By Nishita Jha
RITU MODI ON ART
I have always loved Nilima Sheikh’s work. I feel she is among the foremost female artists of the country. Her style is based entirely on Asian and Persian aesthetics, blended beautifully with literature and poetry. From tiny miniatures to large scrolls that pan over 5 to 10 feet, her work is par excellence in every format. I admire her because her use of traditional artistic methods spreads an awareness of indigenous culture. Another talent to watch out for is Vibha Galhotra, whose technique of looking at three dimensional form using local materials like beads and ghungroos is phenomenal. Her work focusses on changing cityscapes — I remember an installation she took to an exhibition in Dubai that consisted of a thela with peanuts done in brass. The response was unbelievable!
Modi is the Delhi-based director of Gallery Espace
RADHIKA JHA ON BOOKS
I am constantly shuttling between India and Tokyo and have been reading a lot of Japanese authors. I read an absolutely fabulous crime thriller called Out by Natsuo Kirino, a Japanese woman. It was exceptional because it describes the story of these four women who get embroiled in a murder trying to protect their friend. The police and the mafia chase them and it all keeps you on the edge of your seat — but what I really loved about the story was that it is crime seen through a woman’s rather forgiving eye. I loved Haruki Murakami long before he received any awards and was slightly disappointed when he became a fad. My favourites by him are The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore.Another great book by a Japanese author is I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki. He is truly one of the greatest modern Japanese writers, and this particular book is about nineteenth century Japan seen through the eyes of a cat!
Jha is the Delhi-based author of books like Smell and Lanterns with Horns
AJAY MISHRA ON FOOD
Being a chef means constantly seeking new flavours. I’m a big fan of the kakori kebabs and rumali roti at Al Kauser’s in Delhi. The old menu at Yo! China was worthless, but their new selection of seafood is just awesome. I’m a seafood connoisseur, and I think the best selection is served in my hometown in Kolkata. But I have had some insane meals in Goa at Allegria at the Taj Exotica. The Thai Pavillion in the Taj President Hotel also serves delicious prawns. A good chef must have a sense of responsibility, regardless of the size of the establishment. Some of the most enjoyable meals I have had were at Andhra Bhavan and Italia in New Delhi — although neither of them are five-star restaurants.
Mishra is a Senior Chef with the Taj Banquet Hall
ARVIND GAUR ON THEATRE
I was blown away recently by a play I watched in Bodo language called Monglee. Imagine the impact of watching a play whose language you don’t understand but the scenes and music are still so evocative that you are completely caught up in its story. It was directed by Pabitra Rabha, an NSD graduate. The play was about Bodo traditions and rituals — and I realised that the appeal of music, dance, emotions and even theatrical props is universal. This very young cast and crew made me realise the importance of preserving traditional values and culture.
Gaur is the Delhi-based director of the theatre group Asmita
RAGHAV SACHAR ON MUSIC
I love jazz rock and funk — I plug in to a lot of Maroon 5‘s albums. I have always been a huge fan of Dave Weckl and Chick Corea’s music. I love Sting when I want to listen to something soulful and melodic. Michael Jackson will always feature on my list of favourites. I like to listen to something soft like Michael Buble when driving, but on a highway I’d prefer some loud rock like Dream Theater!
Sachar is a Delhi-based vocalist and instrumentalist. He plays 31 instruments