By Nishita Jha
Prabuddha Dasgupta On Photo
Most of the current ‘serious’ photography that I see is phony and desperately art market savvy. It bores the pants off me and makes me pray silently for the collapse of the current gallery/market paradigm which has managed a stifling death grip on a lot of honest, sincere creativity. That said, there is still hope. Richard Bartholomew’s exhibition, The Critic’s Eye at Chatterjee and Lal Gallery in Mumbai, allays my fears. A writer, critic, poet and painter in the fifties through the seventies and early eighties, Bartholomew used the camera to create an intimate, personal document of the world he inhabited, in a manner that was fresh, sensitive, spontaneous and unaffected — the complete opposite of the pretentious, self-conscious, ‘up its own bum’, ‘conceptual’ work being produced today.
Dasgupta is a Delhi and Goa-based photographer
I’ve just finished Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open. I thought it was a terrific read, very honest and gives you real insight into what it’s like to play tennis at that level. It talks a lot about the matches he played and what he went through when playing them. The great thing about the story is that he’s a thoughtful and introspective guy. You really get a sense of the loneliness of being the best in the world at something, and still having to make so many sacrifices. I’d also recommend a novel by Bernard MacLaverty called Cal. It’s an across the lines love story set against Protestant-Catholic Irish troubles. It was also made into a film, which I saw first. Another remarkable book is The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. It is his diary from a field expedition with Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole. The book talks about the difficulties they encountered. At one point, they were running out of food, so they made a six-week trip to find penguin eggs — that has to be the worst journey in the world!
‘In Open, you really get a sense of the loneliness of being the best in the world’
D’Souza is a Mumbai-based writer and journalist
Sudeshna Roy On Film
I am a person of the proletariat, I do not like to watch or make preachy films. I love Indian cinema with a passion. I adored Three Idiots because it has the spirit of life and youth which I try to capture in my films. I think Raju Hirani is a superb filmmaker. He makes you experience an entire gamut of emotions. You never leave his films with a sense of inferiority or superiority, but an overall sense of practical well-being. It’s acceptable to borrow elements from international cinema, but not to blindly remake their films. I thoroughly enjoyed Om Shanti Om. It was cliched, but then so are sunsets. A film by Satyajit Ray that I feel doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves is Charulata, a film even more layered than Ray’s award-winning Pather Panchali.
Roy is a Kolkata-based filmmaker and has directed films like Teen Yaari and Cross Connection
Veena Arora On Food
I enjoy my visits to Latitude at Shipra Hotel in Noida. The chef there is quite innovative and creative. He almost always comes up with some new dishes, most of which are not listed in the menu. Another place I love is the coffee shop Machan at the Taj Mansingh. It offers a great variety and the food is very good. R.E.D. at the Radisson in Noida is another of my favourites. They have a Singaporean chef who serves authentic Chinese, something that is hard to find here! I relish South Asian food because of the spices; authentic Thai food is my favourite.
Arora is the owner of Spice Route, a restaurant in New delhi
Sangeeta Gaur On Music
I do not usually go out and buy CDs but I listen to the radio quite a bit while at home. Of the recent crop of singers in the Indian film industry I think Rekha Bharadwaj has a masterful and classic voice. Her work in Omkara and Dilli 6 were truly amazing. A large number of promising young singers appear on reality shows these days. This is a great platform for them. The most talented one of course is the reigning queen, Shreya Ghoshal. Ghoshal is at her peak, her voice has the kind of versatility comparable to Asha Bhosle or Lata Mangeshkar. I also like the texture of Sunidhi Chauhan’s voice.
Gaur is a Delhi-based classical singer