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 Real Estate | Sustainability | Green Buildings | Smart Cities | Urban Agenda

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Breathe fresh air with these indoor plants

The cities that we’re dwelling in are constantly becoming toxic cocktails, leaving us the air too bad to breathe in. But ever wondered that the air that you’re breathing inside the comfort of your homes could be equally or even more polluted.
Indoor air pollution is caused due to paints and varnishes on walls and furniture, dust, indoor smoking et al. Bad indoor air quality is leading to some serious illnesses that include respiratory disorders and lung impairment along with eye irritation and headache. A startling revelation made by a World Health Organisation (WHO) report states that 1.3 million people die in India due to indoor air pollution. But the nature is abundant and has given us enough reasons not to worry as there are certain plants that help clean up the indoor air.

Plants that produce fresh air
Studies from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other research organisations reveal that there are three common, easily-available plants that are known to remove toxins from indoor air, enriching it with oxygen. These are the Areca Palm (living room plant), Mother-in-law’s Tongue (bedroom plant) and Money Plant (specialist plant).

Above (L-R): Areca Palm, Mother-in-law's Tongue
Below (L-R): Money Plant, Aloe Vera

Areca Palm helps remove carbon dioxide and converts it into oxygen. It is mandatory to take these plants outdoors every 3-4 months.
Mother-in-law’s Tongue is rightly called the bedroom plant because of its ability to remove carbon dioxide, thereby converting it into oxygen during night time.
Money Plant is called a specialist plant for a special reason that it removes formaldehydes and other volatile chemicals, and when it comes to cleaning indoor air, it’s the best option you have.
Aloe Vera is also a very great option as it helps clear out formaldehyde and benzene that can arise from paints and chemical-based cleaners. An added bonus is that you have a home remedy for your cuts and burns. Aloe Vera works wonders for skin and hair too. An important point to note here is that Aloe Vera is a sun-loving plant and prefers dry soil so it is advisable not to water them frequently.
All these plants are low maintenance, but it is necessary to wipe the leaves quite often or else it will not serve its purpose. The pores on the leaves get clogged due to dust and other particles making them non-functional.

Adorn your home with a green wall

Green wall made with plastic bottles

Wondering what to do with those plastic bottles and containers that are of no use. Why not contribute to the environment by putting them to the best use! If these plastic bottles end up in landfill and ultimately burnt, they will lead to the worst kind of air pollution. But to your surprise, using them in a way can help you clean indoor air. You just need to cut them open, put in some soil and manure and plant a Money Plant. You can use as many containers as you can, and then tie them up with sutli or any rope that’s easily available to you, and you’ve your own green wall inside your home – the most economical way.
Head to your nearest vendor today and get hold of these plants to make yourself and your home healthy and green.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Recipe for green buildings growth in India: A mix of trained professionals, govt incentives

The green building industry across the globe is growing by leaps and bounds. In the United States, green building sector of the construction industry created around 2.3 million jobs in 2015. The numbers are poised to grow further as the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study, released by U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and prepared by Booz Allen Hamilton, reveals that green buildings will alone create 3.3 million jobs in the US by 2018. While green buildings in India account for less than 5 percent of the current sock, winds of change are blowing, though gradually.

A statistic by the Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, of which USGBC is a contributing partner, reveals that by 2018, green buildings in India will grow by 20 percent largely driven by environmental regulations and demand for healthier neighbourhoods. The top three sectors that will fuel the growth of green buildings in the country are new high-rise residential, communities and mixed-use development.

Green building trends in India

India currently ranks third in LEED green building numbers outside the United States. Operational cost savings in the long run have been a major driver of green buildings growth in India. LEED-certified green buildings have translated into reduction in operational costs by 13.6 percent for new construction and 8.5 percent for existing building projects.

Respondents of the SmartMarket report from India hope to save 14% in operational costs over a period of five years for new green buildings, while they expect 13% operational cost savings over five years for green retrofit and renovation projects. The report also reveals that 24% Indian respondents will be undergoing existing building retrofit, while 26 percent of them will undergo new green institutional construction.

 Need for trained professionals

Real estate growth and urban development in India have gained momentum due to the various schemes and initiatives launched by the government. These include the ‘100 Smart Cities’ and ‘Housing for All by 2022’ mission among others. Data revealed by RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) in the research report ‘Real Estate and Construction Professionals in India by 2020’ prospects a demand-supply gap of 44 million core professionals that include civil engineers, architects and planners, by 2020. This therefore indicates the urgent need of training architecture and civil engineering students to make them skilled and prepare them for competitive careers in the green building economy.

Keeping this in mind, USGBC has joined hands with the Knowledge Institute of Technology (KIOT) in Salem, Tamil Nadu to train 41 civil and mechanical engineering students in the LEED Lab course, at the end of which they shall appear for the LEED Green Associate (GA) examination. LEED Lab is a multidisciplinary, immersive, and comprehensive course which covers energy use, water consumption, indoor environmental quality, waste reduction, and overall site impact. Since students get a chance to carry out certification of an existing building, they get hands-on experience and practical knowledge to excel as sustainability professionals in future.

KIOT University, Salem Tamil Nadu

Incentives for all the stakeholders

In order to promote sustainable development in the nation, several states are considering mandatory energy conservation and green buildings codes, along with offering sops for green construction. Government incentives in the form of property tax reductions and increased floor area ratio (FAR) are prevalent in the Indian green building economy.

However, incentives are offered only to developers of green buildings. The consumers are kept aloof of the incentives. Demand and supply have a direct co-relation. Developers shall construct green buildings only if they’re economically profitable and necessarily if there’s demand in the market for them. Besides educating people about the benefits of dwelling in green buildings, it’s necessary that even they be given tax incentives that developers enjoy. Moreover, people who are investing in a green building should get loans at subsidized interest rates.

To spur green buildings growth in India, the construction industry thus requires trained and skilled professionals, as well as there is a pressing need for incentives for all the stakeholders of the real estate industry.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Sustainability makes for good business"

A report by McKinsey & Company states that 70 percent of India is yet to be built. However, the existing stock of residential and commercial buildings across the country has already put an immense pressure on the resources as they guzzle huge amounts of energy and water. In India during 2011-12, electricity alone accounted for more than 57 percent of the total energy consumption, with 40 percent of electricity being consumed by building sector, reveals National Statistical Organisation’s (NSO) Energy Statistics 2013.

Existing buildings in India guzzle huge amount of energy and water

Experts suggest that existing buildings hold a lot of potential when it comes to energy and water savings if they are retrofitted with green and sustainable features. LEED for Building Operation and Maintenance (O+M) rating system is a tool that is helping improve the efficiency of existing buildings across the globe, thus reducing their carbon footprint.

India has also set its feet towards operational efficiency as a national capital based building is the first in the country to adopt a top-rated retrofit from the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Paharpur Business Centre, is touted as the healthiest building in New Delhi as it boasts of an air filtering technology that ensures best indoor air quality, and is India’s first top-rated LEED O+M existing building. “Sustainability makes for good business and energy efficiency is a low hanging fruit”, believes Kamal Meattle - CEO, Paharpur Business Centre, stating that good indoor air quality enhances occupants’ health which leads to more productivity and thus makes a good business case for brands and corporates.

Paharpur Business Centre, New Delhi

NSO also reveals that by 2040, building sector in India will consume 76 percent of electricity. A major chunk of electricity demand is slated to come from the residential sector. The condition will become more severe if the drought-like situation that the country is facing currently continues. Hence, building green is no more an option for India.

The green building movement, pioneered by USGBC’s globally recognised rating system – LEED, has gripped the world with excitement with steps taken every day to contribute to triple bottom line – people, planet and profit. India too has marched towards sustainability as it ranks third among top 10 countries for LEED green buildings outside United States. Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, of which USGBC was a contributing partner, states that green buildings will grow by 20% in India by 2018.

Green buildings development initially was centred towards reducing environmental impact during design and construction phase, which has now evolved to put much focus on optimising energy utilisation and ensuring operational efficiency. Keeping this in mind, the latest version of USGBC’s innovation – LEED v4, has been developed which emphasizes energy efficiency and operational performance.

Operational cost savings has been one of the major drivers of the green building industry growth. Presenting on the business case of green buildings, USGBC has revealed that there has been a reduction in operational costs by 13.6% for new construction and 8.5% for existing building projects. Respondents of the Smart Market report hope to save 14% in operational costs over a period of five years for new green buildings, while they expect 13% operational cost savings over five years for green retrofit and renovation projects. The report also reveals that 24% Indian respondents will be undergoing existing building retrofit.

Even after achieving the highest level of the world’s premiere green building rating system - LEED Platinum, certain projects are constantly taking steps to enhance operational efficiency. “We have decided to go for conversion of CFL/PL/T5 and T8 into LED in current financial year to reduce further unit consumption”, said Dibakar Mishra - Sr. Manager Project, Wokhardt Hospitals Ltd – Wockhardt South Mumbai is the first hospital in Asia to earn LEED Platinum certification.

Wockhardt South Mumbai

USGBC has extended its innovation to developing the LEED Dynamic Plaque which helps gauge the performance of a building in real time. It’s a scorecard of the building that doles out information based on energy and water consumption, waste, transportation and human experience.

LEED Dynamic Plaque measures building performance in real time

Operational efficiency translates into enhanced building performance. “20% energy performance can be enhanced with improvement in operational efficiency”, said Rumi Engineer - Sr. General Manager, Energy Management and Greener Initiatives, Godrej & Boyce.

Citing how commissioning is important for operational efficiency and what is required to measure building performance, Rajat Malhotra – COO West Asia, Integrated Facilities Management, JLL said, “A transparent reporting mechanism is crucial to measure building performance. 90% of buildings don’t get commissioned for HVAC, thus we need to interact with contractors and engineers to resolve this. A commissioning report must be used as reference for retrofits in the future. LEED is forcing an advanced commissioning which is very good.”

“Performance period must be continuous. It should be between 3 months and 2 years,” said Ken Simpson, Director, Energy/HVAC, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) while mentioning what steps could to taken for operational efficiency. “Reading energy bills, auditing waste, banning smoking, surveying indoor air quality are the few things that one can do,” added Simpson.

He also stresses on the need to conduct energy audit as energy auditing and commissioning can provide savings of 10-20% with an average payback of slightly over one year.

Skilled and trained staff is also the need of the hour when it comes to maintaining the operational efficiency of the building as pointed out by Engineer. Building owners can take inspiration from organisations of developing counties who are using online courses to train green accountants who will be responsible for tracking factory emissions and carbon-offset credits as part of the Paris climate deal signed in 2015.
Putting focus on energy efficiency, Simpson commented, “Paint everything white as lighter interior surfaces reflect natural daylight into rooms, reducing electrical lighting needs.”

Turn OFF lights during daytime: Switch to white interiors

Citing its achievements, LEED’s role in enhancing operational efficiency is therefore undeniable.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Technology doesn't alone suffice a smart city

(With inputs from Geetanjali Prasad)

Ever since the '100 Smart Cities' mission has been announced in India, the entire nation has been gripped with excitement, with each passing day witnessing brainstorming for the same.

Experts are of the opinion that technology is not the only factor that defines a smart city. "Systems under people need to be in synergy, only then it can be truly called a smart city," says H. M. Shivanand Swamy, Executive Director, Centre of Excellence in Urban Transport, and further explaining that a smart city is determined by economic activities and development, sustainability and smart people. 
Furthering the discussion on the dependence of technology for smart cities, Akshay Aggarwal, Vice Chancellor, Gujarat Technological University, says, "Technology that is smart today might become a nightmare of tomorrow,” while mentioning that his university now boasts of a smart city lab.

While technology forms a small part of smart cities, there are many aspects that really make a city smart.

Energy efficiency forms an integral part of smart cities, and renewable sources of energy using wind, solar and hydro power is indeed the need of the hour which will take cities of future in the right path of being environmentally responsible. 

Eminent civil servant from Gujarat, Punamchand Parmar, raises a spirit of hope and grit in this concern while announcing,"I will rate the engineer or architect number one who will build a city which will not consume a single unit of electricity".

Much focus is on the empowerment of local government bodies to ensure smooth functioning of smart cities. "Local municipalities in India have a dearth of funds and the centre should direct appropriate funds to the municipalities for the development of smart cities," says Utpal Sharma, Director, Nirma University.

Sustainability, undoubtedly, is the keyword when it comes to smart cities, and each expert have their own interpretation of sustainability. Loveleen Garg, Head - Environment and Sustainability, GIFT City points out that carbon is a sustainability indicator. GIFT City has pledged towards green and sustainable future by joining hands with U. S. Green Building Council.

A representational picture of GIFT City

Anil Roy, Associate Professor, CEPT University opines that smart city and sustainability should be used separately. "Indian cities, though not smart yet, have sustained for many years now," he says.  "Sustainability is a subjective term. While many Indian cities sustained, cities like Fatehpur Sikri did not survive because of socio-economic reasons. Hence a synergy between all these aspects in necessary," says Kedarnath Rao Ghorpade, President, Building Environment India, who is currently working on three smart cities, namely, Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Jabalpur and Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

Furthering the thought on how sustainability is prevalent in India, Punamchand Parmar established the relation between Vastu and sustainability by saying,"Vastu is not superstition, in its essence it talks of being sustainable by using wind and sunlight in the right way while designing and constructing homes." 

Scot Horst, Chief Product Officer, U. S. Green Building Council rightly points out 'cities are made by groups not individuals', a sentiment shared by all agreeing to the fact that smart is in sharing, co-operating and being sympathetic towards others in the community. Efforts and determination by each stakeholder will eventually lead to the making of a smart sustainable world. 

Adding to this thought, renowned architect BV Doshi remarks, "If we think of our home as a small city and our city as a big home, change will come." Horst also comments on what role LEED - a premier green building certification system powered by U. S. Green Building Council - plays. "Change is happening one brick at a time but we have to change smartly, and LEED is a tool that knits us together. LEED is a global tool with local implications," he says. 

'Change is happening, but we've to change smartly'

Finally it has been agreed in unison that in an Indian context, not just cities, villages need to be made smart so migration does not occur and each unit is self-sufficient without burdening urban areas. 

Technology and nature need to be brought in co-operation with each other for a truly smart city for the people.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

‘LEED is a connecting tool for buildings and communities’

“Citizens are city’s eyes and ears. Let people be smart and green certified before buildings and cities are,” exclaimed Mala Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, PEC Solutions Green Designs while explaining that any smart city development would be futile without people being smart.

Architects and planners agree in unison that people should be at the centre of any development, but time and again the question arises whether people are really ready and actually contribute to the overall growth and development of the nation, more specifically cities and buildings. “Even though we design buildings keeping in mind people’s choice, it’s uncertain that they are using it in the right manner,” reasoned Roshni Udyavar, Head of Department, Rachana Sansad Institute of Environmental Architecture.

Awareness among people about green buildings and smart cities and how to smartly use the resources at their disposal is much required. Architecture students agree that education and awareness among city dwellers is lacking, let alone villages where literacy rate is comparatively lower than urban centres. They feel as students and alert citizens of the nation, they should conduct education programs in villages.

Undeniably, well-informed citizens seem to find bliss in ignorance as they just try to wash their hands away from their duties. Energy-efficient green buildings could function and operate wholly and efficiently if the occupants utilise the resources in a responsible manner, especially in commercial buildings where occupants feel that since they are not the owners, it’s fine if they keep the lights, ACs and computer systems switched on even after they leave the premises. To encounter this, Rajesh Rawal, Towner Planner, Gujarat retaliated, “If government officials are not switching off lights and ACs, they should be fined by deducting their salary.”

Winds of change are blowing though, and definitely in the right direction. There are self-motivated individuals who are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. “We do not permit desktop computers and only allow laptops in our office building because desktop normally consumes about 250 -260 watts of energy as opposed to laptop which only takes up 50 watts of energy,” said Kamal Meattle, Paharpur Business Centre. Paharpur Business Centre in New Delhi, which can accommodate 500 employees, is India’s first top-rated LEED O+M existing building.

Even residents of housing societies are taking initiatives to ensure that their activities have minimal impact on environment, and to achieve this, technology is helping them a great deal. “We’ve created a WhatsApp group wherein we keep on updating about municipality decisions and directives and what each one of us could to make our society green. I’m against wastage of water, so I keep on messaging in the group asking them whether they have closed their taps when not in use”, said Manjusha Pawar, an active and alert resident of Laxmi Narayan Residency – an existing building in the Indian city of Thane which has rooftop solar and rainwater harvesting system in place, and is credited to be the widest building in Asia.

Thane, along with its neighbouring city Mumbai and many other parts of India, is facing severe water shortage for past many months which was followed by a weak monsoon in the year 2015. For Pawar, who is very environmentally conscious, it’s disheartening to see other residents of her society waste water carelessly. “People in my society don’t know the value of water. They waste 5 buckets of water just to wash a 150 sq. ft. balcony. 60 percent of water problem in my society is because of these ignorant people,” she says.

Pawar therefore feels a possible solution to this problem could be by charging each of the apartment for the water they actually consume.  “Water bill is paid by the society to the municipality. Each of the flat owners contribute to this amount by paying maintenance to the society. When I’m not wasting water, why should I bear the brunt of a humongous amount in the water bill. It’s better each flat has their own water meter and based on that, they pay the water bills,” she added.

Ken Simpson, Director, Energy/HVAC, Green Business Certification Inc. suggests that to maintain operational efficiency of buildings, one must switch to native plants. Pawar recalled an incident when she approached the apex committee of her society to get a Neem (Indian Lilac) tree planted in her society garden. “Neem is a local variety, has many health benefits, provides ample shade and keeps mosquitoes away as opposed to certain European tress in our garden that are just show-trees,” says Pawar.

The housing society is also taking steps towards energy efficiency as they keep the common passage lights switched off during the daytime. Very recently, they’ve replaced all the CFL tube lights with LED lights. The residents’ active participation in greening activities has fetched the society third place in ‘Thane Go Green Eco Award’ for best energy conservation. Laxmi Narayan Residency is undoubtedly setting an example of community engagement through its various green and sustainable initiatives.

At U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) too, community engagement is a major motto which is undertaken by the world’s premiere green building certification system - LEED. “LEED is like a connecting tool for buildings and communities. To me, the exciting thing is to inspire people so that they can make a difference in the work that they do. We are focusing on the next level of technology for us to connect as humans across the globe and we believe this can be brought about by LEED and the LEED Dynamic Plaque”, said Scot Horst, Chief Product Officer, USGBC.

Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, of which USGBC was a contributing partner, reveals that 51% of respondents from India consider creating a sense of community as one of the most important social reasons for building green, a statistic that is 22% higher than the global average.

If we are to build green and smart, community engagement and people’s participation are of utmost importance.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Building green a must for urban transformation in India

About 70% of global population will comprise of city dwellers by 2050, with Asian and African cities and towns slated to register biggest growth, reveals a United Nations forecast. Cities are getting overcrowded by the day, with each urban centre either facing shortage or having an issue related to housing, water supply, energy efficiency et al. What makes the issue even more grim are the raising environmental concerns and the impacts of climate change.

                                                      Image source: Internet

India treading the urban development path

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urban agenda has put India on the global map. Modi recently launched three major urban development schemes and those are ‘Housing for All by 2022’, ‘100 Smart Cities’ and ‘Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)’ – the scheme to provide 24/7 water supply to each and every Indian household. In addition, the government launched the ‘National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana’ (HRIDAY) scheme to preserve and revitalize urban infrastructure in heritage cities. As India is gradually taking a step towards sustainable urban transformation, challenges and opportunities are abundant.

The need for going green

India currently faces housing shortage of 2 crore units. With the announcement of ‘Housing for All by 2022’ mission, the government aims to provide housing units for the common men at affordable rates, which in turn will encourage public housing projects in India at a large scale.

This is, however, not the first time that India has taken up mass housing projects. The public housing projects that had been taken up in the past lacked the basic amenities a regular housing project boasts of, let alone the green elements.

India’s varied geography and climate easily make it vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. Developing nations like India suffer from water table degradation and an inadequate water supply to households.  Building green has thus become crucial now.
A common misconception that is held by most about green buildings is that they’re too expensive. However, a startling revelation is that there is a marginal difference in cost between a green and a conventional non-green building. In terms of residential projects, the incremental cost ranges between 0.8 to 2 percent if the quality of construction is high. Moreover, green buildings are a long-term investment as they heavily cut down on the costs later.

Green buildings help save electricity by 15 percent approximately, and there is a reduction in water consumption by 33 percent approximately. They consume less water by reducing the use of potable water, recycling grey water for re-use and recharging water tables through rainwater harvesting. Such careful use and management of water is crucial to provide adequate water supply to every Indian household which constitutes the major part of the AMRUT mission.

Besides, green buildings ensure enhanced air quality, improved natural lighting, reduced temperature fluctuations and better ventilation, which in turns means improved human health.

Major urban centres in India are already saturated, and greening initiatives in these areas can be taken up by retrofitting the existing buildings. U. S. Green Building Council’s innovation - LEED Dynamic Plaque – can help record the performance of these buildings on factors such as energy, waste, water, transport and human experience. This innovation can even be extended to heritage buildings, preserving which are a part of the HRIDAY mission. While one may argue that ancient buildings are already green – attributing to their construction, since they are already built in a way so that natural light penetrates in, timely retrofits and repairs are a must to ensure the sustainability of these buildings.

Globally, tremendous efforts are being taken to build large-scale public housing projects with green initiatives. US has many green affordable housing projects. “Hong Kong has started public housing projects that are green compliant,” said Dr. Sujata S. Govada, Founding and Managing Director, UDP International.

Lately, India has also been witnessing a revolution in the construction sector as many developers are opting to go green and building climate-responsive structures.
Kesar City in Ahmedabad is an EDGE-rated affordable housing project. Mahindra World City in Jaipur is a C40 compliant project. “It is world’s sixth and the only project in Asia to be C40 compliant,” said Manish Prasad Sinha, Sr. Consultant DES, Tech Mahindra.

Government entities in India are too taking initiatives to come up with green public housing projects. Suresh Babu, Additional Chief Planner, City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) at Municipalika 2015 mentioned that CIDCO is incorporating green features in its upcoming housing project. “We aim to construct 55,000 houses in the coming 5 years. We have a lab that specifically caters to capacity building,” added Babu.

Incentives are provided by certain government organisations to those who take green initiatives. “Thane Municipal Corporation has been in the forefront in this concern, however, the only issue regarding green buildings is that many people are not aware about it, and hence they fail to reap the benefits out of it,” asserted Mala Singh, Founder and CMD, PEC Solutions Green Designs.

Singh also commented on how our existing structures can be made climate resilient. “Green roofs and walls need to be built,” she said.

With U. S. Green Building Council’s commitment at Buildings Day, COP21, Paris to scale LEED and EDGE green buildings to more than 5 billion square feet over the next five years, expectations are raised that India becomes a larger part of this agenda.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A twisted tale of fate and love

Cast : Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Aamna Sharif, Shaad Randhawa
Director : Mohit Suri
Droolworthy : Riteish Deshmukh’s intense performance, Prachi Desai in the ‘Awari’ song, the soothing music
Cringeworthy : Sidharth Malhotra’s inability to emote well
Rating : ***

Two ill-fated love stories entwined in a vicious circle of destiny, best describes Mohit Suri’s romantic drama ‘Ek Villain’.

Guru (Sidharth Malhotra) is a ruthless goon as his devastated past haunts him. He meets a dainty, cheerful Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor), who gives him a reason to be happy and love life. They move to Mumbai from Goa to start life afresh.

Parallelly, Rakesh Mahadkar, a lower middle-class telephone repairman, is saddened because his wife Sulochana (Aamna Sharif) considers him useless as he fails to meet her needs.

Though initially, these stories run parallel, they are connected together with a predicament. What follows is a series of grief, disappointment and lots of bloodshed.

The ‘Ek (only) Villain’ turns out to be Rakesh (Riteish). But in its true sense, Riteish is the real hero for his impeccable acting and the grim look he wears on his face. He emotes with intensity and his eyes are filled with passion and depth. When he is teary-eyed, you feel an excruciating pain in your heart. He deserves a standing ovation with a huge round of applause for breaking his comic stereotype and presenting us a fierce villain, yet so endearing.

Sidharth Malhotra tries hard to be an ‘angry young man’, but fails to impress. Shraddha Kapoor is at her usual best – fragile and full of life. Aamna Sharif puts her best foot forward as a cribbing housewife. Besides, Shaad Randhawa plays his part well as a police officer who wants to catch hold of Guru. Prachi Desai enthrals with her sizzling dance performance in the ‘Awari’ song; her blazing moves are coupled with an emotional streak in her eyes and face.

The script is well thought and planned and with slick editing and a thrilling screenplay, this one surely makes for a cinematic experience.

Drag yourself to the theatres today!