Of cinema and the city

Of cinema and the city

Cinema in India is like brushing your teeth in the morning. You can’t escape it,” said Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan. In fact, cinema is an inevitable part of our society and the concept of city and cinema is colourfully depicted in the exhibition ‘Project Cinema City’, organised by the National Gallery of Modern Art and Majlis.

This exhibition, which commemorates 100 years of Indian cinema, comprises many delightful sights like paintings, art installations, video arts, short films, maps and architectural works — all based on the relationship of Mumbai with the cinema that it makes.

“Cinema and city are the twins of the 20th century. This project touches on the myriad ways that cinema exists in the body and the spirit of the city — in production, in reception, in imagination and in desire,” says Madhusree Dutta, curator of the show.

Talking about a section of the exhibition, comprising 60 calendars based on concepts from across the 100 years of cinema, she adds, “These are different works of art by different artists — from young to seasoned ones — who collaborated to bring together this show. Calendars have always been known to sell some product on them and that is how this concept came into being.”

Some of the interesting calendars put together as ‘The Calendar Project’ at the show were ‘Liberty’ by Abheer Gupta, depicting the first AC theatre; ‘Walking Stick’ by Kamal Swaroop, with an iconic picture of Gandhi and his walking stick and Apsaras by Chhatrapati Dutta, an advertisement of Apsara pencils, depicted with beautiful supernatural female beings.

Other noticeable works of art were ‘Mother India’ by Tushar Joag, ‘H-Bomb’ by Vishal, Bacchan Lungi by Vishal Rawlley, ‘Colour No Bar’ by Shilpa Gupta, ‘Bag House’ by Hema Upadhyay, ‘Bombay Talkies’ by Riddhi Shah, ‘Underlovelies’ by Paromila Vohra and
‘Self Defence’ by Shakuntala Kulkarni.

In another section of the exhibition is an installation that is motor-powered and constantly moving. Anant Joshi, the artist of the installation, explains, “My installation revolves around the idea of a city built on fear and going through a constant change. I’ve used cosmetic colours and each building is a pataka (firecracker), also a word used to depict the beautiful and sensual woman in the industry.”

Rajeev Lochan, director of the NGMA, says, “This is a research-based project that unifies various art forms. It couldn’t have happened without the collaboration of the 60 visual artists, film-makers, sound artists and architects.”

The attractions of the show included a collaboration of crates to make a canvas, with a projector showing snippets of old movies and interactions and the ‘Table of Miscellany’, a compilation of photographs, texts and maps. Eminent film director, stage designer and art director, M S Sathyu — who inaugurated the show — and painter, sculptor and photographer Balan Nambiar were present at the viewing.

This show will also comprise of 10 short films produced under ‘Project Cinema City’ that will be screened at NGMA auditorium from November 7.

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