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First Published: Thu, Feb 26 2009. 11 39 PM IST

Updated: Thu, Feb 26 2009. 11 39 PM IST
Shriram Shankar Lal Music Festival
27 February-1 March
One of the oldest festivals of its kind in India, the Shriram Shankar Lal Music Festival was established in 1947 by Sumitra Charit Ram of the DCM industrial family.
An esteemed platform for classical musicians, it is now run entirely by the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra. This year is the 62nd edition of the festival and some of the artists featured include the Gundecha Brothers, Manjiri Asnare-Kelkar, Veena Sahasrabuddhe and Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar.
Invitation cards can be collected from Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, 1, Copernicus Marg (23386428/29).
6.30pm. Kamani auditorium, 1, Copernicus Marg (23388084).
Solo show (Shadi Gharidian)
Till 13 March
A collection of photographs by contemporary Iranian artist Shadi Gharidian. The show is presented by Tasveer. Gharidian’s main themes are feminist concerns: Check out ‘Like Everyday’, a series of images showing household items wearing burqas.
11am-7pm, Monday-Saturday.Vadehra Art Gallery, D-40, Defence Colony (24615368).
Charlie Wilson’s War
27 February
The film is a credit to the swagger, charm and easy arrogance of Tom Hanks’ performance as the maverick member of the US House of Representatives from Texas’ 2nd District who raised a cool $1 billion for covert action against the Russians in 1980s’ Afghanistan. You almost forget that the booze-fuelled, libidinous politico’s antics not only “brought down the Soviet Empire” but also built up the Mujahideen, helped spawn Osama bin Laden and contributed to our desperate present geopolitical crisis.
In his adaptation of George Crile’s best-selling “true story”, director Mike Nichols does allow Wilson a teary-eyed speech in a refugee camp on the need to invest in the post-bellum peace but it’s obvious that Nichols is more fully at home cheerleading the power play between the dapper congressman and Julia Roberts’ coiffured, right-wing Houston millionairess or keeping pace with the rattling parley in the corridors of Capitol Hill. 1 hour 42 min.
6pm. The American Centre, 24, Kasturba Gandhi Marg (23316841). Please carry ID proof.
Amrita Sher-Gil—A Family Album
Rich life: From Amrita Sher-Gil’s album.
5 March
The film is a personal account of the life and work of one of India’s most renowned painters, made by Navina Sundaram, Sher-Gil’s niece.
6pm. Hungarian Cultural Centre, 1/A, Janpath (23014992).
Afsaneh—Bai Se Bioscope Tak
3 March
‘Baithak’ artist Beni Bai and ‘nautanki’ performer Gulab Bai, two stage artists of yesteryear who never actually met in real life, come centre stage in ‘Afsaneh—Bai Se Bioscope Tak’, an entertaining 75-minute Urdu play that also features ‘nautanki’ music and some mesmerizing Kathak.
Taking centre stage: From the play Afsaneh—Bai Se Bioscope Tak.
Playwright Purva Naresh’s tribute to her late grandmother Beni Bai, ‘Afsaneh’ is Akvarious theatre group’s laudable attempt to recreate a long-forgotten era. But it isn’t just nostalgia. The play, directed by Akarsh Khurana, is also a comment on the hostile takeover of stage art by the mass media.
It is part of the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, which is an annual event that showcases the best of modern Indian theatre.
7.30pm. Kamani auditorium, 1, Copernicus Marg (23388084). Tickets, Rs100. Available at Teksons bookshop, G-4, South Extension-I, basement (24640649). Call Teamwork Films (26011430) for details.
Turtles can fly
Wounds of war: A scene from Turtles can fly.
Bahman Ghobadi, an Iranian Kurd, is the first director to make a film in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. It’s the eve of the American invasion and we find ourselves with a ragtag group of refugee children who are living in a makeshift town of tents, old tanks and still-live minefields. The mountainous landscape is thrilling but the mood is expectant: War is coming.
One odd-looking young boy, nicknamed Satellite by virtue of his job of installing TV receivers in the area, talks sagely about the Americans and with disdain about the Iraqi government: “Look what Saddam has done to us…they don’t let our TVs work to see when the war will start.” But any light banter is overshadowed by the film’s opening, flash-forward image of Agrin, a teenage girl, throwing herself off a precipice. When the same girl reappears in real time, flanked by her brother and a little blind boy, we can only wonder and wait to discover exactly how this particular circle will be complete.
One odd-looking young boy, nicknamed Satellite by virtue of his job of installing TV receivers in the area, talks sagely about the Americans and with disdain about the Iraqi government: “Look what Saddam has done to us…they don’t let our TVs work to see when the war will start.” But any light banter is overshadowed by the film’s opening, flash-forward image of Agrin, a teenage girl, throwing herself off a precipice. When the same girl reappears in real time, flanked by her brother and a little blind boy, we can only wonder and wait to discover exactly how this particular circle will be complete.
Ghobadi leads us through a dangerous world where adults are strangely scarce and children run their own lives in the shadow of impending doom. When, at the film’s close, the arriving American soldiers jog through the area in their desert camouflage gear, it’s like witnessing astronauts colonizing the moon.
Across cinemas
Imagine an openly gay candidate as mayor of Mumbai. Imagine, too, the euphoria black people in the US must feel about Barack Obama in the White House. That’s what Harvey Milk represented to the gay men and women of America in the late 1970s. Milk—played by Sean Penn, who won the Best Actor award at the Oscars—was the first openly gay man to hold public office as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He stood up for gay rights in America at a time when religious bigotry was on the rise and homosexuals were commonly referred to as “perverts” and “child molesters”. He
encouraged gay men and women to stand up and be counted, to boycott anti-gay businesses and above all, to get out there and vote. Eventually, he even defeated a proposed legislation called Proposition 6, which would have outlawed gay men and women from teaching in America’s schools. Through his political actions, Milk changed the face of gay America. Sadly, Milk served just 11 months as city supervisor. In 1978, he was gunned down by fellow supervisor Dan White.
Across cinemas
MIDIval Punditz
27 February
One of Delhi’s best-known electronica duos, Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj of MIDIval Punditz, started out at an underground event called ‘Cyber Mehfil’ in 1997 to promote hard core Asian underground in Delhi clubs. Their live acts are a downtempo mix of Asian influences, fantastic vocals and traditional instruments such as the ‘dhol’, flute and sitar, jazzed up with synths.
10.30pm. Aurus, Nichani Kutir, Juhu Tara Road (before Reid and Taylor showroom), Juhu (67106667). Entry for couples only.
Cine Indo-China
Behind the camera: From Sheena Sippy’s exhibition Cine Indo-China.
These photographs by Sheena Sippy were taken during the shooting of the movie ‘Chandni Chowk to China’. While actors Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone were spilling ‘dal’ on the Great Wall of China, Sippy was taking pictures of people. The photographs are arranged in diptychs and triptychs that use shots taken in India alongside those from her travels in China. The intriguing part of these works is her use of slabs of colour. Each set of photographs has a panel of flat colour that seeks to highlight the palette used in the images.
11am-7pm, Monday-Saturday. The Viewing Room, Elysium Mansion, fourth floor, opposite Cusrow Baug, Walton Road, Colaba Causeway (22830026).
Divine words: Mahesha Ram.
Kabir Festival
Until 1 March
Hear Mukhtiyar Ali, a Rajasthani folk singer from Bikaner, perform Sufi folk music at 9pm on 27 February as part of the ongoing Kabir Festival.
Saturday’s performances begin at 9pm, with Mahesha Ram performing Rajasthani folk music, followed by acclaimed ‘thumri’ exponent Vidya Rao. The last two performances of the evening will be by Prahlad Tipanya, who will perform folk music from Madhya Pradesh, and Shafi Faqir, who will play music from Sindh in Pakistan.
9pm. Sophia High School, 70, Palace Road (22266825). For updates and to print free passes, log on to www.kabirproject. org
Multidisciplinary: A painting by Kalyan Rathore.
Kalyan Rathore
27 February-3 March
Kalyan Rathore, a Bangalore-based installation artist who specializes in metal sculptures and murals, wanted to be a “doctor studying ants and their social systems” when he was a boy. His work in steel, titled ‘Ants’, with large, colourful emmets—some of them clasping crushed draught beer cans in their claws—was on display last July in the city, as part of a benefit exhibition for the Society for Child Development to promote the archival art paper that’s handmade from recycled waste by children at the society’s development centre. Rathore is back with a collection of his recent works this fortnight.
11am-7pm. Renaissance Gallerie, 104, Westminster, 13, Cunningham Road (22202232).
Brigitte Smith
28 February-19 March
Paintings by German artist Brigitte Smith, who has studied at the School of Design in Wiesbaden, the Academy of Graphic Arts in Munich and the Academy of Fine Arts in Montreal, will be on display.
Smith has worked as an illustrator and designer for children’s books and works of non-fiction, and has shown her works in the US and Germany for over three decades.
In a note about Smith, art critic Ingrid Zimmerman wrote that “those who are prepared to follow philosophical and spiritual messages can find reward” in Smith’s work. The artist will be at the gallery on 27 February. Visit www.right-lines.com
10am-7pm, Monday-Saturday. 10am-1pm, Sunday. Right Lines Art Gallery, 270, 1st Main, Defence Colony, Indira Nagar (25272827).
Around town
Festival of Poland
1-10 March
This fortnight, all of Poland will descend upon Bangalore. The festival, curated by Akumal Ramachander and hosted by The Bangalore School of Music and Narayan Babu of the collective Apple Blossom, will feature operatic performances by renowned sopranos Gabriella Silva and Agnieszka Kurowska, a piano recital by Ella Susmanek, an exhibition of photographs by sociologist Joanna Erbel and a collection of posters designed by graphic artist Stasys Eidrigevicius, apart from a festival of contemporary and animated Polish films by Andre Munk, Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Andrzej Wajda. The performances apart, the festival will also host two seminars— on ‘Popular Indian Cinema and its Origin From Sanskrit Drama’, chaired by K.M. Byrski, a Sanskritist and an expert on ancient Indian history, and film scholar M.K. Raghavendra, and another titled ‘The Idea of India and the Idea of Poland’, chaired by historian Ramachandra Guha.
10am-7pm, Monday-Friday; 10am-5pm, Saturday. Alliance Française de Bangalore, 108, Thimmaiah Road, Vasanth Nagar (41231345). For details, contact Bangalore School of Music at 23536090.
Nritya Vaibhava
28 February
This is an all-male dance festival initiated by Ananya GML Cultural Academy as a means to provide solo dancers performance space to explore themes beyond the traditional, female-centric repertoire. The festival will open at 6pm with Praveen Kumar, who will perform male-oriented pieces from the traditional repertoire of Bharatanatyam, including a ‘devarnama’ (a song dedicated to god) titled ‘Mane Yolagado Govinda’, which subverts the notion of ‘vatsalaya bhava’ (maternal love) and instead explores the paternal love of Nanda for Krishna.
Telling a story: Anita Peter of the Monisha Arts Dance Ensemble.
This will be followed by a Kuchipudi performance at 6.45pm by Sanjay Shantaram. The dance form attained perfection during the time of 17th century Golconda king Abdul Hassan Tanesha, according to Shantaram. Siddhendra Yogi, a 14th century scholar, is said to have been the first to give it its current form of dance drama. Yogi made the art form a preserve of the male domain by teaching it to young Brahmin boys, observes Shantaram. “But today the art form is dominated by women and I intend to take it back,” he says. The festival will conclude with pieces from the traditional Kathak repertoire by Murali Mohan at 7.30pm.
Seva Sadan, 14th Cross, West Park Road, opposite MLA College, Malleswaram (23347830).
Monisha Arts Dance Ensemble
1 March
Sreedevi Unni and her students perform the ballet ‘Gandharivilap’. It narrates the story of the only moment in the Mahabharat that Gandhari removes her blindfold to see her 100 sons massacred by the Pandavas (guided by Krishna). When she sees her sons’ corpses, she cries out and curses Krishna—that in 36 years his entire clan will be wiped out. “The format we use is that of the Kerala Kalamandalam style of Mohiniattam but is stylized in the Logadharmi style from the Natya Shastra, which is more accessible,” says Unni.
5.30pm. ADA Rangamandira, 109, JC Road (22219388).
Schedules may be subject to change
The Human Mirror Project, an artists’ collective, has set out on an audio-visual project through February and March “to explore the relationship between international forms of music, spirituality, art and healing, through international travel, musical performances, artistic collaborations and installations”. The project invites open discussions, culminating in a collaborative multimedia performance piece. In February, the project travelled through Bangalore, Mysore and Goa and is now in Mumbai. It will move to New Delhi and Jaipur in March.
Visit www. humanmirrorproject.org for details.
Don’t access Pad.ma via Internet Explorer. You’ll be greeted with a crisp message: “If you are using Internet Explorer you have bigger problems than not being able to access this website.” Pad.ma, a repository for documentary out-takes, unedited digital footage and surplus shots from someone else’s film, has opened its archives. Their site is worth the switch to Firefox: roughly 150 hours of low-resolution video and 92,500 annotated text entries. You’re welcome to download or add your own. There are interviews with bar dancers, Arundhati Roy and even a clip from ‘Didi Tera Dewar Deewana’...
http://pad.ma can be accessed by the public from March.
Rachel Lopez
Credit the Japanese occupation of Myanmar (then Burma) during World War II for this at least. Richard Bartholomew fled the country of his birth and made India his home in 1942. He was well known as a writer, curator, a critic with an eye for good art and also a gifted photographer, as the book titled ‘A Critic’s Eye’ shows. Some of the images are of Rati, his wife, and his two sons Robin and Pablo (Pablo grew up to be a photographer as well). Many are of artists that Bartholomew worked with and befriended.
Available at Oxford Bookstore, Rs1,500.
Kuchipudi originated from a dance form that was traditionally the preserve of male dancers. Only in the 20th century did it evolve into the distinctive style it now has. Read more about the dance form in ‘Kuchipudi’ by Raja and Radha Reddy.
Wisdom Tree, Rs195.
To learn the history of Mohiniattam, you could go through ‘Dances of India: Mohiniyattam’ by Bharati Shivaji and Vijayalakshmi.
Wisdom Tree, Rs195.
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First Published: Thu, Feb 26 2009. 11 39 PM IST