PARTHIV SHAH ON PHOTOS
I am really looking forward to Ram Rahman’s illustrated lecture on Sunil Janah’s work on November 7 at Teen Murti Bhavan, Delhi. He is a legendary photographer whose work covers such an interesting period from 1939 to 1971 — the great nation-building years. Little has been published on his work or the work of photographers of that period. As a noted ‘leftie’ Janah knew the communist stalwarts and the entire spectrum of the political leadership. He is not someone who stuck to Delhi. He documented IPTA and the Progressive Writers and I particularly like his excellent photographs of tribal communities.
Shah is a Delhi-based photographer
TABISH KHAIR ON BOOKS
An erudite western scholar recently told me that new Indian English women writers have “finally started tackling such matters as lesbianism and female sexuality for the first time”. In response, I gave him the English translation of Lihaaf (The Quilt), Ismat Chughtai’s 1942 Urdu story. Chughtai (1911- 1991) is one of those few authors whose writing could silence people in her own lifetime. She is also one of those (fewer) writers whose oeuvre can silence people even today. If the lesbian plot of ‘The Quilt’ is surprising in its historical context, the quiet iron will of ‘traditional’ female characters in stories like ‘The Veil’ continue to intrigue across time. If necessary, read her in English translation: A Chughtai Collection (Sama Publishing, 2005) or The Quilt & Other Stories (Kali for Women, 1996). Her short stories are among the most powerful powerful and skilfully written in any language. They continue to challenge easy assumptions about literature, womanhood, humanity.
Ismat Chughtai’s oeuvre silenced people in her lifetime and even today
Khair is a Denmark-based novelist
SHANKAR KRISHNAMURTY ON FOOD
I like China House at the Hyatt in Mumbai. I think it’s a brilliant concept – a huge dining space, a two-level restaurant with a lounge bar and various styles of South Asian cuisine cooked in multiple kitchens, each specialising in something – so your starters come from one place and your main course comes from another. And the food is quite authentic, with a little nouvelle twist to the whole thing. I still remember the duck I tried there. It mixes authenticity with experimentation in a way that the Hyatt restaurants do well. The China House is the ultimate dining experience.
Krishnamurty is chef and proprietor of Fusion9 in Hyderabad
SHYAMAL KARMAKAR ON FILM
Everyone should watch Kolkata filmmaker Q’s feature-length documentary film Love In India which looks at ideas of romance in our country. Love is a complicated, dangerous thing in India and Q’s film is an intimate contemplation. It has been bravely done. The filmmaker examines his relationship with his girlfriend Rii, who works in Bengali television and on the stage. In one scene they are talking about love lying in bed without a thread on. I am really glad that Indian filmmakers are beginning to tell their own stories and avoiding the voice-of-God mode.
Karmakar is a documentary filmmaker
GAUTAM MALAKER ON MUSIC
These are some of the things I have been listening to. Dubfire’s Rabid is one of the better tracks I’ve heard in a while. It has a dark, techno sound while being so organic that it’s almost alive! This track has been topping charts all over since its release in September. Anton Pieete and Paul Ritch’s Matador is outdoor tech/techno by two of the most regarded producers of this genre. SQL’s Dark Matter (featuring Tom Real) is dark minimal techno with defining percussive elements and a wild bassline. It is a dance floor monster.
Malaker is part of the creative collective Basic Love of Things (BLOT)