Benodebehari Mukherjee: Centenary Retrospective Exhibition
Till 11 February
This beautifully mounted retrospective gives you one more reason to return to the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). From the entrance foyer, where huge photos of Benodebehari Mukherjee by Neemai Ghosh hang, to the finale, where you walk past a flurry of the artist’s smaller images, the section is a huge and loving tribute to an artist who lived a full quarter of his life without an artist’s primary tool: his sight.
What strikes you is the unity of his vision, the pillars that shored it up and the themes that run through: woods, flowers, relationships, landscapes, a youthful exposure to and lifelong fascination with Japan, and everywhere, Santiniketan. Don’t miss the giant reproductions of his famous murals.
NGMA, Jaipur House, India Gate (2338-4640). Tue-Sun, 10am-5pm. Tickets: Rs10 (Indian nationals), Rs150 (foreigners).
Monday, 5 FebruaryUK-based poet Lemn Sissay brings his cutting-edge performances to town. Widely published and known for his collaborations with musicians and other artists, he will share the stage with local talent Jeet Thayil, himself a veteran of several music and poetry crossovers. Expect a lot of music, some great performances, and, while it’s all happening, some thoroughly contemporary poetry.
Amaltas, Auditorium Block, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road (4149-7312), 7pm. Limited seating. Free.
From 1-3 February
Vasantotsava 2007, the annual festival of Kalashram, Pandit Birju Maharaj’s institution for kathak education, will be marked by a series of performances from 1-3 February. The festival will present “Parivar Parampara” on the last day. As you might expect from the name, Krishan Mohan Maharaj, Ram Mohan Maharaj, Jaikishen Maharaj, Deepak Maharaj, Mamta Maharaj, Ipshita Mishra, Tribhuvan Maharaj and Ragini Mishra—all members of Pandit Birju Maharaj’s immediate family—will share the stage.
Kamani Auditorium, 1 Copernicus Marg (2338-8084), 6.30pm. Call Kalashram (2465-3143) after 3pm or Saswati Sen (98110-70103) for passes.
Out & About
Surajkund Crafts Mela
Till 15 February
The Surajkund Crafts Mela is back with Andhra Pradesh as the theme state. Buy toys, saris, textiles and other handicrafts from Andhra craftspeople. Thailand and the SAARC countries are also represented at the mela this year. Acrobats, jugglers, dhollavinayasam (drummers from Warrangal), folk and tribal dances and even a fashion show add to the festive atmosphere. With Andhra Pradesh at the centre of things, the food will be great too. Watch for the “model Andhra family” that will be living out its daily life in full public view.
Surajkund, Faridabad. Contact Haryana Tourism at (2332-4910/1). Daily 9.30am-7.30pm. Weekdays Rs 25, weekends Rs 30. Surajkund is accessible by road from the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road or Mathura Road. Haryana Tourism also arranges special buses which depart from Haryana Emporium, Baba Kharag Singh Marg, every 30 minutes through the day.
Thursday, 8 February
The play, directed by Suresh Sharma, begins with Felicia coming to visit Kafka in a sanatorium. The ward boy comes to inform Kafka, but he is in the toilet. From here on, the play goes into the past and into Kafka’s relations with his mother, father, Dora, Felicia and Otla. Through the exploration of these relationships, we gain an insight into the man and his times. In the end, we realise that Kafka is no more, and that the events we have just seen were actually happening in Kafka’s mind, in the moments before his death.
LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg (2338- 9713), 6.30pm. Tickets Rs 20. Available at LTG.
On 2-3 February
Tyagpatra is based on Jainendra Kumar’s classic novel, first published in 1937, and masterfully adapted for the stage by Delhi theatre veteran Rajinder Nath, founder and director of the theatre group Abhiyan. It centres on the protagonist Mrinal’s struggle to realize her desires within the constraints of traditional society. Mrinal’s nephew Pramod—also the narrator— is played by veteran Banwari Taneja, who superbly evokes the complexity of the character Jainendra described: nostalgic, angry and guilt-ridden by turns.
Like all Abhiyan productions, sets are minimal and lighting used sparingly. The play’s primary achievement is its credible revival of a story that must certainly have been shocking in 1937, although what is really revealing is how much its candour can surprise us even today.
Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts,4 ,Safdar Hashmi Marg (2371-4307), 6.30pm. Tickets Rs50.
Go Away Closer
Thursday, 8 February
Celebrated photographer Dayanita Singh’s latest work is a diary of images collected over the years. The black-and-white photographs of people and rooms are intimate and follow a novel-like narrative. Writer Amitav Ghosh said that Singh’s latest photographs are “depictions of interior states; they express an inwardness of emotion that’s rare not just in photography but in any of the visual arts.” Goa-based Singh’s work has been showcased in leading publications such as Granta, The New Yorker and Time and exhibited in a number of museums in Europe and the US.
Galeri Miranchandani + Steinruecke, 2, Sunny Hou se, Mereweather House, behind Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba (2202-3030). Mon-Fri 10am-6.30pm. Sat 11am-4pm.
Tri Continental Festival
Sunday, 4 February
A primer on human rights abuse, this package of documentaries is sure to badger your conscience to pulp. But a reminder of how horrid our species can be doesn’t hurt once in a while.
The line-up includes films that deal with the Hmongs, a forgotten community that fought alongside American troops during the Vietnam war, Nicaragua’s freedom from dictatorship, the world’s first female hijacker and India’s manual scavengers.
Among the lighter shorts are Paromita Vohra’s film on public toilets and Ashim Ahluwalia’s exploration of Indian call centres.
NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point (2283-3838). 11.30am onwards. NCPA members get first preference. Free.
Kala Ghoda Festival
From 3-11 February
Mumbai’s heritage precinct becomes the venue for a week-long cultural bash from 3-11 February. The festival is packed with art, literary, dance, music, film and theatrical events, so instead of heading to the nearest pub for an after-work drink with office mates, spend your evenings imbibing some culture. Catch Tibetan dances and kalaripayattu at the Kala Ghoda amphitheatre, Shakespeare films at Max Mueller Bhavan and local poetry at the David Sassoon Library. Among the events to watch out for are Celtic rock ’n’ roll act Merzhin, a guided walk through Fort by Bombay Heritage Walks and pyrotechnics by Anil Sharma.
For a complete schedule, see www.kalaghodaassociation.com or call 2282-5972.
Alan Parsons Live Project
Friday, 2 February
Good news for the city’s prog-rock fans. The Johnny Walker One Tree Music Festival offers you a chance to listen to Alan Parsons live instead of at the smoky environs of Ghetto.
It also gives you a chance to see what the man looks like. Parsons didn’t sing or play on many of his songs and never appeared on his album covers.
So even die-hard fans have no idea he looks more like a trucker than a rock star. Parsons’ music has been described as “symphonic pop” and “space rock blues” and closely resembles the music of Pink Floyd. Working as an engineer on Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in the early 1970s played a crucial part in shaping his own sound.
MMRDA Grounds, 7.30pm, Rs600. Contact Orange Juice Entertainment on 99679-59789 or Rhythm House on 2284-2835.