Chitra Ganesh’s recent show at Chatterjee & Lal in Mumbai was really innovative. I liked the way she incorporates Amar Chitra Katha in her work and stitches together her narratives. I also enjoyed her colour photographic prints, her video installations and lenticular prints that show two images at the same time. She’d worked with an image of Zeenat Aman from Satyam Shivam Sunderam. In the print, you saw Aman as she looks in the film and, when you looked from another angle, you’d see the muscles underneath the skin! I also like the work of South African artist Candice Breitz, who uses video in an interesting way. In a work that I saw in Korea, she had explored how we’re influenced by movie stereotypes. Television screens were placed on two sides: one screen showed an actress in a film clip, the other showed the artist enacting the same scene. So, for instance, you saw how if a person is in a romantic mood, she starts behaving in a certain way! It was very real and close to daily life.
Potnis is an artist who lives in Mumbai
AMRITA KUMAR ON BOOKS
A book I’ve read and reread several times over the last year is The Gathering by Anne Enright. It’s about nine children of an Irish family who meet in Dublin for their brother’s funeral; a family epic tracing the line of hurt and redemption through three generations, showing how memories warp and wounds fester. Enright renews my belief in the power of fiction. It’s the kind of book I wish I’d written. Its brutal, unsparing honesty had me mesmerised. Family dramas can be tedious but this one encompasses much more in its wake, combining the lyricism of the old Irish literary tradition with the contemporary. So much truth dissipates in the physical act of putting pen to paper, of sifting one’s thoughts to accommodate them within the limitations of language, but in Enright’s case it’s as if her primal thoughts magically superimposed themselves on the page regardless of those obstacles, and the conventions between.
Kumar’s debut novel Damage has just been launched. She lives in Delhi
SAURABH ANAND ON FOOD
Lemongrass in Bandra, Mumbai, is doing some real good fusion with Far Eastern cuisine. Their khauswe or Burmese noodles is especially good. The place has the ambiance of a Malaysian verandah with a lot of wood and earthen pots. The same people who own this establishment also run Potpourrie, in Bandra, and if you’re looking for something in the midsegment this is a good place. They serve great grills and steaks there. I would recommend the beach shacks in Goa for their authentic Goan food. Mainland China is also doing good stuff with Indo-Chinese cuisine, for which we Indians have developed a real taste.
Anand is the executive chef at Oakwood Residence in Pune
FOWZIA FATHIMA ON FILM
My favourite film is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Conrad Hall’s work in it has been stuck in my head, frame-to-frame. It’s a didactic story of two cowboys who go off to Mexico. Underlying it is the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side. It’s significant because everywhere it’s the same s**t, but it just looks greener! The film has a moral and will always be topical. Among Indian films, recently I liked Anil Mehta’s Aaja Nachle. It brought out how art and culture are integral to the wellbeing of a society. I liked the notion behind the film and also that it was done in an entertaining way.
Fathima is a cinematographer who lives in Chennai
KRISHNAN CHATTERJEE ON MUSIC
There’s a bunch of kids in Delhi called Advaita who mix Indian classical music with blues rock. They do rock vocals and rely heavily on the sarangi. Unlike most fusion bands, where the sum of the parts is better than the whole, these guys produce a sound that’s better in totality. I also enjoy The Allman Brothers, Steely Dan and Traffic. They date back a bit but that’s a reflection of my age! Then, there’s a New Zealand band called Fat Freddys Drop. Their sound is jazz influenced rock, and their songs have very intelligent vocals.
Chatterjee is the frontman of Contraband and lives in Delhi
Compiled by Manjula Narayan