Welcome To Lassi With Lavina
The Buzz Not Just Bollywood – From Yash Chopra to Anurag Kashyap

Indian cinema is so much more than Bollywood, encompassing regional and independent cinema. What would you ask 28 of the top film directors if you had the chance? In ‘Not Just Bollywood- Indian Directors Speak’ Tula Goenka meets noted names from Shyam Benegal to Anurag Kashyap to Farhan Akhtar and gets the inside view on cinema and the film industry. So many personal stories abound in this book that it almost calls for its own big bag of popcorn to indulge in, as you read!

24/7 Talk is Cheap – The Blog
Evening in Kashmir with Kailash Kher

Life size peacocks, filigreed gold pillars and small pools of rose petals and lotuses – a little piece of Kashmir had been recreated in New York by Children’s Hope India with its Evening in Kashmir gala at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. Guests even got a chance to saunter near the iconic Dal Lake – in spirit at least as they posed for family photographs before a large image of this famous body of water.

The evening began with the noted Sufi singer Kailash Kher being spotlighted on a darkened stage as he invoked the Almighty for blessings with a powerful rendering of ‘Kashmir’ and following it up with much loved ‘Allah Ke Bande’. The Pride of Kashmir Award was presented to Kailash Kher by Ambassador D. Mulay for his unifying music and his involvement with social causes.


Desi World Video of the Day – Pepsi’s Gharwali Diwali

What is Diwali without family? A lot of immigrants who are far from home and family will identify with this Diwali video from Pepsi. Get ready for some emotional tears this festive season – after all, who doesn’t miss home food and hugs and Diwali memories?

We Indians love a good 3 hankie sob to feel really happy!


Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Haider’ – In the Land of Disappeared People

There is a maniac energy about ‘Haider’ – and a maniac desire among viewers to immerse themselves in this film. Yes, a film scribe I know turned up at this advance screening, bleary-eyed and disheveled, suitcase in tow, straight from the airport – rather than miss this first screening of Vishal Bhardwaj’s much awaited film!

It is a brutal, blood-stained Kashmir, etchings of a brooding, bereft landscape, a city of disappeared people. It shows that Shakespeare’s tale of deceit and murder, of treachery and lost ideals is a universal tale and relevant to all humans. Bhardwaj has successfully transported the ill-starred Danish Prince to Kashmir, and made it an indigenous, very authentic Indian tale.


Can you Photograph God? Ask Manjari Sharma

Goddess Lakshmi sits resplendent on a lotus; Lord Shiva strides atop a vanquished demon; there is Ma Kali, fierce and blood-thirsty, garlanded with the skulls of evil-doers; and Ganesha, calm and peaceful with a bowl of ladoos in his hand.

These are familiar images of Gods and Goddesses that Hindus have worshiped since childhood, and have seen in sacred texts, in temples, in homes, in bazaars and in calendar art.
Now what if I was to tell you that these are not paintings at all but life-size photographs of living human beings in the guise of Gods and Goddesses? That the ferocious Ma Kali is really an artist in real life, Hanuman is a body builder who works in a gym, Ma Saraswati is a television anchor and Lord Brahma is an architect? That Goddess Lakshmi went on to compete in the semi-finals of Miss India 2014, winning the titles of Miss Beautiful Smile and Miss Beautiful Hair?


Diwali Firecrackers – Nostalgia for Indian-Americans

Here we share the wrappers of those lost, long-gone Diwalis when every kid with a handful of fire-crackers was king – yes, power was setting the match to that bichu or anar firecracker!

The art on these wrappers is engaging, amusing and tells so many stories. I wonder who designed these wrappers and where those nameless, unknown artists are today.

Of course, this is art-for-a-moment which is ripped to pieces immediately to get to the all important fireworks. The next morning, after the smoke and burning smell has cleared, these images lie on the floor with the remnants of firecrackers, amidst the ashes.