Much like dialects, biryani too changes its tone and tenor from region to region. Representative of India’s myriad culinary traditions, it is fast making its way to office desks and luncheons, replacing burgers and pizzas that have dominated the order-in/takeaway imagination of Indians for decades. Its ease of consumption, familiar flavour profile and nutritional value have contributed to turning the complex dish into a sturdy contender in the intensely commercialised fast-food space.
And the start-up world could not have stayed incognisant for long. With the recent Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) and cloud kitchen proliferation, biryani has emerged as a go-to dish. Last year, the food delivery service, Swiggy, revealed that chicken biryani was the most ordered dish of the year. During the Wimbledon and FIFA finals, Zomato too witnessed a surge in biryani orders.
“Everybody is consuming biryani as a fast food. I saw an opportunity in fresh, dum-cooked biryani, the way it’s cooked at home,” says Kaushik Roy, Founder and CEO, Biryani By Kilo (BBK), “Ours is duly cooked in a handi and delivered in the same pot that it is cooked in.” Similarly, The Biryani Project, a relatively new entrant in the segment, delivers “made-to-order” biryani. But for the founder, Adit Madan, it was to “serve Delhi varieties of biryani, other than Hyderabadi and Lucknowi,” that he founded the cloud kitchen. Bohri and Godavari are other offerings on their menu.
While Roy attributes the upswing to the “convenience of packaging, delivery and consumption”, Madan puts it down to “a general shift towards regional Indian food”. “People in Delhi are trying to savour the unique flavours of their own country. This can be substantiated with success stories of Mahabelly, Pot Belly, Carnatic Cafe, Suruchi and others,” he says.
But before the start-up world co-opted the regal one-pot dish, several home-caterers were satiating Delhi’s biryani cravings. Sadia Durrani and Shabeena Naseem have been serving biryani for over two decades. But the QSR and online delivery services boom seems to have hit them hard. “I don’t get as many orders as I used to,” says Naseem. While it is difficult for independent caterers to match the muscle of these start-ups, Hasib Ahmed, another Delhi-based caterer, believes that “getting ourselves enlisted on major delivery platforms will help us to draw in more orders”.
The inability of popular biryani joints like Arsalan and Aminia in Kolkata, Paradise in Hyderabad or Dindigul in Tamil Nadu to replicate their success on a pan-India level has aided the establishment of cloud kitchens like BBK and The Biryani Project, who are now hoping to mimic QSR scalability. “While we don’t have data, this is the only food item that can truly go international and we believe it will be the biggest food services category from India. We think it can overtake burgers, pizzas and pasta in India, and hopefully, in the West as well,” says Roy, who is working on leads from the UK and Dubai currently and is gearing up to take BBK international next year.
Kapil Sharma will soon be back on television. The actor is working on a comedy show for Sony TV that will launch around the festive time of Diwali. A source close to Kapil confirmed with indianexpress.com that he is gearing up for his new show. “It will be a crisp and fresh project. We are still figuring out whether it will be a new show or the next season of The Kapil Sharma Show,” shared the source.
The source further added, “Kapil is still traveling. He will be back in Mumbai by mid-September. We would then start working on the content. Everything is at a very initial stage at the moment. We are looking forward to launch it during Diwali. Kapil is geared up to produce a quality show that will entertain his audience. He is looking at making another comedy show. We haven’t yet locked the team.”
After facing various health issues and professional downfall, Kapil had taken a break from work. While he launched Family Time with Kapil in March this year, the show went off air after just three episodes. While many believed that this would lead to him parting ways with Sony TV, the channel backed him.
At the press conference of Kaun Banega Crorepati 10, when indianexpress.com asked Danish Khan, Sony TV’s EVP and Business Head, about Kapil’s comeback, he said, “We are definitely in talks with him. He is a hard-working artiste. Sony would be more than happy to have him back.”
As per sources, Kapil has also been working extra-hard on his physique. He has reportedly hired a personal trainer and is sweating it out at the gym before his much anticipated comeback.
Arjun Kapoor and his sisters Anshula, Janhvi, Khushi, Sonam, Rhea and Shanaya share a warm relationship and are quite protective for each other. Like any other brother, Arjun adores his sisters and with the festival of Raksha Bandhan around the corner, he decided to show his affection for them.
On Friday, the actor posted photos of Sonam and Janhvi on his Instagram story. The photo of Janhvi was shared with a funny caption, “Janhvi Kapoor’s expression when she is pretending she likes working out over eating.” The photos were followed by a short note, where the Namaste England actor mentioned, “At this point, Shanaya Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor need to ASAP get clicked so my Raksha Bandhan weekend can kick off full swing with aplomb and heavy duty posting of sista luv!!”
He then shared a collage of Khushi and Anshula’s pictures and wrote along with it, “The real showstoppers !!! Umm pls move aside @sonamkapoor @rheakapoor @harshvardhankapoor @janhvikapoor @mohitmarwah @shanayakapoor02 our family has 2 new fashion rebels in town !!! P.S – I’m jealous & proud of the quick double change !!!” Arjun also used some quirky hashtags like ‘#kapoorsgotspeedandswag’, ‘#changingatlighteningspeed’, ‘#fashionkajalwa’ in the post.
This generation of the Kapoor clan has been quite vocal about their love for each other. On the release of Janhvi’s debut film, Arjun penned an emotional note wishing her all the best for her career in the movies. Boney Kapoor had earlier said, “They love each other a lot and I am glad that they have come together. It was due to happen anytime, it just happened when something unfortunate happened. They are all my blood and they had to come around.”
Addressing an all-party prayer meeting on Monday to remember Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the former prime minister was true to his name while taking tough decisions and never buckled under pressure. Right from his adolescence till the end of his life, Vajpayee lived for the aspirations of the people of the country, Modi said at the prayer meeting.
“Vajpayee-ji has set an example for all, he dedicated his life to the nation right from adolescence till the end of his life. In his youth itself he had decided that he wanted to serve his fellow Indians,” Modi said.
READ | Never thought I would attend a meeting where Vajpayee would not be present: LK Advani
Saying that Vajpayee entered politics when only one party dominated the political discourse, Modi said that despite spending several years in the opposition, the 93-year-old leader never compromised on his ideology.
“He spent several years in opposition, but never compromised his ideology. His efforts ensured that India became a nuclear power and attributed the tests to the brilliance of our scientists. He never buckled under pressure. He was Atal after all,” Modi said.
The meeting was held a day after the former PM’s ashes were immersed in the river Ganga. The prayer meeting was attended by Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, BJP veteran LK Advani and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti among others.
READ | View From The Neighbourhood: Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s path
The prayer meeting started with a short documentary on the life of the former PM. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi did not attend the meeting due to functions linked to the birth anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Modi further said it was Vajpayee who changed the narrative when some countries were cornering India on the Kashmir issue. “Due to Vajpayee ji, terrorism became an important issue on the world stage,” he said. No party was willing to support Vajpayee when he formed the government for 13 days, Modi said, referring to the short-lived NDA government in 1996.
“The government fell. He did not lose hope and remained committed to serving the people,” he told the gathering and added that Vajpayee showed the way when it came to coalition politics. He distinguished himself as a parliamentarian and was proud of parliamentary traditions, Modi said.
The BMC is set to tell the Bombay High Court on Monday that it has introduced an online mechanism to ease the process of applying for and securing permissions for the slaughter of sheep or goats outside the Deonar abattoir ahead of Bakr-Eid on August 22.
On Monday, the court would hear a petition filed by the Jiv Maitri Trust, which had challenged two notices issued recently by Dr Yogesh Jayprakash Shetye, the general manager of BMC-run Deonar abattoir, granting permission to slaughter sheep and goats outside the abattoir on Bakr-Eid.
The affidavit, filed by Shetye, who has an office at the abattoir in Govandi, would state after the previous hearing on August 16, BMC had immediately stopped its process of granting online permissions for slaughter. It would also say that the municipal corporation has introduced this new system with good intention to ensure that the people intending to celebrate the festival would get permission and not illegally sacrifice animals.
Advocate Sujay Kantawala, appearing for the petitioners, told The Sunday Express that they were served the affidavit on Saturday evening.
“…the municipal corporation had started the online permission for slaughter last year and the whole process was successful since certain applications, which were not in line with the requirements, were rejected… the online permission is introduced by the municipal corporation so as to ease the process. I say that the municipal corporation is issuing similar kind of permissions on different festivals viz., Holi, Aashadi Aamavasya (popularly known as Gatari) and Dussera,” the affidavit stated.
It added that the BMC’s solid waste management department will provide special vehicles to collect waste material generated after the slaughter, which would ensure that the abattoir is cleaned. The affidavit stated that many people have genuinely applied for permission for slaughter and that around 29,907 goats and sheep have already been sold at the abattoir.
“…The municipal corporation has deployed staff at each of its administrative wards to monitor and control illegal slaughtering of animals, if any that might be carried out…,” it added.
Maintaining that the municipal corporation has taken steps to modernise the Deonar abattoir, the affidavit stated that “after modernisation, the capacity to slaughter animals in the abattoir will increase at least three times”.
Priyanka Chopra has found her Mr Right in American singer Nick Jonas. On Saturday afternoon, the couple performed the pre-wedding rituals which was held at Priyanka’s residence in Mumbai. Dressed in a bright yellow suit, Priyanka looked radiant as she got photographed with Nick who looked debonair in the traditional Indian attire. Nick’s parents Kevin Sr. and Denise Jonas too were decked up in traditional dresses as they watched their son perform Indian rituals with the Desi Girl.
The others who were in attendance were Priyanka’s cousin and Bollywood actor Parineeti Chopra, Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan Sharma and actor-producer Mushtaq Sheikh. Goldie Behl’s sister Shrishti Behl Arya was also spotted reaching Priyanka’s house for the ceremony. Creating memories, Priyanka and Nick posed for the shutterbugs as well. Their candid clicks from the ceremony with a logo of their initials in the background went viral on social media, sending their fans into a frenzy.
Later, the lovebirds shared a beautiful photo from the ceremony on their social media accounts and pronounced their love for each other. “Taken..With all my heart and soul..,” wrote Priyanka along with the photo and Nick, addressed her “Future Mrs Jonas” in the caption.
The preist who performed Priyanka and Nick’s pre-wedding rituals talked to the media after the ceremony. He said, “We have performed a puja for a happy and a prosperous life of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas. After lord Ganesha’s puja, they performed their engagement ceremony. All the family members were present at the puja.”
Preity Zinta wished the actor for the new beginning of her life on her Twitter, “Congratulations to my dear @priyankachopra & @nickjonas on their new journey together. Wish you both loads of love, happiness & togetherness always 😍 ting #PriyankaNickEngagement #Celebration”.
Sophie Choudry also tweeted and wished the desi girl of Bollywood, “They say love happens when you least expect it! Soooo thrilled for one of my favourite girls @priyankachopra ..You both look beautiful & so happy together! Stay blessed always🤗😘❤️ Big love! P.s He sure makes for a cute videshi desi boy!😉 @nickjonas #PriyankaNickEngagement.”
While the roka ceremony was an intimate affair, the Quantico actor has planned for a grand party in the evening for friends and colleagues. Apart from Bollywood celebrities like Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar, Manish Malhotra, Sophie Choudry, celebrities from Hollywood are also expected to grace the occasion.
Kerala rains LIVE UPDATES: The death toll in Kerala rose to 67 on Wednesday as the rains continued to wreak havoc across the state.
The death toll in Kerala has climbed to 67 with rain fury claiming 25 lives on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has confirmed. More than 1.5 lakh people have been lodged in relief across the state, he said, adding that the heavy rains would continue for some more days, which will further worsen the situation.
For the first time in history, the state has opened 35 of its 39 dams. Meanwhile, operations at the Cochin International Airport have been suspended till 2 pm on Saturday due to flooding in and around the airport. A red alert has been issued in all the 14 districts of the state.
Spelling more trouble for Kerala, the Tamil Nadu government opened the sluice gates of the Mullaperiyar dam at 2.30 am on Wednesday to release excess water from the reservoir. A government release said Vijayan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the grave situation the state was facing following the rains. The prime minister has assured all help, it said. The prime minister has taken a “positive stand” towards the state on relief measures, Vijayan told reporters.
Train services have been disrupted and road transport services are in disarray with stretches of roads coming under water. Officials said a holiday has been declared for educational institutions in all districts barring Kasaragod tomorrow while colleges and universities have postponed exams. As the situation became grave, the state government sought the help of more teams of army personnel, National Disaster Response Force and Army Engineering.
Bigg Boss 10 fame Monalisa aka Antara Biswas has bagged her first TV show. The actor will be seen playing a dayan in Star Plus’ new horror drama Nazar.
Excited about her entry into the fiction world, Monalisa, in an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, said, “I have been looking at doing a negative role for a long time now. As an actor, I want to experiment with different shades. As for television, doing a daily was on my bucket list. But never did I imagine that I would get a break in such a grand way.”
She further shared, “Mohana is a very glamorous role. When she is in her human form, she is this sexy seductress. As a dayan, the audience will see the usual long braids, feet facing backward and the long nails. It will give you shivers for sure. It’s a really exciting phase for me. We have seen films on dayan but it’s the first time on television. Also, we have shot it in a very modern format. I am really hopeful about this show.”
When asked whether she enjoys spine-chilling stories, Mona smiled to say, “I love watching horror movies and shows. Yes, when you see it at night, it gets a little scary. But that’s the fun part of it. The moments should frighten you and give you sleepless nights (laughs). Our show is also put in a late night slot. Today, people are working late, and when they go back home, they can get their moments of entertainment with Nazar.”
Stating that Bigg Boss has been a turning point in her life, the 35-year-old actor said, “Coming from a regional industry, it’s always a dream to find a nationwide recognition. Post Bigg Boss, I did Nach Baliye and recently a web-series (Dupur Thakurpo Season 2). Multiple gates have opened for me. People have also realised that I can perform. The stereotype that Bhojpuri actors are on the healthier side and can only do bold roles is finally getting shattered. And with Nazar, I am starting my biggest journey on television. While we all talk about the disparity in the industry between sexes, TV is a medium for women. It’s ruled and watched by them.”
Apart from Monalisa, Nazar also stars Smita Bansal, Ritu Chaudhary, Harsh Rajput and Niyati Fatnani among others. The show will air Monday-Friday at 11 pm starting July 30 on Star Plus.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Friday came out in support of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi hugging Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha, saying in Parliament policies should be opposed, not individuals. Senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said that the prime minister often hugs the heads of foreign countries so what was wrong about Gandhi hugging him in Parliament.
“Parliament is the biggest temple of democracy where policies should be opposed, not individuals. But the BJP people do not like hugs, they believe in abuse,” Singh claimed.
WATCH Video: Rahul Gandhi hugs PM Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha
After firing salvos at Modi during the debate of on the no-confidence motion against the government, Gandhi walked up to the prime minister and gave him a hug that amused the entire House.
Opinion | Rahul hugs Modi: The jury’s out on his motive
Singh said the opposition parties were not attempting to pull down the Modi government, instead, they were trying to “expose” its “anti-people” policies through the no-confidence motion.
Follow | No-confidence motion in Parliament LIVE
The AAP had issued a whip for its Lok Sabha MPs from Punjab to vote in favour of the no-confidence motion by opposition parties. The party has four Lok Sabha MPs from the state, including Dharmvir Gandhi and HS Khalsa who were suspended for anti-party activities.
“The Modi government had lost the confidence of every section of the society, including farmers and youths, while unemployment and price rise have broken all the records. It may pass arithmetics test but how will it win back the confidence of the public,” Singh questioned.