articles by Vikram Phukan

Lifestyle

FirstAct: Watch 11:11, a physical theatre performance on virtual reality therapy that devises new corporeal expression

Through '11:11', the creators aim at exploring how the VR ‘in-world' works in opposition to the actual world in which the subject is effectively rendered blind by their headset.

Lifestyle

FirstAct: In '11:11', an experimental performance that explores virtual reality as a therapeutic aid

Captured on camera in a single take, 11:11 is a response to the growing disaffection induced by the pandemic in a year that has pushed us online with a vengeance.

Entertainment

Shashikala passes away: Revisiting the 'good woman' roles portrayed by the iconic Bollywood femme fatale

When cast against type, Shashikala unostentatiously strung together a series of parts notable for the manner in which they spoke of rare and treasured feminine kinship, usually relegated to the footnotes of the prevailing cinematic culture.

Arts & Culture

Does Peter Brook's Padma Shri, 30 years after Le Mahabharata, underline production's repute as Hindu soft power relic?

Brook’s citation, part of a not quite slender roster of international honourees over the years, comes on the heels of similar honours being announced for British politicians known to be ‘friendly’ to the current dispensation.

Arts & Culture

Enter Stage Right: A compelling, evanescent memoir of the Alkazi-Padamsee family, and their theatrical imprint

A marriage eventually frayed at the edges but robust in its critical mass of shared cultural persuasions irrevocably linked the Alkazi and Padamsee families in the artistic sphere.

Arts & Culture

2020, the year of resilience in theatre: Practitioners and institutions rose to the challenges of an unprecedented crisis

The pandemic presented endless opportunities for theatrewallahs to rally together as a networked community beyond the usual barriers of geography or language.

Arts & Culture

Astad Deboo: A rebel who stood astride India's fledgling experimental arts scene, and dismantled notions of dance

Swimming against the tide, Astad Deboo forged an uncommon career that operated in its own niche perhaps, but has left behind an insurmountable legacy.

Entertainment

Soumitra Chatterjee passes away: Redoutable thespian's stage career underscored why he was true renaissance man

Mr Chatterjee’s meditation on his own mortality unsettled audiences, but he assuaged them, “Death is inevitable, but we need to know that it is possible to at least enjoy life while we have it.”

Arts & Culture

From stage to page: Recent excursions in Indian theatre publishing provide vital insight into the form, and its future

Theatre publishing will go a long way towards preserving latter-day texts currently missing from the public archive, while allowing theatre-makers to access contemporary writings that provide a greater understanding of the zeitgeist, and take them to audiences hungry for new interpretations and perspectives.

Lifestyle

From MS Subbulakshmi to Kangana Ranaut, tracing the journey of women in Indian cinema and the Padma awards

Padma awards have always eluded women in cinema, theatre and music. The ones who have broken the glass ceiling over the years share an interesting pattern which is representative of a creaking system of felicitation in the world of Indian art and culture.

Arts & Culture

Remembering Ebrahim Alkazi, the grand old man of Indian theatre, who leaves behind a staggering legacy

For an ephemeral form such as live theatre, where the works of most masters, especially theatre directors, disappear in the mist with their passing, it’s heartening that Ebrahim Alkazi’s legacy has been preserved for a posterity he had emphatically staked a claim to more than a half-century ago.

Lifestyle

'Arbitrary' Facebook crackdown on Mumbai, Delhi theatre groups leaves leading practitioners banned on social media platform

Over the weekend, several members of the extended theatre community in Mumbai (and beyond) found themselves at the receiving end of an unexpected online reckoning.

Lifestyle

FirstAct: Watch Theatre Jil Jil Ramamani's Haiku in a Bun, a tale of 3 siblings, separated by continents and time-zones

Theatre Jil Jil Ramamani's Haiku in a Bun explores relationships and grieving in the time of a pandemic.

Lifestyle

FirstAct: Theatre Jil Jil Ramamani's Haiku in a Bun explores relationships and grieving in the time of a pandemic

Haiku in a Bun is a tale of three siblings, separated by continents and time-zones, who log on to a video-conferencing app to steady each other through a recent bereavement.

Lifestyle

In Sharanya Ramprakash's Kannada play Nava, a guide for greater transgender presence in Indian theatre

Nava has been put together by its team using collaborative devising methods, selecting precious moments from personal stories to create a mélange of nuanced offerings that piece together the obliterated contemporary history of urban trans women.

Lifestyle

Irrfan Khan passes away at 53: Revisiting the beloved actor's crucial, yet little known, theatre years

In shaping the trajectory of the shape-shifting Irrfan Khan, theatre played a tremendous role. Not only his performances but also stories of his so-called ‘struggle’ to break into the mainstream inspire actors priming themselves for careers in an unforgiving profession.

Life

National Theatre's Dara examines life of the Mughal prince, showcases his socio-political relevance in contemporary discourse

In an uncomfortable dichotomy with some bearing on real-life perceptions of Muslims, Dara Shukoh is remembered as a translator of the Upanishads, and religiously syncretic to the core, whereas an archetypal Aurangzeb destroyed temples and imposed Jizya on non-Muslims even as he ruled by Sharia law.

Life

Coronavirus Outbreak: India's theatre practitioners view crisis as time to introspect, reinvigorate stage ecosystem

Even outside the context of a lockdown, theatre in India operates as what could be termed a grossly underpaid gig economy, with actors and technicians buffeting their slender takeouts with earnings from television, digital media or film projects.

Life

Sunehre Din to Mitrachi Goshta: Tracing forgotten histories of invisible queer women in the 20th century

When it comes to representation of queer women in early Indian cinema or literature, it is only through extrapolation that one can unearth those hidden narratives. Voices of the past find the agency to speak only years later, but still allow us a precious vantage into times gone by.

Life

Anuradha Kapur's Daughters Opera, set in post-NRC Assam, foregrounds fortitude of disenfranchised women

"Directed by the high priestess of experimental theatre Anuradha Kapur, Daughters Opera is based on librettist Tammy Brennan’s evocative Daughters, a song-cycle of a dozen compositions by David Chisholm that gives voice to the fortitude of women lost to violence, anywhere or everywhere," writes Vikram Phukan.