AFTER THE GOLD RUSH

From my early days as a kindergarten student, my teachers instilled in me a love and inclination towards images and words. Picture compositions, where one lets imagination fly high and explore the implicit and explicit details behind an image, always allowed me to excel in terms of creative manifestation. To this date, that early blueprint has helped me tremendously to construct worlds both real and imagined in my poetry.

EKPHRASTIC REVIEW is a publication that celebrates the same penchant for boundless creativity with its prolific output that expands our creative powers, with its sundry prompts based on artwork cutting across eras. All in the service of also facilitating an appreciation for art in general and the global cultural legacy in particular.

As all these aspects have always been dear to me, it’s my honour to have my poem AFTER THE GOLD RUSH, based on the prompt around Elin Danielson- Gambogi’s painting AFTER BREAKFAST, be published by EKPHRASTIC REVIEW. It’s my second publication on this platform this year. So it makes me very happy that my poem was chosen and placed among other highly worthy pieces. Most importantly, it helped me conjoin images and words in a cohesive whole and to be acknowledged for it gives me immense satisfaction.

So read the poem, look at the original painting and share your thoughts.

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MY POEM ‘SHANTI’ HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY BELOVED RHETORICA QUARTERLY JOURNAL.

My ekphrastic poem SHANTI has been published by my departmental journal RHETORICA QUARTERLY. It is of course inspired by the painting titled PEACE by Marian Spore Bush which I feel reflects Indian myths of Shiva and the idea of life and death with intensity.

So this particular work springs from my own interpretation and hopefully all readers will find it to be resonant too.

I also reserve pride and joy for this departmental journal has completed a full year and a half since its inception in 2020. Even amidst the pandemic, the team continued to provide impetus for all literary minds and their eclectic vision. So kudos to them.
 
I feel particularly proud as an alumnus of the department to have many of my poems find a home here. It always is homecoming in that manner.

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The poem in its entirety.

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THE BRILLIANT IMAGERY OF KHAYAL GATHA (1989)

Just like my previous post, I decided to devote this Sunday at sharing screenshots/ imagery from Kumar Shahani’s simultaneously impressionistic and expressionistic take on the history of Khayal form of singing and its further influence on dancing techniques down the centuries. This constitutes the brilliance of KHAYAL GATHA.

Of course, I have written an essay on it previously published here so I won’t be repeating myself. For now, I will let you behold its catalogue of unforgettable images. Like Siddheshwari, this one too is an aesthetic delight, helping one grasp the myth, ethos and history behind the classical ouevre.

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THE BRILLIANT IMAGERY OF SIDDHESHWARI (1989)

Over the course of my few writings on the treasure trove of classical music and dance in Indian cinematic canon, I have particularly been appreciative of two films. They are namely KHAYAL GATHA and SIDDHESHWARI, both released in 1989.

In this written presentation, I have included screenshots from SIDDHESHWARI to let its imagery inform viewers of how this documentary uses cinematic recreations to illuminate the life of Siddheshwari Devi, a legendary exponent of the Benaras gharana (house) of classical Indian singing. Directed by Mani Kaul, it is visually unforgettable and from the point of view of its form and content is transcendental, implying the grand and at the same time intimate nature of the thumri style at large.

Of course, readers can always go back to my original writing on it in my essay previously published here. All I can say is that the aesthetics of the city of Benaras, music and cinematography come together in SIDDHESHWARI in a confluence of artistic merit unlike any other.

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Behold the exquisite sense of capturing the locational value of Benaras from these angles. Each frame and the profusion of colours make it aesthetically pleasing.

The human figures and silhouettes too are like paintings in motion and I took particular care at selecting each image. Breathtakingly epic and yet intimate. I also love the haunting, mesmerising effect of the imagery in general and the manner in which river Ganga is presented here. The river becomes an omnipresent symbol of the purity of musical pursuits in this unusual screenplay.

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Lead actress Mita Vashisht who portrays the soulfulness of Siddheshwari Devi’s journey is beautifully directed here.

Attention must be paid to the use of light and shadows, the intermingling of the impressionistic and expressionistic style.

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A RARE SMITA PATIL INTERVIEW BECKONS US

I had been searching for a Smita Patil interview for years and while the rich treasure trove of material regarding her exemplary filmography vis a vis articles, fully uploaded movies, opinion pieces and books are aplenty, there was a paucity of recorded conversations.

Which is why I was very happy to discover this rare clip of the equally legendary newsreader and host Nalini Singh interviewing the iconic artist, uploaded by the Prasar Bharti Archives courtesy national broadcaster Doordarshan, on its prolific YouTube channel.


So behold these two individuals talk about the importance of issues pertaining to portrayal of women in cinema and the way commercialized advertising imagery can have an adverse impact on the sensitivity of the subject matter addressed.





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TREASURE TROVE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC AND DANCE IN INDIAN CINEMA-FINAL PART

I am sharing the link to the final part of my essay, on the treasure trove of classical music and dance within the Indian cinematic canon. It has been published as part of my essay collection A LETTERED SOUL on Wattpad.

https://www.wattpad.com/story/276862607-a-lettered-soul-musings-on-art-and-culture

It’s bound to be worth a read for all discerning readers and cinephiles as also for those who appreciate the finer nuances of the artistic medium.

I am also including links to two pivotal movies from 1989, namely Kumar Shahani’s KHAYAL GATHA and Mani Kaul’s SIDDHESHWARI. They are masterpieces that perfectly capture the aesthetics of Indian classical music with unparalleled grace.

IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK


This is the image conjured by light and shadow on my wall, on an afternoon, that I captured with my camera and hence designed this particular poem.




Walls have their own accomplished
artistry.
You see the forms come and go regularly,
birthing from the sun’s perpetual warmth,
rankling and fluctuating,
to find their inherent composition
and their own script.
They almost needlessly
acquire a form
of their own,
some of them seemingly inspired
from our own lives,
here on these walls.

It’s a subtle and unexpected game of shadows
But the artists never reveal their identities.
Nobody knows which form they may acquire,
to startle us.
That is the real charm
of unsolicited creation.

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Walls, by their very nature,
are ripe as a blank canvas.
Contingent with how
we make them whole.
But how beautifully
they relieve us,
to make a home
out of empty spaces.

So it’s not left to doubt
that walls
have their own accomplished artistry,
a proficient language
and an oeuvre of their own.

We are the artisans
waiting to adorn them
with our own life-forms.

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