Master Takes


Compiled by Isha Manchanda


Kalpana Subramanian on Photos

I recently saw the Marc Riboud retrospective at Galley Art Motif and loved it. The exhibition was very well put together and looked excellent. I think his works are in the same genre asHenri Cartier-Bresson — classic black and white photography which is candid, yet very expressive. The best part of the exhibition was the pleasure of being able to see actual chemical prints from that time. While most exhibitions have digital prints, here we got to see traditional chemical prints. I’m also a big fan of Helen Levitt, who died a month ago. She was also hugely inspired by the Cartier-Bresson school. I saw her works at an exhibition in Amsterdam, and have been very inspired by them.

Subramanian is an artist and filmmaker. She lives in Delhi


Hanff’s novel is a
moving account of
a friendship built
on letters sent
over 20 years
Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond on Books

I’ve recently read the new collection by Penguin India, called First Proof, the Penguin book of new writings from India. It’s a collection of short stories with some very promising young writers. Another book I read that left me very impressed is Helene Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road. The novel, a series of letters, is a very moving account of a friendship between the author and Frank Doyle, built through correspondence over 20 years. Other than that, I often read crime thrillers. I’d highly recommend The Bone Garden by Tess Grittsen. The protagonist finds a skeleton of a murder victim in her garden, and goes back in time through old records to solve the murder mystery. It’s a gripping book.

Bond is a writer. He lives in Dehradun



Rafey Mahmood on Film

I love Andrei Tarkovsky’s movies, since he’s had a big impact on me. I specially like The Mirror by him. It’s known to have been cathartic for Tarkovsky, who had a troubled childhood, as it is for the audience. It talks of a father, a poet who was away during World War II, in a difficult marraige. The film overlaps in time — between the past and the present — and is very poetic. It’s very beautifully shot and proves that an image is a potent tool of communication and doesn’t need layers of melodramatic narrative. Another film that I think is very important to me, as a cinematographer, is The Godfather trilogy, especially the first one. It’s not just brilliant in terms of the content, but also because of how beautifully the images are woven together.

Mahmood is a cinematographer. He lives in Mumbai


Shilpa Rao on Music

I’m currently hooked to the Gulaal soundtrack. Piyush Mishra has done a fantastic job with both the lyrics and the music. The entire album is very raw and classical. Besides that, and the usual lot of jazz and blues, I’m listening to a lot of new hip-hop artists, that even a lot of Indian artists are drawing inspiration from, like Akon. In particular, I’m listening to a lot ofCorinne Bailey Rae. Her music is a blend of R&B and soul. The texture and quality of her voice is very unique and she modulates it beautifully. The overall sound is very laid-back, casual and soothing, yet meaningful.

Rao is a Mumbai-based singer


Preet Saini on Food

I’m quite a regular at Wasabi at the Taj Mansingh. The restaurant is the perfect mix of good service and great food. The sushi they serve is particularly excellent. The ambience is not the greatest, but in light of the great food, it’s excusable. Another place I really like is Ai. I’m not sure what cuisine they serve, but the food is great! My favourite is the fish served on a hot stone. My experience at Ai has always been great, in terms of both food and ambience. In addition to these, I’m a big fan of China Gardenat The Hyatt. I love chinese food and love the duck there.

Saini is the founder and managing director of Mrs Kaur’s Cookies, Delhi




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