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Deserted Race. Painting by: Narendra Panchal

KalaaKaarts – An Artistic Collaboration

KalaaKaarts is a blend of experiential activities, and artistic exhibitions, as the name itself, is a blend of an artist and their art, “Kalaakaar” (कलाकार) – an Artist and “arts” – the Art. It is a platform that was established for exhibiting and selling Narendra Panchal’s artwork, which emerged out to be a platform that now serves artistic collaborations, and events in experiential form.

Why it started? How it processes? What it does?

The team at KalaaKaarts believed in redefining the way artists exhibit their artwork, and the way a viewer experiences it. For this, they collaborated with cafe’s, local bodies, and outdoor places to procure space so that the artist can exhibit their artwork not just to the art enthusiasts but to the people who are around as well.  Along with the art exhibitions, or the performances, KalaaKaarts offers experiential activities to create a sense of connect between different strangers who visit the place, and with the artist.

Let’s dive into the artist because of whom KalaaKaarts got incepted.

Narendra Panchal – The Artist

Narendra Panchal, is into artistic space for more than 30 years. Narendra was born in Jhalawar, Rajasthan, you can say he is a prodigal artist. He has never undergone any formal education in art. During the time of going school, he used to grab a broom-stick, pluck one of the brooms out, and used paint the muddy walls of the town with lime, as gathering resources wasn’t an obstacle for him.

When he was 20 years old, he left his home to feel the nature in the jungles of Kerala. The charismatic beauty captivated him for so long. He spent most of time in South India roaming around breathtaking hills and alluring forests. All he wanted to realize calmness and the beauty of nature.

He dived deep into the learning of Bible, Osho, Buddhism Jesus, Krishna, Quran, Vivekananda, Paramhans, Manikyamuni, Vishwakarma, Khalil Jibran, and a lot of others. After having this vivid knowledge, painted his thoughts from spirituality to sexuality, from contemporary to modern, from inside thoughts to the thoughts residing in the outer world.

He exhibited his artwork at Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, National Art Festival, Mount Abu and Pragati Maidan, Delhi. He was also awarded at National Art Festival in Mount Abu.

Christ on Cross. Painting by: Narendra Panchal

Christ on Cross. Painting by: Narendra Panchal


Christ. Painting by: Narendra Panchal

Christ. Painting by: Narendra Panchal


Hidden Shyness. Painting by: Narendra Panchal

Hidden Shyness. Painting by: Narendra Panchal


Sudden rush. Painting by: Narendra Panchal

Sudden rush. Painting by: Narendra Panchal


Deserted Race. Painting by: Narendra Panchal

Deserted Race. Painting by: Narendra Panchal


Blissful Buddha. Painting by: Narendra Panchal

Blissful Buddha. Painting by: Narendra Panchal


KalaaKaarts Event. Photo by: vkpriyesh

KalaaKaarts Event. Photo by: vkpriyesh


KalaaKaarts Exhibit. Picture by: vkpriyesh

KalaaKaarts Exhibit. Picture by: vkpriyesh

On Instagram, follow kalaakaarts wonderful collection: http://Instagram.com/kalaakaarts
On Facebook, like the page “kalaakaarts”: http://fb.com/kalaakaarts
Interested art lovers can buy the artworks at http://kalaakaarts.com

India Surival Guide's YouTube Channel Went Viral. Photo by Surian Soosay (https://flic.kr/p/r2MLev).

India Surival Guide’s YouTube Channel Went Viral!

The last two weeks have been crazy and surreal. My videos were already doing great on YouTube, but then “bass-” posted my Foreigner Surprising Indians with Hindi video on the /r/videos subreddit and the madness began!

That Reddit post started a chain reaction, and I ended up going viral, hitting the top of /r/videos with 24.5k upvotes, a spot on the Reddit India homepage, and gaining over 300,000 views that night.

It was an exciting night for me. I sat there watching the Reddit upvotes climb from 10k to 16k before it was 2 am and I had to crash.

There's that nice spike in views on YouTube!

There’s that nice spike in viral views on YouTube!

After it went viral most of the Indian media picked it up with everybody praising the video which showed me simply surprising Indians with my Hindi.

That video aimed to show everyone how warmly Indians react to a foreigner speaking their language. I wanted to show people that language breaks down barriers and connects people and how learning just a few phrases can enhance a travellers trip to India.

YouTube comment.

Since then, that video has gone onto hit over 1 million views, and in total my channel is well over 1.5 million views and counting.

So, YouTube is going to be my primary platform now. I have tons of amazing content to coming so please subscribe to see how I live in incredible India. I’m on social networks too, please follow there also:


India Survival Guide February 2018 Media Roundup

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6 Indian Musicians Not to Miss Live When You’re in India

A great song and its melody are universal. You don’t need to understand the words to enjoy them. You just listen to the music and enjoy.

When you’re in India, there are a ton of amazing artists you need to check out live. Below are just 6 of my favourite artists that I’ve seen live.

To find out what’s on while you’re in India, check out Insider and BookMyShow and look out for advertisement posters plastered all around major cities.

Diljit Dosanjh (Punjabi bhangra)

If you want to drink, eat, and party like a North Indian then there’s nothing better than Diljit’s swag and the heavy beat of his Bhangra tracks. Listen to Radio to see what I mean.

When you’re in North India, this is what you’ll hear on repeat every night – especially during wedding season. His concerts are big parties!

Arijit Singh (Bollywood pop)

Arijit is the number one playback singer in Bollywood these days. I don’t know precisely what percentage of hit Bollywood songs he’s sung in the last few years but has to be over 50%. Everyone loves his voice, and if you listen to Kabira or Zaalima, you’ll see why.

Amit Trivedi (Bollywood pop & more)

Amit is the most versatile music producers in Bollywood. He can write hit pop tracks and then an array of regionally inspired Bollywood music too. Amit doesn’t just create hits though, the music he creates has meaning – which pop music always lacks.

Mame Khan (Rajasthani folk)

Mame is the first regional artist on this list. Going to a Mame Khan performance is like being transported to the bright colours of Rajasthani. All the musicians remain seated and belt out some mesmerising tunes.

Nooran Sisters (Punjabi Folk)

The Nooran Sisters are Sufi (the inward dimension of Islam) singers. They have very strong and powerful voices and mainly sing devotional songs. I have no idea what they’re singing, but to see them in concert is an experience.

Indian Ocean (Rock)

Indian Ocean is an older Hindi rock band that performs originals. They’re an Indian Fleetwood Mac or The Eagles. If you’re a rock fan, go check them out.

Movie still from Airlift

5 Must-See Bollywood Movies for Bollywood Newbies

Bollywood. That’s what I and billions of other Indians grew up watching. When you first begin to watch Bollywood, you’ll surely be confused. Always remember that the criteria of a movie turning a blockbuster in India is quite different than that of Hollywood and many other countries. But now, with the gradual change in outlook of Indian society, movies with international appeal are being made.

Watch any of the below movies to see why Bollywood is coming up as the next best film industry after Hollywood.

1. Dangal (2016)

Dangal movie poster bollywood

The first two movies in this list are by one of Bollywood’s most celebrated directors, Aamir Khan. He originally started out acting in a lot of terrible 90s movies and eventually turned director. Aamir prides himself on quality storytelling and international standard production values. The stories he chooses to tell and the social issues he raises in his films are what sets him apart.

Dangal is the true story of two sisters who go on to win at the Commonwealth games after their father gets them into wrestling at a young age. It shows the struggle they went through as female wrestlers in the backward state of Haryana and how they came out triumphant.

I don’t like sports movies, but this one is different. Start here when it comes to watching a quality Bollywood movie with international appeal. It’s now the highest grossing film of all time in India.

2. PK (2014)

PK movie poster bollywood

After being almost banned by the Indian Censor Board for no reason whatsoever, except for its poster, PK released became another blockbuster by Aamir Khan.

The movie has a very unusual story. Aamir Khan plays the lead role in PK and he acts as an alien. But you have to realize that aliens of the West and the East are quite different, ironically. Here, aliens are always portrayed as highly intelligible beings who come to help humans and not create war.

The movie touches the very sensitive subject of blind faith and diverse religions present in India. It also talks about the existence of God. All of which are very touchy subjects, especially in India.

It is amazing how the movie brings out the issues so simply that you wonder how you haven’t noticed them before. Even for people living in the West, you’ll undoubtedly love this movie.

3. Neerja (2016)

Neerja movie poster bollywood

Neerja is the heart-wrenching true story of Neerja Bhanot who held things together while a Pan Am flight was taken hostage on the tarmac by terrorists. I don’t want to give away any more of the story, but needless to say, it’s one of the highlights of recent Indian cinema and won Best Feature Film in Hindi at the 64th National Film Awards.

4. Airlift (2016)

Airlift movie poster bollywood

Airlift tells the story of an Indian businessman helping with the evacuation of Indians based in Kuwait during the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. It’s based on real events and my friend who was there in Kuwait at that very time enjoyed seeing it shown on the silver screen.

5. Udta Punjab (2016)

Udta Punjab movie poster bollywood

“High Punjab”, a black comedy crime film about the life of a popular Punjabi musician and drug addict, caused a lot of controversies. It gave attention to the problem of drug abuse in Punjab, which some powerful politicians did not like. Politicians, behind closed doors, ordered the Central Board of Film Certification to not allow the film to be released. The censorship board came back to the director requesting 89 cuts to the movie to remove all references to drugs.

The director took the issue to the Bombay High Court which ruled that only 1 cut needed to be made. Having been overridden, the Central Board of Film Certification then leaked their “FOR CENSOR” copy online to harm the movie’s profitability. All this controversy did was promote the movie and it went on to be profitable.

If you’ve watched all these movies, 5 more honourable mentions are:

  1. Queen (2013)
  2. Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015)
  3. Kahaani (2012)
  4. Kapoor & Sons (2016)
  5. Sarabjit (2016).
A still from Eat Pray Love

The Best English Movies Set in India

Over the past decade or so, there have been many changes in the film industry. One cannot help but notice that this industry is finally taking up an international approach rather than being confined to one’s own country. Given this, many English movies have used India as their primary location for shooting. Sometimes, the entire movie revolves around Indian characters. This is definitely a refreshing change for the audience as well because you’re able to connect yourself to the lifestyle of another culture.

Based on the plot and compelling performances of actors, here are my top five Hollywood movies set in India.

Read More

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