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Author Aditi Kumar Mathur's book Soldier & Spice launched in Mumbai

Gul Panag launches ‘Soldier & Spice’
Author Aditi Kumar Mathur's debut novel "Soldier & Spice", published by Westland Ltd, was launched at the Olive Bar & Kitchen in Bandra here yesterday.
 
The launch featured a conversation between the author and actor and activist Gul Panag, who also interaced with other attendees and media.
 
Mathur regaled the audience with hilarious anecdotes of real life situations that she encountered as a newly-wed army wife.
 
The book is the story of Pia who becomes an Army wife and, at 26, finds herself having to suddenly be more ‘lady-like’; focus on themed ladies’ meets, high teas and welfare functions; and deal with long (unexpected) separations from her husband, extraordinary challenges, a little heartache, and growing up.
 
In the mysterious and grand world of Army wives, Pia learns that walking in high heels is okay as long as you don’t trip on combat boots. She learns that ‘civil’ is also a noun, that JCO and GOC are (very!) different, that snacks are ‘shown’ and WTF is better explained as Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. 
 
Mathur, an ex-advertising professional, a bloggr and an Army wife, said she plans to write more books.
 
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Concerts in Delhi, Kolkata to mark Verdi's 200th birth anniversary

Marco Balderi
Marco Balderi
The Italian Embassy Cultural Centre and the Indian Council of Cultural Relatons (ICCR) will present Giuseppe Verdi's most famous arias and choruses, to mark his 200th birth anniversary, at concerts to conducted by Marco Balderi here on November 15and in Kolkata on November 16.
 
Verdi (1813-1901) was one of the greatest Italian composers and his operas are still performed all over the world. The Arena di Verona, an amphitheatre in Italy, is entirely devoted to his work.
 
The programme will include well-known choruses such as ‘Va pensiero’ (Nabucco), ‘Anvil chorus’ (Il Trovatore), ‘Triumphal March’ (Aida) and ‘Brindisi-Libiamo’ (La Traviata).
 
"Many of Verdi's arias count among the greatest songs ever written. He dominated the world of Italian opera from the first considerable success in 1842 with Nabucco, until his final opera Falstaff staged at La Scala, Milan, in 1893,” said Angela Trezza,Director of the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre.  
 
“Verdi’s career coincided with the rise of Italian nationalism and the unification of Italy, causes with which he was openly associated. He is considered the musical father of the Risorgimento.The Verdi celebrations, now in India too, see the participation of the whole world, from Europe to America, from Japan to South Africa to Australia – no one knew how to unite cultures better than he did and with his music touch the human soul with emotion and exaltation. No one better than he expressed the elementary constant and profound dynamics of passion, all types of passion. For most of Verdi’s life, his career was a constant triumph, from Nabucco of the young composer to Falstaff of an almost 80 year old Verdi," Trezza said.
 
The concert is being coordinated by The Neemrana Music Foundation. The show in Delhi will be at the Kamani Auditorium and in Kolkta will be at St Paul's Cathedral.
 
Born in Seravezza, Balderi completed his studies in piano at the L. Boccherini Musical Institute of Lucca, before entering the L. Cherubini Conservatory of Florence, where he obtained the diplomas of choir conductor, harpsichord and organ. He assisted many conductors, such as C. Abbado, R. Chailly, C. M. Giulini, J. Levine, Z. Mehta, R. Muti, G. Patanè and W. Sawallisch.
 
David Sotgiu
David Sotgiu
Balderi won the International Competitions of Salzburg and Alessandria. He has conducted 200 orchestras and studied a wide repertoire of 300 operas.
 
From 2009 to 2011, he conducted the Korea National Opera's ‘Norma’, ‘Macbeth’, and ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’. In 2012 at the Opera Festival of Korea he conducted ‘Tosca’ and ‘Rigoletto’. Recently he gained acclaim by conducting Madama Butterfly at the Deutsche Opera in Berlin, and at the Opera Bastille in Paris, with the direction of Bob Wilson (January 2006).
 
Among the singers will be tenor David Sotgiu who, after obtaining a diploma in oboe at the Conservatory of Perugia, David Sotgiu turned to singing under the guidance of Carlo Bergonzi, and then with Carmen Gonzalez and Sesto Bruscantini. 
 
He continued his training with Giuseppe Morino and Paride Venturi, and now studies with Stefano Rinaldi Miliani.
 
Sotgiu has sung in several choruses, often as a soloist, including the Santa Cecilia Academy. He is a permanent member of the Coro Lirico dell’Umbria.
 
Others who will be performing include singers Situ Singh Buehler, Nadya Balan, Ashwati Parameshwar, Prabhat  Chandola, Ramya Roy, Avi, Tara Kumaravelu, Toshan Nongbet, Payal John and Bhanu Sharma, and pianist Irina Biryukova.
 
They will be accompanied by the Neemrana Music Foundation Choir and the Indo-Italian Chamber Orchestra, with musicians from Delhi, Darjeeling, Bangalore, Kolkata and Italy.
 
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International children's film festival in Hyderabad from Nov 14

The pearl city of Hyderabad is readying to host the International Children's Film Festival  India (ICFFI) 2013, a biennial event, which will open on November 14.
 
The sprawling Lalitha Kala Thoranam open air auditorium ,the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, is being repaired and decked up at a cost of Rs.50 lakhs.
 
The other facilities like the auditoria, where workshops and seminars will be held as part of the film fete, are also being given final touches.
 
The 18th edition of the festival, being organised by the Children's Film Society of India (CFSI), an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, will showcase the 200 films from more than 45 countries out of 900 entries received from 70 countries.
 
The festival will also screen specially curated non-competition sections, including children's works that will showcase the most acclaimed films from the last 10 years.
 
The biennial festival, popularly known as the Golden Elephant, aims to bring the most delightful and imaginative national and international children's cinema  to young Indian audiences.
 
About a lakh children from all over India and hundreds of film professionals from across the world are expected to attend the screenings.
 
The country focus at this year's festival is on Czech Republic, which will present the best of Czech children's films.
 
Some of the old treasured films from CFSI and National Film Archives of India, commerating 100 years of cinema in India, have been included in the festival.
 
The prestigious Golden Elephant trophy plus Rs 2 lakh cash prize will be given away to the best film, director, screen play, animation feature and other categories in the competition section.
 
Similarly, the silver elephant trophy plus cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh would be given away to runners-up in the above categories.
 
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About seven cinema halls in the city have been chosen to screen the films during the festival. The other attractions include cultural programmes, besides seminars and workshops.
 
Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor is expected to attend the opening ceremony, while another Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has extended support to the fete.
 
The Union Government had declared Hyderabad as the permanent venue for holding the international children's film festival. The city had hosted the festival for the first time in 1995.
 
A film -Temple Run- made by children of the Oakridge School in Hyderabad is also all set for a screening at the film festival. The young makers and cast of the film, which tells the tale of a "treasure hunt", have had no prior experience in film making.
 
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Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon to be chief guest at opening of 44th IFFI

Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari addressing a press conference on 44th International Film Festival of India and 18th International Children’s Film Festival of India, in New Delhi on November 7, 2013.
Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari addressing a press conference on 44th International Film Festival of India and 18th International Children’s Film Festival of India, in New Delhi on November 7, 2013.
Well-known Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon will be the chief guest at the 44th edition of the International Film Festival of India to be held in Goa from November 20-30.
 
Another acclaimed Hollywood actress, Michelle Yeoh, will be the chief guest for the closing ceremony.
 
Briefing newspersons here about the festival here today, Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari announced that the Government had decided to institute a special award as part of the initiatives taken by it to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema.
 
The Centenary Award would be given every year to an outstanding Indian film personality, "a film icon", for his or her ocntribution to Indian cinema at IFFI.
 
Mr Tewari said that the award reiterated the rich legacy of Indian cinema where eminent personalities had contributed to its growth through different stages of its evolution. The award is the second in the series instituted by the Government to commemorate the centenary celebrations. 
 
He said that, apart from Ms Sarandon, acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi would also be present at the opening ceremony of the festival.
 
He said the festival screen, for the first time, films on Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela (A Long Walk to Freedom) and Lech Walesa .
 
The Lifetime Achievement Award will be conferred on legendary Czech film director Jiri Menzel.
 
For the first time, a film on India’s freedom struggle leader Basha Khan would be screened at the Festival. For the first time, a film produced and directed by an Afghan director will also be screened at the festival.
 
Mr Tewari said the festival would highlight for the first time cinema from the North-eastern states of India. 
 
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There will also be a retrospective of the Best Children's Films in commemoration of 100 years of Indian cinema.
 
Mr Tewari said the package would showcase 15 National Award winning and classic Indian children’s films. 
 
Special attention had been given to the animation section where 285 films had been received. For the first time, a separate category of Competitive Section for animation films had been introduced. 
 
For the festival, a record number of entries, 123 in all, had been received for the “Little Director” section, films made by children from India and around the world.
 
For the first time, films had been sourced from prestigious International Children’s Film Festivals. The children’s film festival would have a country focus retrospective of Czech films, he added.
 
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Exhibition on Czech Castles begins at Red Fort in Delhi

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An exhibition on Czech Castles, organized for the first time in India, was opened here today by Union Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch.
 
Czech Foreig Minister Jan Kohout and Culture Minister Jiri Balvin were present on the occasion.
 
The exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India and the Ministry of Culture by the National Museum of the Czech Republic and the Embassy of the Czech Republic.
 
Ms Katoch said that, like the Czech Republic, India has a culture of forts and castles and, in June this year, six hill forts in Rajasthan had received UNESCO's approval as World Heritage Sites.
 
"It is therefore extremely delightful that the Czech Republic has presented an important and attractive part of its national cultural heritage through large images, photographs of castles and stately homes via this exhibition," she said.
 
At the inauguration ceremony at the Red Fort, a memorandum of understanding between the National Museum of the Czech Republic and the Archaeological Survey of India was signed. The MoU will form the basis for more active cooperation between the two institutes. 
 
Czech Castle architecture is an important part of the cultural heritage of the Czech Republic. The exhibition presents a selection of 37 castles and chateaux of Bohemia and Moravia, two of the historic areas that make up the Czech state. The criterion for the selection of the localities has been their historical significance as well as their architectural, artistic, and historical value. 
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The inauguration ceremony was accompanied by live performance of the Czech classical music group “Spork Quartet”. The exhibition is accompanied by a cultural programme consisting of film shows, art exhibitions, music presentations and other events that will together celebrate the Czech-India Cultural Year 2014. 
 
The exhibition will stay at the Red Fort here till January 2014 and then tour various other cities of India. After Delhi, the exhibition will be presented in Leh (Leh Palace, June-July 2014), Kolkata (Currency Building September – October 2014), Mumbai (Nehru Science Centre, November 2014) and Goa – Panaji (Kala Academy, December 2014 – January 2015). 
 
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Renowned Pakistani folk singer Reshma passes away in Lahore

File photo of Pakistani folk singer Reshma
File photo of Pakistani folk singer Reshma
Well-known Pakistani folk singer Reshma, who had a huge fan following on both sides of the border, passed away in Lahore this morning, Pakistani media reports said.
 
Reshma, who had been diagnosed with throat cancer in the 1980s, had been in coma for a month in a hospital there, the reports said.
 
Reshma was born in a Banjara family in Bikaner, Rajasthan around 1947. Her family migrated to Pakistan after partition.
 
She had in formal training in music, but her natural talent was spotted by a radio producer while she was singing at a shrine, and he arranged for her to record, "Laal Meri" on Pakistani radio when she was around 12.
 
There was no looking back for her after that, as the song went on to become a big hit and she became on of the most popular singers in Pakistan.
 
Apart from television appearances, she recorded songs for Pakistani and Indian films and performed at concerts in her country and abroad.
 
Some of her most popular songs include "Lambi Judai", "Dama Dam Mast Kalandar", "Hai O Rabba nahion lagda dil mera"and  "Ankhiyan no rehen de ankhyan de kol kol".
 
Along the way, she was honoured with several awards in Pakistan, including the "Sitara-i-Imtiaz" and "Legends Of Pakistan".
 
Reshma is survived by a son Umair and a daughter Khadija.
 
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"Aadishilp”, the National Tribal Crafts Mela takes off at Delhi's Dilli Haat

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Union Minister for Tribal Affairs V. Kishore Chandra Deo inaugurated the “Adishilp", the National Tribal Crafts Mela, which showcases the uniique an exquisite tribal arts and crafts of the country, at the Dilli Haat here today.
 
The 11-day fair has been organized by the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED).
 
An official press release said the main objective of organizing Aadishilp is to give tribal artisans an opportunity to showcase and sell their traditional art and craft works directly to customers and get their feedback which would provide  valuable design related and other inputs. 
 
It provides them a platform for direct interface with art and craft lovers, share their talent with the urban elite and know the customers' tastes and preferences for adapting their product designs and creations accordingly.
 
About 150 tribal artisans from all over the country are participating in the exhibition. Handicraft items, handloom products, dry flowers, cane & bamboo products, tribal jewellery, dhokra craft, tribal weaves & embroidery, tribal paintings and many more such products will be presented by these artisans. 
 
TRIFED has also initiated a new concept of sourcing tribal products, by way of organizing Tribal Artisan Melas (TAMs) to identify new artisans and products from different regions and it is hosting a string of tribal art shows called ‘Aadi Chitra’- exclusive exhibitions of tribal paintings, in the major cities of the country . 
 
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Amitabh Bachchan turns 71, Aaradhya sings "Happy Birthday" for him

Big B turns 71, launches scheme to light up homes
 
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who turned 71 today, said the years seemed to pass by faster now than they did before.
 
"Just last year or just the other day it was 70!" he wrote on his blog on his birthday.
 
"There was a desire to push the pedal all along those early years , to mature, to become adult, to bring on greater age … now you depress the brakes pedal with equal effort, and hope to stem the slide as it were .. no not I, I accept the years the giving up on time, on age … it shall happen to us all .. that is the commonality of the process of life .. we are blessed, all of us … !!" he wrote.
 
Mr Bachchan said his family greeted him at the stroke of midnight and then his grand-daughter, Aaradhya, the daughter of his son and actor Abhishek Bachchan and actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan sang "Happy Birthday" for him.
 
"The ‘little one’ ably tutored sings a ‘happy birthday’ to herself first and then after suitable prompting, to me … its these little moments that make up a birthday .. the bigger moments follow .. the gifts of love and affection from the Ef (extended family) from those that we know and cannot see or meet, from people on the streets as you pass by, from the crew on the set, from those that have lived and worked with me through the ages.." he wrote. 
 
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Empowered Committee on film certification issues submits report to Tewari

Justice Mukul Mudgal presenting the report on issues related to certification under Cinematograph Act to Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari, in New Delhi on October 9, 2013
Justice Mukul Mudgal presenting the report on issues related to certification under Cinematograph Act to Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari, in New Delhi on October 9, 2013
 
The Empowered Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr Justice Mukul Mudgal, retired Chief Justice, High Court of Punjab and Haryana constituted to examine issues of certification under the Cinematograph Act 1952, presented its report,  along with its findings and recommendations, to Minister of Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari here today.
 
The committee was constituted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on February 4 this year.
 
The committee revisited major areas of concern and has made key recommendations on issues such as: Advisory Panels; Guidelines for certification and issues such as portrayal of women, obscenity and communal disharmony; Classification of Films; Treatment of Piracy; Jurisdiction of the Appellate Tribunal; and Review of the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
 
An official press release said that, apart from giving its recommendations, the committee has also proposed a draft Cinematograph Bill.
 
The committee held several meetings during its 8-month tenure with various stake holders in Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Eminent persons connected with the film sector were invited by the committee to present their views. The committee also held discussions with members and officials of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), officials of the Animal Welfare Board of India, Chairperson of BCCCI, representatives of the Film Federation of India, the Films and Television Producers Guild of India and the Multiplex Association of India.
 
The other members of the committee were: Mr Uday Kumar Varma, former Secretary, Information and Broadcasting; Mr Lalit Bhasin, Chairperson, Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT); Ms. Sharmila Tagore, former Chairperson, CBFC; Mr Javed Akhtar, writer and lyricist; Ms Leela Samson, Chairperson, CBFC; Mr L. Suresh, Secretary, South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce and former President, Film Federation of India; Ms. Rameeza Hakim, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and, Mr Raghvendra Singh, Joint Secretary (Films), Information and Broadcasting, who was Member-Convener.
 
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Standard Chartered Private Bank launches "Art for Sight"

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Standard Chartered Private Bank has launched "Art for Sight", an online art auction to raise funds for "Seeing is Believing", its global programme to help tackle preventable and curable blindness.
 
The programme was launched in 2003 to celebrate the bank’s 150th anniversary and celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2013.
 
A press release from the bank said it has partnered with AstaGuru.com, an online auction house to host the art auction on October 10 and 11.
 
More than 150 works by renowned artists such as M. F. Hussain, S. H. Raza, F. N. Souza, Akbar Padamsee, Ram Kumar, Krishen Khanna, Anjolie Ela Menon, and Paresh Maity will be up for auction. Art from newer, modern and contemporary artists will also be available. 
 
All proceeds over and above the list price will go towards Seeing is Believing, with the bank matching dollar for dollar, the release said.
 
The base price of the works is approximately a million dollars and the auction is open to clients and prospects of the bank, it said.
 
Mr Sanjeeb Chaudhuri, Regional Head South Asia and Chief Marketing Officer, Consumer Banking, Standard Chartered Bank said: “We believe that with wealth comes responsibility. There are 45 million blind people in the world; 80% of blindness is avoidable (preventable or treatable). In India alone, ‘Seeing is Believing has benefitted close to 5.5 million people. Through this initiative with our clients, we hope to continue to make a positive difference in the communities in which we live and work.”
 
Seeing is Believing is a collaboration between the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness and Standard Chartered, to fund sustainable eye-care services in areas of poverty and high need across the world. 
 
In India, in partnership with non-government organisation partners, the bank provides poor communities access to eye care services through 74 vision centres across 10 states, through an investment of $ 4.9 million. The bank has committed additional spends of $ 6 million until 2020.
 
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Mukherjee: Cinema must strike balance between entertainment, social responsibility

President Pranab Mukherjee speaking at the Centenary Celebrations of Indian Cinema organized by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, in Chennai on September 24, 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee speaking at the Centenary Celebrations of Indian Cinema organized by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, in Chennai on September 24, 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee has said that it is essential for cinema, which is a popular and powerful medium of communication, to strike a balance between entertainment and social responsibility and help reverse the erosion of values in society.
 
"The recent incidents of crime against women and children have shaken the conscience of the nation. We have also been witness to tragic communal riots in some parts of our country recently. We must find ways to reverse the erosion of our values," he said in his address at a function to celebrate the centenary of Indian cinema here yesterday.
 
The event was jointly organized by the Government of Tamil Nadu and the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce (SIFC). 
 
"In this context, I would like to stress upon the crucial role that cinema can and must play in resetting the moral compass of the nation," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said it was the responsibility of everyone associated with the film industry to use the powerful medium of cinema to portray positive societal values for building a tolerant and harmonious India. 
 
"I call upon the entertainment industry to be mindful and sensitive to this responsibility and take all steps to create cinema that contributes to social transformation and moral upliftment," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee recalled how the long journey of Indian cinema began in 1913 when Dada Sahed Phalke, a devout man from a small town, brought up in a traditional Hindu family, sold his wife’s ornaments and made the first full-length feature film -- Raja Harishchandra. 
 
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"Since then, the march of Indian cinema has been so impressive that today our film industry is vibrant and flourishing in different regions and languages," he said.
 
He said Indian cinema had now become a global enterprise. Rapidly improving technology has helped the industry upgrade itself as also to radically alter the manner in which it reaches the audience, he said.
 
"Indian film making industry is one of the largest in the world and Indian cinema has found market in a large number of countries. Increasingly our filmmakers are also being recognized in many international film festivals," he said.
 
He also took note of adoption of latest technologies by the industry, which has also taken to the medium of digital cinema. He said facilities for film production and post-production activities had vastly improved in the country and some were truly of world standard.
 
He said several famous international production houses had evinced keen interest in the Indian film industry and many Indian film enterprises are now participating in production and distribution of films around the world.
 
"Needless to say, music of Indian cinema has also been enthralling millions within India and overseas," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said the southern film industry had played a major role in the development of Indian film industry. 
 
"On this day, we would be failing in our duty if we do not remember the outstanding contribution made by great luminaries of South Indian cinema like M.G.Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, N.T.Rama Rao, Prem Nazir, Dr.Raj Kumar, S.S.Vasan, Nagi Reddy, L.V.Prasad and many others," he said.
 
He said that it was heartening to note that a majority of the National Film Awards, conferred every year in different categories, were bagged by films made in South Indian languages.
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He also pointed out that the Government had taken a number of steps to support the industry, not only through awards but also by showcasing good films in India and abroad and contributing to the nurturing of skilled human resources.
 
"In the hundred years of India’s cinematic journey, the method of story telling and distribution technology has undergone changes. With new methods of story telling and different formats of reaching cinema to all corners of India, there is also increasing realization on the need to preserve our cinematic heritage for the benefit of future generations. The Government of India, with active support of the film industry, is engaged in efforts to restore, preserve and digitize our film legacy," he said.
 
He said the time had come to strengthen institutions such as the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune and Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata and make them institutions of "national importance".
 
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Gujarati fim "The Good Road" is India's entry for Oscar in foreign film category

A still from The Good Road
A still from The Good Road
 
Debutant Gyan Correa's National Award-winning Gujarati film, The Good Road, which tells the story of a young boy who is lost and then found while his family is on a holiday in the Kutch region of Gujarat, was today nominated as India's entry in the Best Foreign Film category for next year's Oscars.
 
Other films in the fray included Hindi movies The Lunchbox, Bhaag Milka Bhaag, English Vinglish, Malayalam film Celluloid and Kamal Hasan's Vishwaroopam.
 
The Good Road was unanimously chosen from amongst 22 entries by a 19-member jury headed by well-known filmmaker Gautam Ghose on behalf of the Film Federation of India, the apex body of the Indian film industry.
 
The Good Road had won the National Award for the Best Gujarati Film at this year's National Awards. It has been produced by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
 
The film, which marks the debut by Correa, 42, stars Keval Katrodia, Sonali Kukarni, Ajay Gehi, Shamji Dhana Kerasia, Priyank Upadhyay and Poonam Kesar Singh.
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the cast and crew of the film on the selection.
 
“Delighted to know that Gujarati film ‘The Good Road’ has been chosen to represent India at Oscars. Congrats to cast & crew. My best wishes," Mr Modi said in a post on micro-bloggig site Twitter.
 
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Solo Theatre Festival in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai from Oct 11-21

Pip Utton in Adolf
Pip Utton in Adolf
An International Solo Theatre Festival, the first of its kind in India and inspired by the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, will be held from October 11-21.
 
The festival, "Going Solo", will bring to the stages of Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai award-wining and riveting one-person acts.
 
The productions which will be performed in the three cities are Churchill by Pip Utton (UK), At the Edge by Jailoshini Naidoo (South Africa) and Adolf by Pip Utton (UK).
 
"'Going Solo' will capture the essence of the Edinburgh fringe in India. You will see some of the most brilliant performers gather here from across the world," Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts, organisers of the festival, said.
 
"As an open access arts festival, part of the great appeal to companies of bringing a show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is the possibility of that work finding a life outwith the festival and outside the UK.  It’s great that Going Solo is providing that life for these companies," Kath M Mainland, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, added.
 
The performances will be held from October 11-13 at the MLR Auditorium in Bangalore, from October 16-18 at the FICCI Auditorium in Delhi and from  October 19-21 at the Sophia Bhabha Hall in Mumbai.
 
In Churchill, Winston Churchill descends from his plinth to indulge himself in three of his greatest pleasures: a glass of scotch, a cigar and listening to himself talk. He talks of his childhood, his parents, his education, his army life, his marriage, his painting, writing and bricklaying, his appetites and of course he talks of his many yeas at the center of the world political stage especially during two world wars. 
Pip Utton in Churchill
Pip Utton in Churchill
 
Utton's new play is not an attempt to decide on Churchill’s greatness or to judge. It is just 70 minutes spent in the entertaining company of the man whose life spanned two centuries and saw the decline of the British Empire. The man who spent fifty years at the heart of political life in Westminster. 
 
The man who held most of the high offices of State, whose paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy, who won the Nobel Orize for literature in 1953, who in 1963 was made the first honorary citizen of the United States and who in 2002, in a BBC poll, was voted the Greatest Briton in history.
 
'Adolf' is one of the most successful solo shows of the past 15  years. It has been performed in over twenty countries and continues to tour widely. 
 
Written and performed by Pip Utton with direction by Guy Masterson, ‘Adolf’ furnishes an acute anatomy of fascism; its ideological justifications, its poisoned utopias.
 
Looking uncomfortably like the Fuhrer, Utton takes his audience on a journey into themselves, gently coaxing an understanding of the mindset of a nation that could allow a man such as Hitler to take control. 
 
A new Hitler emerges, without the wig, without moustache. It seems at first that it might be the actor himself chatting amiably; the sort of jolly chappie you might meet in a bar, but it isn’t. This new ‘Hitler’ manipulates the audiences, getting laughter and even nods of approval for his increasing intolerant attitudes. It plumbs the very source of racism and exposes just how near the surface of our own lives lurks its insidious influence. It challenges the audience to react and pushes them into looking within themselves to question their own prejudicies and intolerance.
Jailoshini Naidoo in At the Edge
Jailoshini Naidoo in At the Edge
 
Utton began writing and performing one man shows sixteen years ago. Since then he has won acclaim and awards throughout the world and has established a reputation as one of the leading writers and performers of solo theatre. He writes, produces and tours easily staged, accessible text based drama that engages directly with the audience. He aims not only to entertain but also to stimulate the ‘grey cells’.
 
In 'At the Edge', short stories set in Cato Manor, Durban, before its destruction by the Group Areas Act, Naidoo, playing an academic pondering the past, morphs into around 20 characters (comic, poignant, angry, sycophantic, egotistical, devastated… so many different faces).
 
A popular television presenter in South Africa, she has appeared in numerous stage productions including Jungle Book, This Black Woman, The Coolie Odyssey, Jimbo, Queens of Comedy, Curry on Laughing and the critically acclaimed one-hander 1949 in which she played 38 characters.
 
The play has been written by Govender (born 1934) is a South African playwright of Tamil descent. His book, At the Edge and other Cato Manor Stories, won the 1997 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, best first book, Africa.
 
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National Museum to hold exhibition of a single art object from Sep 19-Oct 6

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The National Museum here will hold its first ever exhibition of a single art object -- an exquisite 10th-century stone sculpture of the Yogini, the female emblem of India's mystical cult -- from September 19 to October 6.
 
The sculpture had been stolen from a temple in a sleepy village of Uttar Pradesh and landed in the hands of an art collector in Paris.
 
The musuem is now celebrating the homecoming of the 4.5-foot Vrishanana Yogini -- the nearly 400-kg sculpture of a female deity with the buffalo-shaped head.
 
“In the past, National Museum has organised exhibitions focusing on specific themes, but it is for the first time that it is holding an exhibition on a single artefact,” said Dr Venu V, the museum Director General. “Although the exhibition focuses attention on an object, there are multiple themes that underpin it.”
 
The exhibition will be jointly inaugurated by Culture Minister Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid tomorrow.
 
Dr Venu said a major objective of the exhibition is to increase awareness of the fascinating history of Yoginis and the elaborate rituals of their worship. 
 
“More importantly, it aims to bring into spotlight the disturbing reality of the continued illicit trafficking of India’s priceless cultural artefacts into international markets,” he pointed out.
 
The majestic sculpture was pilfered from the temple at Lokhari village (Banda district) in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh. It was then illicitly trafficked to France and acquired by a private art collector, Robert Schrimpf.  His widow, Ms. Martine Schrimpf, donated it to the Indian embassy in Paris in 2008.
 
During the visit of the Culture Minister to Paris early this year, the Indian embassy brought the matter to her notice, and she directed the National Museum to bring back the sculpture to India.
 
“The untiring efforts of the Indian embassy in Paris and of National Museum in Delhi resulted in the safe return of the Yogini sculpture to India in August this year,” Dr. Venu said.
 
The exhibition has been jointly curated by J E Dawson, Curator (archaeology), National Museum, and Anupa Pande, Dean, National Museum Institute. Numerous panels of texts, illustrations and photographs will provide  details about the history of Yoginis to   visitors.
 
“The return of Vrishanana Yogini marks a triumph of the country’s sustained efforts to get back its stolen antiquities. By holding the exhibition, we want to send an ethical message to the international community that would prompt a return of Indian antiquities,” said Ms Pande.
 
Echoing similar sentiments, Mr. Dawson said the exhibition is intended to create awareness among the people of the country so that they become vigilant about their surroundings and prevent cultural artefacts from being smuggled into international markets.
 
“We want to send a clear message to the people of our country that they should act as custodians of cultural heritage and should be vigilant of the illicit trafficking that may be taking place in their surroundings,” he added.
 
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About the stolen Yogini sculpture, he said the real problem was how to convince the French authorities about its Indian origin and establish the authenticity of the artefact. 
 
“Three things went in our favour: we established its authenticity on the basis of a book, Yogini: Cult and Temples — A Tantric Tradition, brought out by the museum in 1986, which carried its picture; the widow of the French art collector couldn’t tell the source of its acquisition; and the art collector’s donation letter executed through an attorney,” explained Mr. Dawson, who had to go to Paris to make a foolproof case for the return of the stolen sculpture.
 
Vrishanana Yogini, with a buffalo head and a female, sits against an unornamented stone slab in lalitasana. She holds a club in her left hand and a bilva fruit in her right hand. Her vahana or vehicle is a swan that pecks on the fruit. She has a chiselled body with full breasts, slim waist and rounded abdomen. Her eyes are half-closed in contemplation. The animal face has a serene and meditative expression. She is adorned with a necklace, heavy anklets, bangles and a girdle on her waist, which suggest tribal affiliations.
 
The yogini cult developed between 6th and 10th centuries, rooted in sacred texts like Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Kaulajnananirnaya and in lists called yogininamavalis, a press release from the museum said.
 
Yoginis are a group of powerful female divinities, a blend of the divine and the demonic. They are worshipped in the totality of 64 or 81, seldom individually. They acquire formidable dynamism as goddesses who could impart magical powers to their worshippers, it said.
 
“The yoginis could be human, half-human or half-bestial in their forms. However, the bodies of the yoginis are always human. They have voluptuous bodies, full breasts, fold in their bellies, curvaceous hips and fleshy thighs. They are bejewelled and have elaborate coiffures. Their bodies exude sexuality. Yoginis may at once be alluring and repellent, formidable and salvation-giving goddesses,” explained Mrs Pande.
 
The Skanda Purana gives a list of sixty-four yoginis of which many have animal heads but always with female bodies.  Their divinity is expressed through weapons, haloes and multiple arms. They carry skull-cups, maces, clubs, tridents, books, flowers, spears, skull-garlands and curved knives.
 
India has been losing a large number of antiquities through illicit trafficking in cultural properties. The yogini temples, situated in isolated locations, have become easy target for local theft, which ensures their clandestine passage in the international market. For example, the yogini sculptures from Kanchipuram are now in leading museums across the world.
 
“The return of the Vrishanana yogini, in this context, is significant,” said Dr. Venu.
 
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Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland among six books in Man Booker Prize 2013 shortlist


 
2013 Man Booker Prize for Fiction shortlist announced
Indian American writer Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland is among the six books in the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize 2013 announced here on Tuesday by Robert Macfarlane, the chair of judges.
 
The other five books in the shortlist are NoViolet Bulawayo's We Need New Names; 
Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries; Jim Crace's Harvest; Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being and Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary.
 
"Global in its reach, this exceptional shortlist demonstrates the vitality and range of the contemporary novel at its finest. These six superb works of fiction take us from gold-rush New Zealand to revolutionary Calcutta, from modern-day Japan to the Holy Land of the Gospels, and from Zimbabwe to the deep English countryside. World-spanning in their concerns, and ambitious in their techniques, they remind us of the possibilities and power of the novel as a form," Macfarlane said.
 
Two of the writers have appeared on the shortlist before: Crace was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997 for Quarantine, while Tóibín has been shortlisted twice: for The Blackwater Lightship in 1999 and in 2004 with The Master.
 
The four female writers on the list are being nominated for the first time for the prize. Ozeki is a Buddhist priest, Lahiri is a member of United States President Barack Obama's Committee on the Arts and Humanities and Bulawayo is the first Zimbabwean writer to make the short list. Catton, who will be 28 at the time of the winner announcement, is the youngest on the shortlist.
 
Macfarlane was joined at the press conference by the four other members of the 2013 Man Booker Prize judging panel: broadcaster Martha Kearney; critic, academic and prize-winning biographer, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst; broadcaster, classicist and critic, Natalie Haynes and Stuart Kelly, essayist and former literary editor of Scotland on Sunday. 
 
The judges now have just over a month to re-read the shortlisted titles and select one winner, who will be announced on October 15 at the winner’s ceremony at London’s Guildhall.
 
2013 marks the 45th year of the Man Booker Prize. It was first awarded to P.H. Newby for Something to Answer For in 1969. Last year’s winner, Hilary Mantel, has made history as the first woman and the first British author to win the prize twice. 
 
The following is the shortlist:
 
We Need New Names 
By NoViolet Bulawayo         
Published by Chatto & Windus (£14.99)
 
We Need New Names tells the story of Darling and her friends Stina, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Bastard. They all used to have proper houses, with real rooms and furniture, but now they all live in a shanty called Paradise. They spend their days stealing guavas, playing games and wondering how to get the baby out of young Chipo’s stomach. They dream of escaping to other paradises – America, Dubai, Europe. But if they do escape, will these new lands bring everything they wish for?
 
NoViolet Bulawayo was born in Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe, on 12 October 1981. She earned her MFA at Cornell University, where she was also awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship, and she is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University in California. She is the author of the short story Hitting Budapest (2010), which won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing, and Snapshots (2009), shortlisted for the South Africa PEN Studzinsi Award. Her latest novel, We Need New Names, was published on 6 June 2013.
 
The Luminaries
By Eleanor Catton
Published by Granta (£18.99)
 
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields.  On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes.  A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk.  Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
 
Eleanor Catton was born on 24 September 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she also held an adjunct professorship, and an MA in fiction writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Her debut novel The Rehearsal (2008) was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. It has since been published in 17 territories and 12 languages. Her latest novel The Luminaries was published on 5 September 2013.
 
Harvest
By Jim Crace
Published by Picador (£16.99)
 
As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders – two men and a dangerously magnetic woman – arrives on the woodland borders and puts up a make-shift camp. That same night, the local manor house is set on fire. Over the course of seven days, Walter Thirsk sees his hamlet unmade: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, the new arrivals cruelly punished, and his neighbours held captive on suspicion of witchcraft. But something even darker is at the heart of his story, and he will be the only man left to tell it . . .
 
Jim Crace was born in Hertfordshire on 1 March 1946. He read English Literature at London University and worked for VSO in Sudan as an assistant in Sudanese educational television. He began writing fiction in 1974 and his first story, Annie, California Plates, was published by the New Review. He became Writer in Residence at the Midlands Arts Centre and in 1983 he directed the first Birmingham Festival of Readers and Writers.  His first book, Continent (1986), won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian Fiction Prize and the David Higham Prize for Fiction.  His fourth novel, Signals of Distress (1994) won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Quarantine (1997) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. Being Dead (1999) won the Whitbread Novel Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Fiction Award (USA) and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.  He was awarded the E. M. Forster Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1992 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. His latest book, Harvest, was published on 14 February 2013.
 
The Lowland
By Jhumpa Lahiri 
Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri
Published by Bloomsbury (£16.99)
 
Brothers Subhash and Udayan are close in age and utterly inseparable as children in Calcutta. Yet, as the years pass – as U.S tanks roll into Vietnam, as riots sweep across India and the Communist movement begins to take root – Udayan’s increasingly radical beliefs will transform the futures of those dearest to him: his newly married, pregnant wife, his brother and their parents. For all of them, the repercussions of his actions will reverberate across continents and seep through the generations that follow. Epic in scope and intimate in its portrayal of lives undone and forged anew, The Lowland is a deeply felt novel of family ties that entangle and fray in ways unforeseen.
 
Jhumpa Lahiri was born on 11 July 1967 in London. She is a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama. She is the author of four works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies (1999), which won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; The Namesake (2003), adapted into the popular film of the same name; Unaccustomed Earth (2008); and The Lowland, which was published on 8 September 2013.
 
A Tale for the Time Being
By Ruth Ozeki 
Published by Canongate (£20)
 
Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery. In a small cafe in Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao Yasutani is navigating the challenges thrown up by modern life. In the face of cyberbullying, the mysteries of a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and great-grandmother, and the joy and heartbreak of family, Nao is trying to find her own place - and voice - through a diary she hopes will find a reader and friend who finally understands her.
 
Ruth Ozeki was born on 12 March 1956 in New Haven, Connecticut, and raised by an American father and a Japanese mother. She studied English and Asian Studies at Smith College. In June 2010 she was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest. With a Canadian passport, she divides her time between British Columbia and New York. She is the author of three novels: My Year of Meats (1998), which won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Award, the Imus/Barnes and Noble American Book Award, and a Special Jury Prize of the World Cookbook Awards in Versailles; All Over Creation (2002), the recipient of a 2004 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, as well as the Willa Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction; and A Tale for the Time Being, which was published on 11 March 2013.
 
The Testament of Mary
By Colm Tóibín 
Published by Viking (£7.99)
 
In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change. As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.
 
Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, on 30 May 1955 and educated at University College Dublin. He is the author of five novels: The South, (1990) winner of The Irish Times Literature Prize in 1991; The Heather Blazing, winner of the Encore Award for the best second novel in 1992; The Story of the Night (1997); The Blackwater Lightship (1999), shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize; and The Master (2004), shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and winner of the Los Angeles Times Novel of the Year and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger in France; and The Testament of Mary, which was published on 4 July 2013. Tóibín’s books have been translated into 25 languages.
 
The six shortlisted books were chosen from a longlist of 13 books. They were:
 
Author Title (Publisher)
 
Tash Aw Five Star Billionaire (Fourth Estate)
NoViolet Bulawayo We Need New Names (Chatto & Windus)
Eleanor Catton The Luminaries (Granta)
Jim Crace Harvest (Picador)
Eve Harris The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Sandstone Press)
Richard House The Kills (Picador) 
Jhumpa Lahiri The Lowland (Bloomsbury)
Alison MacLeod Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton) 
Colum McCann TransAtlantic (Bloomsbury) 
Charlotte Mendelson Almost English (Mantle) 
Ruth Ozeki A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate)
Donal Ryan The Spinning Heart (Doubleday)
Colm Tóibín The Testament of Mary (Viking)
 
The longlisted books were selected from a total of 151 titles, 14 of which were called in by the judges
 
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Zubin Mehta conducts Bavarian State Orchestra in Srinagar in stirring concert

Conductor Zubin Mehta and musicians of the Bavarian State Orchestra rehearse with Kashmiri troupe led by Ajay Sopori in Srinagar on September 6, 2013, a day before the Kashmir Concert.
Conductor Zubin Mehta and musicians of the Bavarian State Orchestra rehearse with Kashmiri troupe led by Ajay Sopori in Srinagar on September 6, 2013, a day before the Kashmir Concert.
 
Renowned India-born music conductor Zubin Mehta conducted a stirring concert by the well-known Bavarian State Orchestra from Munich at the spectacular Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar this evening.
 
Amid protests by Kashmiri separatist groups and tight security, the concert, called "Ehsaas-e-Kashmir" (Feelings for Kashmir), was attended by more than 1500 invitees from Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and other parts of India.
 
The sun shone gently on the performers and the audience as the orchestra played in the 400-year-old Mughal Gardens on the banks of the famous Dal Lake and against the majestic Zabarwan Hills.
 
"I have waited for this moment for a long time. There are those we have hurt inadvertently. I promise next time we shall do this with everyone in a stadium where everyone can come, so it won't be a select few. When the music starts, a positive wave will go from this stage everywhere," Mr Mehta, 77, said before the show began.
 
The concert began and ended with Mehta conducting the orchestra along with Abhay Sopori's troupe  which played with traditional Kashmiri instruments.
 
The main programme of the Kashmir Concert, which was telecast live in India and more than 50 countries around the world, started with Ludwig von Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3 in C Major (Op. 72b), followed by Joseph Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major. The soloist was Andreas Ottl.
 
After that, the orchestra played Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Concerto for violin and orchestra in D-major, op. 35, with Julian Rachlin as the soloist.
 
Finally, the orchestra came up with a powerful performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, op. 67.
 
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For an encore, Mehta led the orchestra in playing Strauss's foot-tapping polka Thunder and Lightning.
 
The concert had become the subject of a major controversy with Kashmiri separatist groups terming it as an attempt to draw attention away from alleged human rights violations in the state. They had called for a general strike in Srinagar in protest against the show today.
 
A parallel concert, called Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir, with the aim of presenting the reality of Kashmir and the turmoil being experienced by the people of the state for more than two decades, was held 10 km away from the venue of Mehta's concert.
 
German Ambassador Michael Steiner, the brain behind the event, had said here earlier that the event was meant to be a cultural tribute to Kashmir and its warm-hearted people.
 
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Mukherjee confers Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony on Zubin Mehta

President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the annual Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for 2013 to well-known music conductor Zubin Mehta, at Rashtrapati Bhavan , in New Delhi on September 6, 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the annual Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for 2013 to well-known music conductor Zubin Mehta, at Rashtrapati Bhavan , in New Delhi on September 6, 2013.
 
President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony to well-known music conductor Zubin Mehta at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan here today.
 
Mehta is the second recipient of the award instituted by the Government of India during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of renowned poet, writer and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
 
The first Tagore Award was conferred on famed sitarist Ravi Shankar in 2012.
 
Union Minister for Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch, Union Home Minister  Sushilkumar Shinde, former Governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Secretary, Culture, Ravindra Singh and several dignitaries and prominent citizens were present at the ceremony.
 
The award carries an amount of Rs 1 crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item. 
 
A high-level jury under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and comprising the Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Mr Gandhi, after detailed discussions on July 4, had unanimously decided to select Mr Mehta to be the second recipient of the Tagore Award, 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mukherjee said that, in felicitating Mr Mehta with the Tagore Award, India was not only honouring a distinguished son but also recognizing his untiring efforts, over the decades, to convert music into an instrument of peace and harmony. 
 
"He has made it his mission to bring hope and reason wherever there is conflict and discord. To audiences across the world, Zubin Mehta has brought a message of optimism - and conviction about the shared destiny of humankind. His name is synonymous with amity and faith. He is a legend in the world of music and an emissary of goodwill between nations. It is only appropriate that this award, instituted to promote the values of universal brotherhood, should be conferred upon him," he said.
 
Zubin Mehta all set to perform in Srinagar
As the then Chairman of the National Implementation Committee for commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Tagore, he recalled that the award was instituted to celebrate the vision of Tagore for a more globalised and connected world. 
 
"Rabindranath Tagore was an internationalist far ahead of his times. A versatile genius, he was a beacon of the cultural renaissance of India in the 19th and early 20th century. His writings on state and society, science and civilization, his musings as a philosopher, his works as a composer and his creations as an artist reflected his abiding love for pluralism and his deep devotion to the cause of humanity," he said.
 
"Rabindranath Tagore also unequivocally endorsed art and music as harbinger of peace and harmony, which would create an environment for the harmonious coexistence of communities and nations," he said.
 
"Rabindranath Tagore’s deep spiritual insight into music seemed to effortlessly unite the strains of the western and Indian schools and weave their diverse threads together in his unique compositions. Rabindranath Tagore was moved by the Bhatayali songs, the songs of the boatmen, the Baul compositions, the kirtans and the folk tunes. His music perfectly merged the melodies with the poetry that he composed into his famous Rabindra Sangeet. It is due to his exceptional work that he is revered as the first and greatest composer of modern India," he said.
 
"Zubin Mehta’s music, too, has the power to transcend boundaries. He has already marked 50 years of his celebrated and successful musical collaboration with the Vienna, Berlin and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras – and earned for himself a unique position in the musical narrative of the world," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said it was a matter of pride for India that, even though he is ocnsidered to be a citizen of the world, Mr Mehta had retained his Indian citizenship and, as he traverses the five continents and enthralls with his performances, he is India’s cultural ambassador. 
 
"As he reaches out, through his music, to inspire states and their people with his message of tolerance and peace, we pay tribute to him for his unfailing efforts to foster unity and understanding among the communities of the world.
 
"His spirit and dedication is an affirmation of Rabindranath Tagore’s vision of 'that heaven of freedom' where the world is not divided 'by narrow domestic walls'," he said.
 
Following is the citation for Mr Mehta:
 
“In our divided world, there are few who rise above nation yet stay rooted to home, remain proof against prejudice and sensitive to suffering, and bring joy to people through their lifelong work. One such individual is Zubin Mehta,
 
His is a story of singular achievement. Since the time he left India almost sixty years ago to study music in Europe, success, it would seem, has chosen him for its own. Achieving distinction even as a student at Vienna, he had by the age of twenty-five conducted three of the best-known symphony orchestras in the world: the Vienna, Berlin, and Israel Philharmonic. A rapid succession of appointments then followed, as Music Director with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (1961–67), the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (1962–78), and the New York Philharmonic (1978–91). Overlapping with responsibilities in the latter two positions, he was appointed Music Adviser of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (1969), then its Music Director (1977), and was finally titled its Music Director for Life (1981). Such an honour to a foreign national is unique in the annals of music. 
 
Zubin Mehta’s prodigious work has not been confined to orchestral music. Debuting as opera conductor in Montreal (1963), he has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan, and the opera houses of Chicago and Florence. He was the conductor of the historic production of Puccini’s Tosca in Rome (1992), enacted in the specific settings and time mentioned in the score of the opera. He has conducted at the prestigious Salzburg Festival, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia among other venues. He was Music Director of the Bavarian Opera (1998–2006), and is President of the annual Festival del Mediterrani in Valencia (2006–). No other Indian has achieved such distinction in the world of opera. 
 
Zubin Mehta would have been just as good a musician, but a lesser man, had he not engaged with humanitarian issues around the world. This he has done not by grand discourse, but by doing what he knows best –– making music. To raise funds for war victims and in remembrance of those who perished in the Yugoslav wars, he played the Mozart Requiem at the ruins of Sarajevo’s National Library with the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra and Choir (1994). In a concert rich with symbolic meaning, he performed Mahler’s Resurrection symphony (No. 2) at a site close to the Buchenwald concentration camp of wartime Germany, with the Bavarian State Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra playing together under his baton (1999). A year after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, he conducted the Bavarian State Orchestra in a memorial concert in Chennai (2005). In Israel, he gives free concerts in Arab-inhabited towns and leads the Mifneh (‘Change’) programme teaching Western classical music to young Arab Israelis. 
 
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In Tel Aviv, at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, and in his native Mumbai under the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation, named after his father, Zubin Mehta is closely involved in nurturing young talent in western classical music. He is a bold experimenter at the frontiers of his art, recording with Ravi Shankar the latter’s Sitar Concerto No. 2 played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, on the one hand, and working with the Chinese film director Zhang Yimou on the stupendous production of Puccini’s opera Turandot (1997–98), on the other. His zest for music is boundless. 
 
In Zubin Mehta’s universal spirit we find an affirmation of Rabindranath Tagore’s vision of a world that “has not been broken up into fragments or by narrow domestic walls”. In an impassioned quest of his ideal, he has traversed vast stretches of imagination, glimpsed the beauty that may be ours in life, and sought to capture here what might be snatched from the stars. In so doing, he has lost distinction of the shadow lines that divide man from man, and envisioned anew “that heaven of freedom” where the mind is without fear and the head is held high. 
 
As we confer upon Zubin Mehta the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the year 2013, we salute this distant-dwelling son of India.” 
 
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Exhibition on Indian Embroideries opens at IGNCA in Delhi

Union Minister for Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch at Resurgence, an exhibition of Indian embroideries, organized by IGNCA, in New Delhi on September 2, 2013
Union Minister for Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch at Resurgence, an exhibition of Indian embroideries, organized by IGNCA, in New Delhi on September 2, 2013
 
Union Minister for Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch inaugurated an exhibition on India's weaves and embroideries at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
 
Titled "Resurgence -- Revival of Indian Embroideries", the exhibition of classic Indian embroideries has been curated by Asif Shaikh.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Katoch said India had huge untapped potential of craftsmen and artisans and such platforms paved the way for the restortion of the indigenous handicraft and enhance inter-stat cultural discourse.
 
"It’s overwhelming to see Indian handicrafts getting huge recognition from across the globe," she said.
 
A symposium on "Textile and Embroidery Traditions Across India" was also organized on the occasion. 
 
The exhibition is open for public viewing from September 2-15 at IGNCA here, an official press release added.
 
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Renowned photographer Vincent Versace to conduct workshops in India

Vincent Versace
Vincent Versace
 
Internationally renowned photographer Vincent Versace will visit India in September this year when he will engage Indian photography enthusiasts in digital photography at Varansi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
 
Versace has been invited to visit the country by Tumbhi.com, a talent showcase platform for aspiring photographers, writers, actors, models, singers, music composers, short-filmmakers, lyricists and poets.
 
Versace, who is recognized as a pioneer in the art and science of digital photography and is a recipient of the Computerworld Smithsonian Award in Media Arts & Entertainment and the Shellenberg fine art award, will conduct workshops on digital photography in the three cities, a press release from Tumbhi.com said.
 
“It’s the best and worst of times, to be honest. The best is more people are experiencing the creative impulse and expressing themselves artistically, which means happier people. The worst is the growing belief that ‘I own a camera, I am a photographer’,” the release quoted him as saying.
 
It said that from September 20-22, Versace, known for his natural light photography, would share hands-on experience with photography enthusiasts in Varanasi through an outdoor session. Participants will get a chance to explore and experience fine art photography, bokeh (the aesthetic quality of the bur) and advanced black & white photo art.
 
A photo by Vincent Versace
A photo by Vincent Versace
He will also engage photographers in ExDR (Extending the Dynamic Range of Focus Through the Use of Image Harvesting), it said.
 
On September 24 and 26, he will engage photographers in better use of cameras, lenses and post-processing choices in Kolkata and Mumbai, respectively.
 
Versace describes India as the meeting of the spirit and the spice of life in one place, all at once. “The vibrancy of colour - both in the actual sense of the word and the ‘colorfulness’ of the people from inside out and outside in is encouraging,” he said.
 
“As the world becomes a smaller place because of the volume of people in it, the need increases to be found and effectively heard. The talent pooling website, Tumbhi is plugging this need gap for the artists," he said.
 
Robin Rastogi, head of operations, Tumbhi said, “At Tumbhi, we want to do everything that promotes art, culture, photography, music & painting. Versace’s contribution in the entire digital image value chain is unmatched. Hence, we decided to invite him and to introduce our photography enthusiasts to the serious art and craft of photography through his lens.”
 
"His workshops will be an opportunity to open oneself to the new school of thought that says - don’t take pictures, but be taken by your pictures," he added.
 
Photography enthusiasts can register for Versace’s workshops here, the release added.
 
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Fans can now dial to follow Shah Rukh Khan on Twitter

Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan
Popular film actor Shah Rukh Khan has announced a groundbreaking integration with Twitter India and ZipDial which will enable anyone in India to follow and engage with him on micro-blogging site Twitter via SMS.
 
"Effective immediately, anyone with a mobile phone in India can follow @iamsrk on Twitter by dialing (or giving a missed call) at 09015500555. 
 
"The experience works for 100% of mobile users in India on any phone, any operator network and is completely free, irrespective of whether they have a Twitter account or data-enabled phone," a press release issued on his behalf said.
 
"I have always believed in the power of technology and use it in various ways to further my connection with my audience. In recent years, Twitter has been a magical place for me to engage with my fans. I hope all my fans in India will avail this new service to connect with me. I thank ZipDial and Twitter India for helping me inaugurate this innovation and help bring together my entire national audience who don't access Twitter. Very soon I hope to also expand this to multiple countries, languages and platforms," Shah Rukh said.
 
Said Twitter's India Market Director Rishi Jaitly, "Twitter is the world's leading real-time information network where hundreds of millions of people follow the people and organizations that interest them. In India, Twitter among other things brings our users closer to their favourite stars and icons. We are pleased to see Shah Rukh Khan and ZipDial use the Twitter platform in this way."
 
Shah Rukh Khan's latest film, Chennai Express, which has set records at the box office, has also made Twitter history in India as the first film to be listed in the top trends for more than 10 consecutive days with innovative hashtags and multiple campaigns. It has also become the first Indian film in Twitter history to trend at worldwide no 1 with two separate hashtags #ChennaiExpress and #ChennaiExpressWeekend.
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Commenting on this integration, Shailja Gupta, Chief Digital Strategist for Shah Rukh Khan says, "Shah Rukh has a worldwide reach running into more than 3 billion which is a tough act to match in comparison to some of the internationally renowned celebrities on Twitter. However, due to the demographics and limited number of data enabled phones and the exposure of twitter in India the followings don't reflect the absolute popularity. With the wide market of feature phones, lot of people in India don't use Twitter and we wanted to reach out to the maximum audience on the platforms they are available on. What better way than to use the SMS technology. We are thrilled to partner with Twitter India and ZipDial to bring digital and mobile together in a historic way.”
 
@Shailja adds, “Our target is to reach 50 million within a year. We have always prioritized digital marketing in a big way and with the support of SRK's fans and fan clubs all our digital endeavours have paid off very well till date and we hope to continue to do so."
 
Commented Valerie Wagoner, ZipDial's Founder & CEO, "ZipDial is Asia's leading mobile marketing and analytics platform, especially leveraging the simple and free user experience of 'missed calls'. The ZipDial-Twitter service provides an unmatched platform on which to expand the reach of mobile content. We are delighted to help make this service available for Shah Rukh Khan and his vast Indian audience."
 
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Playwright Ratan Thiyam appointed chairperson of National School of Drama

File photo of Rattan Thiyam
File photo of Rattan Thiyam
 
Eminent playwright and director Ratan Thiyam has been appointed as the chairperson of the prestigious National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi, India's premier theatre training institute.
 
An official press release said here today that President Pranab Mukherjee had appointed Mr Thiyam for a period of four years.
 
Mr Thiyam will succeed Ms Amal Allana, a well-known director and theatre personality, who has completed two consecutive four-year terms as chairperson of NSD.
 
Mr Thiyam, 65, is one of the leading figures of the "theatre of roots" movement in Indian theatre, which started in the 1970s. He is known for writing and staging plays that use ancient Indian theatre traditions and forms in a contemporary context.
 
Mr Thiyam has also dabbled in painting and is proficient in direction, design, script and music.
 
He is the founder-director of the Chorus Repertory Theatre in Imphal, Manipur.
 
He was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government in 1989. He has also been awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Direction in 1987, given by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama,.
 
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Last year he was chosen for the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour in performing arts in India.
 
Like Ms Allana, Mr Thiyam is an alumnus of NSD, having graduated from there in 1974. He served as the director of NSD in 1987-88.
 
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Exhibition on Rama Katha miniatures opens in Delhi

 
A two-month-long exhibition on "Rama-Katha -- The Story of Rama through Indian Miniatures" opened at the National Museum in the capital today.
 
The exhibition, which will run until October 13, was inaugurated by Union Minister for Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch.
 
Rama-katha, the story of Rama, is one of the most popular themes in the religious literature of India. 
 
The earliest source of Rama-katha is ‘Ramayana’ (the journey of Rama), attributed to sage-poet Valmiki, created around 5th-4th century BCE. The text, in Sanskrit, consists of around 24,000 shlokas (verse-couplets), divided into seven kandas (cantos). The text of Ramayana has undergone many revisions and modifications, and the earliest surviving manuscript of the work is less than 1,000 years old. 
 
An official press release said the exhibition consists of 101 masterpieces of the Ramayana theme paintings, from the collection of National Museum.
 
It attempts to let the visitor have an idea of the different styles of Indian miniature painting, reflecting on the interpretation of the same theme across stylistic genres.
 
All major styles of Pahari painting, namely Basohli, Guler, Chamba, Mandi, Kangra, Nurpur and Bilaspur are on display. Rajasthani styles represented are Mewar, Bundi, Kota, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Kishangarh and Deogarh. There are representations from Central Indian styles of Malwa, Orchha, Datia and Raghogarh, besides specimens of Provincial Mughal style from Bundelkhand. Deccani from Bijapur and classical folk style of Kalighat are also on display. 
 
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The release said that some of the outstanding miniature paintings on display are: The portrait of Rama, (Basohli style, Pahari, circa 1730); Sage Narada requests Valmiki to write the story of Rama, (Kangra style, Pahari, early 19th century); Rama breaks lord Shiva’s bow in the court of king Janaka, (Provincial Mughal style, Orchha, Bundelkhand, early 17th century); Wedding of Rama and Sita(Shangri Ramayana folio, Mandi style, Pahari, mid 18th century); Bharata returns to Ayodhya with Rama’s padukas, (Jaipur – Datia mixed style, Rajasthan mid 18th century); Rama, Lakshmana and the golden deer, (Kalighat style, Bengal, late 19th century); Setubandhanam: Rama and Lakshmana, with their army of monkeys and bears, cross the bridge to reach Lanka, (Guler style drawing, Pahari, circa 1770); Angada in the court of Ravana, (Provincial Mughal, Orchha, Bundelkhand, Central India, early 17th century); Hanuman, with Dronagiri mountain, Raghogarh style, (Central India, late 18th century); Ravana, sad and pensive, on his golden throne, (Kangra style, Pahari, early 19th century); Agni Pariksha- The fire ordeal of Sita, (Kangra style, Pahari, circa 1800) and Mother earth receiving her daughter Sita back to her womb, (Kangra style, Pahari, early 19th century). 
 
The exhibition will remain on view for the public from 16th August, 2013 to 13th October, 2013 except on Mondays. 
 
The exhibition will later travel to the Royal Museum of Art and History, Brussels, Belgium, where it will be on display for a duration of six months from 20th November, 2013 to 18th May, 2014. 
 
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Waman Kendre appointed as Director of National School of Drama

Waman Kendre
Waman Kendre
 
The Government has appointed eminent theatre director Waman Kendre as the new Director of the prestigious National School of Drama (NSD) here.
 
An official announcement from the Ministry of Culture said the appointment was for a period of five years with effect from the date of assumption of charge of the post or till superannuation on attainment of 62 years of age or unitl further orders, whichever is the earliest.
 
Prof Kendre, an alumnus of NSD, is currently the head of the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Mumbai. He has directed several plays such as Zulva, Jaaneman and Mohandas. His latest project is an adaptation of Sanskrit playwright Bhasa's Madhyam Vyavog in three different languages.
 
Prof Tripurari Sharma had been officiating as the director of NSD since April this year after the end of the tenure of Dr Anuradha Kapur.
 
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A R Rahman announces first India road tour in two decades

Music maestro AR Rahman announces Four-city India Tour
Music composer A R Rahman has announced a month-long road tour of India that will see him stage concerts in Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Jaipur and Ahmedabad between October 1 and 27 this year.
 
Described by many as one of the world's most prolific composer of recent times, Rahman has teamed up with promoters Techfront and Rapport Global Events for the tour, titled RahmanIshq.
 
The concerts are slated to be held at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on October 1, at the Indira Priyadarshini Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on October 12, at the Bhawani Niketan Education Trust on October 20 and at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabadon October 27.
 
A press release from the organisers said on Monday that the concerts would give Rahman's fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a live performance that will include his award-winning musical renditions over the years, blended with state-of-the-art technology, great visual effects, synchronised choreography and powerful dance arrangements. 
 
"The tour aims to showcase the technological progression of the music industry through a modern interactive presentation featuring high voltage music in its purest form," it said.
 
Rahman will also be travelling to Sydney in Australia on August 24 for a performance at the All Phones Arena.
 
The release said that this was the first time that the Oscar Award-winning composer will be embarking on a road tour of this scale.
 
Rahman will perform all-time classics from his prolific career, including acclaimed songs from landmark Indian films like Jodhaa Akbar, Slumdog Millionaire, Lagaan, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Dil Se, Rang De Basanti, Rockstar and Bombay.
 
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Accompanying him will be artistes like Sukhwinder Singh, Javed Ali, Neeti Muhan, Shweta Pandit, Harshdeep Kaur, Vijay Prakash, Mano and Ranjit Barot.
 
"Music for me is an expression of unconditional and unlimited love. I find joy in the smallest of pleasures which I share with the world through my music. This tour is a gesture of the love I have for my fans in India and I thank Techfront and Rapport Global Events for putting this together. I want to closely interact with my fans while we celebrate my music at the tour," Rahman said.
 
"We are a great prosperous musical nation and tours like these are a great way to rekindle the connect with the audiences on a more personalised level. Music is the language of the souls and what cannot be put into words can be expressed through music. I would like to take this opportunity to give back to my fans what they gave me. We hope that this will mark a new beginning for many more such tours that will benchmark the music industry," he added.
 
Mr. M S Muralidharan, Managing Director, Techfront & Promoter, RahmanIshq stated, "The Indian entertainment industry is simply remarkable. Over the decades it has produced entertainers who have evolved to become global superstars. As one of the front runners in the technology sector, we are ecstatic to be hosting one of the greatest artistes in the creative industry. A. R. Rahman has proved to the world that the Indian entertainment industry has come of age when he took home the Academy and Grammy awards.
 
"It takes once-in-a-lifetime musical genius to give once-in-a-lifetime musical experience and we will be delivering a world class audio visual viewing pleasure to the senses with technical sorcery we have designed especially for this tour. We are creating special mobile applications which we will leverage during this tour with the help of augmented reality. Anything AR Rahman does raises expectations amongst his fan following all over the globe and we will remain committed to uphold that promise.
 
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"RahmanIshq is a strategic endeavour to bring international standards across all production platforms and showcase next generation technology for entertainment events worldwide," he added.
 
Mr. Deepak Gattani, Managing Director, Rapport Global Events & Show Director, RahmanIshq said: "It feels good to have completed a century of shows with AR Rahman. I have worked alongside him since the past 17 years and I have witnessed the runaway success he has gained with his elaborate and exquisite live performances. However we aim to inculcate and establish a tradition of road trips like witnessed globally with the establishment of this tour. Through the vast tapestry of music that is AR Rahman, he takes us on a virtual journey through beauty, culture, and spirituality. 
 
"This tour will be an everlasting experience that will be a feast for the eyes and ears with a full cast of dancers, singers, performers and musicians. We are reaching out to untapped metropolises where we envisage myriad potential for such kind of interactive entertainment. Moreover, every piece of music he creates is so unique and starts growing on you finding a place in everyone's heart. It touches people, regardless of class, culture or boundaries giving the concept of infinite love its true meaning."
 
Tickets for India will go live from 15th August, Independence Day, the release added.
 
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Kerala to host first-ever show of A Ramachandran's paintings

Artist A Ramachandran talking to newspersons in Delhi on July 30, 2013.
Artist A Ramachandran talking to newspersons in Delhi on July 30, 2013.
 
Well-known painter and sculptor A Ramachandran, who has achieved great success in the past five decades in the national capital, will exhibit his celebrated works for the first time in his home state of Kerala.
 
A mini-retrospective of the artist's works will be held from August 11-25 at the Durbar Hall Gallery in Kochi, according to Vadehra Art Gallery (VAG) here which is organising the event that will showcase 100 works covering the different genres in which Ramachandran has worked over the past 50 years.
 
The show will provide art lovers in Kerala their first chance to directly experience Ramachandran's works. 
 
The occasion comes 56 years after Ramachandran left Thiruvananthapuram to study art at Santiniketan in West Bengal and eventually gained global fame.
 
Curated by well-known art historian R Siva Kumar, the Kochi exhibition will feature 48 of Ramachandran’s paintings, 38 water-colours and ten etchings besides four sculptures including two sculptural groups, Arun Vadehra, director of VAG, said.
 
“The earliest of them would date back to 1964. The repertoire includes recent works as well,” he told a press conference here yesterday. VAG will be organising a mega exhibition of the complete works of Ramachandran next year on the occasion of his 50th year in the capital.
 
As for Ramachandran who moved to Santiniketan in West Bengal in 1957 to pursue the study of art under stalwarts like Ramkinkar Baij, Nandalal Bose and Benodebehari Mukherjee, his creativity bears rich shades of exposure to varied cultures of India and the rest of the world.
A painting by A Ramachandran
A painting by A Ramachandran
 
“My early paintings were an angry young man’s anxious and emotional response to human suffering,” the 78-year-old artist recalled. Over the decades, his style underwent tremendous changes — more so from the 1970s which also saw a diversification of his interests and activities.
 
Ramachandran’s famed and monumental mural-sized Yayati done in the mid-1980s ended his engagement with the darker side of human predicament. His more recent paintings portray a celebratory pageant of sensuous beauty, according to Prof Siva Kumar, also a Malayali, currently the professor of art history at Kala Bhavan in VisvaBharati University.
 
Leading art conservator-writer Rupika Chawla noted that Ramachandran always integrated himself with Indian tradition and environment, deriving faith and nourishment from his roots.
 
“For him, as a prolific reader, western precepts and art history have relevance only when redefined for a specific purpose or analogy,” she added.
 
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Ramachandran, who was born in 1935 at Attingal in south Kerala, had a second tryst with Kerala when he was appointed chairman of the Lalithalala Akademi at Thrissur. 
 
Even so, this is the first time the celebrity’s works are being exhibited anywhere in Kerala.
 
The artist, who has been living in Delhi since 1964, taught art at Jamia Millia Islamia in the city for 27 years before taking voluntary retirement. In 2002, he was elected a Fellow at the Central Lalit Kala Akademi.
 
The next year he was awarded the Raja Ravi Varma Puraskaram and, in 2005, he was conferred with the Padma Bhushan — the country’s third-highest civilian honour.
 
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