Rajat Singh

To Give Us New Colors to See

December 23, 2016

How La La Land reclaims the much-derided beauty of Bollywood. Damien Chazelle’s new movie-cum-musical La La Land is a love story for our present moment, one that animates all the romance of a long-lost era, with none of the sap or sugariness. It’s an uncomplicated love story set in 21st-century L.A. The boy-meets-girl arc, which … Read More

Ashish’s ‘Bollywood Bloodbath’ Rocked The Runway At London Fashion Week

September 21, 2016

He invoked the gods, crossed gender barriers, and made political points at every turn. Yesterday, a solemn sitarist in a white kurta sat at the end of designer Ashish Gupta’s runway and as he tuned his instrument, audiences knew this would be no ordinary fashion show. The sitarist wore sunglasses — not to shield him from the house … Read More

#SariNotSorry: An Interview with Kareem Khubchandani

June 20, 2016

Last week, Kajal Mag spoke with LaWhore Vagistan, a drag performer whose recent YouTube performance “#Sari,” set to the tune of Bieber’s “Sorry,” is reimagined with unapologetically flamboyant lyrics. LaWhore is, in fact, the stage name for Kareem Chubchandani, a desi queer performer and scholar whose work documents the experiences of South Asian immigrant gay … Read More

Midnight Mehfil Mixtape

March 29, 2016

As a companion to our piece on the history and evolution of mujras in Bollywood, our new mixtape “Midnight Mehfil” includes our favorite and most iconic mujra tracks. https://medium.com/media/ba829b21c9598f99bd52dc53429a5e06/hrefhttps://medium.com/media/ba829b21c9598f99bd52dc53429a5e06/href

Priyanka The Exotic

March 22, 2016

It started in 2013, when my father exclaimed to me over the phone one evening, “Priyanka Chopra is singing the theme song to Thursday Night Football. Did you see it?” “No, dad, I didn’t.” I could’ve done a quick YouTube search for the cheap number she performed in front of a green screen, “In My City.” … Read More

Flying as Waris Ahluwalia

February 9, 2016

This morning, Sikh actor-cum-designer Waris Ahluwalia was denied the right to board an AeroMexico flight heading for New York. Airline personnel detained him prior to boarding his flight from Mexico City because he refused to remove his turban (what Sikhs call a dastar) for a security check. Ahluwalia explained to New York Daily News that he would … Read More

Thoughts on Gaysi Zine, India’s First Queer Graphic Anthology

January 20, 2016

As a literary form, the anthology has, over the last few decades, captured and expanded the range of conflicting emotions, experiences, and politics that define queer South Asian lives. Perhaps the best-known example is Rakesh Ratti’s edited volume from 1993, A Lotus of Another Color, which finds new life in the recently published anthology Moving … Read More

Hum Hain Ek Happy Band of Outsiders

January 9, 2016

On Wednesday, Y Films, the subset of studio-giant Yash Raj Films that produces and distributes entertainment for India’s youth, launched the nation’s first band composed of hijras, 6 Pack Band. An event in Mumbai celebrated the new initiative and debuted the band’s first song, “Hum Hain Happy.” Y Films developed this project in order to … Read More

The View from Afar

December 5, 2015

“If there is paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.” — Amir Khusrau Hindi filmmakers can always milk a successful formula for just a modicum more. Even if they make us believe it’s eternal, love onscreen doesn’t have to look original. Last week saw the release of “Gerua,” a sweeping ballad from the … Read More

Mastani Mastani

October 21, 2015

Last month, Parul Sehgal penned a provocation for readers of The New York Times Magazine that asked whether cultural appropriation could ever be a productive space. Could it ever encourage alterative forms of exchange and dialogue? Sehgal treads carefully here, however, aware that the line between borrowing and stealing is stained by a power asymmetry. … Read More

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