TV shows

‘Iron Fist’ TV show has lots of martial arts and then some

Brett Chan, the show’s stunt co-ordinator, says that the Netflix show is nothing like ‘Daredevil’, ‘Luke Cage’ and ‘Jessica Jones’.

The newest defender of humankind joins the ranks this week. Following the successful Netflix-Marvel productions of Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Luke Cage, Iron Fist has made its debut on the streaming platform on March 17, introducing us to the final and fourth defender and readying the streets for an eventual bigger fight in The Defenders, also set for release in 2017.

Scott Buck’s Iron Fist tells the story of billionaire Danny Rand (Finn Jones), who returns to New York City 15 years after surviving a plane crash. Danny has spent the years training in martial arts in the mystical city of K’un L’un. Having plunged his hand into the molten heart of a dragon, he has gained the powers to invoke the iron fist when needed. On his return, Danny tries to reconnect with his legacy and his friends, but is forced to use his kung fu skills and superpowers to fight a new enemy.

Previous Marvel-Netflix adaptations of the Defenders series have been consistently breaking out of the superhero action genre, and similar things can be expected from Iron Fist.

But not all the noise surrounding Iron Fist has been positive. The show was first called out for cultural appropriation, and for missing an obvious opportunity for diversity and representation. Jones and Henwick have defended the series, hoping that viewers will look at the context before judging it. And it is being judged – early reviews do not promise the binge-worthiness of Jessica Jones or Daredevil.

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Iron Fist.

But there is a lot to look forward to here – a good cast, an interesting origin story and elements of the mystical. The series is based on martial arts, but it isn’t all action, stunt coordinator Brett Chan told Scroll.in. “The grounding of the episodes, and what the producers wanted was definitely different with regard to how we tell the story,” he said. “They were trying to diverge into Danny’s character, to give the character more substance. They really play a lot on the characters around him who help build his character, to exemplify or to amplify the good and bad around people. It is also different in the aspect of how it looks. Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are very dark, whereas this is very different.”

Finn Jones played Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones, where he didn’t get too many opportunities to wield a sword. But as Iron Fist, Jones had big shoes to fill. “This was a little bit different for him because what he had to do was really train for some things,” Chan said. “He had a very hectic schedule, so it was hard for him to even to be able to get to do a lot of training. Martial arts isn’t something you can just pick up, or train for every once in a while. It’s something you need to be really involved in, it’s a lifestyle.”

Finn Jones (left) on the sets of Iron Fist.
Finn Jones (left) on the sets of Iron Fist.

Iron Fist isn’t Chan’s first project with Netflix. He has been stunt coordinator for the company’s original series Marco Polo, which relies heavily on martial arts. But the preparation for the two shows couldn’t be more different.

“The Chinese martial arts evolved,” Brett explained. “When we were doing Marco Polo, it’s the 13th century, so only certain martial arts were developed by then. It was easier for us to navigate that, to see which kind of martial arts we can teach, and alter what is being practised for a war combat situation, when needed. With Iron Fist we put aspects of the older styles, Wing Chun, animal styles, and the Wushu style.”

Since the series producers wanted to minimise wire work, Finn and his stunt double had to work hard to make the stunts convincing. “With wire work you can do fantastical things that are very superhuman, which they [the producers] wanted to keep away off, to keep Danny Rand/Iron Fist very real,” Chan said. “But we were able to play with his martial arts more and make it more modern and still use the elements of older forms to give it some authenticity of K’un L’un.”

The real star on the sets was Jessica Henwick, who plays Colleen Wing, the katana-carrying Japanese martial arts expert in the show. “She trained six hours a day with us,” Chan revealed. “Whether she was training or not, she would make it to class.”

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Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing in Iron Fist.

Chan has several action movies and TV shows to his credit, having worked in The Last Samurai (2003), X-Men 2 (2003) and Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans (2009). What would he like to do next? The Bourne Series, or a production of an epic scale like Mulan or The Raid: Redemption.

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Young Indians now like their traditional food with a twist

Indian food with international influences is here to stay.

With twenty-nine states and over 50 ethnic groups, India’s diversity is mind-boggling to most foreigners. This diversity manifests itself across areas from clothing to art and especially to food. With globalisation, growth of international travel and availability of international ingredients, the culinary diversity of India has become progressively richer.

New trends in food are continuously introduced to the Indian palate and are mainly driven by the demands of generation Y. Take the example of schezwan idlis and dosas. These traditional South Indian snacks have been completely transformed by simply adding schezwan sauce to them – creating a dish that is distinctly Indian, but with an international twist. We also have the traditional thepla transformed into thepla tacos – combining the culinary flavours of India and Mexico! And cous cous and quinoa upma – where niche global ingredients are being used to recreate a beloved local dish. Millennials want a true fusion of foreign flavours and ingredients with Indian dishes to create something both Indian and international.

So, what is driving these changes? Is it just the growing need for versatility in the culinary experiences of millennials? Or is it greater exposure to varied cultures and their food habits? It’s a mix of both. Research points to the rising trend to seek out new cuisines that are not only healthy, but are also different and inspired by international flavours.

The global food trend of ‘deconstruction’ where a food item is broken down into its component flavours and then reconstructed using completely different ingredients is also catching on for Indian food. Restaurants like Masala Library (Mumbai), Farzi Café (Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru) and Pink Poppadum (Bengaluru) are pushing the boundaries of what traditional Indian food means. Things like a kulcha pizza, dal chaawal cutlet and chutney foam are no longer inconceivable. Food outlets that stock exotic ingredients and brands that sell traditional Indian packaged snacks in entirely new flavours are also becoming more common across cities.

When it comes to the flavours themselves, some have been embraced more than others. Schezwan sauce, as we’ve mentioned, is now so popular that it is sometimes even served with traditional chakna at Indian bars. Our fascination with the spicy red sauce is however slowly being challenged by other flavours. Wasabi introduced to Indian foodies in Japanese restaurants has become a hit among spice loving Indians with its unique kick. Peri Peri, known both for its heat and tanginess, on the other hand was popularised by the famous UK chain Nandos. And finally, there is the barbeque flavour – the condiment has been a big part of India’s love for American fast food.

Another Indian snack that has been infused with international flavours is the beloved aloo bhujia. While the traditional gram-flour bhujia was first produced in 1877 in the princely state of Bikaner in Rajasthan, aloo bhujia came into existence once manufacturers started experimenting with different flavours. Future Consumer Limited’s leading food brand Tasty Treat continues to experiment with the standard aloo bhujia to cater to the evolving consumer tastes. Keeping the popularity of international flavours in mind, Tasty Treat’s has come up with a range of Firangi Bhujia, an infusion of traditional aloo bhujia with four of the most craved international flavours – Wasabi, Peri Peri, Barbeque and Schezwan.

Tasty Treat’s range of Firangi Bhujia has increased the versatility of the traditional aloo bhujia. Many foodies are already trying out different ways to use it as a condiment to give their favourite dish an extra kick. Archana’s Kitchen recommends pairing the schezwan flavoured Firangi Bhujia with manchow soup to add some crunch. Kalyan Karmakar sprinkled the peri peri flavoured Firangi Bhujia over freshly made poha to give a unique taste to a regular breakfast item. Many others have picked a favourite amongst the four flavours, some admiring the smoky flavour of barbeque Firangi Bhujia and some enjoying the fiery taste of the peri peri flavour.

Be it the kick of wasabi in the crunch of bhujia, a bhujia sandwich with peri peri zing, maska pav spiced with schezwan bhujia or barbeque bhujia with a refreshing cold beverage - the new range of Firangi Bhujia manages to balance the novelty of exotic flavours with the familiarity of tradition. To try out Tasty Treat’s Firangi Bhujia, find a store near you.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Tasty Treat and not by the Scroll editorial team.