30 Best Spanish Movies on Netflix (2021) | Second-Half Travels

Watching Spanish-language movies on Netflix is a great way to practice vocabulary and listening skills. Spanish films also allow you to learn about other cultures and gain exposure to different accents and slang.

If you are an intermediate or advanced learner, I recommend watching with Spanish subtitles as studies show it enhances language learning. I also jot down any interesting new vocabulary and add it to my Anki flashcards later.

Here are some of the top Spanish movieson Netflix streaming in the US as of January 22, 2021. If you’re not in the US, just click the title to check if the show is available in your country. Watch these films while you can, because content disappears as licensing agreements expire. See the current list on the link below. If you are not in USA share in the message box below which of these films were available in your country.


Madan Lal Gupta – Innovations in Bricks/Archana H Colquhoun

This is an extract from a long series of exchanges via email and WhatsApp with the sculptor, Madan Lal Gupta, which started in November 2017 (with me living in the U.K. and the artist in Varanasi, India). The exchanges are largely in the form of an interview, with me posing questions to the artist. However, within the framework of an interview I included various constructs for a study of the artist’s work. I interspersed my queries with narrations of my own experiences drawn from my practices as an art critic and a visual artist. The exchange(s) will be referred to at various points as “the Project.

  • The Methodology of the Project

In the exchanges with Madan Lal, I employed a method of inquiry, which free-wheeled between art historical methodologies such as formalism, iconography, semiotics, biographical study, psychoanalysis, and social and critical theories, among others; the interchange between methods happened spontaneously as the project grew. 

The project with Madan Lal gave me the opportunity to experiment with the uses and applications of various art methodologies. I would like to use a term integrated methodology” to describe the mixed approach I used in putting together this project. When I started working on the project with the artist, I already had my bag of tricks ready. The stratagems grew and multiplied as the project developed.

Due to the passion and involvement that Madan Lal brought to this project, providing me with (unwavering commitment) all of the visual and written material I requested of him, at various stages, the exchanges took on a form so expansive that they turned into a major project.

  • Without an artist cooperating and participating in a synergistic working with a critic on the study of their work, a project such as the present one would not come to fruition. The project by no means is complete and the exchanges can be presented in a number of different formats.

My ideas for an integrated methodology for the study of visual art came about as a direct result of me setting aside the practice of art criticism to reinvent myself as a visual artist in the late 1980s and 1990s, after I moved to Tokyo.

Aspects of the integrated methodology that I employed in this project can be seen in the extracts below on Madan Lal’s brick works.  Simply put the methodology has a non-linear, inquiry-based approach into which is woven an analytical working of the study of an artist’s work taking the artist’s own articulations of their thought processes, out of which their artworks materialize.

A multidirectional investigation, deconstruction and reconstruction, associative thinking, and a seamless reversal of roles between the artist and the critic are the chief characteristics of the integrated methodology I developed while working on the project.

Through this method of inquiry a meeting, merging, and shifting of roles of the artist and the theoretician takes place. By involving the artist in an exchange that is unpredictable and which changes course unexpectedly, the artist is provoked into reassessing their work and looking back at the artistic choices they made.

By participating in such an exchange, the artist can engage in modes of self-inquiry, which the artist perhaps had not even considered possible or at the very least may have dismissed such self-reflections as being unnecessary to the development of their art practice.

  • In my experience, however, the artist would ultimately find such interactions with a critic to be an enriching experience. [Refer to the section “Artist’s Feedback” provided at the end of the write up.]


  • Archana, Mon, 18 Dec, 2017 (one of the questions from earlier on in the project)

 You have worked with various materials: brick, stone/marble, iron (steel), bronze, clay and others perhaps. To my question as to which of these materials are your preferred materials and the reasons for the preference you had responded by saying you give equal importance to all of these materials, except perhaps marble since you have worked extensively in marble.

  • Madan Lal responds

*(Below is a Google translation of the artist’s original text in Hindi with minor amendments made by me for clarity of expression.)

 “Art is life that takes the form of an art work which is articulated through various materials. The material is a body into which life enters as a soul and this is not the importance of the material itself, but how the soul resides within that material, the whole meaning of a work connects to that soul. The quality of the material can be soft like soil, smooth like marble, rough and abrasive like stone, cold and hot like iron, shiny like brass, and runny like water. There are different kinds of materials. The artist gives birth to his art in these materials from time to time according to the needs of his artistic expression. That is why I believe that material is just a material for me, but its inherent qualities energize my art, give it longevity, make it eternal, which lives continuously over time.Madan Lal

[Note on the flow of exchanges with reference to the above:  Madan Lal’s answers are at times tangential , perhaps due to their spontaneous and heart-felt nature. The artist, however, contributes positively to the discussion and his answers shed light on his relationship with the materials he uses and the forms he creates. ]

  • Archana on Madan Lal’s use of bricks as an art material

I would like to take up your brick works for discussion. I am especially curious as to what sort of forms you are able to create using bricks. Bricks have their limitation in terms of form and size and they are man-made products used almost entirely in the construction industry. 

The texture and the brittle nature of the composition of bricks and the material used to create them, followed by the baking process, seems to be totally at variance with the forms you create from marble, which are sensuous, smooth, clean, and free-flowing. 

Brick as a material is both hard and fragile, crumbling and disintegrating when pressure is applied, and poses special challenges for an artist.

When and how did you come upon the idea of using bricks in your work? And could you take me through your journey of brick works?

Also, I’d like to see images of your brick works with the dates, dimensions of the works, and places where you made them.

Disclaimer: In the excerpts, some of Madan Lal’s responses are in Hindi, which have been translated into English. His responses in English have been edited to make the text homogeneous in expression.

  • Madan Lal responds with a poetic description of the qualities of bricks, which is followed by a chronology of his brick works, with narrations by the artist on the processes and concepts of his works from each period. Quoted below is the artist’s original statement in Hindi.

 “Eent ke murtishilp mein vyaapt vishamta, khurdurapan, saadgi, arthavyavastha, tapasya, vinamrata, antarangata, prakrutik vastuon aur prkriyaon ki sundarata shamil hai aur yehi sabhi soundarya ke gun hai” Madan Lal

*Note: Below is a google translation of the above statement in Hindi by the artist on bricks, which will be referred to at various places below in the context of discussing specific works.

 A brick sculpture has coarseness, simplicity, economy, austerity, humility, intimacy – encompassing the beauty of natural objects and processes, which are the attributes of all beautyMadan Lal

  • Chronology of the Brick Works 1979 to 2021

Artist’s Narration on his first brick works – 1979 Baroda (parts of the text not in inverted commas are edited versions of the artist’s statements)

 I worked with bricks for the first time when I came to Baroda in 1978 after graduating from Banaras Hindu University. I had to start a new life in Baroda due to the “death of my beloved guru Ram Chhatpar.”

          “I was worried how I could live and work in a city like Baroda.”  “I had to prepare/ create new sculptures for my one man show in New Delhi in the coming month of April 1979

          “My financial condition was very bad.” 

           “Just before coming (to) Baroda, I had an interesting experience which changed my “thought” regarding the choice of material. In Banaras, one day I was going with some of my senior friends to the fine arts faculty’s canteen. On the way, I saw a lot of bricks lying on the roadside and I asked Sumita Chakrawarty…” ” Didi, can I do sculptures in bricks?” She answered, “Yes, why not?” The reply was (God-gifted).                   

 In January 1979, I joined the department of Sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda as a non-collegiate student.

           “I was in a great hurry to begin my new works due to the show. Within a week I had collected many “sized – unsized” bricks from the pathway from the faculty premises.” “So many raw, some of them unshaped and different”….  “After the collection, I requested Krishna Chhatpar Sir for carving tools etc;”

                “A new question arose as to what to carve in bricks? I had not much time to wait for ideas or inspiration – then I looked at my last works (bronzes) where I had made ‘Reclining Figures’”… “and I created (a) sculpture in brick ”.. “a reclining figure of a woman, very simple, suggestive and impressive. ”

                “What will be (the) second, third, and more? Then I arranged (a) few in groups of 2, 3, and 4, 5 or more – vertical, horizontal, standing and lying on the ground.” “At the same time, I got many kinds of very simple shape(s) like figure(s), leaf, bud, flower almost very abstract.”  “Finally, in 2-3 months I made 9 sculptures in brick. The experience was a wonder for me and I realized that art is only in you not any other place. ”

                  “The first experience in Baroda with students and with teachers too, were not much pleasant, maybe I guessed that I was not able to interact and impress them intellectually. ”

              “In this regard, I hesitate (d) to (approach) and show my works to them. Anyhow everywhere some fortunate (event happens) in your life,” “I found encouragement” from Nasreen Mohamedi “always during my stay in Baroda.”

Few Images of brick works made in Baroda 1979

Experiments in Bricks – 1989 Baroda
Reclining Figure – 1979 Baroda
  • Critical Appraisal of the Baroda works – Archana

 Madan Lal’s first attempts at using bricks to make sculptures cannot be considered as particularly innovative in their form and artistic expression. However, the artistic value of a work need not be judged based on the level of creativity or artistic skill but on factors such as “problem solving” and in the timely production of artworks within the deadline of a project.

Also, Madan Lal was able to find a solution to his lack of financial resources to create works for an impending exhibition by picking up a material that cost nothing and which was readily available on the roadside.

Another point that the artist made elsewhere in the exchanges was that these brick works solved the problem of costs further by him doing away with the use of pedestals to display the works in the exhibition.

These first bricks works of Madan Lal’s can be best described using the term “Vishamta,” taken from the artist’s own description of the qualities of bricks. The synonyms of the word are: irregular, coarse, asymmetrical, a separation or gap, a contrast between things etc. The last few synonyms “gap, separation, contrast” can be understood to mean a gap between what is expected of the artwork and what is actually delivered.

It could also refer to the artist’s feeling of a disconnect with Baroda, which he saw as an elite institution. This was in the early days of his Baroda experience.

Madan Lal, uses another term “khurdurapan” which aptly describes the rough and unpolished quality of his first brick works made from bricks manufactured in India for building purposes.

There is one other aspect to how the artist approaches his art practice. He uses the term “God-Gifted.” The belief in providence/divine intervention is something that most contemporary artists – who have found professional success that is out of the ordinary – almost never refer to.

  • Madan Lal responds

Artist’s Narration – 1987 Tokyo

 The next time I did Brick sculptures was in Tokyo at Tama Art University. I think you had seen the show at Setagaya Art Museum in Tokyo in 1987 with Rajeev Lochan’s paintings. The response to these works gave me recognition as an artist in Japan, and I received many offers for shows from Japanese galleries. I was awarded the Semi Grand Prize for the works. This sort of recognition took me to new heights in my artistic pursuits. I carved 225 bricks in 2 months and made 5 sculptural compositions. I worked around 8-10 hours every day. I consider these works to be original in design; the chosen forms are unique but rooted in our native Indian tradition.

These works started off as experiments using bricks but soon developed into planned, organized works that are complex in design and concept.

Untitled – Brick installation 1989 Tokyo, Japan
Untitled- brick installation, 1989 Tokyo, Japan
  • Critical Appraisal of the Tokyo works – Archana

Madan Lal’s next set of brick works done in Tokyo in 1987 are a contrast to his first set of brick works made in Baroda. It is these works made in Tokyo using a superior quality of bricks and having had time to develop his artistic ideas and skills in using bricks and other materials in sculpture that advanced Madan Lal’s career as a sculptor, granting him recognition in his profession that was life changing. He has not looked back since his first successes in Japan.

He came into his own with his Tokyo works. The works have qualities of innovation, depth of artistic expression, beauty and aesthetics, and a new belief in himself as an artist of repute. He demonstrates through these works that he can think on a grand scale and has the courage to take risks and come out on top.

In these works he brought out forms hidden within the rectangular block of a brick not normally envisioned by most – perfectly formed spheres as if moulded using wet clay, the spheres cut neatly into halves; bricks sculpted with jagged edges or serrations like that of a saw, an object you expect would be made out of metal; or the splintered edges of a piece of wood snapped by force – but not brick.       

  • Madan Lal responds

Artist’s Narration – 2003 Lucknow  – a site specific work  titled “River”                                                      

In 2003, I was invited by the Faculty of Fine Arts, Lucknow University, for a lecture and demonstration on Installation Art. I created a site-specific installation with bricks near the Gomati River that flows by the university campus. I used about 3000 bricks to create the work. “The ‘River’ first comes in my compositions in 1997.”

The “River” is 25 x 3 x 2 Ft., long and follows the curves of the flow of a river with steps.  Lucknow 2003

River – 2003 Lucknow – work in progress
River – Site-specific work near the Gomati River – 2003 Lucknow
  • Critical Appraisal of the 2003 Lucknow work titled “River” – Archana

The Lucknow work titled “River” came 16 years later, although he had worked with the concept of the river in 1997. The Lucknow work has the characteristic beauty of most of Madan Lal’s works. The “River” is not so much a work of sculpture but a site-specific mini-work of architecture using bricks as bricks in their original form.

Once again, I would use one of Madan Lal’s own terms in Hindi “arthavyavastha” and the various synonyms of the term in English – economy, processes of production, distribution, trade, social structures etc., to describe the “River.”

The “River” 2003, gives artistic expression to the meandering form of the flow of a river with banks on either side with steps and varying levels of structure in the horizontal form of the work.

All major civilizations grew and flourished in the vicinity of a flowing body of water. In making the work (the “River”) the artist had to enlist the help and assistance of casual workers and tradespeople, which is a positive contribution to society in the name of art.

  • Madan Lal responds

Artist’s Narration – 2005 Taipei – with a description on the importance of “Well” as a subject in his art

 Soon I had a chance to participate in the ‘Third Asia Pacific Arts Forum- Disguise & Identity’ at the Taipei National University of Fine Arts, Taiwan.

I used bricks to create a circular wall with a brick floor to create a “Well” of 4 meters in diameter. The brick floor followed a design pattern of concentric circles with a few bricks carved in abstract flower forms placed upright on the floor at strategic places. The brick wall of the well and the floor were held together and sealed with mortar so as to hold water.

As a child, I remember watching a well being dug near my village. I was surprised and fascinated to see a sudden appearance of water after the well had been dug to a certain depth. Many questions came to my mind: why does the water level in the well not decrease or why doesn’t the well start overflowing with water?

Watching my shadow in the well and throwing pebbles into the still water and listening to the gentle ‘plop’ sound and an echo that soon followed and observing the ripples being created gave me tremendous joy.

 In time, I also noticed that the well made of bricks and cement developed some fissures and after a few years a Peepal tree and saplings of other trees took root within the structure of the walls of the well.

Gradually there grew branches and leaves that covered the inside of the well, their ever changing forms being reflected in the water of the well. Nature took over technology and created unexpected imagery that can be seen in my work in different forms and materials and at different stages of my artistic development.

Well – 2005 Taipei, Taiwan
  • Critical Appraisal of the Taiwan work – Archana

The Taipei “Well” of 2005 is again a site-specific work like the work “River,” more in the realm of public works, as in the case of a well built for communal use, rather than a work of sculpture. (In any case, the work in its totality is not intended to be a work of sculpture , still….). The small, almost unnoticeable forms of buds and flowers placed strategically on the floor of the well are perhaps the actual artworks, these forms of nature (replete in the artist’s works) made the Well their home – harking back to his memory of the well built in the village that he witnessed as a child.

The “Well” is impressive as a structure and is visually engaging.

  • Below are two murals that were not discussed in the exchanges

Varanasi: Bricks 2018 – A mural for the exterior wall of Ram Chhatpar Shilp Nyas, Varanasi,  India

Mural 2018 Ram Chattpar Shilp Nyas, Varanasi
  • Critical Appraisal of the 2018 Varanasi brick mural – Archana

In the Varanasi mural “Bricks 2018” above each individual brick may be seen as an artwork that mimics everyday bricks used for industrial purposes. By embossing his name in the dip within the brick (the technical term for the dip is “frog” ) the artist is making a daring attempt at appropriation of a building material that has a history of thousands of years and which has been universally used by peoples of ancient civilizations onwards until the present day.

In the mural, the placement of the bricks is in the form of a mandala, which in itself is not an original idea. However, the fact that the bricks are of different sizes and thicknesses, introduces an element of surprise – since the expectation is that bricks being a mass produced product would be of the same size – lending the composition a quiet, subtle element of artistic innovation.

Varanasi: Bricks Blossoms 2021 – a mural for the exterior wall of Ram Chhatpar Shilp Nyas, Varanasi, India

Brick Blossoms – 2021 Ram Chattpar Shilp Nyas, Varanasi
  • Critical appraisal of the Varanasi mural Brick Blossoms 2021 – Archana

The above work of 2021, titled “Brick Blossoms,” a mural is composed of individually carved bricks, the carved forms are unique to each brick – no repetition. The arrangement is again reminiscent of a mandala, with an ever so slight asymmetry that can be described using just one word “beautiful.”

In the mural, the sculpted bricks gradually diminish in size as they extend outwards in larger circles from their central point. The center of the brick composition contains just two bricks as if there is an inherent duality within what is seen from afar as a unified whole in its never ending circularity.

The Dvaita, is the Advaita, but in fact it is Ramanuja’s Vishishtadvaita that we can see in the mural. (This is a philosophical construct of the Vedanta school of thought in Hinduism.)

The attention to detail, the complex calculations required to show the gradual decrease in the sizes of the bricks as they spread outwards in the composition are aspects of the mural that a viewer may not immediately grasp at first sight.

The Varanasi mural “Brick Blossoms” is best described in the artist’s own words. I would use some of the other terms from his statement on bricks in Hindi quoted above where, in addition to vishamta”and khurdurapan he uses the terms: “saadgi,” “tapasya,” “vinamrata,” “antarangata,” “prakrutik vastuon aur prakriyaon ki sundarata,” – i.e. simplicity, dedication, humility, intimacy, encompassing the beauty of natural objects and processes, respectively.”

  • Feedback from Madan Lal Gupta on the Project – extracts

*I am learning and seeing many things in my art and life through your perception of my work…which is deep and insightful”

*“..through these exchanges I am able to look at my life and my philosophy of art from various angles and I have come to realize that life and art are one and the same….”

*“….I have come to understand the value of proper documentation of art and the necessity to create a visual chronology of my work for future reference so the many interrelationships in my art become evident…..I realized this when you brought this aspect of art practice to my notice.. in our exchanges” 

* ….these interactions guide me forward in my art and craft creations..”

Archana Hebbar Colquhoun

Folk Dances of India: Kuchipudi

Kuchipudi is one of the major Indian classical dance folk forms performed in India. It derives its name from its village of origin, Kuchelapuram and is one of the favourite dance forms of Lord Krishna.​1​ It is considered to be a form of dance-drama that is well known under the generic name of Yakshagaana. Similar to other dance forms, Kuchipudi has its roots that originated from Sanskrit Natya Shastra, the foundations of performing arts.

In the 17th century, Yakshagana created by Siddhendra Yogi, a talented Vaishnava poet whose inspiration for the art form is said to have come from Lord Krishna in a dream.​2​ He had a dream in which Lord Krishna came and asked him to compose a dance-drama based on the myth of the bringing of paarijaata flower for Sathyabhaama, the most beloved queen of Krishna. It led to the creation of Bhaamaakalaapam, which Yogi composed and is still practised in different parts of the world.​2​ The disciples of Siddhendra Yogi have written several plays, which are performed and celebrated to date.

Kuchipudi is known for its fast rhythms and fluid movements, creating a blend of delicacy and strength. In this dance form, a male dancer usually wears an Agnivastra, which included a dhoti, whereas a female dance wears a sari. Modern Kuchipudi acquired its pres­ent form in the 20th century. Several people were responsible for moving it from the villages to the performance stage. One of the most notable was guru Lakshminarayan Shastry.

Traditionally, all males performed Kuchipudi until a colonial-era when Lakshminarayana revolutionized the concepts of this art form. He introduced females to the art form, along with the idea of solo-dancing.​3​ After him, many other visionaries have moulded it into its pres­ent shape.

In today time, the concepts laid out by Lakshminarayana have cemented their place in our minds for eternity. The Kuchipudi performance is accompanied by a live orchestra comprising of singing and percussions. The hand gestures, also called mudras and facial expressions, are stylized to convey a wide range of complex sentiments and feelings.​2​ The whole body is responsible for communicating the emotions which arise from the song.

Kuchipudi has for sure occupied a special place among other Indian classical dance forms by being a country-wide celebrated dance folk form and is recognized worldwide in many international traditional festivals.

  1. 1.
    Kalakendram K. Kairali Kalakendram. Asha Sharath . https://www.kairalikalakendram.com/online_class

  2. 2.
    Classical Dances I. Indian Classical Dances. Indian Culture Study Material . https://exampariksha.com/8-indian-classical-dances-indian-culture-study-material-notes/

  3. 3.
    Ballet D. Shantala Shivalingappa. Danza Ballet. https://www.danzaballet.com/shantala-shivalingappa/

Part of an Independent Research Project by: Sezal Chugh / Guide: Prof. Manohar Khushalani

Theatre Union’s plays on Feminist Issues and those of Social Relevance

Firstly since Women’s Day just happened this month, it is important to recall the innumerable street plays we did on women’s issues mostly under the banner of Theatre Union and Workshop Theatre

But here we are discussing only Theatre Union

‘Om Swaha‘ was about dowry and bride burning. It contributed towards sensitizing the media and the nation on this issue.’

‘The Rape Bill” was about custodial rape and insensitive cross examination of victims in courts. It was performed when a select committee was examining the new rape bill before it became an act in the parliament. It also informed women about their rights.

‘Pardon ka Parcham’ was prepared by us after Roop Kanwar an 18-year old Rajput woman committed Sati on 4th September 1987 at Deorala village of Sikar district in Rajasthan. These plays were collectively evolved by our group Theatre Union.

Marz ka Munafa was about Drugs (medicines) banned abroad because of their side effects, but dumped in the third world by Multinational Companies. We were assisted in research by Mira Shiva of barefoot doctors

Toba Tek Singh the legendary story by Sadat Hasan Manto was developed into a super successful street play about partition. It took us six months to evolve the play, finally one of our members, Umesh Bist, finalised the script.

All our plays were not street plays. Theatre Union did two proscenium plays both written by the radical nobel prize laureate Dario Fo

Can’t Pay Won’t Pay directed by Manohar Khushalani was a feminist play in which women shoppers protest against high prices in a Super Market in a very unusual way

Accidental Death of an Anarchist directed by Manohar Khushalani was about custodial death in a prison

Dario Fo had scripted both plays in his black comedy comic farce style

I would also like to recall our brothers and sisters in arms, an endless procession of street theatre co-warriors who came, sometimes stayed for a while and sometimes stopped briefly for a production or two and moved on. In no particular order they were: Anuradha Kapoor, Ravi Shankar, Umesh Bisht, Maya Rao, Vandana Bisht, Sushil Prashar, Sujasha Dasgupta, Chandrashekhar Iyer, Urvashi Butalia, Ragini Prakash, Vibhuti Nath Jha, Dr. Harivansh Chopra, Krishan Tyagi, Kumkum Sangaria, Rati Bartholomew, Dr.Ravi Mahajan, Satyajit Sharma, Tapush Chanda and me, Manohar Khushalani. If I have forgotten anybody then please remind me.


Folk Dances of India: Kalbeliya

Irrespective of whether you have been to Rajasthan, you would have definitely seen or heard about the desert state’s iconic Kalbeliya dance. Visuals of Rajasthan women twirling at a dizzying pace, their carefully crafted clothes and jewellery, are engraved in our collective memory. The dance can be seen everywhere at festivals, in folk dance events, on tv.

Kalbeliya, a Rajasthani tribe commonly known as the saperas, trace their ancestry back to a small district of Kanlipar, Rajasthan.​1​ These scheduled tribes lead a nomadic life and travel from places to places frequently. Their traditional occupation is catching snakes and trading snake venom; however, they are seen as street performers at many cultural festivals worldwide. Kalbeliya men carried cobras in cane baskets from door to door in villages while their women sang and danced for the masses. Dance is an integral part of this mesmerizing vagabond gypsy tribe.

They have been a fringe group in our ever-growing society and continue to live outside villages in makeshift camp areas called deras. Over the generations, they have acquired a keen sense of understanding of the local flora and fauna. They are well known for their herbal remedies for various ailments, which also acts as an alternate income source. Repercussions of the Wildlife Act of 1972 pushed these Kalbelias out of their forests’ comfort zone and into the fast-moving lives of the cities where they are left to fend for themselves. This community has developed a rich cultural heritage, leading to widespread recognition, which draws visitors nationally and internationally. The Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan were declared a part of UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage List in 2010.

This traditional dance form performed and enjoyed by the Kalbeliyan community of Rajasthani snake charmers encompasses swirling and graceful movements that make this dance a treat to behold.​2​ Their dances and songs are a matter of pride and a marker of belonging for the Kalbelias, which reflect the imaginative adaptation of this group of snake charmers to ever-changing socioeconomic circumstances in their Rajasthani society.​2​ Women wear bright and black flowing skirts, shimmering jewellery dancing to the beats of traditional musical instruments played by men. The classic musical instruments used during these festivities are the pungi, a woodwind instrument traditionally played to capture snakes, the dufli, the khanjari, a percussion instrument, and the morchang khuralio and the dholak to create the rhythm on which the dancers perform. These dancers try to replicate a serpent’s movements while performing this joyous and vigorous folk art form. They wear an Angrakhi on the top and Lehengha on the bottom, covering their head with an Odhani.​3​ They are tattooed in traditional designs and covered in clothes with small mirrors and shiny threads which represent them. These clothes are filled with hand-embroidered bright red and black hues to express the feeling of celebration and ignite a sense of belongingness that soothe the eyes and atmosphere during a festival.​3​


Kalbelia folk songs are based on their folklore and mythology with memorable characters and dances from their ancestry and culture. They have a reputation for composing lyrics spontaneously and improvising songs during performances.​3​ These songs, dances and even clothes are part of a long-standing tradition handed down from generation to generation. They neither come with texts nor training manuals but simply passed through word of mouth using these mythological stories.​3​

An academy has been set up in Copenhagen, Denmark by “Gulabo Sapera’s Music and Dance School” for this globally acknowledged art form. With the ever-rising popularity of folk arts, this dance form has only improvised over the years. It has become a freedom of expression for these women who are pushed into a life of poverty and rules which govern their culture and control their ideas. This tribe enlightens us about our traditions and brings out the true essence of a gypsy lifestyle and identity. Presently, the largest population of Kalbelias resides in the Pali district, followed by Ajmer, Chittorgarh and Udaipur. The Kalbelias are very happy-go-lucky people and have a genuinely positive attitude towards life. They are satisfied with what they have and live together in peace and harmony.​3​

Independent Project by Sezal Chug
Guide: Prof. Manohar Khushalani

  1. 1.
    The Free Encyclopedia W. Kalbelia. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Published February 1, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalbelia

  2. 2.
    Incredible I. Incredible India . Kalbeliya. Published February 22, 2021. Accessed February 22, 2021. https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en/destinations/jaisalmer/kalbeliya.html

  3. 3.
    issuu .com. Kalbeliya. The Saperas of Rajasthan  . Published February 22, 2021. Accessed February 22, 2021. https://issuu.com/swarnaliroy5/docs/craft_doc-_kalbeliya_final_single_c

Editor Manohar Khushalani got Natsamrat Best Critic Award this day in 2019

Left to Right Jaidev Taneja, Prof Manohar Khushalani, Shyam Kumar

9th March 2019. The Glittering night of Natsamrat Theatre Awards. This was the most memorable moment of that year for StageBuzz Ed, Manohar Khushalani To be Awarded The 2019 Natsamrat Best Theatre Critic Award. It was indeed a fulfilling moment and an acknowledgement of his decades of consistent and persistent work as a critic for Pioneer (Column: Foot Lights), Mid Day (Culture Cocktail) and of course StageBuzz (Editor). The Award Ceremony was Organised by Shri Shyam Kumar, who is the driving force of the event . Well Known thespian Jaidev Taneja was the Chief Guest

Please listen to Prof. Manohar Khushalani’s Award Citation in the video above
Audience at the Awards
Excited Audience at the Glittering Award Ceremony

Winners of the 11th Natsamrat Theatre Awards:
Best Writer – Danish Iqbal
Best Director – Kichenassamy Madavane
Best Actor – Mohit Tripathi
Best Actress – Mona Chawla
Best Back-stage (Lights) – Himanshu B. Joshi
Best Critic – Manohar Khushalani
Lifetime Achievement – Feisal Alkazi
Theatre Promoter – Lalit Jaiswal

Natsamrat Awards List
Natsamrat Awards List

During that festival there was never a dull day in Delhi !
16th Natsamrat Natya Utsav included
10 plays in 5 days | 6 – 10 March | All plays in Hindi
6:30pm and 8pm everyday

Acceptance Speech of Prof. Manohar Khushalani

Autumn Tree of Pleasure – Japan/Archana Hebbar Colquhoun

  • The Tree has a Symbolism that is Timeless and Universal in its Origins. The Expressions are limitless and found in all cultures and religions.

The Bhagawad Gita (15.1)

Lord Krishna describes the divine Ashvattha tree, as that whose roots grow upwards and the branches of which extend downwards; its leaves are the sacred knowledge of the Vedas; the knower of this tree has attained the knowledge of the Vedas.

Carl Gustav Jung

“No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.”

The above two quotes, to me, point to the limitless ways in which the symbolism of a tree can be expressed.

I would like to place my painting “Autumn Tree of Pleasure” within the context of the extensive symbolism that the Tree has generated in our imagination.

In this essay, I would like to talk about the visual devices I used in the painting of the autumn tree to depict time, movement, and the part that memory plays in the creation of an artwork. I painted the ‘autumn tree’ before I moved back to India, at the turn of the century.

  • Materials used in the painting

The autumn tree is painted on an imperial size card sheet with charcoal, pastels, acrylic paints, and a bit of turmeric for the yellow – or is the yellow pigment not turmeric?

The quality and range of paper types, including the sizes and formats of cut and rolled paper that I encountered in Japan filled me with such joy and amazement that I switched from sculpture and installation art to painting, for a time.

  • The Tree and the Painting

In the painting, I wanted to show – most of all – the movement of falling leaves.

Fall is another name for autumn.

A tree shedding its autumnal leaves, the shade of kumkum red – deep, rich, dense, and tactile – is an annual spectacle of nature that is witnessed only in some parts of the world, which have a temperate climate.

  • My relationship with the tree

Coming from the tropics i.e. southern India, I found the concept of the four seasons not just novel but in some respects alien.

After the first few years of living in Japan, I began to form my own, personal relationship with each of the four seasons that came and went in a regular cycle, without exception, every year.

Summer is perhaps the least favourite season for most people in Japan and it was the same for me.

Of the other three seasons – the soft, gentle spring, preceded by a cold, crisp, snowy winter, and the third the autumn with the grandeur of its colours and dazzling hues – is my most inspirational.

  • Picking a singular iconic image of a tree and blotting out the surrounding panoramic stretch

The subject of the painting, The Autumn Tree of Pleasure, which I painted after having lived through several Japanese autumns, harked back to an image (of a painting of an autumn tree) that was already present in my mind as a vivid and abiding memory, for more than a decade, before I visited Japan and made the country my second home.

I am referring here to the well-known Indian miniature painting titled “Squirrels in a Chinar Tree” by the master painter Abu’l-Hasan (see NOTE below) who worked in the Mughal emperor, Jahangir’s atelier in the seventeenth century. The Chinar tree grows in the valleys of Kashmir and is considered to be a symbol of Kashmir’s rich, cultural and environmental heritage.

I was introduced to this painting in my art history classes in Baroda. The shape of the leaves of the Chinar tree, the flame-red hue of many of them (alongside the green leaves) depicted in the Mughal miniature painting, I found puzzling and fascinating. This was a tree in the early stages of an autumnal metamorphosis. Such a tree, where leaves seemed to take the place of flowers because of their distinctive colours, I had never seen in southern India.

[NOTE:  The work is sometimes attributed to the artist Mansur or considered to be a collaborative work by the two artists. In any case, works of art not only in India but also in Europe were the result of collective work by trainee artists and artisans who worked under the auspices of a single master to whom then the work of art would be attributed. The painting is in the collection of a museum outside India as are a large number of other masterpieces of Indian art. A simple Internet search will disclose all necessary information on the painting. Due to copyright restrictions I have not included an image of the painting, which is titled in most cases “Squirrels in a Plane Tree.”]

  • The Chinar tree and my painting

The Chinar tree belongs to the family of Plane trees and resembles the Japanese maple tree. It is considered to be an endangered species going by the rapidly decreasing numbers of the tree in Kashmir. One of the features of the Chinar tree is its deep and extensive root growth that covers a ground area larger than the spread of its tree top. The bifurcation of the tree trunk into roots is visible just above the ground level where the tree rises in its magnificence.

The roots of a Chinar tree need to breathe and be able to draw nutrients and generous amounts of water from the surrounding soil for its survival, healthy growth, and longevity. When road construction and building works are carried out close to and right above the ground area where the roots of the Chinar tree lie the death of the tree from suffocation and starvation soon follows.  

  • A Pictorial Analysis of the painting “An Autumn Tree of Pleasure” through Q & A

Q1. What sort of a tree is the Autumn Tree of Pleasure, is it a Chinar tree?

A1. The tree in the painting is a generic, deciduous tree that sheds its leaves in the autumn but before it starts to bare its branches, a performance takes place whereby the green leaves turn into a golden yellow followed by a deep orange, and/or finally a blood-red hue.

Q2. How did this painting come about?

A2. I can best answer the question in the form of a sequence diagram using words and symbols as follows:

a memory + a life experience a memory retrieval through synchronic activation within the brain a motivation to create = the final art work

Note: It is a mystery as to why only certain memories and or life experiences lead to the production of an artwork, especially when the artwork is purely self-motivated and is not a work that is commissioned by a patron.

Q3. How is movement depicted in the painting? What pictorial devices do you employ to show movement in a static, two-dimensional representation of an image?

A3.  The following four elements are used to depict movement in the painting.

  • Wind
  • Shifting axis in the composition
  • Suggestion of Time through placement of pictorial elements on the picture surface
  • Change in pigmentation

1. Wind creates movement which in turn disturbs the leaves, dislodging them from the branches, and speeds up the process of the falling of the leaves.

2. Diagonal lines in a composition can also be used to show movement. In the painting the branches of the tree are drawn in sweeping, rightward curves the arcs pointing downwards.

3. Time represents movement. The passing of time is inferred from the position of the leaves painted as individual elements in a random pattern at varying levels within the painting, which shows the descent of the leaves to the ground at different times.

4. Change in pigment can also indicate the passing of time. The leaves on the ground are painted dark red the colour of dried blood and it can be understood that the leaves have been on the ground for some time, in contrast to the brighter red of the leaves that are shown airborne.

The painting, Autumn Tree of Pleasure, to me represents the tragic history of Kashmir. The region was considered a paradise on earth, depicted as such in countless paintings and in the romantic song sequences of Indian movies till just a few decades ago.

As a visual artist, I have so far rarely repeated an artistic idea or a form, unless I am in the process of exploring the various facets and permutational possibilities of the idea. Use of different materials comes into play when I want to express an idea through different media – paintings, sculptures, art installations etc.

A variation on the autumn tree is a painting which I made using only the red viscous liquid that comes in a tiny tube with a dipper for painting a bindi – a red dot or an elongated line on the forehead, which is commonly used in India by women as a chief element of facial makeup.

I sometimes refer to the painting as A Red Tree, which I painted very soon after painting The Autumn Tree of Pleasure.

Photo Credit: Arun Visweswaran

Pierrot’s Troupe presents a new play on Sahir and it’s all time popular comedy on Ghalib

Sharique Aziz as 29 year old Sahir in SAHIR KA KHAYAL AAYA

After Lockdown Pierrot’s Troupe’s is now returning to ‘Stage’ with its all time popular COMEDY – GHALIB IN NEW DELHI after Lockdown The troupe is also premiering a new play – SAHIR KA KHAYAL AAYA. The latter coincides with Sahir Ludhianvi’s 100th Birth Anniversary on March 8, 2021

The two plays are being staged on MARCH 7, 2021, Sunday, at the LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi.

GHALIB IN NEW DELHI – After Lockdown is arguably India’s Longest Running Comedy. Post Lockdown, the play has Mirza Ghalib dealing with newer issues; from Corona to Rihanna to the Kisaan Aandolan.

SAHIR KA KHAYAL AAYA dramatizes the ‘Best of the poet’s Best’, Parchhaiyan, his anti war poem, the longest anti war poem in the last 100 years.


March 7, 2021, Sunday

GHALIB IN NEW DELHI – After Lockdown — 4 pm


Script & Direction – Dr M Sayeed Alam


(Urdu – the PREMIER show )

Script: Sahir Ludhianvi

Direction – Dr M Sayeed Alam

Conceptualized and Produced by Sundeep Pahwa

LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House, New Delhi

Tickets: Rs 1000/750/500/400/300/200/100

Tickets are available at 9810255291, www.bookmyshow.com and the venue

About the Plays:

Ghalib In New Delhi – , After Lockdown (Hindi Comedy): It is India’s most successful and the longest running comedy, being performed since 1997. The play is an extremely funny account of the re-birth of the renowned 19th century poet Mirza Ghalib’s in the 21st century in New Delhi, highlighting his trials, travails and tribulations – from his second birth at the ISBT in Delhi; to staying in a Servant Quarter with a Delhi University student from Patna; to dealing with a Punjaban land lady; to becoming a Page-3 celebrity. 520 shows to its credit.

Script & Direction: Dr M Sayeed Alam

Featuring – M Sayeed Alam, Rahul Paswan, Sumit Bhardwaj, Aarifa Noori, Aman Jha, Aryan Kumar, Sharique Aziz, Asif Khan, Mehu Grover, Yash Malhotra

Sahir Ka Khayal Aaya (Urdu) – The play celebrated Sahir Ludhianvi’s 100th Birth Anniversary on March 8 this year. It is presented as a ‘Monologue’ (performed by Sharique Aziz) as it showcases young Sahir in the state of crafting his long poem Parchhaiyan, arguably the best and definitely the longest anti-war poem of the last 100 years.

Featuring – Sharique Aziz, Abhinav Chaturvedi, Naveen Anand, Poonam Malhotra

For further details:

Call 9810255291 / email: sayeedalam@ymail.com