Rukmini Varma, the Princess painter makes a comeback with her show Opulence and Eternity
Itai??i??s been 33 years since she has made any public appearance. The fourth Princess of the erstwhile state of Travancore, her highness Bharani Tirunal Rukmini Bayi Tampuran, has been a recluse leading a quiet, spiritual life, away from the public glare. But now, the Princess, more popularly known as Rukmini Varma, the painter (and great-great granddaughter of master painter Raja Ravi Varma), is set for a grand return.
On January 25, 2017, the 79-year-old Varma will present her new collection of paintings, Opulence and Eternity, at Gallery-g in the city. A collection of richly painted subjects ai??i?? both legendary and historical figures (one of these subjects is her grandmother the Maharani Setu Lakshmi Bayi). ai???Ever since I started painting as a child, I get visions of fantastic men and women clad in jewellery, walking down palaces and temples. And mind you, I get these visions when I am awake, not while I am sleeping,ai??? the Princess painter tells us categorically. She further elaborates, ai???Visions of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and the likes is what I have painted. I had started work during the early ai??i??70s but left them incomplete. It was only when Gitanjali (Maini, founder, Gallery-g) insisted that I exhibit these paintings, that I completed them over the last four to five months this year.ai???
Raised in the Satelmond Palace in Trivandrum, Varma was highly influenced by her surroundings that included artefacts, palace interiors and works of great baroque masters like Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Rubens. ai???It was Rubensai??i?? work that influenced me the most. He placed a lot of importance on skin tones,ai??? says Varma, who is known for the skin tone detailing in her work too.
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Though her last show ai??i?? Flesh and Gems ai??i?? displayed at the Jehangir Art Gallery was back in 1981, Varma hasnai??i??t stopped painting. She says itai??i??s equivalent to breathing for her. Prod her more about the 1981 show and how newspapers had reported that it had almost caused a stampede, she laughs and says, ai???thatai??i??s because I had painted nudes.ai??? It was at the same show that the modern art master MF Hussain was besotted by her work. ai???He met me at the gallery and professed his amazement about the skin tones I had created. We spoke for a long time but I didnai??i??t know it was Hussain. Only after he left, when someone told me, I realised who he was,ai??? she recalls.
After this show, Varma chose to lead a secluded life. She renounced her regular life to enter an ascetic phase. ai???I thought my spiritual life and my regular life would be in conflict.ai??? She went deeper into it after she lost her third son in an accident. Only after years of dealing with trauma, she has been able to recover and is set for her comeback show. January 20 onwards. AtGallery-g, Lavelle Road. Details: 22219275.
It may have been the year of Sully and Leoai??i??s big Oscar win, but 2016 was undoubtedly the year that overdosed on sequels. Though, most of them didnai??i??t quite cause the happy high that youai??i??d have liked.
Truth be told, if I were to pick the only sequels that really worked for me from the glut that hit screens this past year, youai??i??d be surprised. Ice Age: Collision Course, Kung Fu Panda 3 and Finding Dory ai??i?? every single one of them not even warranting a PG rating ai??i?? were easily the most enjoyable. Sure, none of them figured in the list of highest grossing films, but hey, it takes a lot more than a great story and some cutting-edge animation to ease Marvel and DC out of their BO bounty. Iai??i??d have to say, Jon Favreau’s splendid, childhood memory-laden take on Mowgli in The Jungle Book came awfully close.
Iai??i??m not going to win too many brownie points for this call, but Iai??i??m going to say it anyway ai??i?? I thought that Sully and the Mark Ruffalo-Kevin Costner starrer Spotlight were way more entertaining than Leonardo DiCaprioai??i??s brutal trapper tale The Revenant. Maybe Iai??i??m just too metropolitan in my outlook in cinema or maybe I just like shorter films, but Iai??i??m firmly behind the Academy on this one. Especially if they give it to Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge) next year. Hint hint, much?
This year, the scare quotient was abysmally low. The sequel to The Conjuring was fun, but ran more on retrograde nostalgia than anything else. One movie that did succeed in scaring the living daylights out of me without needing a single ghost, ghoul or spirit of any sort was Fede Alvarezai??i??s Don’t Breathe. Moral of that story? Donai??i??t ever diss a blind man. Like ever. Jokes apart, it was also a victory of sorts for filmmakers who depend on sheer technique and good old-fashioned scare tactics like light and shade over VFX generated in Bengaluru and Iran.
Two other original scripts that I thought slipped past sans much fanfare were Chris Pineai??i??s Coast Guard drama The Finest Hours and George Clooneyai??i??s slick Money Monster. The former could well end up being one of Pineai??i??s finest but the latter isnai??i??t anywhere close to being in Clooneyai??i??s ai???Best Of…ai??i?? cabinet. But theyai??i??re still a far sight more entertaining than overrated budget-bloats like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Iai??i??d normally wonder what Zack Snyder was thinking, except I sort of got where his attention was after watching the Wonder Woman trailer. Like, duh.
Up, up and away
The only superhero movie, notwithstanding the whole big bash between superheroes that we got to see in Captain America Civil War, that was truly worth itai??i??s salt was Doctor Strange. Driven primarily by Benedict Cumberbatch and not so much by a cult following, it was one of those rare movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that didnai??i??t need a special appearance by Iron Man to get those cheers rolling. By the way, Deadpool was infinitely as cool as Ryan Reynolds was foul-mouthed, but it was so lame-ducked on the story front that I wondered if they knew they werenai??i??t making a spoof. The absolute worst of the lot was a toss-up between Independence Day: Resurgence and X:Men Apocalypse, which only made we wonder ai???Why, why and Why?ai??i?? in varying degrees of exasperation.
A lot of people have been calling 2016 the Year of the Reaper. No offence to the faithful Wham! fans out there, but as far as Hollywoodai??i??s concerned, it was well and truly the Year of the Saturated Sequel. My math will never quite match the standards set by the on-screen Ramanujan in The Man Who Knew Infinity, but itai??i??s easy enough to see that more than half of Hollywoodai??i??s releases that actually made it to India were ai??i?? you guessed it ai??i?? sequels.
Hereai??i??s a fun fact. 2016 had a Captain America movie, a Star Trek sequel, a Star Wars movie, one more Ice Age and Kung Fu Panda respectively, and the inevitable X:Men flick. I watched them all. Duly. Consciously. Mostly awake. Looking back though, I wouldnai??i??t lose sleep trying to get them on VoD or even scour torrent sites trying to download and re-watch any of them. Why? Because they simply werenai??i??t the films that stood out the whole of this year.And believe me, Iai??i??m not panning any of these big ticket franchise flicks, because I think theyai??i??re overloaded with cheap thrills and inflated box-office returns. Heck, I love the cheap thrills. Itai??i??s just that I thought Tom Hanksai??i?? Sully and Eddie Redmayneai??i??s gender-bending The Danish Girl were a lot more fun. Besides making for much better cinema, naturally.
To cap it off, there were a few redeeming bright spots this year, but they were still too far and few between to withstand the onslaught of the insipid sequel.
I can only pray, on both knees if it warrants it, that the gazillion more that are to come in the next few years arenai??i??t quite as grating on the central nervous system. And there are more movies like Spotlight.
Movies that you need to catch on DVD
? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Will work wonders for both Harry Potter fans and muggles. Insanely fun storyline and some great magic to boot
?Ai?? Queen of Katwe
One of those rare biopics that can move you and make you laugh in equal measure. Story of a young girl from Africa who dreams of becoming a grandmaster at chess
The gripping, dramatic
retelling of how a pilot made a forced water landing on the Hudson River and didnai??i??t lose a single life in the bargain. Tom Hanksai??i?? best in a while
? Donai??i??t Breathe
Three young burglars go from hunters to being the hunted when their mark ai??i?? a blind, old man ai??i?? knows his dark, isolated house better than them
?Ai?? Money Monster
George Clooney is a smooth-talking money advisor on a TV show when a man who lost his savings after punting on his investment advice holds him up with a gun, on air
?Ai?? The Jungle Book
Everyoneai??i??s favourite jungle tale, in an animated, rebooted, larger-than-life version. Watch it for the kid who plays Mowgli and the rejigged song and dance sequences
Based on the investigative team of a newspaper which unearthed the sex scandal that the Catholic Church had been hiding for ages. An ode to journalism
? The Danish Girl
Eddie Redmayneai??i??s breakthrough role as a man who is transitioning into a woman, with the help of the woman who loves him. Drama, much
?Ai?? The Magnificent Seven
A remake of the old western with a star-studded cast that includes Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt. Plenty of shooting and talking. Great entertainment value
The superhero film with more beeped out than was left in. Youai??i??ve a much better shot watching this on DVD or in a language like Tamil or Hindi
Dastango Ankit Chadha brings to the fore tales of nomads
A dying art form is akin to a sinking boat. A light wave is enough for it to be pushed to safe banks. Dastangoi ai??i?? the ancient art of Urdu storytelling had almost
died but with lots of effort, the art form has been revived. One of the most popular Dastongos (storytellers), Ankit Chadha, has been instrumental in bringing this art form to the city of Bengaluru.
Tonight, he presents his latest offering titled Dastaan-e-Khanabadosh (Saga of the Nomads), an hour-long event. The idea was proposed to Chadha by Sushma Iyengar of Sahjeevan, a Kutch-based organisation, which works on sustainable practices of pastoral communities. The stories highlight the passing on of nomadic traditions orally and also, the conflict between the nomadic pastoralists and the settled world. Itai??i??s taken a year, and research around the areas of Kutch, UP, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan, for Chadha to develop the script. ai???The main plot is based on an incident that actually took place when a group of Van Gujjars, buffalo herders in UP and Uttarakhand, were on their way to the Himalayas. It is at one juncture in this journey that a conflict between the nomadic pastoralists and the settled world becomes visible,ai??? he explains.This is the eighth time that Chadha performs in Bengaluru, but it is the first Dastaan-e -Khanabadosh show.Tonight, 7 pm. Tickets Rs 300. At Chavadi, Bannerghatta Road. Details: 8884580875
Benarasi textiles take centre stage in Shalini Jamesai??i?? Jahanara.
Jahanara ai??i?? a princess whose life was fraught with mishaps, injustices and sadness ai??i?? forms the inspiration for Shalini Jamesai??i?? latest couture line. Launched in Collage Shop India last week, the collection, also titled Jahanara is built around Jamesai??i?? reimagining of the sartorial choices of the princess after tragedy struck. An odd choice to make, one would think, but James begs to differ. ai???Despite being the daughter of Shah Jahan, her life was not easy. When she was young, she survived a fire which left her scarred both mentally and physically. She had a lover, whom she never married because of a rule that prevented Mughal princesses from getting hitched. But she was extremely talented ai??i?? a poet, painter and writer. And after I read Indu Sundaresanai??i??s The Shadow Princess, her story somehow stayed with me,ai??? reveals Kochi-based James, whose ready-to-wear label, Mantra has a huge fan following across the country.
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Quite naturally, the textile that James has chosen for this line is handwoven Benarasi. However, heavy silks have been passed up for a lightweight fabric thatai??i??s a mix of cotton and silk. ai???I enjoy working with contrasting fabrics and techniques. For the character (Jahanara) I had in mind, the elegance and subtlety of cotton silk seemed apt,ai??? she explains. In keeping with this, the hues that have been employed include, in Jamesai??i??s own words, cardamon green, sandstone pink, marble white, old rose, amber yellow, scented ash, mineral blue and sandalwood. The soft pastel hues form the perfect backdrop for techniques like quilting, and rose gold and silver zari work. Satin silk trimmings add to the opulence, while organza dupattas lend a delicate touch.
ai???In a sense, itai??i??s minimalistic as embellishments have been used sparingly,ai??? shares James. Though dramatic anarkalis, ruffled maxi skirts and striking A-line kurtas make up most of the collection, thereai??i??s a sense of restraint and sophistication that makes it all the more appealing. ai???The fabric itself is an embellishment. They have been woven in such a way that they resemble miniature paintings from the Mughal period,ai??? she adds.
Apart from releasing a fresh batch of garments for Mantra every month, next year, James plans to work on a couture line with Indo-Chinese influences.
Rs 15,000 upwards. At Collage Shop India, Wood Street. Details: 25566819
ai??i?? Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo
Blues and funk band, The Sylvester Trio, takes the stage at B Flat. The band has Sylvester Pradeep on guitar and vocals, Joel Rozario on drums and Snehal Pinto on bass. With over 25 years of collective experience the performance promises to be power-packed. Rs 400. Tonight, 9 pm. At Indira Nagar. Details: 25278361.
Catch the performance art project Kuru Circus & Orchestra as they perform live. The band features Ari Jayaprakash AKA Rogue Atari, Chintan Kalra and Rohan Kulshreshtha AKA Bass Ninja. Rs 500. Tonight. At Indira Nagar, 9 pm. Details:
HAT the festive season is almost ending is no reason to stop celebrating. Bengaluru gets two new breweries, both located away from the usual pub hub in the central business district. While one has a unique theme, the other promises to be a party destination. We give you a sneak peek.
Brewklyn brings the best of New York to India. The owner Neeraj Chandrasekhar travelled across Germany and was very impressed by the craft beer. ai???But it was when I was in Brooklyn in New York that I was really inspired by the place and its drinking culture. Thatai??i??s why I decided to set up Brewklyn,ai??? he says.
They only have their own brews on the drinks menu, nothing else. The brews on the menu are all inspired by the cultural icons of Brooklyn. The Woody Aleai??i??n is named after the filmmaker and author whose love for New York is evident in his movies. The strong wheat brew Iron Mike is a tribute to Mike Tyson, another legendary Brooklyner. Dark and frothy, this one is for true beer lovers. Their lager called Biggie, pays homage to the most influential American rapper, Notorious B.I.G. The food menu, though limited, has all the classics. The appetisers ranges from Cajun-spiced baby corn, Potato skins, Napalm chicken, Butter garlic prawns, Pork chilli cilantro and more. They are big on meat and the mains include Beef burgers, Chicken pasta, Lamb pizza and Sausage pizza. All the pizzas are made in their in-house wood fire oven. Rs 1,200 for two. At Kalyan Nagar. Details: 9108707070.
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Hoot, located on Sarjapur Road, opened with huge pomp and show last week. The most notable feature of the place is the vast amount of space it occupies. Spread over 40,000 square feet, it accommodates around 750 people and claims to be Indiaai??i??s biggest brewery. It also has three pools meandering through the open air venue so the place is cheery and bright.
The brewery (which will be operational in the coming weeks) promises a variety of in-house brews ranging from stout to wheat beers and ales. They will also offer a nano brewery which will be open for anyone who wants to learn how to brew beer from a Belgian brewmaster. But apart from the brewed beer they also have 500 varieties of imported beer from Belgium.
On the menu, find platters like Chips, dips and the ultimate conversation starters ai??i?? an assortment of hummus, pesto, cocktail mayo served with pita, tapioca and other chips. The Substantial hoots section has options like Tofu pepper salt, Classic fish and chips, Minted chicken legs and Pomegranate fish skewers. The Sweet hoot has choices like Baked blueberry yoghurt, and even a Chocolate pizza. The brewery also has a gaming zone called Boot. Guests can play laser tag, vertigo and football at the cordoned off area. Rs 1,000 for two. At Sarjapur Road. Details: 45128701.
Whenever I find myself trying to make sartorial decisions at the cusp of a New Year, I realise that the timeless tradition of making a set of new resolutions is always the best place to begin. I have listed out some of the most popular fashion resolutions this year and even asked The Registry of Saris founder Ally Mathan and designer Michelle Salins to weigh in.
Keep it simple: Simplicity is the key to looking good in 2017. Wear non-fussy clothes with classy, clean and fresh lines that never go out of style.
Take a stand: It is a good idea to adopt a cause in the New Year and make it your signature style. For instance, one could wear more handwoven saris or kurtas, adopt sustainable fashion, wear only eco-friendly fabrics or buy ensembles crafted out of indigenous dyes.
Think shape, not size: This is the year we should focus on new shapes, right from our handbags to our jewellery to our clothes. Instead of your regular square tote, think of options like the tiny baguette, the oblong messenger, the barrel bag or the wooden handled bucket bag. As for accessories, try triangular earrings, a square bracelet or an owl shaped pendant.
Incorporate green: The Pantone colour of the year is greenery, a colour that will soon be seen in the stores. It is a flattering colour, so start adding green to your wardrobe.
Experiment with trouser styles: The trouser has undergone so many transformations in the last few years. From flat front trousers, to button cuffed, tapered, pleated, harem pants, the crop and the capri ai??i?? there are several new looks to try out this year. Toss out those skinny jeans now and enjoy the new trouser.
Try coloured footwear: It is a good year to put all your black and beige footwear away and embrace colour. But the idea is not to go completely ai???matchyai??i?? either. It is best to pick out a tiny colour or print from your ensemble and find a pair of shoes that will act as a contrast to the rest of your outfit.
MICHELLE SALINS, fashion designer
Office-wear chic: I love my ai???jeansai??i?? but I am planning to change next year. I will be launching a stylish corporate line soon and I plan to flaunt my collection by wearing these clothes for work. I am going to use less denim and choose more formal wear every day.
Get nail-perfect: I love the trend of nail-art that is huge all over the world now. So maintaining well manicured nails is at the top of my list.
Find the perfect sleeve:Ai??With sleeve lengths all set to vary next year, I would love to wear the variations, right from the flared, gathered, large to the cuff sleeves with the bows. The extended shoulder sleeve is also poised to be a big trend next year and I am going to try them all.
Ally Matthan,Ai??Co-Founder, Ai??The Registry of Sarees
Buy Indian: We need to go back to our roots in terms of fabric and I plan to do so this year. I might wear a tailored or an unstitched garment like a sari but the fabrics
will be local.
Bend the rules a bit: I am going to find a way to wear gender-equal clothes and still bring out my feminine side. For example, a dhoti-sari or a dapper tailored suit.
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Take a colour forward: I am going to pick a new colour and use it in many innovative ways. For example, since I like indigo, I will not use the colour only for my clothes. I could get an indigo laptop case or an indigo handbag and incorporate the colour into the decor of my home too.
Crestor drug price Rohini Kejriwal, the brains behind the culture newsletter The Alipore Post, feels the role of poetry in day-to-day life has been misplaced. ai???My goal is to help people reconnect with poetry by pairing it with visually appealing art that complements the words,ai??? she says. To take this cause forward she hosts the Year-End Special ai??i?? The Alipore Post at Goobeai??i??s, an evening of music and poetry.
ai???Ravi Menezes, the owner of the Goobeai??i??s bookstore, has become a good friend and is part of almost every event that I do. This was an event weai??i??ve both wanted to do for a long time, and for me, itai??i??s a dream come true to put together a gig at a bookstore,ai??? she reveals. The event is open for bibliophiles and poetry lovers. The session is apt for anyone who wants to read out (or perform) their favourite poems or even their own work. Kejriwal herself will read some of her own picks such as The Poetics of Desire by Gulzar, Relax by Ellen Bass and I Will Meet You Yet Again by Amrita Pritam.She has also invited poetry groups from the city such as the Airplane Poetry Movement and Poetry in the Park to be part of the session.
The event will include a performance by singer-songwriter Abhi Tambe. Known for being part of the iconic band Lounge Piranha, he now works on his independent projects. ai???You can even pick up The Alipore Post merchandise that Iai??i??ve been making,ai??? adds Kejriwal. These include illustrated postcards, bookmarks, and block printed DIY diaries. Additionally, the amount you pay for the ticket is redeemable at Goobeai??i??s. Rs 300. Today, 5 pm. At Goobeai??i??s Book Republic. Church Street. Details: 40903806.
Writer and storyteller Ankit Chadha presents Dastaan- e-Khanabadosh, an evening of storytelling. Chadha will put up a Dastangoi performance based on the stories of nomads in India. Rs 300. At Bannerghatta Road, 7 pm. Details: 8884580875. Turn to page 17 for more.
Let the ball drop
December 31 | VR Bengaluru
Donai??i??t miss Black Box 2017, featuring Nikhil Chinapa. One of the biggest NYE parties in town, it will also have performances by DJ Blaque and Sonic-X. The venue (the Skydeck) also promises a stunning panoramic view of the city. At Whitefield, 8 pm. Tickets (Rs 3,500 upwards) on bookmyshow.com.
High and low
January 2 | Gallery 9
Artist Shivanand Basavanthappa exhibits his paintings in a show titled Stories of Happiness. The series tries to explore the ups and downs of human life. Basavanthappa takes inspiration from Indian culture, values, ethics and traditions. Entry free. At MG Road. Details: 9900685028.
January 4 | Ranga Shankara
Catch Prakash Belawadiai??i??s Kannada play Becket. Written by Jean Anouilh, the play begins with King Henry repenting for having played a part in the assassination of the Archbishop of Canterbury. At JP Nagar, 7.30 pm. Tickets (Rs 100) on bookmyshow.com.
At the theatre
December 30 | PVR Cinemas
Michael Fassbender is back on the silver screen in Assassinai??i??s Creed. The movie is based on the video game series of the same name and takes place in the era of the Spanish Inquisition as well as the modern day. It follows Callum Lynch (Fassbender) who is a descendant of Aguilar de Nerha, an ancient assassin.
January 1 | Chowdiah Memorial Hall
Start the new year by soaking in a bit of culture at the concert by musician Biju Nair and team ai??i?? Dev Aur Anand. The concert is a tribute to Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna. Musicians Aishwarya Kasinathan, Vikram Dixit, Haris Karoth, Pradeep Patkar, Priya Yadav and Ajay Bakshi will perform. At Malleshwaram, 6 pm. Tickets
(Rs 300 upwards) on bookmyshow.com.
January 3 | Shoonya
Dancer Nathaniel Parchment hosts A Danced Meditation: Therapeutic Movement, a workshop blending contemporary dance, yoga and somatic practices such as experiential anatomy, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong. It promises to recharge your body and mind. At Lalbagh Road, 8.30 am. Tickets (Rs 4,000) on instamojo.com.
Slice of life
January 5 | Lahe Lahe
Independent musician Harpreet takes the stage to showcase his Hindi and Punjabi poetry at the event Tanaa Banaa- The Strings of Life. Joining him is storyteller Aparna Athreya. Rs 300. At Kodihalli, 7.30 pm. Details: 9886294444.