The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is an akhbari sher (newspaper tiger). It’s base here is nothing,” says Yugal Kishor Sharan Shastri, sitting in a chai shop teetering on the edge of a filthy little pond in the dirty little town that’s Ayodhya.
A show like this comes once in a generation. With Looking Glass, an exhibition of 20 contemporary artists mounted at four cultural institutions in Delhi, we have the rare chance of looking at the most established and respected among India’s contemporary artists all at once.
If one maintains steady friendships, one can spot the enemy better. That was Kailash Kher’s oracular reply to my query on why Sony Music has come out with what promises to be the ‘Complete Works’ of the not-yet-40 artist.
Of all the things European imported into Indian music in the 19th century, two instruments — the harmonium and the violin — have been remarkably Indianised. Both the instruments have been used extensively in classical and filmy music.
There possibly isn’t any other person to have ever been called a ‘Bold Warrior of Photography’. Deen Dayal won the unique, ironical title of ‘Musawwir Jung Raja Bahadur’ in 1892 after having boosted the ego of the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad with a series of flattering portraits.
I don’t need to sell paintings anymore,” says Ram Kumar without a shred of insincerity. His life may explain why. The 86-year-young artist is having his fifth ‘semi-retrospective’, the first of which happened at Calcutta’s Birla Academy in 1980.
I can squarely blame my early bias against Ravi Shankar on my mother. She has a loose grip over classical grammar. But having been born in a musically plugged-in family that at times hosted Allauddin Khan and his son Ali Akbar, among others, at their Calcutta house, she has a keen ear.
Muzaffar Ali loves to flit between the arts. His Wiki stub claims he’s a film-maker, fashion designer, poet, artist, music-lover, revivalist and social worker.
Rodrigo Moya took quite a dive to keep his ideology in sight. Back in the 1970s, “the corrupt Mexican government co-opted journalists”, says the 76-year-old photographer on phone from his home outside Mexico City.
Ready Reckoner As the India Art Summit jamboree draws to a close, Amitava Sanyal looks at the who’s who and what’s what of Indian art. A limited primer and pretentious posers for arty parties.
It’s 15 years since Vishal Bhardwaj started composing music for films — and, boy, has he come a long way. Compared to his seven titles as director, he has scored for 34 films — something even some established composers have failed to notch up in this while.
Rameshwar Broota likes to work on large canvases. “I like the action,” says the 70-year-old artist, swinging an imaginary brush in the air. “When I scrape paint for the details, greater-than-lifesize gets more accuracy... When you magnify, so many things are added and subtracted.”
What’s not political?” asks Pradip Saha rhetorically. The former editor of the Down to Earth magazine is explaining why he dropped the tagline ‘political films’ from the upcoming fourth edition of the Magic Lantern Foundation’s annual festival of documentaries.
It's a bit like getting into a country. You have to show your passport at several checkpoints. You are asked why you want to get in and frisking is a rite of passage. If there's something irregular, you may be taken to a side for more questioning. Amitava Sanyal writes.
I know I can be disappointed again when I put my tuppence this year on Toy Story 3. But there's reason for hope - reason that can put the film buzzing lightyears ahead of competition.