Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New look of Amitabh Bachchan in The Great Gatsby

The trailer for Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby will be released online later today.

The film has generated much buzz in India as it features Amitabh Bachchan in a 'friendly appearance' alongside stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. TOI brings you an exclusive first look at Big B's character, Meyer Wolfsheim ahead of the release of the first trailer, which lasts 2 minutes 22 seconds.

This is Bachchan's maiden Hollywood outing and what we know is this: while he makes a 'friendly' appearance in the film, he is prominently visible throughout this early trailer. Bachchan had earlier, on his blog, played down his participation in the film, citing it a "mere one scene appearance as a friendly gesture." As Big B narrates it, the Australian director during a private visit to India in 2010 had dropped by his office to meet him. Then in August 2011, "called and wondered if I would do this small role in his film and I agreed. It is a gesture." Interestingly, Big B has refused "any remuneration on this" role. "As to why Baz chose to ask me, is something that perhaps he would be better placed to answer," Bachchan Sr further wrote.

In the book, while at lunch in one scene, Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) introduces the young Nick Carraway (Maguire) to Meyer Wolfsheim (Bachchan), a disreputable character who proudly calls their attention to his cufflinks, made from human molars. Wolfsheim, an infamous gambler, claims responsibility for fixing the 1919 baseball World Series.

Luhrmann's film, with a reported budget of $126m, is currently being shot in Sydney. Earlier reports suggest that Luhrmann is considering shooting sections in 3D.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

6 Manly qualities that women love in men

There are certain qualities in men that women absolutely dig.

It's not just about being tall, dark and handsome. There are certain 'manly' qualities about guys that can make any woman go weak in her knees. And while you may think it's all about the looks, guess what? There's more. It's a potent mix of both, physical attributes and of course, that all important emotional touch. Here, we tell you about six points you need to heed.

Well groomed 
Yes, we said tall but the reality is that height is really not as important a factor as how you present yourself. Just like guys like a women who is well turned out, women too dig guys who ensure that they are perfectly groomed a la Leonardo DiCaprio. The basic funda women believe in is that if you are careful enough to take care of yourself, they can trust you to take care of them. So, remember guys, sloppy dressing, uncombed hair, dirty nails, smelly socks, stained shirts or jeans and the likes are an absolute no-no when you are trying to make that all important impression on someone from the opposite sex.

A sense of style 
Women would rather have you splurging on them than on obscenely priced designer wear. So, even if it's a typical roadside purchase that you swear by, make sure you adopt a certain classy and stylised look and maintain it. Women don't really expect you to be a picture copy of a Pierce Brosnan or a David Beckham, but trying to imitate their style will surely up your popularity quotient. Keep yourself updated on the latest trends. Also, just as you have your reservations against the 'nun-type' dressers, women too hesitate when it comes to the boring office type dresser.

Laugh it out 
One of the most important trait that woman dig is a sense of humour. Women have more than enough problems to deal with and don't really need the company of another equally depressed soul. Yes, you have your bad days, but it does go a long way if you have a good sense of humour, and clean humour at that. Beware, taking a dig at others and constantly putting others down do not really spell fun for women. And we can't tell you enough how much women love people who can laugh at themselves and their own mistakes.

Show them you care 
Women need to be constantly reassured that they are loved and cared for. Acts like holding their hand while walking down the road, watching the sunset, an occasional hug and peck on the cheeks and making sure that they cross the road safely mean that you are proud to be seen with them and care for them. Remember, not displaying your affection openly is a sign that you are ashamed of who you are with. However, beware of being crass while displaying you affections.

A sexy smile/wink
There's a reason why women absolutely adore Richard Gere or Hugh Jackman and it has a lot to do with the way that they smile or that glint in their eyes. Believe us when we tell you that if you look at them and smile like that, it does make them feel very special, like they are one in a million.

Be calm 
Woman are known to be harrowed and frenzied. Yes, they do tend to get hyper very easily and that is the precise reason why you need to be the calming factor in their lives. It really doesn't help if you too get stressed out or fly off the handle at any and every incident. Your sex appeal lies as much in your looks as it does in your attitude - women dig guys with a cool and peaceful attitude, the one who is able to calm them down and reassure them that all is well.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Why did Shah Rukh Khan get angry?

All, it would seem, is fair in love and the game of cricket. When SRK and his merry posse of security guards literally wanted to have a field day after decisively trouncing the IPL Mumbai team on Wednesday night, he forgot that it wasn't quite cricket that he and his entourage were indulging in.

Shah Rukh Khan, we hear, was high and happy, and he refused to play ball when he was politely told by the stadium authorities that the victory celebration couldn't be taken to the grounds. That's when the pitch took an abusive turn, and the actor and his faithful band of bodyguards ,allegedly, hurled abuses and even got physical with the stadium personnel. Chances are that SRK may face a lifetime ban from entering the Wankhade Stadium premises, but will there be another major fallout too? Of two friends possibly turning foes?

Let's not forget, IPL Mumbai owner Nita Ambani and SRK have been good friends, and it was in April this year that Nita flew SRK to Yale University in her private aircraft. At Yale, where he addressed the students, SRK said, "We were detained at the airport as always. For one and a half hours. It was nice. It always happens when I come to America. Whenever I start feeling too arrogant about myself I take a trip to America." Time to visit America soon, SRK?

Will this on-a-strong-wicket friendship between Nita and SRK now take some beating because of how SRK's victory celebration panned out? Nita, for all we know, might be inclined to consider all this part of the game, or, maybe, she won't be game enough to excuse this, reportedly, obnoxious behaviour.

SRK, who's prone to losing his shirt a bit too often in the recent past, may want to know that being ballsy is not really about bats and balls. And that knights are known for their chivalry! Repeated attempts to get SRK to field our questions drew a blank.

Tweets @Actor_Siddharth: It's now clear that only 1 ipl team owner is allowed to jog along sidelines, bounce around the ground and pretty much do what 'she' wants!

@bhupendrachaube : Absolutely unacceptable behaviour by shahrukh khan, nothing can justify his manhandling of security guards, cricket is a party, enjoy it

@kamaalrkhan : Ajkal #SRK is super angry. Jahan dekho laat ghoose chalaa deta hai. You really rock khan sahab.

@mojorojo : WANKHEDE MEIN AAYA BHOOT, no wait that's just Shah Rukh Khan.

@ashwinmushran : Really....You are upset at SRK but not upset at the behaviour of our venerable health minister Shri Shri Shri #SureshShetty?

Reactions Prahlad Kakkar, ad guru When you give a bandar (read: security guard) a uniform and whistle in his hand, he behaves like a human being but without the charm, intelligence or sensitivity of a human being. He will always remain a bandar. You have to teach him manners. The match was over, the owner (SRK) of the winning team had arrived with kids as an outing and then some bandar tells him that if he doesn't have a pass, he can't enter! He was insulted in front of the kids. He's not just anybody, he's a star. Plus, the match was over and the prize distribution was on so he should have been treated properly. And, it's rubbish that Shah Rukh was drunk with kids around. His behaviour is impeccable. So if BCCI and any other cricket club are trying to defend the bandar, then I'm sorry, but they need a lesson in behaviour.

Shilpa Shetty, actress Please excuse me, I am pregnant and I really don't care who is fighting with whom.

Nikhil Dwivedi, actor Of what I know about Shah Rukh Khan, he never gets into a scuffle without a reason. And I just got to know about it, so I can't say anything about it at the moment.

Gaurav Kapoor, anchor I left immediately after the match, so I don't know what happened. And now I am boarding a flight right now, Sorry I can't comment on it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why did Sachin go straight?

Like millions of young Indians, ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar has ditched his iconic curls to fuel a 6,900-crore salon industry. Which leads us to wonder: What is it about straight hair that makes everyone from film stars and homemakers to corporates (even the US First Lady) fall in line?
As a 12-year-old, Aditi Sheoran had hair that was curly, almost-Afro, but stayed out of her face. As a 29-year-old, the Human Resources executive with a multinational consulting firm in Delhi has a hairdo that is silky, and falls elegantly on her shoulders.
Sheoran puts her love for straight hair down to two reasons. One, the desire to leave her hair open - something that her "rough curls always prevented" while she was growing up; two, the sheer convenience of it, as a busy professional.
Sheoran's affair with re-bonding, a procedure of hair straightening, began six years ago, when after earning her first salary of 20,000 through a summer job in management school, she spent 6,000 on straightening her curls. ("They had to do it twice, my hair was that curly!") She recently treated her hair for the sixth time, and 'relaxed' it once, before her wedding in 2010. "I don't need to comb my hair. I wash it, and let it dry. I don't need to use any gels or wax. It's simpler than having curly hair," she says.
Till date, Sheoran estimates she has spent almost 45,000 on keeping it simple. Much like the rest of India, from cricketers and corporate honchos to Bollywood actors, homemakers, and college students, whose love for straight hair is apparent through a fast-growing hair industry.
500 crore and growing
Organisational Mondiale Coiffure is an international hair trends forecast organisation. According to member and hair expert Blossom Kochhar, the industry is worth 500 crore.
"While the share of the hair market is smaller than skin care, it is witnessing rapidly rising profits. An average Indian h o u s e h o l d s p e n d s 4,000 a month on hair treatments and products like shampoo, conditioner, anti-frizz lotions, serums, ironrods, curlers, hair straightening and colouring. The hair extension market has also grown, where clip-on straight hair extensions worth approximately 15,000 each are most popular," she says.
"India's obsession with straight hair is giving good money to salons, which are aggressively marketing their products," says Ritu Marya, editor-inchief at Franchise India Holdings Limited, which released the first-ever detailed report on salon business and consumption in India, this March. According to the Indian Salon Report, the country's salon market is worth 6,900 crore and will grow 30 per cent in this decade. "Hair is the new business opportunity," says Marya, adding, "Hair straightening is giving rise to new business ideas like Jawed Habib's walk-in Express Bar that shun 'appointments', and Adhuna Akhtar's first exclusive blowdry bar in Mumbai."
Men like it straight too
And the craze isn't restricted to women. The report reveals that 53 per cent of Indian men surveyed visit parlours for a range of services, including hair care, once a month.
We know at least two of them. In March, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar straightened his curls.

Teammate Zaheer Khan, too, appeared with a bouncy mane for the ongoing IPL series. Says New Delhibased hair stylist Jawed Habib, "Chemical straightening takes about three hours for men and can cost anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000."
Cricket commentator Charu Sharma is quick to jump to the 'boys' defence. "The changing of (hair) styles is just a little touch of appearing contemporary. They are not trying to set a trend. In fact, the trend has already been set - there are a lot of young men with re-bonded hair today."
Price is not a problem Sharma's right. Celebrity hair stylist Hakim Aalim has styled both, Khan and Tendulkar's hair, besides Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, M S Dhoni, and Shoaib Akhtar's. A quick look at hair trends in Bollywood attests to the 'straight look' craze.
Rekha, Dimple, Sridevi, Madhuri and Sunny Deol's curly, and sometimes frizzy tresses from the '80s and '90s have given way to Sonakshi, Shahid and John's straight crops. Even coil-haired Kangna Ranaut recently went 'straight', again.

Popular Mumbai beauty products department store, Beauty Palace, has sold over 10,500 hair straightening creams in the past one year, and sells close to 1,000 hair irons a month, both to parlours and individual customers.
Firdaus Padamsee, who runs Firdy's Salon in Mumbai's upmarket neighbourhood of Napean Sea Road, was one of the first salon owners to bring down the hair straightening technique from Singapore. In 1998, his wife and salon co-owner, Farida undertook a course in the technique and bought products worth $5,000. They offered hair straightening - a procedure that lasted eight hours then - for 25,000. Despite the cost, the procedure became a rage among South Mumbai's affluent clientele.

Today, his salon offers re-bonding and hair relaxation, where an average session costs 3,000. He does not offer Keratin treatment owing to the controversy surrounding the presence of formaldehyde - a known carcinogenic substance - in these products.
A look that depicts conformity
People read statements into how we wear our hair. In the corporate world, the straight look defines sophistication and chic - take a look at any of India Inc's power women, from Naina Lal Kidwai to Chanda Kochhar. Grooming expert Sabira Merchant says, "Hair defines status, power and wealth. In the corporate world, straight hair is perceived as classier."
Nayanika Chatterjee, a former model best known for her curls says, "The grass is greener on the other side. Even as a model with curly hair, I lusted after straight hair and got it straightened thrice. Straight hair gives you a lot more variation. If I cut a fringe with curly hair, I look like a poodle!"
Model Diandra Soares, who has straightened her curls and even gone bald, says, "My curls made me stand apart in the modelling world. Straight hair is associated with the gharelu ladki stereotype. Curly hair means you're a wild child. There's a national obsession with the poker straight look, but I've always been happy being super curly."
Soares has a point. Natural-looking straight hair and pokerstraight-hair continue to remain popular among young India. Hindi film casting director Shanoo Sharma, who views portfolio photographs of aspirants, says, "Most photographs I receive are of straight haired aspirants. Very few wear it curly." And while Sharma says, she isn't a fan of poker-straight hair, often asking aspirants to return after they've grown back their 'normal' hair, at the end of the day, how they wear their hair doesn't matter. "What matters is their talent. After all, I have my team of hair and makeup artists who will do up their hair to make it look glamorous - whether straight or curly."
How to keep curls in check, and stylish

- Ditch the curling irons. They only make hair more frizzy. Always trim the split-ends.
- Don't wash it daily. Stick to 2-3 times a week. You can condition it in between, though.

- Apply the conditioner about an inch or two down from the root to the tips of your hair. Wait a couple of minutes and run your fingers through your hair to remove the knots. Rinse, and use a wide-toothed comb to detangle it.

- Don't scrub at your roots with a towel. This causes friction, increasing the frizz in your hair when it's dry.
- Never blow dry your curls. You can however use a diffuser (a blow-dryer attachment). Direct it towards the curl, holding it in your hand, and squeezing the water out gently.
- If you're using more than one hair product in your hair, wait for 3 to 5 minutes before applying the next. Apply only when the hair is damp.
- Deep condition your hair at least once a week to lock the moisture in. What's on offer?
Blow dry: A good old hair dryer and round brush are used to straighten out the hair. Usually lasts a few days or until your next wash. Chemical treatments: These involve an application of a hair product like an alkaline chemical solution, which breaks the bonds in your hair that cause it to curl. Once this relaxing effect has been achieved, a neutralising solution is applied to reform new bonds, set a new structure and make the straightening permanent. Lasts till new hair grows from the roots. These include:
- Re-bonding (also called thermal reconditioning) and Japanese straightening:
Uses a combination of straightening and conditioning agents along with irons.
Hair relaxing: Doesn't last as long, because it only relaxes the curls in the hair, but doesn't remove them totally. The iron rod is used for a lesser duration during hair relaxation.
Keratin treatment: The controversy over Keratin hair products arises from the fact that it contains formaldehyde, a known human carcinogenic. When introduced in the US two years ago, salon owners who worked with the chemical, reported difficulty breathing, nose bleeds and eye irritation. The permissible limit for exposure to the chemical is .2 per cent. Within the hair straightening scene, new techniques constantly emerge, and the temptation to veer away from the 'poker straight' look is increasing. Mumbai-based maverick stylist Sapna Bhavnani says she has never done a straightening in her career. She offers Keratin treatment, and the Brazilian Blowout, which cut out the frizz.
Hair iron straightening: Lasts till your next wash or until you tie your hair up. A contraption fitted with ceramic blades that heat up is run over small sections of the hair, to straighten it. The result is rulerstraight hair.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Android-based ViewSonic 3 smartphone comes to India

ViewSonic on Thursday launched first Android-based dual-Sim 3G smartphone, ViewPhone 3 in India. The device features a 3.5-inches touchscreen with 320 X 480 resolution and runs on the Android 2.3 operating system (OS). The phone has 512MB RAM and it is powered by Qualcomm 800 MHz processor. The phone sports a 5-megapixel rear autofocus camera.

For connectivity, the device offers HSDPA 7.2mbps for browsing, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, USB port and tethering options. The phone memory is expandable upto 32GB through a microSD card. The other features include ViewScene 3D technology, 3.5mm audio jack, G-sensor, E-compass and 1500 mAh battery.

ViewSonic 3 is available at price of Rs 9,990.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sony launches 13 MP smartphone, Xperia GX

Sony Mobile Communications has launched two new Android-based LTE smartphones in Japan, Xperia SX and Xperia GX.

Sony branded Xperia GX has a 13-megapixel camera. Xperia GX has an 4.6-inch HD screen and 16GB of internal flash storage.

Xperia SX comes with a 3.7-inch screen and weighs 95 gm, making it one of the world's lightest LTE smartphone according to the company. Xperia SX has 8GB of internal flash storage and an 8-megapixel camera.

Both the smartphones are powered by 1.5GHz dual-core processors and will run on Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich.

The company has not announced the pricing of the two smartphones.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Asin’s new commitment!

Asin is busy learning a new dance form off late.

The actress who is not known for her dancing really is learning waltz.

Asin has learnt the 'Viennese Waltz', for a soap brand she endorses.

We heard Asin has reportedly mastered the steps of the intricate dance in a remarkably short while!

The actress was shooting in Wai for 'Bol Bachchan' and shot for the ad once she wrapped up her shoot. The ad was directed by Harvey Brown who specially travelled to Wai for Asin's rehearsals. Asin would learn Waltz during the nights.

Her sheer hard work has surely paid off as those who have seen the Ad are all gung ho about the actress's dancing skills!

The actress plans to further her Waltz training from now on.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Daniel Radcliffe turns poet for girlfriend

Daniel Radcliffe has taken to writing sonnets for his girlfriend Rosie Coker.

The 'Harry Potter' actor, who is in New York, filming 'Kill Your Darlings' spends his free time writing poetry for his production assistant girlfriend, the Sun reported.

The 22-year-old is essaying the part of poet Allen Ginsberg in the flick.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sony launches first ultrabooks, VAIO T series

Sony is finally joining the ultrabooks fray. The company has launched its first ultrabook series dubbed VAIO T.

VAIO T series will come in two sizes -- 11" and 13.3" -- and is powered by Intel's ultra-low voltage i3 Sandy Bridge processors. The ultrabooks have a 17.8mm thick brushed aluminum body and up to 9 hours of battery life.

Other features include 4GB of DDR3 memory as standard, and 320GB hard drive with a second 32GB SSD. VAIO T Series sports comes HDMI, VGA and RJ45 network ports, plus an SD/MMC media slot and an 1.3 megapixel "Exmor for PC" HD web camera. xLOUDTM and Clear Phase technologies are for sound.

The company hasn't revealed the pricing.

Key specs:

* Intel Core-i3 2367M processor * Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit * 4GB DDR3 RAM * 320GB HDD * Intel HD Graphics 3000 * Bundles Adobe Acrobat X Standard

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: Huawei Honor

The name Huawei may not ring a bell for most phone buyers in India, but it is a huge multinational firm. The company is among the leading manufacturers of telecom equipment in the world and in the recent years has become a big player in phone and tablet market.

Gartner, a market research firm, said in February that Huawei had 2.3% share in 2011 in smartphone market worldwide. This put it marginally ahead of Motorola and Sony Ericsson.

After some success in its home country - China - the firm has started expanding operations abroad. Due to similarities in Indian and Chinese phone market - both are developing countries and price sensitive - consumers here are obvious targets for Huawei. Last year, it had tested the waters here with Ideos range of phones. This year it is more assertive. It has already launched Honor, a mid-range Android phone, and plans to bring Ascend D, the flagship device, soon.

We have Honor with us today. With this phone, Huawei promises consumers best-in-class features at most competitive price. Not an easy promise to fulfill, we know. Let's find out if Honor can take on the competition in mid-range smartphone market.

Looks good on paper Honor may not have superstar looks but it's not shabby either. The design is classic candy bar. It has a plastic body with two buttons - power and volume rocker - given chrome finish. Under the 4-inches screen, which has a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels, there are four touch buttons for Options, Home, Back and Search. The back cover, which has a textured finish, can be removed to access SIM slot and battery.

With a thickness of 11mm and a weight of 140grams, there is nothing striking about Honor. But at the same time, it is functional design, which makes using the device very easy.

Honor is powered by a single-core 1.4Ghz processor. It has 512MB RAM and 4GB storage, with option to add a micro SD card. The highlight of the device is 8MP primary camera with a LED flash. The phone can record videos in up to 720P resolution. A 2MP camera is provided for video chats.

User experience
In terms of hardware, Honor is better many mid-range phone. But after using it for weeks, we feel that the hardware advantage has not translated into the user experience that can put Honor ahead of the pack. Let us elaborate.

For most parts, Honor acts like a nice mid-range Android phones. This means it may not dazzle you with speed and superfast user interface but for all practical purposes the performance is adequate. Apps open without any lag, casual games like Angry Birds work very well, GPS locks in a snap, browsing experience is pleasant, and call quality is good. Media playback is average with the phone failing to play several file formats, like the ones encoded with DivX, but that is acceptable from a mid-range phone. Honor's speaker, though, is very loud considering its size.

But there are two aspects that stand out. One for good reasons and another for, well, not being up to the mark.

Good news first. The 8MP pixels camera in Honor punches above its weight. The photograph taken with it have decent amount of details and balanced colours. It doesn't perform very well in low-light but it is all same with most midrange smartphones. Videos shot in 720P resolution are acceptable.

Now, the bad news. Honor's 4-inch screen is disappointing. It shows good colours and is sufficiently bright until you are not standing in sunlight. Viewing angles could have been better but they will not be any issue for most buyers. The problem is with the screen's touch sensitivity, which is a tad slow. It is not as slow or bad as what found on sub-10K phones but then Honor is not competing with these phones. While in many tasks - for example web browsing - it doesn't affect the user experience, playing games like Temple Run, which require flawless touch sensitivity, is difficult on Honor.

Another problem with screen is 'ghosting'. It is especially apparent if you are using a Twitter app. While scrolling through timeline, display pictures of contacts leave traces. Ghosting may not be a problem in most cases but if it occurs - in our case it was during Twitter use - it will bug users.

Battery life is good. When used for emails, Twitter, some photography, some gaming, some calls and lots of browsing the phone lasted over 10 hours on 3G connection.

Worth its price
Huawei Honor is a decent phone for its price. Screen could have been better but given its good performance and a decent camera for still pictures, our experience with Honor wasn't bad. At the same time, it is not the kind of experience that can make us give Honor a clear recommendation. The phone has an MRP of Rs 19,999. At this price, its primary competitors are HTC One V, Samsung Galaxy S Plus, Sony Ericsson Neo V and Nokia Lumia 710.

If you are out in the market, looking for a mid-range smartphone, you should definitely consider Honor. Just that before buying it, make sure you demo it at the store to see if you are comfortable with the touch response or not.

Pros: Good camera for still photographs, lag-free performance

Cons: Screen touch sensitivity is not optimum, out-of-box runs on Gingerbread and not Ice cream sandwich, the latest version of Android

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