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Author, Tender Hooks
Currently I’m reading Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire. It’s a stunning example of his prodigious gift as a writer. So far, the book has been exacting and rewarding in equal measures.
1 The Leopard : Set in 1860’s Sicily, this beautiful novel by Giuseppe de Lampedusa, is about a swift historical change that sweeps away a whole society and an entire way of life in the blink of an eye. The protagonist is Prince Salina, who perceives the approaching threat and tries to preserve his doomed family against its worst ravages by embracing the brash, new forces against his own aristocratic instincts.
2 A House for Mr Biswas : The hardest thing to do in literature is to look life squarely in the face and to describe it as you see it. That is VS Naipaul’s achievement in this funny, sad, poignant and ultimately uplifting book. Its hero, Mr Biswas is one of my most favourite fictional characters – misguided, clownish, gullible, thin-skinned, depressive and yet questing and loyal.
3 Palace Walk: The first book in Naquib Mahfouz’s Cairo trilogy takes you by the hand and gently leads you into a whole new world of turn-of-the-century Cairo. The book is alive with the sounds, smells and sights of the city. It’s an unhurried read, written to keep pace with the slow rhythms of the life in a traditional Egyptian home.
4 Persuasion: The protagonist of Persuasion by Jane Austen, Anne Eliot, eventually acquires confidence in her own opinions, but not before she’s paid a heavy price for her timidness. And being an Austen novel, it is full of wit, wisdom, style and craft.
Composer and drummer
I’m a big fan of progressive metal and for me Karnivool is one of the best new progressive bands. They offer creative playing, great sound and tasteful songwriting. I love their album, Sounds Award. It also has some of the best double guitar jamming together. The amazing part is that technical musicians and newbies enjoy the music, which is rare.
1 Beneath the Mask (Chick Corea Elektric Band): I have loved this album since I was 9 years old and it still amazes me. I think it’s one of the grooviest albums by the band. It’s a very important album for me as it got me interested in jazz/rock/funk/latin/fusion music and hooked onto drummer Dave Weckl, whom I idolise.
2 The Heart of Things (John Mclaughlin): For me, this album has Mclaughlin’s best songs. The band is phenomenal, with Dennis Chambers (drums), Matt Garrison (bass), Gary Thomas (saxophones/ flute) and Jim Beard (keyboard). Melodies, harmony, groove, odd-time signatures, unisons and solos are of the highest level of musicianship.
3 Falling in Between (Toto): This was Toto’s last studio album before they disbanded. It is pop/rock songwriting at its best. There’s a lot of variety in the feel of the album. It’s always great to hear David Paich, Steve Lukather and Bobby Kimball sing together on the song King of the World. And there’s Simon Phillips on drums. Gotta Love these guys.
4 Ray of Light (Madonna): Excellent sound production, arrangements, melodies and grooves. It’s creative electronica in pop music. Bjork stylistically inspires with her brand of music, but Madonna can make anything commercially viable. I’m not a fan of electronica because I don’t like machines doing all the work. But having said that, Ray of Light has great songs that are simple, catchy and produced in a creative way.
– Nikhil Hemrajani
Owner, Elbo Room and Crepe Station
Having heard a lot about the Moshe’s in town, we jumped to visit their Bandra outlet when it opened. They have a great selection of breads, muffins and jams. The pickled mushroom and onion fondue is my favourites here. It’s one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in the city.
1 Yellow Tree Café (Bandra): The food and service here is great. The interiors are well-designed and make you feel like you are in the middle of a Spanish town. The staff is friendly and does a good job at recommending dishes. They have a great selection of international cheeses, served with breads and crackers.
2 Café Basilico (Bandra): It’s a nice place to gorge on healthy sandwiches and rich mezze platter. I like the brown bread sprout sandwich and the hummus with pita bread. I like the relaxed bistro-like atmosphere here, where you can sip on a range of teas, coffees and ice teas and have a good time hanging out with friends.
3 Masala Mantar (Andheri): Masala Mantar is from the same chain of Urban Tadka, and it serves food of the same caliber. The ambience is very inviting and the décor has a splash of colours. The ceiling is interestingly made from egg trays and coloured wooden chairs. The portions served are generous and well presented. And the flavours are prominent. The Paneer Makhani and Mint Nimbu Chicken are noteworthy.
4 Aromas of China (Andheri): It serves an array of Chinese fare and the taste is always great. It makes for a good place to host private parties. I love the Sunday buffet, which has a great spread of food with good vegetarians options too. Apart from the food and ambience, the service is prompt, friendly and always makes you want to come back.
– Rochelle Pinto
Since Rani is like family, I have no other option, but to watch No One Killed Jessica soon. Otherwise, she is going to ask me about it the next time we bump into each other. I have heard great things about it, but I have been a little busy.
1 Biutiful (2010): Be it the moving story of the film or sterling performances by Javier Bardem and Maricel Álvarez, everything about Biutiful looks right. But the most amazing thing about it is the way the makers have captured Barcelona. The city looks terrific with all the rawness and originality. Director Alejandro González knew how he wanted the film to look.
2 True Grit (2010): When you talk about Coen brothers (Ethan and Joel), you know the story and the treatment is going to be special. The story of a tough US Marshal and a Texas Ranger helping a stubborn young woman track down her father’s murderer is treated in a very realistic way. Obviously, the film has strong performances by Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, but for me, the highlight would be Hailee Steinfeld’s outing. The way the young girl has stood her ground with such great actors is amazing.
3 The Fighter (2010): It’s one of the most amazing biographical sports drama film I have seen. And the performances by the star cast especially Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale are great. In fact, I told Mark the same thing when I met him recently. Unlike several other sports films, it’s not heroic in a over-the-top manner at all.
4 Guzaarish (2010): I can’t really wait to watch the film because I have heard that Hrithik Roshan is very good in the film. And since he is a good friend, I have to watch the film very soon.