Vasundhara Tiwari on Art
I love Meena Deora’s work. She layers her textures in a manner that makes her work very rich and sensuous. Her work often deploys large, athletic male figures, which I find quite unusual for a female artist. Deora’s are not the most realistic portrayals of the human body but they have a certain strength and beauty. Occasionally you see bodies juxtaposed in a way that invokes Indian art — the kind of detailing seen in our ancient temples. Even though the motifs used are traditonal, her work is still contemporary. The colours she uses are extremely vibrant. The background in some of the works is so full of crowds of silhouettes — as if it is crafted entirely out of human figures, beautifully using people like a pattern. It is like she’s paying homage to regular people.
Tiwari is a Delhi-based artist
Mridula Koshy on Books
The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon is a book I’ve recently read and was blown away by. It’s terribly clever and as a writer I’m tickled by the way Hemon uses language and plays with words. Hemom is a Bosnian stuck in the US because of the Bosnian war and he writes in English, which is not his first language. The protagonist resembles the writer to such a degree that it almost makes the novel seem like a memoir. Given the current debate around memoirs and if the people writing them have really been through the things they write about, the book becomes extremely relevant for its serious examination of what is fiction and life. I was really struck by that. In all the other books I’ve read about 9/11, I find their pretensions about speaking to the future sort of nauseating. What I like about this book is how Hemon is speaking to us now, like we’re a generation worth talking to.
Koshy is the Delhi-based write of If It Is Sweet, a collection of short stories
Ekta Mittal on Theatre
I recently saw Rajat Kapoor’s Hamlet: The Clown Prince and found it to be an extremely entertaining and provoking play. It mocks everything from Shakespeare to the audience to itself to the original Hamlet. At one point, it compares Hamlet to The Lion King. Another really interesting thing was how it played with the audience – picked on us, laughed at us and scorned us. They would push the play to a really tragic moment and then break into laughter at the audience’s expense. It’s also a play within a play. While, on the one hand, there is Hamlet trying to unfold itself, there’s also an entire plot going on between the clowns. There’s constant play between reality and fiction and the play is very intelligently crafted. The actors, the mime, the make-up and the costumes are very well researched.
Mittal works with Masrah and is a member of Maraa, a media collective in Bengaluru
Amit Kumar on Film
Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in The West is a brilliant film by one of my favourite directors. A typical western, it’s a visual treat and uses the large screen of cinemascope very well. A particular sequence I love in the movie is about 11 to 15 minutes long, and there’s no dialogue through most of it. Its a scene where three men are waiting at the train station for a man they have to kill. The train comes and leaves but the man isn’t there. There’s about six to eight minutes of the wait and there isn’t a single word but it’s visually spectacular. Suddenly the man they’re waiting for arrives and there’s a clever exchange of merely two lines which is perfect. If you liked Sholay, this movie is a must watch.
Kumar is the writer and director of The Bypass. He lives in Mumbai
Amit Trivedi on Music
I recently bought Moby’s new album Wait For Me, just two days back in fact. I’ve only heard it once but I find it quite interesting and definitely think people should check it out. It’s typical Moby — unique, experimental, laid-back and raw. It’s a treat for all his fans. Another band I’ve recently heard is Shor Bazaar. They’re an Indian alternative rock band, a sound that seems to be quite in these days, and are fresh. I haven’t heard a lot of them, but they’re interesting and have a completely alternate sound. I’m definitely watching out for them.
Trivedi is the music director of Dev.D and Aamir. He lives in Mumbai