Jan 26, 2010

Times Square on Foot

All cars are now banned on Broadway in the Times Square Area.

Times Square has never been a Square. Not geometrically, because as Broadway sashays across the perfect grid of Manhattan, and passes 7th Avenue, it creates a series of trapeziums. It has also never been a square in terms of its urban function.

Jan 6, 2010

Super Ram and Durga Woman: Contemporary Indian Comics

If I had a rupee for every time I’ve heard the sentence, “This is about the battle between good and evil”, I’d be a multi-millionaire. I could bet that every book that tells a story from Hindu Mythology has this sentence somewhere in its pages. It is a cliché I have truly come to hate, because it grossly and erroneously oversimplifies the truly complex stories of Hindu Mythology. So I was pretty dismayed when this phrase showed up as a tagline for a recent exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Luckily, “Heroes & Villains: The Battle for Good in India’s Comics”, is a forgivable case of inappropriate titling. I completely sympathise with the exhibition’s curators, Julie Romain and Tushara Bindu Gude. Coming up with a title that bundles together Chitrakathi art from Paithan, Miniatures from Guler, Amar Chitra Katha, Wonder Woman, and Ramayan 3392 AD and Devi from Liquid Comics, must have been a pretty uphill task. But once you get past that unfortunate title wall, painted so stereotypically in fuchsia pink and orange, the richness and diversity of the material on display gives lie to any one-liner analysis of the fascinating development of comics in India.