This award-winning film takes you to the lively, colorful Gujarat Kite Festival in India, where six intriguing, interconnected stories are told beautifully through the lens of director Prashant Bhargawi.
Formal Audrey covergirl Frieda Pinto is starring in a new movie, Trishna, opening in select US theaters on July 13th. The film, directed by Michael Winterbottom and co-starring Riz Ahmed, is a profound commentary on the tension between the old and new generations in India based on the classic novel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Tribes Film Festival with high hopes.
Trishna is a story of a peasant woman who falls in love with a handsome and wealthy young man. However, this is not the typical Cinderella story, as Trishna faces many obstacles. Her world is changing at an incredible pace and culture clashes arise, and she is forced to choose between her familiar past and exciting future. The trailer leaves you wanting more, showcasing Pinto’s acting abilities, an amazing soundtrack, and the many charms and sides of India audiences have yet to see.
Trishna Trailer (http://www.ifcfilms.com/videos/trishna-trailer)
You can find more information on their official website here.
And if you want to purchase the issue with the talented and gorgeous Pinto on the cover, click here.
Our former cover girl Freida Pinto returns to India in her latest film, Trishna, which is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC in July and will be released to US theaters on July 13. The film is directed by Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart) and also co-stars Riz Ahmed, Roshan Seth, and Anurag Kashyap.
Based on Thomas Hardy’s classic novel, Tess of the D’Ubervilles, master filmmaker Michael Winterbottom’s newest film stars Freida Pinto who soars as Trishna in her most revealing performance yet. Trishna lives with her family in a village in Rajasthan, India’s largest state. As the eldest daughter, she works in a nearby resort to help pay the bills. Jay (Riz Ahmed, FOUR LIONS) is the wealthy son of a property developer. When he takes up managing a resort at his father’s request, he meets Trishna at a dance and their fates cross. Jay finds every opportunity to win Trishna’s affection and she accepts his efforts with shy curiosity. But when the two move to Mumbai and become a couple, Jay’s deep family bond threatens the young lovers’ bliss. Shot with Winterbottom’s agile camera, TRISHNA is a powerful look at the tension between ancient privilege and modern equality, between codes of urban and rural life and ultimately a hymn to both the glory and the tragedy that comes with beauty in all forms. (From IFC FIlms)
Check out the trailer below!
Ravi Kapoor’s The 5
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is back, this time celebrating its 10th anniversary, April 10-15, at Arclight Hollywood cinemas. IFFLA showcases the best in Indian alternate cinema and focuses on cultivating a diverse international audience for Indian films.
Opening Night Film: CHITTAGONG
Opening night is the world premiere of Bedabrata Pain’s drama CHITTAGONG and stars award-winning actor Manoj Bajpayee (PINJAR). The film is set against the backdrop of 1930’s British-occupied Chittagong on the brink of a youth led revolution, and tells the story of 14-year-old Jhunka who comes of age as he is faced with the ultimate questions of sacrifice, love, and the quest for true freedom.
Closing night’s festivities will begin with the screening of director Prashant Bhargava’s richly woven award-winning drama PATANG. PATANG tells the story of Delhi businessman Jayesh and his daughter as they journey back to his childhood home in Ahmedabad for a family reunion during India’s largest kite festival. Under the kaleidoscope of colorful kite-filled skies, a Pandora’s box of family drama and past conflict is exposed. PATANG has become a festival favorite playing to sold-out audiences worldwide and is making its Los Angeles premiere at IFFLA.
Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s THE TEMPLE (DEEOL)
Among the eight feature films screening will be India’s 2011 official submission in the Oscar™ foreign language category, Salim Ahmed’s poetic drama ABU, SON OF ADAM (ADAMINTE MAKAN ABU). US premieres include Rajan Khosa’s critically acclaimed GATTU which won a special mention this year at the 62nd Berlinale for capturing the ironies, the complexities and the vitality of India, and Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s inspirational satire THE TEMPLE (DEOOL).
Documentaries include the world premiere of Ruchika Muchhala and Faiza Khan’s fascinating look into Indian society with THE GREAT INDIAN MARRIAGE BAZAAR and the US premiere of Raffaele Brunetti’s MOTHER INDIA which intertwines four distinct stories about India’s booming fertility industry.
Back by popular demand are two shorts programs consisting of 13 films, including the world premiere of Anirban Roy’s AUDACITY (AASHPORDHA).
10th Anniversary Retrospective: LOINS OF PUNJAB PRESENTS
In honor of its 10th year, the festival is bringing back three of its past award winners as part of a 10th ANNIVERSARY RETROSPECTIVE. Throughout 2011 the festival asked the public to vote online for their favorite film from the past decade. The films that received the most votes and selected by the public to be screened in the retrospective are past Jury Award winners for Best Narrative Feature UDAAN (2011) and BLACK FRIDAY (2005) as well as Audience Choice Award winner for Best Feature LOINS OF PUNJAB PRESENTS (2008).
Bollywood by Night: AGENT VINOD
Also returning is the crowd pleasing BOLLYWOOD BY NIGHT sidebar which includes the highly anticipated AGENT VINOD directed by Sriram Raghavan and starring Bollywood superstars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor and Abhinay Deo’s DELHI BELLY produced by acclaimed Indian actor/director/producer Aamir Khan.
Source: Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles
TICKETS AND PASSES
The 10th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) runs April 10-15 at ArcLight Hollywood located at 6360 W. Sunset Blvd between Vine and Ivar. Festival and All Access passes may be purchased via the festival website.
Now in its 10th year, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, honoring entertainment industry business executives and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. For more information: www.indianfilmfestival.org.
Contributor Iris Chan reports on the International Indian Film Academy Awards.
On Saturday June 25, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards were held in Toronto, Canada – the first ever North American country to host! Bollywood (with a bit of Hollywood) descended upon the green carpet with glitz and glamour.
For such a historic affair, it’s no wonder the South Asian Canadian community excitedly came to the occasion. I strolled through the crowd and met some of the fans.
Audrey Magazine: Given England’s long association with India, I was a bit surprised to read that you experienced so much racism growing up — a very similar experience for many Asian Americans growing up in the ’70s. Can you tell us a bit more about your experience and how you came to embrace your Indian heritage?
Indian-born beauty and former Audrey cover-girl Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) sheds her cute girl-next-door to show some serious acting chops in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly director Julian Schnabel’s latest political drama, Miral. Pinto plays an orphaned Palestinian girl growing up in the wake of Arab-Israeli war who finds herself drawn into the conflict.
The film explores how one woman’s defiant belief that education will pave the road to peace and will hit theaters Friday, March 25.
Check out Miral’s trailer below:
To escape the harried pace of everyday life, travelers these days aren’t merely looking for a vacation; they’re looking for rejuvenation. Indeed, wellness tourism is on the rise, and with India’s wealth of Ayurveda and yoga retreats, it’s become the go-to destination for those who need to breathe, rebalance and slow the pace way down.
Writer Mira Advani Honeycutt takes us into India’s wellspring of wellness.
ISSUE: Winter 2010
STORY: MIra Advani Honeycutt
The three-and-a-half hour drive from Goa airport in southern India was as picturesque — with glimpses of coconut trees, rice paddies and old Portuguese churches — as it was tedious, with our driver navigating the two-lane highway, dodging cows and trucks. But once we arrived at SwaSwara, an Ayurveda retreat on the shores of the Arabian Sea, I was in paradise. I would be spending five days in a rejuvenation program focusing on Ayurvedic massages, meditation and yoga. Little did I know then that in a few days, I would be gazing at a saffron-hued moon during a meditative full moon celebration, my adventurous drive a distant memory.
Just as yoga is more than a trendy form of exercise, combining postures, breathing techniques and meditation aimed at bringing a harmonious union between body, mind and soul, Ayurveda is more than just a massage option cropping up on spa menus across the U.S. Established in 1500 B.C., the centuries old Indian tradition of wellness is derived from the Sanskrit words ayu (life) and veda (learning). It’s a philosophy that believes in harmony between man and nature, where good health is not only defined on a physical level, but also on a spiritual, emotional and environmental level.
As Ayurvedic lifestyles gain popularity in the U.S., so does wellness tourism. From splashy Club Med-like vacations to spartan mountain retreats, wellness retreats are sprouting up throughout the world. And nowhere is wellness tourism more popular than in India, the origin of the Ayurvedic philosophy. According to P. Rangarajan, assistant director of the India Tourism Office in New York, 800,000 tourists visited India in 2009. Though he did not have specific figures as to how many of those were on wellness or yoga tours, tourism agencies in India are jumping on the wellness bandwagon and adding this component to their travel itineraries. One prime example is the Jaipur, India-based Pioneers Journeys Pvt. Ltd., which created Travel Spiritual India in 2009. The company offers travel pack- ages ranging from a low-cost $400 to a customized $4,000 Ayurveda spa vacation.
Aditi Sharma, director of strategic business units at Travel Spiritual India, says she’s noticed an increase in wellness travel — a whopping 250 percent increase, in fact, since 2002. In fact, India’s wellness service market is estimated at US$2.2 billion, expecting a growth of 30 to 35 percent annually. In 2009, travel and tourism accounted for 6.4 percent of India’s total employment, or one in every 15.6 jobs. By 2019, it is expected to generate more than 40 million jobs, or 7.2 percent of total employment, according to Travel Spiritual India’s statistics. That makes the travel and tourism industry in India the second largest employer in the world by 2019.
While northern India is popular for yoga tourism (the Himalayan town of Rishikesh is dubbed “the world capital of yoga,” and the Iyengar Yoga Institute is a couple hours from Mumbai), for Ayurveda-oriented travel, visitors head to Kerala, a southern state lush with swaying palms, calm backwaters, blue lagoons and scenic hillside tea plantations. In addition, Kerala-style Ayurvedic centers can also be found on the out- skirts of Goa and in Bangalore.
Like the diversity of travelers who come to India — Sharma says 25 countries are represented among her clientele — the Ayurvedic offerings are just as diverse. From spartan spiritual retreats to luxurious Western style spas, India’s well- ness spas have something to cater to every traveler. Located on the outskirts of Bangalore, the Ayurvedagram Heritage Wellness Centre’s compound is lush with not only swaying palms but also more than 100 herbal plants used for treatments. The center’s Dr. Jayarajan takes guests on walking tours through the garden, describing the healing qualities of the various plants.
Though the center’s Kerala-style cottages are anchored by the 165-year-old Aranmula Palace-turned-visitors’ lobby, Ayurvedagram is a no-nonsense retreat. It is strictly vegetarian and no alcohol or snacking is allowed. Simplicity is the mantra here. You won’t find plush towels or scented candles in the spartan massage rooms. Rather, 7 a.m. yoga classes with Yoga Master Subhash Mohanty are followed by massage treatments and meditation classes. The spa draws 300 to 400 foreign visitors annually, as well as many locals, for their highly effective massage and body treatments. Although some guests come for rejuvenation and Panchakrama (the five-day detox treatment), most of them are here for ailments ranging from hypertension and diabetes to arthritis and sinusitis.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Ananda Spa, which offers authentic Ayurvedic treatments in a luxurious Western-style spa ambiance. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, the 24,000 square foot spa is built as a romantic getaway, a wedding venue and an executive retreat. Gourmet meals of non-vegetarian fare with fine wines are served in multiple dining venues ranging from casual treetop to poolside to an elegant restaurant and tearoom. Besides yoga sessions, there are classes in ancient Vedanta philosophy and recreational activities range from billiards to chess.
Then there is SwaSwara, which means “my own rhythm.” Indeed, the rhythm here is a pleasant middle ground between spartan and luxe. The hillside retreat sits high above Om Beach, on the shores of the Arabian Sea. The 26-acre property, a lush compound of two dozen spacious villas, two yoga centers, rice paddies, and an herb and vegetable garden, is located south of Goa, in the small seaside town of Gokarna, revered for its Shiva temple. The eco-friendly resort, which focuses on yoga and Ayurvedic massage therapy treatments, recycles everything. Shower water is reused in garden sprinklers, food scraps form the compost, cow dung is used for gas cooking and newspapers transform into tote bags. A lake on the property harvests rainwater.
My five-day rejuvenation stay began with a consultation with Dr. Shobha, SwaSwara’s medical practitioner. A four-page questionnaire helped her determine my dosha, one of three energies or body types. These body types are a combination of the basic cosmic elements: Vata constitutes air and space (this body type is light and flexible), Pitta is made up of fire and water (a medium body frame), and Kapha is water and earth (this body type is heavy, muscular). Ayurveda aims to balance these three subtle energies in order to achieve optimum health. Once an Ayurvedic doctor determines one’s dosha, she then prescribes a diet and treatment plan to rebalance the energies.
Dr. Shobha found that I was a combination Kapha Pitta, so she gave me a list of foods to eat and to avoid to balance my digestive system. Contrary to popular belief, Ayurveda practice does allow for non-vegetarian foods and alcohol, according to Dr. Shobha. In addition to herbal drinks, fresh fruit and whole grains, the retreat’s resident chef, Joy Matthews, creates magic with bounty from the sea such as mullet, pomfret and shellfish.
Dr. Shobha also created a regimen that included two daily massage treatments and specific yoga and meditation sessions. According to Ayurvedic principles, ill health is caused by the disturbance of prana, our vital life force that is present in every cell of the body. The physical and emotional stress of daily life upsets the balance of the prana. In addition to diet, herbal tonics and meditation, massage treatments are vital aspects in the restoration of a balanced prana.
There are some 20 different therapeutic massage treat- ments in Ayurveda, each done with medicinal oils and herbal powders. Oil nourishes the tissues, stimulates nerve endings and tones muscles, while therapeutic powders burn excess adipose fat and cleanse the body. These treatments are usually administered in a synchronized manner by two therapists, using a combination of more than 200 preparations made from herbs, most of which are homegrown.
My treatment plan for the next four days included a twice-a-day treatment of three different massages, one of which was the Abhayanga. To experience an Ayurvedic massage is to lapse into an otherworldly zone. A typical Abhayanga body, face and neck massage is administered in a synchronized manner by two therapists. All the massages take place on hard wooden tables — there are no soft towels, pillows or scented candles. The fragrance filling the spartan room wafts in from the adjacent flower garden. In addition to Abhayanga, my massage program included twice daily Patra Panda Sweda, a massage for weight reduction where the body is rubbed with warm boluses filled with medicated herbs, and Chakra Basti, a digestion aid where a medicated ring made of gram flour dough is placed around the navel and filled with warm oil. After four days of nonstop mas- sages, my body felt like a tenderized piece of prized meat.
Between the massages, I participated in meditations and three yoga sessions a day. Meditations were held in SwaSwara’s famous Blue Dome and during quiet moonlit walks in the garden, where we focused on the third eye, the mid-brow point on the forehead believed to be a portal leading to higher consciousness. For special meditations like Trataka meditation, said to aid in eye disorders, one focuses on a fixed object for some time (commonly on a flame), then visualizes that image with eyes closed and projecting it on the third eye.
SwaSwara also prides itself on its yoga, with nine different classes offered daily, including art yoga and laughter yoga. According to Yoga Master Ruchir, laughter yoga may not solve problems, but it helps dissolve problems.
And indeed, time spent at SwaSwara was enough to begin to change one’s perspective. After days of dosha-correcting meals, a regimen of massages interspersed with yoga, and serene walks on the bovine-inhabited Om beach, my prana was rebalanced, my skin felt soft and supple, and any cares I may have brought with me dissolved into the distant horizon.
More stories from Audrey Magazine’s Archives here.
For any of you who have gone through a life changing experience — something that rocked your world to the core, that turned everything you thought you knew about yourself completely upside down — Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love probably speaks to you. There’s a reason why it was on The New York Times best sellers list for 178 weeks and counting.
Now Sony Pictures is releasing their film adaptation of the book, starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem, this Friday, August 13.
In case you don’t know the storyline, Gilbert found herself lost after a contentious divorce and a bout with depression. So she embarked on a journey through Italy, India and Bali, eating, praying and eventually finding love — and healing — along the way.
Now Asian American designer Sue Wong has come out with a collection inspired by the movie, called Sue Wong for Eat Pray Love.
It’s a natural fit. Wong has always designed gowns and dresses with a multicultural, eclectic feel. “I feel that I have always had a foot in the door of both cultures and that the experience of growing up in two cultures has always given me a broader and more global perspective,” says Wong, whose myriad influences range from African wood cut prints to traditional Chinese floral motifs to vintage Hollywood glamour.
For the Eat Pray Love collection, Wong called upon her love of Indian style. “The textiles with gorgeous beadwork and embroidery are based on vintage Indian saris, and many hours were spent in the research and execution of these textiles,” she says. She also created Indian and Indonesian-inspired “dressy versions of the sarong looks that I already wear,” she says. Paired with dramatic ethnic jewelry, Wong says it’s become her signature look.
But it wasn’t just the similarity in aesthetics. Wong says that she personally identified with the book and the author’s experiences. “I am living my version of the Eat Pray Love saga,” she says. “I too have just emerged from a very difficult divorce and have my holistic retreat and spiritual sanctuary in the beautiful, remote jungles of East Maui. I am also embarking on a month-long odyssey to Europe and Morocco in order to hear my psyche, heart and spirit.”
Recently, Wong was honored by Asia Society Southern California at its 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner in Los Angeles. Among the honorees was Eric Nakamura, publisher of Giant Robot Magazine. California State Controller John Chiang moderated the discussion among the honorees.
To see more of Sue Wong for Eat Pray Love, click here. Available at Neiman Marcus.
There’s a new film in town and it’s got Bollywood — and the rest of the world — abuzz. Between its multicultural stars, action-romance storyline and scenic backdrops of Santa Fe and Las Vegas, Kites is about a fight for love that crosses boundaries, barriers and cultures. It’s opening tomorrow worldwide in more than 60 countries, and across more than 200 theaters in North America alone, the widest release ever for a Bollywood film.
Kites stars Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan and Mexican actress Barbara Mori, who is of Japanese, Uruguayan and Mexican descent. Roshan plays a hunted man, left for dead in the Mexican desert. The only thing keeping him going is his search for the mysterious Natasha, played by Mori.
“The idea for Kites came to me when I was gazing at the sky and saw two kites flying,” says Rakesh Roshan, the film’s producer. “It was very intriguing — the way they came close, played, almost embraced each other and then drew apart. Unaware that someone else was pulling the strings and could cut them loose. I sat down and penned a story around this idea.” This little idea became one of the biggest films ever produced in India.
Want a sneak preview? Due to unprecedented advance bookings, Reliance BIG Pictures will be showing special one day early screenings tonight at 8:00 pm in these selected theaters:
BIG Cinemas Fremont 7 – Fremont, CA
BIG Cinemas Columbia Park – North Bergen, NJ
BIG Cinemas Movie City 8 – Edison, NJ
BIG Cinemas Golf Glen Stadium 5 – Niles, IL
BIG Cinemas Loehmann’s 2 – Falls Church, VA
BIG Cinemas Peachtree 8 – Norcross, GA
Get more information at the film’s official site.