Compiled by Isha Manchanda
REENA SAINI KALLAT ON ART
I attended the preview of the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. To coincide with the opening of the biennale, The Fondazione Querini Stampalia presented a major solo exhibition with new works by Mona Hatoum, an artist whose work I deeply admire. Hatoum has worked in performance, video, photography and installation and her work often comments on confines and space, given her own exile from her home country (Lebanon) as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This exhibition, titled Interior Landscape is spread across two floors of the Foundation. The artworks employed elements as varied as bedroom furniture and domestic implements, materials such as barbed wire, human hair and cannon balls. As with most of her other works, these uncomfortably sit in between the space of dreams and aspirations of an individual vis-à-vis the harsh lived reality often making powerful references about the vulnerability of our human bodies.
Saini Kallat is a Mumbai-based artist
I would highly recommend two books that I’ve recently read. One is Darwin’s Sacred Cause by Adrian Desmond and James Moore, which was released last year. It’s a big reassessment of why Darwin was inspired to look for the kind of theory he arrived at. It’s interesting to know that his entire family was passionately dedicated to the anti-slavery cause. Even though he’s been appropriated by white supremacists, the books shows he didn’t believe that and wanted to prove that we’ve all come from the same roots. The other book is called Brothers, by a Chinese author called Yu Hua. It’s a very large and fascinating novel. The novel is about two brothers who have completely opposite views on life and have taken two very different directions in a newly capitalistic world. It starts in the cultural revolution of the 1970s and charts their journey into recent times. It’s very relevant to India since there are many parallels that can be drawn.
Dasgupta is the author of Tokyo Cancelled and Solo. He lives in Delhi and London
The book is a reassessment of why Darwin was inspired to look for his theories
Manish Tiwary on Film
I highly recommend Fatih Akin’s Edge of Heaven. It’s amazing to see how Akin has grown from being just an entertainer to a foremost commentator on love, sex and politics. A short film that impressed me recently was Rahim Murge Pe Mat Ro by Rajat Nagpal and Devashish Makhija. This one-minute film sums up the life of a ‘cocky’ cock named Rahim. There is a great marriage of form and content here. The narrative is hilarious and accompanies a well-edited visual of our hero being taken for slaughter. As he dies, Rahim dismisses every bit of pity that might be thrown at him. This existentialist take on Rahim’s life is reflective of the human condition. The events that Rahim recollects moments before his death might be what will flash before any man in a similar situation.
Tiwary is a filmmaker based in Mumbai. He has co-written and directed Dil Dosti Etc
Bobby Talwar on Music
There’s a band I heard last week at the Blue Frog called Tough on Tobacco that completely blew me away. I’ve heard them play a few times before but the set they played at the Blue Frog was absolutely amazing. Their musical style and compositional skills are fresh and exceptional. Apart from that, I really like Anushka Manchanda’s live act. The songs are direct and honest. Another band I’d highly recommend is the Delhi-based Faridkot. The band has some great melodies. They bring a refreshing perspective to Hindi singing which is very impressive.
Talwar is the Mumbai-based guitarist for Zero and founder of Counter Culture Records
Riyaz Amlani on Food
In Delhi I’m really fond of Wasabi, a Japanese restaurant. The food is outstanding and the restaurant serves superior, high quality and good products that are worth your time and money. My absolute favourite on the menu has to be the Black Cod with Miso. One of my all time favourites in Delhi has to be Karim’s in Chandni Chowk. The place is legendary and for good reason. It’s by far the best place to eat in Delhi and I love everything on the menu. Besides that, Indian Accent has a very refreshing take on Indian cuisine. It’s a fresh and bold approach.
Amlani is the CEO of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Ltd. He lives in Mumbai