Art fair draws on Bollywood


Cinema fans and art collectors can now own Bollywood memorabilia that includes striking artworks inspired by film industry. At the ongoing United Art Fair, there is a good dose of tinsel town magic as artists and photographers find their muse in the Bollywood brigade.
One of the sections hosts a gallery of images of the beautiful ladies and dashing men from the golden era — photographs of ethereal Madhubala, elegant Nutan, the swashbuckler Dev Anand, intense Pran among others.
Legendary stars known for giving several blockbusters inspired the late photographer Jethalal H. Thakker, who came from Karachi after Partition and set up the India Photo Studio in Mumbai. “The stars would come and hang out in the studio, try out colourful costumes and props and pose for him. These collaborations between the photographer and the stars resulted in stunning images of the screen legends. One of the most striking ones is the photograph of Nutan staring at the camera, smiling and biting an apple. This rare picture has been priced at `1 lakh!” says Ram Rahman, one of the five curators of the UAF.
Artist Ravinder Reddy, early in his career, did set photographs for Ram Gopal Verma’s films. “The artist presents some amazing stills from RGV’s film Daud starring Sanjay Dutt and Urmila Matondkar, who sizzle with in-your-face eroticism. This was the period when the aesthetic of the Southern cinema started making inroads into Bollywood,” says art advisor and curator, Alka Pande.
Along with the vintage portraits by J.H. Thakker, director and screenwriter Dev Benegal’s travelling cinema pictures are also on display. “These photographs celebrate the spirit of 100 years of cinema. One can catch a glimpse of still photographs of the ‘travelling truck cinemas’ found mostly in the rural areas of the country. The photographs clicked by Benegal is part of research for his film Road that starred Abhay Deol,” adds Pande.
Drawing inspiration from the popular culture in India, Delhi-based graphic designer Nikki Duggal says, “I like using themes such as villains from mainstream cinema and resonating film posters in my work. The choice of villains in my work as iconic stars reflects their huge mass popularity, often matching that of heroes!”
For the total filmi fans, city-based artist Raj More presents his artworks that ooze Bollywood kitsch. The artworks are interestingly titled such as Hero Hiralal, Phata Poster Nikla Hero among others. “Avian creatures take center stage in my works manipulated by consumer baubles or funky accessories inspired by Bollywood. These are self-portraits of my different states of mind, or rather veiled references to celebrity figures who command too much attention in general,” concludes More.

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