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Variety on his menu

LAKSHMI BALIGA

Exploring the wide variety of cuisine steeped in history, is this menu that has some innovative twists


Simplicity and clarity are attributes that give an artist power and joy to create a great piece of art and my guest for this week and his work are perfect examples of this. As a teenager he was the secretary of a youth hostel group which exposed him to various forms of adventure. Very early in life he decided that his passion was to flirt with the lens. After a stint with the press, he took to cinematography as an assistant to P.C. Sreeram and contributed to well-known flicks like Devar Magan and Thiruda Thiruda. He won the National Award for his debut film Thenmavin Khombat - Priyadarshan's Malayalam block buster. Kaadal Desam was his first Tamil movie and from then on, he has provided a visual treat to viewers with his creativity in films like Muthalvan and Shivaji. His prowess with the camera ensured that he captured the perfect frames in Bollywood too with Josh, Khakee, Legend of Bhagat Singh and Doli Saja ke Rakhna to name a few. In 2005, he debuted as a director with Kana Kandaen and this year gave Tamil cinema one of its biggest hits, Ayan. It was my pleasure to meet the 'pucca Madrasi' as he calls himself, the very energetic, unassuming and creative K.V. Anand.

His take on food

"One should be adventurous and try out new things." He tells us of the best places anywhere in the country - including where not to eat "and if I know so much it's because I have also tried the worst," he says with a smile. He enjoys experimenting with the local cuisines of the places he visits and 'it is that much more exciting when the company you have loves it too and so I enjoy myself particularly with directors Shankar and Rajkumar Santoshi'.

Cuisine preferences

None. Likes anything that is simple and tasty. He is very sure of what he dislikes though. Enjoys eating at little places on the highway and in small towns. Madurai according to him, has the best idlies - soft and steaming hot even at 3 a.m. "Another speciality here is the Konar curry dosai - similar to an Uthappam topped with egg and kheema, I have even taken parcels to Mumbai for my friends." If it's biryani it has to be Dindigul or the Anganan Kadai in Coimbatore. When in Delhi he has to visit Hotel Kareem for authentic Mughlai food and this sporting foodie says that one has to try Maratha Cuisine at Taj Blue Diamond in Pune.

In Chennai he likes to visit Peshawari at Chola Sheraton, Mainland China when his mood is Chinese, Sigree for the Kebabs and The Park specifically for the Tiramisu. "Having lived most part of my life in Sowcarpet I love sweets and the typical Marwadi Gujarathi delicacies too." Mast Kalandhar is his latest find, where he enjoys the variety of parathas on the menu. This Wasabi fan relishes sushi too, and has tasted cuisine from different points on the globe.

He recommends...

... Ethiopian food for vegetarians travelling abroad. "It is very close to South Indian cuisine," he says confidently. "Their Injera and Alecha are very similar to a thin dosai and stew, and the Goman is nothing but Keerai Kootu." This is served with homemade beer and wine.

His unforgettable moments...

... are during a trip to Nagaland as a part of the youth hostel group. "It was Diwali and a large hungry lot were taken to a local eatery. I was engrossed in photographing the naturally lit rustic kitchen. Our meal was getting ready and was all set to be served. I casually enquired if it was beef or lamb but was shocked to hear him say dog. I ran to inform my friends who had already had a taste of it and what followed was a need for plenty of mouthwash!"

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