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Indian Rajput court paintings to go on exhibition at the Met in New York

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‘The Sage Durvasa Helps the Gopis Quiet the Yamuna River’ originates from North India and is dated to around 1580.

‘The Sage Durvasa Helps the Gopis Quiet the Yamuna River’ originates from North India and is dated to around 1580.

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Steven M. Kossak decided at age 36 to return to school and pursue a degree in art history. Soon thereafter, he joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a research assistant, and worked his way up the totem pole to his current position, where he serves as full curator of the museum’s Asian Art department.

In a little over two weeks, the museum plans to open a new exhibit titled, “Divine Pleasures: Painting from India’s Rajput Courts—the Kronos Collections,” which features nearly 100 works Kossak once purchased for his own private collection. Now worth millions of dollars, Kossak and his family have promised to bestow the works upon the museum as a token.

Kossak said as a collector he became endeared to the colorful paintings of northern India’s small kingdoms from the 16th and 19th centuries. The pieces were inspired by Hindu myths and poetry, watercolors were used to record the images of love, life and the country’s gods. The titles are just as colorful — “Krishna and the Gopas [Cowherds] Huddle in the Rain” and “Krishna Swallows the Forest Fire.”

Kossak said each purchase was made because of its emotional response. “It’s lightning-bolt recognition across the board,” he said.

‘The Devi, in the Form of Bhadrakali, Adored by the Gods’ (c. 1660-80).

‘The Devi, in the Form of Bhadrakali, Adored by the Gods’ (c. 1660-80).

“They pack a wallop in content, style and beautiful color,” said Vishakha Desai, president emerita and Asian-art scholar of the Asia Society. “You can enjoy them whether you know the content or not. Any museum would want this.”

The paintings also fill a void that the Met — and several other premiere art institutions — have on their walls when it comes to south Asian art. Mughal paintings were once the most popular among wealthy collectors, foreign royalty and even Russian czars. However, Rajput paintings are more colorful and reflect what can be seen in India today, said Milo C. Beach, an Indian-art specialist and former director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery.

“It’s a much more alive kind of painting,” Beach said. “Because of this gift,” he continued, “the Met will be unrivaled in Rajput paintings among American museums.”

Kossak began collecting Indian paintings back in the 70s, and his collection grew larger after joining the Met’s staff — through the museum’s network, he was introduced to more expansive web of art dealers. During his tenure at the Met from 1986 until 2006, Kossak did all he could to form a complete Rajput collection. “When the Met couldn’t afford it, I bought it,” he said.

Though the museum was reluctant to accept the situation, there was no stopping Kossak.

“The basic rule at the Met then was one of trust,” said Philippe de Montebello, the museum’s director at the time. “He would have brought it to the attention of the museum, and said ‘If you’re not going to go after it, then I will.’ ”

‘Rama and Sita in the Forest: A Thorn Is Removed from Rama’s Foot,’ from the Punjab Hills (c. 1800-10)

‘Rama and Sita in the Forest: A Thorn Is Removed from Rama’s Foot,’ from the Punjab Hills (c. 1800-10)

The collection has never officially been valued — early on, Kossak would have paid less than $50,000 for one of the paintings. Now, dealers say several of them could fetch between $500,000 and $800,000, with some of his rarest pieces going for a few million dollars each. Kossak estimates the gift to the museum is worth between $15 and $20 million.

Arts

Promising to be the film fest for “woke desis”, NYC SAFF to debut this November

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NYCSAFF Film Line-up

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Promising to be the fest for “contemporary, aware, woke desis”, NYC SAFF is set to make its debut this fall at the Altman building in New York City. After the roaring success of the 5th annual Dallas-Fort Worth South Asian Film Festival (DFW SAFF), JINGO Media presents its second film festival in the United States, the New York City South Asian Film Festival (NYC SAFF), gearing up to make its debut in mid-November at various venues around Chelsea in Manhattan. The first ever New York South Asian Film Festival (NYC SAFF) opens with a collection of gut-punches, knee slappers, and laughing gags. Running over 3 days, be sure to bring out your inner cinephile.

Opening the fest is Rohit Karn Batra’s directorial debut Line of Descent a white-knuckled cop thriller starring Brendan Fraser, and Abhay Deol. The story follows a mafia family dispute caught in the crosshairs of a police officer who guides their tragic downfall, and an arms dealer with a spy on the inside. The centerpiece film is the painstakingly painted ‘Bollywood Rose‘ based on true events, it tells the story of a forbidden love in a ruthless city. ‘Kaamyaab‘ which as recently screened at the the Chicago South Asian Film Festival(CSAFF) makes its way into NYC SAFF followed by other festival favorites like Ephemera, Khejdi, and Agency bolstering an already stellar line up. Expect to meet indie stars Tannishtha Chatterjee & Nawazuddin Siddiqui at the closing night film, Roam Rome Mein, a story that follows Reena who has run away to Italy in order to escape her overly strict parents, however, her brother, Raj in the turmoils of his own awakening sets out on a journey to find her.

The short film selection features Eliezer Vergaras ‘Fractured Souls‘; a baffling self revelation that unfolds as one mans frustration leads him into cascading tragedies. Vick Krishnas ‘Freak‘, a father must cope with unexpected news on his daughters surprise birthday. The feature lineup has a cup for everyone be it feature, documentary, fiction, or nonfiction. ‘Namdev Bhau‘ a man so flustered by the noise of Delhi vows to not speak and undertakes a pilgrimage of silence until a young boy decides to tag along. The disturbing Mai Ghat’ is based on the true story of two police officers who wrongly arrest a boy and tortured him to death. Its a powerhouse film exploring the violent act putting to question our personal and social conscience. It wouldn’t be a proper a film festival without films that challenge us and make us question ourselves.

Discussing topics that are too often swept under the rug like LGBT, womens rights and the societal oppression.The Last Letter‘ follows Mohan, a 70-year old gay man who has remained in the closet, that is, until the comfort he built for himself comes tumbling down. The Unexpected tells the story of a woman who despite achieving everything in life cannot conceive a child. Through its range of films, NYCSAFF aims to challenge, entertain, inspire and enrich.

Presented by Toyota and produced by JINGO Media, a NYC and Dallas-based events and public relations company, the inaugural, three-day festival boasts world, U.S. and New York City premieres of more than 25 shorts, documentaries and feature films focused on the unique stories of the South Asian Diaspora and those of our brothers and sisters back home. JINGO Media is also the parent company of DFW SAFF, which was conceptualized and created in 2015. 

“We are so proud to create yet another platform for world-class independent cinema from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives,” said Jitin Hingorani, CEO/Principal of JINGO Media, a public relations company that launched in New York City in 2010. “We’re coming full circle with this festival because Manhattan is where it all began for us almost 10 years ago. We are certain that the community-at-large will embrace us and celebrate our joyous homecoming.” 

NYC SAFF has also partnered with The India Center Foundation (ICF), a New York City-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of the Indian subcontinent, the promotion of its cultural life and the unique relationship between India and the United States. “To partner with NYC SAFF means that ICF is reaching the audience we wish to serve: contemporary, aware, woke desis and lovers of Indian and Diasporic creativity and storytelling. As a filmmaker whose film was so lovingly received at DFW SAFF, I know we are working with a staff who is dedicated and eager to give New Yorkers the film experience they deserve when it comes to screening South Asian cinema. We are looking forward to partnering on great conversations and panels around the films we see together,” said Priya Giri Desai, Founding Director of ICF.

Complete with an opening night red carpet , a curated set of film screenings and a closing night after party, this New York debut of an indie fest, is looking to leave you bruised with heartache, emotional bliss and a belly full of laughter, gasping for more. The first ever New York South Asian Film Festival promises one for the books!

It all goes down from November 15th though the 17th at The Altman Building. With the film screenings occurring throughout the weekend at AMC 34th street 14.

Diya TV is a proud media partner for the event, and will be onsite covering the fest. For tickets and information: https://www.nycsaff.com/tickets

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Indian Ambassador, Shringla speaks to U.S. Congress about Kashmir

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AMB. Shringla speaks to congress about Kashmir | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla met with members of Congress at a private roundtable briefing, hosted by Southern California Congressman Brad Sherman. Sherman, who has been a supporter of India, took to Twitter recently to share his concerns about Kashmir and said serious questions about Kashmir were asked at the briefing.

President Trump is being urged to fix the H1-B visa process and do away with country-specific limits, with the latest effort for reform being spearheaded by 60 U.S. business school deans and CEO’s.

In an earthquake, seconds matter. So on the anniversary of the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California, state officials announced the launch of America’s first statewide earthquake early warning system.

Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain will be coming to Boston next month to perform at the Berklee India Exchange, where he will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the esteemed music school. A Zakir Hussain Scholarship at Berklee is also being established.

And we have incredible video of three kids from India rescuing their dog from a snake that’s equal parts courageous and nuts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Houston pays tribute to fallen Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal

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Sandeep Dhaliwal

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — Thousands came to honor fallen Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal in a public funeral outside of Houston. The 42 year old father of three was killed during a routine traffic stop last week.

On the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, eleven organizations announced the India Philanthropy Alliance, a collaboration to advance humanitarian and development goals in India, doing so at the second Indiaspora Philanthropy Summit. The organizations collectively raise $125 million annually in donations.

The NBA is in India for the first-time, with the Kings and Pacers holding their first practices in Mumbai. The players and coaches also took time to mentor disadvantaged youth, not to mention budding Indian hoop stars. Diya TV will have full coverage of the NBA India Games, including live commentary and analysis on our social platforms.

And we’ll have highlights from a boisterous Chicago South Asian Film Festival that was proudly sponsored by Diya TV.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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