Film Club
                                                                           january 07 programmes

wednesday 3rd january

6.30 pm The Attic ‘The Dark Side of the Universe’ - An Illustrated Talk by Priyamvada Natarajan

Image of a lensing cluster taken
by the Hubble Space Telescope
One of the most remarkable astronomical revelations of our time is the discovery that the universe is expanding. In principle, keeping track of this should be a simple matter of cosmic bookkeeping. But what happens when the bulk of the matter in the Universe is dark and does not emit any radiation. Unseen elements, collectively called dark matter and dark energy, account for roughly 96 percent of the mass of the universe. Stars are the extreme minority making up just 0.4 percent of the total. As the
Fox says in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince, “L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux” – the essential is invisible to the eyes.

The standard tools of astronomy cannot probe this dark portion of the universe. Optical telescopes are wonderful at spotting stars, which radiate most of their energy as visible light, but these telescopes are blind to anything that does not shine. However its presence can be inferred from gravity exerted by this so called dark matter. Priya will present evidence for the existence of this and illustrate a powerful technique, that of light bending that is used to map and detect this dark matter.

Priya Natarajan is a Bachelor of Science in Physics & in Mathematics from the MIT, a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge Massachusets, Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, U.K.. She is currently an associate Professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale. She is a theoretical astrophysicist interested in cosmology, gravitational lensing, black holes and accretion physics. If that’s not scary enough she is a member of the Extra-galactic Time Allocation Committee for the Cycle 9 Program of the Hubble Space Telescope and has written The Shapes of Galaxies and their Dark Halos and Modeling the Accretion History of Supermassive Black Holes amongst many other articles and papers available in her 12 page bio on

friday 5th january
6.30 pm The Attic - Opening of Exhibition & Talk - ‘Devis, Devas, Divas’ Captured and conveyed… a wide-ranging series of caught-in-the-act dance performance moments.

saturday 6th - saturday 13th january
11.00 am to 6.30 pm ‘Photographic Exhibition’ by Vipul Sangoi

Madhavi Mudgal
These photos, mainly digital, were taken over the last five years in Europe and India.

By titling it Devis, Devas, Divas, Vipul Sangoi has shown his hand: he has selected each dancer and photograph deliberately, not just as a record of which performer he has shot over the many years but the story behind each one.

In a sense, the selection here is eclectic, running across the age, experience, style, gender, nationality, political agenda and camera frame spectrum. There’s a debut performance in London, a master performance in Manchester, a classical performance at Nehru Centre and contemporary work at the Royal Opera House, with one common thread - they are all live action, shot in performance. These are blurred-in-motion shots that freeze the whipping turn or shadow the silvery hasta.

Vipul Sangoi is a graduate of the National Institute for Design, Ahmedabad and London College of Communication, London. His work appears frequently in the UK dance press, and is included in the collection of London’s Theatre Museum. He owns Raindesign in London which works in communication strategy planning, graphic and web design, and photography. He designed Pulse, the UK’s premier South Asian dance magazine. Vipul has worked extensively with NGOs and corporations in India and the UK.

saturday 6th january
6.30 pm The Attic – Dance Festival ‘To be in the world, but not of it’ ‘From the Heart’ A Bharatanatyam recital by Anusha Subramanyam

This dance festival spread over four months will feature 8 dancers using this Sufi saying as explained broadly by Robert Graves ““The natural Sufi may be as common in the West as in the East, and may come dressed as a general, a merchant, a lawyer, a schoolmaster, a housewife, anything. To be ‘in the world, but not of it, ‘free from ambition, greed, intellectual pride, blind obedience to custom, or awe of persons higher in rank; that is the Sufi ideal” For the purposes of this festival and for Indian classical dance, in particular, the dancers who have been trained in different styles in the classical dance tradition and therefore being ”in” it will interpret their forms, whether in music, costume, literary background, style or gesture as being not entirely “of” it.

‘From the Heart' is not a traditional Bharatanatyam performance. It is an exploration of dance that challenges notions of normal and abnormal, able and disabled. The inspiration for this piece comes from Anusha's dance therapy and creative movement work with a range of people with physical and mental challenges in a variety of settings – terminally ill children in cancer wards, psychiatric patients and care homes for the learning and physically disabled. She was struck with the nature of the dances created by them, dances that she saw as raw and sincere – straight from the heart, with their movement deeply felt. The movement vocabulary reflects Anusha's bharatantyam background. "When I dance," she says "I want to be as vulnerable and as open and to make those subtle and invisible dances visible. Some dances can only be experienced and not seen'.

The Bharatanatyam performance will be followed by a Dhrupad concert at 8.30 pm.

Anusha Subramanyam is a performer, choreographer, dance teacher and dance movement therapist. She is artistic director of Beeja, a London based dance company. Anusha performs internationally as a soloist. She has created interactive and site-specific work for alternative venues, museums, hospitals, and even the London Underground.

She believes in the transformative power of dance. In her workshops she has explored the rich potential of Indian classical and folk dance forms alongside mind-body techniques such as yoga and pilates. She teaches bharatantyam and is a qualified Pilates teacher and yoga practitioner. Anusha graduated in Bharatanatyam, with honours, from Kalakshetra, Chennai in 1986 and University of Herfordshire, UK in 1996. She also trained under Leela Samson for 6 years.

saturday 6th january
8.30 pm The Attic ‘Dhrupad Concert’ by Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar
“When I close my eyes and begin to sing, there is only darkness... slowly, light comes, then the beginnings of colour." Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar

Dhrupad is the most ancient style of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music that has survived in its original form. It is a music based on the poetry and chanting of the Vedas, transformed in complexity and sophistication in the royal courts of the medieval period and now the purest and most austere form of Indian classical music. The Dagar family has developed the Dagarvani Dhrupad style, with particular emphasis on the Alap, in an unbroken tradition since the time of Akbar. It is a style that sees musical notes as fluid entities with endless shades that seem to flow and merge into each other. Obvious ornamentation is avoided in favour of microtonal inflection.                                                
This evening ustad performs after a one week (31st dec. to 6th Jan.) workshop for his students and admirers. For workshop details please contact Arjun 9818503278.

The Dhrupad performance will commence at 8.30 pm after the Bharatanatyam performance 6.30 to 8 pm.

Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar represents the musical tradition of a family that is believed to have preserved and nurtured Dhrupad music for the last 20 unbroken generations. He was born in Udaipur, India, where his father Ustad Ziauddin Khan Dagar was the court musician for the Maharajah of Udaipur. He was taught vocal and instrumental music (veena & sitar) by his father and later by his elder brother, Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar.

Ustad is responsible to a great extent for popularizing Dhrupad music by his numerous concerts and workshops in India and abroad. In recognition of his immense contribution to the classical music of India, Ustad has been bestowed with many prestigious awards.

wednesday 10th january
6.30 pm The Attic - Book Reading ‘The Burden Of Foreknowledge’ by Jawahara Saidullah (read by Ghazala Amin). Organized by Roli Books

In 16th century India, when Nadee is swept away by the raging Yamuna, her life itself becomes a journey. A journey that takes her from her devastated village to the burning ghats of Kashi, to Agra and finally Fatehpur-Sikri.

Even as her life intertwines with history, barriers between the future and the past, the dead and the living break down until they become indistinguishable. She is doomed to love Kashi’s unattainable King of the Dead, the Dom Raja, to serve the legendary courtesan, Chhapan Choori, and then the almost mythical emperor, Akbar. When her newborn son, the legacy of her love, disappears, she slides further into madness and despair as she searches desperately for her one link to herself.

Nadee is blindingly aware of her destiny, though she remains powerless to change it. The Burden of Foreknowledge is a story that traces an unusual life, brushing greatness but as the boundaries between reality and fantasy collide, the story reaches its climactic conclusion in the abandoned and desolate city of dreams, when Nadee finally achieves what has been predestined.

Jawhara Saidullah was born and brought up in the hot, dusty plains of Uttar Pradesh and credits her love of writing to too-frequent power cuts and no television. With a Master’s degree in Communications, Jawahara currently works as a computer book editor. Her work has appeared in several publications, including the recent Seal Press anthology, Voices of Resistance. She was a weekly columnist for Mid-Day in Mumbai and is a regular columnist for Jawahara divides her time between Boston and Geneva with her husband and a very spoilt dog named Naina.

saturday 13th january
6.30 pm The Attic ‘The Expressionist Aspect’ A Bharatanatyam recital
by Sunita Menon

A special feature of the Bharatanatyam dance form are the ‘Padams’ or poems on the hero-heroine theme. These are enacted by the performer who has to be aware of the numerous subtle features of both the style and the expression of the poem.

They are slow and evocative pieces of music intended for a rich and luxurious expressional interpretation by a Bharatanatyam dancer. The lyrics are usually amorous in nature, though the hues of love treated therein can range from the physical to the spiritual. Padams in Tamil have a flavour quite different from those in Telugu. The text is often dense and very deity specific, even referring to traditional practices in temple worship, ways of decorating images, processions centered around images and even anthropomorphizing of singular aspects of a certain god-images.

Sunita Menon will be presenting a group of Tamil Padams, each unique in its outlook and treatment of both carnal and as ascetic love. Like many other professional classical dancers she started learning dance at the age of 7 with Guru Sujata Dinesh and completed her senior diploma in Bharatnatyam from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. She is a graduate of Delhi University and a double diploma holder in Bharatanatyam both in the Pandallur and Kalakshetra styles. She joined Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Delhi in 1998 and has since danced the lead female role in virtually all dance drama productions by her Guru Justin McCarthy. Justin says “Sunita’s innate talent is eminently suitable to Bharatnatyam. She has an unwavering rhythmic sense, a taut control of line and an almost uncanny feel for the correct expression of sentiments.”

thursday 18th january
6.30 pm The Attic ‘Hindustani Classical Music Recital’ by Vidushi Sumitra Guha

Raag Shyam Kalyan – the khayal style of North Indian music is now the preferred form for most classical music recitals. Most artists do not announce in advance what they will sing but to enable our audience to enjoy and appreciate this particular raag Vidushi Sumitra Guha has agreed to explore the intricacies of this excellent evening raga expressing ‘sringara bhakthi rasa’ (romantic devotional emotion) in addition to a couple of bhajans of Meera, Kabir and Surdas.

She is an exponent of the Kirana Gharana known for its emphasis on melody, emotion and bhakti.

Initially inspired and taught by her mother she started her formal education in Carnatic Music under the acclaimed S. R. Janakiraman. She graduated in philosophy from Viswa Bharati University in Shantiniketan where she was drawn to Hindustani music and started learning from Pandit A. Kanan and Vidushi Malobika Kanan and continued with Pandit Sushil Kumar Bose, the accomplished disciple of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

She has performed at many Radio Sangeet Sammelans and other venues all over the country including recordings for the archives of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the national channels of AIR and Doordarshan. As well as in the concerts at the Musée Guimet (Paris, France in September ‘06), Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (UK), Sackler Music Hall at the Harvard, as well as West and South East Asia, Mauritius, Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East.



The purpose of this festival is to explore the learning and teaching of Indian classical dance to artistes of nontraditional backgrounds. There exists among the Indian artistic fraternity a feeling of cultural superiority about the inability of foreign students to imbibe India’s complex musical and dance traditions. The lack of knowledge of language, history, mythology and the inability to follow the traditional Indian teaching methods of the guru-shishya parampara make the cross cultural transmission of Indian traditions and methodologies either impossible or at least inauthentic.

Does the same logic apply in reverse? Is Zubin Mehta lacking something as one of the great conductors of Western Classical music? Is Yo Yo Ma not a good enough Pianist because he is Japanese? Is it not true that some of the best books on Indian classical music are by Alain Danielou and Walter Kauffman ? Dr. Katherine Zeiss, a student of Odissi, Bharatanatyam and a doctorate in Indian Philosophy asks“ How is it that we are nourished here, in a land far from our birth, and what aspects of the universal human spirit are we able to develop in the process of refining ourselves to become more fit instruments of the Divine Melody ? “

Here is Mohini-Attam dancer Brigitte Chataigner. “Dance for me is like breath itself, a movement linked to infinity, to the eternal. It is a moment one catches in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the eternal world. Indian dance in particular takes us in between body and spirit, thought, poetry, beauty. It inspires us to Love and generosity. There is no end to the numerous qualities of this dance each time renewed, present, traditional, ancient, sacred, as well as contemporary. For it encloses the precious treasure of life, life itself “

This festival of about 12 dancers will follow different formats based on the specialty of each dancer. The dancer may be actively introduced by the guru followed by a short performance by the student , followed by an interaction of some sort between guru, student and audience. Followed by a simple vegetarian dinner. Or where the guru is not present the dancer talks about him/herself and interacts with the audience.

The Sahitya Kala Parishad has conducted videshi kalakar utsavs in the past, but this is an ongoing effort and we hope to bring a new generation together to talk, understand , perform and help not only non traditional artists to understand the problems of learning Indian Classical forms but with an equal emphasis on Indian audiences appreciating the dedication and effort of these artistes in learning and performing out of their own cultures.

saturday 20th january

6.30 pm The Attic ‘Odissi & Dance Therapy’ by Beatriz O’Cougne

Bia is a dancer, actress, psychologist and body therapist. Her dance training spans Western Classical and Modern dance forms as well as Balinese and Odissi. She is a graduate of psychology from Sao Paolo, Brazil, has trained in Japanese inspired Butoh dance and performance techniques.

In order to create Integrated movements, Bia has gone through a long professional journey. This started initially with corrective exercises and modern dance till she ‘discovered’ oriental dances. She attended workshops with Dr. Ehrenfried in Paris, learnt Balinese dance and theatre with the, I Made Djamat Company and performed with the Balinese American Dance Theater in New York. She has studied Butoh, performed Flamenco, studied danse du ventre with Jamila Saliempour, and has been studying Odissi under Madhavi Mudgal and her students Bindu Juneja and Moumita Ghosh since 1995.

She distills this experience in her performance tonight of odissi with demonstrations of Balinese dance, Japanese Butoh and an explanation of her work with Integrated movement, a method that enables people to move correctly, acquiring a new postural balance and independence, strengthening muscle tone while respecting the limits, structure, genetics and life experience of each person.