On the agenda

Mumbai weekend cultural calendar: A Zakir Hussain concert, a documentary screening, and more

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

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
HISTORY Kindred Nations: A History of US-India Relations at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
An exhibition of photographs, documents and other objects that reveal relationships between Indians and Americans from the late eighteenth century until Independence in 1947. Tickets for Indians are priced at Rs 10 per head for adults and Rs 5 per head for children below the age of 13, and tickets for foreigners are priced at Rs 100 per head for adults and Rs 50 per head for children below the age of 13.
When:  Friday, September 25 to Sunday, October 25. Open Thursday to Tuesday, from 10 am to 5.30 pm; Wednesday, closed.
Where: Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Rani Baug, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Road, Byculla. Tel: 022 2373 1234.

SHOPPING & STYLE Gold Dust by Rehwa at Artisans’ Centre
An exhibition and sale of Maheshwari dupattas with gold prints as well as Maheshwari fabric and saris by Rehwa, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of the textile, in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh.
When: Friday, September 25, from 11 am to 7 pm.
Where: Artisans' Centre, VB Gandhi Marg, near Rhythm House, Kala Ghoda. Tel: 022 2267 3040.

THEATRE One on One 2 at Prithvi Theatre
In this sequel to Rage Theatre’s 2010 production One on One, a set of mini plays, seven directors, ten writers and six actors will present eight short pieces on topics ranging from the music industry and marriage to war and Bollywood. Tickets priced at Rs 400 per head are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Friday, September 25 at 6 pm and 9.30 pm.
Where: Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Juhu. Tel: 022 2614 9546.

FILM Jerichow at Max Mueller Bhavan/Goethe Institut
In Christian Petzold’s 2008 German film inspired by James M Cain’s noir novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, a love triangle develops between Thomas, a veteran of the Afghanistan mission, a woman called Laura and her German-Turkish husband. The screening is free.
When: Friday, September 25 at 6.30 pm.
Where: Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, K. Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda. Tel: 022 2202 7542.

MUSIC Awestrung with Mikey McCleary and The Bartender + Neeraj Arya's Kabir Cafe at High Street Phoenix
The series of gigs held in the courtyard of the mall complex will return with a concert of sets by composer Mikey McCleary’s band The Bartender, which performs jazzed-up versions of Bollywood classics, and Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Cafe, the folk-fusion rock band helmed the eponymous singer whose tunes are based on the verses of saint-poet Kabir. There is no entry fee.
When: Friday, September 25 at 6.45 pm.
Where: Courtyard, High Street Phoenix, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.

FILM Bitter Lake at Prithvi House
Adam Curtis’s 2015 documentary examines the West’s “good versus evil” defence of its repeated military interventions in Afghanistan. Organised by Vikalp, a group of documentary filmmakers, the screening is free.
When: Friday, September 25 at 7 pm.
Where: Prithvi House, opposite Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Juhu. Tel: 022 2614 9546.

MUSIC Daira + Oak Island at He Said She Said
The city-based progressive rock bands will perform a concert where Daira will launch their self-titled debut album. There is no entry fee. See the Facebook event page for more information.
When: Friday, September 25 at 7 pm.
Where: He Said She Said, Remi BizCourt, opposite Supreme Chambers, off Link Road, Veera Desai Road, Andheri (West). Tel: 90224 80780.

MUSIC Suchismita + Rashid Khan at Nehru Centre
The Hindustani classical singers will perform. Tickets priced at Rs 200, Rs 300, Rs 400 and Rs 500 per head are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Friday, September 25 at 7 pm.
Where: He Said She Said, Remi BizCourt, opposite Supreme Chambers, off Link Road, Veera Desai Road, Andheri (West). Tel: 90224 80780.

MUSIC Symphony Orchestra of India with Zakir Hussain at the NCPA 
The premier performance of Peshkar, tabla player Zakir Hussain’s concerto for the Symphony Orchestra of India. See here for more information. Tickets are sold out; call the NCPA box-office 022 2282 4567 to check for cancellations.
When: Friday, September 25 and Saturday, September 26 at 7 pm.
Where: Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, National Centre for the Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point. Tel: 022 2282 4567.

MUSIC The Elton John Experience at Phoenix MarketCity Kurla
Australian vocalist and pianist Greg Andrew, among the most popular impersonators of Elton John, will perform a concert of the British singer’s greatest hits. Tickets priced at Rs 375 per head are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Friday, September 25 at 7.30 pm.
Where: Phoenix Marketcity, Dublin Square, Level 1, LBS Marg, Kurla (West).

THEATRE Song of the Swan at the NCPA Experimental Theatre
Directed by Shubhrajyoti Barat and written by Asad Hussain, this play tells the story of Hans Christian Ostro, the Norwegian theatre practitioner who was abducted and killed by militants in Kashmir in 1995. Tickets priced at Rs 250, Rs 300 and Rs 350 per head are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Friday, September 25 at 7.30 pm.
Where: Experimental Theatre, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Nariman Point. Tel: 022 2282 4567.

MUSIC DJ Mo City at The Drawing Room
The founding member of Delhi sound system Reggae Rajahs, also known as Mohammed Abood, will play a three-hour set. There is no entry fee.
When: Friday, September 25 at 9 pm.
Where: The Drawing Room at Smoke House Deli, Clove at 33rd Road, Dr BR Ambedkar Road, Pali Naka, Bandra (West). Tel: 022 6528 7800.

MUSIC Simply The Blues with Lil’ Red and the Roosters at Blue Frog
The annual series of blues gigs will return with a show by Lil’ Red and the Roosters, which features vocalist Jennifer Milligan, guitarist Pascal Fouquet and harmonica player Thomas Troussier. There is an entry fee of Rs 500 per head.
When: Friday, September 25 at 9.30 pm.
Where: Blue Frog, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Tulsi Pipe Road, Lower Parel. Tel: 022 6158 6158.

MUSIC Miguel Bastida at Kitty Su
The Spanish tech-house and techno DJ and producer will take over the console. Tickets are priced at Rs 1,500 (only entry fee) or Rs 3,000 (full cover charge) per couple; at Rs 2,000 (only entry fee) or Rs 3,500 (full cover charge) per head for single men; and at Rs 1,000 (full cover charge) per head for single women.
When: Friday, September 25 at 10 pm.
Where: Kitty Su, The Lalit, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Road, Andheri (East). Tel: 022 6104 3145.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
ART Video Art at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
A series of short video works by artists Adam Chodzko, Anne Tallentire, Gigi Scaria, Rohini Devasher, Qiu Anxiong, Baiju Parthan and Eline McGeorge will be screened. Tickets for Indians are priced at Rs 10 per head for adults and Rs 5 per head for children below the age of 13, and tickets for foreigners are priced at Rs 100 per head for adults and Rs 50 per head for children below the age of 13.
When: Saturday, September 26 at 3.30 pm and 4.45 pm.
Where: Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Rani Baug, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Road, Byculla. Tel: 022 2373 1234.

MUSIC Milind Raikar at Nehru Centre
The Hindustani classical violinist will perform a solo recital. Tickets for the event, by cultural organisation Udayan, are priced at Rs 200 per head and are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Saturday, September 26 at 6.30 pm.
Where: Basement, Planetarium Building, Nehru Centre Complex, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli. Tel: 022 2496 4680.

THEATRE The Vagina Monologues at Prithvi Theatre
Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal’s long-running production of Eve Enslser’s feminist manifesto The Vagina Monologues is a series of touching and hilarious stories of sexual experience and abuse. Tickets priced at Rs 500 per head are being sold on Prithvitheatre.org.
When: Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27 at 5 pm, 7 pm and 9 pm.
Where: Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Juhu. Tel: 022 2614 9546.

MUSIC #StrictlyDrumNBass with Vachan Chinnappa + EZ Riser at Cafe Nemo
This edition of the drum and bass club night, held on the last Saturday of every month, will comprise sets by DJs Vachan Chinnappa from Bangalore and EZ Riser aka Sohail Arora from Mumbai. There is no entry fee. See the Facebook event page for more information.
When: Saturday, September 26 at 9.3 0 pm.
Where: Cafe Nemo, 329/A, Thadani House, opposite Indian Coast Guard, Worli Village, Worli. Tel: 022 2437 9841.

MUSIC BLOT! at China 1
The Delhi duo of electronic music producer Gaurav Malaker and visual jockey Avinash Kumar will present a set. There is no entry fee. See the Facebook event page for more information.
When: Saturday, September 26 at 10 pm.
Where: China 1, C-70, Ground Floor, The Capital, G Block, Bandra-Kurla Complex. Tel: 022 6738 1111.

MUSIC Luke & Steve at Kitty Su
The Dutch house music duo of Lucas de Wert and Steven Jansen will man the decks. Tickets are priced at Rs 1,500 (only entry fee) or Rs 3,000 (full cover charge) per couple; at Rs 2,000 (only entry fee) or Rs 3,500 (full cover charge) per head for single men; and at Rs 1,000 (full cover charge) per head for single women. Call 99876 03114 or visit the venue’s website to book a spot.
When: Saturday, September 26 at 10 pm.
Where: Kitty Su, The Lalit, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Road, Andheri (East). Tel: 022 6104 3145.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

THEATRE Emotional Creatures at Prithvi Theatre
Written by American writer Eve Ensler and directed by Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal, Emotional Creatures is a series of monologues and vignettes about women, from a Chinese sweatshop worker making Barbie dolls to rape survivor from the Congo. Tickets priced at Rs 500 per head are being sold on Bookmyshow.com.
When: Sunday, September 27 at 9 pm.
Where: Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Juhu. Tel: 022 2614 9546.

ONGOING
ART PHOTOGRAPHY A Thousand Kisses Deep by Fabien Charuau at Chatterjee & Lal
French photographer Fabien Charuau's digital photographs explore facets of contemporary life in India such as online devotional practices and intimacy among young adults.
When: Until Saturday, September 26. Open Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 am to 7 pm; Sunday and Monday, closed.
Where: Chatterjee & Lal, 01/18, Kamal Mansion, First Floor, Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba. Tel: 022 2202 3787.

ART PHOTOGRAPHY Conversations in Colour: Raghubir Singh at Jhaveri Contemporary
An exhibition of images by the lensman and photographers he mentored, Ketaki Sheth, Ram Rahman and Sooni Taraporevala. See the review here.
When: Until Friday, October 2. Open Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 am to 6 pm; Sunday and Monday, closed.
Where: Jhaveri Contemporary, 2 Krishna Niwas, 58A Walkeshwar Road. Tel: 022 2369 3639.

ART Hyphenated Lives at Chemould Prescott Road
Reena Saini Kallat's new solo show, in which she has used the electrical cable as a symbol, hinges on the theme of conflict.
When: Until Saturday, October 10. Open Monday to Saturday, from 11 am to 7 pm; Sunday, closed.
Where: Chemould Prescott Road, Queens Mansion, Third Floor, G. Talwatkar Marg, near Cathedral School, Fort. Tel: 022 2200 0211.

ART Unpacking the Studio: Celebrating the Jehangir Sabavala Bequest at Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation
This exhibition comprises the late artist's paintings and personal articles such as diaries, sketchbooks and portfolios that were donated by his wife Shirin Sabavala to the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, which is housed inside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. The show, which has been curated by Ranjit Hoskote, places Jehangir Sabavala's work in the context of his artistic inspirations, his education in Mumbai, London and Paris, and his practice among his peers from the 1930s to the 1950s. Tickets to enter the museum are priced at Rs 70 per head for visitors above the age of 12, Rs 20 per head for children between the ages of five and 12 and Rs 300 per head for foreigners above the age of 12.
When: Until Thursday, December 31. The Foundation is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10.30 am to 6 pm; Monday, closed.
Where: Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Second Floor, East Wing, Kala Ghoda. Tel: 022 2202 9613.

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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:

Play

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