When you have a riveting action sequence that seems straight out of Mad Max: Fury Road as well as a tribute to deceased music legend David Bowie, the stage is set for a Disney film that will be out of the ordinary. Add to that the complete absence of romance and a spunky heroine who does not require a man to help her fight her battle, and the picture is complete.
“If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess,” Dwayne Johnson’s Maui tells the eponymous Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho). This meta-comment make it clear that directors Ron Clements and John Muske, who previously made Aladdin (1992) and The Little Mermaid (1989), are not chasing cutesy princesses or reimagined fairy tales.
Moana is the daughter of the village chieftain (voiced by Temuera Morrison) on a fun-filled Polynesian island. But the repercussions of an action by the demi-god Maui millennia ago are being felt now. There are no more fish in the water to catch, and all the coconut plantations are drying up. The answers to these problems lie beyond the reef, the one place all islanders are forbidden from visiting. That is where Moana, also the name of a 1926 documentary by Robert Flaherty about Polynesian culture, comes in. She sets out on her journey of self-discovery armed with little more than a cock-eyed rooster, not dissimilar to the bumbling squirrel Scrat from the Ice Age movies.
Clements and Musker’s first computer-generation animation has the hand-drawn touch of their previous films. A sequence at the end recalls the work of celebrated animator Hayao Miyazaki in Princess Mononoke (1997). Jermaine Clement, one-half of New Zealand folk comedy-rock act Flight of the Conchords, turns in a hilarious performance as a gigantic treasure-loving crab, and his Bowiesque villain song “Shiny” reverberates long after the movie ends. In an inspired bit of casting, the same character has been voiced by disco king Bappi Lahiri in the Hindi dub. The musical numbers, by Lin-Manuel Miranda of the smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton fame, do not have the verve of the recent Disney hit Frozen, nor does the plot have the bite of Zootopia, but thegorgeous visual detailing and Johnson’s booming vocal performance (a version of his character The Rock from his years in wrestling) combine to create an enlivening cinematic outing.
Modern home design trends that are radically changing living spaces in India
From structure to finishes, modern homes embody lifestyle.
Homes in India are evolving to become works of art as home owners look to express their taste and lifestyle through design. It’s no surprise that global home design platform Houzz saw over a million visitors every month from India, even before their services were locally available. Architects and homeowners are spending enormous time and effort over structural elements as well as interior features, to create beautiful and comfortable living spaces.
Here’s a look at the top trends that are altering and enhancing home spaces in India.
Cantilevers. A cantilever is a rigid structural element like a beam or slab that protrudes horizontally out of the main structure of a building. The cantilevered structure almost seems to float on air. While small balconies of such type have existed for eons, construction technology has now enabled large cantilevers, that can even become large rooms. A cantilever allows for glass facades on multiple sides, bringing in more sunlight and garden views. It works wonderfully to enhance spectacular views especially in hill or seaside homes. The space below the cantilever can be transformed to a semi-covered garden, porch or a sit-out deck. Cantilevers also help conserve ground space, for lawns or backyards, while enabling more built-up area. Cantilevers need to be designed and constructed carefully else the structure could be unstable and lead to floor vibrations.
Butterfly roofs. Roofs don’t need to be flat - in fact roof design can completely alter the size and feel of the space inside. A butterfly roof is a dramatic roof arrangement shaped, as the name suggests, like a butterfly. It is an inverted version of the typical sloping roof - two roof surfaces slope downwards from opposing edges to join around the middle in the shape of a mild V. This creates more height inside the house and allows for high windows which let in more light. On the inside, the sloping ceiling can be covered in wood, aluminium or metal to make it look stylish. The butterfly roof is less common and is sure to add uniqueness to your home. Leading Indian architecture firms, Sameep Padora’s sP+a and Khosla Associates, have used this style to craft some stunning homes and commercial projects. The Butterfly roof was first used by Le Corbusier, the Swiss-French architect who later designed the city of Chandigarh, in his design of the Maison Errazuriz, a vacation house in Chile in 1930.
Skylights. Designing a home to allow natural light in is always preferred. However, spaces, surrounding environment and privacy issues don’t always allow for large enough windows. Skylights are essentially windows in the roof, though they can take a variety of forms. A well-positioned skylight can fill a room with natural light and make a huge difference to small rooms as well as large living areas. However, skylights must be intelligently designed to suit the climate and the room. Skylights facing north, if on a sloping roof, will bring in soft light, while a skylight on a flat roof will bring in sharp glare in the afternoons. In the Indian climate, a skylight will definitely reduce the need for artificial lighting but could also increase the need for air-conditioning during the warm months. Apart from this cleaning a skylight requires some effort. Nevertheless, a skylight is a very stylish addition to a home, and one that has huge practical value.
Staircases. Staircases are no longer just functional. In modern houses, staircases are being designed as aesthetic elements in themselves, sometimes even taking the centre-stage. While the form and material depend significantly on practical considerations, there are several trendy options. Floating staircases are hugely popular in modern, minimalist homes and add lightness to a normally heavy structure. Materials like glass, wood, metal and even coloured acrylic are being used in staircases. Additionally, spaces under staircases are being creatively used for storage or home accents.
Exposed Brick Walls. Brickwork is traditionally covered with plaster and painted. However, ‘exposed’ bricks, that is un-plastered masonry, is becoming popular in homes, restaurants and cafes. It adds a rustic and earthy feel. Exposed brick surfaces can be used in home interiors, on select walls or throughout, as well as exteriors. Exposed bricks need to be treated to be moisture proof. They are also prone to gathering dust and mould, making regular cleaning a must.
Cement work. Don’t underestimate cement and concrete when it comes to design potential. Exposed concrete interiors, like exposed brick, are becoming very popular. The design philosophy is ‘Less is more’ - the structure is simplistic and pops of colour are added through furniture and soft furnishings.
When building your home, it is important to use strong and durable materials. A value-added premium product with high compressive strength, Birla Gold cement is used to make tough, impermeable concrete that sets quickly, lasts long and minimises cracking. Its durability will ensure that your dream home always looks new and the steel structure inside remains protected. Birla Gold offers variants that are optimised for different needs. The unique hydraulic binding properties of the Birla Gold Premium cement variant prevent seepage, making it resistant to even corrosive water, especially important for houses in coastal cities. The Birla Gold Royal cement variant provides very high strength and is perfect for the foundation. As the video below says, with the different varieties of cement that Birla Gold offers, you can build the home of your dreams.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Birla Gold Premium Cement and not by the Scroll editorial team.