Category Archives: Art

Bhanu Athaiya became India’s first Oscar winner for ‘Gandhi’. But she also did lots of fashion sketches for ‘Eve’s Weekly’.

Bhanu Athaiya, the costume designer who dressed up everybody from Mumtaz to the Mahatma on screen and won an Academy Award for Gandhi, also did plenty of sketches for the now-defunct women’s magazine Eve’s Weekly. Sixty-one of her journalistic artworks, mostly fashion sketches adorning the magazine’s pages, are now being auctioned in three lots by…

‘Marmik’, the magazine that launched a political party turns 60, and the lines are clear in India’s first family of cartoonists: the Thackerays

Marmik, the Marathi illustrated weekly that was the springboard for cartoonist Bal Thackeray‘s political launch, is celebrating its diamond jubilee with a 64-page special issue carrying tributes from a host of contemporary cartoonists. The weekly, christened by Bal Thackeray’s father Prabodhankar, was launched in 1960 shortly after Thackeray Jr had left the Free Press Journal…

Make Art Great Again: the MAGA movement that Indian newspapers sorely need after Donald Trump’s welcome exit

In India’s massive media universe, only The Telegraph is able to capture the significance of the Biden-Harris win in the US elections, that denies oxygen to four more years of unbridled hatred, poison, division, violence and fact-free leadership. “America, unlike India, makes America great again,” says the Telegraph headline. But for the most part Indian…

Newspaper front pages on acquittal of Babri Masjid accused show how Indian media has been hollowed out of courage and conviction since 1992

When the domes of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya were brought down in 1992, the year after the liberalisation process began, there was great clarity in the news media and its consumers on the foundations on which the Republic of India stood. Blazing front-page editorials minced no words in denouncing the conspicuous destruction of the…

‘Power of the press belongs to those who own one’: With bigger pictures (and more quotes) of its owner-editor, ‘Rajasthan Patrika’ continues to show the prime minister his place

‘Rajasthan Patrika’, the well-regarded Hindi daily published from 9 states including two in the South, dedicated ‘Patrika Gate’ to the city of Jaipur, its headquarters, on September 8. In itself, the magnificent structure is a stellar addition to the city’s architectural heritage—and a lasting brick-and-mortar contribution by a media house in the digital age. But……

J-POD || Podcast || “Phone is king. Less is best. Follow stories, not editions. Newsrooms must be a zoo of different animals” || Life-lessons from news design guru Mario Garcia

At a time when consumers are exposed to beautifully crafted products from around the world, the first object Indians pick up every morning is The Daily Shame. Barring the odd exception, most Indian newspapers in every language look like a dog’s meal—a mishmash of leftovers of all colours, shapes and sizes with barely any clarity…

TV news channels are a gone case. But why are India’s vast and influential language newspapers burying India’s staggering economic collapse?

On the last day of August 2020, India and China were once again locked in horns at the border. As India’s COVID graph spiralled upwards, India’s economy plunged, contracting 23.9% year-on-year. Jobs, lives, livelihood, families, businesses have been ruined after months of a poorly thought-through lockdown, even as crony capitalism of the Ambani and Adani…

A new design for the ‘Hindustan Times’ from the Mario Garcia factory, which would have apparently “made Mahatma Gandhi proud”

There is a story, probably an apocryphal one, that when Hindustan Times owner Shobhana Bhartia told an American designer who had designed The Washington Post, that she wanted a “good-looking paper”, he is believed to have retorted: “For that you need good-looking ads.” Mario Garcia, the designer who has had a hand in pouring old…

The tribute M.S. Dhoni will treasure the most: four special pages in his hometown’s biggest newspaper

Prabhat Khabar, the Hindi daily first published from Ranchi 36 years ago, pays a handsome tribute to the eastern Indian city’s greatest contemporary contribution to the national and global consciousness, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, upon his retirement from international cricket.

‘Prabhat Khabar’ at 36: how the face of Hindi journalism in the East has changed between 1984 and 2020

Thirty-six years is but a blip in a newspaper’s history, when there are many publications which are over 100 years old. The Times of India was technically launched in 1838, making it just 18 years short of 200. The Hindu is 142. But an anniversary is an anniversary, and the well-regarded Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar…

Desi vs angrezi: how language and English newspapers showcase the start of the Ram Temple construction in Ayodhya

India’s language press has been a key force-multiplier of the Hindutva cause—and ipso facto of the RSS-BJP agenda. This is breezily attributed to the language media being more in tune with the aspirations of “real India”. Today’s front pages on the foundation stone being laid for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, are less a product…

The subtle signals newspapers send in the manner in which they display Amit Shah’s claim of being COVID positive

Union home minister Amit Shah admitted that he had turned COVID positive through a tweet on Sunday. Across the country, the news is the lead story in most newspapers, if not second lead, but the display in some newspapers is revealing of how sections of the media are increasingly mindful of how they are perceived…

How Hindi newspapers in the “cow belt”, force-multipliers of the BJP in the North, lent wholesale legitimacy to Narendra Modi’s cringe-worthy #9pm9minutes photo-op

Media scholars believe that the rise of newspaper circulation in the “Hindi heartland”, disparagingly known as the cow belt, is concomitant with the rise and growth of the BJP on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement leading to the demolition of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya. Certainly, the reforms of 1991 helped in making…

11 sexy front-pages of the French daily ‘Liberation’ which show journalism needn’t be deathly dull even in the time of a raging pandemic

Front pages of newspapers across the world have the same, sombre look and feel in the time of disease and death. Not the French daily Liberation, which continues to keep the shopfront stylish and inviting. The piece de resistance came on the day after Asterix illustrator Uderzo passed away: Obelix carrying Coronavirus.

On the day after Narendra Modi’s stunning triumph, the further you move away from the Hindi heartland, the more sober the newspaper front pages get

Narendra Modi‘s stunning victory in the 2019 general elections has resulted in a not unusual journalistic overkill that has been the hallmark of his first five years in office. The country’s biggest English newspaper has an all-Hindi headline, ‘Chowkidar’s Chamtkaar‘, but at least there is a semblance of sobriety in most the headlines and coverage…

Hit and Muss, and the Muzzler: When one of India’s finest cartoonists, Raj Thackeray, rages against Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, political campaigning touches a new ‘Low’

There has been plenty of weird stuff in General Elections 2019, but none weirder than the sight of a political leader whose party was not contesting, drawing bigger crowds than those who were sweating the good sweat. Even more bizarre was the spectacle, and a spectacle it has been, of thousands falling over each other…

Made in Sivakasi: How newspapers front-paged the announcement of general elections 2019 in a mad riot of colours, cartoons, graphics, boxes, numbers

The dog’s meal that is Indian newspaper front pages, on big news days. Text, graphics, pictures, cartoons, photo-illustrations, boxes, highlights, numbers, colours, all in one right royal mess, with nothing to hold the eye. Even on a such as this, the announcement of #GeneralElections2019, there were newspapers like Dainik Bhaskar (Hindi), Divya Bhaskar (Gujarati), and…

“Anybody can do an MBA. Not everybody can become a cartoonist”: the sage advice that turned Satish Acharya into a 24×7 cartoonist in the social media age

Although the Mysore-born R.K. Laxman is the best known of them all, it is Kerala that has produced more political cartoonists in the English language: P. Shankar Pillai, O.V. Vijayan, Abu Abraham, Kutty, Unny, Ravi Shankar, Ajit Ninan et al. In recent years, Satish Acharya has joined his Kannadiga torch-bearer as a political cartoonist of promise,…

‘Dus hazaar tadtadate toofan’: Tintin, the Boy Reporter, was like Superman and James Bond, a status quoist, an apologist for hegemony

Uddalok Mukherjee makes a ‘defamatory’ attack on everybody’s favourite journalist, the “world’s most underworked, overexposed reporter”. “Journalists should not emulate Tintin. He is rarely seen filing copies; he is even casual about deadlines. He is arguably a poodle too; he is a pet of the establishment…. “The Boy Reporter’s acquaintances were a mixed bunch of…