On the agenda

Delhi weekend cultural calendar: Radhika Vaz's stand-up routine, French hip-hop and more

There's a lot happening in the nation's capital over the next three days.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
FILM Woodpecker Film Festival at Siri Fort Auditorium 
The third edition of the international film festival will have a special focus on Mexican and Nigerian cinema. The four-day event will include screenings and discussions. For the complete schedule, see here. There is no entry fee. Visit Woodpeckerfilmfestival.in to register and for more information.
When: Until Sunday, September 20, from 9.30 am.
Where: Siri Fort Auditorium, Asian Games Village Complex. Tel: 011 4166 1868.

FILM Open Frame Festival at India International Centre
Among the films that will be screened at this five-day festival organised by the Public Service Broadcast Trust are Hemant Gaba’s Japan in Nagaland, which profiles Naga anime fans and Annie Zaidi’s In Her Words, which is about women in Indian literature. See here for the complete schedule. There is no entry fee; seating is on a first come, first served basis.
When: From Friday, September 18 to Tuesday, September 22, from 10 am.
Where: CD Deshmukh Auditorium, India International Centre, 40 Max Mueller Marg, Lodhi Estate. Tel: 011 24619431.

FILM Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai at Maraa Delhi Terrace 
A screening of Delhi-based director Nakul Singh Sawhney’s documentary on the communal riots that took place in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh in 2013. The show will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker. There is no entry fee. See the Facebook event page for more information.
When: Friday, September 18 at 7 pm.
Where: Maraa Delhi DA, 5D, DDA Flats, Munirka. Tel: 80409 99664.

COMEDY Kenneth Sebastian + Karthik Kumar + Angad Singh Ranyal at Striker Pub and Kitchen
The stand-up comedians will each present a set at this gig organised by the Canvas Laugh Club. Tickets priced at Rs 600 per head are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Friday, September 18 at 7.30 pm.
Where: Striker, Ambience Mall, Third Floor, Vasant Kunj. Tel: 90154 55000.

COMEDY Older.Angrier.Hairier at Kamani Auditorium 
New York-based stand-up comedian Radhika Vaz’s new show covers everything from porn and politics. Tickets priced at Rs 500 and 750 per head are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Friday, September 18 at 8 pm.
Where: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Janpath. Tel: 011 4350 3352.

MUSIC Sound Avtar at Urban Pind
The bass-heavy electronic music DJ and producer also known as Piyush Bhatnagar will take over the console. There is no entry fee. See the Facebook event page for more information.
When: Friday, September 18 at 8 pm.
Where: Urban Pind Café, M-31, M Block Market, Greater Kailash 2. Tel: 96502 21221.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
MUSIC Benny Dayal at Siri Fort Auditorium
The Hindi and Tamil film playback singer will perform. Tickets priced at Rs 750, Rs 1,000, Rs 1,500, Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 per head are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Saturday, September 19 at 7 pm.
Where: Siri Fort Auditorium, Asian Games Village Complex. Tel: 011 4166 1868.

MUSIC Dhruv Visvanath at India Habitat Centre 
The Delhi-based guitarist will launch and play songs from his debut album Orion, which is the first release of singer and composer Vishal Dadlani’s new record label. There is no entry fee but you can RSVP on Insider.in.
When: Saturday, September 19 at 8 pm.
Where: Amphitheatre, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, near Air Force Bal Bharati School. Tel: 011 2468 2002.

MUSIC Chill Bump at AntiSocial  
The French hip hop duo, which raps in English, will perform a set. There is a cover charge of Rs 300 per head. For more information, see the Facebook event page.
When: Saturday, September 19 at 9 pm.
Where: AntiSocial9A & 12, Third Floor, Hauz Khas Village. Tel: 78386 52814.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
THEATRE Run For Your Wife at Lok Kala Manch
Directed by Rishi Mehta and based on a play of the same name by British playwright Ray Cooney, this Hindi comedy is about a taxi driver in Delhi juggling households with two wives without them finding out about each other. Tickets priced at Rs 250, Rs 350 and Rs 500 per head are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Sunday, September 20 at 3 pm and 5.45 pm.
Where: Lok Kala Manch, 20 Lodhi Institutional Area, Lodhi Road. Tel: 011 6580 6268.

FILM The Mushrooms at Instituto Cervantes  
Directed by Columbian filmmaker Oscar Ruiz Navia, this 2014 Spanish movie tells the story of two street artists Ras and Calvin who come together with other graffiti makers in Santiago de Cali to paint a tribute to Arab Spring demonstrators. The film will be screened with English subtitles. There is no entry fee. See the Facebook event page for more information.
When: Sunday, September 20 at 4.30 pm.
Where: Instituto Cervantes, Building No. 48, Hanuman Road, near Hanuman Mandir, Connaught Place, Central. Tel: 011 4368 1907.

ONGOING
ART Cosmology to Cartography: A Cultural Journey of Indian Maps at the National Museum
An exhibition of vintage Indian maps sourced from the Kalakriti Archives in Hyderabad that includes both cosmological representations of the universe and cartographic depictions of the country. Tickets are priced at Rs 20 per head for Indians and Rs 650 per head (inclusive of the audio tour) for foreigners. See here for more information.
When: Until Sunday, October 11. Open daily, from 10 am to 5 pm.
Where: Special Exhibition Hall-I, National Museum, Janpath, Rajpath Road Area, Central Secretariat. Tel: 011 2379 2775.

ART Lay of the Land at Gallery Latitude 28
Art writer Anushka Rajendran has curated this show of works from across the sub-continent including those by Adeela Suleman from Pakistan, Niyeti Kannal from India and Pala Pothupitiye from Sri Lanka. See the Facebook event page for more information.
When: Until Tuesday, September 22. Open daily, from 11 am to 7 pm.
Where: Gallery Latitude 28, F-208, Lado Sarai. Tel: 011 4679 1111.

FOOD & DRINK Restaurant Week India 
During this bi-annual event, customers get to eat three-course set meals at a selection of fine-dining restaurants across the city at discounted rates. The 26 participating restaurants this time around include Sakura at The Metropolitan Hotel and Spa, Guppy by Ai in Lodhi Colony, Artusi in Greater Kailash II, A Ta Maison in Sunder Nagar and Yauatcha in Vasant Kunj. The set lunch is priced at Rs 1,100 per person and set dinner at Rs 1,300 per person (prices exclude taxes). Reservations can be made on Restaurantweekindia.com.
When: Until Sunday, September 20, at 1 pm for lunch and at 8 pm and 10 pm for dinner.
Where: See here for the complete list of restaurants.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.