Frozen frames

The camera was not so feared and shunned as an instrument that could ‘fix’ you, when photography first came to British India in the second half of the 19th century. In those early decades of the dalliance with film, ‘photo-opportunity’ was literally that. Many were the individuals, families and groups that enthusiastically presented themselves to have their images ‘fixed’, for being viewed and admired. In her book Re-visioning the Past: Early Photography in Bengal 1875-1915, Malavika Karlekar presents a rich selection of rare archival photographs from this period. The photos and text, mapping the changes of a Bengal in ferment, trace the history of colonialism and the growth of the urban middle class. This visual treatise is also the story of photography’s role in the emergence of identity, and transformations, amid the conflicts between the coloniser and the colonised. Excerpts:
TH the spread of education, growth of photographic establishments, and the import of albums, families started creating visual records, taking care to have all the rites of passage represented.

Golden era’s melody man
Gifted with a rich sonorous voice, Pankaj Mullick has left his imprint on both film and non-film music. Pran Neville remembers this musical genius in his centenary year
Pankaj Mullick, a great musical genius of the 20th century is ever remembered as the outstanding composer and singer of the golden era of New Theatres, Kolkata, in the 1930s and ’40s.

Epic play
The back-to-roots movement in theatre has directors turning to myths for inspiration, reports Chaman Ahuja
"Another Mahabharata play? My goodness, is this Bharat Rang Mahotsava or Mahabharata Rang Mahotsava?" Thus cribbed a fellow critic—and he had a reason, too: Bharangam VII had as many as 10 plays based on the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Did this popularity of the twin epics signify our love for the glory that was Ind? Not exactly, because reinterpreting myths in the light of one’s own experiences has been the way of every culture.

Spell of city on the Nile
Sujoy Dhar recounts his Cairo visit and the ambience of an ancient civilisation
When I saw glimpses of Cairo in The Great Gambler and action involving Big B and his leading ladies, I knew I had to visit this city some day. The awesome Pyramids, enchanting Nile, mind-boggling museums and roadside sheesha joints make it a vibrant city.

Heroic Heroines
Women of the Hindi cinema have excelled in defiant roles, says M.L. Dhawan
It is only now that leading women in the Hindi film world have started commanding an equal price with the male leads and also a super star status that travelled from Madhuri Dixit to Aishwarya Rai.

Abrupt fadeouts
A documentary by a Hong Kong-based Indian filmmaker delves into the plight of one-hit wonders, writes Saibal Chatterjee
Call it an accidental documentary if you will, but the inspiration for Hong Kong-based Indian filmmaker Komal Tolani’s directorial debut, Sunset Bollywood, did come to her in a flash.

Web of beauty
Beautiful, an elite online members’ club, based in Denmark has launched a new online forum in Britain with the aim of introducing beautiful people to other beautiful people. The site is likely to be launched in India in June.

New York toasts Bollywood
With a growing overseas audience, Indian films are becoming a hot favourite in the US. Awards functions have also moved base to cater to this growing popularity .


Television: Big Fight

garden life: Fit for a queen
by Kiran Narain

Food Talk: Stuffed bonanza
by Pushpesh Pant

CONSUMER RIGHTS: Play your cards well
by Pushpa Girimaji

Art & soul: Critical factor
by B.N. Goswamy

ULTA PULTA: Nose job
by Jaspal Bhatti

by David Bird


Philosopher’s soul
Roopinder Singh meets Ramchandra Gandhi and reviews his latest book, which reminds him of Philosophy Society meetings with the author.
Muniya’s Light: A Narrative of Truth and Myth
by Ramchandra Gandhi.
IndiaInk/Roli Books. Pages 248. Rs 350.

The seeds of discord
Meeta Rajivlochan
Identity and religion: Foundations of Anti-Islamism in India
by Amalendu Misra.
Sage Publications, New Delhi. Pages 262. Rs 295.

A large slice of cheer
Manju Jaidka
Piece of Cake
by Swati Kaushal, Penguin. Pages 367. Rs 250

Deep down, it’s brilliant
Gagandep Singh Ghuman
Along the Ganga: To the Inner Shores of India
by Ilija Trojanow. Translated by Ranjit Hoskote. Penguin. Pages: 184. Rs 250.

Doctor on your bookshelf
Jaswant Singh
A Compendium of Family Health
by Dr Ishrat Syed and Dr Kalpana Swaminathan.
Rupa & Co, New Delhi. Pages 843. Price 395.

Charismatic leader or ruthless zealot?
Gayatri Rajwade
Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare
by Philip Short. John Murray.
Pages 656. £12.99

Punjabi Review
Valley’s Sikh connection
Dalbir Singh
Kashmir Laee Qurbani
by Himmat Singh, Akali Kaur Singh Trust, Patiala. Pages 458. Rs 900

A mirror for mad times
Boyd Tonkin

Troubled Tennessee’s Sad Song
Andrew Buncombe

Short Takes
Making of a go-getter
Randeep Wadehra
Agony and Ecstasy
by T.R. Kakkar. Siddharth Publications. Pages: 196. Rs 250

How to be a High Performance Manager
by Rajesh Chadha, Unistar, Chandigarh. Pages: 151. Rs 125.

The Feminist Sensibility in the Novels of Thomas Hardy
by Manjit Kaur. Sarup and Sons. Pages: ii + 147. Rs 300.