Biography of Bollywood's dream girl

For women Fabric feel Men?s world Roti roster

By HIMIKA CHAUDHURI, ZEESHAN JAWED
  • Published 7.03.05
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Hema Malini, the dream girl of Indian Cinema, helped make a young author?s dream come true.

The erstwhile Bollywood queen was in town on Saturday to grace the launch of her biography Diva Unveiled by Ram Kamal Mukherjee, a film journalist who Hema refers to as her ?biggest admirer?.

Her visit drew a host of other admirers too, from business barons to a barrage of local film stars. Pala, the banquet of ITC Sonar Bangla, was abuzz with activity as Hema made an appearance at the cocktail hour with actress Rituparna Sengupta and the author in tow.

Looking gorgeous in a peach and cream sari with traditional gold jewellery to boot, Hema mingled at ease with the Calcutta glitterati before taking to the stage where the formal inauguration followed an audio-visual show of Hema?s journey as a filmstar and an accomplished dancer.

?Calcutta always gives me spiritual strength and I can?t think of presenting any of my dance compositions elsewhere before performing in Calcutta. It?s like dedicating a prayer to God before embarking on an important journey,? said the silver screen sizzler.

The turnout of the Tollywood brigade added to the glamour. From veteran Tapas Pal to youngsters like Tota, Indrajit and Locket Chatterjee, almost everybody was there for an eyeful of Hema. Patton chief Sanjay Budhia and wife Minu were among other guests spotted in the melee.

Rituparna, whose company e-Quality jointly hosted the show with ITC Sonar Bangla, was the chief guest for the evening. She went on to regale the gathering by recounting her experience of working with the diva in the film Mohini. Acting moderator for the evening was business partner and co-host Rajat Dalmiya.

A host of thank you speeches later, it was time once again to hit the bar and soak in dreams unlimited.

For women

International Women?s Day celebrations kicked off well in advance on March 5 with a panel discussion at Crossword bookstore that debated the ?bliss of being a woman?.

Titled Woman: An Existential Bliss, the discussion meandered from the mundane issue of man vs woman to interesting insights into the power that women have wielded over centuries.

The panel of speakers included poets and lecturers Sharmila Ray and Subodh Sarkar, actor Pallavi Chatterjee, general secretary of the All Bengal Women?s Union Amita Sen and vice president of Exide, Barun Das. With Das playing the dual role of moderator and speaker, the discussion shaped up to be lively and multi-dimensional.

Both the lecturers decided to stick to the issue of deprivation that has plagued women. ?We are debarred from attending classes of nude paintings,? pointed out Ray. ?Where is the existential bliss when she has to go empty stomach to ensure that her husband and children have eaten their full?? asked Sarkar.

Pallavi, though ?unprepared? for the discussion, made a brief speech next about her experience as a woman fending for herself. ?It?s important to have the right support system and backing to survive. It is very difficult for a single woman to fight it out otherwise,? she shared.

While Amita Sen drew attention to some factual details about girl trafficking, and the status of women, especially from the lower middle class, it was Barun Das?s ?irreverent? look at women?s existence that drew the loudest applause. Describing a conversation with Chanakya that the speaker supposedly had in his dreams, Das did a quick rewind of all the powerful women across the globe and how they have effected the course of history.

Fabric feel

Designer Arpita Chatterjee?s boutique Srijoni at 40/1A, Bhupen Bose Avenue houses a variety of ethnic ensembles in numerous textures, colours and fabrics.

Comprising mainly saris, salwar suits, dupattas and kurtis, there is an abundance of styles to capture the interest of any age group. Each of the garments is intricately handcrafted ? either woven, block printed or embroidered.

At their ongoing annual spring-summer exhibition- cum-sale, one can choose from kantha-stitch on a Kanjivaram or Bomkai base to tie-and-dye effects teamed with block prints, ari, sequins, or zardosi.

The fabric is chiffon, crepe, georgette, silk or tussar. The collection is up for grabs at special rates till April 14.

?Retailing out of the city?s northern area, where the boutique culture is still dormant, has prompted me to keep the prices lower,? adds Arpita. The prices range from Rs 600 to Rs 9,000.

Men?s world

It is that time of the year when you can go in for a total change in your wardrobe without having to empty your pockets. Orly at 3B Upper Wood Street is another sale stop to hit for a discount deal, on till March 20.

One can avail of discounts up to 50 per cent at the one-stop shop for men?s fashion. Worth picking up at this time are ethnic shirts, embroidered kurtas, wedding wear, semi-formal shirts, knits and accessories, among others.

Roti roster

The humble staple of most Indian platters now acquires a glamorous status, courtesy a roti and paratha festival at Tandoori Nights on 5A/1/2A Hazra Road.

?Roti is such a historical part of the Indian cuisine. But when it comes to deciding on the menu, it receives the last mention. The festival is aimed at giving more respect to roti than it usually gets,? says Indranil Dasgupta, owner of the restaurant specialising in North-West Frontier cuisine.

Besides the usual Lachcha Paratha, Aloo Paratha and Masala Kulcha, there are varieties like Paneer Paratha, Ginger Paratha, Garlic Paratha and Onion Paratha to choose from.

For the green brigade there is Pudina Paratha, Methi Paratha, Vegetable Stuffed Paratha (stuffed with beans, carrots, cashew, and shahi jeera), Palak Paratha and Gobi Paratha.

The non-vegetarian menu is even more extensive. The Kashmiri Paratha (stuffed with spices and eggs), Keema Paratha, Chicken Paratha (stuffed with chicken keema), Prawn Paratha (stuffed with prawns, dhaniya and pudina paste), or Chicken Shahajadi Paratha (stuffed with chicken keema, kasoori methi and spices), can make for meals in themselves. Prices range from Rs 20 to Rs 50.