ARTS TRIBUNE Friday, November 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India
 


A sculptor with a difference
Ambika Sharma
N
ATURE has bestowed an artist with bountiful ideas which find varied expressions. It takes the form of a painting for a painter, a well-chiselled figure for a sculptor or a beautifully clicked picture for a photographer.

SIGHT & SOUND

And now for some sleaze on television
Amita Malik
S
TRANGE indeed are the ways of ratings-chasers and even more their hurry to distance themselves from Indian reality. Because even with Indians, the familiar phrase "craze for phoren" (I think first coined by V.S. Naipaul) has its limits. First we had the series "Survivors", hyped to high heaven.
 

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A sculptor with a difference
Ambika Sharma

NATURE has bestowed an artist with bountiful ideas which find varied expressions. It takes the form of a painting for a painter, a well-chiselled figure for a sculptor or a beautifully clicked picture for a photographer.

Kavita Ghai is one such artist who has drawn immense inspiration from nature. Born and brought up at a small hill station Dharampur, near Kasauli, situated in the lower Shivaliks, she grew up observing nature its different hues and forms which later on took the shape of fascination and inspiration.

She has been working with a wide range of materials, including fibre glass, paper mache, wax, clay, glass and wood, and asserts that she is open to any material which can aptly express her ideas. She believes sculpture takes in an extraordinary array of materials, ideas and disciplines and has ever-expanding parameters.

"Capturing Moments," one of her initial works, depicting drops, is a creation in metal, wire mesh and sand. She has tried to capture those moments which are momentary, but precious, portrayed by the golden colour. The mesh is used to trap the impossible which symbolically depicts the power to hold, and the sand where the drops fall are a part of the installation.

Yet another creation, "Frozen Moments," is in the form of an icicle, which is an attempt in silver colour portraying the short-lived cherished moments which escape with time. "Whirlpool" in blue colour was her first experiment with colour where the uncertainty and turmoil of life found a vent.

Water, with its ever-changing hues, various moments, sometimes calm depicting acceptability, yet always flowing ripples creating crests and troughs symbolising hope and uncertainty always brought ideas for her creations, explains Kavita. The Kumbh Mela was a unique experience where sacredness of the river and the large number of boats inspired her to create a new series — the river. What caught her attention was not just the flow of water, but the journey depicted by boats. The boats required an extra effort to move just like life which has its own dreams and aims to be achieved, she stated while explaining the idea behind this work.

She has also worked with paraffin wax. She states that dreams charm us for a while and wither away with the opening of the eyes. This expression was best portrayed by the wax forms like peaks, flowers, a labyrinth, strings of different colour etc in paper pulp boats. While signifying the brevity of dream, she has explored different colours in expressing her ideas.

Her keen interest in drawing and collage-making in school inspired her to take up sculpture as specialisation in the Government College for Arts, Chandigarh. She has also worked with driftwood, modeling resin and glass fibre with it. She states that she finds a special enjoyment in creating a large-scale sculpture, especially as it interacts with space, light and topography. It is a great challenge to work on the large-sized form of a hanging icicle, she adds.

She describes her one-year stay at the Kanoria Centre for Arts, Ahmedabad, as a versatile experience where she got an opportunity to interact with a variety of artists from India and abroad. She has exhibited her works at a group show in Chandigarh as well as a solo show at Herwitz Gallery in Ahmedabad, besides attending a number of workshops. She was awarded a merit certificate at the Avantika all-India exhibition, besides receiving another award at the all-India sculpture exhibition held by the Language and Culture Department, Shimla. She receives the national scholarship instituted by the Department of Human Resources, New Delhi.

Continuing her work on the same series of boats, she is now trying to portray her thoughts using maps depicting a journey. She explains that she is making her work interactive by working with children who, she believes, have original ideas which often get suppressed. Creativity is naturally imbibed in the children and she tries to evoke this expression in them. She firmly believes that the journey towards creating a work of art is an meaningful and important as the final form.

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SIGHT & SOUND
And now for some sleaze on television
Amita Malik

STRANGE indeed are the ways of ratings-chasers and even more their hurry to distance themselves from Indian reality. Because even with Indians, the familiar phrase "craze for phoren" (I think first coined by V.S. Naipaul) has its limits. First we had the series "Survivors", hyped to high heaven. Why it should interest Indians about how an assorted group of whites, with a black thrown in here and there, survive when cut off from the rest of humanity, is certainly beyond me, although Indian versions are being discussed. And now comes "Temptation Island". If Sushma Swaraj got agitated about daring and baring on the Fashion Channel she had better have a look at "Temptation Island". Because it can truly be said for once the old, old accusation that satellite channels have made an assault on Indian culture or that they are introducing alien values has it handed to them on a plate.

I have seen the promos and the first instalment of the serial and, speaking for myself, I find it a bore because the basic idea of throwing four couples (all have "been together" and not necessarily married) in the company of 16 sexy single persons and watching whether they get tempted or not to commit adultery or whatever adds neither to my entertainment nor my knowledge of human behaviour. I frankly couldn’t care less and the skimpy clothes and physical jerks bore me even more. "Baywatch" is much more photogenic and much more fun. One has to switch on any South Indian Channel and some Hindi ones after midnight, and one can see the same in even cruder form and admittedly with less beautiful bodies. What I cannot understand is why "Temptation Island" should be thrust on Indian viewers except to treat them to some sexy close-ups and encourage them to emulate the silly experience, off or on screen (some Indian Channel might still jump at a desi version, this one is said to be sanitised). At least "Kaun Banega Crorepati" had already been successful in many parts of the world and Amitabh Bachchan made it click in India. I cannot think of a single good reason why anyone should be in such a hurry to import "Temptation Island" to India. I have been having a long look at the India-made TV programmes which are still running on Indian channels and which have stood the test of time. They are a very accurate index of what Indian viewers like and they are certainly not removed from Indian values. This is with reference to entertainment and proves that TV channels need not run on soaps, sports and politics alone. There are very good films, including classics such as "Anarkali", and more recent films inside the time limit after public release, to offer cinema fans of all age groups a wide choice of feature films. You can get them on Star Gold, Sony Max, B4U, Star Plus, Zee and most other channels like Sahara. And for those interested in syrupy soaps, while the "saas-bahu" syndrome continues to flourish, new ideas are constantly being offered, as with the flood of new soaps on Zee. No one can complain of lack of choice.

However, what fascinated me more in my run through of programme schedules, was the cheering manner in which old favourites continue to occupy centre stage, sometimes having travelled from Doordarshan, where they originated in its more public service days, to newer satellite channels. How does one account for the successful revival of serials like "Buniyaad", "Nukkad", "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi", "Udaan", "Shanti" and even of non-soaps like "Bharat ek Khoj", "Sword of Tipu Sultan" or the survival of more recent adventure and other serials like "Sea Hawks", several detective thrillers like "C.I.D." or the popularity of a series like "Ji Mantriji", which shattered a myth about imported ideas and proved that even a BBC serial in English could be skilfully adapted to an Indian setting.

I have been reviewing films for even longer than I have been reviewing television and would like to repeat an old theory of mine. That the movie moghuls have always underestimated the intelligence and good taste of Indian filmgoers and, under the guise of giving them what they want, have given them what they feel is good for them and their box office. The success of earlier films like "Mirza Ghalib" and even more recently "Lagaan", has exploded that myth. And now the TV moghuls are making the same selfish mistake. So I’d like to say a loud "boo" to "Temptation Island" and hope other Indian viewers will do the same.

 


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