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Saturday, December 04, 2021

Sunday Long Reads: Legacy of Somnath Hore, Sreelekha Mitra’s films, Dayanita Singh’s new book, and more

Don't miss out on this week's special reads

New Delhi |
Updated: November 8, 2021 11:37:54 am
Somnath HoreHore was born in Barama, Chittagong, in 1921 (Source: Murali Cheeroth)

Why Somnath Hore, one of India’s finest 20th century artists, refused to leave India

Wound as a word and an idea exemplifies the creative world of Somnath Hore. Both physical and philosophical at once, these are wounds that pervade the body and the soul, those inflicted by war, famine, violence and even ideologies. Hore was an artist with a deep understanding of history. The image of the “wound” was his metaphor that reflected impermanence.

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‘Nobody could have done this role better than me’: Sreelekha Mitra

Sreelekha Mitra, Sreelekha Mitra films, Sreelekha Mitra career, Sreelekha Mitra Bengali actor, Sreelekha Mitra Bangla cinema, Sreelekha Mitra interview, eye 2021, sunday eye, indian express news Sreelekha Mitra (Credit: Stephanie Cornfield)

Walking the 78th Venice International Film Festival red carpet was no less than a fairy tale unfolding for Bengali actor Sreelekha Mitra. Ahead of two other film releases, she recalls that day in September. A star-struck Mitra was eager to click a selfie with Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Damon until she was told she’s no less of a star than Damon at that moment. “I’m a little crazy,” says the actor, laughing, who roamed the streets, Gelato in hand, Venetian carnival mask on face, chatting up the Italian locals, instead of networking.

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The Three Khans: And the Emergence of New India by Kaveree Bamzai; Westland, Rs 599, 229 pages

The hounding of Bollywood is now a spectacle we consume. But what makes it a worthy target to be taken down? What language does it speak so well to the “people” – that entity crucial to politicians and the market – that the current ideological re-engineering of India by Hindu right-wing forces must take it on? Senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai’s book on the three Khans and three superstars of Hindi cinema – Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir — whose careers have played out in the last three tumultuous decades of Indian life could have contained answers to some of these questions. It doesn’t.

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The Cheetahs are coming

EYE The cheetah can go from zero to 100 kmph in less than three seconds (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

There’s news that eight to 12 African cheetahs are to be introduced into the Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh, towards the end of November. Some say this is a welcome ghar wapsi after the last Indian cheetah was shot in 1952. Scientists are of the view that this is a hare-brained idea and that Kuno is not ready to welcome these speed kings. At considerable risk – and by maintaining social distancing of at least 500 km – Down In Jungleland (DIJ) interviewed the three resident big cats in India: the lion, the tiger and the leopard for their take on the issue

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writer Kim Stanley Robinson speaks of India’s potential to script an environmental regeneration. (Source: Kim Stanley Robinson)

It’s been a few years since I imagined India as a world leader. The question follows, darkly, Leading towards what? But reading The Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson, the question was answered – and my memory refreshed about this country’s promise, and its relevance in the year 2021.

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Namita Gokhale’s The Blind Matriarch mimics the uncertainties of our chaotic lives

Namita Gokhale’s The Blind Matriarch, The Blind Matriarch book, Namita Gokhale, pandemic novel, books, eye 2021, sunday eye, indian express news The Blind Matriarch by Namita Gokhale; India Viking; Rs 599; Pages: 208.

“Tell me a story, Matangi-Ma.”
She didn’t reply. She wanted to hear him say it again, and he did, in an insistent childish singsong voice, which evoked the telling of stories and the need for them to be told.
“Tell me a story, Matangi-Ma.”
She returned to the old story she had told and retold, for so many years, to so many generations of children and grandchildren.

In Namita Gokhale’s masterly new work The Blind Matriarch, the first pandemic novel from India I have read thus far, most of the action is confined to a house in South Delhi.

This trope is apposite three times over.

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Nirupama Rao’s latest book, The Fractured Himalaya, is a lucid account of Sino-Indian relations

The Dalai Lama, Jawaharlal Nehru and Zhou Enlai in 1956 in India (Source: Homai Vyarawalla; Wikimedia Commons)

That the Indian diplomatic corps is full of writing talent is well known. Over the decades, we have seen some fine writing, in both fiction and non-fiction, ranging from poetry to the reinterpretation of the epics, and contemporary foreign policy to diplomatic memoirs.

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‘The quality of light is the strongest in Kamala House’: Dayanita Singh

Dayanita Singh (Photo: Alison Morley)

On assignment in 2018, photographer Dayanita Singh met architect BV Doshi for the first time. An architect and a photographer have common ground — both shape light and space — and meeting as they were at Doshi’s personal residence in Ahmedabad, their conversations turned to thoughts on home and family. The assignment was soon complete, but the conversations between Singh, 60, and Doshi, 94, continued.

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