Enjoyed an arty Sunday after a long time. First halt was at the Jehangir Art Gallery where Viveek Sharma was hosting his one man show. I have been following this young man's work for over five years and have enormous faith in his future. Today, he is represented by top galleries in Europe and is in residency programmes at various international universities . I am really happy for him. Recognition has come to Viveek at the right time. The current show titled 'My City.... My Dreams', is his tribute to Mumbai. Viveek, a nocturnal creature, captures the city after midnight in a series of 'electrifying' paintings - almost neon. Born in 1968, Viveek resembles a modern day Christ, speaks fluent Marathi, and is good looking enough to make it as the global face of a top fashion brand.He values his work but is realistic about pricing it right. I told him to rechristen himself - "Why not Gandhi-man?" I suggested, after he told me about his Gandhi paintings which sell very well across Europe. And we all know how hot the Mahatma is right now!
The other art experience was less direct. I was talking to Margaret Mascarenhas, my coolest friend from Goa. She has just finished curating Prison Art - a show she has been diligently working on for more than a year. Inmates of the Aguada Jail in Goa have produced the most unexpected images, writings, even performance art, that goes on display in Goa on 9th December. I'll be right there. It is a part of Raj and Dipti Salgaocar's charity- linked art initiative, and frankly, anything Margaret undertakes, has to be pretty damn good!
"This appeared in Bombay Times today...
Jaago Mumbai, Jaago….
Strange how impassive and unmoved the average Mumbaikar was during the second anniversary of the 26\11 terror attacks. A foreign journalist who had come over for an interview the same afternoon, mentioned she had gone to Marine Drive in the morning to watch the Police Parade. Shocked at the miserable attendance, poor participation and obvious indifference of citizens, she asked why we are such an apathetic lot in a city that remains as insecure today as it was two years ago ( latest scam involves state ordered speedboats that aren’t bullet proof!). She also mentioned her disappointment at the parade itself which was listless and far from impressive. If anything, it showed our cops in a shabby light. They looked ill equipped and far from smart… hardly an inspiring image to project in a vulnerable city. But then, that is how we are. Accompanying the journo was another person who was staying at the Taj ( she’s a regular there) and talking about feeling spooked with all the gunmen ( security forces) prowling around in the corridors while the windows in her room were being covered with black out papers. Obviously, no chances could be taken that crucial day, especially since aerial attacks had been mentioned in the past. Even at this sensitive venue, our cops were just about visible.Unless they were in plainclothes and pretending to be guests. Perhaps our apparent lack of interest in our own safety has to do with frustration and deep disappointment . The average Mumbaikar is a highly disillusioned person, who believes his\her fate is now in the hands of the Almighty, since clearly, nobody in government ( state or at the centre) is treating Mumbai’s security as a top priority. C.M.s come and go – they change as frequently as the unpredictable weather. The brand new Mr. Clean has yet to do or say something of any consequence. He seems more particular about keeping his hair neatly combed during photo ops. The deputy C.M. is being watched closely by those who aren’t sure about his moves, given the history ( Uncle Pawar and Cousin Supriya looking over his shoulder). While all these political and family dramas are being played out, the Mumbaikar waits for some good to emerge and may even have started to actually envy Nitesh Kumar’s Bihar and the Biharis!!! Who knows…. if things continue to deteriorate at this speed in Maharashtra, soon we’ ll see a reverse migration – out of job, angry Maharashtrians heading to Bihar in search of better opportunities!! Now that would be something. Right, Raj?
I like Bhansali’s ( SLB to you) attitude. He claimed in a recent interview, “ I don’t make money, I make movies.” Spoken grandly like a great master with an authentic oeuvre a la Fellini. Antonioni.Polanski.Ghatak.Ray. If there are besotted financial fans of a film maker out there willing to shell out crores for someone’s monumental ego and self indulgence, nobody should grudge the generous gesture. But I always thought commercially released movies were about attracting an audience, recovereing the huge investment involved, and heaven help us - even raking in profits!Movies are a shared
experience in which the filmmaker draws the audience into his \her world.If it’s personal cinema Bhansali is referring to, then you make home movies for family and friends. In which case, money ( someone else’s at that!) is not the objective . Bhansali reminds me of authors who claim airily that they don’t write ‘commercial books’. If a book is published, put into book stores, and has a price tag on it, it automatically becomes a ‘commercial’ book. Or else, why not write memos to yourself, keep diaries?
Break ke Baad? Boredom, boss. Break ke Peheley, bhi.