Dhiraj Singh on Art
Pushpamala N uses one of India’s oldest art forms — the behrupiya — in the highly democratic medium of photography. Her colourful selfportraits see her dressed up as characters from many eras, stories and myths. She makes a traditional performing art postmodern. An image comes with a wonderful back story, replete with allusions to films, folklore and social realities. It is not just mimicry; it evokes the times it tries to capture. Phantom Lady is not just an imitation of Fearless Nadia’s work, nor is her calendar art a superficial portrayal of Bharat Mata. Her work comes with panache and intelligent storytelling.
Singh is a Delhi-based artist
Nandini Chandra on Books
Junji Ito’s gripping manga Museum of Terror is about a painfully beautiful girl, Tomie. Inevitably attracted, men brutally murder her, after which she is resurrected. It talks of the commodification of feminine beauty, which is violently separated from daily life. All are affected by this social construct, provoked to either victimhood or victimisation.
‘The violence of constructed feminine beauty affects all the characters’
Chandra is the author of the book The Classic Popular Amar Chitra Kathas (1967 TO 2007)
Bedabrata Pain on Film
Ritwik Ghatak is one of those rare directors who straddles the world of commercial and art-house cinema. Subarnarekha is a simple tale told in a riveting manner. There are two threads that play off each other through the movie. The protagonist’s search for a home goes unfulfilled, yet this quest comes with unshakable optimism. The visual imagery, the metaphors and the music give the film its sheer beauty, as the viewer oscillates between tremendous hope and despair.
Pain is the director of Chittagong
Rishi Bradoo on Music
Swedish indie-pop band Miike Snow brings to mind a fun house party, complete with the red plastic beer glasses, swimming pools and disapproving parents. Andrew Wyatt’s voice and lyrics add layers of carelessness, regret, love and the simple joy of existence to their beautifully produced album Happy To You. I strongly recommend checking out the tracks Pretender and Paddling Out. Listen to the entire record as it tells the story of being always young and stupid.
Bradoo is the vocalist of the Mumbai band Blek
Salman Sheikh on Food
There is a small joint in Mumbai where the entire city flocks to. Called Sardar Pav Bhaji, it specialises in that great Mumbai favourite, pav bhaji. The place stands head-and-shoulders above other eateries because the owner makes his own butter and ghee and serves it in large quantities. That is why the flavour is unique. The vegetables that go into the bhaji are bought fresh, twice every day. You can actually taste the vegetables, instead of the standard orange-red chilli paste that goes for flavour in most pav bhaji places.
Sheikh is the managing proprietor of Bade Miyan, Mumbai