Abahoman (Flowing Life)
Titled Abahoman, which Jogen Chowdhury translates from Bengali as “Flowing Life”, the artist’s current show flows from genre to genre, between media and a range of moods. These works take portraits, figures, plants or animals as their subject matter, but there’s a lot of variation between these. Drawing is classically thought of as a preparatory step to painting. But the question of how it can itself become classified as art is one that has persisted in Jogen Chowdhury’s work for a long time. Whether it’s drawings in dry pastels on canvas, serigraphs, paintings or mixed media works using old invitations, this show is no exception. Vadehra Art Gallery, D-178 Okhla Phase I, next to the Skoda showroom (6547-4005). 1am-7pm.
Team Unteamed II
Vadodara is sizzling and this show features relatively a number of upcoming artists from the city, including several popular names. The roster of artists includes Alok Bal, Barun Chowdhury, Debraj Goswami, Farhad Husain, Manoj Sinha, M Pravat, Ramgopal Kumawat, Sharmi Chowdhury, Shiv Verma and Sukhdevsinh V. Rathod. Among those worth seeing are Bal’s acrobatic, football-playing sadhus and Rathod’s queer shirt boxes. Art Konsult, 23, Hauz Khas Village (6568-3083). 10am-7pm.
A diary can mean a friend, a confidant, a record keeper, a feel-good journal and many different things to different people. Educationist Nupur Gaur Awasthi introduces diary writing through the hilarious book The Diary of a Killer Cat by Anne Fine. This workshop is open only to young members of the British Council Library through Children and Family memberships. Ages 8-12. British Council Library, 17, Kasturba Gandhi Marg. Call Chhaya Sharma (4149-7103). Fee Rs 100. 10.30am-noon.
Music and Dance
30 Mar-1 Apr
Started in 2001 by film-maker and designer Muzaffar Ali as a platform to spread the word of 14th century poet and Sufi mystic Amir Khusrau, Jahan-e-Khusrau has had its fair share of critics. However, it remains a showcase for some remarkable performances and an annual fixture that has continued to grow in popularity to include dancers and musicians from Pakistan, Iran, Tunisia, India, Israel and Turkey. This year’s event will be inaugurated with poetry read by thespian Naseeruddin Shah. The next three-day event will feature, among others, singers Archana Shah, Shubha Mudgal, Malini Awasthi, Pedram Derakshani from Iran and Delhi’s favourite qawwal Abida Parveen, besides musician and performing artist Susan Deyhim and dancer Wendy Jehlen. Quli Khan’s Tomb, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, opposite Ahimsa Sthal. Tickets Rs300, Rs600, Rs800. Available at Kotwara Studios, Khan Market (2462-6454). 6pm.
Sitarist Shubhendra Rao, a student of Pandit Ravi Shankar, will perform as part of the SPIC MACAY Fest 2007. Rao started playing the sitar at the age of three. He trained under his father N.R. Rama Rao for five years before becoming a shishya of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Eventually, Rao moved to Delhi when he was 18 to live with, and learn from, the maestro in the true guru-shishya parampara. The maestro’s distinctive style has since been embedded both in Shubhendra’s performance and composition skills. DAV Public School Sector 14, Gurgaon (95124-2324070). Free. 10am.
KL Saigal: A Hindi Musical
Sayeed Alam’s musical drama blends facts and fiction to recreate the aura—and the era—of the late singer Kundan Lal Saigal. The play portrays not only Saigal the immortal singer-hero, but also Saigal the mortal— Saigal as a salesman in Delhi, Saigal as a struggler in Kolkata and Saigal as a superstar in Mumbai. The play revisits the music and cinema of the first half of the century. Saigal’s story is replete with events and anecdotes that centre around legends of equal stature, such as Ustad Faiyyaz Khan, DV Paluskar, KC Dey and Naushad . Chinmaya Centre for World Understanding. Limited passes available from SMW Entertainers (4163-4983). Free. 7.30pm.
Printed Works (1965-1992)
Organized by the Max Mueller Bhavan and the Centre for International Modern Art, this retrospective of Baselitz works is an in-depth look at the artist’s oeuvre. Considered by many to be among the greats of contemporary European art, Baselitz shot to fame in the 1960s when his painting “The Big Night Down the Drain” was seized by the public prosecutor for immorality. It showed a boy masturbating and was intended to be a self-portrait. This exhibition shows only his etchings but is still worth spending time over. National Centre for the Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, near Hilton Towers, Nariman Point (2283-3838). 11am-7pm.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s intricately embroidered novel about an immigrant Bengali family in America relies heavily on descriptions of people and places rather than on dialogue or action. The battles that protagonist Gogol Ganguly wages with identity and assimilation take place inside his head. When Lahiri feels the need for dialogue, terse and tightly written lines descend onto the pages. Mira Nair’s cinematic adaptation of Lahiri’s novel retains some of the book’s best lines and situations, but is unable to articulate exactly why Gogol hates his name and identity so much. While the movie is a respectable addition to the genre of movies about cultural identity, it falls several paces short of being truly memorable. Major cinemas.
Palestinian hip-hop, Kabbalah and Walter Benjamin offer fresh perspectives on the Israel-Palestine conflict. This remarkable philosophical essay (the subtitle, “Theological Political Fragments”, gives a clue about its concerns) comes with heavyweight endorsement from the likes of hip thinkers Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou, but stands alone as a genuinely fresh attempt to reimagine the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Drawing its titular iconography from Walter Benjamin’s “Angel of History”, it follows artist/film-maker Udi Aloni as he journeys from New York to the West Asia and garners diverse opinions on the roots and future of the crisis. Little Theatre, National Centre for the Performing Arts, near Hilton Towers, Nariman Point (2283-3838). 6pm.
Out & About
Lucknow: Splendour & Decline
Until 17 Apr
New Delhi-based Alkazi Foundation for the Arts brings us a collection of vintage photographs. Some of these are originals and some reprints, but all have been taken between 1850 and 1880 and capture the grandeur and decay of Avadhi Lucknow. The photographs are by some of the pioneers of early photography in India such as Felice Beato, Samuel Bourne and Darogha Abbas Ali. Look closely at the photographs by Bourne and John Edward Sache. They may look repetitive but that’s because it is believed that Sache initially came to India to replicate Bourne’s pictures and sell them as Bourne originals. Centre for Photography as an Art Form, Piramal Gallery, National Centre for the Performing Arts, near Hilton Towers, Nariman Point (2283-3838). 11am-7pm.
Ismat Apa Ke Naam
Motley’s tribute to Ismat Chugtai surfaces after a long gap at Prithvi. Naseeruddin Shah and his family enact three stories by the famously provocative and irreverent Urdu writer. Gharwali is a cheeky look at marriage. In Mughal Bachcha, Chugtai paints a wry portrait of Uttar Pradesh’s landed gentry and Chhui Muee describes the reaction of three women to a childbirth that takes place in a train compartment. Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Vile Parle (W) (2614-9546). Tickets Rs 100-150. 6pm & 9pm. No latecomers allowed after show begins.
That Time/Sun Sets for Sam
30 Mar-31 Mar
The whitewashed environs of Project 88 are, yet again, the site of a Rehaan
Engineer experiment. The last performance by the director at the intimate gallery was Stephen Berkoff’s intensely moving The Secret Love Life of Ophelia, which saw kimono-clad actors suspended on swings playing doomed lovers. This time around, Engineer directs a theatrical installation based on Samuel Beckett’s short work, That Time. In Beckett’s play, three voices take turns to speak. Their audience is a solitary listener. Engineer uses video recordings of sunrises and sunsets and has live actors instead of disembodied voices echoing in the dark. Project 88, BMP Building, NA Sawant Marg, near Colaba Post Office, Colaba (2281-0066). Entry is restricted to 25 people per performance. To register, call Tasneem at 98201-72798. 7pm & 8pm.