Rajiv Saini on Art
On my trip to Madrid three weeks ago, I was looking forward to visiting the recently opened museum Caixa Forum, and sure enough, the demigods of architecture, Swiss firm Herzog and De Muron didn’t disappoint! The architects have reworked an existing old red brick building in a quarter full of heritage buildings and structures like the Prado. They managed to virtually scoop out the entire ground floor (barring a few deeply recessed columns), leaving behind the upper storeys that seem to now levitate. Then, instead of adding conventional additional floors, they’ve capped the structure with perforated corten sheet. The outer surfaces of these additional floors are devoid of any conventional window opening, but instead have rusted iron sheets punctuated by pixellated openings (that make references to the Moorish tradition of lattice work), giving glimpses of the city skyline. Caixa Forum wonderfully sits cheek by jowl with Renaissance buildings without being disharmonious. You need to take old buildings and infuse new life into them. You have to respect history but you don’t have to recreate it.
Rajiv Saini is an architect who lives in Mumbai
Manju Kapur on Books
I really like Javier Marias, a Spanish writer, who is not that well known in India. He’s immensely popular in Spain and his website says he’s sold 5 million books. I’ve read all his books that have been translated into English including A Man of Feeling, A Heart So White, which is my favourite, and Voyage Along the Horizon,which he wrote when he was 20. His writing is reflective and he plays around with genres. He explores human motivation in a very nuanced way. I didn’t know about him and just happened to pick up All Souls, one of his books, at a book fair.
Kapur is a writer who lives in Delhi
Pawan Gogoi on Food
I love seafood and I’ve just moved from Mumbai so I my favourite restaurants are in that city. I like the food at Trishna. They serve great crab in red and haryali sauces. The ambiance is also relaxed. Then, I like Bharat Excellensea near CST Station. If you ever go there, you must try their fish pepperoni and their lobster in white wine sauce. Then, there is Balwaas, which serves great Mughai chicken and dum biryani. The great thing about restaurants in Mumbai is that they serve very fresh fish and seafood.
Gogoi is chef at Noodle Bar in Delhi
Marjorie Rodrigues on Film
I loved Babette’s Feast because it had two of my favourite ingredients in a film — food and a human story. It’s about a woman in a small village who creates one really amazing meal. Like my other favourite films, Eat Drink Man Woman and Like Water for Chocolate, Babette’s Feast is about people who are passionate about food. I guess I like these films because I’m passionate about food myself. Another film I enjoyed was Across the Universe, which has a simple story interwoven with Beatles songs. It is also visually beautiful. Among recent Hindi films, I’ve enjoyed Luck by Chance and Dev. D. I thought Luck by Chance was superbly produced.
Rodrigues is VP Film Production, Walkwater Media. She lives in Mumbai
Subir Malik on Music
A few days ago, I went for a performance by the Pink Floyd tribute band from the UK, Breathe, and they were very good. For Parikrama, Pink Floyd is really like a religion! Among Indian bands, I like the blues fourpiece band Soulmate. Their lead singer Tips is so intense that listening to her is like entering a different world. I have not seen too much of Advaita but I’ve bought their latest album and I think it is really good. Their keyboard player is one of the best in the country. Their sound is new and refreshing. Another good band that’s coming up is Mrigaya. Bandish, which is a hardcore Hindi rock band, is amazing. Then, there’s Panatella from Chennai, which has the best bass guitar players on the circuit.
Malik is the keyboard player of Parikrama, a rock band based in Delhi