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Bhanuj Kappal
Articles by Bhanuj Kappal

Gather the storm troopers: A look at 150 years of IMD

The agency began with a single employee. It’s seen blue skies, cloudy days. See how it's evolving, but why it still can’t reliably say: Will it rain tomorrow?

In a key instance of delayed notice, the warning about the dust storm that hit Mumbai on May 13 only went out about an hour before it struck. (HT Archives)
Updated on May 25, 2024 02:02 PM IST

A math major makes a calculated move into jazz and theatre

After spending the last year in New York as a cast member in Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding’ musical, she is currently in rehearsals for an upcoming staging of the Rajiv Joseph play ‘Letters of Suresh’, directed by Feroze Abbas Khan

Palomi Ghosh, now a National-Award-winning actor with a sideline in music. (Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on May 05, 2024 06:46 AM IST

Desert prose: A rebel Mughal princess comes to life, in a new book

Gulbadan Begum, author of the Humayun-nama, was the Mughal empire’s only woman historian. A new book looks at her intriguing life.

Celebrations in the women’s quarters at the time of Akbar’s circumcision. The British Library blog notes: 'One of the ladies is almost certainly Gulbadan.' (Akbarnama, BL Or. 12988, fol. 114r, British Library. With permission from the British Library / Granger)
Updated on Apr 26, 2024 09:54 PM IST

You’ve got tales: Titles to bookmark this year

Ai Weiwei writes a graphic novel on his life; AI retells Animal Farm; Questlove on hip-hop; a robot on the run... check out books with a twist to watch out for.

 (Adobe Stock)
Updated on Apr 12, 2024 05:43 PM IST

1984-letter words: Ripple effects in music, videogames, books and films

Artists have found creative ways, over 75 years, to bring Oceania and its dystopia into their works. Reimaginings have included parodies and spoofs too.

Muse performs songs from their 1984-inspired album The Resistance (2009), in Birmingham.
Updated on Apr 05, 2024 06:19 PM IST

Caught in the current: Check out the short film series Water Wars

How have diet, real-estate, crime contributed to our water crises? Two great minds collaborate to offer answers, in a series of animated narrative short films.

A still from The Land of Good Intentions, on Punjab, rice and agriculture, illustrated by Sarnath Banerjee. (Courtesy MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology and MIT Department of Economics)
Updated on Mar 29, 2024 04:30 PM IST

Dock,stock and barrel: Meet the rocket engineer driving a sea change in shipping

It was hard to leave her dream job at ISRO. But Padmini Mellacheruvu, 30, is now framing rules to help massive ships switch to a clean fuel: hydrogen.

‘Small hydrogen-powered tug boats are already running in European waters. I am confident hydrogen will catch on, over the next five years,’ says Mellacheruvu, a hydrogen systems expert with Lloyd’s Register.
Updated on Mar 15, 2024 07:48 PM IST

Thinning out, not cooling off: Climate crisis and the dip in global population

We’ve always thought of fewer humans as good news: fewer mouths to feed, fewer emissions. But when it comes to climate, the case for optimism is much weaker.

A detail of artist Hema Upadhyay’s (1972-2015) installation, Where The Bees Suck There Suck I (2009), a depiction of urban chaos, characterised by overpopulation and political and economic perils. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated on Mar 02, 2024 11:43 AM IST

Muggle breaks a spell:The remarkable tale of Harry Potter stuntsman David Holmes

He was Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double. An accident on set left him paralysed. Holmes discusses new loves, new life, as a documentary sets out to tell his tale.

During a practice session for an aerial stunt. (Photos courtesy David Holmes)
Updated on Feb 17, 2024 02:51 PM IST

Without harmony, we are nothing: Zakir Hussain wins 3 Grammy awards

The 72-year-old was among the winners in the Best Global Music Performance, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album and Best Global Music Album categories

Ustad Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, V Selvaganesh and Ganesh Rajagopalan of Shakti at the 66th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday. (PTI)
Updated on Feb 06, 2024 06:48 AM IST
By, Mumbai

Without harmony, we are nothing: Zakir Hussain wins 3 Grammy awards

The 72-year-old was among the winners in the Best Global Music Performance, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album and Best Global Music Album categories

Hussain now has five of these awards in all. (File photo)
Published on Feb 05, 2024 05:46 PM IST

International opera competition comes to Mumbai this year

Mumbai Operalia—one of the world’s biggest opera singing competitions—is coming to Mumbai’s National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) this September. Founded by world-famous Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, the competition has travelled to some of the world’s most celebrated venues

International opera competition comes to Mumbai this year
Updated on Feb 05, 2024 07:44 AM IST

New levels in play: The climate crisis enters the videogame world

Players battle rising sea levels, survive superstorms, rewild a dying biosphere. It can help in some ways, studies show. But first, can gameplay get greener?

In Endling, the player is the last mother fox on Earth, fighting to protect and feed her cubs. In Gathering Storm, an expansion of Civilization VI, climate disasters strike, based on how many power plants a player built and how many forests they cut down.
Updated on Feb 02, 2024 09:23 PM IST

Fantastic beats and where to find them: The world of music micro-genres

Drift phonk, dream plugg… there are more music micro-genres today than ever before. See how fans and in-jokes play a role, and why so many are short-lived.

. (Adobe Stock)
Updated on Jan 06, 2024 07:03 PM IST

Making synth of things: Bhanuj Kappal’s playlist of turning-point micro-genres

Where did blog house come from? What prompted chillwave, and what killed it? What did each one sound like? Take a listen.

Updated on Jan 05, 2024 07:28 PM IST

Error message: A look at the worst ways to say you’re sorry

In ‘the age of the apology,’ what are the worst ways to apologise, and the best? Plus, a look at some of the most iconic public apologies going back centuries.

 (HT Illustration: Jayanto)
Updated on Dec 02, 2023 03:56 PM IST

Ace of bass: A Wknd interview with musician Mohini Dey

As a child prodigy, she performed with Zakir Hussain and AR Rahman. Now 27, she has taken centrestage, with a debut album that is a masterclass in bass guitar.

‘I hesitated for a long time to release songs of my own, but I’m really proud of the album,’ Dey says. (Nathan Sigman)
Updated on Oct 20, 2023 10:11 PM IST

A Wknd interview with Charu Suri, the Indian topping international jazz charts

She has roots in Chennai. Her music isn’t purely jazz; it has ragas woven in. She never expected this response, she says. Tune into the tale of Rags & Ragas.

Suri’s album, Rags & Ragas, hit #3 on the iTunes US jazz charts in September. Why? Well, in one track, for instance, she explores resonances between Raga Bageshri and the iconic five-chord phrasing found on Miles Davis’s So What.
Updated on Sep 22, 2023 06:26 PM IST
ht_print | By

Song sung who?: The exploding landscape of deep-fake music

New programs can put any lyrics, any tune, to the voice of an icon. Some of these tracks are being mistaken for new releases. Where will it end?

Recent releases have included an ‘Eminem song’ on cats; tracks by a faux-Oasis. Above, a Midjourney rendering of the landscape of cross-bred music generated by humans and AI programs.
Updated on Aug 25, 2023 08:00 PM IST

Zubin Mehta, 87, flicks his legendary baton with Indian orchestra for first time

Zubin Mehta is in Mumbai headlining two sold-out shows conducting the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI). After the first show on Saturday night, Mehta’s baton was auctioned to raise funds for the education of underprivileged children

Zubin Mehta is in Mumbai headlining two sold-out shows conducting the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) (File Photo)
Updated on Aug 20, 2023 12:24 PM IST

75 years of the LP: For love of the world, should you own or stream?

Streaming generates more emissions than any other format, for an interesting reason: We listen more, when we listen online. See how else the formats stack up.

The PVC pellets used to make vinyl records. The average record contains 135 gm of PVC, and is responsible for the release of about 0.5 kg of carbon dioxide. That’s about the same as driving 2.5 km in a car fuelled by petroleum. (Getty Images)
Updated on Aug 18, 2023 07:43 PM IST

Hearts on our sleeves: Bhanuj Kappal lists his favourite works of LP art

Anti-capitalist creeds, gnomic mantras, cryptic messages and art for art’s sake... tour a Wknd list of Top 10 album covers.

This Picasso-skewed portrait of Kid Ory helped elevate jazz from dance-floor rhythm to prestige art form.
Updated on Aug 18, 2023 07:29 PM IST

The vinyl countdown: 75 years in, see how the LP changed the world

Rather than a few minutes, the disc could hold almost an hour of audio. But what really made vinyl click was a mix of timing, geography and clever engineering.

(Images: Adobe Stock and Getty; HT Imaging: Puneet Kumar)
Updated on Aug 18, 2023 07:17 PM IST

Fifty and still fabulous: Albums that turned 50 this year

Either we grew up listening to these albums or our elder siblings or parents did. At 50, these albums remain part of who we are, and explain why we’re this cool

Reproduction of the cover artwork for 'The Dark Side of the Moon' in stained glass, displayed at the 2017 exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, titled Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains. The album, shortened to DSOTM, turned 50 this year.
Published on Jul 08, 2023 06:04 PM IST

Why does music exist? What gives it its power? Science offers gripping answers

A keen sense of harmony may have helped ancient humans survive. There may be a science to iconic rock tracks. This is your brain on music. Take a look.

 (HT illustration: Mohit Suneja)
Updated on Jul 28, 2023 04:31 PM IST
ByBhanuj Kappal

A brief history of how music came to be

From the oldest surviving piece of recorded music to the idea of music as a corrupting form (which goes back to ancient times), here’s how the treble started.

A lyre depicted on a 3rd millennium BCE Sumerian artifact - essentially an engraved box - called the Standard of Ur. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated on Jul 28, 2023 04:32 PM IST
ByBhanuj Kappal

What’s that racket? The curious case of noise music

It feels like sonic assault, but can cause a sense of euphoria. Noise music is thriving in the US, Japan, Europe, even India. Take a look at the science of why.

Album art for Retribution By All Other Creatures (2022), by American noise band Bastard Noise and Japan’s Merzbow.
Updated on Jul 28, 2023 04:32 PM IST
ByBhanuj Kappal

Rhythm, rap, revolution: Celebrating 50 years of hip-hop

What does this breakbeat music, born in the Bronx, mean to the world, and the world of music? How does success soften its edges? Take a look.

(Clockwise from top) DJ Kool Herc; cover art for the album The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five; Tupac Shakur; a clipping reporting his murder, in September 1996; Nas; Moor Mother; Little Simz; Kendrick Lamar; Arivu; and Eminem. (Getty Images)
Updated on Aug 04, 2023 09:09 PM IST
ByBhanuj Kappal
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