Compiled By Isha Manchanda
Bharti Kher on Art
Honestly, I don’t see any “trends” in Indian contemporary art now, except if you call being or working from India a trend. The biggest battle is breaking away from the way the rest of the world wishes to uniformly brand a whole continent of artists with many differing ideas. Nationality does not define us but our concerns as individuals do. It would be good to look at the art and not what you expect it to define for you. I’m lucky that I travel alot and am able to see so much great art all over the world in the flesh. If you can’t travel, look online for the Picasso show thats being shown at the Gagosian Gallery, New York and the Roni Horn show at the New Whitechapel in London. In India right now you could check out Nilima Sheikh at Gallery Espace, New Delhi. All hugely differing journeys.
Kher is a Delhi-based artist
Advaita Kala on Books
Presently I am reading Milan Kundera’s first book, The Joke. It chronicles the impact of ‘a joke’ on the lives of the characters. I am always intrigued by choices and the resultant actions — not to mention consequences (how dreadful that word is!). The book follows individual journeys and the existential thread that runs through the narrative cleverly wraps itself around you, keeping you right there, turning the page. The other book I am reading is Steve Coll’s The Bin Ladens. I have read other books on the ‘second family’ of Saudi Arabia and have had interactions with some family members (not the most (in)famous one, though!), but this book is interesting for it’s research and attention to detail. The book is a fascinating and informative read, about a family that, in many ways, shares a parallel history of emergence with the al Sauds.
Kala is the author of Almost SIngle. She lives in Delhi
Stuart Dacosta on Music
Something Relevant has a really diverse taste in music and we are constantly listening to a world of new music, thanks to the wonders of bit-torrent and Youtube. Amongst the newer artists, we really like the John Mayer Trio. It’s good ol’ fashion trio blues. A must hear from the trio is Stitched up (feat. Herbie Hancock). Another great band with the classic rock sound and great lyircs is Kings of Leon. Beside that, we’re also listening to Cat Empire, my favourite dance band. The band plays a contemporary mix of hip-hop, reggae and pop and has great vibes and rhythms.
DaCosta is the bassist with Something Relevant, a Mumbai-based band
Anand Patwardhan on Film
I recently saw a series of feature length documentaries named Journeys with Kabir made by Shabnam Virmani that are breathtaking in their scope and execution. The first is Had Anhad and looks at the universalist, anti-communal legacy of Kabir as witnessed today in India and Pakistan. Though every musician we meet in the film is captivating, the show stealer is undoubtedly the Pakistani qawwal, Farid Ayaz. The next film Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein centers around dalit folk singerPrahlad Tippaniya and his encounter with the Kabir Panth that has begun to sacralize Kabir. To true Kabir followers, this is a travesty. The third film Koi Sunta Hai looks at the late classical musician Kumar Gandharva’s discovery of the Kabir folk form and his incorporation of it into his music. Though I found this film fascinating it was less satisfying. One is left wanting to see and hear more in order to understand the great interplay between the folk and classical traditions of India.
Patwardhan is a documentary filmmaker. He lives in Bengaluru
Marut Sikka On Food
Indiahas a very vibrant food culture and only being an adventurous gourmet can make you seek those best kept secrets. I love going to West View in Delhi for a quiet night out with great food and service. Gajalee in Bombay is a must visit, a seafood haven, where you can eat spectacular fruits de mer. Badshah Falooda in Bombay always satiates my sweet tooth and Yashoda Mishtaan Bhandaar in Kolkata reminds me yet again of the magic of the Indian sweetmeat. Jameel Restaurant in Bhopal never fails to awaken the carnivore in me.
Sikka is a chef, restauranter, cook-book wirter and host of a cookery show. He lives in Delhi