Axone was a much awaited film- simply because it promised ‘to speak for the Northeast ‘-the mainstream after all has taken so long to look east and whenever it has chosen to ‘speak’ for us – it has always been distorted and misrepresented, steeped in stereotypes. Axone’s promise to speak of ‘lived realities’ of the people of the Northeast-in choosing Axone as the title and the theme of the movie- to engage with questions of racism through food politics- there really could not have been any better time than now to bring forth the harsh truth of racism experienced by people of the Eastern region. But all it did- and very problematically- was to cater to these crucial questions from a very privileged and elite position, almost similar to the stance of the mainland- lacking depth, ignorant and oblivious of the ‘lived realities’ that it seeks to represent. Interesting debates have already been forth from the Northeastern community it seeks to represent; my purpose therefore is to introspect on the representation of the Nepali character of Upasna Rai as ‘part of’ and yet different from the Northeast.
I got to know about Bandersnatch when I chanced upon its trailer on Boxing Day on the show’s Facebook page. Like any other devout fan of the show, I was eagerly looking forward to the ‘film’. On the appointed day, I opened the Netflix website. I hovered my mouse over the Bandersnatch icon. The blurb showed that its about 90 minutes long. This appeared to me as usual. A Black Mirror special is not really of any longer duration. Bandersnatch, however, proved to be anything but the usual. It took me over three hours to finally ‘finish’ the film and over 90 minutes to actually understand that the director of the story is not David Slade.
In 2018, the musical North, West, East and South of Shillong have all combined to give us this very talented group of young musicians whose EP ‘Tempted’ is out now in all the world’s digital stores. They call themselves Blue Temptation and comprise, at some point or the other, Gregory Ford Nongrum, his elder brother El Nathan Ford Nongrum, Shepherd Najiar, Manavon Massar and Vincent Tariang (also of Soulmate). These five young men encapsulate Shillong’s old histories and musical geographies but, as they should, also burn them to the ground. Greg, El Nathan and Shepherd (Shep) are from ‘the West’ but they barely remember the Highway Band anymore and their journey into the blues was as simple and complex as the music itself. Manavon is a keyboard player/sound system blaster/DJ from the ‘Roots Region’ and his dreadlocks and patois, are therefore quite historically grounded. Vincent too is a direct descendant of the ‘Roots Region’ and I’m sure, his father Rudy Wallang must’ve played a small part in his love for the blues.
Many moons ago, as a 12 yr. old bookworm, I was allowed access to a cupboard full of books in my school. My father was posted in Jowai, a little town in Meghalaya where the marketplace, school, movie hall and police station were at walking distance from each other. With the nearest bookstore some more than 60 kilometers away in Shillong, that joy came occasionally. So when Sister Rose allowed me access to that cupboard, my joy knew no bounds! Her kind soul must have noticed my hunger for the written word and she decided to go out of her way and allow me this luxury. Among the old books, mostly donated from schools in the US and UK, I found a copy of The Room on the Roof. Thus began my tryst with Ruskin Bond.
Hartman de Souza reviews Seema Mustafa’s memoir Azadi’s Daughter – Being a Secular Muslim in India
How does one even start to write about Arundhati Roy’s new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness?
It was a standard and wonted response from an Indian politician when being confronted with questions on human rights abuses in Kashmir – unsophisticated, evasive, ahistorical and blame-shifting. MP Shashi Tharoor takes it to a new level through his disturbing conception of illusions that he tries to exhibit during a recent interview with Tim Sebastian, a Deutsche Welle journalist, who interviewed him on the subject.
It is laconic, not quite cynical, resigned yet nevertheless still searching sensibility that Nongkynrih fully realizes in Time’s Barter. Given his ability to convey multiple competing impressions within a few lines, Nongkynrih’s turn to Haiku and Senryu in the collection makes sense.
The short narratives in ‘A Book of Light’ contribute to an essential conversation about mental illness within the family
His work is a demonstration of how to rescue inauthentic from the jaws of reality. How to make spontaneous look orchestrated and vice versa – an art where so many rights are turned into one big wrong. He has mastered the skill to turn all conversation into a monologue, and then ignore one’s own voice, remove irresolution, and erase all personal music in the service of his war-like ‘humanism’
Would this magnificent achievement, and the award change how publishers look at English writing coming from the Northeast? The easy answer is no. The difficult answer is to find an explanation why.
The refusal of Khilnani to question the very idea of India that somehow makes all 50 lives part of a large nationalist story indicates the limits of the entire endeavour. This is the limit set by a belief in the modern nation state of India. It is a limit because it then shapes the choices of the lives made, as well as the stories that are told about them.
Ri’s idea of justice and peace resides in the militants’ surrendering of arms and not in the State taking similar responsibilities.
Amar Kanwar began as a documentary filmmaker, later expanding his practice to multi-channel video installation. While he works strictly with documentary and archival images, Kanwar employs various methods of editing and presentation to exceed their immediate facticity, conjuring atmosphere, underlying motives, and furtive histories. This is a (re)viewing diary of Amar’s latest work The Sovereign Forest
It is fair to say that in any writing of the history of western music in India, Shillong would deserve a chapter. It is just that the writing of this chapter has become way too problematic – too many loose ends, too many grand unifying theories. The culture of western popular music in Shillong has no shortage of hagiographers. In fact most of the writing on this field has been gushy, uncritical and downright fallacious (there have been so many that it would be worthwhile to bring out a compendium of these).
Only aspect of this work that depicts matriliny and what it does to girls lies in the context behind the pictures. Without that background, this is, sad to say, a blatant exhibitionism of the girls of the village, culminating in a series that doesn’t quite capture the empowered status of these girls but antithetically subjugates them to the desired outcome of the viewer who in this case is Karolin Klüppel.