Music Cultures in South Asia
Music Cultures in South Asia by , , pp.,
January 2020, volume 1, No July 2024, volume 48, No 7

This bumper issue on the arts carries reviews on visual arts, dance, design, cinema, video and architecture but there is a special focus on music. Sadhana Bhattacharyya in whose memory this special issue is dedicated had a close affinity to music of all kinds. The range of books reviewed here showcases the critical reflectivity and dynamism of Indian scholarship on the arts. From the 14th century illustrated text Chandayan carefully collated and compiled from manuscripts scattered in museums all over the world we get a peep not only into bardic lores about mythical lovers but also the richness of the visual in the Sultanate era. It may be far-fetched to establish continuities but the adulation projected on the romantic pair Suchitra-Uttam in Bengali films tells us something about vicarious desire and modern myth-making in Bengali culture. There is a thoughtful account of Odia film, the first critical history written in English which explores identity-making and the pressures of porous film cultures. The two books on Indian design tell us something about the maturity of modern design pioneers like Tarun Tahiliani and others who have achieved worldwide renown. The warm account of Didi Contractor chronicles show how she made India her home, pioneered sustainable architecture for the hills, and generated a philosophy of rounded living.

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