Category Archive: Art

On Sahir and On Manwani’s Book

Sahir was the only songwriter and lyricist for whom the songs succeeded on the merit of his words alone, on the power of his poetry. His words had a ‘persona of their own.’ The tune and the melody followed in what was quite unprecedented, and his name appeared ahead of the composers, in the posters.

The Sunday Book Bazaar and a chance sighting of Ghalib

Brooding over the questions of life and death, over joy and sorrow, the poet was known for his intensity of emotions and thoughts. He was iconoclastic, no doubt, and questioned the fundamentals of faith, and was scathing about dogmas of faith, taboos, cant, and anything that was hypocritical.

Shailendra – the lyricist and songwriter extraordinaire

Hindi poetry was somehow missing, and the gap was so admirably filled by the great Shailendra, followed later by Kavi Pradeep and Neeraj.

The complete statement : Foreign language Oscar nominees blame ‘leading politicians’ for inciting fear and bigotry across the world

Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.

भोजपुरी फिल्म फेस्टिवल : अपने ही जाल में उलझा भोजपुरी सिनेमा

पलायन, अकेलेपन और बिना किसी सांस्कृतिक चेतना के भटकती आबादी को फूहड़ फंतासी परोसकर पैसा कमाने की होड़ मची हुई है. फिल्मों और म्यूजिक एल्बमों में कोई फर्क नहीं रह गया है. बदलते दौर की भौतिक चमक-दमक को तो भोजपुरी सिनेमा खूब दिखाता है, पर सामाजिक-सांस्कृतिक मूल्यों की जड़ता से नहीं भिड़ता. वह एक बड़े विभ्रम का शिकार है. इसी विभ्रम में वह सतही फिल्मों को ‘लिट्टी-चोखा’ और ‘माई की बोली’ के आवरण में परोसता है.

Mediocre ‘musical’ La La Land deserves to win at the Oscars – it’s a story for our uninspiring age

La La Land already plays like an awards show, before it’s won any Academy Awards – it’s a tribute reel, like one of those clever end-of-ceremony acts where Neil Patrick Harris does a song and dance and brings the house down. It’s a white male American dream, a story where the alternate version of what happened to the characters is just as persuasive and powerful, and a lot more glamorous, than what we just saw happening. It’s La La Land.

An Open Letter to Meryl Streep

When I read your speech, I thought that you should have given some more examples of bullying, particularly by those who are/were in power, and they have abused or continuously abusing that status. Let me add some to that. You may not like those examples because they are related to some of the powerful who you love, like and have campaigned for.

Om Puri, A True Acting Legend

The serious police officer of Ardh Satya can play the menacing villain of Narsimha and the comic Ahuja of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron with ease. Some of the best works of Indian Television, Bharat Ek Khoj, Tamas, Kakkaji Kahin etc. have his footprints. His talent was duly rewarded in the forms of many national and international awards as well as with enduring respects of audience. Om Puri’s deep voice accompanied by the intensity of his acting left a lasting impact. His distinct tone has been employed in numerous commentaries and voice-overs.

Begum Akhtar: The Tormented Soul Who Rose to be the Ghazal Queen

Begum Akhtar was no ordinary singer. Sarojini Naidu praised her that she was brilliant; the legendary Gauhar Jaan predicted she would be a great ghazal singer. And much later, as she became a household name with her sublime voice and mellifluous singing, she remained humble, though moody and unpredictable.

Raag and Roll : Meet Afghan Robab-Slinger, Qais Essar

Qais Essar doesn’t play in a rock and roll band, nor does he want to; he’s too cool for that. He’d rather stick to his guns and play the twangy lute he was born to strum: the robab, which, like he himself, hails from beautiful Afghanistan.

Mallikarjun Mansur: The humble perfectionist, who strode the Hindustani music firmament like a colossus

Mallikarjun always led a simple life and humble life. He worshipped music and wanted to share its purity and joy with all his listeners. Worldly success meant little to him. Even in the semi-coma condition he was in, before he bid adieu to the mortal world in September 1992, he would ask his son Rajasekhar to sing and guide him as to what he should improve.