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

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

Flight of inheritance: A collage by Vellani

DELHI: Art curator Alka Pande brings Brazilian artist Julio Vellani's works to Habitat Centre's Palm Court Gallery next week. Born in Brazil and trained in Sao Paulo, London and Paris-where he has been living since the 1980s- Vellani not only spans continents but also eras in his evocative multimedia works. His impish imagination sets sail on embroidered sheets of history, marching valiantly on machines of fantasy (not forgetting Marcel Duchamp), with poetic patches of pure colour floating in suspension a la Joan Miro.

Vellani's assemblage Theoretical Wonder is constructed with a bicycle wheel attached to a pair of the artist's used shoes that clap through time without going anywhere. He would like to allude to the fact that although we are today "constantly on the move", we no longer need to travel spaces physically, thanks to the marvels of modern media, from print to films.

Then we have his collages done on 19th-century French notary manuscripts. These beg the question: to what era does an idea belong? How much of our world is contemporary and how much is it indebted to the past? In his third exploration, the artist gets Brazilian women undergoing psychological treatment to embroider lines and images on used French bedsheets, creating again "new works" from something old and used. By hanging these in a washing line, Vellani creates a complex metaphor of "freeing them from the weight of the thoughts and dreams they gathered after having been slept on night after night". A rich cornucopia of memories, associations and invocations indeed.

On at India Habitat Centre from December 22 to 30th.

-By S. Kalidas

A Royal New Year Bash
FUSION MAGIC: L. Subramaniam and Kavita Krishnamurthy
HYDERABAD: Ringing in this New Year is the week-long festival of the Chowmahalla Palace, a historic venue where state receptions were hosted by the royalty and Nizams were coronated. The first day of the festival will see musician L. Subramaniam and singer Kavita Krishnamurthy presenting a fusion show. Kathak maestro Birju Maharaj and his troupe will be seen in a dance recital on December 25 and the next day there will be a jugalbandi of ghazals by Indira Naik and Devi Ramanamurthy. The Temple of Fine Arts, Malaysia, will present Dances of India. If all this is not treat enough for the senses, ghazal and qawwali artistes will liven up the heritage of the two-century-old Asaf Jah dynasty. Those visiting the place during the day can get a glimpse of the dazzling lifestyle of the former rulers of Hyderabad. There is a range of period furniture-carved rosewood with leather upholstery, marble sculptures, cisterns and fountains, objets d'art, photographs, textiles, old jalopies-and other legacies on display.

-By Amarnath K. Menon

Glimpses of Goa
A sculpture at the exhibition
MUMBAI: If you thought Goa is all about the sun, sand, and feni, get a glimpse into the creative side of this tourist's paradise with GoaGoaGoa, an exhibition of terracotta sculptures, acrylic on canvas and embroidered paintings by three Goans artists, Verodina Ferrao, Liesl Cotta DeSouza and Sonia Rodrigues Sabharwal. Ferrao exhibits his earthy terracotta sculptures, DeSouza displays silk embroidered images and Sabharwal paints Ganesh in various forms and bright colours. On at the Jamaat Art Gallery till January 7.

-By Aditi Pai

Lame Lament
Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan in a still from the film
Director: Ravi Chopra
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Salman Khan, Rani Mukherjee, John Abraham

Viewers expecting to see an emotional drama about widow remarriage, be warned: Baabul starts with the first meeting with the first husband. So before the funeral pyre is lit-just after the interval-there is courtship, misunderstanding, reconciliation, wedding, a son and eventually his fourth birthday party, which thankfully puts the brakes on the eye-glazing bonhomie. Until Salman Khan meets with a messy end in a road accident, Baabul is a parade of songs, dances and smashing saris.

The drama lies in the second half, when the enlightened father-in-law attempts to rebuild his daughter-in-law's life. There are a few nicely crafted, emotional scenes but Ravi Chopra gives himself too little screen time to create the drama of a young widow learning to love again. The screenplay has glaring loopholes (ma-in-law totally misses her husband's frantic match-making) and reduces the characters to caricatures.

It's up to Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee then to get you weepy, and they manage it easily. Baabul is well-meaning, but only sparingly effective.

-By Anupama Chopra

New Age Draupadi
Sanchita Bhattacharya
KOLKATA: Odissi danseuse Sanchita Bhattacharya believes every woman is a Draupadi. The Draupadi Phenomenon conveys the plight of women who are victims of domestic violence even in these modern times. Her production is part of an attempt by a Kolkata-based event company, Beyond Dreams, to make classical forms of music and dance more contextual to today's audience. Bhattacharya's offering is relevant in the context of the recent implementation of the Protection from Domestic Violence Act. "The Act states that violence is not just physical. A woman can be a victim of violence if her dignity is compromised, and if she's not allowed to take her own decisions. There are women all over the world who face that," explains Bhattacharya. Draupadi's story begins after her vastraharan, when she says that Duryodhan has only done what is expected of him, but Arjun, who has forced her to be with men she doesn't love-the other Pandavas-is her real torturer. The show will also feature a jugalbandi of poetry and santoor by actor Soumitra Chattopadhyay and santoor maestro Tarun Bhattacharya. At the G.D. Birla Sabhaghar, on December 18.
-By Swagata Sen

BANGALORE: A Chorus Line is a show presenting works by five young promising artists from Karnataka, which will be on at the Galerie Sara Arakkal from December 16-23 in Bangalore. The show will move on to Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi. It features works by Rani Rekha, Varna Sindhu, Krishna Riaichur, O. Venkatesh and Prakash Nayak.

-By Stephen David

A Class Apart


This album is one of A.R. Rahman's best so far, and the reasons are many. Each song is treated in a unique way and grows on you. The rich orchestration and beat cycles are par excellence and the use of voices and harmony is amazing. One does not expect anything less than magic when Rahman and Gulzar team up, and the album lives up to the expectations. The track Tere bina has a Sufi touch. The influence of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is evident in the chorus Dum dara dum dara. Rahman's voice, which has matured from his Ma tujhe salam days, is poignant. Noted composer Bappi Lahiri has sung the track Ek lo ek muft, which suits his voice to the T. Mayya is a dance number influenced by Turkish music. But the real clincher is the duet Ay hairathe, sung by Hariharan and Alka Yagnik. The music arrangement is worth emulating and the use of accordion is reminiscent of the old times. Bazi laga is a fast-paced song featuring Rahman's favourites-Udit Narayan and Madhushree. The last track, Jaage hain, sounds like a lullaby, but the rich choral ensemble is worth listening to. Rahman's fans and music lovers alike will surely thank him for this Christmas present.

-By S. Sahaya Ranjit



INDIA TODAY - The most widely read newsweekly in South Asia.
DECEMBER 25, 2006

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