‘The Taj’ in Delhi via France

(first published in Jan 2009 for Art Concerns e-Mag) The Mumbai attacks have taken up every possible space around us and understandably so. Our TV space, cyber space, mind space, dinner-table space and SMS space. Every public person worth his or her salt is out with an opinion on 26/11. Musicians are out with special songs written for those who fell to the terrorists’ bullets. Writers are out with passionate write-ups on their thoughts and anguish. But what’s wrong with the art fraternity? Does it take so long to react? Why is it that there’s just one ageing master who stands up to say something about Mumbai, using what he knows best – his paint brush. ‘Rape of India’ may not be the best work done by M.F. Husain but he manages to reach out to the people of India, who are in mourning for the tragedy and who live through it everyday. What’s more, he’s manages to do this sitting miles away from India , in London . Of course, he was also in the news for promising to do another set of

The Moving Art of Pakistan

(first published in Dec 2008 for Art Concerns e-Mag) This time My TV & My Art took me to Pakistan, our neighbour, which is a lot like us but seems exotic to many mainly because of inaccessibility or its ‘difficult to get a visa’ factor. It was for a recce on ‘truck art’ for a special TV show that I have been working on. The trucks there are moving installations. They bring life to dusty grey roads. On the mountains they look like jewel carts, shining differently in the different lights of the sun. That’s what Pakistan’s trucks are to me. They remind me that beauty is sometimes a surprise. There is also an effort to bring this dialogue out into the public sphere. The Second Floor or T2F as its commonly known in Karachi, is a café that holds an open house every weekend. Artists, writers, poets and musicians come here and share their stuff with the city’s happening crowd over coffee and sandwiches. I showed two of my favourite TV stories. A show on India’s ‘new media’ stars l

Restoration and Preservation Under Arc Lamps

(first published in Nov 2008 for Art Concerns e-Mag) I always talk a lot about how well the camera captures an art work but this week I want to pay art restorers my long-due respect. They have an ‘eye’ that even my camera fails to match up!! While shooting with Priya Khanna on a special story on art restoration, she pointed out patches in a painting that I obviously couldn’t see but even my shots failed to show the ‘real picture’. We only managed to show a proper ‘before’ and ‘after’ version of the restored painting by using UV light. Sometimes light as we know isn’t good enough. Art restoration is a fascinating process. One could say that the affected works are given a dressing down and then re-dressed in fresh clothing, one that is identical to the old one. Be it oils, water colours, sculptures or tender paper works - everything can be and is restored. Braggart that I am, I will now switch back to how the camera manages to offer certain details of an art work that the e

The Unexpected Dilemmas of Shooting For Art

(first published in Oct 2008 for Art Concerns e-Mag) I met this television producer once who was convinced that there are not too many takers for a special TV show on art because television fails to create the ‘wow’ factor that art entails. I was disappointed with that view. Not just because he belonged to the television medium – an extremely visual medium, but more so because his views were so degenerative. In that sense, TV has the advantage of visual support that print does not. And in that sense, writing on art should have gone extinct. And in that same sense again, here's my thumbs down to all those lazy bone producers who shy away from covering art for television. Because the demand is certainly there. The curiosity is there. The freshness, the appeal, and of course, the investment interest!! I strongly feel that it's an artistic challenge in itself to create that ‘wow’ factor in art across TV, to bring out the same experience that a person would feel while s