FILM PROGRAMME - ART ON FILM
Curated by Godrej India Culture Lab with Avijit Mukul Kishore and Rohan Shivkumar
‘Art on Film’ is an exploration of the intersection between film-making and the visual arts in India from the 1960s to the present day. The programme consists of films about artists and those made by artists, and sees filmmakers and artists work across genres to push the boundaries of their respective mediums. The films span several decades of image-making and follow the narrative of Indian art from Modernist abstraction to the Narrative Figuration. The programme has been co-curated by filmmaker Avijit Mukul Kishore and architect and academic Rohan Shivkumar, with the Godrej India Culture Lab.
3 FEBRUARY : 6 PM
On Modernist Abstraction
EVENTS IN A CLOUD CHAMBER
Directed by Ashim Ahluwalia, Colour, 16mm and Super8 on video, 21 min, 2016
Courtesy: Future East and Jhaveri Contemporary
In 1969 Akbar Padamsee, one of the pioneers of Modern Indian painting, made a visionary 16mm film called Events In A Cloud Chamber. This was one of the only Indian experimental films ever made. The print is now lost and no copies exist. Over 40 years later, filmmaker Ashim Ahluwalia worked with Padamsee, now 89 years old, to remake the film.
Directed by Tyeb Mehta, B/W, 35mm on video, 17 min, 1970
Produced by Films Division
Tyeb Mehta’s only short film was a radical 17-minute documentary from 1970. This experimental work examined the Tamil concept of ‘Koodal’, meaning union or meeting point, via the assemblage of black and white images of Mumbai (then Bombay). This is a film with neither dialogue nor narration. Instead, Mehta’s imagery operates within a specially-composed soundscape of drumming, chants and sitar to produce an audio-visual experience that is both surreal and hypnotic.
THROUGH THE EYES OF A PAINTER
Directed by M. F. Hussain, B/W, 35mm on video, 18 min, 1967
M. F. Husain made an experimental film for Films Division in the 20th year of India’s independence. He visited Rajasthan and sought abstraction in the landscapes, faces and architecture that he filmed. His recurring motifs were a lantern, an umbrella, a cow and a shoe that appear in unexpected places, all united by Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao’s experimental sound design. In the midst of all this he paints his iconic images of the Indian peasant – a man and a woman – on the facades of houses.
LAL BHI UDHAAS HO SAKTA HAI (EVEN RED CAN BE SAD)
Directed by Amit Dutta, Colour, Digital Video, Hindi with English subtitles, 58 min, 2015
Produced by Films Division and Art1st Foundation
This film explores the life and work of writer and painter Ram Kumar. Structured around his stories and paintings, it seeks to etch out the synthesis of word and image in his creations, weaving in fragments of his past and present. The text used in the film is taken from short stories written by Ram Kumar.
4 FEBRUARY: 6 PM
THE LEGACY OF NARRATIVE FIGURATION
WATERMELON, FISH AND HALF GHOST
Directed by Payal Kapadia, Colour, Digital Video, Gujarati with English subtitles, 11 min, 2013
Produced by Film and Television Institute of India
This short film is a fable based on a story written by Bhupen Khakhar, the celebrated painter. Khakhar’s narrative is a folk-tale of life in a chawl of old Bombay, and delves into the relationships, superstitions and crises that bind its inhabitants. Their life cycles and the concept of infinite time are explored through a mythology of family and lost love.
TO LET THE WORLD IN, VOLUME 1
Directed by Avijit Mukul Kishore, Colour, Digital Video, 93 min, 2012
Produced by Art Chennai
To Let The World In, Volume 1 is the first part of a two-volume film project that looks at a significant period in the history of contemporary Indian art from the early 1980s to the present day, featuring the work of three generations of visual artists.
The first volume of the film chronicles the spirit and legacy of a movement that marked the return to narrativity and figuration in Indian art. The exhibition titled "Place for People", which was held in Delhi and Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1981, brought together a group of artists and a critic who sought to explore locality, class and politics in their practice. Among the inheritors of the legacy of this movement were younger artists who continued this dialogue and also became the interlocutors for the work started by the earlier generation.
The artists featured in this volume are Arpita Singh, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Vivan Sundaram, Nilima Sheikh, Nalini Malani, Sudhir Patwardhan, Ranbir Kaleka, Pushpamala N., Anita Dube and Atul Dodiya along with art critic and curator Geeta Kapur. Their conversations see frequent visitations by the enduring spirit of Bhupen Khakhar, their friend and co-artist.
5 FEBRUARY: 5:30 PM
Day 3: PERSONAL JOURNEYS
THE COLOUR BLUE: ARE YOU THERE KRISHNA?
Directed by Ein Lall, Colour, Digital Video, 30 min, 1998
Produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust
Arpita Singh describes her growth as a painter in terms of a journey that was taken one step at a time: at every step she needed to consolidate her position before taking another. In her words, “Like you are standing on very known ground, and you know that your one step is placed very firmly on the ground that you know, and then you can take the next step to a place about which you are completely unaware. This unknown space is envisaged as "…a space full of danger, where there is total destruction, total hopelessness. The only thing you are sure of is your faith in yourself – that you really wanted to make this journey".
The Colour Blue: Are You There Krishna? takes us through her works that span 25 years – from 1971 through to 1996.
Directed by Kamal Swaroop, Colour, Digital Video, 52 min, 2016
Produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust
The premiere screening of celebrated film maker Kamal Swaroop’s film on Atul Dodiya. The film talks about Dodiya's oeuvre while giving an insight into his corresponding journey as an artist. Dodiya talks about his paintings and art works, as the film explored the play of forms and lines contained in his works.