leisure 02.23.04

India Dossier

Gongura chutney, falooda mix, and thousands of other Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern products are available at Kalustyan's, 123 Lex [28th/29th] 212.685.3451. Now, Kalustyan's has opened Masala Cafe, 115 Lex [28th] 212.686.5400, with Geetika Khanna (last at Raga) in the kitchen, preparing her distinctive French-accented Indian cuisine.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is producing Bombay Dreams but—and this is good news—he didn't write the music. It's by A. R. Rahman, with lyrics by Don Black. Currently playing in London, the Broadway production begins previews at the Broadway on March 29th. Tickets here or at 212.239.5258. The Sunday Times of London wrote that Bombay Dreams is "the best British-originated musical since 'The Phantom of the Opera.'" Hm, we can't decide if that's damning with faint praise or not.

We're fans of the Bollywood extravaganza "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" ("Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow") from 2001, directed by Karan Johar ("Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"). Even though it earned mixed reviews from the critics, audiences flocked to K3G, as it's affectionately known. And why not: many of the dance numbers are absolute bliss-outs. The DVD was released a few months ago, available at Amazon if you can't find it at your video store.

The best place to catch all things Bollywood is the Eagle Theater, 73-07 37th Rd. [73rd/74th] Jackson Heights 718.205.2800

You can see the work of distinguished Indian architect Charles Correa at the Permanent Mission of India to the U.N. at 235 E. 43rd Street [2nd/3rd].

Butala Emporium, 37-46 74th St. [Roosevelt/37th Ave.] Jackson Heights 718.899.5590, is shopping central for all kinds of Indian goods: handicrafts, musical instruments, and Ayurvedic herbals, among much else.

Through March 20th at Sepia, 148 W. 24th [6th/7th] 212.645.9444, a show called "Identity" explores themes of cultural displacement. Sunil Gupta, a gay man with HIV, juxtaposes large photographs of his original homeland with his current life in the West. Annu Palakunnathu Matthew pairs 19th century images of American Indians with herself placed in fascinating, digitally-altered versions of those images.
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Just in time for the new subway changes, the Straphangers Campaign has a new interactive map that's great for finding any subway stop, and helpfully includes the surrounding street grid. It was created by Oasis, which MUG selected as one of the city's coolest websites back in April.

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