Friday, March 25, 2011


Naan: You who I hold special above all others...
I hope you are fine?
I hope your wounds have healed?
I hope you have found peace in your pain...
I hope you have found joy in your loneliness...

Nee: You who I hold beautiful beyond all others...
I hope you know that nothing is the same?
Ever since I’ve parted ways from you...
My mind speaks of but one dilemma...
Do I show the world my tears?
Or do I save my face and cry into my pillow?

Naan: You who I hold special above all others...
I hope you know that I am trying to force?
My mind to believe that I hate you...
My body, once proud is now shamed...
Do I let you tear me in half again?
Or do I fight true feelings and stay apart from you?

Nee: Can’t a garland be recreated with new flowers?
Naan: Can new knots be tied into a scarred auspicious sacred thread?
Nee: Won’t life be like a circle and start off again where we foolishly ended it?
Naan: Won’t life be like a circle and end again where we foolishly start it?

Nee: You who I hold special above all others...
I hope you are fine?
I hope your wounds have healed?
I hope you have found peace in your pain...
I hope you have found joy in your loneliness...


Saturday, March 19, 2011

let go.

I let go.
I now realise.
Was my fault.
I now let go.
You are who you want to be.
You are not who you are.
Who are you, to you?
Who are you, to me?
They’re different people.
You don’t want to be who you are to me.
I am no one to make you; you as you are to me.
I am sorry.
Maybe I finally understand dualities.
I now withdraw.
I let go.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

‘It just happened to me’

Bangalore girl and theatre artiste Jahnavi Kamath stumbled into films quite just-by-chance, but she’s now convinced that she’s here to stay…

L Romal M Singh

She has always been noticed for her beautiful eyes and ever since she was first seen on stage in college, experts in the field knew this young pretty thing would make it big. Jahnavi Kamath has come a long way from being a theatre artiste to an actress with a film each in Kannada and Tamil and several more projects being lined up...

When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
I have always wanted to be in entertainment, it’s just that over the years my interests have changed from being a VJ, to dancing, to being a part of theatre troupes and then acting just happened. I was in college when I performed for the first time in a huge production that involved more than a hundred actors. I was however given a prominent role and also was cast in the successive performance that was staged the very next year. It was then I knew I loved theatre and decided to be an actor.

So how did you decide to take on acting as a career?
I enrolled in an acting school in Mumbai right after I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Journalism from Bangalore. The course was amazing. It taught me to understand the smallest and most important nuances of acting. I was also readied for the camera and I am thankful for that.

Did the offers start pouring in straightaway?
Not really. I returned to Bangalore and began working with several theatre groups, before my first offer came. It was a Kannada film called Chitrana?. The film is complete but is the release is delayed for reasons unknown to me. The role as the female protagonist was amazing, especially since this was my first.

And then Kollywood?
Surprisingly so! Someone from the crew of Chitrana? referred me to the producer of the Tamil film. This being Ramesh’s debut as a director and my debut (technically) in a Tamil film, it all seemed to work out fine. The lead male actor Dileep also debuts in this film.

Tell us more about the film…
The film has been titled Puthiya Kaaviyam and the shooting was mostly around Mettur in Salem and Chennai. Being a rural themed film, I play a village girl who’s extremely happy with life and college-going. I am the romantic angle to the film, as I am the love interest in Dileep’s characters’ life. The film revolves around him and how he saves his village. I guess that’s all I can reveal right now. The film should be out in May.

City girl to village belle, wasn’t that hard?
Not really. I grew up in Bangalore, yes, but I also lived and holidayed in Mangalore for a long time. My father owns a farmhouse there, that’s quite within the environs of a village, so village life is no new thing to me. Also, I’ve never really been a proper city girl.

Any more offers?
Yes, I have one more film that I have accepted in Tamil again, this time with a debut director called Balan. This film will be opposite Dileep again, and will be a rural themed film, where I play the role of a more independent and assertive woman.

So, will it be just films and more films now?
Definitely not! I will take on more plays whenever I find something interesting, because, let’s face it… real acting is only on stage! I will also continue to model when assignments come my way. I love films but it’s never going to be my only passion.

‘I was born to dance’

He’s beautiful in body, mind and soul and this description is something that anyone who knows him will readily agree with. Charles Ma has come a long way from being a college dance-team choreographer to a full-fledged student and performer of the art of Bharatanatyam, and in less than two years, he has travelled through the long journey of being a teacher, a student, a questioner and a re-discoverer of an art that he holds very dearly to his heart.

“Life is a celebration and I’ve come to know that I celebrate it through Bharatanatyam,” Charles tells me as I catch up with him, after his year-long hiatus. “I’ve been in Chennai, re-learning an art form that I think — now looking at the past — I took for granted,” he says.

Studying a completely new style for someone so deeply rooted in the Kalakshetra baani can be quite trying, but Charles has come to love the nuances and complexities of his new obsession — the Vazhuvoor style.

“It feels great as I feel this complete transformation surging through me. Relearning an art form, with the passion for the new, much like a fresh student has helped me come to terms with a lot of insecurities and obstacles that were running me down as a performer, a year ago,” Charles shares.

“I am now a deeper person, more comfortable with me and my art and with a new strange sense of wisdom that is gained only when one offers ones self completely to an art. Everything else takes second place in a hierarchy of importance, sometimes even me — but it feels right and I am at peace, which is all that matters,” he adds.

Charles will be performing as a part of the Karnataka Nrityakala Parishath’s Natarajotsava — 2011 celebrations and so I ask him what Nataraj, as the 'Lord of the Dance' means to him, personally.

“I come from a family that’s Christian in this generation, but my grandmother was a Shaivite, and I think the love for Nataraj or Shiva comes from there. I look at him as Niraguna Parabramha, and thus I see him in everything and everywhere. It has been hard to come to terms with two often opposing faiths — but I have found my balance and that’s where my faith lies,” he signs off.

Pic Credit ©Madhu Shweta, 2009

Thursday, March 10, 2011

guava — the common man.

The world around me crumbles into small spots of nothingness, much like the flavour of guava that caught my attention, intriguing and boring me in cyclic repetitions as I tried the ‘brand’ new flavour of frozen yoghurt at the ‘around-the-corner’ much favoured fro-yo bar. So much for indigenous tastes!

The flavour was spotty and I am not trying to be ‘gastronomically deep’ when I say this. I could actually only taste the subtle crappy flavours of guava and vanilla (if that’s what the rest of it tasted like) in spots. So, why did I have it? Well, that’s as simple a question as why am I gay? — I don’t know, being the shortest, least rude and most apt answer, ever!

Moving onto nothingness —no, I am not trying to randomly use ‘ness’ suffixed words, though most anglophiles would readily agree at the prettiness of a ‘ness’ word. I meant nothingness because; the treat apparently had no ‘bad’ yummy things and reminded me of how my life was becoming — Safe. Sanitized. Secure. Sad.

I miss doing things at whim. Jumping into buses at tandem random! Making out with a complete stranger (yes, I have been slutty {subjective}, at times, only!)... Falling for someone pretty on the road and then pursuing them... falling in love... falling out of love... falling... free falling... I wished I was a fallen angel sometime ago. Being good can be such a bore!

Straight men are anything but straight. They’re often devious little, super-gorgeous, super-twisted, super-narcissistic men, who for some reason, find me, in all my gay-disapproved-boring-ness, perfect as their object of affection. Now, I am not complaining, I do enjoy every inch... did I just say inch, of course not, I meant bit... every bit of their attention, but their genuineness (Ha-ha! one more!) often leaves me wishing they were not-so-straight!

If you aren’t into men, why do I so entice you? Or do you consider me a woman? That doesn’t embarrass me in anyway, but if I am a woman in your eyes, then why can’t you date a woman, a real one, vagina-breasts-mammary glands included? Why me?

Now, don’t get me wrong! I adore you guava straight man, interesting in bits, and boring otherwise, who agree you find gay men interesting — but why make me go weak in the knees, why flirt, why throw yourself at me, and then withdraw, only because the game suddenly dawns into your reality. You guava men! You are a lame excuse for a fruit!

I’ve been playing this game for eight years and maybe now, maybe now, maybe now, finally... I give up! Nothingness guava flavoured fro-yo for me, any day! The real fruits can go and become a part of somebody else’s fruit salad.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Goodhals in the head! :(

I call you and I hate the fact that I can’t say I love you! Every single song reminds me of you, of memories that could have been shared or were imagined with you. And yet today, we’re still nowhere. Why do I love you so much? Why can’t I do without you? I have tried. A lot! Yet every soulful Rehman composition makes me want to be with you. I despise you for not being with me. For messaging me; for having a voice that makes me nothing short of orgasm and for being so far away. Most of all I love hating you for not being gay. Or was it hate loving you?

©Bibash Photography, 2010

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Simple Superstar

If you don’t know Wilbur, you are a waste! At least that’s what desi netizens of today’s Bangalore feel! We catch up with the virally popular and super hilarious Wilbur Sargunaraj.

You may not know him, you may not like him, but you definitely can’t ignore him.

Quality. First Class. Sargunaraj Trademark — screams the bright yellow logo that usually announces Wilbur Sargunaraj, who has arrived and is here to stay.

A son of the soil Tamil boy from Madurai in Tamilnadu, Wilbur moved to Canada around five years ago and began recording in his insanely popular style of humour-based rap-like songs, that revel in the madness of ‘being local’.

In less than four years, he achieved viral popularity on the internet and even released his self-titled first album — Wilbur Sargunaraj. With his subversive style of poking fun at oneself to show one’s confidence, he has stolen the hearts of millions across the world and is now finally, in namma Bangalore.

We’ve all figured that you’re from Tamilnadu, but where exactly is this Tamil’s ‘natyive’ place?

My ‘natyive’ is in several places. I am partly from Tenkasi, but also from Tirunelveli and my dad’s actual home is a small ooru (village) called Surandai. But I grew up all over India. As a child I was in Darjeeling for a year and then in Kolkata for half a year and then we finally moved to Madurai and in between I was in Ooty too. I speak Hindi also. Mujé Indi Maalum Ae, Apun Ko Kya Samajtha Hai, Baaisaab? (In a faux bad Hindi accent)

When did you realise you wanted to sing in your unique and particular style?

I have always wanted to perform in the style that comes most naturally to me and when I moved to Canada, it began just as an experiment. In no time, it was an internet hit and fans started cropping up everywhere. I now have so many fans globally that I need to work out of Chennai and Toronto. This has made me a vagabond, and I enjoy how much I get to travel to meet people who like my work and my sound.

Do you have a background in music?

Yes, I do. I have always been interested in percussion and drums and I’ve even been all the way to Cuba to learn the native style of percussion there. I also studied mridangam for a while, when I was in Madurai.

So how did the Sargunaraj style evolve?

See, many people think I am making a mockery of who I am and compare me to Borat and the likes. What they don’t see is that, unlike Borat, I make fun of my own culture with a hope of celebrating and sharing it, not mocking it and being vulgar. I have a message — the message of being proud of who you are and where you’re from, irrespective of what economic, cultural, intellectual or educational background you come from.

It’s a socially oriented message then?

Of course! I am trying to represent rural India, or at least the rural India I know, in the most real form that I can. Issues like arranged marriages are still a huge problem for the young there and even though my songs may not always have a social message, they at least speak of a sentiment that rings true to that area. I want to use my music as a medium to give these people a voice. Once that is done, I also want to be able to serve these people, which is why I’ve partnered with so many social causes.

What about your own cause, any hope of a love marriage?

There is a song in my new album called Annie Rose and that is a dedication to this girl I met when I was really young. It’s been 25 years since I met her and even though I knew her for a very short time, like that only love happened. She moved away and ever since I have been searching for my Annie Rose. One of the last songs in the new album is based on her. Love is a feeling, this song is that feeling.

The new album seems to have a lot on offer, tell us more?

I have always wanted to do much more than singing, which is why I even made a video on how foreigners should use the Indian toilet. In my new album I have a song that describes in a fun-way how foreigners can interpret what Indians really mean when we shake our head in a particular manner. The song is called Shake the head.

Anymore tracks to look forward to in the new album?

Simple Superstar — which already seems to be a hit. Then there's Vaigai Express No 2635 — which is the name of the train that runs between Chennai and Madurai and is my first song that will feature one deadly dabaangkoothu beat. And then there's Super mobile — which is about a super mobile phone. The album will also feature an extra CD that will contain my other older hits like Love Marriage, Chicken 65, Cobra Cobra and Cricket.

You performed in Chennai earlier this week, how was the reaction?

It was amazing. It felt so amazing to be performing in my homeland and soon after the performance; I was amazed at the responses from the city. People kept calling, offering film music contracts and asking me to perform in their projects — it was humbling!

What do you expect from the crowd in Bangalore?

I perform there on Tuesday for the first time and I am overwhelmed at the response I am already getting. Bangalore will always be special as I have always had a loyal set of fans in the city from the very inception. What I have missed from crowds across the globe is an energy and a fun-loving spirit that matches my own. I am almost always the only one still dancing and being enthusiastic by the end of a performance. I hope the Bangalore crowd will break this curse and out-do me with their energy. I’ve heard so much about the city’s party crowd, that I am super excited to finally meet them.

Illustration Courtesy: Nithin Rao Kumblekar, ©Nithin Rao Kumblekar