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The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Musicians, comics, artists and activists curate viewing lists and experiences to tide us over our social distancing woes

The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Jivraj Singh (of Parekh & Singh), musicians

The last few days, we’ve been writing songs, playing instruments, reaching out to friends and family, exercising, and sitting quietly. Watch:Ugly Delicious and Dave (Lil Dicky). Food+travel and comedy are good distractions. Learn: The MIT lecture, ‘How To Speak by Patrick Winston’. It is amazing. Also, the sound of chalk on blackboard is really soothing! Listen: Nischay has a playlist, P&S Top Picks, on Spotify — everything here sounds really good. Read: Anything that appeals to your interests, but doesn’t excite or disturb you overmuch. Good writing, like good sound, can be inherently soothing.


The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Kenny Sebastian, comic

Catch Don’t be that Guy (my comedy special on Amazon Prime Video), The Most Important Person in the Room (my soon-to-be-released Netflix special), and Bahubali part 1 and 2! And play Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Need for Speed Heat. They are so immersive, they help while away time effortlessly. My comfort viewing is usually classic Hollywood films from the ’80s and ’90s that I grew up with. I recently binged the Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Matrix series. I love watching older specials like Dave Chappelle’s Killin’’Them Softly. My favourite go-to platform is YouTube. From when I was 17, I love watching videos of all genres; it is how I learned my skills! I am also reading Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull.

The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Radhika Vaz, comic

Most folks I know have way too many shows they need to catch up on. But if you are that rare human who is being confronted with free time for the first time, here is how you can do some quarantimepass. Exercise: while this is what I like to do least, I’m using this forced confinement to build the disciple muscle. Yoga is my weapon of choice. Try ‘Yoga for Beginners’, a free app (my favourite kind) and the routines can be short and sweet or longer and sweatier. It is up to you. Watch: I’ve just binged two shows on Netflix. After Life, the most darkly hilarious take on death [OK, I know that perhaps a show about death isn’t the best recco at a time like this, but if we are going to die then you really wouldn’t want to miss this], and The IT Crowd [it is so well done that even if you are as far from an IT nerd as it gets, you will find yourself fully identifying with everything that happens]. Listen/Watch: I am slightly obsessed with Hollywood gossip. I am pathetic. Why do you think I outted that whole ‘do yoga’ business up front! YouTube houses my beloved Wendy Williams and Heather MacDonald. Wendy has a TV show, but they stream long segments. Same for Heather’s podcast, Juicy Scoop. Both women are hilarious and give you their unfiltered take on stupid Hollywood celebrity behaviour. Our Bollywood celebs would never behave that badly.


The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Ankur Tewari, singer-songwriter

Right now, I’m playing a lot of Last of Us, a zombie killing game in a post-apocalyptic world, because it is similar to what’s happening outside. I also suggest playing FIFA because it is such a social game; you can play it online with your friends. This is a great time to read books. I usually pick up non-fiction, and William Dalrymple’s Anarchy is a great one to keep you away from screens and social media where there’s a lot of half-baked information and hysteria. I’m reading Leonard Cohen’s The Flame, compiled by his son Adam — a collection of his poems, some of which have been made into songs. I’ve also been making playlists and old-school mix tapes, and sending them to friends [I did a deep dive into the ’80s for a friend’s birthday]. And live jams on Instagram.

The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Appupen, graphic artist

When I am not well, I want to read Bone, the American comic book series by Jeff Smith. It is the most comfort I can think of. It has some darkness but it is also a fantasy, an epic kind of thing. I also enjoy anything by Mœbius [the pseudonym used by French artist, cartoonist and writer, Jean Henri Gaston Giraud]. Visually, it is the best parallel universe or escape fantasy. He has the key to that other world where I try to go. Finally, there are films by Rolf de Heer, the Dutch Australian filmmaker. It is beautiful filmmaking.

The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Naveen Richard, comic

There’s something about those feel-good 90s films such as Forrest Gump, Cast Away, You’ve Got Mail, and Home Alone. When you watch them, you feel like a kid again. There’s a show called Community, by the creator of Rick and Morty. It was super niche [every episode was a different genre] and hilarious, and something that people need now. At times you want an escape, just like The Office. This is also a good time to catch up on quality music. Some of my favourite tracks include ‘A little bit like magic’ by King Harvest [it reminds you that the world is not such a bad place], ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers [a great morning song], and ‘A satisfied mind’ by Bobby Hebb [tells you to enjoy the simple things in life].

The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Raghu Dixit, musician

I’ve been spending time with my family for the last two weeks. I’ve watched Love Mocktail on Amazon Prime Video. It is a hit Kannada film and I have made interesting music in it. Ayyappanum Koshiyum is another one. It has a simple storyline made powerful by incredible acting by Prithviraj and Biju Menon. A good series is Mindhunter on Netflix, one of the best psychological investigative thrillers around. Heal is a documentary (on Netflix), if you need something to inspire you in troubled times as this. And finally, there is Punch Brothers - Live at Paramount Theatre on YouTube. One of the best live acts, it is a stimulating concert video by a great band performing live.

The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Jaya Jaitly, activist

I have been watching Dirty Money on Netflix. It has got me thinking how so much of what is wrong in the world, including the way we’re suffering now, is about the loss or the desire for money. Surely it is time to rejig our minds and our priorities. Vikram Sampath gave me his new book, Savarkar. There has been so much opposition to it by people who have not read it – it’s only archival material; they’re not taking anyone’s side. It’s just fact and we should know the facts before we take decisions or form opinions. I went to a lit fest recently, and the whole audience was not even prepared to even think about looking at it objectively. I don’t like that sort of thing, so I’m reading that now.

The living room edit: Indian artistes on how to social distance and chill

Alicia Souza, illustrator

I’m watching Salt, Fat, Heat, Acid, the Netflix show based on Samin Nosrat’s best-selling book. It is my favourite food show. The second season of Sumukhi Suresh's Pushpavali is out on Amazon Prime Video. I know and love the characters. And there is Peep Show. The series follows the lives of Mark Corrigan and Jeremy ‘Jez’ Usborne, two dysfunctional friends who share a flat in London. It is my favourite British comedy.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 1:52:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/the-living-room-edit-indian-artistes-on-how-to-social-distance-and-chill/article31119806.ece

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