Ajay Rajgarhia on Photo
One artist who I think photography as a discipline owes a lot to is Henri Cartier-Bresson. He was the inventor of street photography and also did some excellent work with Magnum Pictures. I particularly like the work that he did in India. What impressed me most about him and his work here was that despite being a foreign photographer, through his photos he could capture India with incredible depth and attention to detail. Apart from that, it was simply the amount of thought he put into his work that makes him one of my favourites. Another photographer whose work I really admire is Prabuddha Dasgupta. It was his work that first drew me to photography and later proved to be a huge influence. Most of his work is in black and white and has a unique quality of its own. What I find extraordinary about it is the sensuality he captures even when the subject matter isn’t particularly exciting. Among other remarkable attributes of his work are the elements of composition and lighting in his photos.
Rajgarhia is a Delhi-based photographer
Colin Fernandes on Books
I liked Cyrus Broacha‘s new book, Karl Aaj Aur Kal. It’s young, fresh, Indian writing, written in his signature style and representative of his humour. Besides that, the novel The President Is Coming by Anuvab Pal was a very different take on how a book is written in its use of diary form and letters. I think it’s pretty descriptive of modern India right now. It was quite a successful play in Mumbai and has been made into a movie as well. It’s a nice, relaxing weekend read. Both books are not really dramatic as such, just very entertaining.
‘Broacha’s book is young, fresh and representative of his humour. It’s really quite funny’
Fernandes is a Delhi-based writer and the author of Viva Santiago
Varun Tuli on Food
One place I go to very often is Spectra at The Leela Kempinski in Gurgaon. The decor of the restaurant is spectacular. It’s opulent and manages to keep its edge without being garish. The food, too, is excellent and so are the people. Even when there are so many restaurants all over the city, Spectra manages to be full to capacity on a weekday. The best thing is that they do things quietly, without any hype and still manage to draw a loyal following. Another place I’ve been frequenting a lot is Italia in Vasant Kunj, Delhi. I think their lobster pasta is brilliant. The food there is very authentic. Besides these two places, I always love visiting The Hyatt Regency in Delhi, whether it’s the coffee shop or any of its restaurants. My favourite Hyatt restaurant isLa Piazza. It’s always a pleasure to eat there.
Tuli is a restaurateur and the owner of The Yum Yum Tree in Delhi
Tenzing Sonam on Film
A film that I really enjoyed was Katalin Varga by first-time director Peter Strickland. The unusual use of camera angles, music and the way the film has been shot gives it a beautiful and unique texture. The storyline is both strange and moving, and the end, which is very powerful, leaves one disturbed. The Lives of Others by Florian Henckel is another great film. Set in Communist East Germany, it reflects the repression of the totalitarian regime and the resulting paranoia. The film gradually builds up the story and takes its own time to unfold. The most striking feature of the film was its ending and the message that it leaves one with. The movie is a remarkable example of assured filmmaking.
Sonam is a Tibetan documentary filmmaker
Sid Mathur on Music
The album that I’ve been listening to these days is Tourist by St. Germain, a French house and nu-jazz musician. The album has a house groove to it and is a gripping combination of electronic beats with live jazz. The music is not too aggressive, allowing you to get lost in it. I particularly like how he has experimented with new international instruments and found a new sound of his own. An all-time favourite of mine is Radiohead, a UK-based alternative/indie rock band. I like their experimental style and unique sound. Their latest album, In Rainbows, with its drum-and-bass groove and off-the-hook vocals breaks new ground in international music.
Mathur is a bass player and a partner in Quarter Note Studios, Delhi