Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mumbai Mehfil

This Christmas we had what can only be described as a shaam-e-mehfil. Pramod invited a bunch of his work colleagues, and we sat down to an evening of song and music.

There was wine (and whisky and rum and vodka)

And food... 

And lots of laughs 

I was the only female in this group of 12 guys. But miraculously, in the entire evening, the sacred words "Sachin Tendulkar" came up only once. Amazing, no? :)

As I looked back and wondered why, I realised that the real star of the evening was the music itself. The mehfil lasted 4 hours, and we played so many "oldies-goldies" that it was quite magical. Pramod brought his harmonica and played a song for us. I don't think I even realised how time flew until someone looked at the clock and announced that it was 1 in the night. 

Here's my pick from the evening: Kahe ko roye (why cry?) from the movie Aradhana. I haven't been able to get it out of my head all day long. The absolutely stunning lyrics of the song are here, in case any of you are interested. 
Safal hogi teri....aradhana....kahe ko roye
Kahee pe hai sukh kee chhaya, kahee pe hai dukhon kaa dhoop
Bura bhala jaisa bhi hai, yahi toh hai bagiya kaa roop
Phulon se, kanto se, mali ne haar piroye
Kahe ko roye....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Diary of Riaz Samadhan @ The Museum Art Gallery, Mumbai

- By Deepa Krishnan

I don't really follow the contemporary Indian art scene.

But the very first thing that struck me about Riaz Samadhan's current showing (The Diary of Riaz Samadhan) is his refined sensibility. As soon as I stepped into The Museum Art Gallery, I knew this artist's sense of aesthetics was something that personally appealed to me.

Painting titled "Beauty lies in wholeness".
There is a bed of dried leaves strewn on the floor of the entire gallery. The whole effect looks really good, doesn't it?

Then I took some time to really see his work, and I found myself liking it more and more. He has a perceptive sensitivity about people, about the nature of things; and he combines that with a non-sentimental, restrained but rich way of expressing it.

For example, see this one, called Perception Diptych. As soon as you see it, you sort of mentally slow down and look deeper. On the black half of the diptych, the line drawing of the house invites you to see the inner dimensions of the man. On the other half, there is a farm, trees, perhaps this is how this person views himself, perhaps it is an accurate self-perception, but perhaps it is not. Perhaps the man cannot see all of it?

Painting titled "Perception Diptych".
As you can see, there's a lot going on, but the execution is disciplined and simple. There is no overstatement. I would have liked to buy this for my house, but suspect that I cannot afford it :) :)

Here is a view of the Museum Art Gallery; you can see how Riaz has used the gallery space. The centre installation has a set of daily objects. I'm guessing that each object is a memory from Riaz's personal "Diary", things that have meaning for him. The objects are displayed on a stand; the stand is set in a bed of leaves strewn on the entire gallery floor.

Gallery view with leaves on floor

I figured that apart from the objects, the leaves themselves - the dry rustling sound and the rich woody smell - were evocative of some personal memories for Riaz, and wondered what they were. Of course, modern "good manners" forbid you from asking such personal questions, but I would have dearly liked to know!

Standing in that air-conditioned room, smelling the fragrance of the dried leaves, taking in the aesthetic appeal of the was a short but sweet treat for the senses. Thank you, Riaz Samadhan, for sharing your Diary :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Paris-Bombay Chanel Show - I like the glitz!

- By Deepa Krishnan

The Indian press has been writing scathing comments about Karl Lagerfeld and his rose-tinted view of India; but really, he's produced some neat stuff for a new India-inspired Chanel show.

The show is called the Paris-Bombay Metiers d'Art (meaning Paris-Bombay Crafts and Art). And while it is a pretty good homage to Indian textile and jewellery craft; it has a modern look that gives it global appeal. Most important, a lot of it is actually wearable. Which is more than can be said for the usual nonsense that passes off as high fashion.

Take this one for example, lovely soft drape, evocative of the saree, but such a beautiful outfit. My friend Sheetal who is tall and leggy would look fantastic in this. Me, alas, I'm too short and - let's face it - too dumpy - to even dream of wearing this.

Photos from; they have a great set of photos in case you want to have a look

I like the jewellery, do you? Absolutely fantastic stuff that works very well with the bejwelled collars and the Shiva-inspired dreadlocks!! :) Looks like it was crafted in India, doesn't it? It isn't. Apparently it was all fashioned in the Chanel ateliers in Paris.

Here's another totally gorgeous blue saree-inspired outfit. But really, it's that silver tribal-looking belt across the shoulder that gives it that incredible look. I wish I had a bigger photo, so you could see the ghungroo-like detail on that shoulder-belt.

The gauzy transparent fabric reminds me of the story about Emperor Aurangazeb's daughter. Apparently Aurangazeb reprimanded his daughter for appearing nearly naked in public; only to discover that she was wearing fine chanderi; a mix of cotton and silk so fine that it was almost sheer. Only after she wore seven layers of it was he satisfied. The model above has no such father to please! :)

If you want to see the show, check out the show trailer on youtube. You'll be surprised at how wearable everything is. There are lots of kameez-churidar inspired pieces and skirts wrapped like dhotis. Flat sandals (that have been so popular in Linking Road!) have also made an appearance, with lots of embellishment. There are several day-wear outfits; skirts and jackets, trousers, etc. All of them have interesting Indian accents - but it is the evening wear and bling that I really like a lot.

The stuff will be in Chanel stores in May 2012, I'm told. Not that I will ever buy anything from this line, ever. The prices are eye-wateringly high :)