Tuesday, 10 August 2010

An exemplary friendship

The 'Toshino' gang meets evey Sunday noon at Masab Tank, a few members coming all the way from abroad! Cricket and friendship have bound these professionals from all walks of life together for the last 13 years now.

Even as Arjun Singh sets off the euphoric revelry crooning Tere jaisa yaar kaha... kaha aisa yaraana... the rest of the 21 forms chorus. What follows next is a melodious riot, inviting the nosy passersby to peek at the immaculate gathering in the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad and Sports Coaching Foundation (SCF) sports complex, Masab Tank.

An every-Sunday-show for those visiting the sports complex, it's more than a family affair for the team. For, a few take flights from London and USA to wield bats. Welcome to the Toshino (meaning 'terror' in Japanese) gang where cricket has brought together a galaxy of professionals in the city to be friends - the 'forever' kind.

"It's been 13 years now and we're still counting," wows Satyanarayana Murthy, Manager, Orient Black Swan. It all started in 1997, chips in dermatologist (whose clientele include the Governor too!) Narsimha Rao, "When a chunk of us used to play sports in the nearby school ground only to be taken to task by the colony residents for breaking their window panes and disturbing the tranquility. We then rented out this sports complex where a few more crick lovers joined to launch Toshino."

The gangsters include dermatologists, homeopathic physicians, poets, ghazal singers, IT persons, entrepreneurs, interior decorators and government employees. Aged between 30s and 60s, they take pleasure in their marital bliss and professional commitments. "Would you mind finding a life partner for me," Y Shiva Prasad, spoken English tutor appeals. "He's an eligible bachelor," the blowing wind has a deafening shriek ruffle in my ears.

Just then, the players brawl over a petty thing and the issue settles down sooner. "Ego clashes, win-win situations and tu-tu-mein-mein episodes are all part of the game. But sportsman spirit prevails ultimately. In fact, this helps discover what we've lost in our primes," the Joint Director of Finance Department, A Sudarshan Reddy sports a smile.

Two matches of cricket and volleyball each, a rapid session over beer bottles pursues. "We do celebrate birthdays, promotions and marriage days with families. But, prefer to confine the revelry only to us, since our families love us not being home on Sundays," winks Srinivas Reddy, an advocate.

The 13-year saga of Toshino has inspired the budding players as well, to form teams. "This August 1 being special, we're celebrating our friendship. Hope our children take a cue from us too," they wonder. Yet another Sunday passes by and "the memories keep us rejuvenated for the rest of the week only to look forward to Sunday again," Manoj Kuriakose, a homeopath bids adieu.

Styling the Hyderabadi lass...

One of the stylists from the city with international repute, Anand Kabra's creations are all about cut, color and quality. The designer chews the fat with Hyderabad Journal.

'Seeing beauty even in the dreary...' reads the website of Hyderabadi fashion designer Anand Kabra. An artiste of rare perception, Anand's collections of Indian ethos in international appeal, have philosophy weaved into every creation; distinct and unpredictable, too.

Born in UK, Anand moved to Hyderabad at the age of three. A product of Hyderabad Public School, this runaway medical student was more inclined towards arts since childhood. "I felt like someone guiding me to take up fashion. Still groping for a reason," he wonders.

Having pursued high national diploma from London College of Fashion, Anand's maiden collection was put on display at Hotel Grand Kakatiya in 1999. Ten years into styling only women's clothing, Anand looks forward to styling men only after some research. "No half-hearted attempts, please! In fact, I pick one for me just like that," he reasons.

Rather 'erratic' his working style is, Anand says, "It begins with a thought followed by understanding the period, character or book my collection is inspired from, for a three-four months. I put my best consistently only to realize at the end that I'd have done better!"

A staunch believer in 'no form and definite design', Anand prefers working with natural fibers. He loves playing with solid, pure colors rather pastels because of their 'intensity'. Popular for his trousseau collections, the designer is greedy for accolades and criticism, too. "A lot of fashionistas said they 'feel' it having 'slipped into a Kabra'. But I'm more concerned about critics."
With a wider clientele in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai than that in Hyderabad, Anand is proud representing the City of Nawabs on global platform. "The preferences and awareness of Hyderabadi fashion buyers is amazing. Hailing from a smaller cosmopolitan though, they stand out amongst the crowds, all for good reasons. Moreover, the culture of costumes, still a part of our daily lives, throws open the doors for me to imbibe the old-world charm into contemporary wear."

Not into the number game, Anand cares for learning from his counterparts. After the shows in New York, Paris and Shanghai, he realized that the world is watching India emerge as a fashion hub. "Fashion weeks are more about business than glamour. In India, not all but Lakme (Mumbai) and Wills (Delhi) have the substance. And, I'm trying to tap the Hyderabad markets," he sounds pragmatic.

Now working on the collection to be launched at the Lakme Fashion Week (Mumbai) in September, Anand chose to create his own market powered by a price point. "I can't work within a budget and never understand the mass market," he reveals his shortcoming.

"Ninety per cent of upcoming designers think that chasing lifestyles or rubbing shoulders with biggies would help make it. But, knowing well the craft and showing right aptitude do miracles," he suggests on a departing note.

From film watching to direction

An ardent movie-buff, city-based Ranjith B steps into the shoes of director only to give shape to his ideas on a canvas named 'Cinema'.

Like many, creativity drove him to films. A Hyderabadi and a product of Shadan Engineering College, 24 years old Ranjith went abroad and pursued MS in Computer Sciences, but only to find his calling in the tinsel town. His directorial debut U&I is in the headlines recently having caught the fancy of many for its bold tagline...'Love, Sex, Suicide'.

"It's a 'clean' film dealing with the contemporary issues and been hailed more by parents than the youths," Ranjith is visibly elated. The new star cast - Rohan and Aditi Chowdary - hasn't drawn crowds to the theatres though. "The movie has no big openings and needed more promotion. But, I'm happy I succeeded in passing on the message devoid of skin show and more entertainingly," he states. During his tenure in the US, MMSes on sex scandals involving young girls and actors greeted Ranjith quite often. "One day, I bounced upon the idea to make a film and came home. Here I'm now with U&I."

Well, playing a director with no prior experience certainly requires guts. "Though a movie-buff, I've never been to a film shoot nor pursued any course. Thanks to Mani Ratnam sir. I grew up watching his films and it did help me all through. I thank my producer for trusting me. Hope, I did justice to my role," this young moviemaker flashes his 32!

There are quite a few in the Tollywood who have chosen the path untrodden. And, Ranjith wants to join the league by making some path-breaking films. "My next project unfolds into a college political drama, for which I'm planning to rope in big stars. It subtly reflects the sentiments of students." In pre-production stage, the project would make a mark in the heart of the audiences like RGV's Shiva, Ranjith believes.

Asked about competition, all that he quips, "It's undeniably true that carving a niche in the glam world is quite demanding, but I love challenges." Well, Ranjith is also planning to put his experiences in a booklet on making quality films with low budget. "Keep your brains open and believe in yourself," he tosses in an advice to the latent talents before signing off.