july 06 programmes

saturday 8th July

7.00 pm 'Conversations'
with Manju Kapur, Vivek Ahuja, Jai Arjun Singh and Shobhana Bhattacharji

The Attic proudly launches the first in its series of 'Conversations' an innovative new forum for discussing books.

It will feature a discussion between the author, the publisher, the marketing executive and the reviewer who critiqued the book and you the audience of readers. Conversations aims to ignite an exciting exchange of perspectives, emotions and experiences encountered in the process of writing, editing, marketing and finally critiquing and reading the book.

The inaugural Conversations will look at Manju Kapur's third and latest novel, "Home". The discussion will feature author Manju Kapur, publisher Vivek Ahuja, blogger Jai Arjun Singh, reviewer Shobhana Bhattacharji and you the audience.

Manju Kapur teaches English Literature at Miranda House, University of Delhi. Her first book, Difficult Daughters won the 1998 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Eurasia Section). Her other novels are A Married Woman and Home.
Jai Arjun Singh is a free lance journalist who works mainly on the book beat. As an extension of his passion for writing he also has a literary blog Jabberwock. He is interested in a variety of subjects but particularly enjoys writing on books and movies.
Vivek Ahuja is the managing director of the newly established Random House India. He has been actively involved in publishing for over two decades. His keen interest in music, cookery and travel often guide his choice of books for publication.
Shobhana Bhattacharji has been teaching English at JMC for close to four decades. She has written and edited various books including one on travel writing in India. She has over a century of reviews to her credit in various journals such as The Book Review, Biblio, and The Himalayan Journal among many others.

tuesday 11th july  
7.00 pm 'Introduction to Puppet Theatre: History & Contemporary Performance'
by Anurupa Roy

Even though puppetry as an art form exists in most ancient cultures it is believed to have originated in India. With a wealth of styles and techniques - rod puppets, string puppets, glove puppets and shadow puppets and a variety of subjects - religious, balladic and current social themes itinerant puppeteers travel long distances performing at religious festivals, harvests, melas and now at childrens birthday parties. The fast moving little skits replete with garish costumes and a sing-song narrative opens a window into a simple and often comically exaggerated world of entertainment. But puppets are not only entertainment they are therapeutic, educational and instructive. From the water puppets of Vietnam to the raggedy dolls in Europe puppets are a part of both a universal and a specific cultural experience.

This evening Anurupa introduces us to the fascinating, colourful histories of the 22 living traditions from around the country as also the works of modern puppeteers illustrated with photographs. She will explore and demonstrate the possibilities within puppet theatre with live puppets from Kat Katha's existing repertoire and video archives.

Anurupa Roy has been a professional puppeteer since 1998. She runs 'Kat-Katha' a puppet theatre company which combines traditional puppeteering with dancers, actors and digital artists. Their creative and collaborative puppet performances incorporate a wide range of subjects from Shakespearean plays, The Ramayana and folk tales from around the world to more contemporary stories of women living in conflict zones like Kashmir. She discusses the future of traditional forms and the place of Indian puppeteers in the international performance world.

monday 17th july
7.00 pm 'Odissi Dance' by Somali Bose

Odissi is paradoxically one of the most ancient and yet one of the most modern of the five classical styles of Indian dance. Based like the others on the 5th century text the Natya Shastra from which most Indian theatre and dance takes its roots, Odissi as a dance form had almost died out by the 20th century. Its revival owes much to the work of three gurus who through a study of literature, poetry, music and sculpture recreated this dance form in the early 1950's.

Somali's guru Madhavi Mudgal is one of the most famous students of one of these gurus, Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra. This evening Somali performs a traditional Odissi repertoire. This consists of a 'Mangalacharan' an invocation to a deity, in this case a hymn in praise of Lord Ganesha. The next item is a 'Pallavi' a pure dance piece to express joy in rhythm consisting of abstract movement constructed to a particular raag & taal (beat).

The third item is an 'Abhinaya' (expressional piece) from the 12th century Sanskrit love poem the Gita Govinda in which the dancer expresses the love of Lord Krishna with his beloved the cowherdess Radha. The performance ends with the 'Moksha' which marks the dancers progression on the path of salvation.

Somali has been learning Odissi since the age of nine and her graduation has given her an understanding of the theory of dance and the ability to interpret its subtle nuances. She has been the recipient of a scholarship by the Government of India and has performed both solo and in group choreographies of her guru in India and abroad since 1992. She lives and teaches dance in Delhi.

saturday 22nd july
7.00 pm 'Sanskrit Sahitya' Odissi dance by Arushi Mudgal

The foundation of Indian culture is based on Sanskrit literature, theatre, poetry and dance. Bhartrihari 3 centuries of verses (the Subhashita-Ratna-Bhandara), Bhavabhuti (Uttara-Rama-Charita), the Kavyas of Kalidasa (the Raghuvamsa) and the Alankara-Granthas of Jagannatha (rasagangadhara) are examples of this great tradition in literature, poetry and drama.

Indian classical dance draws upon these traditions specially Bharatas Natya Shastra to create an art rich not only in movement but in poetry, literature and drama.

This evening Arushi amongst other items dances an invocation to Lord Shiva from a 13th century musical treatise, the 'Sangeet-Ratnakara' by Sharngadeva, a verse from Kalidas's Meghadootam and an Ashtapadi from Jayadeva's Gita Govinda.

Arushi comes from an illustrious family of musicians (her grandfather was Pt. Vinaya Chandra Maudgalya and father is Madhup Mudgal) and dancers. Her aunt Madhavi Mudgal is also her guru. It was therefore inevitable that she started learning dance at a very young age and is academically qualified in both Odissi dance and classical vocal music. She has toured extensively with her guru in India and abroad as part of her dance troupe and is also an empanelled artist with the ICCR.

wednesday 26th july
7.00 pm Wagner 'A Flawed Genius?' by R.P. Jain

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) who regarded himself as "the most German of men", typifying "the German spirit" is not only known because of his 13 operas and numerous other compositions but also because of his inevitable influence on our understanding of German culture and history. He has been classified as an anarchist, a socialist and simultaneously, as a proto-fascist, nationalist and as an anti-Semite. In fact his name has appeared in connection with almost all major trends in German history of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Both his anti-Semitic sentiments and his music were personally championed by Hitler with the result that those who rejected Hitler also rejected Wagner. R.P. Jain this evening with excerpts from Wagner's major works and the feel of his majestic sound leads us to fully understand the meaning of "Wagnerian", his predominant position in the musical life of 19th century Europe and the necessity of judging him today on the basis of his work and ideas.

R.P. Jain graduated with a PhD from the University of Hamburg. He taught German language and literature for over 22 years in J.N.U. His interest in Western music grew imperceptibly, almost by osmosis from his earlier years in London to his stint in Germany where his interest in opera was kindled. He lives a retired life in Delhi and is an active member of the Opera fraternity.

saturday 29th july
7.00 pm 'On Style' - Interpretations of Koochipoodi vocabulary by Amrita Lahiri

Bharatanatyam and Koochipoodi are intimately related dance styles of southern India, sharing common systems of Carnatic music, languages, poetry, similar costumes and basic body postures. However, they have very different histories, content, and choreographic aesthetics. Amrita has been learning both styles from four gurus. This evening, she explores compositions from three of these gurus, each requiring a unique approach to the choreography.

The first Raagamalika Jatiswaram is a steady exploration of Bharatanatyam nritta, passed down over generations in the Kalakshetra style, a piece that slides smoothly between raagam, jaati (rhythm), and adavu (steps). This is followed by Vempati Chinna Satyam's Koochipoodi piece, Mandooka Shabdam, a narrative item which sets the scene in the forest where the story of 'gajendra moksham' takes place. Usha Parinayam is Swapnasundari's choregraphy of a favourite Koochipoodi item, in which the dancer takes on the character of princess Usha, new to the feelings of love. Amrita concludes with her guru Leela Samson's Thillana in Madhuvanti raagam, which goes deep to a dancer's core.

Each item is infused with the specific personality, concerns, and visions of the masters who created them. In the relationship between the choreographer, the dancer, and the dance, while it may be a dancer's duty to be faithful to the original intentions of the choreographer, certain elements are lost and gained in the process of mediation through the mind and body of the dancer, with beautiful or disastrous consequences. This is a significant site of vitality and creativity in both forms for the dance changes every time it is presented.

Amrita began learning Koochipoodi with Anuradha Nehru in Washington, D.C. at the age of 7, and continues to dance with the Kalanidhi Dance Company when in the U.S. She is a disciple of Leela Samson in Bharatanatyam since 1996 and a member of Spanda since 2004. She has also trained in Koochipoodi with Swapnasundari, Seetha Nagajothy, and attended summer sessions with Vempati Chinna Satyam. In addition to performing and teaching dance, Amrita has recently worked with the