The Friday List: From a talk on puppetry to Amazon Prime Video's Toofan, your weekly calendar of virtual events

·8-min read

Compiled by Aishwarya Sahasrabudhe

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and although there is a significant fall in the number of active cases, the need to stay at home and curb the spread of the coronavirus is a persistent demand of our everyday lives. Public spaces continue to remain shut to avoid gatherings of large crowds, compelling most to perceive the indoors as spaces of creative and productive activity. Amidst it all, the medium of consuming media content has shifted from live shows to the screen, making our leisure time a largely virtual experience. So, even as we have eased out of the more 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 lecture on harnessing solar power, a panel discussion on women in the Indian film industry and Netflix's supernatural horror, Fear Street Part Three: 1666.

€" Talks and panel discussions

A panel discussion organised by AVID Learning is set to dive into the contributions of women to the world of Indian cinema to decipher the positioning of gender equality in the film industry. Lights, Camera and Action for Gender Equality will draw upon the works of some of the trailblazing women filmmakers, pop culture icons and producers to trace the true standing of women in cinema today. The panel, comprising actor Rahul Bose, National Award-winning film director Vibha Bakshi, documentary filmmaker Miriam Chandy Menacherry and entertainment writer Udita Jhunjhunwala will highlight how women in cinema have defied gender norms and examine the shifts in the film and media industry towards a more equal space.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 22 July (6 pm)

An interesting talk brought forth by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai is an entryway into puppetry and the history of this form of storytelling in the country. In >Puppet Theatre, Past and Present in India, puppeteer Anurupa Roy will walk audiences through the journey of puppetry, right from its origins in the early to the medieval ages to the forms it has taken in the contemporary context. A powerful and enchanting medium of narrating stories and folklore covering a number of different themes, the evolving nature of this art form is as vibrant as the puppets themselves, making this talk a must attend for all interested in art history and storytelling.

To register for the talk, write to

When: 17 July (5.30 pm)

Communities that have settled on the west coast of India have led relatively protected lives, with the twin natural walls of the Sahyadri ranges and the Arabian Sea guarding them against potential natural calamities. However, climate change has led to shifts in marine developments and the waters of the Arabian Sea are considered benign no longer. >The New Normal of the Arabian Sea, a talk between environmentalist Priyadarshini Karve and Myron Mendes, will shed light on these changes. While Karve is set to discuss the altering patterns in the Arabian Sea, Mendes' focus is on the fisherfolk who have to deal with the dual challenges of commercial fishing and the impact of the climate crisis. A session brought forth by Sahapedia, this is the place to be for aspiring conservationists.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 17 July (5.30 pm)

€" Virtual recital

This Friday, stream The Royal Opera's Don Giovanni, the second of Mozart's collaborations with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. The opera follows the story of the titular Giovanni who is the ultimate seducer but when he murders the father of one of his victims, he unleashes powers that are beyond his control. Produced by Kasper Holten, this inventive and visually stunning rendition of the composition opens audiences to one of opera's most sensually appealing and elusive protagonists and the powerful effect he has on everyone who chances to meet him. Somewhere between tragedy and comedy, this potent drama is sure to hook the audience to its glorious music and its fascinating and complex protagonist.

Where: Royal Opera House's Facebook page

When: 16 July

€" Virtual book launch

Tea: A Concoction of Dissonance is a new book designed as a coffee table read that studies the connections between poetry, art and the joy of sipping on tea. A collaborative affair by Toronto-based writer, Geetha Sukumaran, Sri Lankan poet Ahilan and Chennai based artist Vaidehi, the book has been translated into English by Vidhya Sreenivasan. In the launch organised by Prakriti Foundation, the three artists will come together to discuss their experiences of working on this engrossing read and talk about their connection with each other as well as the uniting common thread of tea. The session will be moderated by A Mangai.

To know more and attend the book launch, click here.

When: 17 July (7 pm)

Another book launch, set up by the Jaipur Literature Festival will celebrate the work, >My Father: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by economist Arvind Panagariya. The story explores the arduous journey of the author's father from a remote village in Rajasthan to becoming an editorial staffer in Jaipur and subsequently a civil servant and an author. In a conversation with writer and editor Malashri Lal, the author will discuss some of the underlying themes in his father's story, which are indicative of the contributions of ordinary citizens to the fabric of post-Independence India.

To know more and attend the virtual session, click here.

When: 16 July (7 pm)

€" Virtual lectures

At this Saturday's >Science Session | Astronomy to Geography, participants will learn how to find directions at night, to spot a pole star and understand whether the sun is far away or nearer to planet earth during winters. To be conducted in Marathi, this online talk set up by the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum is a deep dive into different concepts like why the Mriga Nakshatra indicates monsoon and what it means when one says the earth is tilted at 23.5 degrees. Hosted by science writer Anand Ghaisas, a retired researcher from the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, the virtual session promises to be an interesting peek into astrophysics and the study of the universe, a must attend for all science aficionados.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 17 July (11 am)

Jumpstarting a Solar Revolution is a lecture organised by the Bangalore International Centre that will lay out an initiative planned by the Centre for the Study of Science Technology and Policy (CSTEP) to map the solar energy potential of Bangalore. The study is a step towards helping residents and policymakers make conscious decisions about harnessing solar energy from the rooftops of their homes, offices and public buildings. The presentation will cover some technical aspects associated with the process of installing rooftop photovoltaic systems (RTPV) and explain the regulations and schemes currently in place to facilitate a transition to more sustainable energy sources.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 16 July (7 pm)

€" Streaming this week

Coming up on Amazon Prime Video this Friday is the much-anticipated film, Toofan directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. Featuring Farhan Akhtar, Mrunal Thakur and Paresh Rawal in the lead, the film revolves around Aziz Ali, a young man from Dongri in Mumbai who trains to become a national level boxer. A sports drama that tells the story of a rising star's inevitable downfall and his subsequent effort to rise again, the film promises to be as much a journey of a sportsman as a glimpse into the demanding sport of boxing. The film promises to be a thrilling and inspiring tale of one boxer's fight inside and out of the ring, definitely a must-watch for this weekend.

When: 16 July

Where: Amazon Prime Video

Arriving on Apple TV+ this weekend is the series, >Schmigadoon!, featuring Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key in the lead. A musical with a dash of fantasy and drama, this story follows a couple that decides to take a backpacking trip to reinvigorate their relationship and discover a magical town that lives in a 1940s musical. At first amused and taken in by this enchanted land which appears to be a tourist trap, the couple soon discovers that it is impossible to leave this place until they each find true love. The miniseries is sure to be an interesting watch, perfect for a binge over the weekend.

When: 16 July

Where: Apple TV+

This weekend, Netflix will be releasing >Fear Street Part Three: 1666, an American supernatural horror and the final instalment of the Fear Street trilogy. Based on a series of books by RL Stine (of Goosebumps fame) by the same name, the story follows the curse put on the town of Shadyside, Ohio and the brutal witch trials that started it all. The last part of the series takes us back to 1666, when the then-colony is caught in a terrifying witch hunt that would have disastrous consequences in the future. Meanwhile, the narrative also peeks into the lives of teenagers in the late 1970s who try to put an end to the town's curse before things take a turn for the worse. For the uninitiated, this horror trilogy is an ideal binge on a quiet, monsoon weekend at home.

When: 16 July

Where: Netflix

The Tamil drama film >Vaazhl is set to release on SonyLIV this Friday, directed by Arun Prabhu Purushothaman. Featuring Pradeep Anthony, TJ Bhanu and Diva Dhawan among others in the lead, the film is said to be a drama that explores the complexities of love, life and the quest for truth. Running through the story are journeys to varied destinations: from a man tasked with taking money from one town to another, to a girl who travels from a foreign land to India to study Tamil culture, it is an exploration of the lessons learnt on these travels and the thrill of the adventures and close brushes with death that are part of the dark, mysterious lives of the film's characters.

When: 16 July

Where: SonyLIV

Also See: The Friday List: From a talk on Mumbai's Irani diaspora to a workshop on Kalidasa, your weekly calendar of virtual events

The Friday List: From a thumri recital to an exploration of Ahmedabad's cultural legacy, your weekly calendar of virtual events

Toofaan movie review: A promising – and long – tale of boxing, Islamophobia and love fizzles out in its third hour

Read more on Arts & Culture by Firstpost.

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