The Friday List: From a dastangoi on Bhagat Singh to Netflix's adaptation of White Tiger, your weekly calendar of virtual events

FP Staff
·9-min read

Compiled by Aishwarya Sahasrabudhe

The new year has geared us all up to cope with the new normal of surviving in a pandemic, anticipating a vaccine or hoping for this time to pass, and a semblance of calmness has descended on what have otherwise been many chaotic months. Restrictions on public gatherings are being lifted gradually, even the reopening of schools is in sight in some states, but the need to avoid crowds and curb the spread of the coronavirus continues to make our leisure time a largely virtual experience. So even as we have eased out of the most stringent of restrictions, the landscape of our engagements and weekly dosages of entertainment continues to be moderated digitally, through the screen.

Every Friday, we'll bring you a curated list of online experiences €" performances, talks, tours, screenings €" to mark on your weekly calendar. On this week's #FridayList: a contemporary retelling of fairy tales, a dastangoi on the life of Bhagat Singh and Netflix's much awaited release, White Tiger.

€" Virtual theatre

This weekend, CSMVS has set up >Fairytales Retold with Object Theatre and Object Puppetry, a two-day festival for children that involves narrating age-old fairy stories but with a slight twist: the tales will be told with the help of ordinary objects found at home. The weekend theatre festival will host three live performances by three object-theatre artists who will weave the classics into our contemporary every day lives. Travelling into the hidden depths of fairy stories like Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood, the artists will bring to children those threads in the familiar narratives that are to be found in their home too. A perfectly artsy way to engage kids through the weekend, this theatre festival is definitely one to catch.

To know more and register, write to: events@csmvs.in

(This event has limited seating)

When: 23 and 24 January

€" Talks and panel discussions

Coming up this week is a talk titled >Power, Privilege and Posture: The Politics of the Seat in India, brought about by Godrej Archives in collaboration with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and the Museum Society of Mumbai. A teaser for an upcoming project, the talk will be presented by researcher Sarita Sundar as an introduction to her work, Seating in India, which will soon culminate in a digital exhibition. Sundar is the founder of Hanno, a space that visualises and curates diverse cultural narratives, and brings with her an expertise in design theory and heritage studies. Through the talk, she is sure to shed light on her upcoming project providing an insight into its conception and how it can best be associated with the politics of modern day India.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 28 January (5.30 pm)

Cultural theorist and poet Ranjit Hoskote will be talking about artistic practices, the consumption of art and its interpretations in the COVID-19 age in the talk, >Art in the Covidocene Age. Through the live virtual session brought about by AVID Learning, Hoskote will touch upon concepts like using art to address the growing crisis of humanity, the changing meaning and significance of art in the months following the coronavirus pandemic, the emerging age of digital art and evolving rules of how audiences engage with virtual art and aesthetics. Hoskote's talk promises to be a thoroughly insightful session which provides useful hints on how one can best understand the place art occupies in the new normal.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 23 January (5 pm)

A panel discussion organised for this weekend will discuss how artists work with different mediums, and how they respond to the different aspects of nature and built environments in their vicinity. Brought about by Museum of Art and Photography (MAP) in collaboration with the Bangalore International Centre,> Living Spaces: Two Artist Approaches will feature the prominent Indian artists, Atul Dodiya and Asim Waqif, in conversation with MAP's associate curator, Arnika Ahldag. Through the course of the talk, Dodiya's work, which focuses on everyday lives particularly in the urban metropolis, will be contrasted with Waqif's creations, which experiment with materiality, ecological structures and sustainable architecture. For art connoisseurs and students of design, this moderated tête-à -tête is surely the place to be.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 23 January (6 pm)

What Freedom Looks Like: Collages from Shekhawati is a session brought about by Sahapedia which features the avid art collector and researcher Aditya Ruia delivering a talk based on his 2018 exhibition of the same name. The history of the collages that are a part of this exhibit involves artists in the 1940s-50s Rajasthan creating the same with political undertones that captured the rising support of the people towards the Indian freedom movement. Extending patronage to the artists were the Marwari families of Rajasthan who stood in support of the independence struggle. Ruia's talk will divulge how these collages came to be commissioned, what they meant in this period of Indian history and how they can be interpreted today.

To register for the talk, click here.

When: 27 January (5 pm)

€" Dance and storytelling

Universal Love is an upcoming interpretive Odissi recital brought forth by the exponent Jhelum Paranjape and her dance school, Smitalay. Set to be screened by the Royal Opera House, Mumbai as part of its ongoing campaign that showcases performance excerpts from its vast archives, the concert will feature a group choreography that focuses on the titular theme of universal love interspersed with an overarching element of equality. A solo rendition will exude the love or the bhakti bhaav (devotion) that a devotee feels for the almighty, the recital as a whole bringing to the fore the elegance and nuance of Odissi from a leading artist of classical and folk traditions of India.

When: 23 January

Where: Royal Opera House, Mumbai's YouTube channel

This Republic Day, Dastangoi Collective will be staging >Dastan-e-Shaheed-Azam Bhagat Singh, a storytelling session which explores the revolutionary fervour that drove this freedom fighter and explains his notion of independence. In this performance, through dastangoi, the art of Urdu storytelling, the dastan or story of Bhagat Singh will come to life as storytellers Ainee Farooqui and Nusrat Ansari dive into his writings, his political vision and his ideas of martyrdom. A perfectly timed storytelling program directed by Mahmood Farooqui, it will not only take audiences back to the struggle of thousands of such revolutionaries that got India its independence but also cast a much-needed spotlight on the ideas and theories that drove these visionaries. For fans of the theatre and those who enjoy a good story, this session is definitely a must attend.

To know more and get your ticket, click here.

When: 26 January (9 am)

€" Virtual literature festival

Brought about by Belongg and the Indian Novels Collective is a virtual event, >Inclusivity in Indian Language Literature, which seeks to explore writings that speak of the experiences of marginalisation, mental health, same-sex love and physical disability. With meaningful conversations that discuss bias and unbias, and the diversity of desires and emotions, the festival attempts to celebrate Indian novels that delve into these issues. With a line-up of artists and writers that includes Ruth Vanita, Shanta Gokhale, Urvashi Butalia and Zeenab among others, the festival discusses publishing of marginalised voices, from Northeast India to literature around disabilities and sexuality represented in Indian languages. For the literati and bibliophiles, this event is definitely a must attend.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 23 January

€" Streaming this week

Author Aravind Adiga's Booker Prize-winning novel is set to hit the digital screen in an adaptation directed by Ramin Bahrani, featuring Adarsh Gourav, Rajkummar Rao and Priyanka Chopra Jonas in the lead. A stellar narrative from a prolific writer, >White Tiger is the story of a young driver from a small Indian village who is employed by a rich family. When a turn of ghastly events leads to him to take the blame for his master's mistake, the witty and ambitious driver plans a cunning escape and goes on to discard his poverty and become a successful entrepreneur. White Tiger exposes the cracks in a divisive society, raises pertinent questions about economic disparity and through one man's story traces the price of ambition. What promises to be a clever adaptation of a jarring story, White Tiger is definitely worth a watch.

When: 22 January

Where: Netflix

Coming up on Apple TV+ is an Israeli series, >Losing Alice, the story of a female film director who feels her talent waning as she gets more and more involved in raising her family. A chance encounter on a train leads Alice (Ayelet Zurer) to meet a young screenwriter Sophie (Lihi Kornowski) and she becomes obsessed with this femme fatale, eventually surrendering her moral integrity in order to achieve success. The eight-episode series promises to be a rather dark narrative that lays bare the issues of jealousy, guilt and ageing. With the first three episodes to drop on Friday and others to follow suit one per week, the series which oscillates between flash backs and the present is a curious story, definitely one to look out for.

When: 22 January

Where: Apple TV+

A horror comedy set to drop on MX Player is the Swara Bhaskar, Sumeet Vyas-starrer, >Aapke Kamre Mein Koi Rehta Hai. Four bachelors looking for a home in Mumbai stumble across a great 4BHK apartment in a big, but largely vacant building. But as is always the case, things are too good to be true and the four soon realise that their flat is haunted by ghosts bent on making their lives miserable. One such spirit possesses Bhaskar and what ensues is chaos, confusion, comedy and a great dose of fear. A light-hearted series that promises at once to be spooky and comic, this show is definitely worth a weekend binge.

When: 22 January

Where: MX Player

Arriving on Zee5 this Friday is >Zidd, a series which follows the story of an army man whose never say die attitude leads him to overcome the most dire difficulties life throws at him. Based on the life of the Kargil war hero Major Deependra Singh Sengar, the narrative revolves around a soldier, essayed by Amit Sadh, who tries to get his life together after suffering from a serious injury during a conflict and becoming wheelchair bound. An inspiring story of his sacrifice and valiance and the catching optimism of his wife, portrayed by Amrita Puri, Zidd is sure to be a heartwarming series packed with emotion.

When: 22 January

Where: Zee5

Also read €" Coronavirus outbreak: A database of books, performances, courses available online in these times of social distancing

Also See: The Friday List: From a discussion on the legacy of Astad Deboo to a Sherlock Holmes parody, your weekly calendar of virtual events

The Friday List: From a talk on Rajasthan's storytelling tradition to a discussion on lesser known Indian queens, your weekly calendar of virtual events

The White Tiger’s Adarsh Gourav on discovering the 'invisibility' of Balram, and learnings from his co-actors

Read more on Arts & Culture by Firstpost.