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    Coimbatore :

    After 37 years, the 1976-78 batch of Class 11 students of Suburban School in Ramnagar met in the city to spend an evening together. Now in their fifties, these men and women enjoyed catching up with each other, recollecting their school days while sharing a scrumptious meal.

    Amidst some teasing and taunting, they danced to musical numbers that were popular in the 70s. To spice up the event, there was a ‘power-lifting’ competition where the men were asked to carry their wives.

    While there was only prize on offer for the man carrying his wife in the air for the longest time, the jury was forced to give away three as there were three men who refused to let go of their wivesss.

    ‘This was the first time all of us are meeting after 37 years,” said V Natarajan, professor and head, Department of Mass Communication, Periyar University. Out of the 88 students in the class, 35 had managed to participate in the reunion. Some of them had come from as far as Simla and one even from Indonesia.

    superintending engineer, Tangedco, Coimbatore metro circle, responded with, “You not only dress like a politician but you speak like one too”. tnn

    There was also some mittai, pori urundai, kalkona and other eatables that used to be sold near the school, at the event, bringing back memories of the good old days.

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    December 30th, 2014adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Records, All

    Kuttram Kadithal, a yet to be released movie, won the Best Tamil film award at 12th Chennai International film festival, which concluded on Thursday evening. This film was premiered on the last day of the festival.

    Almost 170 films were screened over eight days in various city theatres. Director P. Vasu, one of the jury members, said Kutram Kadithal was one of the best films at the festival.

    “It is a film made by mostly newcomers. The film has a soul and so much depth. I am sure it will do well,” he said.

    The film’s director, Bramma, said the award was possible because of the support they received from every section of society. “Even until a few days ago, we did not know anything about the world of movies. We have come a long way because the medium has become so accessible,” said Bramma.

    A number of other awards were also presented at the function. Filmmaker Karthik Subbaraj, whoseJigarthanda did not make it to the competition section, won the Amitabh Bachchan Youth Icon award.

    Filmmaker and actor R. Partheban won the Special Jury Award for his experimental film, Kadhai, Thiraikadhai, Vasanam Iyakkam while Halitha Shameem won Special Jury Mention award for her film,Poovarasam Peepi. She is also the first woman to win the award.

    Sadhuranga Vettai, which starred Natraj in the lead, won the second best feature in Tamil film competitive section.

    The film is about how superstitions are being used by fraudsters to cheat the devout of money and valuables.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Udhav Naig / Chennai – December 26th, 2014

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    December 30th, 2014adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Records, All


    Chennai :

    For a change, the words cinema and overdose are in the same sentence but have nothing to do with a suicidal actor. In what may perhaps be seen as a massive haemorrhage of Tamil film releases this year, 215 films hit the screens — the first time in the history of Tamil cinema that it has breached the double century mark. And according to Film News Anandan, the veteran who aggregates Kollywood releases every year, it’s all due to, “bad sense, family pressure and politics”.

    It’s also 35 per cent more than the number of films that released the previous year (164). If you’re wondering when most of these movies hit theatres and who acted in them, here’s the answer: “Everyone in these movies is a newcomer. The father of the hero is usually the producer and he’s usually a man who knows the film won’t do well. So he’ll simply release the film in two suburban theatres running two shows and pay them off,” said a member of Tamil Nadu Film Director’s Association.


    A director-producer himself, he related how he had held off release of one of his star-cast films for 3 months because he wanted a solo release, but settled for the release of two smaller films. “What Aascar Ravichandran is going through with Ai is a prime example. The movie should have released on Diwali, but he wants a safe date so that it will see a good run,” he said.

    If this wasn’t bad enough, 144 films were censored in 2014, but are yet to release because of lack of enough screens.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, the numbers could have been a lot higher, if not for the restraint of a few – apparently 144 films were censored through 2014, but are yet to release because there just aren’t enough screens out there.

    “It’s a very unhealthy trend that so many films are releasing for the sake of it. No one can make a profit,” Keyar, one of the erstwhile movers and shakers of TPFC, told Express. Profitability may be the prime goal. But it’s fast becoming a fickle mistress when even mega budget films like Kochadaiiyaan and Kaththi could not enjoy solo releases – like the days of yore. “Big films lose a little money, but small films lose a lot of money. There are two producers who released their films running just the noon show in a theatre in Alandur, just so that they can contest union elections. Who will regulate things like that?” wondered Anandan.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Daniel Thimmayya / December 30th, 2014

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    Chennai :

    Do you want to clear your skin as well as keep it cool? Then this sari made of the lantana camara plant is your best bet.

    City-based weaver C Sekar has made a sari out of the fibre taken from the stem of lantana camara, a flowering plant. He specialises in making garments out of natural fibre.

    While lantana is an ornamental plant, native to the tropical regions of America, various studies show that it also has medicinal properties. It can provide relief from itchy skin, soothes skin inflammations and has a cooling effect.

    The weaver from Anakaputhur, a city suburb, began the process by blending the lantana fibre with that of a cotton yarn.

    Before this, the cotton yarn is dunked in hot water mixed with salt and later in cold water to soften the yarn. Then, the yarns of both the fibres are dipped in dye.

    Sekar creates the dyes by combining various herbal ingredients. He said he makes yellow dye with a combination of extracts from lantana leaf, tamarind and neem leaf. “I can make about five colours; like purple with jamun fruit and tulsi, and red with hibiscus. A colour fixer is also added to it,” he said.

    After dipping it in dye, Sekar dries it and finally weaves it into a sari. “Tamarind, neem leaf and lantana leaf have antibiotic properties,I decided to weave a sari out of lantana fibre only because it has medicinal value,” said Sekar. Priced at 3,500, Sekar says he takes about a week to weave one sari. , adding that he is expecting orders from fashion boutiques in Chennai and Delhi.

    He has earlier created clothes out of 25 natural fibres like banana, pineapple, beetroot, aloe vera, jute and bamboo. “Manufacturers in fashion industry should change with the trend. With this sari, I not just want to create a trend but also add more value to the product with the use of natural ingredients,” he said.

    source: / The Times of India /Home> City> Chennai / TNN / December 29th, 2014

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    December 30th, 2014adminArts, Culture & Entertainment
    Mr. Ranganathan’s creativity and sense of aesthetics resulted in sets that matched the breathtaking ones used by well-established theatre groups Photo: Special Arrangment

    Mr. Ranganathan’s creativity and sense of aesthetics resulted in sets that matched the breathtaking ones used by well-established theatre groups Photo: Special Arrangment

    N.K. Ranganathan, the creator of the single-stage setting, has always shunned the limelight

    While Major ChandrakanthNeerkumizhi and Ethirneechal heralded the arrival of K. Balachander as a trend-setting theatre personality in a big way, the single-stage-setting of these dramas was also novel for those times.

    But, N.K. Ranganathan, the creator of these settings, shunned the limelight. He was a typical backroom boy, whose lights and settings provided a peep into his artistic world. He even refused to accept any remuneration for his work from any theatre group.

    “I am a professional when it comes to lighting. I created sets out of passion and love for theatre,” says the 85-year-old, even as he enthusiastically recalls how he was mesmerised by the settings of the play Jotham Valley. “The play was one of my inspirations. The moving clouds and the fireplace on the stage captivated the audience. You really felt the cold in a scene of a cold night,” says Mr. Ranganathan, a native of Mylapore and a childhood friend of V.S. Raghavan, actor and theatre personality.

    Mr. Ranganathan, a theatre enthusiast who ran his own theatre group, got a break when Mr. Raghavan roped him in for the settings of Sathurangam, a Tamil remake of the English play Someone Watching. Mr. Balachander had adapted the play in Tamil.

    “But RR Sabha refused the platform on the grounds that it was too modern and dialogue-oriented a play. But Krishna Gana Sabha came forward to provide the space,” he recollects, adding that the success of the play forced RR Sabha to reconsider its decision.

    Talking about the challenge of the single-set stage, he said it was to beat the boredom often faced by the audience, and make them sit in a hall for two-and-a-half hours. Mr. Ranganathan’s creativity and sense of aesthetics resulted in props and sets that matched the breathtaking sets used by well-established theatre groups.

    “Normally, the audience gives a standing ovation after the end of a play. But for the staging ofEthirneechal it happened when the screen was lifted. Early morning life in the multi-storyeed apartment, portrayed powerfully through lightings and settings, unfolded like magic,” he proudly says.

    Mr. Ranganathan is a theatre enthusiast who ran his own theatre group. File Photo / The Hindu

    Mr. Ranganathan is a theatre enthusiast who ran his own theatre group. File Photo / The Hindu

    Mr. Ranganathan also worked for troupes run by actor Jaishankar, Manorama and Mr. Raghavan. While the partnership with Mr. Balachander continued even after he forayed into films and met with success, Mr. Ranganathan’s dark days began when theatre lost its sheen.

    “I found it difficult to make both ends meet. It was Balachander who then gave me a second lease of life. He made me the manager of his Minbimbangal Creations. If I am sitting before you and talking, it is because of him,” he acknowledges.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai> Society / B. Kolappan / Chennai – December 30th, 2014

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    December 30th, 2014adminSports
    Table tennis coach Arul Selvi with former national paddler and husband Salve Kumar. Photo: S. Rambabu / The Hindu

    Table tennis coach Arul Selvi with former national paddler and husband Salve Kumar. Photo: S. Rambabu / The Hindu

    After playing table tennis for 20 years, Arul Selvi is now playing multiple-roles by taking up coaching assignments with senior and junior India women teams and shaping the budding career of her teenage daughter — Selena.

    Tamil Nadu’s Arul, an employee with Indian Bank, is here to watch the proceedings of her daughter in the 76th cadet and sub junior table tennis championships in progress at Cherukuri Convention Centre.

    “After my playing days, I got assignments from the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) and accompanied women teams to France, Germany, Poland and Slovakia with a fair amount of success. I helped girls win medals,” said the former SAF Games gold medallist.

    Arul, who is married to former national paddler Selva Kumar, felt the exposure trips by the TTFI were doing whale of good to the young paddlers as they were give an opportunity to play in different conditions. “We need to strengthen our bench strength and these trips are essential for preparing juniors for the bigger challenges.”

    She felt the academic compulsions were hampering the growth of table tennis as the talented players preferred to give up the game for professional courses like medicine and engineering. “In countries like

    China and Japan, table tennis is a 24X7 indulgence and that is the reason we are witnessing stupendous results from these countries,” she pointed out.

    Arul said that table tennis was more a mind game that required swift decisions and quick reflexes. “The 11-point game hardly gives time for the player to settle down and the early initiative is very important. Though the sport is played in a small area, it requires fleet-footed movements,” she pointed out. She said the TTFI’s year-long camps for the select top paddlers were instrumental for the youngsters excelling in the international events.

    Under her wings Selena is shaping as a promising paddler and she is already No. 4 in the sub junior segment. “I train her in the mornings and in the evenings; she gets trained under Vasu, Ramesh Babu and Ravi Venkatesh at Maharishi Vidya Mandir”.

    Next assignment for Arul is to take care of the fortunes of Tamil Nadu team in the National Games at Kerala and at the Senior Nationals at Pondicherry.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Vijayawada / by J.R. Sridharan / Rajahmundry – December 27th, 2014

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    December 28th, 2014adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Records, All

    Coimbatore :

    While communal tension flaring up in many parts of the country, believers in city came together to build a shrine where all faiths can coexist peacefully. An inter-faith shrine modeled as the famous LOTUS temple in USA was inaugurated in Chettipalayam on Monday. Opening of the shrine that spread in 2.5 acre was to mark the birth centenary of Swami Satchidananda Maharaj, the founder of integral yoga. This is the first such worshiping place to be opened in the city.

    The first LOTUS temple, called the Light of Truth Universal Shrine, was inaugurated in Yogaville in USA 1986 under the leadership of Swami Satchidananda as a place for worship for believers from different faiths. “Swami Satchidananda was a visionary and he realised the need for interfaith movement more than 50 year ago,” said D R Karthikeyan, former CBI director and chairman of the Swami Satchidananda Centenary Celebrations Committee. “There is need for more such movements today than ever before as thousands have been killed in the name of religion and god in different parts of the world,” he said.

    The altars for Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Jainism, Taoism, Buddhism and Sikhism were opened on the occasion by governor K Rossaiah. “The Jewish community in the country has dwindled to a handful,” said Keith Hallegua, a member of Jewish community in Jew Town in Kochi.

    “This altar is a reflection of the story and existence of the synagogue in Fort Kochi which was built on a land donated by the Kochi Maharaja. It has a Hindu temple located right next to it,” said Hallegua.

    A separate meditation hall for people of all faiths was inaugurated by Mataji Sharadendra Giri from Uttarkashi. AIADMK MLA S P Velumani, minister of municipal administration, rural development and law, mayor P Rajkumar also attended the function.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Coimbatore / TNN / December 23rd, 2014

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    December 28th, 2014adminArts, Culture & Entertainment


    N. Jayakrishnan

    N. Jayakrishnan

    N. Jayakrishnan’s self-confidence, intelligent selection of compositions and some brilliant accompaniments on the violin and the mridangam combined to produce a scintillating vocal recital.

    There may have been barely 10 people in the audience; but that did not deter this young man, whose outstanding progress over the past one year had to be seen – rather heard – to be believed. Neyveli Santhanagopalan must be a proud guru today.

    The Abhogi varnam and the kalpanasvaram were a brisk warm up. He lost no time to exploit at will the interplay between lyrics, laya and the tune with every successive composition he performed.

    The Dikshitar song in Natta, ‘Swaminatha Paripalaya Sumam,’ was an amazing rendition. The excitement was barely tempered by knowledge that it has been sung time and again. Nor could you put down its appeal entirely to familiarity or nostalgia. An early instance was the electrifying improvisation around the phrase ‘Kamitartha Vitarana Nipuna Charana.’

    It is often said of the great 19th century composer that his kritis were largely written for recitation on the veena. Surely the piece at issue and a few others beg the question, especially when presented on stage by the likes of young Jayakrishnan.

    The next alapana in Sehana was passionate and suffused with emotion. B. Ananthakrishnan (violin) produced some melodious moments that resonated instantly with listeners, by then immersed in the proceedings.

    ‘Abhi Manamu Kavalenu Talli, Mahishasuramardini,’ the Muthiah Bhagavatar kriti was embellished on the niraval. ‘Stiramuga ni Charanaseva Seyutakai,’ was sung with spontaneity and the kalpanaswaram on the pallavi.

    Palpable was the swift change over from the latter song, set in rupaka tala, to Tyagaraja’s popular kirtana, ‘Sarasa Sama Dana Bheda Danda Chathura,’ in Kapinarayani.

    At half time in the recital, Jayakrishnan commenced with another immaculate exposition, this time in Purvikalyani. His rendition was powerful.

    ‘Meenakshi me Mudamdehi,’ was a listener’s delight as much as a devotional rendering. The niraval on ‘Vidhuvidambana Vadane Vijaye,’ bore the stamp of years of authentic learning and craftsmanship.

    B. Guru Raghavendra’s mridangam solo earned him commendations from the lead artist, as well as from the listeners.

    ‘Chandrachooda Sivasankara,’ in Darbarikanada, was a spirited devotional of Purandaradasa’s, which concluded a stupendous performance from the assistant professor of visual communications at the Guru Nanak College.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Margazhi / by Garimela Subramaniam / December 25th, 2014

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    December 27th, 2014adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Education

    Chennai  :

    Alumni of IIT-Madras at the reunion of the silver jubilee batch of 1989 were floored by the Centre For Innovation (CFI) student lab of the institute on Friday.

    The CFI offers students the freedom and infrastructure to ‘realise’ their ideas along with necessary guidance from faculty and peers. Many among the 120 from the 89’ batch, including the Senior Vice-President of Google Inc Sridhar Ramaswamy, who were shown a presentation by Professor Mahesh Panchagnula on CFI, were left awestruck at the facility as it provided the necessary outlet for the oozing creativity in budding engineers.

    “The CFI is surely the one thing that stood out for most of us at the meet. Most of us were wishing that we had that facility while studying at IIT,” said CP Madhusudan, secretary of the alumuni association.

    “The CFI does a great job of encouraging budding entrepreneurs,” said a visibly impressed Ramaswamy during a media interaction later.

    Incidentally, the CFI was started with funds donated by the 1981 batch during their silver jubilee reunion. The lab has the informal slogan of ‘ Walk in with an idea, walk out with a product’.

    Students also have the option of doing their final year projects at the CFI subject to approval by their professors.

    Meanwhile, IIT-Madras announced the list of 10 pass-outs who would receive the ‘Distinguished Alumnus Award’ for 2015. The awards are given for outstanding accomplishments in academics, research, technology, business, management, entrepreneurship, and in other walks of life.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service / December 27th, 2014

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    Chennai  :

    The 139th International Convention of the Theosophical Society began in the city on Friday, with delegates from several countries arriving at the headquarters in Adyar. The theme of the 2014 convention is ‘Theosophy in a changing world.’

    The convention, which began in the morning, observed a two-minute silence in memory of the schoolchildren who were killed in Peshawar recently and the “ongoing cycle of violence” in the world. Representatives from different countries will be participating in the deliberations.

    The four-day convention will also see lectures by philosophers, scientists and thinkers.

    Members of the Society will examine the meaning and significance of Theosophy in the context of the present-day world, organisers said. There are also information booths, book displays, sales and stalls.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service / December 27th, 2014

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