Master Takes

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Compiled by Isha Manchanda

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Rohit Chawla on Photo

I was in New York recently and saw the Richard Avedon retrospective at the International Council for Photography. The show had a collection of his fashion works from the earlier days while he was still at Harper’s Bazaar. It was great to see his works from that era since it’s a little known fact that he worked there before moving to Vogue. The collection has works from when he had moved to Paris and collaborated with Diane Arbus. He was the first to choreograph a staged photograph and use film lighting and sets to create a photographic narrative. The restrospective also had what is possibly his most seminal work — the work he did for The New Yorker. It’s so fascinating to see how in the genre of fashion photography, he was the only original artist. All that’ve followed have only imbibed his style, even if it’s not conscious.

Chawla is a fine art photographer and runs a film production company called Blue

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Vishwajyoti Ghosh on Books

Being a pulp fan, I just finished the English version of Surender Mohan Pathak’s 65 Lakh Heist published by Blaft. Considering it was written in the late 1970s, the influence of an anti-hero from the angry young man pushed to the world of crime is evident. The young Vimal (also the protagonist in many of Pathak’s later works) now takes on the Punjabi underworld in a pacy, bizarre narrative that often alternates between the sublime and the ridiculous with small town idioms all over the place. I have to confess I am not much of a crime fiction reader but this superb racy translation by Sudarshan Purohit makes up for the uninitiated reader of crime. Though one tends to read an English version with a certain lens that comes with the language, but being a Hindi reader as well I was delighted to get the references and nuances.

Ghosh is a graphic novelist and illustator. He lives in Delhi

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Raj Kumar on Film

Last week, I saw an incredible HBO miniseries called The Wire. I saw the first, second third series and found it to be absolutely riveting. It’s definitely one of the best shows ever produced on television, at least in the US. Set in Baltimore, it talks about the drug war and crime in the city. What I really like about it is the fact that it’s as real as it gets — the world they’ve created. It also shows the real Baltimore, the city and the life there. I also recently saw The Hangover, directed by Todd Phillips, which released last week. I love how unpredictable the movie is. I couldn’t guess what will happen next. Also, the characterisation was great and that’s what makes it a brilliant film.

Kumar is a Mumbi-based filmmaker and writer. He has written and directed Aamir

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Anubhav Misra on Music

I was really impressed with this relatively new band I saw in New York last month. They are called God Forbid and play thrash metal. I was there to watch a Children of Bodom and Lamb of God show and stumbled into this band. They have awesome stage presence and a pristine sound. The music is a mix of melodic death metal with some thrash influences. Apart from that, I have been listening to a lot of Chopin’s Nocturnes recently. It’s fluid and just eases its presence and relaxes every nerve.

Misra is the vocalist with Delhi-based band Acrid Semblance

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Varun Modgill on Food

I went to the try-out of a new restaurant in DLF Emporio called Zest. The restaurant will open soon and serves around six or seven cuisines, which is quite incredible. It shows promise of being one of the most spectacular restaurants in Delhi. I also really like Blanco and Amigi, both in Khan Market, Delhi. I love the pastas at Amigi and enjoy their casual dining environement. I’d say that there’s nothing spectacular about the place, but it’s good value for money and adds up to be a good overall experience. On the other hand, Blanco is really high on quality in terms of food and service. Their sea food is excellent.

Modgill owns Fuschia, a sushi restaurant in Delhi

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