Boman Irani – Many Faces, Two Sides

Over the years, as a specialist character actor Boman Irani has had many faces, many personalities and, of course, many quirks. However, he believes that at a basic level there are only two dimensions involved in creating memorable onscreen characters: External factors and Internal factors.

He explains this by using the character of Professor Virus (3 Idiots) as an example. The external factors are what the audience sees – the outlandish wig; the trousers that come up all the way to the character’s belly; the weird style of walking; and the permanent sneer. By the way, for that sneer, Boman had to wear a double gum under his upper lip!

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However, it is the internal factors that create the real character. More importantly, they define the rationale underlying the character. Continuing with the example of Professor Virus, the wig and the attire depict an old fashioned, traditional person. The walk exudes the arrogance and the sense of self importance that is deeply ingrained in the character. The sneer is, of course, a symbol of the utter disdain with which he treats people in general and his students in particular.

Boman points out that the internal factors represent the real core of the character. They are the building blocks. The external factors flow from these building blocks.

This is an idea that resonates very strongly with all of us at P Mark Mustard Oil (for which Boman Irani is the brand ambassador). The essence of the brand lies in its values, its ethics, its relentless commitment to quality, and its dedication to creating customer delight – over and over again. This has been the essence of the brand for more than eighty years. The outward manifestation of these attributes is a trusted product, attractive packaging and long-term brand leadership.

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Both these dimensions – the inner and the outer – have made P Mark Mustard Oil a brand that has been trusted across generations. Both these dimensions have played a key role in making P Mark the Mustard Specialist.

A Parsi Pickle to Tickle your Taste Buds

One of the reasons why Boman Irani is a foodie is that his family has had generations of superb chefs – including his grandmother, his mother and his wife. He has fond childhood memories of relishing a tangy pickle that is typical of old Parsi families – it is also popular in parts of Gujarat. This is a fenugreek-based pickle known as Methianoo Achaar.

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Here’s the original recipe especially for those purists who want to make it just the way it has been made across generations.

For starters, this is what you will need…

Green Mangoes with hard seeds (sliced and mixed): 3 Kg

Salt: 1.25 cups

Dry red chillies: 125 g

Fenugreek seeds: 250 g

Cumin seeds: 1 tablespoon

Turmeric powder: 3 tablespoons

Asafoetida: 15 g

Garlic (ground without water): 1 clove

Mustard Seeds (peeled): Half a cup

Mustard Seeds (unpeeled): 2 tablespoons

Sesame Oil: 4 cups

Mustard Oil: 4 cups

Take the red chillies, fenugreek, cumin, turmeric powder and asafoetida and fry them separately in a little sesame oil. Take these fried ingredients and grind them separately. Mix all the ingredients with the mango slices – all the ingredients except the unpeeled mustard seeds. Next, heat the sesame oil and the mustard oil together. Add the unpeeled mustards seeds and let the oil cool.

When the oil reaches room temperature, place the mango mixture in the oil. Pour into a sterilized pickling jar and close the mouth with a muslin cloth. Place in the sun for three to four days (taking the jar indoors at night to avoid any build-up of moisture).

And it’s done! Your authentic Methianoo Achaar is ready to spice up all your meals. Thank you, Boman Irani! What a recommendation! What a pickle!

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Professor Boman Irani’s Acting Classes…

It was past three in the morning and we were chatting with Boman Irani in his vanity van after the shoot of the television commercial for P Mark Mustard Oil. It was a very interesting experience and the conversation was scintillating. Among the plethora of topics that he discussed lay some gems for budding actors and for all those who are movie buffs.

Boman explained how he created the character of the Tabla Maestro in the new ad. Yes, there was a quirky, edgy look that emerged from an outlandish wig and an elaborate ethnic costume – but Boman doesn’t believe that wigs and costumes can create a memorable character. And he’s right – the iconic Professor Virus wasn’t just about the wig… nor was the memorable Dr Asthana created by his bald look.

In this short video, Boman talks about going the extra mile to create special characters. For the role of the Tabla Maestro, he actually took tabla lessons, which included studying and learning the body language and nuances that are typical of experienced tabla players.

Boman Irani Birthday Greetings!

The video also contains some practical pointers for young actors starting out in the industry: Boman tells them not to get intimidated by senior actors and those who are ahead of the curve. He tells them to do what they are expected to do – give it their best shot! Success will follow in due course.

Boman says that all actors should put their 100 percent into every role they play – it may or may not bring them fame or success, but this attitude of giving one’s best constitutes the crucial stepping stones that lead to fame and success eventually. And Boman should know… after all, he’s been there done that!

Grandma’s Recipe for Karela Pickle

The Karela with its characteristic bitter taste may not be a very interesting vegetable for most Indians, but we have it anyway because it’s healthy. But hey! It makes a great pickle. We dug out an old, old recipe for Karela Pickle that has been passed down from one generation to the next.

You will need…

Karela (1 Kg)

Jeera (200 g)

Dhania (200 g)

Mustard Seeds (2 tablespoons, ground)

Green Chillies (24, minced)

Ginger (3-inch piece, minced)

Juice of 18 lemons

Salt (1 tablespoon)

Mustard Oil (500 ml)

Take a dry tava and roast the Jeera and Dhania separately. Next take the Jeera, Dhania and Mustard Seeds and grind them separately.

Mix the green chillies, ginger, salt and ground spices with the lemon juice. Slowly stir this mixture into the Karelas.
Take a sterilized jar (the ones typically used for pickling) and fill it with the mixture. Tie the top (mouth of the jar) with a muslin cloth and place the jar in the sun for four days. Remember to take the jar in every night (to protect the pickle from moisture) and put it out in the sun the next morning.

After four days, you are ready to add the most important ingredient – Mustard Oil. Heat the oil till it boils, and then cool it completely. Pour it into the jar making sure that it covers the Karelas.

Your Karela Pickle is ready – and after you’ve relished it, it will completely change the way you look at the Karela!

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It’s All About an Emotional Connection

Boman Irani is currently in overdrive! In an earlier post on this blog, we had told our readers how Boman was shooting two movies (Karan Johar’s Drive and the John Abraham starrer Parmanu – The Story of Pokhran) and a television reality show (Sabse Bada Kalakar), all at the same time. That takes energy, zest – and passion!

And now we’ve found out that Boman is simultaneously shooting for a third film! This one is about Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, the well-known child rights activist. The film is called Jhalki. Boman says he signed on for the film only because he is an ardent admirer of Mr Satyarthi and his work. It is this emotional connection with the cause that got Boman interested in the film.

This same emotional connection comes into play when Boman chooses brands for endorsement. He says he looks beyond the brand and tries to establish an emotional connection with the people behind the brand. These relationships enable him to vibe with the brand, its values and its appeal to customers.

Boman Irani has been the brand ambassador for P Mark Mustard Oil for several years now – and it has been a mutually enriching journey. In this short video clip, he talks about establishing an emotional connection with the brand.

This relationship-centric approach tells us a lot about Boman Irani, not just as an actor but as a human being too. The approach exemplifies the way in which Boman Irani bonds with the characters he plays, with the movies he chooses and the people behind the movies.

At P Mark Mustard Oil, we understand this sentiment very well – because we have been forging enduring relationships with customers for more than eighty years. For us, it’s all about the emotional connection.

A Mango Pickle – with a Difference

The pickling season is upon us and for more than eighty years now, P Mark Mustard Oil has been a part of this rich Indian tradition.

Typically, pickling is an activity that mainly takes place during the summer months when the sunshine is strong and the raw mangoes are ready for plucking. North India (especially Punjab, Haryana and Delhi) has a mind-boggling array of traditional Mango Pickle recipes. We know these – and we’ve tasted them often. So let’s move to the Western part of India for a different taste, a different flavour and a different experience of the good old Indian Mango Pickle.

In Gujarat, the Kutch area and parts of Rajasthan, there is a fascinating mango pickle made with split fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek is called methi in India – hence, the folks in Gujarat call this pickle Methia Keri (Keri means mango).

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Along with the raw mangoes, split fenugreek seeds and split mustard seeds are placed in the pickling jars and put out in the sun. Here’s a little tip in case you can’t find split fenugreek and mustard seeds. Place whole fenugreek seeds and yellow (or black) mustard seeds in a grinder and create a coarse mixture. It will serve your purpose without affecting the taste.

The flavour is heightened by adding select spices like red chilli powder, turmeric powder and asafoetida (heeng). Add salt to taste – the traditional recipe uses rock salt.

The typical flavour of fenugreek blends with the sour (khatta) taste of the raw mango and the pungency of mustard to create a mellow taste that tickles the taste buds and spices your food up.

This is the amazing thing about the Indian pickling tradition – the same recipe is brought alive in so many different ways!

Yes – Mustard Oil is the Best!

P Mark Mustard Oil has been around for a long, long time – since 1933. As part of its mandate as The Mustard Specialist, the brand has been evangelizing the cause of mustard oil for several decades now.
But we aren’t the only ones speaking up for mustard oil. Over the years, many doctors (especially Cardiologist), scientists, dieticians and nutritionists have been voicing their views on mustard oil, exhorting people to go back to their grassroots and explore the diverse health benefits offered by this ancient oil.

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The interest levels regarding mustard oil are – apparently – on the rise. A recent article that appeared in leading mainstream publications like the Economic Times, Business Standard, Hindustan Times, Indian Express and Midday, highlights the multifaceted health benefits offered by mustard oil.
You can read the articles here:

Economic Times: Want to improve your heart health? Mustard oil can be really beneficial
Business Standard: Here’s why mustard oil may be healthy for your heart
Hindustan Times: Here’s why mustard oil may be healthier than olive oil and refined oils
Indian Express: Mustard oil may be one of the healthiest edible oils; here’s why

It is extremely gratifying to see a newer, younger set of decision influencers joining the cause of mustard oil and supporting its role as a cooking medium that’s healthy and nutritious. And it has always been that way. In its cold pressed form (known as Kachi Ghani in India), mustard oil still contains all the intrinsic nutritional values that it has offered – for thousands of years.