Posts Tagged ‘review’

Magnum ke Tasveer: Exhibition of Hollywood Photographs

December 23, 2010

My friend Vishwas and I went to see an exhibition of Hollywood photographs at

Tasveer Art Gallery

I enjoyed the photographs on several levels. The first reaction, of course, was to the technical excellence of the photographs themselves. In the era of black-and-white photography, when photography was a cumbersome and tedious process, these photographers have yet produced such gems! Portraiture, to me, is one area where black-and-white photography still holds its own against colour.

Portraying people noted for their looks, as well as their talent, can hold its own challenges. Which aspect would you highlight as a photographer? Some photographs, such as that of Ingrid Bergman, focus on the beautiful lines of her face and neck; it’s the physical beauty that is captured. Others, such as the photograph of Alfred Hitchcock, with a bird settling on his trade-mark cigar, touch with a sense of sardonic humour on the film, or the talent, of the subject. There was one very memorable photograph of

Satyajit Ray

his kurta soaked in the perspiration of a humid Kolkata afternoon, directing his cameraman, the equally famous

Subrata Mitra

I was also impressed by the range and scope of the collection itself, and the hard work that must have gone into gathering the various negatives. Perhaps this is what justifies the astronomical prices (ranging from Rs. One to Two Lakhs, and above!) that are being charged. Well, thankfully for impecunious visitors like me, we can see the photographs for free, at least for a while!

Seeing the photographs also set in train many thoughts about the nature of physical beauty. The camera captures what will be lost later; that smooth skin will wrinkle, that thick mane of hair will wither away….Anno Domini will take its toll, and the beauty of the photograph will be the hagged crone of today’s reality. Why, I wonder, are the most fleeting things the most satisfactory? In some things we respect the majesty that longevity brings, but not when it comes to human beauty. We worship youth…we don’t accord enough respect to Age, it seems.

This was exemplified by one photograph of a white-haired Charlie Chaplin, directing a movie….I would never have recognized him, which means that only the photographs of his younger days are familiar ones.

Another aspect of the photographs was the bulk of the photographic equipment in them. In that photo of Charlie Chaplin, the giant dimensions of the movie camera bring out, starkly, how much miniaturization has occured in a short period of time. The ordinary photographer, taking a quick video of a street scene on his mobile camera, cannot imagine the kind of clunky equipment it took to make a silent movie of the 20′s! The march of technology for the common man is truly amazing.

Nice to visit an exhibition which elicits so many reactions! Thank you, Tasveer!

Ranga Shankara once again….

June 6, 2008

Went to a great play (well, a series of narrative dramatizations actually) at Ranga Shankara this evening, it was very enjoyable and the review is at

and meanwhile, here, in MUO (My Umble Opinion, hah, gotcha there, you thought I would say IMHO, didn’t you?), is the most beautiful Hollywood actress I have seen…..this poster is up at Ranga Shankara, and I could not resist this beauty….

I could look at her forever….

Lilies and The Stronger at Ranga Shankara

June 1, 2008

I enjoyed writing these reviews…!

Good to see….

April 30, 2008

A debate…

April 13, 2008

shortindiangirl and I were having this raging debate about what journalism should be. We took the example of the two articles on birdwatching. Some background is required.

adarshraju had explained that actually, the Economic Times reporter had wanted to do only a general article on how people working in the IT sector de-stress with birdwatching; the article ought to have come out the day previous to the Lalbagh walk. When he told her about the proposed walk, she said she would come on the walk, but could not, and then talked to four people who had come for the walk, who were in the IT sector, and wrote the article, and chose some of my photographs to illustrate the article. This is a valid point…however, since the article was set in the Lalbagh walk, which she didn’t attend, I felt that her focus was not factual.

For the other article, in “Mint”, the writer had talked to all of us (I don’t know about the others, but she talked to me on the phone) and wrote the article, which had a general focus. But the photography for this article was not done while really following birders on an outing…it was staged, posed and shot. For example, the photographer shot us standing at the shore of the Lalbagh water body and looking away from the birds, which is something no real birder would do.

I also mentioned plays and concerts where reporters write reviews after attending part of the performances.

I said that such things were a breach of integrity in the reporting; I feel that if a journalist is reporting on an actual locale/event, s/he should actually attend. If a professional reporter cannot stay for the programme, the newspapers today can easily get freelance writers who are genuinely interested in the event, and will write knowledgeably about it after attending it in its entirety.

But SIG feels that a journalist can take artistic licence with the reporting, and can indulge in imagination and creativity. S/he is not constrained to stick to the facts or be present at the locale.

Her point of view is still unacceptable to me, but it is interesting and I am thinking about it.

I still feel, though, that when actual events have to be described, such artistic licence cannot be taken. A reviewer may give hes opinion of the play/concert…but the facts ,such as the plot of the play, the cast and crew, the songs sung in the concert, the names of the artistes…these must be factually correct and the reporter should have been present there, and be knowledgeable about what s/he is reviewing..otherwise, the review or the article will lack credibility.

So what do you think about this? Can a reporter take artistic licence with a factual report or review, to hold a reader’s interest or any other reason?

Ranga Shankara Play Review

April 3, 2008

I realize that I hardly ever give my Metblog posts URL’s here…well, here’s a review *I* think I wrote well…

Review of “Swayamvaraloka”

September 12, 2007

The Photographer…and The Singer

September 11, 2007

Got this snap of a craftsman receiving some help to fine-tune his “instrument”….

the photographer

This was at H N Kalakshetra, which has been a hub for Kannada theatre. This was the first time I have visited the hall, and it had excellent acoustics…And the Kannada play was very good, too. This…how shall I put it, *authentic* Kannada theatre, and the ambience was very different from that of Ranga Shankara,somehow…

Will either be writing the review for the Bangalore Mirror, or more likely, posting it to Metroblogs, which will not make me constipate the report into 300 words…

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of my friend who was the reason why I went to the Kannada play…she has a golden liquid-honey voice (apart from looking like that) and was one of the lead background singers in the play, though all the singers sat in plain view throughout the play.

One of the singers, Swayamvaraloka

She was as well worth watching as the play was….

Superb concert at Odukathur Mutt yesterday…review on Metroblogs

August 21, 2007

My review and details about Sri Guruvayurappan Bhajana Samaj Trust are at

It’s not often that one gets to listen to such excellent music, where all the elements come together…

A big thank you to my dear friend Sita, who took me along….!

Review of a review

August 20, 2007

Yesterday, we went to a north Indian classical concert, sponsored by a city newspaper. Two artistes, an instrumentalist and a vocalist, were featured.

The program started about 20 minutes late.

The instrumentalist presented a polished, superb performance. At the audience’s request, he played another piece which was just as good.

The vocalist was eagerly awaited, but the ten-minute break took 30 minutes, and then the vocalist spent another 15 minutes tuning up the surbahar, which north Indian vocalists strum while singing.

The vocalist was the one who inspired my last post about artistes who should realize when they are past their prime. Amazingly–because north Indian music rarely goes off key– the vocalist went off key several times, the voice was trembling and lacked melody and timbre.. several members of the audience, including ourselves, walked out as the music grated on our ears.

So….this morning I opened the newspaper…and saw the review.

The vocalist was praised in such fulsome terms that it was staggering. How could the reviewer not know when the pitch had strayed? “There was not a flat note in the entire concert”, the review said. Opinions can differ..but a false note is an objective thing…surely, the newspaper sponsoring the concert could not change the facts?

But still, on that issue, I felt that perhaps the reviewer and I had different opinions, which each of us were entitled to. The shocking thing was..that the instrumentalist, one of the two artistes featured in the program…was not mentioned AT ALL.

And even in that laudatory review, the name of one of the disciples of the vocalist was given wrongly.

How can a reviewer, a journalist, do such a thing?

My opinion of the newspaper, and its reporting, has gone down a (further) notch…

This is also because of the editorial today, and that’s another post…and it will also be a letter to the newspaper.