The Friday List: From Bridgerton, Margazhi music festival to FirstAct play Star Light, 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.
Compiled by Aishwarya Sahasrabudhe
Christmas in 2020 has been a rather toned down version of the usual cheer. Add to it the night curfew announced in some states which has led to the festive season and the wintry evenings somehow losing their charm. And even as most public places are now open, the risk of either contracting the coronavirus or becoming a carrier has had us all spending as little time outdoors as necessary. Our collective leisure time is now quite often spent in front of the screen consuming online content. Even as we have begun to venture outdoors, the landscape of our engagements and weekly doses of entertainment continue 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 annual Marghazi music festival, Netflix's Bridgerton and FirstAct's play, Star Light.
— Talks and panel discussions
The Darbar Festival 2020 is under way with a host of performances, panel discussions and concerts scheduled to be screened for connoisseurs of culture. An important conversation set up for this Sunday evening is one that focuses on sexual misconduct in performing arts. Through #MeToo in the Indian Classical Tradition, some exemplary artists and activists including Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna, Hindustani vocalist Shubha Mudgal, artistic director Devina Dutt, Carnatic musician Sangeeta Sivakumar among others will be discussing the challenges that women face in the realm of classical arts. This talk, which is part of the Women in Music series, will highlight some grave issues from the disproportion in the male to female artist ratio along with cases of sexual harassment within the industry. The session will be moderated by broadcast journalist at BBC, Charu Shahane.
When: 27 December (9.30 pm)
Where: Darbar Festival's Facebook
A talk brought forth by Jaipur Literature Festival's Brave New World series will focus on the works of photographer Mattias A Klum, whose works are celebrated for their aesthetic photographic language. Author of works such as The Human Quest: Prospering within Planetary Boundaries and Big World Small Planet - Abundance within Planetary Boundaries, Klum began his career as one of the youngest photographers to work with National Geographic and went on to contribute to multiple cover stories and pieces for the magazine. In a conversation with activist Janhavi Prasada, through the session, Into the Wild with Mattias A Klum, the photojournalist will walk his listeners through all the experiences he has enjoyed during the course of his career, sharing meaningful anecdotes and prolific insights into the natural world and environment.
When: 25 December (7 pm)
Where: Jaipur Literature Festival's Facebook
— Music and plays
Ever since the first lockdown came into effect, Royal Opera House, Mumbai has been screening excerpts from archived concerts and live performances to the effect of infusing some colour in our otherwise mundane stay-at-home lives. Continuing this tradition well into the close of 2020, the opera house has brought forth the screening of an excerpt from Block x Block, a pop-up digital concert featuring a collective of six musicians from southern California. An ensemble that includes Benjamin Smolen on the flute, Leslie Resnick on the oboe, Joshua Ranz on the clarinet to name a few, the recital promises to be a melodious coming together of eclectic sounds in perfect harmony. Tune in to what is sure to be a highly entertaining recital from artists who are also members of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
When: 26 December
Where: Royal Opera House, Mumbai's YouTube channel
For this month's FirstAct play, Firstpost will be collaborating with the Alienstar Collective Theatre for the virtual performance, Star Light. To be staged on Christmas day, this is a story of love and friendship that unfolds over the festive season and explores how two strangers, Aarya and Vinayak forge a bond that might be deeper than they imagined. As the pair navigates the practicalities of life, its dreams and goals, this staunch friendship is put to test time and again. Will the two survive these dramas and open themselves up to a little more joy or will their friendship succumb to circumstance? Tune in to the FirstAct play this Friday to find out what happens in the story of Aarya and Vinayak, in Star Light directed by Alistar Prem Bennis.
When: 25 December ( 7 pm)
— Online film screening
The award winning filmmaker Anand Patwardhan presents a scathing indictment of communal hatred, caste hierarchy, violence and crime through a chilling narrative in the documentary, Vivek (Reason). His work sharply questions the spiral of violence and greed into which the country is losing itself as it analyses the atrocities inflicted on minorities and those resisting discriminatory regimes. In eight dark and eye opening chapters of the documentary, the filmmaker exposes the mind control behind the systemic dismantling of a secular democracy while also shedding light on resistance movements that continue their fight to thwart these hegemonic structures. Following the film premiere will be a QnA with Patwardhan which will focus on his journey of making the nearly three-hour-long documentary and his views on the current state of reason in the country.
To know more and get your ticket, click here.
When: 27 December (3 pm)
— Virtual music festival
The annual Madras Margazhi Music Festival, which has been running uninterrupted since 1928, will take to the virtual stage in 2020 to bring to audiences a week filled with the notes of soulful Carnatic ragas. With a stellar line-up of artists like vocalists Sumithra Vasudev and Sangita Kalanidhi Sanjay Subrahmanyan, veena exponent, Jayanthi Kumaresh and a host of other prolific musicians like ghatam player Suresh Vaidyanathan and mridangam artiste Akshay Anand, the virtual edition brought forth by The Music Academy will be a slightly toned down but equally enthusiastic celebration of the Carnatic musical tradition. The festival will flag off on 24 December and its closing note will mark the last day of 2020 ushering in a new year filled with hope and optimism. For those who cannot attend the Margazhi in Chennai in person every year, the virtual stage is sure to be the perfect way to participate in the musical extravaganza.
To look at the full schedule and get your tickets, click here.
When: 24 December to 31 December
A new workshop brought forth by Atlas Obscura is all set to take participants through the complex history and cultural significance of rice in Spanish cuisine. In Sunday Sabor: A Masterclass in Spanish Rice, chef Arantxa Lamas will introduce audiences to the ingredients that go into some of the signature dishes in Spain, explore with them the history of saffron and also make a traditional Valencian paella. Participants will be receiving the recipe in advance and will have the opportunity to cook along with Lamas and soak in some tips while watching her create this masterpiece. For home cooks who wish to sharpen their skills and know more about Spanish cuisine, this masterclass is definitely the place to be.
To know more and register, click here.
When: 28 December
— Virtual murder mystery
A new murder mystery set up online by MurderedforMoney is a Christmas special event that stretches to 1 January, something to look forward to for those who will be spending the holiday season at home. Mistletoe and Murder — Christmas Murder Mystery Challenge flags off on 26 December and follows the story of Santa Claus and his friends from the North Pole who set up a pantomime with rather disastrous consequences. Complete with its usual series of video footage, live virtual interrogations, suspects and clue sheets, the murder mystery is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday right from the comfort of home.
To know more and register for the murder mystery, visit MurderedforMoney's Facebook
When: 26 December to 1 January
— Virtual walkthrough
Kolkata, the beating heart of colonial India commands an important place in history, not simply for being an important centre for the British Raj but also because of its role during World War II. In 1942, Japanese planes attempted to destroy the industrial sectors in the city with the aim of quashing the efforts of the Allied powers in the China-Burma-India Theatre. As air-raid sirens became a growing reality, so too the war began to bring with it workers' strike, increased surveillance, crime and terrible famine. The events that unfolded led to the creation of Inbound Areas which were considered safe zones for the allied powers pouring into the city. A micro virtual walk, Calcutta in World War II, organised by Immersive Trails is set to take audiences on a tour of such a city engulfed in war and explore this contested inbound zone through eye witness accounts and divided histories. For history buffs, this weekend's virtual walkthrough is definitely the place to be.
To know more and get your ticket, click here.
When: 26 December (3 pm)
— Streaming this week
Arriving on Amazon Prime Video this weekend is the remake of the 1995 David Dhawan film, Coolie No. 1 featuring Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan in the lead. Following the original storyline, the upcoming comedy also revolves around Raju, a coolie who pretends to be a millionaire and marries a rich man's daughter. But things start to collapse around this happy-go-lucky trickster when he is spotted at a railway station and has to make up a lie about having a rich twin. What follows is a series of goofs, laughter and lies upon lies as Raju tries to protect his dual identity. Typical of Dhawan's films, Coolie No. 1 too promises to be a heartening slapstick comedy, perfect for a weekend night in.
When: 25 December
Where: Amazon Prime Video
This weekend, Netflix will be taking a trip through Victorian England in the season premiere of Bridgerton, which follows the story of Daphne Bridgerton and her quest to find a groom. Akin to Vanity Fair's Becky Sharp, Daphne too must find a suitable husband when she comes of age. But Daphne is searching for her true love while her brother disposes of the suitors he thinks are not good enough. And when scandal threatens to destroy her reputation and make it difficult for her to find a husband, she enters into a game of wit and pretense with the charming Duke of Hastings setting off a series of dramatic events.
When: 25 December
Coming up on Disney+Hotstar this weekend is the Pixar animation Soul, a film about a school band teacher Joe who has lost the zest for life and is willing to do nothing to change that. But when an accident takes him into the before life, a place where souls pick up the quirks and oddities they will take into their new lives on earth, he is compelled to convince one pessimist soul about the joys of living a full, beautiful life on the planet. This festive season, Soul is the perfect film to lift up our spirits, hope for a better tomorrow and get motivated to live life to the fullest today.
When: 25 December
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