Profiles
Who's Your Papa CJ?

Who’s Your Papa CJ?

FIRST, THE warm-up. The MC comes on and introduces the opening act. The comedy crowd in Delhi takes the conventions of stand-up seriously. As many as six open mike nights a week, lots of professional shows and a great ton of interest — stand-up is hot right now. Hence the embarrassing Tata Docomo ad with...
Bosedk, which way is Punjab?

Bosedk, which way is Punjab?

IT IS unfortunate that the Gurgaon- based artist duo Thukral and Tagra are at this moment best known for their copyright intervention with the Delhi Belly song Bhaag DK Bose. Returning from a long trip abroad, the pair were outraged to see the song popping up in search engines instead of their Bosedk, a phrase...
The explosion in the poverty lab

The explosion in the poverty lab

OUR GRANARIES are overflowing. Foodgrain stocks have scaled to an alltime high of 65.60 million metric tonnes. This is frustrating news for everyone worried about the nutritional status of the poor in India. With the Food Security Act hanging in the balance, this would be the perfect moment to suggest the poor be given more...
Ekta Kapoor will see you now

Ekta Kapoor will see you now

THE INTERN is sniffy. When she was hired, she’d thought Ekta ma’m was going to ask her for ‘creative inputs’ into the TV shows. She isn’t at Balaji Telefilms to do “just this”, she gestures vaguely at the office around her with Facebook-weary hands. Does she watch the shows? No! She is horrified. “I keep...
Nailing heaven and earth together

Nailing heaven and earth together

  SOMETHING ABOUT Shuvaprasanna has always been a democratising force. This is Shuva at age 9. He had been sketching his father’s patients and was considered very accomplished. When he heard that Kliment Voroshilov, the president of erstwhile USSR, was visiting Kolkata, he decided he must sketch him. So he set off at a brisk...
Is the nailpaint on my little toe chipped?

Is the nailpaint on my little toe chipped?

TAM-BRAM GIRLS of Vidya Balan’s generation were brought up to be neat but not vain, to be presentable but obsess about work. It is only incidental that Vidya, 31, unlike other girls of bilingual Palakkad descent, is not conquering the world of statistical modelling or dreaming miles of code. It is incidental that her adolescent...
‘Dear Mr. Subhash Ghai, my name is Kiran Rao’

‘Dear Mr. Subhash Ghai, my name is Kiran Rao’

Kiran Rao, 36, is a week away from the release of her first film Dhobi Ghat. The Mumbai office she shares with husband Aamir Khan is in a state of silent, controlled mania building towards the promotion of the film. Rao enters the room, a slight, composed person and almost immediately leaps upon a side-table...
Do you know this man?

Do you know this man?

PROBABLY NOT. Not unless you saw his face in the papers recently when Daylight Robbery — one of his 270 Hindi novels and the second translated into English — was launched. That’s 270 books, a career of 50 years and 2.5 crore copies sold. Even today, when he and other Hindi pulp writers are convinced...
Anjum Hasan

Anjum Hasan

(A shorter, annoyingly truncated version of the following piece appeared in Tehelka a few weeks ago.) Almost every reviewer calls Anjum Hasan’s novels ‘quiet and well-written’. This is currently a phrase in our literary world that veers between praise, parody and put-down. It is also a description that does disservice to at least one aspect...
Manjunath Kamath

Manjunath Kamath

  THERE ARE urban legends about people who fall in love with inanimate objects, like buildings and cars. You may not be the lunatic who wanted to marry the Eiffel tower but Manjunath Kamath knows about your secret relationship with objects. Kamath’s art is attracted to everyday and mythic objects like a magnet tugs iron...
Two Diary Products

Two Diary Products

Prashant Miranda paints with rainwater, ganga jal, beer and icy trickles from Canadian taps. He paints all the time. His watercolour journals began as a way of remembering. Slowly he allowed his curious friends at National Institute of Design to peek in. The 32-year-old moved and became an artist in Canada’s first stop-motion animation series....

Bootstrap Astronauts

ANATOLE BROYARD, the New York Times’ legendary literary critic denied his black heritage almost to his deathbed. His is one of the most discussed and perhaps most successful efforts at ‘passing’. It inspired books, essays, even perhaps the germ of Philip Roth’s plot for The Human Stain. Broyard hinted at the pain of his double...