INDIA TODAY - The most widely read newsweekly in South Asia.

INDIA TODAY - The most widely read newsweekly in South Asia.
     CURRENT ISSUE JULY 10, 2006
Brain Candy
A still from Valley of Flowers
DELHI It's that time of the year when the best of Asian cinerati descend on the cinema-starved inhabitants of the Capital. In its eighth edition, Osian's Cinefan Asian film festival promises to be a treat for those who like brain candy. Beginning July 14, catch some of the finest in contemporary cinema, kicked off by Samsara director Pan Nalin's latest offering, Valley of Flowers. Over 10 days, audiences will enjoy new films by old masters, bold and innovative debuts and stories that transcend all boundaries. With 120 films from 40 countries on offer, the festival, organised in association with the Delhi Government, has quite a few highlights-the Indian Competition section and the Cross-Cultural Encounters section being the ones to watch out for. The former features 10 films being screened for the first time-among them Santosh Sivan's Anandabhadram, Girish Kasaravalli's Nayi Neralu and Onir's Bas Ek Pal. The latter showcases Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke's Hidden (Cache), a 2005 Best Director winner at Cannes, and Ben Rekhi's Waterborne (starring Shabana Azmi), amongst several other contemporary films from around the world. In addition, the hugely popular Arabesque section is back again this year and features Hany Abu-Assad's Oscar-nominated Paradise Now, which follows two young Palestinian men-in possibly the last hours of their lives-preparing for a suicide bombing mission. Don't plan your schedule right away. There is also Mohsen Makhmalbaf's passage through India, The Scream of Ants, Conrad Rooks's 1972 Siddhartha (famous for its rather, er, revealing scene with a young Simi Garewal), a retrospective on Ritwik Ghatak and special screenings of Naseeruddin Shah's much awaited Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota? as well as Goutam Ghose's Yatra (which pairs Nana Patekar with Rekha). Oh, and tickets cost just Rs 20 a movie. Which explains festival director Aruna Vasudev's delight over an "amazing journey, from 30 films in the first edition, to 120 films now".

-By Abbas Khan

Season of Song
Bombay Jayashree and Ronu Majumdar (right)
It's rejuvenation time after the scorching summer-the sprouting of leaves, the gushing of rivers and the flowering of creativity. And what better way to welcome the rains than "Barkha Ritu-Rains & Ragas," a multi-city concert series celebrating this glorious season? Each musician will present an interpretation of the season through his or her performance. There is a mix of various gharana styles from Benaras, Imdad Khan and Rampur Sahaswan and the line-up is impressive. In Delhi, at FICCI Auditorum, on July 8: Rashid Khan (vocal), Tejindra Majumdar (sarod) and Shujaat Khan (sitar); in Mumbai, at the Nehru Centre Auditorium, on July 15: Chhanulal Mishra (vocal) and Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute); in Hyderabad, at Ravindran Bharati on July 21: Rashid Khan (vocal), Ronu Majumdar (flute) and Bombay Jayashree (vocal); and in Pune at the Y. B. Chavan Auditorium on July 30: Shivkumar Sharma (santoor) and Chhanulal Mishra (vocal).

All concerts at 7 p.m.

-By S. Sahaya Ranjit

Multan Modulated
Mongia's abstract work
DELHI: Padmini Mongia shows her abstract works on handmade paper at the Triveni Gallery, from July 10 to 20. This teacher of English literature in the US is inspired by African-American artists' techniques, which she employs to conjure up images that evoke the spirit of her mother's home town Multan in Pakistan. A bold sense of colour and a feel for textures make this a highly engaging show. "Pakistan has been more fabled and remote than all the fantastic worlds I've read about," says the artist. It shows in her work.

Comic Strip Hero
A still from Samsara
Director: Rakesh Roshan
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra

After sending Om sound waves through space and receiving an alien with skin the colour of Krishna's, Rakesh Roshan is back with his mythmaking. In this sequel to Koi...Mil Gaya, Rohit's son Krishna hides his superbaby light under his grandmother's pallu until a pesky TV reporter decides to make him a star. Roshan is a savvy filmmaker who understands what his audience wants. Here it comprises pre-teens and he has them down pat. Hrithik plays Krrish like a large innocent bumpkin with XL size muscles who runs like the wind and dances like a Shiamak Davar extra-more cartoon Hanuman than live action Batman. There is no adult conflict between his masked and ordinary self-after the obligatory love duets, Krrish proceeds to hurtle across Singapore's skyline which, oddly for a movie promoted by its tourism board, seems to be populated by thugs. Clearly Roshan was restricted by the action director's budget because the thrills are limited to the last half-hour. A throwback to the 1980s, the film even has a villain (played by a happily hamming Naseeruddin Shah) who wants to become God through a computer which can foretell the future. His mad scientist, given to addressing monologues to the camera, is a hoot. But one worries about Chopra. Someone please give her DVDs of Parveen Babi films, when gorgeous women played giggly girls with such ironic ease.

-By Kaveree Bamzai

Serene Story

Director: Pan Nalin
Cast: Shawn Ku
Five years and a host of international awards later, Samsara finally comes to India. A love story that delves into the psyche of a monk, who after spending three years in solitary meditation, awakens to the most primal of human desires. Rali Raltchev, director of photography, uses the stunning canvas of Ladakh as his backdrop. Nalin's characterisation is thorough, right from the paradoxical Tashi to the enlightening Pema, who, in a thought provoking sequence, likens her state to that of Siddhartha's wife Yashodara. Credible performances by both Ku and Christy Chung, playing Pema, enhance the serene pace.

-By Abbas Khan

Sufi Spirit
Prem Joshua is a composing machine. Taranga is his eleventh album with Music Today. Taranga, translated from Sanskrit, means "colourful waves of joy and enthusiasm". What is beautiful is that each composition has a strong melody which is blended with Indian and Western instruments. Take Song for Sayang. It reflects a deep-rooted need to connect music with emotions, featuring a fine blend of the sitar, 12-string guitar, vocals, violin, tabla and cello. This album has a dash of Sufi too. Ranga is an upbeat melody drawing from Bulleshah. Enjoy the lounge and meditative feel.

-By S. Sahaya Ranji 


The Other India
A photo from the exhibition
CHENNAI The sounds and fragrance of the Anglo-Indian community will be in fine display over the next fortnight through a festival called Anglo-Scapes. To be inaugurated by noted Anglo-Indian writer Irwin Allan Sealy on July 1, it will be followed by a photo exhibition at the British Council. Eugene D'Vaz, who has illustrated Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali, will be presenting his work at the Alliance Francaise de Madras. Apart from films that gave fresh perspectives on the lives of Anglo-Indians-such as Aparna Sen's 36 Chowringhee Lane-the festival will host a play "...and Sunshine follows the Rain" at the Museum Theatre. Anglo-Indian history dates back over 500 years and has merged with the mainstream to create a "unique culture in the mosaic of ageless India" as historian S. Muthiah puts it. Though their numbers are dwindling today, the community is still trying to create its own space in the changing face of India. Rajiv Krishnan, who conceived Anglo-Scapes, says the festival is an attempt to celebrate the different facets of the community. Anglo-Scapes will also host a food festival at the Taj Connemara Hotel and the finale will be a music concert led by jazz musician Frank Dubier at the Music Academy on July 15.

-By S. S. Jeevan



INDIA TODAY - The most widely read newsweekly in South Asia.
JUlY 10, 2006

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The Centre Cannot Hold

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Women On The Warpath

Crossing A Big Hurdle

Eyeball To Eyeball

In Praise Of Imperfection

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The Bright Angle

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South Asia's most influential and most read newsweekly presents the fifth Conclave India Tomorrow 2006: Bridging the Divide