Thursday, June 30, 2011


THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE AIR is a short film about many things – about longing and transgression, and fairies and djinns, to list a few. The mode of investigation is personal, and expression is non-ethnographic. The film blends documentary and fiction tropes to weave a narrative that is based on ‘hearsay’. There are no experts here, and no eyewitnesses. The narrators could also be unreliable.

The film begins with a psychiatric clinic, but the drama largely takes place in dream-scapes, and at a medieval Sufi shrine in Badayun (Uttar Pradesh, north India). It brings together accounts of women who claim to be ‘afflicted’ by something in the air – be it a spirit, demon, ghost, or djinn. In popular parlance, the condition is termed ‘hawai marz’ or ‘affliction of air’, while ‘hawa lag jana’ implies ‘a vagrant influence’… the documentary lies at the confluence of such influences and strange afflictions of air.

There Is Something In The Air, while being a film about women, who claim to be spiritually possessed, who would possibly be clinically mentally ill, is not a description of ‘insanity’… in fact it is a film that aims to make one think of the ‘possibilities’ of insanity… what does insanity allow?

The documentary escapes the biographical; it stars Muslim women, without labeling them so. It brings together accounts of insane, lunatic, mad, unapologetic women – who perhaps have ‘chosen’ to be so. Insanity can be acquired. One only needs to long enough… Longing for something, someplace that is evasive. The film is about women who want to bridge the distance between what is lived and what is desired, between what is experienced and what is longed for. The film searches for a language of this ‘longing’.

The shrine assumes the role of a hospital and a court of law. ‘Patient – petitioners’ come from all over the country and each ‘case’ is heard in the dead Saint’s ‘Court’ – twice a day. Sometimes it takes years before a patient is healed – if at all. The process begins with patients writing a ‘petition’ with the help of care-takers of the shrine, and putting in an ‘appearance’ before the Saint. The ‘patient – petitioners’ live in and around the shrine, making ‘appearances’ in the Court of the Saint everyday. They don’t need lawyers, witnesses or a body of proof. The truth claim of their speech-act under possession is unquestioned.

The film should not be read as a documentation of processes of alternate healing at a non- Wahabi, Sufi shrine in South Asia because there are no ‘native informants’ here. The film does not provide direct answers, illustrations, or explanations. It functions in the realm of fantasy, and poses questions to the ‘real’. This documentary is not a mere illustration of a cause-effect relationship between the pedagogic project of religion and the freedoms of transgressions through insanity. It looks at the ‘state of madness’ through other prisms besides those of health, women’s rights, affirmative action etc. It takes into account love, longing, desire, agency, and negotiation.


BOLLYWOOD POSTERS | A dead art form

Bollywood previously employed over three hundred local artists to paint temporary art for the cinema. Now only one remains. Here is their story.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WALLPAPER* Magazine | India Edition

Wallpaper* magazine shifted HQ to Mumbai and Delhi with one goal: to produce as true a portrait as possible of the most eye-popping, synapse-snapping, pulse-pushing place on the planet.

Checkout behind the scenes of the photo shoot by contemporary photographer - Bharat Sikka.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In Plato's Cave | Alternative Photography Workshop, Delhi

A project collaboration of Goa-CAP and Lucida, curated by Vidisha Saini.

In Plato’s Cave is a week-long confluence of ideas on photography, engaging the participants in dialogue and debate through workshops, seminars and exhibitions. The focus of this edition is to revive and revisit practice of alternative processes of photography, in India.

Week-long workshops that are a combination of photography using the camera as well as cam
era-less techniques. Talks, presentations and other activities around history of photography and contemporary practices are planned.

Download Event Schedule:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

OUT OF PRINT | Indie Webzine

Out of Print is an online platform for writers of short fiction with a connection to the Indian subcontinent. The traditions of story-telling layer their collective contemporary voice. If you would like to share your stories visit --

Monday, June 6, 2011

Paris-Delhi-Bombay | Contemporary Indian Art at Centre Pompidou

Paris-Delhi-Bombay is an exciting show on contemporary India, up at the Centre Pompidou in Paris until September 19th. The exhibition explores contemporary India through the eyes of both Indian and French artists.

Paris - Delhi - Bombay... by centrepompidou

Friday, June 3, 2011

POOL | Indie Indi Design Magazine

POOL is India's monthly design magazine which aims to inspire via innovative approaches in never-seen-before Design/Innovation/Creative features.

Get access to Pool's first Anniversary Issue here!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hand Painted Type | Indian Typography Project

HandpaintedType is a project that is dedicated to preserving the typographic practice of street painters around India. These painters, with the advent of local DTP (Desktop Publishers) shops, are rapidly going out of business with many of them switching to the quicker, cheaper but uglier vinyls. Many painters have given up their practice altogether.

The project involves documenting the typefaces of road side painters across India and digitizing it so that it serves as a resource for present and future generations.

HandpaintedType is a collaborative project. If you’d like to contribute or collaborate, please get in touch.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Videokaaran | Indie Movie

Videokaaran ( 73 mins )

Dir- Jagannathan Krishnan
Edit- Pallavi Singhal
Sound- Jayadevan Chakkadath

Cinema can help you better your life, film stars can give you moral
and spiritual messages that can uplift you. Sagai believes this. Sagai
is a film buff and his idol is South Indian Superstar Rajnikanth.
He grew up watching films in a semi legal video parlor in the mumbai
slums. When he came of age he started working in the same place as did
his father before him. The video theatre no longer exists. In a
charming, eloquent and often politically incorrect street speak, he
shares the story of his video theatre alongside his trip with films.

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