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29 April 2014

Philippine cinema at its meanest

I slap your face, you slap mine
Source: Paul Ancheta on YouTube.

THE GREAT accomplishment of Philippine cinema in the late twentieth century was creating legendary rivalries between actors and actresses. It spawned big fan groups that safeguarded box-office success, and ensured that every performance was always better than the other's. Directors and screenwriters gave these performers dramatic confrontation scenes punctuated by the most memorable lines, slugfests or slapfests ever.

It was rare for rivals to appear together in a film. If they did, the results could be epic. Ina, Kapatid, Anak (Mother, Sister, Daughter) (1979) and T-Bird At Ako (The Lesbian and I) (1982) were two such films. They starred four of the greatest Filipino actresses who ever lived: Lolita Rodriguez and the late Charito Solis in the former, Vilma Santos and Nora Aunor in the latter. I put together the most sensational confrontation scenes from those movies to show you what happens when thespian rivalry is put to a test. You get truly compelling performance and dialog . . . along with acid tongues, dagger eyes, and hard slaps.

Bug off, bugs!

HERE'S ONE more incredible discovery about New Delhi: it's a city of mosquitoes. The city's heat seems to be an aphrodisiac for these blood-suckers, as they draw energy from external heat and spends the next three to seven days completing the egg-to-adult life cycle. That's a week for them to turn from babies to vampires. In South Delhi, especially in farmhouse-dotted Mehrauli where I live, the trees are not going to be helpful either as they provide convenient breeding ground. These totally annoying flyers are so professional, no amount of Baygons or mosquito repellents kill them. I can beat Delhi's heat, but I don't think anyone can easily beat these bugs. What a pest!

Biba goes to Kemps Corner

Images: Biba Kemps Corner, 21 April 2014
Source: Paul Ancheta on Flickr

INDIA's BEST-loved women's ethnic wear brand, Biba, has opened its flagship store in Mumbai. Appropriately located at the chic Kemps Corner district in South Mumbai, the new store is spread over two floors of contemporary fixtures designed by Bengaluru-based retail designer Future Research Design Company (FRDC). I spent an entire evening with my team dressing up the store and having fun working with a new style of mannequins that we purchased specifically for this store.

With Biba's opening at Kemps Corner, swanky next-door districts Cumballa and Malabar Hills have just become even more fashionable.

13 April 2014

Poor man's air conditioner

THE AIR cooler is a fascinating gadget that I've discovered in Delhi. The ugly-looking but effective apparatus is a savior during the city's sizzling dry summer. Water is filled inside, and a small motor pumps it up to flow on the sides. A powerful fan forces the water to evaporate, thus cooling the atmosphere indoors. With one drop of essential aromatic oil on the inner water tank, the evaporative water fills the air with a breezy scent. This wonderful invention beats the power-guzzling air conditioner by a mile.

10 April 2014

The Delhi summer

DELHI IS often called the heart of India, mainly for the extremes and contradictions that illustrate the wonderful diversities of this country. However, a non-Delhiite is never fully prepared for one very sharp extreme: its weather! After that brief but pleasant winter, summer has begun in this city. The transition is brisk and severe: tap water is suddenly hot, I've been warned that it’s going to be long, hot, and wilting. Power and water companies are now gearing up for potential shortages in the capital. No wonder the citizens of Delhi can be as hostile as its summer and as cold as its winter!