Compiled by Naina Manjrekar
Sudipta Banerjee on Art
Ruchi Goyal Kaura’s work is a must see. She combines textile and fine art to create something rare, rustic and almost divine. Despite being trained at the Nottingham Trent University in the UK, her sensibilities and loyalties are Indian. Her reinterpretation of Kalamkari embroidery on canvas evokes a sense of déjà vu, recreating something familiar in a very different idiom. Her work sees art, craft and design blend into each other. Her task is humongous. It includes dyeing the yarns in exact shades, and the weaving, ending in extremely evocative compositions. It is this quality that makes her work so much more than just art.
Banerjee is an artist from Kolkata
Tabish Khair on Books
Fortunately, there are still living writers one admires. My pick is Junot Díaz, who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Politically aware, witty and with a great sense of timing, Díaz avoids simple narration; a tactic so common that we get a frog pinned to the dissecting board, its intestines exposed and flagged. The frog of his fiction is alive and jumping.
‘Junot Díaz is a politically aware writer with a great sense of timing and humour’
Khair is the author of the thing about thugs
Alexander Pinter on Music
One album I’d bring to a remote island would be Le Voyage de Sahar by Anouar Brahem. I enjoy the awareness of beautiful melodies and the combination of arrangements and improvisations. Anouar’s work is a “no bells and whistles” unselfish statement about the beauty of music, within the style of his African background. It’s about creating something beautiful without putting the spotlight on oneslf.
Pinter is a Vienna-based guitarist and composer
Meena Nanji on Film
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is a dreamlike film about a Thai farmer suffering from kidney disease. As he grapples with illness, he encounters the ghost of his wife, and his son who has transformed into a hybrid monkeyman. These otherwordly beings dissolve the lines between past and present, dream and reality, life and death. With long takes that allow ‘nature’ to literally speak for itself, and a non-linear narrative, Weerasethakul creates a deeply poetic paean to the mysteriousness of existence.
Nanji is a California-based Documentary filmmaker
Swapnadeep Mukherjee on Food
Ai in Saket is the place to be if you are looking for a complete fine dining experience. The restaurant specialises in Japanese cuisine, and is one of the few places in the city serving authentic Japanese food. The cuisine consists primarily of raw fish, and requires the best and freshest ingredients to be flown in directly from Japan. The treatment and presentation of the food become far more crucial than cooking. Ai’s Chef Vikram has perfected the art of handling the delicate palate of Japanese cuisine. My personal favourite on the menu remains the Black Cod fish.
Mukherjee is the head chef at Sakura, Gurgaon