Maahira Jain and Shree Bhattacharyya
On 20th March, Vinod Kapri’s video about Pradeep Mehra, a 19-year-old Indian Army aspirant, went viral. The video showed Mr. Mehra’s determination to run back every night from his place of work to his home so that he would be in shape to join the Army, and it inspired and motivated the whole world. OpenAxis converses with Vinod Kapri to learn about the story behind this video and its impact.
Why is a 21st-century teenage audience hooked to a Regency-era period drama? What about Bridgerton makes it one of the most popular period dramas of our time? Not just Bridgerton, with Downton Abbey dropping their second movie this summer, and The Crown shooting its fifth season, have period dramas become the new go-to genre?
In a mass of people, we want to stand out and simultaneously fit in. It is in this dichotomy that ‘hype culture’ thrives.
The Indian fashion industry is attempting to create diverse visual imagery and moving away from standard or European notions of beauty. While every effort counts, true inclusivity means ensuring diversity and representation offstage.
Maahira Jain and Reya Daya
Social media’s pervasiveness has come to define who we are. After hours of scrolling and endless comparison to the people we see online, it is hard to put into focus what is real and what is not. Are you losing your individuality? Is everyone slowly morphing into the most viewed social media personas, or is there still hope to escape the hypnosis of mindless consumption?
With a return to in-person classes after nearly two years, Ashoka University welcomed many students with an entire batch coming for the first time. OpenAxis decided to ask both students and faculty about their opinion on this transition. Interviewer & Videographer: Lakshya Sharma Video Editor: Shree Bhattacharyya We publish all articles under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives license. This means […]
With Ashoka University starting offline classes on campus again after two years, OpenAxis asks the Ashoka student body what they will miss about online classes. Interviewer & Videographer: Jaidev Pant Video Editor: Shree Bhattacharyya
Biplob Kumar Das
Neelim Mahanta’s street art is recognised widely in Assam. In this interview, conducted by Biplob Kumar Das, he opens up about his work, his beginnings, and his thoughts on art and life.
People are quick to judge whenever one piece of work remotely resembles another, and the question arises: are we imposing originality on popular culture?
Biplob Kumar Das
Since 2014, India has not only witnessed the electoral and political rise of Hindutva, but also an evolution in popular culture that is much more committed to Hindu Nationalism. Industries like Bollywood and independent artists across YouTube are now producing art that espouses Hindutva sentiments.
Lakshya Sharma, Maahira Jain, and Reya Daya
Gehariyaan became the first movie in India to have an Intimacy Director. This credit sparked curiosity in many minds. OpenAxis decided to have a conversation with the first Intimacy Coordinator of India, Aastha Khanna, about this new field.
Considering Gehraiyaan’s intergenerational themes, Reya Daya decided to have a conversation with her mother and grandmother about sex, sensuality, and sensationalism.
“Grief is the price we pay for love” – HM The Queen.
A beautiful statement issued by our beloved queen on the death of Her Husband. The longest reigning female monarch in history has been in power forever. Here are the seven big dramas of her life.
Wordle’s success is indisputable, but there is one question that everyone is asking (well, other than, “can you just tell me the first letter of the word, please?”) — what is it that makes Wordle stand out?
Lata Mangeshkar sang of harmony and love and her persona united India across divides — class, caste, religion, gender, linguistic. As we bow our heads collectively in her memory, we would do well to revive and strengthen the inclusive India which is defined by the sweet sound of her music.
“Somebody is Influenced!” is something we all have said to our friends and acquaintances at some point in our lives. But who influenced them? How are they able to influence them? What do these “influencers” have that separate them from the “influenced”?
Even though there is an active and growing interest in digital art, photography, performance art and so on, the buying we are seeing currently largely remains in the domain of more traditional art forms like painting, prints and sculpture. The fair is the perfect place to discover art, across a range of mediums, styles and price points.
From fall of the Berlin Wall to the rise of billionaire capitalists: how have world events decisively shaped the way we experience Art today?
The boons and banes of social media in the art world are a tipping scale, the unspoken impact of which remains in the nature of creating and experiencing art.
The renowned kathak dancer Birju Maharaj was a consummate master of rhythm, line and movement, and could improvise endlessly in expressional dance while himself singing a melodic line. In the light of his demise, Justin McCarthy writes on Indian dance today while simultaneously critiquing his own public writings on dance.
A Lockdown x Nature reflection, Natural Home: Transcend Boundaries, between Caperture, the Photography Society and Tarang, the Environment Ministry of Ashoka University. Put together last year this time; a reminder perhaps of what enlarges, when we look around closely.
Tanvi Rupakula reviews the Korean space western movie, Space Sweepers, set in 2092 AD.
A mathematician and a science fiction writer, Davis was notoriously dismissed from the University of Michigan, and jailed, during the McCarthy years. He wrote a range of science fiction stories around nuclear disarmament, sexism in society, labour and capital, and first contact and language. A rare interview.
Shaleena Phinya and Sumit Sisodiya for RoundGlass Sustain
Video: Shaleena Phinya, the first girl from her area to guard a community forest in Western Arunachal Pradesh, shares how a rare bird brought her village and its jungles together.
Open Axis takes a historical stroll uniting nature and film.
Like most Hindi blockbusters, making Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara cost thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide. Ten years on, is the industry ready to move towards sustainable film production?
With street art gaining momentum in India, Devanshi Daga discusses the street as a social space, the impact of street art on its large audience and the messages it seeks to convey about the environment through discussing the works of three Indian street artists.
Through the tale of Nutmeg, Amitav Ghosh makes a strong case of what must be done to survive the planetary crisis & come out thriving.
By Saadia Peerzada
Coming of age films largely rely on romanticization of youth and fail to explore the humane aspects of the same. With Studio Ghibli coming to Netflix internationally in 2020, how does it bring its exploration of the human experience to the coming of age genre? How does Takahta’s Only Yesterday break away from the mainstream narrative on girlhood?
Does imagining perfect worlds serve our present or our future, or do utopias simply set us up for disappointment and failure?
With everything getting digitalised, sex work too is moving online, offering more liberty to the content creators of the same. However, a lot of conversation regarding online sex work focuses only on the progressive aspect of it, choosing to ignore the dangers that come associated with the same.
Despite its importance, dance had always been a background element. It has always been present, but it was seldom the main focus of the film. However, in the past few years, this subsidiary status has changed. Dance films and dance reality TV shows have become more common, and dancers have steadily gained celebrity status. This shift in perception can be credited to various reasons, one of the principal ones being Remo D’Souza.
Virtual Tours for Museums around the world were initially made for in-person support to make the galleries accessible and their experiences better. However, with a worldwide lockdown, the virtual experience has encouraged many of us to explore uncharted territories of art history and museums sitting at our desktops in pyjamas. This has made previously inaccessible museums and galleries a more democratic and inclusive space. However, what lies ahead this road is to see whether this continues to be the case in the post-COVID world.
The pandemic meant nearly a year-off campus for college students. Of the many things lost, the shared memory of food is difficult to measure and yet an important part of the college experience. How do campus outlets positively shape student life and support small business owners? How might the pandemic change this shared experience of food?
Nobel laureates are meant to be harbingers of peace in this excruciatingly peaceless world that we inhabit. In order to set healthy precedents, the onus is on the Nobel Peace Committee to award this significant honour only to the ones that can leave a legacy for future generations to follow, and currently it is miserably failing at that.
Looking back, I realised most of my interactions with people through the pandemic have a key element missing. At the risk of sounding like a nosy aunty from your neighbourhood – where is the gossip?
Tisha Srivastav writes on the first two months of a buzzing Indian WhatsApp group post-Lockdown. With zero fake news, it coordinated a spirited effort to rethink responsible travel in India.
While it might seem like fashion trends come out of nowhere, there is a method to the madness. These trends eventually permeate into all aspects of our lives in some form, whether we realize it or not.
Mali Annika Skotheim
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to read Thucydides’ account of the Athenian plague without seeing parallels in our own time.
For the longest time we have been told that once we find that special someone, our life becomes better, happier and worth living. While many choose to disagree with this view, it cannot be denied that humans are social beings who have been collectively living in a society and mating. With the pandemic, the need for human connection was sought to be satisfied. How has the world of dating adapted to the pandemic? What is different about online dating now?
I wonder, am I the only one? It certainly does seem so when everyone else is seemingly coping fine.
When you’re working with a zero budget project, you have to rely on a lot of things outside of your control to capture a frame that tells the story you want it to tell, how you want it to.
A political tussle over the demand for a new constitution raises interesting questions about our relationship with the constitution, especially as it is increasingly perceived to be under threat. Open Axis explores this relationship.
Cultural expectations around Valentine’s day can be very choking. Since the culture around it is heterosexual in nature, it fails to cater to the needs of ‘other’ identities. This piece explores the question: Can there be a queer valentine’s day that celebrates not only multiple identities and sexualities but also singledom which is overlooked by our heteronormative world? After all, love does not have one meaning. Love begins when you set out to understand yourself and counter these structures that govern our societies.
SOPHIE’s loss is enormous for the music industry, but it is an even bigger loss for her family, friends and fans, whose lives SOPHIE coloured with compassion above everything else. They will live up to her legacy and keep honoring what was so close to her heart.
Pratiti and Ipsa Samaddar
“A work of literature can become the voice of a people through its language.” Through this piece, members of Sandhi, Languages society at Ashoka delve into their process of translation from their mother tongue, Bangla to English.
Spotify’s algorithmic mechanisms tend to create a deluding image of what is actually trending on the ground. Brown munde, a Punjabi song by AP Dhillon, has been a chart topper for nearly three months now. Alongside homegrown artist AP Dhillon is The Weeknd, an American pop singer who is currently #1 in the world on Spotify, and Arijit Singh. But is this what India is listening to?
Why reimagine Juliet in 2020, as opposed to creating a new Desdemona or Laila or Heer? What about these particular characters makes us want to bring them to life again, albeit in a new socio-political scenario, or a reimagined world? I argue that it is our need for familiarity.
Recent feminist historiography has revealed that such rumours stemmed from biases and prejudices rather than actual realities, and were meant to perpetuate the fear of the ‘Other’ among the British officers/community/etc. in India. However, such notions served to deepen the prejudice against interracial marriages.
It is common to witness individuals who are vocal about the misogyny that is prevalent within Bollywood music, to be seen tapping their toes to the same problematic lyrics on a dance floor. Is it ever okay to listen to music that is degrading to a particular gender? And if we do, does that make us less of a feminist? Are we truly #SmashingThePatriarchy?
Prerequisites: anyone who’s been hit with an “ok, boomer” or is still confused about why people keep texting “ded” after a joke. By the end of this piece, you will understand why Gen Z is so hell-bent on texting instead of calling, what in the world ‘ghosting’ even means and why that full-stop might be making your texts sound a tad bit insincere to the Gen Z-er in your life.
Black Swan is regarded as a cinematic masterpiece for its depiction of the obsessed artist. A closer look, however, reveals the utilization of color to add to its storytelling. How did color theory contribute to the cinematography of Black Swan—and what does it convey about its power in film?
With Indian rappers carving out their own niches by choosing to represent and reach out to their people with regional vernacular, they provide a voice to the communities that were never heard before, while also instilling a sense of belonging to the larger community of India.
Sahir Avik D’Souza
The FCAT, set up under the Cinematograph Act, 1952, was the last stop for filmmakers who did not agree with the decisions of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Often colloquially dubbed the “Censor Board”, the CBFC’s guidelines and suggestions for cuts have occasionally been met with distaste from filmmakers.
This act of taking decisions on behalf of the viewers, undermining creative freedom of the producers and digital space of the OTT platforms, restrains freedom of the consumers to access specific content and their right to critique. Are you really the one deciding what to watch?
The Netflix latest show, Bridgerton displays how powerful a nexus between the media and mass surveillance can be. What is this nexus? What are its implications? And how has Republic TV emerged as India’s very own Lady Whistledown?
Research indicates that the pandemic has showcased an increase in the adoption of pets, as a distraction from the uncertainty and discomfort. How has the relationship between the pet and the owner changed during the pandemic? And what impact does the opening up of the world and transiting back to life before COVID, have on this relationship?
Adiga’s The White Tiger presents a cutting, throttling tale of class injustice. Renovated as a movie, it is caricatural and stereotypical, tailored to the Western Gaze.
The Dosa is a culinary gift from South Indian cuisine that has become a popular breakfast snack all across India. Although debates about the origin continue to persist, what most can agree upon is that the Dosa is not similar to a pancake or crepe.
The class of 2023 had their life plans upturned right when school got over. After finally getting into colleges, for them, all of ‘college-life’ has only been available through screens. How have they made it work online?
The libraries of content available on OTT platforms make your choices feel seemingly limitless. But do you freely choose what you are going to watch? Can someone influence your content choices?
The lack of a physical setting for performance art due to the pandemic has led to the creation of a new stage for artists and performers.
The TRP system is killing the quality of TV News. Is it time to shift away from consumer based metrics?
Behind every single statistic is a person. What has going through it all and recovering from COVID been like?
We look at some personal stories!
Eddie Van Halen brought joy to rock and roll. An idol for an entire generation, he broke the stereotype that virtuosos should always be brooding characters. Twenty days after his death, here are six songs to define his legacy.
Young minds have now become more overwhelmed than ever with social media generating our sense of self and technology assuring us a place in the status charts. How do we deal with impressionable teenagers being exposed to virtues and vices that even adults have difficulty navigating?
Louise Glück recently won the Nobel Prize in literature. Does she really need it, though? And what of all those who say she doesn’t deserve it?
Blonde hair, white male, cheeky smile, self-obsessed, xenophobic, erratic, and a public image built over love for his country. Is Homelander Donald Trump in a cape?
COVID-19 has already claimed more than a million lives. Despite the very real threat, people continue to politicise the virus, deny it and spread baseless facts and treatments. What has happened to our scientific temperament in a time when we needed it most?
Girl in White Cotton is a story that revels in its ordinariness. It proceeds in such a way that by the time one is done reading, it feels like it’s time to read it again.
TV news has become a platform for lies and propaganda. If Indian news television is hurtling down an abyss, should we follow?
The music industry was already reimagining itself with digitization. During the pandemic, these changes have become more palpable.
The pandemic has shrunk our worlds. We can’t go out, travel, or explore. But this doesn’t mean we stop living or loving.
The book demonstrates how violence is secretly embedded in our myths, folklore, poetry, literature, and language, and is therefore invisible. Framing my narrative as a message to my son, I acquaint him with his ancestors—those who abet and carry out lynching as well as those who are lynched.