Film & TV

The Hunger Games: Programming for the Palate

celebrated chefs

The authenticity of reality shows is debatable, but one thing’s for sure, the tastiest of the lot, that is, food shows are the real deal (or at least we’d like to believe.) You don’t have to be a sous-chef like Monica Geller, to tell your parsley from coriander, because as viewers, we have pseudo- Phds from the great prestigious University of the Food Network.

It’s remarkable how something we only see and cannot taste, all thanks to the screen that divides us from reel and real, wakes our taste buds from hibernation. What’s even more remarkable is how like a jack in the box we pop up from the comfy seat to run to the kitchen to replicate what we saw.

If the private kitchens of sultry Nigella Lawson or charming Jamie Oliver don’t appeal to you, then there are a host of shows served à la carte that just might appetize you. Whether it’s the chatty Brits cooking for each other on Come Dine With Me or Anthony Bourdain sojourning through the by lanes of  almost every corner of the world, no one can deny indulging in at least one cooking show.

Maybe you’re one of those overly manly men and cookery shows aren’te exactly what you’re looking for, then what you need is Youtube’s Epic Meal Time or Travel Channel’s Man vs Food. This overly manly list wouldn’t be complete without celebrated chef Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, where testosterone is served on the platter.

Or perhaps if oriental cuisine tantalizes your taste buds then you need to catch the, “beautiful, beautiful” cooking of Kylie Kwong or funny man Bobby Chinn of World Café Asia. Only after mentioning Martin Yan, famous for Yan Can Cook, a show that aired in the 80s, can this oriental list be completed.

There’s nothing like working up an appetite than after watching the cooking reality shows like Iron Chef and Top Chef, where contestants are in a constant knock out battle. Similarly, there is the Australian version of Masterchef, with the lovable trio of Gary MehiganGeorge Calombaris and Matt Preston playing the role of hosts while judging the show as well. And as if all the cooking in the show didn’t render yourself ashamed of your culinary skills, they made Junior Master Chef with kids between the age of 8- 12 years. Let the hunger games begin!

Bon appétit…

By Nicole Xavier


Nothing beats entertainment like the 90s


I took my brother to a birthday party last week and the place was crawling with 8 to 9 year olds – No, this is not a recount of the retarded party but what amazed me was a shocking conversation I had with them. None of them had heard of Lion King, Chip and Dales, Swat Cats, Johnny Bravo, Ghost busters or Duck Tales. None of them knew what a VHS cassette or a floppy was! (And this sadly, included my own brother)

I sat there stunned, going “OMG I can’t believe these kids!” and then I went, “What is wrong with these kids!” to “OMG, am I that old?”

If I had to look back at my media consumption as a kid that lived through the 90s, I think they made for the most cherished memories. Rushing back from school to catch 2 ‘o’ clock show of Woody the Woodpecker or Dexter’s Laboratory. Trying to finish off with  homework so I would have time to watch “Disney hour” at 5 pm. Ending my day with a huge tantrum with my mom to watch an episode of Flintstones by 7 pm just as Cartoon Network would turn to boring TNT Classic at precisely 8 pm because she had her serial of “Bold and the Beautiful” right about that hour.

I still remember sobbing in the living room while watching Lion King and singing my heart out while singing along with Disney songs!”

All this was when life moved a little slower, when we used to use VHS cassettes, audio cassettes and not to mention floppy discs (when I showed my brother he looked at it like it was from outer space!).

What am I really trying to get across is that before Internet took over our lives, our sense of entertainment was much more entertaining. We picked out a day, spent hours in the video library picking out the perfect film for the week – one cartoon for the kids and one serious film for the parents; the eagerness to go home, watch it, not once but as many times we could before we had to return the film. Same with theaters – an occasional treat, I still distinctly remember the excitement and contentment of walking out of a film theater – and the thrill of watching films at a drive-in. Try describing the feeling to a kid today- they will look at you as if  you’re crazy ( I know, I tried).

Nowadays, video libraries are almost endangered and theaters embracing new technologies – but in my opinion that sense of enthusiasm is lacking unlike the old days. Everything we want to watch is available online and can be downloaded with just one click (what are you downloading, right now?).

It’s true we have moved on and today’s generation are getting their fair share of memories with Ben 10 what not.
But it’s not the same. Atleast to me, a kid from the 90s.

Watch 10 Things That Make You A 90s Kid

If you’re 90’s kid,I bet this will bring back some sweet memories.
If you aren’t familiar, I suggest it’s time to take a break and go back in time. Trust me, it will be worth it.

Top 100 90’s TV Shows

P.S: As for my brother, Hakuna Matata (it means don’t worry), I dragged him straight home and made him watch all the classics starting with Lion King- but he didn’t cry when Musafa died but he cried bucket loads when Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben died in Spiderman.

All you can say is, today’s kids sheesh!

By Neha Kalvani (A proud 90s kid!)


Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera

Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the OperaGerard Butler and Emmy Rossum in the 2004 adaption.
Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera (top) 
Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum in the 2004 adaption (bottom)

“The Opera ghost really existed” claims Gaston Leroux in the prologue to his Gothic mystery novel, The Phantom of the Opera, published between September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910.

The novel takes the reader through the lives of Christine Daaé and the tormented Palais Garnier by the faceless Phantom. The Opera Ghost’s tragic tale lies in the fact that he was born with a disfigured skeletal face which not even his mother could bear. She gives him away to a travelling circus, thus, after a lonely life Erik ends up living in the lairs of the Opera. Erik, beguiles the virginal Christine through his gift of music while connivingly sabotaging the prima donna, Carlotta. Christine enraptured by her Angel of Music, is kidnapped and held hostage by him into the deep lair of the Paris Opera House. Because of the lack of any affection all through his life, the masked Phantom is immediately drawn to the young singer. The macabre tale in the end tells the readers about the death of the Phantom due to a broken heart.

Lon Chaney as Phantom
Lon Chaney as Phantom

Like most novels in the Romantic and Victorian era were serially published in periodicals, The Phantom of the Opera too was introduced in this manner. Roman Noir, or black novels were popular in the continent much before the sheltered English society was introduced to Gothic literature. The widespread popularity of this story is perhaps best credited to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, who turned it into one of the most beloved musicals of this generation. Later, Webber’s  musical took to the silver screen starring the Gerard Butler as the enigmatic Phantom and Emmy Rossum as Christine.

The story shares similarities with Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame(1831), wherein Quasimodo, the isolated hunched-back bell tower ringer falls in love with the youthful gypsy Esmeralda. While the Phantom lives in solitude, deep in the lairs of the Palais Garnier in Paris, Quasimodo lives in isolation in the bell towers of the Notre Dame de Paris. Perhaps it would be right to say that even J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gollum is once such character, minus the lady love.

What perhaps makes the Phantom’s story of unrequited love more plausible than ever is the fact that the universe stories take place in legitimate locations which exist even today. It is impossible for anyone who has read The Phantom of the Opera to take a stroll down Paris and disbelieve whatever they read. The Phantom does exist.

By Nicole Xavier



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