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Vishwanadhan; and a Dhawan painting (above)

DELHI Anish Kapoor, the internationally renowned UK-based installation artist currently showing at Tate Modern, might have put the city's arteratti in a tizzy with the announcement of his first show in India next year, but he is not the only one headed home in the art world. While Kapoor, whose works display an underlying metaphysical subtext, has been giving flattering quotes on India (for example, he says he owes his metaphor-filled technique to the country of his origin) and is clearly the feather in Indian art's cap, coming up in the next few weeks are shows by other Indian artists who ventured out for fame and established themselves in their adopted country. Paris-based abstract artist Vishwanadhan will show in the coming week at the India Habitat Centre in association with Gallery Espace. Another Paris-based artist, Rajender Dhawan, described as the "painter of the interior elsewhere", is to show at Vadhera Art Gallery. While there is a buzz in the art circles over the Vishwanadhan show-his works are priced in the Rs 2.5-11 lakh range-there are speculations as to why he and Dhawan, who left India more than 20 years ago, are beginning to show repeatedly in India. Says art watcher Arjun Sawhney: "India as an art centre is commanding more respect, but India is also commanding more prices. With the art market maturing, it might be lucrative for artists to show here and at the same time earn more recognition in their own country." Agrees Renu Modi of Gallery Espace: "Contemporary art is maturing here and buyers are more aware, so it makes sense for galleries to get artists here." Others, though, wonder if the move is better never than late. "With so many exciting artists coming up, is there any relevance to these gentlemen showing here?" asks a gallery schmoozer. "They have already had their day in the sun." The success of the shows may answer that question to some extent.

By Kanika Gahlaut


Olive Branch

DELHI It is Mumbai's olive branch and it has the potential to wipe out the competition in the capital. The newly launched Olive Bar & Kitchen, an offshoot of the hugely popular one in Mumbai, is truly stunning: in decor, ambience and food. Located within handshaking distance of the Qutub Minar, the Mediterranean-style lounge and bar cover15,000 sq ft of space that embraces a white-pebbled courtyard, a separate dining and bar area and a Moorish-type lounge upstairs. The "New Mediterranean" food, a fusion of north African and southern Europe, is a perfect complement to the white-walled converted havelis. With its selection of great wines, innovative dishes (like bacon-wrapped bananas), chic decor, a professional, knowledgeable staff and on-site shops, Olive is an experience not to be missed.

Beri's Twist

DELHI Paris-reject Ritu Beri's return to the Indian runway was spiced up by her snide comments about other Indian designers not doing prêt and hating her for no reason ("Perhaps it's because I'm a bad person," she pouted). But if you wanted proof that Beri means business, her attire said all. To the show, which had romantic skirts and satin shirts, she wore a self-designed men's trench coat and a rose tinted tie from Milan. Says Beri: "I like merging the masculine and feminine look." Her tip: Wear the tie very short, like you would a necklace.

film review

Beyond Formula

Director: Nikhil Advani
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta
Death becomes Shah Rukh Khan. Ashen-lipped and glassy-eyed, he slinks into sleep as the woman he loves, her husband and others shed copious tears. Just when the husband (Saif Ali Khan) thinks Shah Rukh is dead, he opens his eyes and says, "Not yet idiot." It is a superbly cool moment that encapsulates the tone of Nikhil Advani's Kal Ho Naa Ho.

Advani, who learned family film formula with masters Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar, emerges as a distinctive voice with his first film. Written by Johar, the film revisits old ground-NRIs, wedding song, snazzy club number and Shah Rukh-but also evolves the formula. It has technical pizzazz (split screens, in-camera dialogue) and an urbane wit despite snags like sub-plots with pat endings or a lame pre-interval portion. The dialogue by Niranjan Iyengar is perfectly pitched and the performances uniformly good.

By Anupama Chopra


THEATRE Snehalata Reddy, the actor who was jailed during the Emergency and died soon after her release from prison, is someone old Bangaloreans are not likely to forget. Husband and filmmaker Pattabhi Rama Reddy pays tribute to her in his new play, In the Hour of God, inspired by Sri Aurobindo's Savitri. The play boasts of some of the big names in theatre. Pattabhi's son, Konarak Reddy, directs the play which will be staged at the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall from December 11-13.

PHOTOGRAPHY Delhi is the focus in "Corridors", an exhibition of black and white photographs by lenswoman Madhavi Swarup. On at India Habitat Centre till November 30.

ART Art Gallery at 11 Hauz Khas Village in Delhi presents "Manifestations: Indian Art in the 20th Century", an exhibition of 110 paintings representative of the art of this period. On from November 29 to December 13.

SUM, Virgin, Rs 65

Synergy of Sounds

Rhythm is the signature of time and this concept is explored in Sum where only percussion and acoustic instruments play in harmony. The artists are mridangam player Shridhar Parthasarathy and percussionists Taufiq Quereshi, Ravindra Rajbhattt and Rajesh Rajbhatt. Eight thematic pieces are thoughtfully arranged. An interesting piece is Journey where the rhythmic sound of a train is replicated with drums and other instruments. Fingernails are used to give the feel of the running train. Radiance, a 10-minute piece, is a tribute to Africa where rhythm is the heartbeat of the people. The pieces communicate the most complex of emotions from joy to melancholy.

By S. Sahaya Ranjit

culture fest
Celebrating Life

In its sixth year, The Park's The Other Festival in Chennai promises to dish out an array of exciting programmes. While classical music and dance is almost a way of life in Chennai, The Other Festival has begun to be recognised as a special platform for contemporary music, dance and drama artists to showcase their skills. Launched in 1998, the week-long festival was conceived by noted dancer Anita Ratnam and theatre personality Ranvir Shah. This year the festival kicks off with poetry reading by the inimitable Zohra Segal. Other events include Nissar Allana's play The Mahabharat based on sequences and texts from the epic and Shivaji Sawant's Marathi novel Mrityunjaya, dancer Maya Krishna Rao's rock opera A Deep Fried Jam, Nadaka's music from Auroville, Sufiana theatre by Mumbai-based The Phoenix Players and a contemporary dance performance by a Taiwanese opera group. Says Ratnam of the festival: "By bringing together several artistic disciplines we try to weave a unified fabric that celebrates the diversity of our thoughts and modes of working." The Other Festival will be held at the Chinmaya Heritage Centre from December 1-7.

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