How to become a better runner

November 19th, 2015

Running is one of the simplest and most effective workouts you can do, and you can do it just about anywhere. It’s great for weight loss, strengthening your joints, and improving your cardiovascular health. Whether you’re just embarking on a new running routine or are an experienced runner, here are some tips to help you make the most out of your running session.

How exercise makes you happier

November 18th, 2015

There’s no doubt that exercise has benefits. Not only can it improve your health and appearance, but it can also enhance your mood and even make you a happier person. Just how exactly does this happen? Here are a number of proven ways exercise can boost your spirits and help you find your smile.

How much exercise do you need?

November 12th, 2015

Exercise is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle. If you work out on a regular basis, you’ll benefit from increased strength, improved cardiovascular endurance, fat reduction, as well as an overall decrease in health risks. Yes, we all know that there are countless health benefits of exercise, but just how much exercise do we really need? It all comes down to your fitness goals.

Best exercises for your body shape

November 5th, 2015

If you’re an exercise enthusiast, you know that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all exercise plan. All our bodies are built differently, meaning that you need to customize your workout plans to best suit your body shape and yield optimum results.

The benefits of walking and how to do more of it

November 4th, 2015

Since the dawn of mankind, people have walked. It is one of the easiest, most natural things you can do - yet with cars, buses, trains and escalators easily available, modern technology has made it a less favorable option for getting around. And because of this, people walk much less often today, perhaps less than at any other time in the history of humanity.

Bollywood Dancing- An Effective Weapon Against Type 2 Diabetes

September 22nd, 2014

Rishika Dugyala (Junior Guest Correspondent) | Sep 20, 2014

CURE-D is the first Bollywood dance research and intervention study designed for South Asian immigrants in the United States. Success with Zumba and Latin hip-hop to manage diabetes in other populations contributed to this study.

Chashme Baddoor

April 5th, 2013

It’s raining remakes! RANGREZZ. HIMMATWALA. Now CHASHME BADDOOR. I’ve often been asked, is there a paucity of ideas in Bollywood? Why do dream merchants opt for remakes? Why not inventive concepts? Additionally, a lot of cineastes strongly feel classics should not be tampered with. For, rarely has a remake surpassed the original, in terms of content. In the process, those opting for remakes have lost credibility when comparisons are made… Now David Dhawan steps into the revered territory with CHASHME BADDOOR, a film attempted by Sai Paranjpye more than three decades ago. CHASHME BADDOOR is loved for its simplistic plot, wittiness and slice of life realism. A story of three friends who fall in love with the same girl and the confusion that ensues… Sure, David borrows from the original, but the humor in his version is in your face, over the top, flamboyant… it’s simply wild, when you compare it with Sai’s version. Does it mean it’s more entertaining or a hodgepodge of the cult classic? Let’s analyse… CHASHME BADDOOR narrates the story of three friends [Ali Zafar, Siddharth, Divyendu Sharma], who attempt to woo the same girl [Taapsee Pannu]. While the girl sets her sights on one of the guys, the remaining two go on an overdrive to tear the love birds apart. At the very outset, let me make it clear that David’s adaptation is shades different from Sai’s version. As different as chalk and cheese. As different as Rohit Shetty’s BOL BACHCHAN was from its original source, Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s GOL MAAL. Like I stated at the outset, this one’s over the top, loud and very ‘David Dhawanish’, if one can use this terminology. But to give the credit where it’s due, it’s thoroughly engaging and entertaining. David has made a career out of comedies and at a point of time, was referred to as the successor to Manmohan Desai thanks to the dollops of entertainment he offered in his movies. With CHASHME BADDOOR, David steps into the comfort zone yet again. There’s no denying that the humour he injects in this one is not aimed at the purists, but the spectator of today, who may not be as complaining purely because of the laughs and entertainment it has to offer. Besides, David ensures that there’s hardly any dull moment in the present-day adaptation. He executes the film with a certain ease, opting for amusing punch lines, wild situations and mad and crazy episodes. The game of one-upmanship that was evident in his earlier works, namely DEEWANA MASTANA [Anil Kapoor, Govinda fighting for Juhi Chawla’s attention] and MUJHSE SHAADI KAROGE [Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar’s attempts to impress Priyanka Chopra] is very evident in CHASHME BADDOOR as well. The battle of wits is enjoyable for sure. But there are times when certain episodes appear prolonged and the jokes fall flat. The intent of making you laugh does not come across as strongly in few portions. Besides, the soundtrack is absolutely in sync with the content, but the placement of songs could be more appropriate. However, the usage of popular songs in the flashback portions is refreshingly different. Sajid-Farhad’s dialogue are aimed at evoking laughs and they serve the purpose. The one-liners, especially those delivered by Siddharth and Divyendu, are hilarious. Cinematography [Sanjay F. Gupta] captures the colourful setting well. Now to the performances! Ali Zafar gives a wonderful account of himself as he lights up every sequence he features in. Siddharth does a complete turnaround from the roles he has portrayed in Hindi films [RANG DE BASANTI, STRIKER], handling his part with gusto. Divyendu Sharma, who debuted in PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA, too does an about-turn this time. He slips into his part most effortlessly. Taapsee Pannu, who makes her debut in Hindi movies after acting in South Indian language movies, is vivacious and confident. Rishi Kapoor gets a complete makeover in CHASHME BADDOOR and he’s damn adorable in sequences with Lillete. Anupam Kher lets himself go completely and is absolutely wild in dual roles. Lillete Dubey is super, while Bharti Achrekar [as Taapsee’s grand-mom] is loveable. Ayaz Khan has nothing much to do. On the whole, CHASHME BADDOOR encompasses the spirit of the original, but has been customised to entice the present-day spectators. An entertainer with dollops of humour and wild situations thrown in, this one’s a laugh-riot that should not be missed!


March 29th, 2013

HIMMATWALA was THE film that gave an impetus to the trend of remaking South Indian films in the 1980s. Post this film, there was a sea of remakes, with Jeetendra, Sridevi, Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor and Asrani featuring in almost every remake… It’s easy to remake a successful film, but the responsibility that Sajid Khan carries on his shoulders cannot be assessed in mere words. Right from the masala quotient to Ajay and Tamannah matching steps with Jeetendra and Sridevi, respectively, each and every aspect of the new version will be examined with a magnifying glass. While a section of the industry [as well as moviegoers] opine that trendsetting movies should not be touched [read remade], there also exists a section that feels that the present-day generation would love to watch those films in new avtaars. The debate continues… The pertinent query is, does Sajid Khan’s HIMMATWALA recreate the magic of K. Raghavendra Rao’s HIMMATWALA [1983], which itself was a remake of a Telugu film? At the very outset, let me inform you that the two HIMMATWALAs are almost similar, yet dissimilar. While the basic premise remains identical, besides retaining two hugely popular tracks, Sajid has modified certain portions of the film, besides adding a few episodes. What’s common between the two versions is the intent to provide entertainment to its target audience — those who relish masala fares. Now let’s talk of the new HIMMATWALA. It’s all about entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. Right from the styling to death-defying action to fiery dialogue delivered in high decibels, everything that you get to see in HIMMATWALA is reminiscent of the Bollywood of the 1980s. The mother-son drama, the hero-villain conflict, the heroism… even Ajay’s introductory sequence is straight out of 1980s. Be forewarned, HIMMATWALA is 1980s cinema packaged in a new wrapping, but even if you have an appetite for the masala movies of yore or are ready to do a time travel to the angry young man of 1980s, chances are you will feel suffocated by the on-screen goings-on that Sajid Khan dishes out in the name of entertainment. HIMMATWALA narrates the story of a son [Ajay Devgn], who comes to the village to avenge the injustice meted out to his father [Anil Dhawan], who had been wrongly accused by the Sarpanch [Mahesh Manjrekar] of robbery. HIMMATWALA takes you back to the familiar terrain. It’s the typical good versus bad saga loaded with every possible ingredient that makes masala films tick. Sajid ensures that those who have watched the earlier HIMMATWALA — or those who haven’t watched it — get paisa vasool entertainment in those 2.30 hours, but, unfortunately, what unfolds on screen is so routine and monotonous that you fervently hope for some novelty in this adaptation. One doesn’t mind massy entertainers, but there has to be a hook to keep the viewer’s attention arrested. HIMMATWALA provides that only towards the closing stages of the film, when the mother [Zarina Wahab] gets to know of Ajay’s true identity. Sajid makes an attempt to pay homage to the cinema of yore, but what he delivers makes you sit motionless for most parts. If a movie fails to invoke wolf whistles or ovation at the right places, you realize something is seriously wrong. The biggest problem is Sajid does nothing, absolutely nothing out of the box or path-breaking in the current scenario to grab your attention, which is why HIMMATWALA fails as a film. The romance lacks fire, the drama is devoid of intensity, even the action is plain ordinary… Frankly, HIMMATWALA has nothing that warrants a repeat viewing. While Sajid retains two hugely popular tracks from the original [‘Naino Mein Sapna’ and ‘Taki Taki’], HIMMATWALA has yet another track that’s lilting — ‘Bum Pe Laat’. However, ‘Thank God It’s Friday’, at the very start of the film, is plain ordinary, despite the star presence of Sonakshi Sinha. Sajid-Farhad’s dialogue have always been mass-friendly and the lines in HIMMATWALA are a riot at times. The masses will love the dialogue delivered by Paresh Rawal specifically. The action sequences are just about okay. We have seen better stuff in several escapist fares recently. Ajay slips into the retro avatar effortlessly. Generally known for his intense performances, he plays to the gallery well. He may be awkward in dances, but he makes sure he roars like a lion when he confronts the antagonist. Tamannah faces an uphill task of stepping into Sridevi’s shoes and though she looks photogenic, there’s no acting talent on display here. Mahesh Manjrekar doesn’t evoke terror that one would associate with his character. Paresh Rawal is the real scene stealer, who gets to deliver the best lines. Zarina Wahab shines in the penultimate sequence mainly. Adhyayan Suman is wooden. Rajendra Gupta and Vindu Dara Singh have bit roles. Asrani is wasted. The actress enacting the role of Ajay’s sister does well. Riteish Deshmukh appears in a cameo. Oh, before I forget, there’s a tiger too, who comes across as the real himmatwala in the climax of the film! On the whole, HIMMATWALA fails as a film. The only silver lining is the presence of A-list stars and of course, the hype surrounding the film, which might attract footfalls in mass-friendly circuits initially. But as a film that promises big entertainment, HIMMATWALA is hugely disappointing!


March 22nd, 2013

Vashu Bhagnani is synonymous with larger-than-life entertainers. Glamorous stars, foreign locales and lavishly-filmed songs are mandatory in his movies. With RANGREZZ, he delves into the realistic world for the first time. Ditto for Priyadarshan, who returns to hard-hitting, gritty cinema that you appreciated and applauded in his earlier films, especially GARDISH. Of course, RANGREZZ is not as hard-hitting as those films, but it takes the realistic route like those fares. The terrain, once again, is a crowded basti of Mumbai, which has been explored over and over again. Remake of the Tamil film NAADODIGAL [2009], which was remade in various Indian languages subsequently, RANGREZZ is essentially a tale of friendship, with a love story integrated in the plotline. Sadly, it runs out of fizz in its post-intermittent portions, after leaving quite an impression in the first hour. RANGREZZ narrates the story of three friends who attempt to unite another friend with his lady-love. In the process, each of them loses something precious. Consequently, the trio gets a rude shock when they realize that the hardships they encountered to unite the lovers has proved meaningless, as the lovers decide to go separate ways owing to differences. A simplistic plot, humble setting and straight-forward storytelling… RANGREZZ arrives without the usual frills and trappings of a masala movie. The story is not path-breaking, but what works — in the first hour at least — is the realistic milieu and the age-old philosophy that enduring friendship can overcome all odds, with friends standing by each other through thick and thin. Priyadarshan and writer Mushtaq Shiekh incorporate a number of sequences that stay with you — some sweet, some true-to-life, some funny. The entire kidnap drama prior to the intermission is simply outstanding and raises [monumental] expectations from the second hour. However, the writing in the post-intermittent portions is just not convincing. Although a lot seems to have occurred in the lives of the three friends, the manner in which they join hands to start life afresh isn’t persuasive at all. Besides, the tiffs between the married couple seem childish and fall flat. Also, the resolution — the trio trying to reunite the couple — looks far-fetched in the scheme of things. Even otherwise, the pacing slows considerably… In short, the impact that Priyadarshan created so wonderfully in the first half crumbles in the latter half of the enterprise. Like all Priyadarshan movies, RANGREZZ has been filmed very well, although I wish to add, the director’s newer lot of movies, for some reason, appear like a diluted version of his earlier accomplished works. There’s no denying that Priyadarshan is an incredible storyteller and a major part of the first hour has his by-now-famous stamp, but how one wishes the second hour was as captivating. The soundtrack compliments the narrative well. ‘Govinda Aale Re’ and ‘Shambho Shiv Shambho’ are energetic, while ‘Gangnam Style’ [placed towards the end credits] is already popular with one and all. Santosh Sivan’s cinematography is striking. The color tones catch your attention instantaneously. The dialogue [Manisha Korde], especially those delivered by Rajpal Yadav, are wonderful. Jackky’s character in RANGREZZ is shades apart from the one he portrayed in F.A.L.T.U. and AJAB GAZABB LOVE and he pulls it off with supreme confidence. Stepping out of the comfort zone, Jackyy gets to portray a character that has varied shades and he enacts his part with complete understanding. Priya Anand looks photogenic, but doesn’t get much to do. Amitosh Nagpal is alright. Vijay Verma [as Pakya] tends to go overboard at times, but leaves a strong impression nonetheless. Raghav Chanana [as Joy] does well. Rajpal Yadav entertains every time he appears on screen. The two warring politicians, Pankaj Tripathi and Lushin Dubey, are just right in their respective roles. On the whole, RANGREZZ has an impressive first half, but loses focus in the post-intermittent portions. One definitely expected more!


March 22nd, 2013

The horror genre is getting increasingly popular with the top ranks in Bollywood. From A-list actors to reputed production houses, the output of horror movies has, all of a sudden, shown an upward trend in recent years. Besides, horror in Hindi films is no longer limited to ghosts or skeletons. It’s about projecting the emotion called fear most valiantly. With the 3D technology making a big splash across the globe, the trend of making horror films in 3D has already caught on in Bollywood. Vikram Bhatt’s HAUNTED, DANGEROUS ISHHQ and RAAZ 3 and Ramgopal Varma’s BHOOT RETURNS narrated spooky tales in 3D. While I am not against this technology, I am glad Suparn Verma decided against making AATMA in 3D because this one’s a psychological thriller — more of a human drama — and the 3D glasses would’ve only acted as a blockade. First things first, AATMA is *not* the quintessential horror film. It’s not about a haunted house or a tormented spirit thirsting for vengeance. It has layers. It has supernatural elements. It tackles an abusive relationship. It’s about a strong emotional bonding between a mother and child. Primarily, it’s the fight between a woman and her dead husband over their child. An interesting concept without doubt, but what comes across on screen is such an anticlimax! AATMA narrates the story of a mother who must fight to keep her daughter safe from the ghost of her father. Maya’s [Bipasha Basu] peace lies shattered when she discovers that her husband [Nawazuddin Siddiqui] intends to take their daughter, Nia [Doyle], with him to his world. The world of the dead! To give the credit where it’s due, AATMA doesn’t resort to appalling, nauseating visuals. It’s low on gore, but high on atmosphere and mood. Unfortunately, Suparn presents the age-old beliefs without giving a new spin to the fight between the dead and living. The film is spiked with been-there-seen-that kind of situations. To make matters worse, Suparn uses evocative visuals and an unsettling story to create a spooky atmosphere, but it doesn’t deliver any scare. Its biggest shortcoming is, it incorporates a lot of shocks in the narrative, but no real surprises. Yet another inadequate aspect is its resolution, which, ideally, should’ve been the highpoint. Even the pacing is too slow for a psychological thriller. Sure, Suparn runs his mind’s eye wild in a couple of sequences, but those chunks are few and far between. Cinematography captures the prevalent tension well. The sound quality, the lifeline of this genre, is appropriate. The background score, surprisingly, is not as impactful. Bipasha tasted blood with RAAZ 3 and in AATMA, she gets to portray the central character yet again: A tormented housewife and a distressed mother. However, unlike RAAZ 3, AATMA doesn’t offer her the podium to demonstrate her acting skills, although the talented actress gives her best shot. Nawazuddin, who won laurels in GANGS OF WASSEYPUR and TALAASH last year, forays into mainstream Bollywood with AATMA. Surprisingly, he too doesn’t get any scope to prove his credentials. Doyel, the child artist, handles her part wonderfully. Shernaz Patel is alright. Darshan Jariwala is effective. Jaideep Ahlawat gets minimal scope. Shiv Subramaniam doesn’t impress. On the whole, AATMA stands on a weak script. Besides, there are hardly any scares here. Disappointing!