Monthly Archives: February 2017
Director: Rahul Dholakia Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
The King Khan is back with a blockbuster once again. Raees tells the story of the good don, a man who is involved in an illegal liquor business but spends all that he has earned in helping the poor. Shah Rukh’s at his usual best, but it’s Nawazuddin who steals the thunder. It’s a weekend family entertainer that is worth a watch.
Director: John Lee Hancock Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman
Keaton plays McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc in this American biographical drama. The movie follows Kroc on his journey as he creates the fast food global empire. Keaton has given a magnetic performance as a sleek businessman. Watch it for the story behind the famous golden arches.
Director: Sanjay Gupta Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam
This movie is about Rohan (Roshan), who vows to avenge his wife Supriya’s (Gautam) rape. Both the protagonists are visually impaired. While it held promise before its release, the cliched plot and loop holes, make this one a failure.
— Team Indulge
Go beyond the classic Breton with funky lined accessories this spring
BE IT bold, ribbon-like lines or the more subtle pinstripes, horizontal or vertical, the stripe is turning out to be a runway trend that’s here to stay. Yara Shahidi in a Naeem Khan, Naomi Harris in a Lanvin and Michelle Dockery in an Ellie Saab number grabbed eyeballs with their striped outfits at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and closer home, Kangana Ranaut was spotted rocking Fendi’s Resort ’17 specials during promotions for Rangoon recently. We give a twist to the trend and move from ensembles to accessories to amp up your fashion quotient.
Take a bow
Nothing like a monochrome striped Betsy Johnson satchel (pictured) to complement a white outdoor ensemble. Besides the pretty fuchsia bow, the crossbody straps and spacious interiors make this a handy accessory to have this season. Rs 6,637 on amazon.in
Charmed kind of life
Fendi’s obsession with monsters comes through in this multicoloured fur charm. With metal accents, leather lace, a palladium-finish spring clip and a cream and blue diagonal stripe scheme, this accessory makes for a distracting addition to a muted clutch or sling. `87,950 approximately at their store in DLF Emporio, New Delhi. Details: 011 46040777
All fur love
In the mood for an all-black outfit? How about a little faux fur to go with it? This candy-striped scarf from British designer Charlotte Simone is the one for you.The synthetic inner lining and soft coat make it a comfortable pick. Rs 16,020 approximately. Details: charlottesimone.com
Loewe has ensured that elephants are the most fashion forward animals of the year, thanks to their signature tusker accessories. Add a dash of colour to any outfit with this vibrant rainbow-striped leather bag. The hand-stitched piece comes with gleaming gold accents and has a detachable strap, making it a clutch too. Rs 95,500 approximately on lyst.com
Espadrilles are a wardrobe favourite and this bright orange-black-white slip-on pair from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2016 collection is back on the fashion radar. Complete with a contrasting red rubber sole, this Spanish piece can be paired equally well with shorts or denim for a sporty look. Rs 27,980 approximately at Kitsch, Mumbai. Details: 022 32445293
Time to shine
These funky ankle boots from Pierre Hardy are just the eclectic party wardrobe essential you are looking for. Be it a denim or a dress, this metallic graphic-patterned pair makes for a perfect conversation starter. Rs 79,500 approximately on net-a-porter.com
Shoe and tell
These Italian-made loafers from Joseph are straight from a sailor’s trunk. The striped leather pair, part of their Resort ’17 collection, comes with a one-inch heel and gold hardware, in addition to padded insoles. Rs 35,600 approximately. Details: joseph-fashion.com
With a subtle nautical vibe to it, this brooch from Mango goes well with pastel outfits. The white and blue stripes with the beige-petalled detail come with a metallic clip fastening. The accessory can be paired well with formals and casuals. Rs 890 at their store in Orion Mall, Bengaluru. Details: 080 22682155
No one knows quirk like Maalgaadi does. Their handcrafted striped sling bag is a funky accessory, embellished with a vintage car embroidery and a metal sling. You can pair this colourful accessory with ethnic and Western outfits. Rs 8,600 store in Besant Nagar. Details: 42103242
Waist belts are a runway staple for Italian luxury brand Prada. This gray-pink-burgundy canvas belt from the fashion house with its textured leather and elastic fit is a must-have this season. Complete with a clasp fastening, wear this over an all-black satin dress and stilettos to complete the look. Rs 12,620 on mytheresa.com
Zimmerman’s Resort ’17 line features this bold striped silk number. The black and pearl-striped twill goes well with monochrome formal ensembles as easily as it does with a pastel evening dress. Rs 3,720 approximately. Details: zimmermannwear.com
Wares from the Sultanate
This hand-woven raffia tote from Sophie Anderson reflects her Omani upbringing. The basket-inspired piece uses bold fabric and colour for its stripes and complete with ecru twill lining. We like the neon-orange and sky blue pompons, the designer’s signature. The tote is best paired with a white dress. Rs 27,300 approximately on polyvore.com
These 18k gold-plated silver and black rhodium earrings from Valliyan has Swarovski crystals, natural pearls and acrylic and glass accents. Considering each piece is handmade, no piece is identical to the other. When worn with a clavicle-baring outfit and tied up hair, this makes for a great statement piece. Rs 7,000 at their store in Mumbai. Details: 9322797331
— Lavanya Lakshminarayanan
On top of her game
Aditi Roy Hydari has hardly been at the centre of events in Bollywood. Her last films were Wazir, Fitoor and The Legend of Michael Mishra, none of which made a major mark, nor were they marketed on her presence. Even in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s beleaguered Padmavati, Hydari is cast in an ancillary role. So it is indeed delightful to see the actress play a central character in Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai. Co-starring Karthi, this love story releases in April. And then Hydari plays another interesting character, this time acting as Sanjay Dutt’s daughter in his comeback film Bhoomi, a revenge drama centred around a father-daughter relationship. Director of Bhoomi, Omung Kumar, has said that it was her untapped potential and perfect fit that made her an apt choice for this part. It’s an unexpected casting choice and while Dutt will be playing an age appropriate role, this year Hydari might finally get to break out of the supporting role box.
While enjoying the reactions to Raees, Shah Rukh Khan is also excited about two forthcoming films. The first is the as yet unnamed Imtiaz Ali travel film with Anushka Sharma. Khan says he likes Ali’s take on love stories, especially the edginess he brings to his films. For the conventional love story, Khan says he can work with Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar, and for the epic love story, there’s Sanjay Leela Bhansali. But his challenge for the year will be playing a dwarf in Aanand L Rai’s love story. Of course, there is much more to this film than Khan’s height — and curiosity is certainly sky high, especially after he pulled off the double role of the 25-year-old obsessed fan Gaurav in Fan.
From Silicon Valley to Sundance
Anupam Kher continues his march in the West with interesting projects. The latest is a film called The Big Sick, which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Michael Showalter, the romantic comedy also stars Kumail Nanjiani, best known for his geeky software coder character from the TV sitcom Silicon Valley. Interestingly, The Big Sick is an autobiographical story co-written by Nanjiani and his wife Emily V Gordon, and is based on their cross-cultural courtship, its resultant issues and how a sickness brought them all together. Other homegrown Indian talent to join Kher in this arthouse comedy are Zenobia Shroff and Shenaz Treasurywala. Let’s hope this one makes it to our cinemas, unscathed.
Age no bar
Last weekend, the tennis courts of the Australian Open in Melbourne stood out for the dominance of players and champions who were defying age and physical injuries to return to deadly form. Serena and Venus Williams in the women’s tournament showed resilience while Roger Federer outclassed Rafael Nadal even as both excelled in spite of time off due to injuries. Back in Bollywood, 52-year-old Shah Rukh Khan smoked up the screen in (and as) Raees and Hrithik Roshan (43) made a solid comeback (after the bizarre Mohenjo Daro) in Kaabil. It was good to see both these actors perform within their characters. So delighted has SRK been with the response that he has been retweeting every compliment the film is receiving. And earlier in the week, the Raees team celebrated the film’s success, quite uniquely (and in keeping with the film’s theme) on a dry day! This week, another veteran will hope for flying returns. Sexagenarian Jackie Chan is showing off his Bollywood moves alongside his kung fu ones in Kung Fu Yoga. Directed by Stanley Tong, Kung Fu Yoga is a slapstick comedy that also features Sonu Sood. It’s the story of two professors on an epic journey to find lost treasure and the bad man who gets in their way.
— Udita Jhunjhunwala
A champagne-strawberry dessert to spice up Valentine’s Day
Chef Avijit Ghosh, corporate pastry chef, The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts, comes with two decades of experience in pastry making and that’s what gives him an edge over others. For Avijit, pastry making is more than just a profession. “As a child, I was more of an artist. I used to sketch, draw and use water colours. So when I grew up, I realised that pastry making gave me this freedom to use my creativity,” says the chef who is one of the judges in the final round of the IIHM Young Chef Olympiad 2017. He gives us his Strawberry champagne parfait and raspberry rose petal marmalade recipe, especially for the Valentine’s season.
Strawberry Champagne Parfait/ Raspberry Rose Petal Marmalade
Ingredients (for strawberry champagne parfait):
Strawberry puree 40gm,
Sugar 160 gm,
Egg yolk 100 gm (2 eggs),
Gelatin 10 gm,
Whipped cream 500gm
Ingredients (for raspberry rose petal marmalade):
Raspberry puree 200 gm,
Rose petal compote 170 gm,
Sugar 105 gm,
Pectin 5 gm
Method (strawberry champagne parfait):
Cook sugar, egg and water at 118 deg C and prepare a bombe paste, melt gelatin by softening in water, incorporate into the champagne and then the bombe paste, finally incorporate the whipped cream
Method (raspberry rose petal marmalade):
Cook raspberry puree with sugar, add sugar and rose petal compote with pectin. Set as desired.
Assembly: Set the parfait in the mould, fill centre with raspberry rose petal marmalade. Demould and finish with pink white chocolate glaze.
— Ayesha Tabassum
Now you won’t have to wait for the next X-Men movie to watch Jean Grey in action
You’ve seen her play the mutant Jean Grey in X-Men and as assassin Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye. But actor Famke Janssen now has her sights set on television. This February, fans are about to see her in an all-new avatar on the show, The Blacklist: Redemption. This spin-off of The Blacklist follows a Susan ‘Scottie’ Hargrave (Famke), the brilliant and cunning chief of a covert mercenary organisation that joins forces with covert operative Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) to solve problems that are too dangerous for the government. Here’s Famke offering a glimpse into her new character, transitioning from films to television and why she doesn’t do social media.
Your character Scottie seems kind of coldhearted, but then again she has really soft moments.
I wouldn’t describe her as cold-hearted. I think she’s a complex woman, a very complicated woman with many different layers. And I think the main driving force behind Scottie is that she lost her son at a very young age, and it informs every part of her being. She has this incredibly soft and broken side to her but, at the same time, she’s ruthless, unpredictable, and we never quite know where we stand with her. So I love her. Clearly.
How different is working in television as compared to films?
Where I come from, you have an hour-and-a-half to tell a story. Then you’re done. And you already know what you sign up for. But here, we have places to go that we don’t even we’re going to yet. With the fact that we now can space this out over eight, 22, you know, episodes or years, I think there’s so much time to really live with these characters and breathe with them.
You’ve banked some iconic characters on both sides of justice, like Xenia Onatopp and Jean Grey. What’s it like playing the president of a covert mercenary organisation?
It’s a unique opportunity for me. There is a lot of international intrigue, while at the same time, we have this overall arc of the mother-son potential.
From movies like Bond and X-Men to a show like How to Get Away with Murder — do fans give you feedback on whatever turn in the road your career takes?
I’m living a bit in bubble because I don’t do any social media. So generally, if they don’t like something, I know from the policemen , the firemen and everybody who I’m around… the deli guy included — whether they’re happy with it or not.
The Blacklist: Redemption premiers on COLORS INFINITY on February 24, 8 pm onwards.
— Team Indulge
February 3 | PVR Cinemas
The Bengaluru International Film Festival, which kicked of yesterday, will feature 240 films from over 60 countries. Catch movies like After The Storm from Japan (in picture), Children of the Mountain (from Ghana) and Aquarius (Brazil). The festival will also screen productions of lesser known Indian dialects such as Tulu, Kodava, and Khasi. At PVR, Orion Mall. Details: biffes.in
At the movies
February 3 | PVR Cinemas
Rings is the third film in this supernatural horror franchise. Set 13 years after the first movie, in this one, a young man (Alex Roe) and his girlfriend (Matilda Lutz) explore the infamous videotape which is said to kill the viewer within seven days. They find out that there is a video within the original video.
February 4 | The Humming Tree
Sapta and Argenil take the stage
this weekend. Marti Bharath’s independent electronic music act Sapta is born out of his experiences, travels and performances across the world. Argenil is a blend of Indian classical music and western EDM. Rs 500. At Indira Nagar, 9 pm. Details: 9886618386
February 5 | Vapour
Evam theatre presents the Best
of Amit Tandon. Stand-up comedian Amit Tandon is one of the most well-known observational comics in the country. His humour and routines are about everyday situations that we all face. At Indira Nagar, 1 pm. Tickets (Rs 400) on bookmyshow.com
February 5 | NGMA
The gallery screens the movie Active Voices – A Collection of Recollections, a short film by Sharmila Aravind. Aravind interviews Indian men and women who were born before the 1930s, about their lives and explores India in the early part of the last century. Entry free. At Vasanthnagar, 11 am. Details: 22342338
February 6 | Collage Shop India
Collage Shop India presents a specially curated collection for the summer. Garments have been handpicked from labels such as Indian August, The Yogi, Nazar, Kora, Pero, and House of Qidwa. Rs 4,000 upwards. At Wood Street. Details: 25566818
Movers and shakers
February 7 | Shoonya
Chhaya’s Bangalore Collective brings a Choreography/Performance Intensive workshop. The workshop will teach contemporary dance and feature a performance at the end of the three-week course. The facilitator is Kay Crook, a freelance dance artiste. At Lalbagh Road, 11.30 am. Tickets (Rs 3,600) on instamojo.com
Write in style
February 8 | Eleganza
Own a piece of exquisite German craftsmanship with Waldmann ink pens. Each pen is made with solid sterling silver, and is available in a choice of flexible gold, Schmidt steel, bi-colour two tone or italicised angled nibs. Rs 49,999 upwards. At Palace Road. Details: 32516174
February 9 | Hard Rock Cafe
Catch Mumbai-based Anthracite
pay tribute to Linkin Park. Anthracite has two successful music videos and are soon releasing their as yet untitled second album. In the meantime, they are covering one of their favourite bands. At St. Mark’s Road, 8.30 pm. Tickets (Rs 750 upwards) on bookmyshow.com
This new restaurant serves up wholesome food with an indulgent twist
Forage, in Indira Nagar’s 6th main, is easy to miss, among the many bungalows and stores that line the road. A heavy wooden gate opens into a charming
garden area, which leads to an airy room, that made us feel like we had walked into someone’s home. A cosy couch, a well curated bookshelf and dimly lit interiors were a few things that greeted us. With a focus on ‘fit foods,’ the restaurant is helmed by Himanshu Dimri of Grasshopper, and Rajnish Kapoor and his wife Mayura Kutappa, who also run Mayura Lounge, an Indian restaurant in Barcelona.
The phrase ‘health food’ might scare many people off, but we were pleasantly surprised by their indulgent and soul satisfying offerings. “The menu is just an extension of what we eat. Essentially, it’s clean food that will make you feel like you’ve eaten a good meal without feeling heavy and bloated,” explains Mayura, as she shows us to our table in the al fresco area.
On your plate
Designed to let you enjoy the flavours and not fill you up quickly, the appetisers are just perfect to be shared by two people. We started with Zucchini pappardelle with sweet pepper, asparagus and caramelised bacon. Finely sliced slivers of fresh zucchini serve as the pasta. This is peppered with tiny cubes of yellow and red peppers and diced cherry tomatoes. The refreshing plate is lent an aromatic touch with some rosemary and topped with bacon for an indulgent finish. Chicken is conspicuously left off the menu, but we suspect that it wouldn’t be missed, given the deliciousness of their other dishes. The Beef and bacon wonderballs are another interesting starter to sample. Minced beef and bacon bits are formed into a ball and served with a topping of homemade coconut milk and pickled cucumber. Those who love ribs, must not miss the Aromatic pork spare ribs spiced with star anise, cinnamon and orange. The meat was soft and succulent and the spices just enough so that the flavour of the meat could still come through.
For main course, we highly recommend the Soupy lamb, which is perfect for chilly evenings. Tender cubes of lamb meat are served in a warm broth with blanched spinach and proso millet. The flavours are so subtle that your senses are awakened to take in all the clean and healthy notes. The restaurant’s zero dairy and zero sugar rule, saw us tucking into a serving of coffee panna cotta made with coconut milk and sweetened with jaggery, for dessert. It may not sound like the best pairing but the coffee and coconut pairing does work well.
While the food has a health angle, we reckon it’s really for everyone from the fitness freak to the ardent foodie to someone who’s just looking for a nice meal with friends or family.
Rs 1,500 for two. At Indira Nagar. Details: 48525250
— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo
The three-day SulaFest 2017 is bringing together 30 genres of music, 150 artistes, and the finest selection of wines and gourmet food under Nashik’s stars
Nashik is the new Goa, this season. The lush green Sula Vineyards, perched atop the rolling hills of Nashik, is turning the river town into a venue for a three-day world music and gourmet festival starting today (ending Sunday). With the best of wines and spirits from around the world – including tequila, sambuca, bourbon to cold pressed juices, perhaps one will not miss the Goan beaches. As SulaFest completes 10 years this edition, the milestone outing will be celebrated across three days, as opposed to its two-day festival every year. Cecilia Oldne, global brand ambassador and Vice-President – Marketing, Sula, says, “I remember our first edition with four bands and 300 people. We’ve come a long way since then. This year we expect 15,000 people. The health enthusiast in me is pretty excited about the introduction of sunrise yoga sessions and even a morning run”.
The likes of the Bombay Food Truck, Busago, Mainland China, Maroosh and Woodside Inn from Mumbai and others will serve up great food to go with the wide selection of wine and drinks. The festival has US-based Hershey Premium chocolate ‘Brookside’ on board this year. Chocoholics must try their exotic flavours — pomegranate, raspberry & goji, and blueberry and açaí.
Along with the Sula Selections portfolio, one can expect to try wines from Bouchard Aîné & Fils, Le Grand Noir, Cono Sur. Mud House, Kumala and Hardys besides meeting wine legend Robert Joseph for a chat. Besides red, white and rosé flavours wines from Sula, the fest will line up Hardys from Australia, Trapiche from Argentina and Kumala from South Africa. There will be more than 40 wines apart from healthy juices from Mumbai’s RAW Pressery.
Global music line-up
Expect to listen to 30 genres from around the globe — from world fusion to electro, acoustic, techno, house, pop, electronica, electro-swing and witness over 150 artists, ranging from UK, Italy, Bosnia, Israel, India and more across its three stages. Among the performing artistes are Bloc Party (UK), Infected Mushroom (IS), Afro Celt Sound System (UK), Indian Ocean (IN), Ska Vengers and others.
Ticket: Rs 5,500 (covers entry only) per head for three days in.bookmyshow.com Details: sulafest.net
— Manju Latha Kalanidhi
“Our singer Kele writes the set list just before we perform, usually. As it is our first time in India, there will be a mix of songs from each of our albums. Personally, I’m always keen to throw in a few surprises,” says Russell Lissack, lead guitarist. He adds, “As a band, we have always looked to try new things based on what is inspiring us at that time.” Block Party will perform on Sunday (February 5).
One of the earliest proponents of the now-popular genre of dubstep in India, Nucleya’s signature music is Indian in nature, but international in appeal. “This year, my fans can expect to hear all of the tracks from the latest album Raja Baja and also a few favourites from Bass Rani and Koocha Monster.
What can we expect from the band which averages 120 live annual performances around the world? “Our set at the SulaFest will be more psychedelic than our usual sets. Lots of old-school sounds, and stuff from our new album, Return To The Sauce, which is more of a pure Psy-Trance LP. We have also been busy launching our line of effect plug-ins, such as ‘iWish’, ‘Pusher’ and ‘Manipulator,’ says band member Amit Duvdevani. The band will perform on Saturday (February 5).
Stay: At the ‘Tent City’ and camp under the stars, amidst the vineyards (letscampout.com, Rs 8,720 for two people per tent). Do: Take part in a variety of activities such as yoga sessions, foot massages, tarot reading, wine tours, tastings, grape stomping. (Details to be decided at venue.) Shop: The weekend SulaFest Bazaar
An online mockumentary tries to keep alive the Steel Flyover issue in people’s minds
It’s a great time to be an activist. Causes abound in today’s age, with tempers shooting at the drop of a hat. You could go participate in a silent march, form a human chain or even better, just sit back in your couch and show your anger to the world with a tap, through your FB status update. Only if we all thought like this, causes that really mattered would seize to exist. The most recent case in point is the protest against the proposed steel flyover (from Chalukya Circle to Hebbal) in Bengaluru that seems to have lost its steam.
But all is not lost in a democracy, where freedom of speech is held high. The team at Fullmeals Film Studio has validated this spirit with #SteelFlyoverBekuBeda — a mockumentary that ‘exposes’ how badly Bengalureans really want the proposed steel flyover. The film showcases ‘citizens’ of Bengaluru voicing their opinions on whether the steel flyover is needed (beku) or not (beda).
A hilarious six-and-a-half-minute film, released online in the last week of January, it has garnered 10,000 plus views and counting. “It was a burning issue last year. It peaked, then it plateaud and is now slowing down, even as the government is continuing its preparation towards building the flyover,” says Rajeev Ravindranath, from Fullmeals, adding, “so we are doing what we do best. We are telling the steel flyover story just to remind people about the issue.” Ideated, scripted and directed by Rajeev and Prashanth Nair, the mockumentary was shot and edited by Harris Backer, and produced by Aneesh Govind — all of them from Fullmeals. Though the film was made recently, the team has been actively participating in the protests against the project since day one.
“I was one of the participants at the human chain protest that happened in October last year. At that time, what left us perplexed was the reaction from the government authorities. They said that only a small number of affluent people are protesting whereas most people want the flyover. So, through this film, we have given an imaginary voice to those ‘people’ the government is referring to,” says Prashanth. Well-known faces from the city such as cricket commentator Charu Sharma, RJ and actor Danish Sait, theatre artiste Aporup Acharya and others star in this mockumentary. “We are voting with our tone of (sarcastic) voice because we know
we would be terrible at serious debating,” says Rajeev with a laugh. Prashanth adds, “Humour is the best way to communicate. It sparks conversations and helps in keeping the cause alive in people’s minds.”
— Ayesha Tabassum
To protest, protect & preserve: As a handful of activist artists are set to grab the attention at the India Art Fair 2017, the focus is on creating a unified global culture
IN the last few months, the art that has grabbed the people’s attention has been over far-reaching concerns — from issues such as the jallikattu agitations at the Marina Beach in Chennai, to the Syrian refugee crisis in interventions at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Fort Kochi. The image on this edition’s cover, a still from a performance piece by the Bangladeshi artist Mahbubur Rahman, which was on display at the show, The Artist as Activist, at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, USA, last year, is not far removed from these concerns. The work strikes home a powerful message – going by the concession that every piece of art is open to interpretation. Mahbubur is one among a handful of artists from the subcontinent set to take centrestage at the India Art Fair 2017. We spoke with some of them about their ideas of activist art – be forewarned, not all of this is meant to be sensually pleasing or outwardly enjoyable. Rather, these works are meant to provoke thought, with the hope of driving collective social change.
How do you see art evolving as an effective medium for activism?
‘Lonely King’ by Mahbubur Rahman
Timothy Hyunsoo Lee: Art has always been a medium for activism – think back to the AbEx (post-World War II Abstract Expressionism) movement, or further back, to the Renaissance. Art as a form of activism has become more provocative and explicit, but it’s a development that responds to the current state of society – one that is desensitised, with a short attention span, and needy. We live in the post-internet age, where knowledge is accessible at our fingertips, and no individual has true privacy. As a result, people are more aware than before about the injustices, crimes, and pains in the world. And artists, in particular, are becoming louder with their works.
Anila Quayyum Agha: All of us, as citizens of the world, need to practice activism. We need to hold ourselves accountable for what is happening in all parts of the globe. A child going hungry or unable to go to school should weigh on all of our conscience. Refugees, and war, should give sleepless nights to all of us. We need to hold politicians accountable, and make them deliver on promises that brought them to their positions.
Bandu Manamperi: In Sri Lanka, since the 1990s, artists have created work that is highly critical of the socio-political situation. For protest, art is a great medium. Especially, performance art in public spaces. Sri Lanka’s culture has now naturalised, so to speak, the idea of art in protest. Performance art, music, cinema, drama and installations are important elements in social movements, and getting social media visibility.
What does art mean for you today?
‘All The Flowers Are For Me: Red’ by Anila Quayyum Agha
Avinash Veeraraghavan: In 2017, I would say that anything an artist claims is art, is art. To be honest, the majority of people don’t encounter contemporary art in their day-to-day lives. Events like the India Art Fair, and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, open up contemporary art to the general public – to view, and engage with.
Bandu Manamperi: Art has become extremely directly socially engaging than ever before. You have to deal with diverse social groups and deal with interpersonal, institutional, ethical issues. Unlike the 1990s and 2000s, today people are more educated about art. Questions and comments like, “Is this art?” and “This is ugly, anybody can do this”, are not heard anymore. Instead, now you have fierce questions about the artist’s role as a ‘cultural agent’, and the purpose of his art. Also, art is in the news. Many ‘art activists’ grab media attention, and go into the complex mixture of social media visibility.
Sanjoy Bhattacharya: There are sections of society that give artists a lot of support, and we also need to give back to society. But I differ with protest art. For me, art always comes from within. A painter’s duty is different, he is not a newspaper owner. Many pop artists react to current events – I don’t believe in such art. For me, this easily becomes cheap popularity. You can’t consume a subject overnight. If you look at the old masters’ works, they had techniques such as chiaroscuro, perspective, application of colour, brushwork – the basic criteria of a good painting. If you can give something beyond, it is well-accepted. But without any skill, if you paint something, and try to make it high art, I don’t care.
Waswo X Waswo: Art has a role that needs to go deeper than addressing current political and trending topics. The best art goes for deeper aspects of human nature. I’ve always been sceptical of seeing art as activism, unless it is street art – something that gets in your face. Art in a gallery is not going to have such an immediate impact. Neither will most performance art, as much of it is too abstract and intellectualised for mass understanding. For me, art in galleries work in the long term. Even if it is mostly seen by ‘elites’, it is good at subtly shifting societal attitudes that play out in the long run.
Anila Quayyum Agha: I find thought-provoking art compelling. I want to experience art that is representative of diversity. The most influential artists for me are Mona Hatoum, Ann Hamilton, Shireen Neshat and Chiharu Shiota. Their beautifully crafted art takes us through landscapes fraught with tensions and contradictions. Artists from Pakistan, like Shahzia Sikander, Rashid Raana and Imran Qureshi are also making excellent work.
Is it a good time to be an artist?
‘Night Prowl’ by Waswo X Waswo with Rajesh Soni
Mahbubur Rahman: Art is a part of life. Every single thing is art. We live with art. For me, contemporary art is based on researchbased practice, and has a purpose. Without art, society cannot exist. It is the breathing space of society. Every single day, useful material should have aesthetic value. Without artistic delivery, no product can be useful.
Hur Kyung-Ae: Contemporary art means communication between art and life. Our society is exposed to much anger and aggression. Through art, I hope people find comfort and energy in 2017. Artists have to be aware of the fact of communicating with society and people.
Chittrovanu Mazumdar: Each period has its own artist engaging with situations that are politically driven. It has happened so many times in literature. It’s a part of living in society. Some use it as a tool to protest. Not all artists do it, but it’s a valid form of art. It’s a personal choice. When you join a protest walk, you are a part of driving momentum, and you can’t really quantify whether it will change the world. After Picasso painted Guernica, we didn’t have one hundred years of peace. It doesn’t work that way. I think it is a personal conviction, that you see something wrong in society, you put in a word, or make a stand, or you stand with others and protest – it’s a democratic right. Whether it changes the world is a different call. Maybe over a period of time, with collective protests, it does make change. But it isn’t necessary that art always has to directly respond to a specific political situation. There can also be art outside of this, which can still stand the test of time.
Timothy Hyunsoo Lee: I wouldn’t say it’s a good time in our current global scenario – I mean, when IS it a good time? It is time to contemplate as humans first, to make sense of everything going on. More than ever, I’m interested in investigating the structures of identity, such as race, culture, and gender.
Avinash Veeraraghavan: The changing global-political scenario is exactly that – always changing, always in flux. Therefore, I feel now is as good a time as any to be an artist.
Anila Quayyum Agha: Someone once said, “May you live in interesting times”. We are going through some of the most challenging times in recent world history – filled with multiple wars, refugee crises with resultant chaos, natural disasters, uncertain economies, nationalistic waves sweeping the world. All this is contributing to the tumult and pain of humanity, and the plundering of the earth. This allows for compelling art and literature.
There are many reasons today for angst and outrage. How does it work for an artist to channelise such emotions into a work of art?
Firecracker Man’ by Bandu Manamperi
Avinash Veeraraghavan: Disenchantment or disillusion with the status quo has always driven a type of artist. Protest art gives voice to what some in the community may feel or experience. Rather than solace or comfort, it gives expression to a form of thought or existence. Every emotion an artist feels, in all likelihood, finds its way into their work. I’m not sure one is even fully aware of it. To be constructive or open up dialogue around negative situations or emotions is a rare and precious privilege.
Hur Kyung-Ae: I believe that art can change our society into a more positive one. Art can become an efficient means to solve psychological problems. Look at the child who makes graffiti freely. He expresses himself and escapes from unconscious problems. That’s why, art therapy is widespread nowadays. In a certain way, art can relieve our worries.
Bandu Manamperi: Some people, when angry, break or destroy something. As an artist, I use that emotion to create. Emotions such as anxiety, fear and anger are energies to create art to deal with issues that allowed those feelings to emerge. You experience a certain transition when doing a performance. Introspection and retrospection of this, can be very revealing.
What according to you makes a powerful work of art?
Timothy Hyunsoo Lee: Art should never be anything other than genuine. There is a growing interest in being more provocative than ever, and not censoring one’s self. Unless there is a genuine intention behind the intensity, a lot of those pieces end up feeling too “trendy” and dwarfed by cliché. The most powerful works are those that stun you to the core – a moment of visceral bliss followed by a cerebral high. It leaves you speechless, but also engages you in a dialogue long after you’ve seen it. Something that feels pure in a world so dirty.
‘Monolith’ by Avinash Veeraraghavan
Avinash Veeraraghavan: Art can be powerful in many ways – in thought, formal beauty, scale, and media. It can affect different sensibilities in people. I don’t think it’s necessary to provoke, to make people think. And I don’t think it is necessary that all art has to make you “think”. I feel art is one of few places left where everything doesn’t have to make rational sense, and be meaningful.
India Art Fair 2017 is on until Feb 5th at NSIC grounds, Okhla Industrial Area, New Delhi. Visit indiaartfair.in
— Jaideep Sen
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