Getting your Razas right

>> Tasneem Mehta, the lady who brought museum culture to Mumbai with her excellent custodianship of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, has taken her vision a step further by offering art lovers a one year Post Graduate Diploma Course in ‘Modern and Contemporary Indian Art History 1850-2011’ at the Museum.

Offered as a weekend lecture series from January – December 2013 and boasting of faculty that includes some of India’s best known art authorities like Ranjit Hoskote, Rupika Chawla, Mortimer Chatterjee and Abhay Sardesai, lecturing on their specialised areas of scholarship, this is one more step in fostering art-literacy and awareness.

Tasneem Mehta,Rupika Chawla and Ranjit Hoskote
From left to right: Tasneem Mehta,Rupika Chawla and Ranjit Hoskote

Hopefully with more such initiatives the dismally ignorant art buying philistine will know his Razas from his Souzas. All this talk about art scholarship reminds us of a delightful gem from the enigmatic and darkly humorous graffiti artist, activist, film director and painter Banksy: “All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?”

Gangnam style
>> If you haven’t seen it, heard it, watched it, danced to it then before we take you to our leader let us enlighten you on what appears to be the anthem of our ages’ Oppa Gangnam Style’.

Rapper Psy performing, Gangnam dance
Rapper Psy performing the Gangnam dance

The Korean electro hip-hop single by rapper PSY that has gone viral ever since its launch in July this year. Featuring PSY in a series of high energy moves it is according to its creators a parody of a Korean suburb, which is known for its high life and swank ways.

Chris Gayle performing the dance
Chris Gayle performing the dance

“People who live there would never boast about having Gangnam style,” Psy is quoted as having said, “which is why it’s a parody of those who aspire to it.” Already the video has ricocheted around the world with various artists doing their own version. What surprises us is that for all Bollywood’s command of the pelvic thrusting booty shaking hippy hippy shaking world-how did it take a Korean rapper to teach the world how to make the dirtiest moves so far? Let’s see how Bollywood ups that one!

Looking back at movies of the past
>> MAMI’s 14th Mumbai Film Festival, to be hosted at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai from October 18 – 25, promises to have its usual cornucopia of delights: For the second consecutive year, the best of contemporary French cinema will be presented in association with the Embassy of France in India and Unifrance as part of the Rendezvous with French Cinema segment.

Raja Harishchandra
A still from Raja Harishchandra

Another segment will highlight the history of Italian cinema. There will also be a session Kabul Fresh- New Voices in Afghan Cinema, and to mark the centenary celebration of Indian cinema, the festival will screen a package of restored Indian silent films like Kaliya Mardan, Raja Harishchandra, Marthand Varma, Throw Of Dice, Sati Savitri, Jamai Babu, Galliant Heart among others. We’ve registered our attendance. See you at the movies?

Literature in the hills
>> We are looking forward to participating in the Khushwant Singh Literary festival this weekend in Kasauli.

Lord Meghnad Desai, Bachi Karkaria and Shobhaa De
Lord Meghnad Desai, Bachi Karkaria and Shobhaa De

Organised with passion and commitment and love by his son Rahul and the graceful Niloufer Billimoria as a tribute to Singh’s love for the mountain retreat and his witting hideout, the program includes what promise to be many sparkling sessions especially Not a Nice Man to know featuring Lord Meghnad Desai, Bachi Karkaria, Shobhaa De and Rahul Singh moderated by publisher Ashok Chopra, a film on Singh Till the Pen Drops, the launch of Khushwant Singh’s ‘The Free Thinkers Prayer Book’ by Mani Shankar Aiyer, a session of Sufi Gospel Music by Sonam Kalra, a session with Rahul Bose on the synergy between books and movies, art critic Yashodhara Dalmia on Amrita Shergill (another resident of the mountain region) and Salima Hashmi Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s daughter talking about Partition and impact on literature.

Incidentally, when we glanced over the program we counted four participating relatives in the festival: an architect, two writers and an economist! Four relatives speaking over a two-day fest? We guess that’s what you get at North Indian culture bashes of this nature! Onwards to the sarson ka saga then!

The Mango Girl
>>by Padma Rao Sundarji
(sung to the tune of Barbie Girl)
And from Delhi comes this wonderful ditty by my friend, the acclaimed foreign correspondent and TV journo Padma Rao Sundarji. Enjoy!

Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra
Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra

I’m a mango girl, in a tango wooooorlldd, Life in Naaaasik, is fantaaaastic

Call me Alphonso, for better or for wooorse,
Wealthy naaation, my creaaation.
Come on mango, let’s go tango.
Come on mango; let’s go tango...
I’m a mango girl, in a tango world,
Robertizaation, no mean creaaation.
Safeda or not, Himani or whaaaat,
The Kejri notion, a new commotion.
Come on mango, let’s go tango,
come on mango, let’s go tango...
Wadehra or not, blackened with some spo-oots,
Vadra’s the buuzz now, sixty crores the fuss now
What’s a bit of land, between two golfing frieeeends,
Concretizaaation, the new sensaaation....
Mmmmm. mmmm. mmmm. mmmm
(Backing vocals ):
Mango Mango, let’s go taango,
Mango, Mang(o)-huh - get that django,
Mango, Mango, oh let’s tango.
Mango, Mang(o) yeah,yeah, yeah, tango....

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