Hansen opens the book with a crisp history of the Parsi theatre. But it is her magisterial review of the critical literature on the ‘form’ of autobiography and in particular of the significance of autobiographies written by theatre artists that poured out during this period, that makes this volume invaluable. Having just written my own autobiography (in Kannada), I found her analysis of the various attempts at defining ‘Indian autobiography’, and, in the process, of arriving at an ‘Indian’ notion of the Self, illuminating and provocative.
The book is a typical product of Permanent Black, beautifully designed, impeccably edited and a delight to hold and read.
Schelling’s book is a treasure-house with remarkably well studded interiors. Two omissions disappoint: Bahinabai (Maharastra) and Puntanam (Kerala). Bhakti poetry, innate to Indian poetics, will continue to plume and fascinate. Schelling’s Oxford anthology is not just a beginning. It is an event.
What makes this film very special is that Amol Palekar has been able to get Kishori tai to discuss and describe her philosophy of music and her idea of creation, in the most honest and uninterrupted manner. The conversations are the life of the film. We almost feel like she is talking to us, completely personal and intimate. The greatest relief is that we do not have an over-voice describing anything. This is truly a great offering to this living legend.
As a musician some of the most arresting moments are when Kishori tai talks about music. Her description of the svaras , their form, character and their completeness when understood as a creation and not a technical tonal position and their relationship with the Raga is almost like describing the relationship between the antaratma and the paramatma . This philosophical connection cannot be missed in the way Kishori tai describes svaras and ragas. Equally stunning is her description of the note Shadja . The crafting of this note where the Raga takes ownership of it, giving it an unique character, is beautiful. She calls it the “Omnipresent, all-encompassing note”.
A time to read and a time to watch a movie! And they both are here.
Note: I know how to locate the two books; however, even though I understand that the DVD of the documentary got released in New Delhi, I do not know where to get a copy. I would appreciate any pointers in this regard.