Rushil Khokhar on Art
While Steve McCurry is usually associated with his photograph Afghan Girl, I believe his most powerful work is his photo essay Blue City, documenting his journey through India. The photographs make you feel like an outsider, seeing your country for the first time. The power of these photographs, taken in a near effortless manner, adds an exquisite dimension that monochrome photography misses. So compelling is this piece of art, that it motivated me to go on my own quest to photograph the widows in Varanasi. Capturing life in a single shot is near impossible, yet there’s always a story when it’s through McCurry’s lens.
Khokhar is a new Delhi-based Photographer
Alka Ranjan on Books
Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis provides the perfect fix for all book addicts. The protagonist staggers upon the underbelly of Mumbai with a morbid curiosity and uncovers the darker side of human nature, that civilisation tries to overcome, through symbols and vivid imagery. Thayil’s prose is executed with an inebriating undertone, making the book a metaphysical thriller that’s hard to put down.
Ranjan is a New Delhi-based publisher
Ashim Bery on Music
In his recent album The Burgh Island, Ben Howard takes a risk by moving beyond his British-folk comfort zone to a more progressive form of indie music. The whole album for me was a build up to the track To Be Alone, a breathtaking ballad that takes its own time to unfold. The accompanying piano, acts as the perfect auxiliary ornament to the stark clarity of Howard’s voice. Given the contemporary scene, it is reassuring to have an artist like Howard sticking to the music-lyrics symphony.
Bery is a New Delhi-Based percussionist and teaching artist
Gayatri Gauri on Film
Few films make you laugh, cry and think at the same time. The 2006 offbeat film Little Miss Sunshine is the most delightful and meaningful film that continues to stay with me. The unforgettable line of “Ok, everybody, just pretend to be normal, okay?”; aptly sums up this madcap adventure, involving a hilariously dysfunctional family, a road trip and a pageant show. The script is filled with relatable yet loaded anecdotes, add to that superb editing, and you get one heavy movie, that doesn’t leave you facing an existential crisis.
Gauri is a Mumbai-Based Film Critic
Karam Puri on Food
Sometimes, the old and tested make for the best in matters of gastronomy. The compelling smells beckoning me to the wooden-pannelled grill of Al Kauser, Vasant Place, is a testament to this. You can’t seem to have enough of their signature dishes. Kakori kebabs tenderised with papaya, and wrapped in rumali rotis are a timeless classic. Their mutton biryani, delicately flavoured with saffron, leave this carnivore a happy camper. For the vegetarians, their Luckhnawi navratan dum handi biryani has all the complementary earthy flavours that make Mughlai cuisine such an enduring rage.
Puri is a new Delhi-based restaurateur