Compiled by Naina Manjrekar
Nitin Rai on art
Indisputably the biggest influence on my work as a photographer has been my father, Raghu Rai. I say this not as a son, but as an artist and a student. His ability to produce expression and feeling through photography has the capacity to move a person from within. Another young artist I would highly recommend is Bharat Choudhary who has captured the lives of young Muslims in the US post-9/11 with a maturity that belies his youth, yet with an exhilarating freshness of expression and moving strength.
Rai is an independent photographer based in New Delhi
Shahriar Mandanipour’s Censoring an Iranian Love Story (translated by Sara Khalili) is the most witty work of fiction I’ve read recently. The narrative maintains a wicked balance by remaining poetic as well as provocative. Shahriar sets forth to write a contemporary love story set in Iran because he is tired of writing “bitter stories populated by ghosts and dead narrators”.
‘The narrative remains poetic as well as provocative’
Kandasamy is a poet based In the UK
Besides being a distinguished composer, singer and songwriter, Swiss musician Mike Maurer also plays the alphorn. It is an instrument that is assembled together with four different parts, which can be used in different combinations to achieve different pitches. He has also experimented extensively by blending his music with other Indian sounds like that of the tabla.
Lele is a Delhi-based tabla player
The multitasker Swiss musician Mike Maurer
Rituparno Ghosh’s Shob Charitro Kalponik (All Characters are Imaginary) is a must-see. I have always been an admirer of Ghosh’s cinema but this film is a departure from his other works. It is a posthumous love story where a wife falls in love with her husband after his death through his poetry. The story unravels over a magic realist landscape suggesting that those who die may never have died. My favourite moment in the film is an evocative dream sequence. Also, it is nice to watch Bipasha Basu in an unusual role.
Gadihoke teaches video and Television production at Jamia Millia Islamia
Dead again A still from Shob Charitro Kalponik
Abdul Ashraf on food
Food is a wide and varied category and each type of cuisine calls for special skill. Bakery, in particular, needs an experienced hand to achieve delicate textures and tastes. Among all the bakeries and pastry shops I have been to, I would recommend The Oberoi’s The Gourmet Shoppe in Delhi as the best. Besides their enticing range of breakfast rolls, one can find on offer a large range of chocolates and pastries besides a number of other delicacies. A close second would be The Claridges, which is famous for its corn pudding.
Ashraf is the pastry chief at Radisson suites, Gurgaon