Friday, July 31, 2009

Grafik Magazine

Grafik—the UK’s most exciting magazine for the creative and graphic design industries

Grafik is an independently published magazine based in London. It delivers a monthly dose of essential information, independent-minded editorial, the best and newest design work from around the world, unflinching reviews and outspoken opinion from industry personalities.

Every issue of Grafik features an in-depth twelve page profile (so far this year it has featured Fraser Muggeridge, Alan Aldridge, Hudson Powell, Ich& Kar and Studio8), two up-and-coming new designers and photographers in the Talent section, and a twenty-page special report. This year’s special reports have included an A-Z of illustration, Defining Moments in Type, Graphic Design Heroines, Photography, Editorial Design, Art and Music. All this, plus regular features such as Roughs, Showcase, Letterform, Logoform and Viewpoint.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why Sex is Divine | OPEN Magazine

Why Sex is Divine | OPEN Magazine

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Gayatri Devi (1919-2009)

With the passing away of Maharani Gayatri Devi, a unique chapter in India’s history and culture closes. For long after Independence, her beauty and grace embodied the finest aspects of India to the world. On the one hand, she symbolised the old-world regality of maharajas and maharanis. On the other, she was a genuine internationalist, totally cosmopolitan in outlook. Not many know that Gayatri Devi was a superb conversationalist. She travelled widely, and at one point had visited almost every country in the world.

We were extremely fortunate to get the chance to do a book on her. Right through the process of the book, she gave us full access to photographs and manuscripts that delved into her life and family’s past. Indeed, our company, Roli, is extremely lucky to get a signed photograph of hers, which is now part of our heirloom.
On many an occasion, we would invite her to launch a book that we thought was appropriate for her. For a person of such eminence, it was pleasantly surprising how easily she would comply. This, from someone known to be steadfast about her privacy.

She knew she was very beautiful. She loved to be photographed. Along with the obvious beauty, came an unmatched flourish and polish. It was there in the way she spoke and conducted herself. In a tradition-bound set-up, she took part in religious ceremonies, played tennis with male partners, went swimming and horse riding, and did not miss a single season of polo. She also took it upon herself to bring the women of Rajasthan out of purdah. Vogue voted her as one of the ten most beautiful women in the world.

However, for all her world-renowned beauty, people forget the things she did in her life. Here was a woman, who ran for Parliament in 1962 and won a landslide victory in an election. She ran against Indira Gandhi in 1967 and 1971. It irked Indira Gandhi so much she abolished privy purses and royal privileges in 1971.
Later, Gayatri Devi was accused of tax evasion and breaking laws. She even served five months in Tihar during the Emergency. She retired from politics after that, but described her experiences in her autobiography, A Princess Remembers.
In later life, she turned a great patron of the arts. Take a look at Jaipur today, and you will find how local Rajasthani art has taken off. A good hand behind it was Gayatri Devi’s. She also established two well-known schools there—Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls School and Sawai Man Singh Vidhyalaya. She was in every sense, a true ambassador of India to the world.

Pramod Kapoor of Roli Books published the Family Pride Series: Gayatri Devi

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Novel Graphics

By Toufic Haddad
Dar Films is an unassuming studio tucked away in a subterranean apartment on the outskirts of Ramallah’s sprawling urban landscape.

It is also where one of the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ most ambitious cultural endeavours has just been produced, in the form of a 3D animated film entitled Fatenah.

Saed Andoni, 37, produced and edited the movie with the assistance of Ahmad Habash, 33, the project’s director and animator. It tells the story of Fatenah, a woman from Gaza who discovers she has breast cancer. Her struggle for survival brings the audience into the painful and humiliating journey of those who suffer from terminal illnesses in the context of Israel’s debilitating siege.

Though the film is unavoidably sullen in plot, the story of its production is markedly more inspiring. It is a testament to the resourcefulness of its creators and the evolving quest among Palestinian artists and filmmakers to find the best means to express their contemporary condition.

“We didn’t want to deal with slogans and we didn’t want to address the ‘Palestinian cause,’” notes Andoni, as he rolls a cigarette before split-screen computer-editing equipment. “What we care about is the individual, her life and her story.”

Indeed Fatenah’s novelty is its ability to tell a personal story that reverses more classical Palestinian approaches to film, which tend to put their politics front and centre. Instead it relies upon subtle yet telling background details that speak volumes about the conditions Gazans live in.

During a simple dinner scene, the electricity suddenly shuts off – a regular occurrence in Gaza due to Israel’s policy of preventing much-needed fuel from entering the strip. The staccato sound of machine-gun fire pierces the conversation of another scene, acting as a reminder of Gaza’s perpetual instability and danger, but also of how Gazans have simply become accustomed to such conditions. Politics indelibly colours Fatenah’s setting, but it is deliberately muffled to bring out a more personal and humanising account.

Instead viewers witness the lead character’s love for a colleague in the small sewing workshop where she is employed and the tormenting nightmares she has of her illness. The engaging personal storyline pulls the viewer through the film’s 30 minutes, building a sense of injustice and cruelty, and climaxing in a final wrenching scene at an Israeli checkpoint.

Fatenah is based upon the true-life story of a Gazan woman whose identity Andoni and his colleagues have chosen to keep secret. (Fatenah is not her real name.) He became aware of her case in November 2007 when exploring ways to cover the medical crisis resulting from Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip with his friend and script co-author Ambrogio Manenti, the former director of the World Health Organization in Jerusalem. The duo, who had worked together on documentary film projects, came upon a report by Physicians for Human Rights, an Israeli organisation that focuses on trying to assist Palestinians in securing adequate health care.

“The story was incredible because when you read it, it read like a movie,” recalls Andoni.

He soon contacted Habash, who had recently returned from completing his master’s degree in 3D animation at Bournemouth University in the UK, recruiting him to the project. The team set about writing the script, incorporating fictional elements to even out the storyline and characters.

From the outset, the team faced complicated challenges related to a shoestring budget ($60,000), insufficient manpower and the never distant political situation. These constraints characterise and often cause the underdevelopment of Palestinian cultural production, forcing the team to creatively adapt or quite simply overwork themselves.

“For a year and a half I worked 15 hours a day, seven days a week,” recalls Habash, the film’s sole animator, with a half-shaven look that still bears the marks of fatigue. “I definitely overdid it, but it was the only way it was going to get done.”

Neither Andoni nor Habash had set foot in Gaza for more than 10 years and both were prevented from entering due to Israeli military orders that restrict movement of people between the West Bank and Gaza. Their answer was to use the existing resources at their disposal. Andoni commissioned a local photographer by phone to shoot images of some of the film’s most distinctly Gazan imagery – its refugee camps, its sea, its streets. The team also shot images in the West Bank of more generic settings, such as those inside hospitals. To complete the aesthetic, Andoni spent “hundreds of hours” mining the internet for additional shots of everything from the Israeli army insignia to basic office furniture.

The images were key to the animation style that Habash and Andoni chose to reflect life in Gaza.

“We didn’t just want the film to bring the viewer into a virtual reality,” notes Andoni. “We wanted to ground it on earth.” The team experimented by taking their collection of still images from Gaza and using them as two-dimensional backgrounds upon which the three-dimensional animation was superimposed. The effect is a blend of reality and fiction.

“Animation gives you another freedom,” says Andoni. “You can still speak about reality, but you can also create another reality related to this reality, and play with both, coming up with something original and new.”

The imprints of his documentary film roots and the influence of his favourite school of documentary filmmaking – cinema vérité, or direct cinema, where directors employ a fly-on-the-wall minimalist approach – are all over Andoni’s shot selection. But because of time constraints and the desire for a simplistic visual feel, almost all 700 shots in the film’s 56 scenes are taken from a fixed camera position, as though from a tripod.

Technological advances in 3D graphics programs have made it possible to film with virtual cameras instead of real ones. Using the animation program Softimage, Habash would begin by composing each character based upon rough hand-drawn sketches that were transformed into 3D figures in a process known as “modelling”. After first combining primitive objects such as cylinders and cubes into 3D figures, clothing, colour and texture are then added to make the figures look somewhat believable. A third stage called “rigging” is used to assign bone structure and the mechanics for how each character moves.

“We tried not to be hyper-realistic in their form, because 3D tends to build alienated characters that no one can believe if you try to be too lifelike,” notes Habash. He credits the Palestinian artists Suleiman Mansour and Ismail Shamout for influencing his portrayal of the characters, particularly women.

Once the characters were fully developed, the next stage involved placing them in make-believe settings and animating them so that they act out the script. All the indoor scenes are composed of 3D virtual environments Habash created, while the outdoor scenes are compound-two-dimensional stills collected during the team’s research.

Finally the director assigns the placement of virtual cameras that are inserted inside each virtual scene, commanding them to film the action. The entire process needs to be well thought out in advance as animation is too costly and time-consuming to produce extra footage and scenery that will only later be cut.

The flow of the film’s storyboard – the shot by shot breakdown of the film, with each shot’s accompanying script – is key to the aesthetic credibility of character movement. In the case of Fatenah, the storyboard was vital to Habash.

“When you are working on animation, after a few shots, the characters start acting by themselves. Now I believe that Fatenah exists somewhere.”

When the film was finally composed, Andoni took the initiative to contact the family whom the character of Fatenah was based on.

“We told them, ‘Listen. Watch this film and tell us what you think. This is not your daughter in the film but it is inspired from her story’.”

After initial hesitancy, the family watched the film, then called Andoni back.

“‘It’s brilliant,’” Andoni recalls the father telling him. “I would like to thank you for this film.”

The compliment “almost made me cry on the phone”, relates Andoni. “I told him, ‘These words mean the world to me.’”

On July 1, Andoni, Habash and the small crew of volunteers who assisted with sound, music and voiceovers, gathered at the Kasaba theatre in Ramallah for the film’s premiere. Andoni was shocked at the outpouring of interest. All 380 seats in the theatre were full, and dozens more members of the audience were seated in the aisles. Advertising had been restricted to a few select invitations to close friends and the posting of the event on Facebook.

The audience initially appeared to respond positively to the film, seemingly charmed by what was likely to have been their first experience watching a Palestinian setting portrayed through 3D animation. But as the film progressed, an uncomfortable silence filled the room, as Fatenah’s struggle came to a depressing end. Not a few cheeks were wet with tears.

Dima Murad, 26, an architect from Jerusalem, attended the Ramallah premiere and appreciated Fatenah’s personalisation of the Palestinian condition.

“Palestinians are generally considered as numbers, as sheep,” she said.

“If hundreds of us die, it’s not a problem. But behind each one of us is a big story and a big hassle.” For Murad, the film addressed “everyday issues, that anyone might have to deal with – love, cancer, family. Through a personal story it gave the message about the whole situation here.”

Others in attendance noted the merits of animation that allowed the film to address issues harder to tackle in live action.

“I liked the fact that there was some subtle social criticism that addressed taboo subjects like shame,” commented Nadim Khoury, a 28-year-old political philosophy PhD student at the University of Virginia, home for summer break. “How do you talk about breast cancer in a society where talking about breasts is not exactly something you do daily? The medium of animation allowed the director to do that much more easily.”

The premiere’s reception was a welcome rejoinder to the long and lonesome hours the filmmakers spent putting Fatenah together. Andoni hopes it is a good omen for the film, which has now been submitted to major international film festivals, including Toronto and Venice. If accepted by either, he believes it will put Palestine on the map in the animation world. The success of recent Middle Eastern-themed animation films such as the Israeli hit Waltz with Bashir, and the French-Iranian film Persepolis, will no doubt help open the door for more international attention to be given to the small but budding Palestinian animation sector.

“Animation has gained prestige in the world, as it has been shown that you can address hard topics and sensitive issues through it,” notes Andoni optimistically. “This country is filled with stories, and life here is full of drama. I believe that the real stories that you get out of real people here are much stronger than anything that you can fictionalise.”


Monday, July 27, 2009

Deep Southern Caves Exploration & Photography

To Stephen Alvarez, the underworld is a desirable destination. The vast, uncharted underworld of caves, that is. From the June issue of National Geographic magazine, he takes us with him on a subterranean journey through some of the most majestic cave systems in the American Southeast. Explore this underworld with audio narration by the photographer himself. Read more on NPR's photoblog.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Comm Arts

Saraiva Classics book jackets
Packaging, Education

Brazilian agency REX Design developed this contemporary graphic project for the “Clássicos Saraiva” book collection that brings together 24 titles of classic literature masterpieces, adopted by most schools in Brazil. Getting away from the predominant visual code, the agency has created a contemporary identity more connected to a youth-current universe. The starting point was to change teenagers’ perceptions of literature at school, from something not interesting. By playing with vibrant colors and sinuous forms, coupled with caricatures of the respective authors and fluctuating positions of the titles, the flexible structure makes each book a unique object.

Gustavo Piqueira, creative director Gustavo Piqueira/Samia Jacintho, designers Thais Guerra/Camile Leão, assistant designers

more at:

Matka Gambling in Bombay (Mumbai)

Matka is a type of gambling that originated in Mumbai, India. The word Matka is often used as a synonym for "gambling" in India. Matka is known to be started and made a big money proposition in India by Ratan Khatri.

Matka is also known as Satta and is an ingenious system of gambling on numbers. Punters bet money on numbers (2 or 3 digit) and the winning number receives eighty times the sum wagered. However there are smaller wins too.

The movie is the first attempt in India to localise The Godfather. This film's protagonist Premnath was based on the character of Matka king Ratan Khatri.

Mumbai, December 1 Sitting on the rickety Janta Stands of Mahalaxmi Race Course, an old man pours diligently over the race book and talks to himself in whispers. He has been a regular for years but no one can claim to be on back-slapping terms with the 71-year-old in white kurta-pyjama and a scarf tied like a head band.

There’s an aura surrounding Ratan Khatri—the erstwhile Matka King who from the early 60s to mid-90s decided the fate of several lakh punters and dealt with crores of rupess through a nationwide illegal gambling network with international connections. Police crackdown on his unauthorised lottery kingdom in 1995, the subsequent arrest and distancing from his grown-up children means the illicit odd-maker of the past now spends most afternoons at the Race Course as a faceless punter with a Rs 10 race book in his hands.

The wager world still holds him in awe and his highly dependable Matka system with amazing odds is part of the romantic folklore among the old-hand gamblers. At Race Course, they point fingers at him from a distance, shake their heads and get nostalgic: “Kya jamana tha Ratan Khatri ka”.

But Khatri prefers anonymity. As for his eventful past he says, “No flashbacks please. I’m a simple man who wants to lead a simple life”.

It is only after repeated requests that the man, who came to Mumbai from Karachi after Independence, opens his treasure chest of memories and there pop out several public figures. With a “no names please” conditions, Khatri claims several filmstars, corporates and politicians had more than passing interest in Matka and, at times, gave him midnight calls when in need of urgent cash.

Khatri even went on to produce a movie. And his association with films doesn’t end there—his sons own a film-theatre in Amravati.

It’s the memories of early 60s that bring a smile to Khatri’s face. It all started in the bustling business area of Dhanji Street in Mumbadevi where idlers used to wager on the daily trickle of the fluctuating cotton rates from the New York market. Gradually, it became a big gambling hub as the quantum of bets and betters increased. It was a row over a winning number plus the New York market’s five-day week schedule that saw compulsive betters looking for alternatives.

“Friends told me to start my own syndicate and I started drawing three cards to decide the day’s number,” he says about the beginning of an activity that was to last for more than three decades. “People had great faith in my system. I would even ask them to open the three cards. I knew it was illegal but I ran it with complete honesty,” says Khatri.

According to him, the reason Matka lost its pull is because “today’s criminals are running the little bit of whatever is left of Matka plus there is also the option of instant lottery”.

But all that is past for the man who spent 19 months behind bars during Emergency. He has retired, lives in obscurity with his wife near Tardeo, but still the urge to gamble remains.

Khatri suffered a paralytic attack in 2001 but his sharp mind can still juggle numbers and weigh the odds. “Though I recovered, I have disciplined my life. I do some exercise in the morning, have a few slices of bread with a cup of milk for breakfast, skip lunch but have proper dinner. That’s it,” he says. As an afterthought, he adds, “And of course, upma at racecourse”. But it seems it is the afternoon at racecourse that keeps the Matka king going.

Khatri was adored by the masses in Mumbai, who easily made profits by spending as little as five rupees on Matka gambling. In a time of political disarray during the emergency announced by Indira Gandhi, Ratan Khatri was arrested for 19 months. Following his arrest, and as a result of extreme public resentment towards Indira Gandhi, there were chants by the disillusioned Indian masses that Ratan Khatri should become prime minister instead of Indira Gandhi - the slogan(a reference to Gandhi's Garibi Hatao campaign) went "Indira Gandhi ko hatao, Ratan Khatri ko prime minister banao".

source: Indian Express

FICA organization

FICA encourages, promotes and supports innovative work in the dynamic field of the visual arts. We believe that public programming can benefit all those participating in the making of contemporary Indian art, its practice and reception.

In the first year, we are moving towards our goals and building credibility with our stakeholders – the artist community, art historians, critics, gallery owners, art collectors and enthusiasts. We are working towards establishing a contemporary art museum in

New Delhi by 2010, which will host regular art events, educational programs and special exhibitions. We are also building an archive of Indian contemporary artists that will be made available to the public.

FICA will support educational activities, research & art grants, and public art projects. Our infrastructure will include a working exhibition space and facilities to host educational programs. We believe strongly in cultural programming for children and will sponsor regular workshops for children.

Our desire is to be perceived as
an organization with the energy and potential to grow. We are committed to making contemporary art accessible, increasing greater interaction amongst art institutions and the public, and generating art philanthropy.


Faiza Butt - Emerging Pakistani Artists

Faiza Butt’s practice is engaged with two simultaneous concerns: one narrative and the other formal. The narrative derives from everyday imagery of life around her: journalistic photographs of celebrities from the print media, the to random acts of violence relayed regularly by the electronic media. At a formal level, Butt has developed a distinctly anti-painterly approach to painting: a critical position in opposition to the overt masculinity of the medium as ascribed to the New York school painters. She uses felt tip pens to recreate images in tiny dots on architect’s film—a direct reference to the par-dokht application of paint in Indo-Persian miniature painting. On these carefully drawn surfaces she then often splatters paint—a mocking of the abstract painting cliché.

Faiza Butt graduated with Honours in Painting at the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore in 1993, and received a Distinction in her MFA at the Slade School of Fine Arts in London in 1999. Her work has been exhibited in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, USA, Finland and the UK. She has been awarded residencies and scholarships in South Africa and the UK. Faiza Butt lives and works in London.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Doordarshan - A struggling Indian Broadcast

Doordarshan (Hindi: दूरदर्शन; literally Tele-Vision) is the public television broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati, a public service broadcaster nominated by the Government of India. It is one of the largest broadcasting organizations in the world in terms of the infrastructure of studios and transmitters. Recently, it has also started Digital Terrestrial Transmitters.

Doordarshan had a modest beginning with the experimental telecast starting in Delhi in September 1959 with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio. The regular daily transmission started in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. The television service was extended to Bombay and Amritsar in 1972. Till 1975, seven Indian cities had television service and Doordarshan remained the only television channel in India. Television services were separated from radio in 1976. Each office of All India Radio and Doordarshan were placed under the management of two separate Director Generals in New Delhi. Finally Doordarshan as a National Broadcaster came into existence.

DD's official website:

The Power Of Reading

Kertész didn't live to see the age of the internet or to hear the funeral rites for the age of print। But his photos of readers aren't just a historical document or an exercise in nostalgia. The essential image he works with is timeless: human interaction with the written word. The physical forms in which we receive the word may be changing. But even when ebooks and Blackberries have taken over, that central image will remain: a text held in the hand and a head bowed over it. Andre Kertész, On Reading, is at the Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies St, London W1 until 4 October.

More pictures at: Kertész


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

TEDGlobal: iPods won't end dictatorship

Jonathan Zittrain said that internet relies on 'kindness on trust' photo credit: TED / Duncan Davidson

The TEDGlobal conference began its second day with views of the internet as a fragile network running on the kindness of strangers and as a force for spin and repression

The second day of the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford began with contrasting optimistic and pessimistic views of the internet.

Internet: The fragile but functional network of people
Jonathan Zittrain at the TEDGlobal conference in 2009 Jonathan Zittrain said that internet relies on 'kindness on trust' photo credit: TED / Duncan Davidson

Jonathan Zittrain, who recently wrote the cautionary book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, decided to paint an optimistic view of the internet and its future.

Discussing the creators of the internet, he said that they built the foundation for this global network despite facing a huge difficulty:

[They had no money to build it] but they had an amazing freedom. They didn't have to make any money from it. The internet has no business plan. There is no firm responsible for building it.

In many ways, the internet should not work. As late as 1992, IBM said that it wasn't possible to build a corporate network using internet protocol.

Zittrain said the mascot of the internet is the bumble bee. It shouldn't be able to fly, but a recently government-funded programme discovered how bees fly: They flap their wings really fast.

The internet works on a process that Zittrain compared to passing a beer to a person in a mosh pit. "This system relies on kindness and trust. This makes [the internet] rare and vulnerable."

Wikipedia also shouldn't work, according to Zittrain. "Wikipedia is an idea so profoundly stupid that even Jimbo [Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales] didn't have it," he said. Wikipedia was originally a way for editors of another project, Newpedia, to collaborate. But the backroom eventually took over the front room.

He showed how Wikipedians debate issues, and said that they are making their own law democratically. They decided to remove the real name of the boy who appeared in the Star War Kid YouTube video after his parents requested it.

"At all times Wikipedia is 45 minutes away from utter destruction. It's a thin geeky line that keeps it going," Zittrain said.

He believes that the lessons of how the internet works can applied to real world and also back to the technology of the internet itself.

I think that we can build architectures online so that such human requests are easier online. It represents human emotion, endeavour and impact. We can decide how we want to treat it.

Why iPods won't topple dictators
Evgeny Morozov at TEDGlobal 2009 in Oxford Evgeny Morozov challenged the idea that access to greater technology would lead inexorably to democracy photo credit: TED / Duncan Davidson

From that optimistic view, Evgeny Morozov countered some of the cyber-utopian ideas that the internet, new media and technology were an unalloyed force for good and democracy.

Morozov, who is from Belarus, worked for an NGO using new media to promote democracy, but he found:

Dictatorships do not crumble so easily. Some get even more repressive.

He started studying how the internet could impede democracy. Cyber-utopians believe that with enough connectivity and devices that democracy will inevitably follow, he said. It was an assumption that underlies what he called "iPod liberalism" that everyone who owns an iPod must be a liberal.

If you believe 'Drop iPods, not bombs', the problem is that it confuses the intended versus actual uses of technology.

Governments are learning that censorship doesn't work but spin does. They are actually encouraging people to share information online. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook actually allowed the Iranian authorities to gather open-source intelligence on networks of anti-government activists.

The KGB used to torture people for weeks to get that information.

Also, he said that while many assume that technology is a catalyst for change, it might also be an opiate for the masses. Governments can engage in meaningless exercises that allow their citizens to believe they have a voice when the exercise itself is meaningless or it gives a government a scapegoat – the public – if the policy fails.

For technology to really be an agent for change, he said we need to stop thinking about computers per capita and start thinking about empowering NGOs and other members of society.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A tribute to Helen

Helen Richardson born in Burma to an Indian father and Half Indian/Half Chinese mother on October 21, 1939, she has a brother Roger and a sister Jennifer. Her father died during the Second World War. The family migrated to Mumbai in 1943 during World War II, but her mother's salary as a nurse was not enough, and Helen had to quit her schooling to support the family.

In 1958, she performed in the song "Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu" in Shakti Samanta's film, Howrah Bridge, which was sung by Geeta Dutt. The Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle frequently sang for Helen particularly during the 60s. During her initial career Geeta Dutt sang many songs for her.

Writer Salim Khan helped her get roles in some of the movies he was co-scripting with Javed Akhtar: Imaam Dharam, Don, Dostana, and Sholay.

In 1973, "Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls" a 30-minute documentary film from Merchant Ivory Films was released. Anthony Korner directed and narrated the film A book about Helen was published by Jerry Pinto in 2006, titled The Life and Times of an H-Bomb, which went on to win the National Film Award for Best Book on Cinema in 2007.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Benares, India

Shot in Benares, India 2008 from the hotel terrace trying to capture the city's hustle. The signage that the man carrying/delivering says "Deepawali" - an Indian festival celebrated every year with loads of fireworks & Indian sweets.

Copyright AK.2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Filmi Chakkar - an old sitcom in India

1. Youtube I'm impressed how much video content you have!
2. Filmi Chakkar was one of the shows I actually grew up with. It was part of my visual culture & daily media consumption. Filmi Chakkar was a serial based on a series of incidents and escapades that occur in a family of filmi buffs. The main inspiration for Prashant (Satish Shah), his wife Rukmani (Ratna Pathak Shah) and their two sons Chintu (Omkar Kapoor) and Bunty (Kavin Dave) are films and films. The only person who hates films is Prakash`s mother Dadi Ma (Shammi) and her reasons are justified. Prakash`s father was a film producer who had to run away because his film flopped and he was in debt. Dadi Ma eagerly awaits the return of her husband. The serial depicts the filmi drama and the filmi dilemma of this filmi family and how they overcome their filmi problems with the help of film clips. Yehi Hai Filmi Chakkar.
3. Lets talk about innovating TV serials in the contemporary Indian Media.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Lincoln Centre NYC is presenting a film festival this summer 2009 called "Series: The Bard Goes Global: Shakespeare on the International Screen" which will showcase movies from around the world inspired by Shakespeare. Here is the official entry for the festival from India - Maqbool

About the movie:
Composer-cum-filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool is an engaging update of Macbeth set in contemporary Mumbai. Maqbool (the excellent Irrfan Khan, Slumdog Millionaire) is a leading henchman for crime boss Abbaji (an award-winning performance by Pankaj Kapoor), until two corrupt cops predict he will soon take over Abbaji’s criminal empire with the help of his boss’s mistress, Nimmi. Bhardwaj, who co-wrote the screenplay with Abbas Tyrewala, works outside of Bollywood convention, avoiding numerous subplots to focus on Maqbool’s relentless rise to power and his inevitable collapse.

Friday, July 17, 2009

All These Paintings I Do for My Kids - MF Hussain | OPEN Magazine

All These Paintings I Do for My Kids | OPEN Magazine

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The Hunt for the Next Global Indian Currency Symbol

Ishan Kholsa, an Indian Design company had submitted the new symbol for representing the Indian Rupee. He describes it as "a representation of India as a global financial power as well as a great source of culture and knowledge in the world. In this symbol, the transition of the English “R” into the Devanagari.

The symbol is a bold contemporary look, that is both strong and stylish and that can work in the financial markets as well as
on various media such as websites, mobile phones and print. The strong parallel lines not only unify the R with other currency symbols such as the Dollar, the Yen and the Euro, but the upward arrow created by the 3 lines signifies growth. The “tripod” created by the 3 lines also connote stability. Thus this symbol represents the hallmark of the modern Indian economy — growth and stability combined, which is something every currency stives for.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lime & Lemoney - Limca

This ad truly shows the democracy in India!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

GOLD SPOT - The Zing Thing

Gold Spot was a popular orange-flavored soft drink in India until 1993. The brand was owned by Parle, but was sold to Coca-Cola when it re-entered the Indian market in 1993. Gold Spot had a catchy punch line - The Zing Thing.

Gold Spot was withdrawn from the market in order to make space for Coca-Cola's Fanta brand. However the brand has a good following in the rural areas especially in Maharshatra, to keep the brand alive, Gold Spot is sold as a soda in these markets.
The Los Angeles based band Goldspot is named after this fuzzy drink. According to one of the interviews with Siddhartha Khosla (the core member of band), Goldspot was very popular back in India at the time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Masa Bajc - Fine Art Photographer

Artist: Masa Bajc from the series Encounters

Miss Bajc explains a little about this photograph that she produced: "well, to say something about it is a bigger problem. I saw the moon, loved the air and was inspired to bring the mattress out. I remember some important football game was on, so my boyfriend wouldn't help me bring it out. I wondered how it would be sleeping in it, or just sharing it with someone, but never tried it out in reality. It was one of those encounters." - via facebook, NYC-Croatia-NYC

Monday, July 6, 2009

A note on India Budget 2009

Source: TOI

Saturday, July 4, 2009

WhiteWall Magazine - Contemporary Art & Luxury Magazine

With its unusual size & striking imagery, WhiteWall Magazine, a unique quarterly publication from Sky Art Media, Inc promises to set new standards for high-end luxury publications. The magazine aims to go beyond the stark white walls of the art gallery to reveal the personalities that shape the art world. puts its readers in direct contact with experts in the contemporary art market, art advisory, emerging markets, art law, and luxury lifestyle. Through daily coverage of openings, international fairs, product launches, artist interview, auctions, and more, readers get the advice and information needed to master the art of collecting.

Gabriel Alegria - The Afro-Peruvian Band

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The NewsMarket

The NewsMarket uses the Web to deliver free, broadcast-standard video directly to the desktops of journalists and bloggers around the world, 24/7/365. The NewsMarket serves over 25,000 media organizations in 190 countries.

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प्रिंट मीडिया इन इंडिया (Print Media In India)

Source: BBC World News
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