Category Archives: Art and Culture

The Song Lives On: Looking Back At The Gita

7325996116_9995f40082_nIt is said that a classic is a book which has never finished saying what it has to say. Admirers and followers of the Gita say the same thing, i.e., even after years of study and analysis, every time someone reads the scripture, new meanings and messages come out of it. It is always fresh, always new. I do not oppose this assertion, and my only concern has always been that Indians have always considered Gita as a symbol or a label, to take oath in courts, as a token to prove their religious nature, truthfulness, attachment to duty and so on. Very few people ever take the trouble to open it and see what actually is written on those pages. Treatment of Gita is no different from that of Swami Vivekananda — the moment children or youth open their messages, their parents become afraid that they are going to become monks! And of course, parents’ own desires and ambitions are attached to the children, so why would they allow that to happen? Continue reading

Three Takes On ‘The Stoneman Murders’

We love suspense. We love mysteries. We love unsolved cases. In my opinion, the best detective stories are those that encourage the reader/audience to participate in the investigation process. That means, all aspects of the case are placed before the reader, and the reader is encouraged to provide solution. I remember one TV series — perhaps titled Apraadhi Kaun?— where every story was presented in two parts. In the first part, all details of the case were investigated and presented. The viewers were then asked who they think had committed the crime. It was an open competition. Viewers would send postcards. In the second part, the winner was announced and also the solution of the case was shown. Continue reading

Lalit And Navnindra Behl: The Couple Who Created Wonderful ‘Afsane’

Finding other people who share our interest and taste is indeed a delightful experience. So you can imagine my happiness when I received positive response from several of you on one of my earlier posts When Your Post Is Not Delivered — which was narration of a drama telecast on Doordarshan. On one side, there are those who are also searching for that serial and similar other programmes, and on the other are those who have a wonderful memory and can recall even more details than what I gave in that post. Motivated by the comments on that post, I myself did some quick search and here are some more details about that story. The serial was titled ‘Afsaane’, and the actors were Lalit Behl and Navnindra Behl. This is how they looked like: Continue reading

भारतीय नवजागरण के अग्रदूत – आचार्य जगदीश (अनुवाद)

आज के अहंकार-केन्द्रित समाज में जहाँ सभी लोग सदैव आत्मश्लाघा में ही रत रहते हैं, ऐसे दृष्टान्त अत्यन्त विरल हैं जहाँ एक महानायक ने अपने समकालीन एक अन्य महारथी का जयगान किया हो । फिर भी यदि अतीत में झाँकें तो एेसे कई दृष्टान्त हमें मिल ही जाते हैं, जैसे श्रीरामकृष्ण और विद्यासागर, हाइजनबर्ग और रवीन्द्रनाथ का साक्षात्कार, इत्यादि । ऐसे स्तुतिगान न केवल उस महापुरुष की महिमा के लिए उचित श्रद्धांजलि होते हैं, अपितु उन गायक महापुरुष की विनम्रता को भी परिलक्षित करते हैं ।  इतिहास के पृष्ठों में यत्र-तत्र बिखरे ऐसे स्तुति गान हमारी सांस्कृतिक धरोहर के रत्न-स्वरूप हैं । उस भण्डार से एक रत्न राष्ट्रीय विज्ञान दिवस (28 फरवरी) के अवसर पर आपके सम्मुख प्रस्तुत कर रहा हूँ ।

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When An Actor Gets Hated For A Good Performance

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Vijay Arora as Meghanad in TV serial Ramayan. Photo source: YouTube.

Repeatedly portraying a particular type of character in several movies brings a new and complete identity for the actor, who may find it extremely difficult to break the image. One may argue that how could an audience be carried away and not be able to distinguish between real and reel life. Still, we known that it happens, and defies all logic. And it is apparent mainly in the portrayal of the negative character. Continue reading

Who Broke Kanishka’s Head?

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Image source: Wikipedia

In a story published in Bengali magazine Anandamela, a child used to boast about the various precious items in his grandfather’s house. His friend remarked, ‘Who knows, if he searches carefully, he may even find Kanishka’s head!’

Kanishka’s head — one of the several unsolved problems in Indian history. I hesitate in calling it a ‘mystery’ because there is no mysterious element or secrecy as such. So if you are expecting something sensational, you might be disappointed. The problem is a very simple one, and is most probably due to missing links and lost history. Some day someone may find valuable information that would bring the missing pieces together and complete the picture. Till then, we would have to wait.

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Tunneling Through The Language Barrier With Voice Over Artists

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P. Ravishankar gave voice to Sonu Sood to create Pasupathi, the epitome of terror, in the movie Arundhati. Photo source:- P. Ravishankar: Alchetron, Sonu Sood: Pinterest, Sonu Sood in Arundhati: YouTube.

After handing over the items to me, the shop assistant turned to his colleague and in a low voice said:

Dangerous Khiladi. That is the title. Watch it.

I was startled, and looking at him, asked –

— Have you seen it? Continue reading

How Modern Art Is Different From Traditional Art

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The Scream, by Edvard Munch, 1893. Image source: Wikimedia.

In an amusing short story, Satyajit Ray narrated a funny incident in the life of an artist. This artist had worked for several days on an oil painting that he titled ‘The Somnambulist’, and which he wanted to submit as his entry in a competition sponsored by the Academy of Fine Arts of the state government. On the last date of submission, instead of sending his painting, by mistake he dispatched the cloth that he had used to wipe and clean his brushes. However, the organizers considered that dirty cloth to be a modern art work and selected it for the first prize!

For most of us, this incomprehensibility is the underlying criterion for any work of art to be classified as ‘modern art’. It goes to an extreme that whenever we fail to understand any artwork, we label it as modern art! Continue reading