The Friday List: From a virtual lit fest to a conversation with Ma Anand Sheela, your weekly calendar of virtual events

Every Friday, we'll bring you a curated list of online experiences — performances, talks, tours, screenings — to mark on your weekly calendar.

FP Staff November 13, 2020 12:55:24 IST
The Friday List: From a virtual lit fest to a conversation with Ma Anand Sheela, your weekly calendar of virtual events

On this week's #FridayList, the fourth season of The Crown, a conversation with Ma Anand Sheela, a virtual edition of TATA LitLive and more.

Compiled by Aishwarya Sahasrabudhe

Much of 2020 has passed by in studying and understanding a pandemic and taking precautions to protect ourselves and our families from a disease that has led to grave collateral damage across the world. In trying to cope with the new normal, many artists and festival organisers have been taking to the digital stage to keep peoples' spirits up. All the while, the need to stay at home and reduce the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus keeps on making 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: the virtual edition of TATA Literature Live! 2020, a conversation with Ma Anand Sheela, and season four of The Crown.

— Attend a virtual festival

The coronavirus crisis might have cast a damper on the excitement of attending a vibrant, bustling literature festival but it has by no means doused the spirit of bookworms, authors, poets and writers. Hosting a 'lit fest' complete with heated talks and debates in the physical realm is rendered impossible but the virtual space has become the newest platform to celebrate prolific writers and their works with the audiences. In keeping with this idea, the 2020 edition of TATA Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest will be an entirely virtual affair with a line-up of as many as 150 authors speaking over one week on myriad topics from environment to cricket to fantasy fiction and artificial intelligence. Howard Jacobson, Arshia Sattar, Emma Donoghue, Ian McEwan and Neil Gaiman are but a few writers who will be engaging in a number of insightful discussions through the course of seven days. This time around, the literature festival will also feature a host of events that cater especially to the kids sitting at home through the segment, The Little Festival. For all literature aficionados and bibliophiles, especially those who cannot make it to Mumbai every year, this virtual festival is definitely the place to be.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 16 November to 22 November

The Indian Photo Festival Hyderabad flagged off its 2020 edition on 12 November: a mix of virtual and physical programmes which showcase a range of print installations, digital exhibits and virtual 3D exhibits. A number of talks and discussions, largely virtual, have also been organised as part of the festival which will run until 3 December with speakers set to discuss topics such as documenting minority narratives and the works of prominent photographers from across the world. This week, panelists will get together on Zoom to converge on the issue of Representation of Marginalised Voices in Photography in a conversation with artist Riyas Komu. Joining in the panel discussion will be intellectuals and photographers, Sudharak Olwe, S Santosh and YS Alone who have worked towards highlighting the concerns of the marginalised through their respective artworks and projects. For photography enthusiasts and storytellers, this session and the photo festival are worth paying attention to.

To register for the discussion, click here.

When: 17 November (7 pm)

— Workshops

This year, there will be no such thing as a Diwali break for the children at home but virtual talks and engaging events are sure to be a welcome distraction. The National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai has crafted the Winter Fiesta, a virtual five-day programme filled with workshops on a variety of topics including dance, magic, literature and understanding beaches and the sand. In Hocus Pocus, mentalist Kruti Parekh will be taking the participating children through the basics of magic, sleight of hand and the confidence which is much-needed for performing a great magic trick. On the other hand, storytellers Oindrila Purohit and Veena Manoj are set to dive into ancient wisdom, folklore and mythology in an interactive session filled with storyboards and props that will talk about India and the cultures that have made up the country through the ages.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 16 November to 20 November

In a new workshop set up by Atlas Obscura, participants can learn how to create beautiful designs which use the colour and patterns of our environment for meaningful patchwork. Environment Embroidery: Stitching Your World With Aaron Sanders Head is a workshop spread over four weeks and will cover the basics of hand-stitching, sketching geometric patterns and weaving them onto the fabric. Along with learning about a variety of stitches, the workshop will also help participants make a wall hanging that depicts the geometric shapes encountered in their neighbourhood or surrounding spaces. From sketching to needlework to learning how to make a variety of patterns, this workshop is definitely the place to be for those looking to pick up a new skill in these times of social distancing.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 19 November

— Music and plays

This weekend, Royal Opera House, Mumbai will be screening a performance by The Jaisalmer Boys, a trio bringing forth the folk and traditional music from the dunes of Rajasthan. Having grown up in Jaisalmer around highly accomplished fathers, the popular Manganiyar Maestros of Rajasthan Josh, Chugge Khan, Khete Khan and Salim Khan take to a contemporary audience these age-old musical traditions through their vocals. What the recital depicts is in fact the magic of cultural transmission from one generation to the next. For enthusiasts of folk culture and music, this recital which promises to bring with it a flavour of Rajasthan and its rich heritage, is definitely a must-watch.

When: 14 November

Where: Royal Opera House, Mumbai's YouTube channel

The Friday List From a virtual lit fest to a conversation with Ma Anand Sheela your weekly calendar of virtual events

From season four of The Crown, to an embroidery workshop to a conversation with Ma Anand Sheela, a list of virtual engagements for this week. (Top right) Image via Atlas Obscura (Bottom right) Image via Twitter

FirstAct is back with yet another one of Firstpost's virtual plays, this time a venture produced by Akhoka Theatre that depicts the planning and commissioning of the Dolathabi dam project in Manipur. What promises to be an initiative that will provide irrigation to 7,545 hectares of agricultural land eventually lays bare the adverse consequences of the project as residents upstream and downstream both begin to raise several valid complaints. Directed by Manipur-based theatre practitioner Victor Thoudam, Between the Banks brings forth such stark realities embedding within its script the false promises made by those in power to the local population. Tune in this Friday to watch this insightful drama unfold on the virtual stage that highlights the socio-political repercussions of a problematic developmental project.

When: 13 November (7 pm)

Where: Firstpost's Facebook and Instagram pages

Also read — FirstAct: In 'Between the Banks', a physical performance embodies Manipur's infrastructural irregularities, repercussions

— Talks and panel discussions

Design Futures: Collaboration and The New Normal is a discussion brought forth by Kala Ghoda Association and AVID Learning in a bid to unpack the future trajectory for design and how practitioners are working to enhance more collaborative, cohesive models in this space. Through the course of the conversation, the experts aim to understand how design has evolved over time, tracing the innovations, discourses and trends in the industry along with examining how they have grown as experts in the field. Architects Kohelika Kohli, Ashiesh Shah and designer Akanksha Deo Sharma will be in conversation with author Aparna Piramal Raje to discuss the ever evolving and vibrant design industry as part of the thematised programming initiative, Creative Collaborations 2020 organised with the aim to focus on the linkages between art and design.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 19 November (6 pm)

A talk organised by the Bangalore International Centre will feature the irrepressible, charismatic and bold figure Ma Anand Sheela in conversation with publisher Milee Ashwarya in the session, On My Terms. A disciple of Bhagwan Rajneesh, a staunch advocate of the Osho Movement and a convict charged with attempted murder, Sheela is known to have led quite the exciting life which was all brought to the forefront in the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country. After serving a brief sentence, she moved to Switzerland in the late 1980s and has since run a home for the disabled and elderly along with being a part of several creative and artistic projects. In her memoirs, By My Own Rules, she writes about her vibrant life and what she learnt from Osho's teachings, while in this conversation she is set to tackle everything from her life in Switzerland to her interview with filmmaker Karan Johar when she returned to India. For all interested in the accounts of this enigmatic figure, this talk is a chance to catch her in a candid conversation.

To know more and register, click here.

When: 16 November (6.30 pm)

— Virtual murder mystery

Murdered for Money is bringing forth yet another five-day long virtual investigation, Death by Diamonds which was first performed at The Wentworth Club. Complete with video footage, clue sheets, crime scene photos and live interrogation of suspects (virtually, of course) this is the perfect murder mystery with an engaging story. With the fictional Smoothgreens Diamond Club hosting a virtual charity fundraising event, what can possibly go wrong? But mayhem and the macabre will find a way when unexpected guests, a dead body in the billiards room and rumours of hidden diamonds threaten to make things worse for the organisers. The job of the investigators: to unravel the mystery and find the perpetrator. In what promises to be a fascinating and challenging mystery, Death by Diamonds is definitely a game for fans of the detective genre.

To know more and participate, click here.

When: 17 November to 21 November

— Streaming this week

Arriving this Sunday is the much awaited fourth season of the Netflix original series on Britain's royal family, The Crown. This time, much of the cast from season three will be reprising their roles including Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies and Helena Bonham Carter, along with a stellar addition of Gillian Anderson and Emma Corrin to the mix. While Anderson will be seen portraying the illustrious Margaret Thatcher, Corrin will be essaying the role of Princess Diana. Season four promises to be one of the most interesting and thus the most anticipated segment of the show as it covers the decades that witnessed Thatcher taking the reins of the United Kingdom and the tragic and much talked about story of the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer. The close of the 20th century was an eventful time for the royal family, and the Netflix show promises to be an equally eventful depiction of these happenings, definitely making it a bingeworthy season.

When: 15 November

Where: Netflix

Also streaming on Netflix this weekend is The Life Ahead, an Italian drama film based on the acclaimed novel by Romain Gary, The Life Before Us. When a 12-year-old child, an immigrant from Senegal, robs a woman who runs a shelter for children, it comes as a bitter surprise to her that she is being asked to take care of this very boy. The film brings forth a poignant interpretation of lessons in hope and life that Rosa, who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust imparts to the lost and frightened migrant child. If watching a film with subtitles is favourable, this Netflix original featuring the well-known actor Sophia Loren is definitely worth watching.

When: 13 November

Where: Netflix

Coming up on Amazon Prime Video this Friday is the Rajkummar Rao, Nushrat Bharucha starrer, Chhalaang, the story of Montu, a laid back PT teacher who falls for the school's new computer teacher. Everything seems to be going well until the school takes on another, much more competent and charming PT teacher, Mr Singh ordering Montu to work as his assistant. Determined to prove his mettle, Montu decides to lock horns with the new teacher in a mega sports competition, earnestly training his students in various games to grab a glorious victory. Directed by Hansal Mehta, Chhalaang promises to be a hearty mix of comedy, drama and some fierce sportsman spirit, but what's more, it is also a chance to glimpse into the good old classroom and playground as so many children continue to be away from school, due to the ever present threat of the COVID-19 virus.

When: 13 November

Where: Amazon Prime Video

An upcoming series on Apple TV+ promises to be a fascinating watch that explores how a child's first 2,000 days on earth shape the rest of her life. Narrated by Olivia Colman, the documentary captures the lives of as many as 100 children spread across the world, from Nepal to Japan to Borneo, to bring forth stories of how children learn their basic functions like speaking, walking and thinking from the time they are born to the time they turn five. An insightful show on what it means to raise kids in diverse surroundings and social spaces and the humanity and community sentiment at the heart of this experience, Becoming You is definitely worth a watch, for parents and kids alike.

When: 13 November

Where: Apple TV+

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

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Every Friday, we'll bring you a curated list of online experiences — performances, talks, tours, screenings — to mark on your weekly calendar.