Viral Videos and Inspirational Youths: A Conversation With Vinod Kapri
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…
The Bridge to Bridgerton
Lakshya Sharma 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…
Hype Culture: Status, Money and Inclusivity In Conversation With Vedant Lamba
Shree Bhattacharyya In a mass of people, we want to stand out and simultaneously fit in. It is in this dichotomy that ‘hype culture’ thrives.
The Runway of Inclusivity And Diversity In Indian Fashion
Reya Daya 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.
Socially Content Yet Blissfully Unaware
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…
What Are Your Thoughts on In-Person Classes?
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…
What Will You Miss About Online Classes?
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
Living Art on the Streets of Assam: Interview With Street Artist Neelim Mahanta
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.
Copy & Paste: Originality and Plagiarism in Popular Culture
Shree Bhattacharyya People are quick to judge whenever one piece of work remotely resembles another, and the question arises: are we imposing originality on popular culture?
Hindutva Beyond Politics: The Rise of an Alternate Pop-Culture in India
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.
A Conversation on Intimacy With Aastha Khanna
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.
In Deep Water: Three Generations React to the Intimacy in Gehraiyaan
Reya Daya Considering Gehraiyaan’s intergenerational themes, Reya Daya decided to have a conversation with her mother and grandmother about sex, sensuality, and sensationalism.
Another Decade, Another Drama: The Crown’s Controversies
Lakshya Sharma “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.
Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall… What Makes Wordle the Best of All?
Shree Bhattacharyya 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: The Sweet Sound of Indian Unity
Ashwini Deshpande 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.
Oops, I Got Influenced Again!
Lakshya Sharma “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”?
India Art Fair 2022: Director Jaya Asokan On What to Expect This Year
Jaya Asokan 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,…
Art Is Personal, the Personal Is Political, They Are Social and to Most Ephemeral
Vishnupriya Rajgarhia From fall of the Berlin Wall to the rise of billionaire capitalists: how have world events decisively shaped the way we experience Art today?
From Strolling to Scrolling through Galleries: How Has the Art World Changed?
Maahira Jain 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.
Of Dance and Crumbling Havelis…
Justin McCarthy 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.
Photos: What’s Stopping You From Rediscovering the Natural World Near You?
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.
In the Long Run We Will All Still be Paying Our Debt￼
Tanvi Rupakula reviews the Korean space western movie, Space Sweepers, set in 2092 AD.
Lawyer-Author & Sci-fi Fan Gautam Bhatia Chats with 95 yr old Sci-fi Legend Chandler Davis
Gautam Bhatia 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, 1st from her community to patrol a jungle in AP shoots her own story
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.
Kapur & Miyazaki: Wild celluloid connections from the 7th Century CE to 2022
Tisha Srivastav Open Axis takes a historical stroll uniting nature and film.
And ACTION! Towards a greener Bollywood?
Aritro Sarkar 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?
The revolution begins from the street (art)
Devanshi Daga 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.
Book Review: The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis
Mehak Bhargava Through the tale of Nutmeg, Amitav Ghosh makes a strong case of what must be done to survive the planetary crisis & come out thriving.
Girlhood in Isao Takahata’s Only Yesterday
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…
The Viability of Utopia Today
Alexandra Verini Does imagining perfect worlds serve our present or our future, or do utopias simply set us up for disappointment and failure?
Commodification of Female Passing Bodies in the Age of OnlyFans
Madhulika Agarwal 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.
Remo D’Souza: The Man Who Changed the Face of Indian Dance
Anushka Bidani 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…
Democratizing Art: How the Pandemic Has Transformed Art Spaces
Muskaan Kanodia 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…
Food Beyond the Mess: Why Campus Outlets are Invaluable to Indian Colleges
Devika Goswami 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…
The Growing (In)Significance of the Nobel Peace Prize
Saaransh Mishra 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…
The Way We Were – Gossip (Or Lack Thereof) In A Pandemic
Akanksha Mishra 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?
WhatsApp With India’s Travel Plan?
Tisha Srivastav 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.
Where Fashion Trends Come From and Why You Should Care
Rujuta Singh 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.
Ancient Pandemic, Modern Eyes
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.
Dating From A Distance
Harshita Bedi 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,…
Encounters with the Black Cloud
Deeksha Puri I wonder, am I the only one? It certainly does seem so when everyone else is seemingly coping fine.
Under the Precipice Rolls the Sea
Tanisha A 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.
What Constitutes a Constitution?
Adit Shankar 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.
Queering Valentine’s Day: Navigating singlehood and ‘compulsory heterosexuality’
Roshan Roy 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…
Madhulika Agarwal 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.
Translation As Preservation: Understanding the Worlds Within Languages
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.
(Mis)leading Spotify Chart Toppers: What is India listening to?
Rohan Pai 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…
The Economy Of Stories
Varsha Ramachandran 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.
Racy Raj Tales: Miscegenation in British India
Ipshita Nath 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.
Feminist Bollywood, Really?
Geetanjali Chanda 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…
Boomers’ Guide to Gen Z: Intro to Texting 101
Devika Goswami 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…
A Monochromatic Tug of War: A semiotic analysis of black and white in Black Swan
Nidhi Munot 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?
Regional Rap for a National Cause
Rohan Pai 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.
Censorship in India and the Abolition of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.
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.
Who is Deciding What You Watch? Fiction and Move Towards New Indian Censorship
Ariba 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?
Bridgerton: A Regency Tale of Surveillance and Information Control
Ashana Mathur 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?
Pets of the Pandemic
Vanishree 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…
The White Tiger: Poverty Porn or Gritty Realism?
Shivani Deshmukh 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.
Dosa: A Culinary Marvel
Shrishti Agrawal 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.
A Stymied Transition: How the Class of 2023 is adapting to ‘college life’ online
Mansi Ranka 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?
OTT Platforms: What controls the content we watch?
Sanya Chandra 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 Next Stage
Abhinaya Penneswaran 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.
TRP Or News? The Existentialist Dilemma of News Channels.
Aradhya Sharma The TRP system is killing the quality of TV News. Is it time to shift away from consumer based metrics?
Uncovering Recovery from COVID-19
Mansi Ranka 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!
Remembering Eddie – 6 Essential Songs
Shaayak Chatterjee 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.
Stoned, Shamed, Depressed – A Conversation with author Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava
Isha Deshmukh 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 Wins a Prize She Never Needed
Kanishk Devgan 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?
Bringing The Boys to Life in Trump’s America
Karantaj Singh 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?
Give Me Liberty, COVID, or Cow Urine
Isha Deshmukh 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: An ‘Unusual’ Depiction of Mother-Daughter Relationship
Ananya Bhardwaj 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.
When should I stop watching the news?
Siddhartha Dubey TV news has become a platform for lies and propaganda. If Indian news television is hurtling down an abyss, should we follow?
When the World is No Longer a Stage: The Music Industry in a Socially Distanced World
Nirvik Thapa The music industry was already reimagining itself with digitization. During the pandemic, these changes have become more palpable.
The Most Powerful Response to Any Situation: Love
Raja Rosenhagen The pandemic has shrunk our worlds. We can’t go out, travel, or explore. But this doesn’t mean we stop living or loving.
My Son’s Inheritance: India’s Invisible Violence
Aparna Vaidik 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.