Moosee Dee Louwre

We Indians have a strange, ambivalent attitude to art. Our goddesses are voluptuous, occasionally blood-thirsty, often decked in a lot bling, sometimes even naked. Our gods are multi-hued, sometimes sensuously dancing or in some cases even transgender. Even our wedding mantras ask us, in the immortal words of Woody Allen, to be constantly fruitful and multiply.

But we, on the other hand, mostly tend to be prudes, demanding that our women dress conservatively, our epics be interpreted in one narrow-dimensional way, and that MF Hussain’s portrayal of Hindu goddesses is sacrilege of the highest kind (conveniently forgetting that till very recently, clothing was entirely optional on most, if not all of Hindu iconography). Art students like Chandra Mohan even get arrested for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by the wicked use of his paint brush.

Anyway, this post is not an educated, well-informed and heart-felt rant on Indian hypocrisy when it comes to art, for the simple reason that I am neither well-informed or educated enough in artistic matters to be qualified to rant.

And ranting, in any case, is so Blogosphere circa 2003.

So instead, this post is a conversation between the Aasthaana Director of the Mylapore Moosee Dee Louwre (hereinafter referred to as Dir) and Post-Doctoral Scholar on the Violation of Indian Culture in Western Art (hereinafter referred to as Doc). The museum, founded in 2010, specializes in showcasing both Indian and Western Art in a unique way.

The two men are discussing a new plan to showcase some Western art that the institution has purchased from museums in Europe.

Doc: Director-vaazh (for the uninitiated, vaazh is a very formal word for macchi), do you remember Shakespeare’s famous quote on art,

Dir: Ah yes. “I think thou art an ass”

Doc: No, not that one. I am referring to the one about Art holding a mirror up to Nature.

Dir: Oh. That one. ok. What about it?

Doc: Art can hold a mirror to real life in the West, but in India, we must only use a small, completely unusable mirror like the ones women give each other during Sumangali Praarthanais. (For the uninitiated, Su Pra is where women clamour ‘I want to die before my husband’ ardently and give each other small, unusable mirrors for some reason)

Dir: So what you are saying is that we must censor Western art?

Doc: No no. Censor is a bad word, and the public does not like it. It is also a movie made by Dev Anand, and the public most certainly does not like that. So Like Mr Thomas Bowdlerized Shakespeare, we must Bajrangize the Leonardos, Michelangelos and Botticellis.

Dir: Hmm. What exactly do you have in mind?

Doc: Take Venus De Milo for instance.

venus-di-milo

Dir: Isn’t that The Birth of Venus?

Doc: How do you know that?

Dir: He told me.

Doc: Anyway, Milo or Birth, it is still karmam karmam. Botticelli couldn’t afford her a Rs 300 saree from Pothys or what? If not Pothys, at least he could have draped her in a Kerala style white saree. Those don’t even cost Rs 200. And hmm. that actually gives me an idea. Say, do you remember Ravi Varma’s

ravivarma

Dir: Wait. Is that even Ravi Varma’s? It looks too corny to be his.

Doc: What do you mean? I did a Google Image search for Ravi Varma and this was on the front page of the results. So it has got to be his.

Dir: Oh. Ok. I must be mistaken. Pray continue.

Doc: So here is my recommendation. Get our museum artist interns to borrow one extra saree from above Chechi’s wardrobe and restore some honour and dignity to Venus.

Venus-Di-Varma

Dir: Hmm. Sounds proper to me. What else?

Doc: What about our dear friend Leonardo from Vinci? Did you know that his model, Lady Gioconda, was married?

Dir: Yes, I did. To some Florentine merchant, Fransesco Del Giocondo, I believe

Doc: What sort of married woman lets her hair virinjufied like some 1970s rock star and wears no pottu (bindi) or (shiva shiva) thaali?

Lisa-Giaconda

Dir: What to do? Those decadent 16th century European values, chee chee.

Doc: Eggjactly. Don’t you think she really needs to look lakshanamistic like this?

Lisa-Iyer

Dir: Yes yes. That’s the way…

Doc: Aha aha.

Dir: I like it.

Doc: Aha aha. Now we move on. That karmampudiccha Frenchman, who has a name that sounds like a car?

Dir: You mean Renoir?

Doc: Yes. That one. His painting La Promenade

renoir_promenade

Dir: What about it?

Doc: What will happen to our Indian culture if we display such blatant groundnut putting scenes in our good museum? Already our Romeos and Juliets are infesting Marina Beach and irresponsible bloggers such as this jobless bloke are aiding them. We must take a strict stand on this, I say.

Dir: What do you have in mind?

Doc: A policeman.

Dir: Er. You have a policeman in mind?

Doc: Yes. No couple in the city of Chennai must be allowed to roam around unchaperoned by our good men in Khaki.

renoir_with_cop

Dir: Aaha. What would the museum do without you? You ability to constantly render yeoman’s service is astounding. What do we do about this one?

Michelangelo-Adam

Doc: Aah. The troublesome one-headed creator. No problems. Michelangelo’s other creation provides us inputs to turn this guy into Brahma.

Michelangelo-Brahma

Dir: Doc, I think we are all set now. Let us go grab some Keera Vadais from Karpagaambaal Mess.

85 Comments

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  1. Hilarious and very ‘lakshanamistic’ too…surely thats not our very own ‘nayagan’ in a Kakkichattai I hope…you being an unabashed thalaivar fan could ruffle a few FLUent chicken feathers here… Jagradhai…

    Funny man you…:)

  2. wow… this is probably your best post.

    btw about marriage I was thinking that:
    hindu marriage is valid for 7 rebirths. now what happens if the wife outlives her husband by 40 years…. in the next rebirth the husband would have to marry a wife who is 40 years younger?

  3. Sigh! Agree with you about censoring. What foxes me is why the moral brigade doesnt bat an eyelid at all the vulgarity in our fillum songs.

    Good lord! You’ve made Mona Lisa lakshanimstic (what a word!). The hairclip —- neat! Flowers too, perhaps? Tho in true southie style you’d have them tucked neatly into the hair at the back, not draped over the shoulder, so hard to depict!!

  4. That was simply brilliant!! Forget the humor element ( which was excellent too ) but the morphing was very very good. Especially the Botticelli one. Some of your other posts are brilliant too! Amazing creativity really! You should really publish this in a newspaper.

  5. Again…brilliant! I love love love this post. You did such a good job on the reworked paintings. (By the way, Venus’s left hand seems to be hiding in a very unseemly fashion.) Love how Mona Lisa looks like a pondatti. And how you worked in the “that’s the way, aha, aha,…” Hope you plan on publishing a book soon!

  6. brilliant! especially the policeman watching over the proceedings.. wonderfully done.

    btw – ‘be fruitful and multiply’ is an original phrase from the king james bible.

  7. ROTFLOL!
    Kindly accept my humble admiration for rendering such yeoman service to the blogosphere. Your posts are simply priceless!

  8. Annnnnnnnnnnd the Master of Photoshop strikes again! Amazing work, dude.

    Especially loved the Venus Colony-yil Oru Jananam — that painting is The Birth of Venus, by the way. Venus de Milo is that statue of the woman who couldn’t stop chewing her fingernails. Then again, a Google image search might well have thrown this one up as the first result πŸ™‚

    ~r
    Ashok: You are right. Updated now πŸ™‚

  9. Wow…makes me wish I learn photoshop soon… when are u back to bessie πŸ˜€ well…wonder why there were no cops in the nyabagam varude song(especially mudhal mudhal mutham)…come to think off it, guess Cheran just erased it from his memory…who the hell wants to remember that πŸ˜›
    Vivek’s version was closer to reality tho πŸ˜‰

  10. LOVED the way ya’ve REDONE the pictures..
    πŸ™‚
    ya shud get all ya stuf published!
    i mean SPREAD THE JOY!
    The one headed creator to brahma was stupendous!
    monalisa to mona kada meena was hilarious..
    absolootely awesum stuff man!!
    admire ya work guru!
    πŸ™‚
    keep it up..

  11. EPIC WIN!

    Good stuff, especially the policeman and the Mona Lakshmi. You forgot to Bajrangise the naked man in the last image, though.

  12. U changed my perception of blogging. The touch of humour with the local tinge gives it a unique indian flavour, in fact a madrasi one. But I somehow cant expect the artistic freedom exerted by M.F.Hussain. There is a terrible inconsistency in his work. By the way i dont belong to a saffron clad..a personal opinion. But all said n done, this was a fantastic read..made me lose time sense for a while…keep the work going…

  13. Just adding to the artistic applause…
    Your brush with humor is giving a unique hue to your blog, and may you never rest easel!
    I will certainly canvass nakedly for you as the best blog in India. Hope I stroked your ego good!
    Ashok: Thanks doc πŸ™‚

  14. man, this was an amazing work of art! priceless!!!

    i am going to tell the world about this and they are going to issue a ‘fatwa’ against you buddy πŸ˜€

  15. Karpagambal keera vadai is all fine but I will take his huge glob of pongal with greasy ghee poured into a hole into the middle any day, first.

    Now that qfi (quiz foundation of india) has started meeting at that good old haunt of quizzers [aka thayir saadam students gone bad] – PS Sr Secy – I think I see a long series of biweekly trips to Karpagambal in my immediate future.
    Ashok: Aah. I need to get back to QFI meets. Something always seems to come up that day. Will try and make it next time

  16. We, Messrs. Boticelli, Renoir, Da Vinci and Angelo

    Hereby proclaim we strongly denounce the following works as forgeries:

    Venus Uprising

    La (kshanamistic) Kondai

    Khaki Chattai Raid

    Brahmafication

    And with support of “Blog Readers Who Cannot Stop ROFL”

    We hereby plan to …

    (throws quill on floor and joins the said organization…)

  17. Ha ha ha..!!! Funny work dude.

    Especially the phrase “Already our Romeos and Juliets are infesting Marina Beach”.

    πŸ™‚

  18. This was brilliant. Must say you’ve doen a great job…but leave the poor Adam alone….that was chamak is it??? or were you in hurry for the keerai vada?
    Ashok: πŸ™‚ I was in a hurry. Missed that one. I should have langotified Adam

  19. Superb Imagination! Where did u get time to think of all these? Your mother should be proud of your work.

    The lakshanamatic Monolakshmi will still look
    complete with Malligaipoo and bangles.
    Though it may be termed conservative ,if u can add pottu and thali the above can also be added.

  20. Funny funny! Loved the inclusion of the policeman. It doesn’t quite look like Ashish Vidyarthi?
    Ashok: Nope. It’s not Ashish Vidhyaarthi. I did a google image search for “Chennai policeman” and modified his moustache so that he can’t be identified

  21. U dont actually have to ‘langotify’ adams..rite? after all they’re pretty common on the streets when they stand and pee by the roadside.. no offence to indian culture in that! πŸ™‚

  22. Hi..there..
    I confess now that I need a “Krishashokblog fix” almost every week. I am a new convert and I believe you are the best Indian blog satirist who has the capability to reach all kinds of audience. The topics you choose are absolutely imaginative ..Keep up the good work. Have been reading your blog for a while..but got to say that this latest one on art is totally out-of-the-box ! Hats off !
    -Ganpy-

  23. Ashok: I was in a hurry. Missed that one. I should have langotified Adam

    —————————————————

    But Ashok I thought that was the point. Indian guys are allowed to flaunt their thing….

    All the rules are for women.
    Ashok: Actually Jillu, you have a valid point there πŸ™‚

  24. Some belated koshans:
    Did Da vinci sculpt/paint his men in the buff because he was posthumusly declared to be gay?
    While European Gods are in the buff, our male Hindu Gods are always clothed below the waist.The gory exception being the Thanjavur ‘al ilai Krishna’ sucking toes like a willy wonka who needs to be quickly diapered lest the divine poop begins.

  25. Awesome.. Hilarious..

    The concept of Doc and Dir was amazing (what would we the museum do without you)..

    I would say .. what would blogosphere look like without Krishashok !!

    hats off to you…

  26. ha! The clip,the borrowed sarees,virunjified hair…n Mona-Iyer..Rofl…wondering what a ceaseless machine your right brain is.

  27. OMG!! MonaLisa to MahaLakshmi.. πŸ™‚
    give Adam, a genuine Jockey… :D…….
    Boss, neenga engayoo peitenge !!!!

  28. I, RV Udayakumar, strongly object the use of Veshti instead of my proclaimed “Kovanam” which showcases the “tamil panpaadu and paarampariyam”! I strongly suggest Brahma be looking at a “Kovanam clad tamil kudimagan”, otherwise, we will have a “oorvalam with my jobless PMK supporters at 20rs batta”!

    KALAKITTA GURU! So Glad to find this abode!

  29. Again kalakkal!
    I never knew a twist of a masterpiece could create another! totally different ideologically,religiously,philosophically,in perceptive attitude,creating a whole new sequence or even era of creative art.

    Kamapro

  30. What? No lungi for Adam there? πŸ˜€
    Awesome morphing i must say.. especially venus de milo in a madisar and all.. brilliant! πŸ˜€

  31. Simply awesome posts!!
    Loovoeddd em all…
    Sat up reading all posts in office today… people around me have started giving me looks now.. (with me LOL-ing since morning! :))
    u made my day!
    Keep them coming…

  32. anna… i seriously jumped of my seat while checking out this post. specially ‘mama’ coming and veratifying the couples. splendid

  33. Am digging through your archives after reading your marriage post –

    I let out the biggest snort at “What sort of married woman lets her hair virinjufied”

    Oh the NUMBER of times I’ve been asked “Yein (talamair) Authu uttund irrikei” – in the approximately the same tone that someone would ask “Why the hell are you naked in public?”

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