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Monthly Archives: November 2016

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    Bengaluru-based stand-up comic Praveen Kumar brings his new solo show to the city

    We’ve all seen comedians who are desperate for laughs, who force-fit swear words into their jokes when they start bombing on stage. But stand-up artiste, Praveen Kumar, says he has never resorted to the ‘F-word’ or other expletives in any of his 1,300 national/international shows.

    “I have nothing against dirty jokes or those who tell them. I was born and raised in Kanchipuram, and have imbibed orthodox family values. I still do a lot of naughty bits, but I never cross that line, because I imagine my mum attends all my shows,” shares the BITS-Pilani graduate, who quit his job as a marketing professional to become a full-time comic in 2014.

    As part of his new hilarious one-hour special, titled Orthodoxically Me, he jokes about the culture shock of moving to a metropolitan city, arranged marriages, decoding emojis, pub culture, Snapchat, teenage fashion and trying to inculcate orthodox family values in his daughter.

    “My new show has a message for small town folk from across the country: if I can make it, you can too,” says the 35-year-old, who’s tour includes Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

    On December 10, at Alliance Francaise. From 7 pm. Rs 300. Details: bookmyshow.com

    —Anoop Menon

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      Namita Gokhale on her latest book, her narrative technique, and Bob Dylan

      Picture the Japiur Literary Festival. The hustle and bustle of literary talent, against the backdrop of the Diggi Palace. It headlines across newspapers, literary circles are all abuzz and crowds line up to catch a glimpse of those they idolise. Amidst all the clamour is the lady behind the largest free literary festival, a doyen herself — Namita Gokhale, who loves the luxury of a packed schedule, and favours first-person narratives. Gearing up for the 11th edition next January, the 60-year-old talks about her latest book, Things to Leave Behind, the caste system in the country, and more.

      Objective outlook
      Things to Leave Behind spans the period of the ‘Ferangee Raj’, and has a perplexing love quadrangle at its core, while exploring the pursuit of individual freedom, human nature and human dilemmas. Singular in its narrative technique, the author divulges the first-time use of a detached perspective. “This is the first time that I have worked on an entire novel in a third-person narrative.” Resonating with memories of Nainital of an adolescent Namita, family histories, conversations and an absurd sense of caste entitlement have played a pivotal role in her characterisations.

      Mirroring the past
      Drawing parallels between prevalent caste prejudices and the theme of the book, this writer, publisher and literary fest director is quick to quote Gloria Steinem on her new novel. “Things

      To Leave Behind is a personal story of the ways the caste system — and by extension race and caste everywhere — imprison the humanity of those within them.” Namita adds, “These are, as the title of the novel suggests, things to leave behind.”

      New hope
      Recalling the premature demise of the Indian Literature Aboard project, Gokhale is rather hopeful about homegrown publishing houses, like her Yatra Books, taking notice of the expanding market for translated texts. Leaving us with her thoughts on the Nobel Prize for Literature, she signs off, saying, “Voice, word, music and lyric poetry are an important part of literary heritage. Dylan was a good choice for the Nobel.”

      — Rebecca Vargese

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        Cheryl Hines on playing Edie, the ex-wife of Zorn and the challenges of the role

        Comedy is clearly her forte as Cheryl Hines gets ready to be part of TV series, Son of Zorn, even as we hear that the 51-year-old will be reprising her role in the popular sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm and will be doing the film, Wilson, next year. The American actress plays Edie, ex-wife of the only animated character in the series, Zorn (voice by Jason Sudeikis). Here, The Ugly Truth actor tells us about the imagination behind the script and what is in store.

        Can you describe the show to us?
        Son of Zorn is about one animated character who is this warrior, muscular, barbarian-type figure from a different country who comes to Orange County to try to reconnect with his son, who he hasn’t seen in 10 years. And he’s the only animated character in the show. Besides that, it’s about a dysfunctional, funky family.

        How’s filming been for you?
        Well, logistically, it’s challenging. Because, you know, you’re doing a scene with nobody. And it’s also challenging because you know that Zorn is going to be animated, and he takes up a certain amount of space. So you can’t really cross over into his plane when you’re acting.

        Can you tell us about your character?
        I play Zorn’s ex-wife, and you know, I want him to have a relationship with his son, although Zorn drives me crazy. So I am just always trying to keep it connected.

        The show premieres on November 27, 10.30 pm on Star World
        and Star World HD

        —Team Indulge

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          Helping hand
          The second season of Legends of Tomorrow has had fans on the edge of their seats. In this episode, the team of superheroes work with The Flash, Supergirl and Green Arrow to defeat the villains who have invaded the city. Tonight, 7 pm. On Colors Infinity

          Glamour quotient
          Entertainment Tonight is a half-hour show giving you all the news, gossip and sneak peeks from Hollywood. Don’t miss out on the scoop of what happened this week in tinsel town with hosts Cameron Mathison and Nancy O’Dell. Tonight, 8.30 pm. On VH1

          Colombian champions
          Watch award-winning documentaries by ESPN Films in their new slot every Sunday. This weekend catch the documentary, The Two Escobars, which tells the tale of two famous Colombian men named Escobar: Andrés, the footballer, and Pablo, the infamous drug baron. November 27, 12 pm. On Sony ESPN

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            Apparao Galleries’ latest showcase has two artists in focus

            With two artists showcasing at Apparao Galleries‘s newest exhibition, starting today, the differences in both create a charming interest element.  Titled Between The Folds, it features the works of English artist, Sophie Jo, and New Delhi-based Ankon Mitra, both flaunting unique styles, ideas and mediums. While Sophie attempts to capture the spirit of crowds and people across the world on oil on canvas paintings, Ankon tries to come up with as many shapes and figures as possible by folding aluminium sheet (industry-grade) and brass. Sophie, who is also a graphic-designer and illustrator, admits that she is very impressed by Ankon‘s works. “I have not collaborated with him before and I am looking forward to this experience. It is not about collaboration, its about two contrasting minds and their contrasting approaches to creativity,” she says.

            Her 11-piece collection for the event is called People of the World. “This collection is largely about people from our immediate environment. It is mostly about painting and interpreting what I see, without forgetting humour, details and colours, which are the three main ingredients in my work,” she explains. Ankon‘s methods seem to be a bit more complicated. “I make customised tools to bend aluminium onto wooden shapes (or stencils), and then I transform them into the designs I desire; that are mostly inspired by nature and birds,” he explains, adding that unlike paper, aluminium needs more mastery for origami designs.
            Today, to December 12. Details: 28332226

            —KP

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              Sharad Haksar’s latest exhibtion looks at Croatia and Italy in a different light

              After his 80-image journey through a cherry-blossom kissed Japan to the white winters of Iceland in his last collection, city-based photographer Sharad Haksar is back with his new project- Three, showing at the Art Houz gallery this weekend. Staying true to his longstanding fascination with nature, colour and architecture, this collection has three themes- two travel based- collated from his trips to Croatia and Italy two months ago and the third- a collection of impressions made using objects found in day-to-day life. “When I travel, I try going to places that are less frequented,” says the award-winning photographer. The14-day trip saw the Haksars visit Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia and Alberobello in Italy. “The architecture of both these places is very different. In Croatia you find a lot more terracotta and the trulli houses (in Alberobello) are all white with conical roofs,” he says.

              The adman’s series of impressions is practically ornamental. After imprinting the objects  on coloured powder , lighting is manipulated before taking the photograph. “I was really inspired by Neil Armstrong’s foot on the moon. It’s an iconic and powerful image,” says the winner of The Cannes Silver Lion. Meticulous about researching and charting out schedules months before the actual shoot, he confesses that these 16 images took close to two months to complete. Talking about his favourite image from the series, Haksar picks a photograph of a dome in Vatican. “There is an aura about that place and it’s just not possible to create something like that without divine intervention. Vatican needs a week to explore and I consider myself lucky to get a shot like that in a day,” he says. The photographer’s calender for the upcoming year is packed with shoots planned in New Zealand and Maasai Mara in Kenya.

              Collectors can buy signed limited edition prints starting at Rs 12,500. Till November 27 at Art Houz. Details: 24992173

              —Lavanya Lakshminarayanan

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                Knack for words
                Go beyond the craft of writing and learn the nuances of the business of a freelance writing career. Lifestyle magazine writer Radhika Meghna share tips and tricks for writing for magazines, pitching an idea  and effective queries, among other challenges. Rs 1500 per participant.  On November 26, at CCD The Square, KNK Road, 10 am onwards. Details: 9444485133

                Soul music
                Experience the melodic harmonies of Hindustani music with Ashwini Bhide Deshpande and Dhanashri Ghaisas. The duo is set to perform traditional compositions in common and rare ragas in the idiom and aesthetics typical to the Jaipur gharana. Free entry. On November 26, at The Music Academy, at 6.30 pm. Details: bookmyshow.com

                Classical moves
                Journey the vast expanse of classical dance during Suvritti—a festival featuring the works of eminent performing artistes.  Engage in a discourse with the artists of the day PT Narendran, Vidhya Subramanian among others,  as they reveal their creative process in conceiving and developing their work. Free Entry. November 26 to 29, at Rukmini Arangam, Kalakshetra Foundation, 6 pm onwards. Details: 04424520836

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                Bengaluru beckons
                Celebrate music and nature at the first edition of the Echoes of Earth music festival. Experience India’s first ever eco-friendly music fest, featuring 40 Indian and International musicians and artistes, at the picturesque Embassy International Riding School. Season passes Rs 3,000. From November 26 to 27, at 12 pm, Bengaluru. Details: echoesofearth.com

                Mystery trail
                Follow a tale of intrigue with Popie and his gang, as they plan the heist of a lifetime. Chasing a fabled diamond across the globe, the fifth highest-grossing movie in Korean film history, The Thieves, promises to be an action-packed experience. Entry free.  On November 26, at 2 pm and 5 pm, NFDC Tagore Film Centre, R A Puram, Details: 96770 62997

                Comic night
                Much followed  YouTuber Kannan Gill (over four lakh views and counting) is back with his much-awaited solo at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall. Known for his wit and whimsical quirks, this Bengaluru comic promises some fresh humour. Rs 499.  On November 26, at 7pm. Details: bookmyshow.com

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                The tenth edition of the Poetry with Prakriti festival features a line-up of stellar performances

                After getting cancelled last year due to the floods, the Poetry with Prakriti Festival is back with a host of exciting events lined up for the 16-day affair. Ranvir Shah, founder of the Prakriti Foundation, shares that the tenth edition is much bigger than the earlier ones, and tells us to expect more than just poetry readings. The event will also see contests, a film screening and book launches by senior poets, Sudeep Sen, Priya Sarukkai Chabria and Anupama Raju, in addition to an interactive session with author Perumul Murugan, who will be launching his book of poetry. Opening with 16 translation poets in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, the festival will also have two poetry-related acts — a theatre performance by Sunil Shanbag based on contemporary poetry, titled Blank Page, and a performance on Sufi poet Hazrat Bulleh Shah’s Maati by Astad Deboo, called Eternal Embrace. We caught up with two international poets who will be presenting their distinct works, on what they are looking forward to at the event.

                Taking the mic
                Seoul-based poet Hwang Yuwon is pursuing his Phd in Indian Philosophy at Dongguk University, and has over eighty poems published in several literary magazines to his name. Having visited India twice before, Hwang, who is being brought down courtesy InKo Centre and Arts Council Korea, says, “ I never thought I could come there as a Korean poet, and not just as an average Asian backpacker.” The writer, whose first book of poetry Everything in the World, Maximized (2015) was awarded the 34th Kim Soo-young prize, says that he uses a
                lot of religious images in his work. As to what he will be reading at the fest, the 34-year-old  says he will be reading translations of his poems. “I’m also thinking that I’d like to read poems in Korean, since poetry is sometimes about its sound, not its meaning.”

                Her words’ worth

                London-based Rachel Long set up a poetry collective for women of colour called Octavia in September last year, “so that we could meet to read, write, support each other.” Visiting India for the first time, Long says, “I write a lot about my family, love, loss, and the body. I like to track a journey in any set/reading I do.” The poet, who is being brought down in association with the British Council, has a list of favourite writers that includes Kim Addonizio for her honesty; and Sharon Olds, for her stunning exploration of the body and the complicated nature of love, among others. “I love and admire Caroline Bird for being the best mentor  any poet could ask for, but also for the way she plays with myth and fairy tales,” adds Long, who is an alumna of the Jerwood/Arvon Mentorship Scheme.
                November 29 to December 14. At multiple venues. Details: poetrywithprakriti.in

                —Simar Bhasin

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                  A jazz trio comes together for a unique performance in the city

                  Coming to India for the first time can be quite an overwhelming experience for any visitor.  More so, if you are a musician preparing to entertain a music-loving crowd as diverse as that of Chennai’s. Such was the case with English jazz double bassist Jon Thorne and Scottish folk musician James Yorkston when they touched down at the city this Monday. The duo will perform at Phoenix MarketCity, with 28-year-old sarangi maestro, Suhail Yusuf Khan. Together, they’re identified as Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, a fusion collaborative that started in 2012. They’re in the country for 10 days to promote their upcoming album with shows in Kolkata and Patna as well.

                  The three of them may have been in the music industry for quite a while, but a short introduction always helps. Khan is the grandson of the late Ustad Sabri Khan, and is an eighth generation sarangi player in his family. He’s got a bit of Sufi in his voice too. Jon Thorne has performed in festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury as a bassist for the English electronic band, Lamb. “We turn to Suhail to learn more about Indian sounds,” says Thorne. Yorkston seconds him, admitting that exploring a new country lends new ideas to their music. “Sadly, owing to our packed schedule, we can only visit Old Delhi,” says the folk singer-songwriter.

                  For their performance, the trio promises fresh compositions. It will be interesting to see and hear how three different instruments—sarangi, double bass (“a David Gauge Czech-Ease,” says Thorne), and a guitar­—will ­sound on stage. Hence, they’re taking their sound-checks very seriously. You really don’t want to hear imperfect renditions of their songs like Little Black Buzzer and Sufi Wave, do you?
                  Organised by British Council. Today, 7 pm onwards. Details: yorkstonthornekhan.com

                  —Karan Pillai

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