Karan.

Lets be predictable and start with the obvious. Karan Kapoor’s father is Shashi Kapoor, his grand father was Prithviraj Kapoor, his uncle was Raj Kapoor, his cousin is Rishi Kapoor, his nephew is Ranbir Kapoor and his niece is Kariena Kapoor Khan. Overwhelming…isn’t it?.. and given India’s manical obsession with all things filmy, enough to steal the thunder from any individual’s sincerest efforts in self expression. The reason I chose to bring this out in the very beginning is because, by default, most would join these very dots to arrive at due conclusions about the man, then swoon over his demigod looks… and all this, before (and for some unfortunate souls, even after) seeing what he has magically created on his own…from his spirit. Therefore, I have chosen to introduce his family in relation to him and not him in relation to his family… so whilst he may also be a grandson, son, brother and uncle from ‘the’ first family of Indian films, he is, for me personally, one of the finest constructers of some of the most original imagery that I have seen in a long time!

‘Time & Tide’, his show of photographs, currently on at the Bikaner House in New Delhi, is based on (primarily ageing) Anglo-Indians in Goa. An Anglo-Indian himself, and having spent a considerable amount of time in Baga in Goa, Karan’s interest clearly arises from immortalising the last of a people caught between a racial divide. The works, in luscious silver gelatine prints, show the viewer an unseen and perhaps, for today’s generation, even a visually unrealised and unknown India. They express curious unspoken words through a candid and delightful honesty.. and also from the heartwarming humility of the artist.

Karan now lives in England with his family, and only recently surfaced in India after a hiatus of 25 years. He also indulges in commercial photography and the fact that his website does not show his artistic works is testimony to the fact that the man knows and respects the difference between money and the ‘spiritually’ material.

This show is a must see… you have until the 29th of this month to savour the goods;  the taste of which, I assure you, will linger in the deepest recesses of your core for years to come.

There’s a book too, for purchase, but don’t be boring, invest in a piece of artistic history instead!

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Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media

 

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Saffron Art.

 

 

That Saffron Art is one of India’s best known Art auction houses/ advisories is a commonly known fact… that its promoter, Dinesh Vazirani  clearly knows how the dice are rolled is also well known… that his company who’s roots run more than 17 years deep also dabbles in Antiquities, Jewellery and fine Properties may also be known….but what may be lesser known is the fact that they also possess the ability to create veritable Art oasis’ in the middle of bustling cities where ‘living in a shoebox’ is the general norm; it certainly did come as a surprise for me a few weeks back.

Quite frankly, I believe that Art spaces in India still don’t enjoy the sense of scale and drama that a lot of international spaces globally do. I’ve also believed that Art needs a degree of solitude along-with subtle loneliness on the wall it is displayed on to be able to be seen in the right perspective… to be able to speak to its viewer…to be able to be intimately interpreted.

Saffron Art in Mumbai has managed all of the above and more….it has silence, another mandatory element required to appreciate intense creativity and plenty of ambling space, which gives room for the viewer to see the works from multiple distances and angles. The core reality that it is indeed just a very large square multi-textured grey space with the freedom to pull up, shift, tilt, levitate or drop walls in order to appease the curious whims of artists or collectors makes it even more appetising.

There’s an interesting choice of works on display at present in Mumbai, and whilst I have not been to their Delhi and New York spaces (which I am sure would be more than inspiring), I am looking forward to attending their auction coming up on the 21st in Delhi, where, I have no doubt, that I will witness, first hand, the master auctioneer playing to the gallery (no pun intended)!

Kudos Mr. Vazirani… for believing in a dream and for creating the perfect space to incubate it.

Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media

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Lalala…

Yes, I’m a late bloomer but so what… and whilst I have no desire to ‘moonlight’ as a film critic, this just had to be shared…

Lalaland is an intriguingly sensitive story about dreams, passion, love, defeat, heartbreak, fate and so many other yarns beautifully and indeed, masterfully woven together using the thread of music and more specifically, jazz. I’ve always believed that brilliant cinema, like Art, should never be actually be reviewed … because that would mean the passing (and also possible mass acceptance) of a judgement based on the opinion of a solitary individual, one that may or may not reflect the soul of the masterpiece as understood and embraced by another. Art demands individual interpretation by all, each taking away something special from it… each understanding its fabric through their own will… each reminiscing about its mysterious impact on their very spirit.

Damien Chazelle, the 32 year old genius director first gave us ‘Whiplash’ and now this! No prizes for guessing who’s going back in time to discover more of his work…

Emma Stone… her performance almost warrants the creation of a new word in the dictionary as a new descriptive … an ubiquitous ‘outstanding’ and other such obvious parlance would perhaps be grossly inadequate to describe her brilliance.

Lalaland is a modern day classic … I’m sure many would have watched it by now, but for those who still haven’t, do so now… The film (and specially these words from an audition scene) will make you rethink about your own life, and, if indeed, the morning after has not obstinately pushed you back into the rigorous imprisonment of your routine existence, you may just have found yourself (and your purpose of existence) all over again… Enjoy!

Here’s to the ones who dream

Foolish as they may seem

Here’s to the hearts that ache

Here’s to the mess we make…
She captured a feeling

Sky with no ceiling
The sunset inside a frame
She lived in her liquor

And died with a flicker

I’ll always remember the flame
Here’s to the ones who dream

Foolish as they may seem

Here’s to the hearts that ache

Here’s to the mess we make…
She told me:

“A bit of madness is key

To give us new colors to see

Who knows where it will lead us?

And that’s why they need us”
So bring on the rebels

The ripples from pebbles

The painters, and poets, and plays
And here’s to the fools who dream

Crazy as they may seem

Here’s to the hearts that break

Here’s to the mess we make…

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The Guilded Memory.

This is a pre-photoshop era picture of my parents when they’d just got married.

Have you ever noticed how we all find our parents looking so elegant in these beautiful old sepia toned images that we so fondly treasure and often, even share online with a proud sigh in the heart… the very same ones where we found our mothers looking elegantly beautiful and our fathers, utterly handsome. That happened primarily because of the unpretentious and very real lives they led in their times …. the smile was warm… the stance was natural….the laughter was from the core… the dressing was unrehearsed….essentially, they simply did not try too hard.

Cut to today! I wonder if this generation’s kids are going to sigh or gasp in the future, when they see their parents photos from this era…. you know, the ones that are buckling under peer pressure (thought that was primarily for teenagers?)… the very same ones who seemed to have discovered that puckering lips towards a certain direction is seductively hot! (Not!!)… the ones who believe in (un)healthy competetion (with their kids)… the ones with a rampant penchant for tummy tuckers, jabs in the face, and (for some of our country-women specifically, who need to believe in their own country’s style quotient a lot more), that LBD which never was really meant for them in the first place or worse, that ‘gown’ which may look  gorgeous on a leggy Gal Gadot but not on our flabby Wonder Women (no offence)

People….embrace true style….be beautiful within and the external will naturally fall into place …. consider making your parents your style icons … and improvise to become one for your own kids.
And yes, the way we’re going, I don’t think our pictures are getting posted anywhere by our kids in the near future… other than perhaps, in a virtual frame with a garland of virtual flowers (with virtually no feelings) when we decide to cross over 😇.

Get Real!

Ps* Thoughts triggered on chancing upon my parents photo, shown above.

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Italy

 

I’ve always been biased towards Europe…. the fact that this delicious pie is made up of so many parts, each slice with its own delightful and distinct spirit…the fact that the old and the new coexist within the same geographical boundaries with such ease … the fact that history romances modernity is near perfect proportions… and the reality that one can literally hire a car and drive from one experience to another on the most scenic routes known to man are perhaps amongst the few ingredients that enrich my penchant for Europe. And yet, there is much I have to see there… there is much to be absorbed…much to be shared… and these are the journeys I much look forward to.

Italy! A country I have visited several times and yet, it fascinates me more each and every time. I do however believe, that I still have to take in the true soul of this country… yet, i must admit that it remains one of my most favourite destinations in the world… for within (and besides) the usual suspects i.e. its Architecture, Art, Style and History lie several of its hidden secrets. You need to simply walk in its cobblestoned alleys, manoeuvre its mysterious canals, drive through its usually gratifying countryside and feast on the multitude of all that satisfies one’s senses, (and never in the garb of a tourist.)

Much more to be said and shared when i actually visit Italy next and soak myself in its magic once again, but till then, thought of sharing a few images made in Florence (Firenze) and Milan (Milano).

Have a Pizza today ! Celebrare!!

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Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media

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The Royal Nomad. 2.

More from the series. Dusky India meets auspicious India. Macchiato meets Vermillion. Exotic meets passion. Rich chocolate meets fiery Red.

Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media

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Chapter Open.

I’ve never read a single book in my life (other than my school text books) and yet, I house a significant library, both at my home and in my office. I’ve also published 2 books of my own plus I write my own blog and sometimes, also for leading publications as a guest writer. Never ever have I felt the temptation to read (other than Rumi’s quotes) simply because my world in purely visual, the books in my library are coffee table books full of wonderful images and my own books are also based on photography. What this essentially implies is that I am more than content in my world of visual nirvana where words are merely used to express thoughts connected with strong imagery.  Yet, I have scores of friends who are avid book readers; some almost go weak in their knees when they get their hands on a paperback or hardback they’ve been (im)patiently waiting for; so whilst I’ve never understood the euphoric moments of such beings, I’ve always respected the literary types for their passion and knowledge. Recently however, I almost secretly wished, perhaps for the very first time, that I had the interest of reading in me and what triggered this rare desire was a simple book shop!

Chapter 101, a bookshop located in the New Delhi suburb of Gurgaon (now dismally renamed as Guru Gram) is pure romance! It is owned by my friend, Raju Singh (a fact that i was not aware of when someone suggested that i visit the store), a book-crazy banker and entrepreneur to fulfil his lifelong dream of owning such a bookstore. In their own words: “A den, a private retreat, the charms of a classic understated era… Chapter 101 is a bookstore intended to build a quiet literary atmosphere with carefully curated books beyond the bestsellers. It draws on the quiet to create a space where people are encouraged to spend time with the books and browse at leisure – a safe space for revisiting the time-cherished classics and also to find a new favourite among contemporary authors.” To drive home the point that there is pure passion behind the concept, the store is also managed by Rohan Dahiya, a young author, blogger and visual artist whose love for books drew him to the store.

As always, I find it unfair to give away too much in a blog (the images will speak as much as they can) as it is my belief that spaces created with such love are meant to be experienced to be able to assimilate the romance that they permeate.

Whilst i may still never get down to reading a book, I do see myself visiting C101 several times… to listen to the great background music, to enjoy the (free) coffee (and hopefully some interesting company), and to witness several enlightened individuals select, from the multitude of options available, a place to rest their derrière on, to browse through an inspiring and rare collection of published treasures whilst simultaneously experiencing what i am sure would only qualify as induced literary orgasms.

PS* Raju Singh, whose baby this wonderful store is can be spotted in shorts matching his hair in one of the images.

Copyright: JJ Valaya/ All rights reserved. All images are the sole property of JJ Valaya. No part of this post/publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of JJ Valaya. This applies to all acts of use, in particular such as the reproduction of pictures and text, their performance and demonstration, translation, filming, microfilming, broadcasting, storage and processing in electronic media

 

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