There are few exhibitions that captivate the mind and affect me like Louise Bourgeoise’ visceral body of work titled Cells — the largescale enclosed installations she produced throughout the 1990s shown during her retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, NY. While cells are what the body is composed of, containing the hereditary information necessary to transmit to the next generation of cells and thereby implying growth, the other suggestion of cell is a small room/prison. This discomforting polarity of ideas are beautifully encapsulated through assemblages with a multitude of objects that are found or personal belongings, carved sculptures, that seem to present deeply autobiographical, psychological narratives of protection and confinement.
Kallat is an artist who lives in Mumbai
I’ve been dipping into SacredSecular: Contemplative Cultural Critique by Lata Mani for the past few weeks and find it touches a very personal preoccupation. It’s an attempt to integrate two seemingly disparate domains and languages — ideology and insight, the rational and the mysterious, the material and the mystical, the economic and the existential. Whether Mani talks of trash on Bangalore streets or the tyranny of clock time, the politics of the body or globalisation, she brings to her discussion a lucidity and a deeply integrated, non- fragmented understanding that is unusual and rivetting. I see the book’s refusal to divide the body, mind, heart and spirit, as an important act of political resistance. Her question stays with me: is a dewdrop sacred or secular?
Subramaniam is a Mumbai-based poet
K VENKATESH ON FOOD
I love Hyderabadi biryani and the best place to get it is at Secunderabad’s Paradise Hotel, which does a very good dum mutton biryani. Their tandoori roti and mutton kheema is good too. Then, there’s the haleem that you get in the old city during Ramzan.Haleem is raw mutton cooked over a wood fire for about eight hours by five people who add to it raisins, badam and spices. It’s sold after namaaz for Rs 30. Another place I like going to is Fusion 9 where you can see Telegu film actors! On Sundays, they serve unlimited food for Rs 1,000. Another place that’s worth dining at is the Alhamdulillah restaurant near the Charminar. They serve bada ghosht, ragda and biryani until 3am so people often go there after work.
Venkatesh runs Nari’s Point at Hyderabad Central University
SREEDEEP ON FILM
I like the work of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who directed Babel, Amores Perros and 21 Grams. In certain phases, you become impressed by the stylistic dimensions of the work of a director. What I like about Iñárritu’s films is that they are not linear, but at the same time, they aren’t nonlinear either. All the films in the trilogy have three or four incidents happening in three or four different cities of the world. Then, he tries to show how these characters are coincidentally related. It’s emotional while, at the same time, not mushy.
Among Indian directors, I like Anurag Kashyap’s work. No Smoking was a different story altogether. I know it was panned by the critics and the movie-going public, but I think it was a completely metaphorical film and a few decades from now people will be talking about it. I used to like Ram Gopal Verma’s films but he seems to have deteriorated.
Sreedeep is a film maker who lives in Delhi
KANISHKA SARKAR ON MUSIC
I enjoy World Music. The sound that comes out of musicians from different parts of the world playing together is like a new language. I enjoy the music of Tanmoy Bose who plays with Ravi Shankar. He’s set up Taal Tantra. Though he’s from a classical background, he is collaborating with religious musicians who play only at poojas in West Bengal. One of them, Gokul Das, a fantastic percussionist, is now being noticed on the international stage. I also enjoy the music of Pavan Das Baul. When it comes to listening to music, I’m an absolute polygamist — I listen to all sorts.
Sarkar is a musician who lives in Kolkata