Compiled By Sharanya Deepak
Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt has been my greatest inspiration. His works explore erotic themes, using elegant gold colouring, spirals, swirls and phallic symbols. I deeply admire him for his composition, Picasso for his strength and power, and Vincent Van Gogh for his expression and passion. I also follow traditional African painting for its use of colour and attention to detail. Among Indian artists, I recommend Vasudev S Gaitondewho is regarded as one of the finest abstract painters in India. He is certainly one of the best artists that our country has seen.
Gupta is a Delhi-based artist
Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials is an amazing series, filled with magic that is darker than most fantasy novels. An interesting aspect of the novels is a character called the daemon who is an animal manifestation of a person’s soul. I also recommend a teen punk series called The Mortal Engines by British author Philip Reeve. He talks about a world resting on an enormous water body and invents a fictional concept called Municipal Darwinism. Another hilarious read is The Eyre Affair series by Jasper Fforde, about a world of books written in a parallel universe
Vachharajani is a Mumbai-based writer
One movie that has completely been forgotten is Dayera made by Kamal Amrohi in 1951. A Meena Kumari-starrer, it is a classic tale of a woman who has to live within the conventions of society. What is even nicer about the movie is the sophistication and idiom of the Urdu dialogue, which is the best I’ve seen so far. A personal favourite is Bimal Roy’s Parakh starring Vasant Chowdhury and Sadhana. The characters have depth and the storyline is complex. It is a subtle satire on a working democracy and uses a panchayat election to show the chaotic election process.
Kaul is a film historian and critic
Italian musician Alex Argento’s album Ego is an amazing instrumental mix of progressive rock and metal. He is a ‘musician’s musician’. Anyone familiar with the complexity of music will be floored by his skill and technical prowess. Two Ton Shoe, a band formed by Berkeley music teachers, has a nice groove to it and is great for easy listening. These guys are skilled musicians and it seems as if they are having fun while performing — which is what making music together is really about.
James is the drummer for the Delhi-based band Ave Verdad
My favourite restaurant is Mughal Durbar on Residency Road, Srinagar. I have only been there once but it had such an impact on me that I modelled my own restaurant on it. These days, it is hard to find the right kind of Wazwan, a cuisine with almost 25 different dishes and the right spices. The owner Haji Mugloo is a Wazwan expert. Also, the Afghan chicken here is a delicacy that every Kashmiri swears by. Another striking aspect of the restaurant is its royal decor. I have known many people who drop by just to enjoy the ambience and escape from their routine city life.
Ahmed is the Bengaluru-based owner of Kungh