it, in my country, which my father fought for, during the Independence struggle.
That’s my piece and having said all this…I would like to request all of you present here….that henceforth ask me questions regarding….my next movie. The songs that I have recorded. The release date of my film. The heroines cast in it. The Toiffa awards in Vancouver, because I am an actor and maybe I should just stick to stuff that all of you expect me to have a viewpoint on. The rest of it…maybe I don’t have the right kind of media atmosphere to comment on. So I will refrain from it. And please if you can…put all I have said on your channels, or mediums of communication, in the exact same light as I have said it and meant it in. 24 hrs of unrequired controversy is more than enough for all of us I assume. So do not sensationalize and hence trivialize matters of national interest and religion any further and drag a movie actor in the middle of it all…and let me get back to doing what I do best….making movies.
Shah Rukh Khan
…… Yes, I know… SRK likes to write a lot!!! But he has a point, folks 😀
It’s that time of the year when Manchester United Cafe Bar launches its month long special menu. Last year, it was a range of pizzas, this time there are as many as 19 varieties of burgers to gorge on. The ongoing International Burger Festival has a special menu of burgers named after soccer players from different regions. So you can choose from Baichung Burger from India, Ola Hernandez Burger from Mexico or the Zeng Cheng Burger from China, among others. The names make the burgers sound yummy already, don’t they?
The likes of Wayne Rooney, Freddy Adu and Baichung Bhutia are being dished out at a cafe bar in the city — definitely the thought of devouring these gorgeous burgers can’t just be passed on!
I dropped by at Man Utd and saw many fans indulging in the long list of burgers. A glance at the menu and it was clear that a lot of thought had been put into its making.
I went to MUCB determined to feast on at least 10 of the 19 special burgers. But one look at the size of each burger and I knew it would take a miracle to get past even one! That’s when I was introduced to a combo platter of 4 Mini Burgers. Cute little versions of the Thailand, Lebanese, Mexican and Indian burgers come on a tray with assorted dips and french fries. A general observation was that keeping in cue with international standards, none of the burgers were too spicy and all came with layers of lettuce, onions, customised spices and sauces. Unfortunately, the mini-burgers’ selection is restricted to only four vegetarian and non vegetarian options. A spirit dampener, because otherwise one can easily devour 10 – 15 minis. Meat lovers can rejoice as the choices range from chicken, crab, lobster, pork and beef burgers.
There are a variety of combo offers too. The Old Trafford Home Combo has Indian, Mexican, Lebanese and England burgers with fries, salad and five international dips, for Rs 700 + taxes.
At Rs 899 (plus taxes), The Free Kick offer allows you to buy any one burger and get unlimited Budweiser beer! And trust me — if you’re the kind whose beer seems to diminish faster than food on your table, this is the offer to go for! The giant sized burger will last you longer than you’d have imagined, anyway…
Happy Burger-ing 😀
Manchester United Café Bar Level 3, Palladium, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel West (022-43601111)
Manchester United Café Bar Ground Floor, R City Mall, Phase 2, Ghatkopar (W), Mumbai Ground Floor, R City Mall, Phase 2 (022- 66429850)
Manchester United Café Bar, Level 3, Infiniti Mall, Malad Village, Malad Link Road, Malad (W), Mumbai- 400064 (61960300)