Discovering dance in Bombay’s libraries: Dance critic Sunil Kothari on reading in a bygone era

“Strange as it may sound, the annual report of Standard Oil Company once carried an article on Kathakali, describing the colour schemes representing the qualities of various characters from the Mahabharata and Ramayana according to their Sattvika, Rajasika and Tamasika traits. No other dance forms used such elaborate colours for their makeup, costumes, ornaments and crowns. This was…

“Be as irreverent as you like”: 33 questions with poet Arundhathi Subramaniam

For when artistic equilibrium looks like “a hammock suspended between Corfu and the Maldives”. List three words that you love to taste. Currently, it would be emollient, amaretto, agape. List three words that make you flinch with their violence. Slaughter, eviscerate, bludgeon. A fourth: asphyxiate. Describe a recurring daydream. When I was in school, I…

Redefining Seduction: A Lavani-based photo essay with filmmaker Savitri Medhatul

“Lavani is breaking the norm in every possible way – we have men in the audience being entertained by men in drag, and women in the audience whistling at women artistes!” An uproarious conversation with director, theatre artiste and filmmaker Savitri Medhatul  about how the Maharashtrian art form lavani noisily shatters conventional gender roles, the fluidity of power play between the seducer…

Recollecting a long-forgotten fragrance: Prof. K Sridhar jogs our selective memories

The trigger: the word ‘epistemicide’. A new discovery that referred to ‘the killing and destruction of knowledge’. A terribly provocative visual. The voice: a physicist, explorer of spissitudes, autopsychographer and crossword-buff. A reader for all seasons. The paraphrasing of the Eagles: “Some write to remember, some write to forget.” “A few years ago, two physicist friends of…

Symbiotic Schizophrenia and other aberrations: A Skype chat with Dr. Mohan Agashe

Meandering conversations with the psychiatrist, actor and producer on the historical thread that ties playwrights and psychologists, the defeat of the language of love before Indian wives, the intellectual roots of egotism, the corrupting power of libraries and the true making of an artist. Dr. Agashe, I can only see your forehead!  “Uh oh, what is…