A slice of Bombay in Delhi

For a person born and brought up in a particular city, the overview of the place is much different to what others form about it. So even if the whole world relates Mumbai with beaches and Bollywood, native Chandu Mhatre presents his good old Bombay through Urban Reflections’.

The photographer who has been working simultaneously in Delhi and Mumbai is known for his news pictures. These have been published in leading national and international publications but Mhatre expressed that it was his desire to present “a different view of Bombay than what is published in news” which made him heed to his friends’ advice of putting up this exhibition.     

“These 30 pictures that form this exhibition have been taken in last seven to eight years and are my impressions of Bombay,” says the 66-year-old veteran with firmness in his voice. The size of his canvas is so big that he prefers calling his photographs as “fine art prints since they document the past Mumbai.”

Pointing out at one of the photographs, which is of the same name as the exhibition, he explains, “Youngsters these days operate their official work from coffee shops which provide Wi-Fi connection.” It is his hint at the brilliant idea in a city which is known for its space crunch.

What catches eyeballs is the reflection of light from a billboard right opposite this coffee shop in Versova. It shines bright on the window pane and appears like talk bubbles above the heads of youngsters. A similar play of light can be observed in the photograph
titled ‘Lacoste Man’.

‘One Horse Power and Audi’ is a picture that reinstates the news-sense of this photographer while ‘Fisherman on the Beach’ presents his connect with the city. “Early morning when small fishermen take to the sea and come back with their catch, they separate the small fishes from big ones. It is then that the crows feast on these smaller ones,” says Mhatre who captures the flight of these birds quite artistically.

But since an exhibition on Mumbai cannot be complete without the presence of the Hindi film industry, Mhatre doesn’t leave out the frames that refer to the same.
He shares that the photo which has a man standing in front of graffiti of Amitabh
Bachchan and Kishore Kumar “is of the wall outside Filmistan Studio in Goregaon West.”

The face of the man looking in other direction raises curiosity about the composition of
the frame. If left to one’s imagination, it becomes obvious that Bollywood is a part of life every soul living in Mumbai, whether they like it or not!

‘Urban Reflections’ opens at Arpana Caur Gallery at Sri Fort Institutional Area from March 13.  

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