MasterTakes

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By Nishita Jha

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Masterful method Dodiya breaks clichés in Indian art

Manjunath Kamath On Art

I recently saw Atul Dodiya’s show titled Malevich Matters & Other Shutters at Vadehra Art Gallery. He is remarkable because of his playful, experimental, witty and skilfully strong work. His range is impressive, he employs diverse techniques and styles. It would not be wrong to say Dodiya has brought a new twist to Indian contemporary art. In this show, Dodiya pays homage to stalwarts like Bhupen Kakkar, J Johns, Joseph Boys and Picasso by deploying popular iconographic representations of political visionaries, stenographic advertisements, calendar art, street signs, and photographs from his archival memory.

Kamath is a Delhi-based artist

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‘Saramago’s incredible gift is in distinguishing the voices of different characters’
Sampurna Chattarji

Sampurna Chattarji On Books

An all-time favourite of mine is The History of the Siege of Lisbon by the Portuguese writer José Saramago — it’s a masterpiece. I’m a great fan of all his works and like his style very much. He doesn’t use much punctuation and I think his incredible gift is how he distinguishes the voices of different characters in his books. You’re never lost — you get attuned to his universe through a particular set of rules he lays down. I find that authors are increasingly afraid of losing the reader. I like the way he spins off stories, even the inconsequential and unbelievable, to comment on the human condition. Plains Song is another book by an American writer I hadn’t encountered before — Wright Morris. The book is a quiet masterpiece. I like the way he uses silence as something evocative — contemporary writers rarely do this because they’re interested in dazzling the reader. It’s almost as if we need to listen to the book because it’s so quiet! At no point is it too ornate or overworked. Great depth and silence.

Chattarji is a Mumbai-based writer

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Elemental Holmes a still from Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes

Shohini Ghosh On Films

Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes is as far away as you can get from the world of Arthur Conan Doyle. The dignity, poise and sharp acumen associated with the super sleuth is vastly different from Ritchie’s Holmes who is restless, socially dysfunctional, preoccupied with martial arts and on the verge of a meltdown. The elegant gun-toting Watson struggles in vain to disentangle himself from Holmes. The duo investigates a series of murders and is soon embroiled in a world of sorcery. In a riveting climax, the film pays an unexpected tribute to the spirit of Conan Doyle’s Holmes. This film has the most interesting take on the Holmes-Watson friendship that I have ever seen.

Ghosh is the Delhi-based co-founder of Mediastorm Collective

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Rhythmic dissonance American rock band Tool

Nikhil Rufus On Music

I like weird music. An example would be the band Photek, who have an almost exclusively drum and bass sound, you can hear them only on MySpace as of now. I also really like Chicago-based artist Telefon Tel-Aviv’s electronica. Our band only plays originals, but the feel and spirit of our music is influenced by Tool, Mars Volta, Led Zeppelin, Massive Attack and Pussifer. A metal band that I find really unusual and awesomely extreme is Mastodon.

Rufus is the bassist for Delhi-based band Indigo Children

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Zorawar Kalra On Food

I recently went to Zest in Delhi and loved the lasagne, the parma-ham and goat cheese pizza and the harkau dimsum. Their Japanese selection is mouthwatering, I love the sushi and tempura there. In Mumbai, I discovered a place called Tote that serves some insane Schezwan pork chops marinated with maple syrup. Sadly, I find that no places in Delhi apart from the Smokehouse Grill serves good steaks, and I hope it’s just a temporary problem!

Kalra is the Delhi-based owner of Punjab Grill

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