Monadarling’s Blog

Breaking Night is an autobiography by Elizabeth “Liz” Murray. Liz Murray, in her book, takes the reader through an intricate and excruciating journey of her life.

Liz Murray has come forward with the story of her life up to now, growing up with alcoholic and drug-addicted parents, who, though they loved her, certainly were not able to care for her and her sister.

To see ones parent’s drinking; to go hungry; to be a child of the streets, because that’s where you find people who love you; to skip school and finally to be confined in a home is indeed not anyone’s dream but it certainly was Murray’s reality. A reality that Murray turned into a dream. Liz Murray shakes herself out of misfortune and gets herself back into high school, and finally into Harvard. She is able to forgive her father, and accept him as who he is, and to work through all the tremendously hurtful things of her mother’s life and her tragic death from AIDS. Told with astounding sincerity, “Breaking Night” is the breathtaking and inspirational story of how a young woman, born into a world without hope, used every ounce of strength and determination to steer herself towards a brighter future. Beautifully written, it is a poignant, evocative and stirring portrait of struggle, desperation, forgiveness and survival.

Hair-raising, tense and ultimately inspiring!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s an insight into Liz Murray’s life……………………..

Murray was born in the Bronx, New York, to poor, drug-addicted, HIV-infected parents. Her mother died of AIDS when Murray was 15 and her father moved to a shelter and Murray became homeless. Murray’s life turned around when she began attending the Humanities Preparatory Academy in Chelsea, Manhattan and graduated in two years. She remained without a stable home while supporting herself and her sister. Liz Murray was awarded a New York Times scholarship for needy students and was accepted into Harvard University. She matriculated in 2000. She left Harvard in 2001 to care for her sick father and to start motivational speaking. She resumed her education at Columbia University in late 2001 after her father died of AIDS. She eventually returned to Harvard in 2006 and graduated in June 2009.

Liz Murray is the founder and director of Manifest Living, a company that provides a series of workshops that empower adults to create extraordinary things in their lives.

She was also invited to the Oprah Winfrey Show as one of the first recipients of Oprah’s Chutzpah Award.

Liz Murray’s life story has been made into a movie titled Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story, featuring Thora Birch, directed by Peter Levin in 2003


“Today’s Special” is a rom-com about a Manhattan sous chef forced to take over his family’s faltering restaurant in Jackson Heights.

Aasif Mandvi, co-writer, producer and hero of the movie ‘Today’s Special’, has made a remarkable journey in his career.

Mandvi was born in Mumbai, India, and his family moved to Bradford, England, when he was just a year old. He immigrated with his family to Florida, USA, when he was 16. After studying theatre at the University of South Florida, Mandvi worked as a performer at Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.

Later he began appearing in off-Broadway productions. He won an Obie Award for his critically acclaimed one-man show Sakina’s Restaurant.

Aasif Mandvi has a string of television shows he has appeared in – ER, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, CSI, Oz, Ed, The Bedford Diaries, Jericho, Sleeper Cell – to name a few.

In 2006, Mandvi auditioned for The Daily Show. He was hired immediately and appeared on the show the same day.

Mandvi also takes credit as the reader for the books on audio editions of Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown and V. S. Naipaul’s Magic Seeds. He has also played minor roles in many films.

Coming back to ‘Today’s Special’, Mandvi co-wrote the script of the movie with The Daily Show ex-writer Jonathan Bines and has acted in it as the hero and has produced the movie too!!!!!!!!!!

‘Today’s Special’ as mentioned earlier is a delightful and mouthwatering comedy. Samir is a sous chef who dreams of becoming the head chef at an upscale Manhattan restaurant. When he is passed over for a promotion he impulsively quits and lets his co-worker Carrie know that he intends to go to Paris and apprentice under a master French chef.

As luck would have it, his father has a heart attack and Samir is forced to take over Tandoori Palace, the nearly bankrupt family restaurant in Jackson Heights.

Run-down and with a oddball staff who are going through the motions, the Tandoori Palace is about to be replaced by a chain eatery. It is now that Samir hires a charismatic cab driver, Akbar, played to perfection by Naseeruddin Shah, as a replacement chef, and this awakens Samir’s own interest in his culinary heritage.

Things get increasingly out of control, Samir unexpectedly crashes into Carrie while doubling up as the delivery boy. The movie rolls on – Samir has a chance to rediscover his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food.

‘Today’s Special’ directed by David Kaplan runs for 99 minutes, entertaining and pleasing to all.

Madhur Jaffrey as Samir’s mother, Naseeruddin Shah as the charismatic cab driver and Jess Weixler as the former colleague lend excellent support to Mandvi.

This feel-good movie has it all – love, comedy and mouthwatering Indian spread! Taste it, you’ll like it.

-Suba Subramaniam

Prateik Babbar, the star son of actor turned politician Raj Babbar and late actress Smita Patil has become quite the talk of the town recently due to his very generous attitude which he came out with during his birthday recently. Reports are that Prateik Babbar, who is soon going to be seen in pivotal roles in the forth coming Aamir Khan starrer ‘Dhobi Ghat’ and also the Abhishek Bachchan starrer ‘Dum Maro Dum’ was quite in a cheerful mood when he entered a suburban Mumbai restaurant this weekend. He announced that since it was his birthday he would be bearing all the expenses of the people present there. All the people there were in for a surprise party! What came as the actual surprise- or rather as a shock was when the after party jolt was provided to Prateik. The buzz is that Prateik was handed over a bill of an astounding Rs. 70,000 by the owners of the restaurant. However, instead of asking questions or showing any kind of tantrum- Prateik Babbar quietly paid up the hefty amount and walked off! Well- the industry surely has yet another large hearted star coming up right away- following in the footsteps of Salman Khan who is as kind as an angel when it comes to giving away things to strangers! Phew!

-Sampurn Media

The Lion of Judah, an animated film, to be released on 25th February 2011, is all about the adventures of a bold lamb called Judah and his stable friends as they try to avoid the sacrificial alter the week preceding the crucifixion of Christ.

A bold lamb- Judah, a loveable pig –Horace, a faint-hearted horse –Monty, a pedantic rat -Slink, a rambling rooster -Drake, a motherly cow – Esmay and a downtrodden donkey –Jack; they are the characters who will enthrall you in the Lion of Judah. The Lion of Judah, a laugh-filled, heartwarming story seen through the eyes of this wacky cast of stable animals.

Upon learning that Judah has been trapped in the clutches of the townspeople and faces the possibility of being the sacrifice at the annual Festival, the stable mates leave their cozy barn and embark on a hilariously funny series of adventures to find and free their friend.

Wrapped in humor, the movie, written by Brent Dawes, follows the animals from the stable in Bethlehem to the great temple in Jerusalem and onto the hillside of Calvary as these unlikely heroes try to save their friend. The journey is interlaced seamlessly through the real biblical accounts of Palm Sunday, Jesus turning the tables in the temple, Peter’s denial and with a tense, heart-wrenching climax, depicts the crucifixion and resurrection with gentleness and breathtaking beauty. For Judah, the lamb with the heart of a lion, it is a story of courage and faith. For Jack, the disappointed donkey, it becomes a pivotal voyage of hope. For Horace, the dirty pig, and Drake the ignorant rooster, it is an opportunity to do something inappropriate and get into trouble.

During their numerous attempts to find Judah, a wonderful story emerges as they intercept, interact and entwine with history finally seeking out the King, who was born in their stable more than 30 years earlier. The antics of our unique cast crates a uniquely funny and entertaining epic as it winds its way through numerous side-splitting encounters and historical scenes.

Now coming to the crux of the matter, Monty, the faint-hearted horse is an Indian, and who do you think has lent his for Monty, none other than Anupam Kher. Kher has essayed the character of Monty to perfection. Monty is strong in stature but feeble in character, a real push-over who will faint at the drop of a hat. Monty was born in a stable and brought up in a stable and has never related to other horses, cartoony in character with a neurotic voice. Anupam Kher has done justice to the comedic role of Monty.

A family entertainer that crafts a tale with care and humility, and no doubt, The Lion of Judah will leave you in awe of the power that one animated lamb can command. A magnificent period piece with its epic sets is a roller coaster ride of emotions.

A long wait till the 25th of Feb, 2011, but worth the wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Iconic Band Indian Ocean is set to treat Delhi’s music lovers to tracks from their latest album.

They are known for their melodious fusion of different genres of music such as sufi,jazz,Chants, Hindustani classical and rock.

Now India’s oldest independent band , Indian Ocean , promises to heat up the music landscape with the new ` involved sound’ of their latest album – 16/330 Khajur Road.

“It’s an ode to our 14 year long association with the place in Karol Bagh where we created our albums, right from Kandisa to Black Friday”, says the band’s lead vocalist and bassist Rahul Ram, explaining the unique name of the album.

He adds, ” it’s both classical and rock- the signature style of our band.And we are moving on a multi city tour.UTV World movies wanted us to join them as a part of their initiative to start cultural dialogues and we are all game”.

Quiz them about wether they see themselves as a fusion band and Ram throws back the question saying “What about Rahman’s music ? it’s fusion, right ? I would cal lus nothing but just Indian Ocean”.

Maintaining their uniqueness this time too, the band is giving away all the seven tracks for mp3 download.”Getting into a contract with a music company is troublesome.So many issues crop up – royalties, copyright etc.So we thought we should have a direct interface with our listeners, hence the free download.And nowadays who wants to buy an album anyways” says Ram or `logic baba’ as his friends call him.

The band doesn’t have many Bollywood numbers to it’s name, but Ram doesn’t regret it.”it’s not our fault,” he says “In fact , our album album consists of those film songs that I, along with Asheem and gang , have made in the past five years.But for some reason the movies got shelved.”

But the Band has recently done two songs for Amir Khan’s production for Peepli Live. An old composition Desh Mera rangrez from their album Jhini is the title track for the film and the other is Darte Ho ( the last recorded song with Asheem Chakravarthy, the band’s lead singer who passed away in December).Speaking about Asheem Ram says “He lives in our music…he is with us.

By Suba Subramanium

Queen Charlotte Islands – how do I begin to describe these Islands? – a dream, a mythical, illusive dream? – that should just about be the closest description.

Queen Charlotte Islands, one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the world, lie on the edge of the British Columbia Province of Canada and are nestled under the Alaska panhandle. The Islands are the ancestral home of the Haida – the West Coast Aboriginals who have lived here for thousands of years.

According to Haida legend, Haida Gwaii, as it is now known – is the place where time began. Haida Gwaii – islands of the people – has been home to the Haida people for at least 7,000 years.

Would you guess? there are 1,884 islands in the archipelago – snow-top mountains, fiords that plunge into the sea, mist-enshrouded forests, windswept sandy beaches, could you ask for more?

Langara, Graham, Moresby, Louise, Lyell, Burnaby, and Kunghit Island are the seven largest Islands and they rise as peaks of a submerged mountain chain, with the tallest peaks perpetually capped in snow.

Sport fishing, hiking, camping, kayaking, boating, whale watching, beachcombing or just sightseeing there is something for every one and every thing for someone.

If Camping is your forte then you have the Naikoon Provincial Park in the north, and the remote Gwaii Haanas National Park in the south.

If canoeing and kayaking is your passion then the southeastern side of the Charlottes, rife with tiny islands, secluded coves, and lots of sheltered coastline, should be your destination. The entire cluster of islands has been circumnavigated by kayak, and is open to the seafaring explorer.

If it is Beachcombing for the heck of it, all you have to do is stand on the west coast of the Charlottes and lo and behold, nothing lies between you and Japan except the great expanse of the North Pacific Ocean. Currents from across the ocean kiss the shores of Haida Gwaii, washing up all kinds of interesting treasures.

If it is whale watching you are hooked on, you are at the right place – no visit to the Queen Charlotte Islands will be complete without whale watching. Killer whales and Humpback Whales can also be seen on the surface, engaging in spy-hopping, flipper-flapping, tail-slapping, and breaching. Lo, what a sight!!!!!

The Queen Charlottes are rich in wildlife in the sky and sea, and on the ground. Blacktail deer, elk, beavers, raccoons, wild cows, black bears, river otters, bald eagles, falcons, jellyfish, starfish the list is long enough to impress any wildlife fan.

Have you made up your mind to visit the Queen Charlotte Islands? One thing I can promise you – you will never forget your visit.

Bobby Deol’s next film, Yamla Pagla Deewana is all set to release. Both brothers Sunny and Bobby star in this film with their dad Dharmendra. Apne, the 2007 film, directed by Anil Sharma, was the last movie in which they starred together. This film (YPD) is a full-on comedy film and Bobby feels that the one and a half years spent in completing the film were worth it because a comedy film cannot survive a bad script and they paid special attention to that.

Bobby is working on an Abbas-Mustan film, and he claims that they are his favorite director duo and he is having a great time working with them. This film is titled Players and is a re-make of the 2003 film The Italian Job. He will also be working with Abhishek Bachchan, who is a good friend and they knew each other before both of them started acting. So is he inspired enough by his buddy to play a gay character? Well, no it doesn’t seem like it. Bobby feels his built is too masculine and the audience won’t be convinced. He says that as an actor he is open to experimentation but a gay role isn’t one that he feels he can play with aplomb.

So, how is Bobby on the sets? He is far from being a prankster and instead he is the one who is the poor victim of pranks played upon him. But he is keen on honing his skills so that one day he is able to play pranks on others! Bobby, unlike his older brother Sunny Deol, is not particularly interested in film direction, they already produce films and that will continue, but he is sure that at present, directing a film is not his cup of tea.

-Sampurn Media

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