Friday, April 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


DM orders filing of FIR against Dadri MC engineer
Parmindar Singh

Noida, April 11
District Magistrate Deepak Kumar ordered an FIR to be filed against an Engineer of the Dadri Nagar Palika for having ignored his orders and neglecting the development work today. The order came after the Tehsil day held here there on Wednesday in which 49 complaints were received and 18 of them resolved on the spot.

Maximum complaints were concerning the Nagar Palika Parishad, Dadri, but, interestingly, no officer of the Nagar Palika was present on the Tehsil day. This had infuriated the DM. In spite of repeated orders to construct a road behind the Dadri Tehsil complex, the engineer had neglected them. Angered at this, the DM ordered that an FIR be lodged against him.

On the Tehsil day, six complaints were about the Consolidation Department, three against power, two against irrigation and one each against the police, health and water works departments. Mr Deepak Kumar said a total of 988 complaints have been received from Dadri Tehsil out of which 957 had been settled so far. A complaint was made in the presence of the DM that the complaint official was not recording the complaints faithfully and was throwing many petitions in the dustbin. As a result, several grievances continued to remain unresolved.

Mr Maharaj Singh of Kote village said despite making complaints five times, nothing had been done about the power cables that pass over his house. Sohan Lal, Tara Chand Khatan, Dharamveer Pradhan, Bhopal Singh, Ramesh and Barinder were some of the other persons who told the DM that their complaints had also not been registered properly.


Court orders arrest of cop

A notice for the contempt of court has been issued against the inspector incharge, Sihani Gate police station, Ghaziabad. He had incurred the wrath of court by his failure to execute the summons for witnesses in a 12-year-old murder case. 

The Additional District and Session Judge, Ms Sadhna Choudhry, has asked the SSP Ghaziabad, in a written order to arrest the Garh inspector while hearing a case of dacoity that took place in 2000. The Hapur and Sakheda police (Bagpet) had arrested eight persons in connection with the dacoity that took place in Garh police station area in 2000. OC


This ‘new media’ man heals through colours
Rana A Siddiqui

New media is the buzzword these days. While for the young generation, it’s time to try their hand at something new, for the senior artists, it is a discovery served in platter. But, there is always a distance between the lip and cup. Yet, a breed of young generation has erased this demarcation. Pankaj Verma, a young, energetic artist of 25 summers belongs to this category.

Verma’s digital paintings, ‘Digital rendezvous’ (exhibition on view at Panjab Sahit Sabha, New Delhi till April 19) is an experiment with the new media, ie, paintings effectuated through various computerised techniques like filters, blending modes, paint brush, air brush, magic wand and so on. “I used new media as I saw that only a few people are aware of it in India while in Europe and America, it is very popular medium of painting. I wanted to tell young artists that it is something very exciting they can work on. Moreover, when I started working on it three years back, I realised that the splendid impression that they spell, was not possible to have through handmade paintings,” he reasons.

It is only when you see his paintings in close proximity, you could realise that they are not handmade yet they emit the brightness and reality of oil and water colour, crayons and mix media. “I fuse different tools of techniques like smudge, blur, burn, dodge, hue and history brush, to produce such effects. It took me two years to come out with the impression I wanted,” says this young astrologer and consultant, who also creates ‘astro-paintings’, according to the horoscope of his clients. “I call it healing through colour. A person’s horoscope has different planets of different colours. I give my client paintings of the colour that suits his planet most, ” he informs.

Verma seems to be in love with women and animals, as also all his forms enjoy each bit of life, celebrating it with liberal doses of all possible mix of bright shades. He admits coyly, “I believe that a woman plays the most important role in your life in different relationships.

In fact, she adds the much-needed charm and support in most colourful way. Similarly, animals are part of natural equilibrium. Life cannot exist without either of them. Hence, they find a prominent mention in my paintings.”

Verma uses bright shades to repel the negative effect in life around. “Bright shades suck energy from the environs around you and fill you with the power and optimism. It creates a positive approach in your life,” he philosophises.

Close to an abstract form of art, most of his paintings are untitled. “Initially, I rendered titles to them. But soon I realised that titles always confused the spectator. They would not understand it through them.

Hence, in order to leave the decision onto them, I left them untitled this time. Though most of my paintings are titled,” he clarifies.

Verma, who has to his credit a few solo exhibitions and various media acclaim, plans to “keep experimenting with the new media and heal people through colourful way.”

Book for art lovers

The lovers of art, dance and literature have reasons to create a space in their bookshelf for Alka Raghuvanshi, an art writer and curator. She has come out with ‘Pathfinders — artistes of one world’, her fourth book on the subject. Published by Wisdom Tree, the book was recently launched by the director of the British Council in New Delhi.

The book is a collection of interviews with 20 world famous artistes, dancers, writers and poets from Pakistan, Britain, France, the United States, Germany and India. It features luminaries like Malika Pukhraj, Ghulam Sabir, Singh Bandhu Marcel Mareau, Manjit Bawa, Radha and Raja Reddy among others.



A captivating concert

Music has no language, goes the popular saying. It was also proved through the first-ever concert of violin and piano by the leading duo of Russia’s Bolshoi theatre, Alaxander Kalashov and Valentina Igoshina.

In the programme organised by the Russian Centre of Science and Culture at the Taj Palace Hotel recently, the duo showed a wonderful chemistry presenting some famous creations. For example, noted composer Tehaikovsky P’s two violin solo and dance from the well-known ballet ‘Swan Lake’, Piazzola’s ‘The Great Tango’, Kreisler Fr.’s two waltz ‘The joy of love’ and ‘Pretty Rosemary Plant’ and so on and so forth.

A 45-year-old Kalshov, better known as the ‘artist of the orchestra’ who has many world reputed conductors as his partners, is a teacher of 24-year-old Valentina, who received her first laureate in 1997 at the International Rakhmaninov Competition in Moscow. “I met Valentina at a school where I was a teacher. When I saw her in Rakhmaninov competition, I was very impressed with her talent. Hence, I decided to combine her talent with mine to come out with something different,” says Kalashov. Kalashov, not much aware with Indian instruments, however, loves sitar. “I would like to play sitar because its strings give out sonorous tunes. I saw one artist playing the same in a concert in India and was overwhelmed,” he recalls. Though Valentina remembers a few Indian musical maestros in Moscow. “Great classical Indian maestro are not much known to the masses there,” she says. Though a first-timer in India, she preferred speaking about Indian jewellery, colourful attires and “smiles that people always wear here”.

Rana A Siddiqui


Girish Karnad sets audience a-thinking

Last week, Shakespeare’s Hamlet was in town. Although, in part and with a different look altogether — as a half-human and half-horse, i.e. Hayvadan and it surprised many with its contemporary relevance of ‘to be or not to be’ psyche. ‘Hayvadan’, a famous play by playwright, actor and director Girish Karnad, displayed the ever-indecisive nature of an impulsive human being and his quest for completeness. Satyabrata Rout, an alumnus of National School of Drama and a Chhau exponent brought the play to the Delhi audience.

This play was staged in Delhi only once 20 years ago. Rout staged it at the Shri Ram Centre as a part of NSD’s recently concluded theatre festival, ‘Bharat Rang Mahotsava.’

The play is a story of a charming, garrulous young woman (Padmini) married to an intellectual man (Devdutt) but attracted towards his rough and tough, childhood friend (Kapil). Devdutt loves both. Hence, avoids reacting against them. But, unable to bear the pain meted out by his loved ones, he beheads himself before Goddess Durga. He owes the sacrifice to his long overdue promise made to the Goddess to do so if he marries to Padmini.

A shell-shocked Kapil also beheads himself out of repentance. A grieved Padmini prays to the Goddess Durga to do the justice to her. The Goddess appears and asks her to join their heads. Padmini joins them with a difference in that in sheer confusion, she joins Dev’s head on Kapil’s body and vice versa.

Now alive, but with different bodies, both men stake their claim on Padmini as her husband. But, going by the ‘veda’s theory — a mann’s head is the most determining limb of his body, Padmini decides to go with the man having Kapil’s body but Dev’s head. Both live a happy life but not for long span of time. Dev, tired with Kapil’s strong and active body, finally reverts to his original form — a reading, thinking man with no inclination for excursions, exercise and playful activities. On the other side, Kapil tired of Dev’s lean and thin structure, faces countless physical problems but is guided by his head to make his body strong and succeeds. Padmini searches for Kapil and finally finds him in a jungle. She is now the mother of Kapil’s child — a fact she does not share with her husband. Dev tries to search for her and finds him in Kapill’s company. Finally, he makes Kapil ooze out that he always loved his wife. They both decide to do a ‘Dwand Yudh’— the winner shall take Padmini along. But both kill each other in the process leaving Padmini alone. Not actually repenting, she questions, why she was not allowed by the society to live with both of them? For, she never felt complete with either of them.

In the original play, however, Padmini gets ‘sati’ with both of them. “I have made many changes in the play,” admits Rout. “I wanted the play to come closer to reality of the contemporary world. A woman can love two men at a time for different reasons. I wanted to know if Draupadi was allowed to live with five men at a time, why not an ordinary woman?” he asks.

If he wanted to project today’s woman, why he chose a mythical play? “To show the complexity of the character of a woman. If I had not made this mythical play a base, it would have been a weak, mundane story of a woman in a confused state of mind. To show that a search for the completeness is not new, in fact, it is as old as the humanity itself, I wanted a strong base that I found in the play,” he reasons. Myth helps you understand reality better, he adds.

Rout’s Hayvadan also cuts short the title character’s role, an answer to Hayvadan’s half-human half-horse dilemma, otherwise solved in the play. Unlike in the original play where Goddess Durga herself joins heads, Padmini does the job on Goddess’ instruction. But she commits error knowingly. To end her search for completeness, she joins Dev’s head on Kapil’s body.

A wonderfully presented play, though at times stretched too far, had all elements to appease a thinking mind. Lokesh Jain as Kapil, Rout himself as Devdutt and Devyani Chakravorty as Padmini were in a befitting roles while Rajan as Hayvadan had a little talent to display. Music by B V Karanth an apt stage backdrop proved to be an added charm to the play.

Rana A Siddiqui


Mrinal hitches her wagon to a star
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, April 11
At first sight, she appears to be nothing more than the girl next door, but her achievements belie this maiden impression. She is a promising face on the small screen. Right now, this 23-year-old fashion designer-turned actress, Mrinal Deshraj, is busy acting in two big serials of Star Plus, ‘Sanjeevani’ and ‘Dil Main Dard Hota Hain’.

She says that she always wanted to become a fashion designer but destiny had something entirely different for her. “I did my designing course from NIFT (Delhi) in 1995. At the same time, I got a B.Com. degree. After completing my studies, I came in contact with some persons active in theatre. They were looking for a girl to act in their play. I just took a chance and played an important role in that play, ‘Insaaf Ka Tarajoo’. I gained the elementary knowledge of acting from my friends of National School of Drama. My only aim was to become an actress. I got a number of offers from DD-1.

“Later, I shifted my base to Mumbai but did not know a single person there. Then I went to Prithvi Theatre and joined their workshops. I learned a lot from Satyadev Dube, a big name in the field of theatre. Here, I got a documentary, which was being made by BBC and was based on the life of struggling actresses. In those days, I met Nadira Babbar’s group. I joined it and did a play, `Yahudi Ki Ladaki’. I also joined Jaya Bachchan’s group. There, I did a play produced by Kamlesh Talwar and sponsored by Sanjay Guradia. It was a major breakthrough for me.

“After that, I got many small roles in a number of serials like ‘Indian’ for SAB TV, `Swarg’ for DD-1, `Khoj’ for DD-1, `I love you’ for Sony, `Mere Angane Main’ for Sony, `Thori See Bewafai’ for Sony, `Jai Mata Di’ for DD-1, `Saka Lak Boom Boom’ for DD-1, ‘Chingari’ for Zee TV, `Churian’ for Sony, ‘Apnapan’ for Sahara TV, `Chandan Ka Paalana’ and ‘Resham Ke Dori’ for Zee TV, and ‘Chandpur Ki Azab Dastaan’ for ETV, to name a few.”

She says that her ambition is to play aggressive and angry characters and roles of strong women, roles in which she could show her talent.

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