‘The Castle by Franz Kafka is a work of genius’
Sugata Bose, Author, His Majesty’s Opponent
The Man without Qualities by Robert Musil This is a literary masterpiece that can only evoke admiration and envy in an historian. Its characters — Ulrich, the hero, Moosbrugger, the villain and Diotima, the socialite, are unforgettable. The Castle by Franz Kafka Kafka’s posthumously published novel is a work of genius on the theme of skepticism and faith. Rarely has the device of religious allegory been so leavened by humour.
This skillful telling of the pilgrim’s progress has renewed salience in our ethically uncertain times. The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric Conceived during World War II by a Yugoslav author, this novel captures the myriad tensions that attended the crossing from empire to nation.
Spanning centuries, the bridge is witness to the complex relationships between generations. Gora by Rabindranath Tagore Tagore’snovel provides one of the most brilliant fictional representations of the relationship between isms. The character of the mother, Anandmoyi, will be immortal in the history of literature. Pather Dabi by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. This is a pioneering novel on the theme of diaspora. The fact that the British government banned it upon publication is a measure of its power and success.
‘Autumn Leaves epitomises jazz in its most soulful way’
Shibani Kashyap, singer
Dil Cheez Kya Hai (Umrao Jaan) This is one of my favourite tracks, sung by one of my favourite singers Asha Bhosle. I remember winning my first all-India vocal music competition with this song. Black Velvet by Alanah Myles This blues-rock song just gets me going. It won a Grammy award. I used to perform this song with my rock band in college and still continue to sing it. I play the guitar and I love the distortion tone and the lead riffs in this song.
Autumn Leaves (Les Portes De La Nuit) It’s a very old and popular jazz song, which was originally sung in French and then recreated by legends like Nat King Cole. The song epitomises jazz in its most soulful way. I love singing it with its swing beat or with a regular 4/4. Jaane Jaa Dhoondta Phir Raha (Jawaani Diwaani) A work by singing genius Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle. This song was the first time a live bass was used in Bollywood.
The song’s usage of multiple part-harmonies in vocals makes it stand out. Sajna Aa Bhi Jaa (Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II) This track will always be my favourite, as it started a new sound wave in the industry. It was my first Bollywood number, and I used the technique of vocal effect using a Vocoder, which became hugely popular.
‘All Stir Fry is a great place for a casual lunch or dinner’
Raghu Deora, Executive Sous Chef, Taj Lands End
Soam (Babulnath) This place has fantastic vegetarian fare. Sometimes we need to wait for a table, but it’s totally worth it. I love the paanki and its variations and the naachni dosa All Stir Fry, The Gordon House Hotel (Colaba) A great place for a casual lunch or dinner.
The quick wok section is my favourite as it lets me choose my own ingredients, sauces and style of cooking. Starboard, The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (Colaba) An excellent place for authentic Mexican food. They have an amazing bar and live music. My favourite dishes are the Mole Negro, Arroz Mexicana, Black Bean Rice, Tortilla grand Extapa and Muchos Nachos. Bharat Excellensea (Ballard Estate) They serve great and fresh seafood.
I love the Neer Dosa and Prawns Gassi. The Mutton Sukkha and fried King Fish are also among my favourites. US Club (Navy Nagar) They make great breakfast and Akuri at the Teesix. Apart from the Mini Punjab kebabs, even their beverages are inexpensive. The service is a little slow, but the facilities more than make up for it.
‘Director Rajkumar Hirani knows how to capture emotions’
Kabir Khan, Director
Sholay (1975) I have never seen so many iconic characters in one film; be it Thakur,
Gabbar or even Soorma Bhopali. When I watched this film as a kid, I felt it had been very well shot. And even now, I feel it’s one of the best-made films I’ve ever seen. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983) This film was ahead of its time.
Its premise was simple, but the way it tackles different issues makes you realise the power of its narrative and direction. Kundan Shah delivered a gem with it.
Junoon (1979) This is one of the first Shyam Benegal films I watched. Its realism is touching. The way Shyam babu has gone into the nuances of the ‘real’ touch makes it a classic. As an audience member, I can see the attention to detail. It shows the power of realism.
Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) It’s so endearing, but it still delivers a powerful message without hampering the storyline in its pace and detailing. Raju Hirani knows how to capture the emotions and still maintain the real-reel magic.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) Seriously, ZNMD can easily be called one of the best-directed films in recent times. The way the characters, their emotions and progressions have been handled in the film is stunning. But in the end, it’s all because of Zoya’s amazing directorial rein over the film.