Master Takes

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Cool fusion : Raja Ravi Varma retells the Indian epics with European flair

NILOFER SULEMAN ART
Two artists whose works I recently viewed and loved were Nikhil Chaganlal and Raghava KK. The two are diametric opposites of one another in terms of style. Chaganlal paints with wild untamed strokes in a way almost reminiscent of Matisse; while Raghava’s work has minimalist monochromatic tones. The artist I have always been enamoured with of course is Raja Ravi Varma. His work surrounds us — most images of gods used in calendars even today are from his paintings. I grew up on those calendars in the sixties, but it was only when I started working and creating art of my own that I truly began to appreciate his superior mastery to the Rennaisance artists, my personal favourite is Kirat and Bhilli — a very unusual depiction of Shiva and Parvati. One goes through phases of obsession with artists and tries to adapt and emulate their styles, but it’s also important to develop your own way of thinking.

Suleman is a Bengaluru-based visual artist

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ANKUSH SAIKIA ON BOOKS
I’m about to finish End Games by Michael Dibdin, the last novel by the late Irish crime writer, and featuring his fantastic Italian police inspector Aurelio Zen. Dibdin was vastly underrated; his novels combine sharp dissertations of the Italian psyche, lovely descriptions of Italian food, brutal and casual violence, an absurd sense of humour and an inspector who is depressed and confused, who frequently solves cases by sheer chance. It is an unforgettable taste once you’ve tried one of the Zen series. Before that, I read and vastly enjoyed an old James Hadley Chase title — Have This One On Me, the tag-line on the back cover encapsulates my fascination for the genre: They tried to crucify him… on a double cross.

Saikia is a Delhi-based editor, and the author of Jet City Woman

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LATHIKA GEORGE ON FOOD

I’ve always believed that the most delicious food is found in friends’ kitchens. There are a few exceptions of course — like the softshelled crabs at the Blue Ginger at the Taj West End and the Mangalorean cuisine at the Unicorn in Bengaluru. Bengaluru is actually full of great places to eat — I adore the 12 course meal with wine they serve at Grasshopper, for instance. I’ve frequ en ted Koshy’s on more Sundays than I can count for their fantastic appams and equally stimulating ambience. I love food and seek unique flavours wherever I go — whether it’s locating the best mezze in Turkey (at Cafe Connielli, which overlooks the Bosphorous) or the mouth-watering baked fish in mustard sauce that they make in Cloud Street Cafe in Kodaikanal.

George is the Kodaikanal-based author of The Suriani Kitchen

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Dental deviant A stil from Murnau’s Nosferatu

PARESH MOKASHI ON FILM

I have a particular fondness for Dadasaheb Phalke’s films, and Raja Harishchandra in particular. It was the first Indian feature film with special effects, or “trick scenes” as they were known then. Inspite of the absence of technology and computers at the time, they devised some stunning effects. Perhaps the most important aspect of Phalke’s films to me is that in spite of making films about mythological characters, he never depicted them as larger than life — they were simple characters that behaved just like you or I. I share this sensibility with him and try to tone my films with this ideal of simplicity. I am a great admirer of FW Murnau’s classic silent film Nosferatu for its unusual depiction of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Instead of the usual image of Dracula as a confident, aggressive, sexual creature we have a shy, timid vampire with two enlarged front teeth in lieu of his fangs. The film is a visual treat.

Mokashi is the Mumbai-based director of Harishchandrachi Factory

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Planet dust The Dust Brothers create a world of sound you never want to exit

GAURAV CHINTAMANI ON MUSIC

I am trying to integrate the sound of a guitar into electronic music, which is why I’ve been listening to a lot of Crystal Method of late. Our drummer gave me a CD of Soulwax’s music and I really dig their bouncy yet sophisticated sound. I like Mute Math for their ridiculously tight live performances but also because their studio sound is a nice mix of classic rock and Radiohead. I wouldn’t say I have a favourite but I feel that the soundtrack for Fight Club byThe Dust Brothers is absolutely superb. I feel like I rediscover Steely Dan everytime I listen to their music, their craftsmanship is just brilliant.

Chintamani is the bassist for Advaita and the owner of Quarter Notes Studio

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