A chic, 21st century shopping mall turned out to be the place were leisurely shoppers could appreciate the winsome Himalaya-inspired tunes of the Silk Route gang-Mohit Chauhan, Ken Trivedi, Kenny Puri and Atul Mittle. When the quartet played tracks from their latest album Pehchaan and their older hit Boondein at Crossroads recently, hordes of customers deserted shops and rushed to their enclosure. But why the mall? "It's not ideal but lots of people hear the music," explains Mohit. And so what if it's a long way off their dream venue (an island off the coast of Goa), it seems their music made shopping a lot more fun.
The siblings' Tribute:Rajesh Pilot In Spirit Forever ... is a nostalgic photo-biography of the Congressman and former Union minister who died in a car crash last year. The book, brought out by his children Sarika and Sachin, traces Pilot's humble origins as a milkman to a successful politician. "We were flooded with condolence letters when he died-that's when we decided to bring out this book," says Sarika. The first copy was presented to President K.R. Narayanan by (left to right) Sarika, Sachin and Pilot's wife Rama.
Bangalore-based artist S.G. Vasudev's latest show called Tapestry, at Bangalore's Sakshi Gallery, is an striking innovation: he has actually embroidered his paintings on cloth. After seven years of painstaking work with master weaver Subbarayulu, the themes that the painter-turned-weaver had been working on for the past seven years have finally come to life. Like Vriksha (tree of life), humanscapes and the most recent one, "the theatre of life". Though tapestry is a new medium for Vasudev, he's worked extensively on copper relief besides doing a number of murals using different media. Says Vasudev: "It is possible for an artist to adapt to a different approach and style. "So what's next in line after being the art director of films like Samskara and Vamsa and creating tapestry? "I'll go wherever my creative abilities lead me," says the 59-year-old artist, who's also one of the founders of the Cholamandalam Art Village in Chennai.
Earth in the Limelight
There were Bollywood masala sequences to show conflict, Gregorian chants for music and Spanish dance steps symbolising commercial alacrity. Only January 7 evening, the Horniman Circle Garden, Mumbai, was candlelit and abuzz with the eager voices of 35 actors of the group Avikal enacting Prithvi, a tale of the dying earth in which people are both the protagonists and victims of social and environmental degradation. The play was just one out of the many productions and creative workshops for children Avikal founder Alok Ultaf (who wrote the play) and his group have done in the past year. "The craft is not important for me. I lay emphasis on teaching volunteers to be free and responsible. I also insist on self-discipline. So the children can shout and scream but they must also realise their responsibility towards society and the individual," says Ultaf stoutly. But though the complex issues of greed and altruism were presented with a sprinkling of humour, the tiring drone of "eternal doom for all" and the unusually lengthy play took its toll. The evening was saved only by the spirited performances of the young actors ... seems that they understand their responsibility well.
When 10 artists of dissimilar talent (and popularity) are given a theme to work on, one can be pretty much assured of a diverse output. So at the first year anniversary exhibition of gallery Art Musings in Colaba, Mumbai, owner Shanti Chopra wanted "Eden Revisited" to be the commemorative muse (because the gallery itself is in a colonial mansion and has an Eden-like ambience)-with or without the trouble-creating apple. This is how it went: Aparna Caur did a miniature-style depiction of a woman who charts her own destiny; Baiju Parthan's Eden is not without, but within the individual; M.F. Husain gave a "painterly tribute to the woman who gave birth to me"; and S.H. Raza's painted the gyric embryonic force without which there can be no Eden in the first place.
And yes, Anjolie Ela Menon and Paresh Maity couldn't resist painting the apple.
Stylish Sadhu: Spiritual guru isn't what comes to mind when one meets Bharat Thakur, 27-he dons jazzy designer clothes, carries the latest cell phone, drives a swanky car. "I hate this image of gurus constantly depriving themselves," says Thakur. "My message is simple-gain awareness through meditation, live for today." Thakur, who's built a practice in the last eight years claims to have some 20,000 followers. At a two-day workshop at Delhi's Habitat Centre he taught meditation techniques, yogic postures and simple stress busters (below) to a packed audience. "I just want my students to experience peace," he says. Spiritual hedonist?