articles by Arshia Dhar

Entertainment

In Raat Akeli Hai, how Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Honey Trehan transcend the whodunit to critique patriarchy

Director Honey Trehan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who plays a policeman in Raat Akeli Hai, talk about why the film is more than just a thriller

Entertainment

The Javed Akhtar interview | 'If you say you are apolitical, you are, wittingly or unwittingly, accepting the status quo'

Javed Akhtar talks about his Richard Dawkins Award win, the demerits of 'good and bad bigotry', and why there is a difference between 'inheritance' and 'nepotism'.

Entertainment

Revisiting Satyajit Ray's Devi: The enduring relevance of the film's biting critique of dehumanisation of women

In Devi, the 'goddess's' listlessness and immobility in the face of burgeoning oppression was a metaphor for patriarchy at its diabolical worst.

Lifestyle

In Boys from Good Families, writer Usha KR's obsessive eye for detail undermines larger social themes

In Boys from Good Families, Usha KR’s verbosity wrestles uncomfortably with her social and moral messaging, proving to be counterproductive in establishing the larger picture that often goes amiss.

long-reads

Four survivors of trafficking on life in lockdown, and why it has meant a resurgence of old fears, uncertainties

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported 38,503 cases of trafficking in the country between 2011 and 2019.

India

How the shrinking island of Mousuni in the Sundarbans underlines the region's growing concerns about rapid land loss

In the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan, a small island lying on the border of the Sundarbans tells the tale of the ecological and economic damage sustained by the mangrove forests guarding the east coast of the country.

Lifestyle

Kavita Krishnan on her book Fearless Freedom, what empowerment means, and why 'unlearning' propels equality

Kavita Krishnan's debut book examines the various facets of 'freedom' for women in modern-day India, revealing the deceptive ways in which seemingly benign tropes, hiding in plain sight, disempower women in the garb of emancipation.

Lifestyle

Surviving Cyclone Amphan: Kolkata, a city battling coronavirus, now faces flooded streets, broken buildings and trauma

How Cyclone Amphan, in the middle of a pandemic, has rendered the city of Kolkata and its neighbouring districts handicapped, with shattered homes, severed communication channels and people in search of hope.

Lifestyle

Rabindranath Tagore's thoughts on nation-building that informed the National Anthem remain timely, and relevant

As Rabindranath Tagore's 159th birth anniversary is observed, revisiting the origins of the National Anthem and why it is the 'protest song' India needs at this socio political juncture.

Lifestyle

Ira Mukhoty on her book Akbar, and why the Mughal monarch remains, 'despite the current climate, a beloved figure'

In Akbar: The Great Mughal, writer Ira Mukhoty demystifies the 16th century ruler and sheds light on why he continues to hold sway on the culture and society of the subcontinent.

long-reads

Aparna Sen and Madhabi Mukherjee on Satyajit Ray, the man, and his enduring legacy

On Satyajit Ray's 99th birth anniversary, his leading ladies Aparna Sen and Madhabi Mukherjee weigh in on the political significance of the man and his legacy, even 28 years since he breathed his last.

long-reads

Coronavirus crisis' mental health burden: Notes on battling germophobia during a pandemic

As the coronavirus crisis rages, what coping with germophobia has meant for an individual with the condition

India

Coronavirus Outbreak: As West Bengal catches up on testing, medical community bears the brunt of an ailing healthcare system

As the coronavirus sweeps through West Bengal, one of the largest states with the lowest rates of tests being conducted, Firstpost speaks to the healthcare workers in Bengal about their experiences, difficulties, and concerns.

long-reads

Turning newspapers into sculpture: Amritah Sen's unique art traverses fear, life's uncertainties and politics

Kolkata-based artist Amritah Sen's intriguing creations, a hybrid of newspapers or books and sculptures, mirror the society as we know it today. The results are stirring images that follow her stream of consciousness, to reflect grotesque realities, capturing the artist's reactions to the world around her.

long-reads

Remembering Nemai Ghosh: The unassuming man behind the extraordinary photographer

Photographer Nemai Ghosh's enviable eye for detail and perseverance steered him through 25 years with Satyajit Ray, where he meticulously recorded every moment of his movement through film sets, dubbing and recording studios, and even his home. Ray's son Sandip takes us down memory lane, tracing the life of an extraordinary man.

long-reads

In Kolkata, a group of Hindu priestesses storm a male bastion and confront patriarchy, caste

'Shubhamastu', a Kolkata-based collective of priestesses led by Dr Nandini Bhowmik, Ruma Roy, Semanti Banerjee, and Paulomi Chakraborty, has been presiding over Hindu ceremonies of weddings, memorial services, housewarming rituals, among others, for over a decade now.

Life

With only two years in mainstream publishing, how editor Rahul Soni carved a niche with empathy, resolve

HarperCollins India's Rahul Soni's stint in mainstream publishing has only just begun, having recently crossed the two-year mark, with a prodigious number of acclaimed titles under his belt already. Reactions to his accomplishments from publishing peers range from reverence to unwavering faith in his mettle, but what seems to get repeatedly underlined about Rahul through several testimonies is his abounding empathy — an alleged rarity in the business.

Life

How the rise of right-wing populism urged Rajorshi Chakraborti to write Shakti, a surreal tale of three women

Rajorshi Chakraborti's newest novel, Shakti (2019) thrusts its readers into a familiar, yet surreal space, where its female leads traverse a socio-politically turbulent modern-day India, with superpowers to boot. In a conversation with Firspost, the New Zealand-based writer reflects on what inspired his book — from the prevailing socio-political milieu in India, to Black Mirror on Netflix, and everything in between.

Life

'Journalists are expected to ask and keep asking questions. But we don't do that anymore': An interview with Om Thanvi

In an interview with Firstpost, veteran journalist, writer, editor and critic Om Thanvi examines the reasons behind an ailing Indian media, and reflects on Hindi journalism's death

Life

In his new book, TM Krishna explores how caste oppression invisibilised India's mridangam-makers

Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna's new book Sebastian and Sons: A Brief History of Mrdangam Makers cuts to the chase with a palpable urgency, right from page one. The mridangam is a young instrument, only a century old, that has deftly travelled up the musical ranks to secure its place on the stage of Carnatic music. And yet its makers, many of whom belong to Dalit Christian communities, continue to reside on society's margins.