Do You See?

>Pop Goes Delhi!

>South Asia Curator of Cornell University, Bronwen Bledsoe, a very funky and friendly personality, is coming to town. That is Delhi. Where I am these days. She I came to know recently through Prof. Debra Castillo of Cornell in Ithaca. Debbie, the lovely angelic soul that she is, had very kindly suggested my name to Bronwen as one of the people to meet up, for planning a Bollywood series in collaboration with Cornell Cinema. Later about that.

Now Bronwen is touring South Asia and China regarding her own work and researching on Subcontinental pop culture (she is a historian, and in her words, everything is “pop to a medievalist” like her!!). I’m damn glad I have a chance to meet her again. Hopefully at least a couple of times we will have delightful discussions on Bollywood, food and neo-urban customs.

That brings me to think: what is pop culture in Delhi without a Big Fat Punjabi wedding anyway? Something in the style of “Monsoon Wedding”! In fact, I just came through one in the family, my sister-in-law’s wedding, held pretty true to medium-budget (ha!) Bollywood flicks. Every ritual seemed important as well as mindless at times and yet we enjoyed so much! Now IF I can take Bronwen to a loud, pompous, alcohol-infused, raucous DJ-music-ridden, obscenely intricate crystal-and-gold lehenga-carpet-curtain-cover-draped farmhouse or clubhouse wedding, I’d say both of us will instantly know more about pop culture than any astute researcher poring over books or a computer screen.

Or, we can take it easy and just eat and drink and laze about in Dilli Haat or Crafts Bazaar in Pragati Maidan or scrounge around in Janpath. Also visit my alma mater JNU.

If my readers have any suggestions, kindly write in about what to do in the name of pop culture in Delhi.
Photo (from Internet): Diwali decorations on sale

10 comments on “>Pop Goes Delhi!

  1. tikulicious
    December 8, 2008

    >Lol Nabs the BFPW is a great topic for writing a book, include the panjabi aunties . JNU seems a great idea ,I would suggest a metro ride to DU too ,am I being partial ;)!!!!nahhh love DU.Also a trip to old Delhi galian aur chaubare including Ghalib’s haveli will be great idea .dig into all those delicacies Nabs sure she wud love it too ..

  2. fleuve-souterrain
    December 8, 2008

    >Tikuwhat ideas girl! Lived in Delhi for a decade and yet I forgot about old Delhi, Bhure ki Biriyani, Nizamuddin, Ghalib’s haveli, paranthewali galiyan… I’ll also probably suggest to Bronwen the sometimes pretentious hip and elite gatherings at India Habitat Centre, my old work place, and the jholawala arty surroundings of Mandi House where i hung out many afternoons with persons of interest!Thx sweetie!

  3. anu
    December 8, 2008

    >You dare to talk about biryani? meanie!!Delhi, no idea. Bangalore true to its cosmo. nature has several subcultures, unlike Pune which I found more homogeneous and accessible by everybody. Quite enjoyable! particularly stunning were the varkari pilgrims (bhakti movement relic), and host of other night time festivities which would combine ancient and ultra modern practices without missing a beat.

  4. fleuve-souterrain
    December 9, 2008

    >Hmm, the dargah at Nizamuddin Aulia (probably this is not the time for Urs, a great experience)… Janpath kitsch… Btw, biriyani is the heart of Delhi of not soul!! Anything savory around Jama Masjid is manna from the sky! Keep warm in Ithaca, Anu!

  5. Abhinav
    December 11, 2008

    >I loved the Monsoon Wedding! And there was a funky version of ‘Raske Bhare Tore Nain’ on its soundtrack. A very good example of how classics may be turned into an expression of popular art.

  6. fleuve-souterrain
    December 11, 2008

    >Wasn;t that movie loads of fun, Abhi? And am so glad oyu point out the sound track… for an obscenely opulent punjabi wedding, that song was truly a soft score use dvery well.And music-wise, now that you have set me off thinking, there are so many such classical/traditional numbers that have been appropriated by the Big Brother Bollywood! Bronwen will like the music aspect a lot.

  7. Too much to lose
    December 12, 2008

    >Talking about delhi haat …i was there three days back…fed myself with umpteen number of momos..It was great to see that place after such a long time ….Refreshing ….Pop culture and the punjabi weddings go hand in hand (as you had mentioned) ..You ought to take Bronwen Bledsoe for one …..

  8. Rhett
    December 12, 2008

    >Take her to Kareem’s, and let her taste Mughlai cuizines. Ghalib yeah, of course. But let her also know why Jug Suraiya would think of it as Shit city. Delhi is so goddamn vibrant that you could love it in countless ways and wouldn’t know how yopu love it. Like loving a mysterious woman. lolz….

  9. anu
    December 12, 2008

    >>>>Pune which I found more homogeneousUgh! didn't mean it that way. Pune has several subcultures, but uniquely, all of it seemed accessible to all kinds of audience, anybody who had the time could participate or go to them. Unlike Bangalore where the pop subcultures has exclusive, select audience -there's hardly a pop-culture that most Bangaloreans would have participated or relate to, that is, it never leads to a cultural memory that spans the city's populace. As the curator is a doing a Asia thing…., Nabina, I will hold you singularly responsible if she comes back with exclusive accounts of only Delhi pop cultures. Delhi is not India (that part of Asia), Yeah -lets fight 🙂

  10. Ritu
    December 15, 2008

    >Nizammuddin, Darya Ganj, Chandni Chowk, Janpath – and of course Delhi Haat. Gate crash one of the desi mehendis and shaadis ….., and do get her some samosas – oops I am rambling on a bit! Okay I’ll quit

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This entry was posted on December 8, 2008 by in Bollywood, Bronwen Bledsoe, Delhi, india, JNU, Nabina Das, pop culture, weddings.
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