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Kunal Ray
Articles by Kunal Ray

Review: Maria Just Maria by Sandhya Mary

A novel that makes the reader ponder about what normalcy denotes, who decides what exactly is normal and whether those who set the standards are themselves the epitome of normalcy

A seemingly “normal” girl cycling down a street in Kochi, Kerala. (Matthew Williams-Ellis/Universal via Getty Images)
Updated on May 18, 2024 05:14 AM IST

When space shrinks for writing on the arts

Controversies do not sustain an art form or help popularise it. It can only happen when there is a thriving ecosystem of healthy dialogue around the arts.

TM Krishna singing at Kala Mandapam, Qaisarbagh, Lucknow. (Courtesy Mahindra Sanatkada Lucknow Festival)
Published on Apr 05, 2024 11:47 PM IST

Charlotte Ager – “Self-doubt can completely freeze you up”

The illustrator on writing, reading and being commissioned to remake several of Orhan Pamuk’s book covers

Illustrator Charlotte Ager (Courtesy the subject)
Published on Mar 29, 2024 07:16 PM IST

Musician who deeply thought about her art

Prabha Atre passed away on Saturday. In the words of music critic Mohan Nadkarni, she was an avant-garde musician alongside Kishori Amonkar and Kumar Gandharva

Born on September 13, 1932 in Pune, Prabha Atre trained in the “guru-shishya” tradition, known as the “Gurukul” system, by the two stalwarts of the Kirana Gharana — the late Pandit Sureshbabu Mane and his sister Padmabhushan Hirabai Badodekar. (HT FILE)
Published on Jan 15, 2024 12:27 PM IST

AJ Thomas – “If the narrative element is strong, the story will hold”

The author, editor and translator on The Greatest Malayalam Stories Ever Told, his new anthology that showcases the best of Malayalam short fiction

AJ Thomas, editor and translator, The Greatest Malayalam Stories Ever Told (Courtesy the subject)
Updated on Dec 16, 2023 05:50 AM IST

Actor, superstar, change: The case of Mammootty

There is no other Indian superstar to parallel Mammootty's filmography in current times.

Kaathal The Core: Jyothika and Mammootty's film
Published on Dec 15, 2023 10:15 PM IST

Ahalya Matthan - “It allows you to come close to precious historical textiles”

In The Saree in Nine Stories, the latest publication from The Registry of Sarees founded by Matthan, the saree transforms into an art object that allows the reader to interrogate the past and understand the present

Ahalya Matthan of The Registry of Sarees that has published The Saree in Nine Stories. (Courtesy the subject)
Updated on Aug 25, 2023 08:37 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Interview: Daniel Hahn, translator - “Awards are a statement of what we value”

The winner of the Ottaway Award on the importance of children’s literature, his process of translation, and his project with the University of Chicago to translate South Asian literature

Daniel Hahn photographed at the Story Museum in Oxford, UK. (John Lawrence)
Updated on May 30, 2023 09:56 AM IST
ByKunal Ray

Ways of seeing: Atul Dodiya and the cinema

The paintings in the artist’s ongoing show inspired by various Hindi and Bengali films are not imitative but are the beginning of a conversation between the artist and cinema

Uma, 2020-2022; (Sharmila Tagore as Uma in Anupama, 1966; Director Hrishikesh Mukherjee) (From the show Dr Banerjee in Dr Kulkarni’s Nursing Home & Other Paintings 2020-2022 by Atul Dodiya)
Updated on Feb 16, 2023 09:30 AM IST
ByKunal Ray

HT reviewer Kunal Ray picks his favourite read of 2022

Lavanya Karthik’s book is a brief introduction to the life of Teejan Bai, who was constantly forbidden to sing but is now synonymous with Pandavani music

Becoming the song: On Teejan Bai, an exponent of Pandavani, a folk music form involving the narration of tales from the Mahabharata. (HT Team)
Published on Dec 23, 2022 04:35 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Interview: Ramu Katakam, author, Spaces in Time – A Life in Architecture - “I yearn for a return to basics”

The veteran architect and design thinker reflects on his recent memoir and about a life spent among buildings

Architect and design thinker Ramu Katakam (Courtesy the subject)
Published on Dec 02, 2022 04:28 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Interview: Jayasree Kalathil, translator - “Read the text for what it is”

The award-winning translator from Malayalam to English on collaborating with authors and dismantling the literary canon

Translator Jayasree Kalathil (Courtesy the subject)
Published on Nov 18, 2022 09:44 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Review: Valli by Sheela Tomy

Set in Wayanad in Kerala, home to Adivasis and indigenous communities, Sheela Tomy’s dense novel bemoans the loss of a land where she grew up and documents its sustained exploitation

On the road in the Western Ghats. (HT Photo)
Published on Nov 05, 2022 01:55 AM IST
ByKunal Ray

Review: Adam by S Hareesh

S Hareesh’s fiction provides a parallel reading of the state of Kerala and its complex socio-cultural dynamics

Kerala, where the magical and the real constantly intersect. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Jun 04, 2022 01:09 AM IST
ByKunal Ray

Review: The Blue Book - A Writer’s Journal by Amitava Kumar

Several of the images used in Amitava Kumar’s book were created during a writing residency in Texas to which he was invited. The others record his observations while taking a walk, travels, objects around the house, contemporary occurrences in India, amongst others. A visual expedition into the writer’s mind, Kumar’s paintings in his journal exude a remarkable spontaneity.

Amitava Kumar’s paintings and sketches speak eloquently. (From The Blue Book - A Writer’s Journal)
Published on Mar 25, 2022 05:29 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Review: Art Cinema and India’s Forgotten Futures byRochona Majumdar

Rochona Majumdar charts the trajectory of art cinema in the country through the work of three filmmakers from Bengal – Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen and Satyajit Ray

A still from Meghe Dhaka Tara by Ritwik Ghatak. (HT Photo)
Published on Feb 04, 2022 11:05 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Rebel without a pause: A Wknd interview with Tamil writer Ambai

At 77, the legendary feminist writer has finally won a Sahitya Akademi award. So many senior writers have been overlooked, it was a bit of an embarrassment to get it, she chuckles.

 (Photo: Indian Express Archive / Amit Chakravarty)
Updated on Jan 08, 2022 07:50 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

HT reviewer Kunal Ray picks his favourite reads of 2021

Living, writing, death and loss: A son watches his father slip away while the world grieves the loss of a favourite writer

Rodrigo Garcia’s heartwarming account of the last days of his parents, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mercedes Barcha. (HT Team)
Updated on Dec 17, 2021 02:56 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Interview: M Mukundan, author, Delhi, A Soliloquy – “I always dream in Malayalam”

Winner of this year’s JCB Prize for Literature, M Mukundan talks about wandering the streets of Delhi, the power of translation, and contemporary Malayalam literature

Author M Mukundan (Courtesy JCB Prize)
Published on Dec 03, 2021 05:42 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Review: Two books on the artists Mehlli Gobhai and Somnath Hore

Through a combination of visuals and text, two books create an interface between readers and the artists and act as an entry point into the lives of the masters

A spread from Somnnath Hore; Wounds (Courtesy art1st)
Published on Sep 24, 2021 05:21 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Interview: Shilpa Gupta, artist and author, Drawing in the Dark

Shilpa Gupta’s book is a collection of critical commentaries, reflections and images of a new series of work which echoes her questions and concerns about borders – geographical and otherwise

Artist and author Shilpa Gupta (Shrutti Garg)
Published on Sep 11, 2021 03:01 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Review: This Life At Play; Memoirs by Girish Karnad

Girish Karnad’s memoirs touch on his childhood in Sirsi, his early exposure to Yakshagana, how mathematics influenced his playwriting, and his work in film

Manohar Singh in Tughlaq staged at Purana Qila, Delhi in 1972. (Courtesy HarperCollins)
Updated on Jul 23, 2021 07:14 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Review: Delhi - A Soliloquy by M Mukundan

Set in Delhi through the 1960s to the mid 1980s, this novel pulls the reader into the vortex of Malayalis living in Delhi and demonstrates how small lives are permanently changed by the big events of history

Delhi tales: Hastsal Minar stands amid concrete houses at Uttam Nagar in New Delhi. (Vipin Kumar/HT Archive)
Published on Jun 04, 2021 05:25 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Review: Finding the Raga by Amit Chaudhuri

A meditation on singing, music making, listening, and mishearing, Amit Chaudhuri’s new book combines an exploration of music with memoir

A Hindustanic classical recital: Bhimsen Joshi in a photographed dated October 5, 1987. (HT Archive)
Published on May 21, 2021 10:55 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Interview: Kripa Bhatia, artist and illustrator

The artist who is based in Mumbai has worked extensively on children’s books. Bombay Ducks, Bombay Docks (with Fleur D’Souza), a children’s book about the original inhabitants of Mumbai, which she illustrated, made it to this year’s Parag Honour List

Artist Kripa Bhatia (Courtesy Kripa B)
Published on May 14, 2021 10:48 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Interview: Siddharth Chowdhury, author, The Time of the Peacock

The author of The Patna Manual of Style and Patna Roughcut returns with a new novel, The Time of the Peacock, which offers a ringside view of Indian English literary culture

Author Siddharth Chowdhury (Courtesy the publisher)
Published on Apr 02, 2021 10:09 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Interview: Suresh Jayaram, author, The 1Shanthiroad Cookbook


Artist, curator, art educator and author of The 1Shanthiroad Cookbook, Suresh Jayaram
Published on Feb 12, 2021 04:57 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Review: The Lost Heroine by Vinu Abraham

PK Rosy is the first female actor of Malayalam cinema. However, scant regard is paid to her in the annals of film history in Kerala and beyond. Perhaps very little is known about her existence beyond select film circles. Last year, the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) in Kerala launched a film society named after PK Rosy.

HT Image
Updated on Feb 05, 2021 10:02 PM IST
ByKunal Ray

Interview: S Hareesh, author, Moustache, winner of the JCB prize 2020

S Hareesh talks about the role of the translator, the increasing influence of the Sangh Parivar in his native Kerala, and the opposition to his novel in the state

S Hareesh(Courtesy the publisher)
Updated on Nov 20, 2020 06:30 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByKunal Ray

Review: Moustache by S Hareesh is a novel that integrates songs and legends in a metafictional whirlpool

Set in Kerala’s Kuttanad and featuring Vavachan, who insists on keeping his moustache in defiance of caste norms, the novel, Moustache by S Hareesh, integrates local songs, legends and myths in a metafictional whirlpool.

Where Vavachan roams: Kuttanad in Kerala.(V. Muthuraman/Universal Images Group via Getty)
Updated on Oct 30, 2020 03:42 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByKunal Ray
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