Arjun Nirula On Art
Of the recent exhibitions that I have seen, I liked the work by Roohi Kapoor, Trishna Singh and Abhishek Singh, all curated in New Delhi. Although Roohi is the youngest of the lot and is still learning, I feel that these three really have what it takes to express themselves through the medium of art. I have seen people responding to their canvases, and for me that is always the true sign of an artist — when people want to gaze at your painting for hours, take it home and hang it on their walls, it is a sign of having achieved what you set out for.
Nirula is an art curator and consultant for the Nirula Family Company
Samit Basu On Books
I recently read Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, a complex and demanding novel that you could call literary fiction or fantasy. It’s the sort of book Donna Tartt might have produced if someone had held a gun to her head and demanded that she rewrite Secret History with wizards in it. ‘Harry Potter for grown-ups with a non-religious Narnia’ is a crude description, but there’s a lot more to it. Quentin Coldwater gains admission to Brakebills, a hidden New York magic school, and enters a world where magic isn’t about cute creatures and funny names and life lessons; there’s violence, and sex, and boredom, and doubt, and a distinct lack of all-knowing parent figures. The parts where Quentin and his fellows go to Fillory, a Narnia-like magical realm that Quentin had long been obsessed with (he read about it in fantasy novels), are particularly chilling. Grossman is great with pacing; the big moments come when you’re not expecting them; my favourite was the first appearance of his genuinely scary villain, the Beast. The more mainstream fantasy becomes, the more we’ll see richly written, intricately imagined works like The Magicians or Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. As a reader, I couldn’t be more pleased.
Basu is the Delhi-based author of The GameWorld Trilogy
Kunal Kohli On Film
I am a huge fan of Hindi films, all my influences have only been Hindi films and filmmakers. I wish we made films like the old Golmaal starring Amol Palekar, and the unforgettable Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chupke Chupke. The premise of these films was simple and never goes out of style — a man tells one lie, then to cover up tells many more lies, thus creating a series of events that have the viewer in splits. The kind of comedies made today are absurd and mindless. I don’t want to leave my brains at home! The only answer available for cinema that entertains with brains is that of Raju Hirani’s films today — I loved the Munnabhai series!
Kohli is a Mumbai-based filmmaker and has made films such as Fanaa and Hum Tum
Satish Warier On Music
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Thievery Corporation. They suit every mood and conversation. I love the ambience their music creates and often play their music in my restaurant. I like Tool’s music even though it can get quite intense at times. Another favourite is Them Crooked Vultures — the rock supergroup that has Dave Grohl, Josh Holmes and John Paul Jones. I heard Slash’s new self-titled album at a friend’s place and I am really glad the man has finally decided to go solo!
Warier is the manager of the Delhi-based band Menwhopause
Mridula Baljekar On Food
The Indian food scene has changed tremendously as chefs are getting creative and adventurous, especially in five star hotels and high-end restaurants. The Taj Palace in New Delhi has some amazing food and great cocktails — theirs is an entirely modern take on traditional food. At the same time the chefs at the Bukhara at ITC Maurya Sheraton Hotel stick to a typical way of preparing Indian food, which is their forte. Apart from these places, I have eaten great Indian food in London as well —Vineet Bhatia of Rasoi and Atul Kochhar of Benaras Restaurant in Mayfair both serve delicious Mughlai food, which ensures I never miss home too much! Also Ashwini Kumar‘s Mango Restaurant opposite Windsor Castle has sumptuous food that I just can’t get enough of.
Baljekar is the UK-based winner gourmand of the World Cookbook Awards, and is a member of the Guild of Food Writers