Genre-ally speaking – Movies that define the genre

I often think genre-up while deciding on a movie that I might want to watch next. So I thought it fitting to distil my thoughts on what movies typify a genre for me and maybe de-construct my likes/dislikes about a genre to a point where I can find movie suggestions with a higher click rate with my sensibilities.

Of Rakabdars – their Nazakat and Legendary Lucknowi adayein

Some call it the street food of Lucknow. Philistines. These are master artists and custodians of a culinary tradition which should be declared a national heritage, protected and promoted. These are the famous food of the nawabs, who themselves were famous for their patronage of the arts. And in their world food was an art form, chefs were greeted with gratitude, and their kitchens were as much a talking point [ ... ]

A New Freedom – Provocations by Jehan Georges Vibert

Vibert is most widely known for scenes of clergy members; satirized beyond what would have been accepted in any other earlier period in France. To spoof the clergy would have been to risk your life or imprisonment a century earlier. Subtle as they may be, they mock the imperfections in our institutions, specially one as powerful as the clergy. The fourth estate doesn’t always exercise its might through the written [ ... ]

Innovation – The Original Sin

What separates the tool-making H. habilis from the non-tool making Australopithicus that preceded him? What separates them from other animals? For that matter, what separates us from all other animals? Bridging the gap between prehuman biology and the relatively recent invention of agriculture are earlier technologies of stone and fire, language, counting, religion, time, and representational art. By objectifying Nature and humanizing the Wild, by converting the world into an [ ... ]

Latcho Drom – Another experimental documentary

In an earlier post about another documentary – “Baraka”, I was moved by the power of the image to convey a story. That, like “Latcho Drom” , was a documentary with no cast, no story, no narrative yet conveyed so much just though images, sounds and clever cinematography and editing. Latcho Drom delivers all the same. Latcho Drom, meaning “Safe Journey”, is about the Roma people, the gypsies. [ ... ]

Orientalists – Artists or Peacemakers – Part 2 Gustave Bauernfeind

Part two of my entry on Orientalist painters… this one during days where Middle East and Africa are going through its most “collectively tumultuous” period ever. Orientalist paintings inspired by the Eastern and Mediterranean cultures held a mysterious charm for the West. These paintings were not just beautiful pieces of art, but were also a glimpse for the West, into the exotic lives of the Easterners which till then was [ ... ]

Orientalists – Artists or Peacemakers – Part 1 Ludwig Deutsch

On a day that the two largest communities in India ponder over the court judgement over a piece of land, that has been the cause of emotionally charged and sometimes tragically violent responses, I would like to put the spotlight on the role of artists of any discipline in bridging divides between people. Orientalist paintings inspired by the Eastern and Mediterranean cultures held a mysterious charm for the West. These [ ... ]

Manganiyars – The singing conquerors of the Rajput

I am due to visit a concert in a weeks time featuring Manganiyar artists and thought it was good homework and fitting tribute to have a blog post about them. The Manganiyar and related Langa are Muslim communities found in the desert of Rajasthan, India in the districts of Barmer and Jaisalmer, along the border with Pakistan. These are the groups of hereditary professional musicians, whose music has been supported by wealthy [ ... ]

Impressionist Portraits – Oxymorons by John Singer Sargent

Can a bold dash of blue, amid a fog of greys and a few delicate flecks of black really justify itself as a portrait ? Isn’t an impressionist portrait then an oxymoron in itself ? On the other hand, our memories of people aren’t crisp black and white either. People are a mere sum of impressions in the memories of other people. Aren’t then the impressionists justified in their impudence [ ... ]

Ivan Shishkin – Singer of Russian woods

His contemporaries called him the “forest tzar”, “old pine tree”,  “lonely oak” and “singer of Russian woods”. His love for the forests of his homeland combined with genius technique and composition makes these woods smell, creak, sway, whistle, and grow right before your eyes, all in two-dimensions. Although he painted a relatively narrow range of landscape subjects, Shishkin has maintained his reputation as one of the greatest Russian landscape painters of [ ... ]