The ministry of external affairs has donned the mantle of filmmaker with the premiere of A Brush With Life, a special documentary on the life of modern artist Satish Gujral.
The movie, commissioned by the ministry as a showcase of contemporary Indian arts, has been made by Sujata Kulshrestha of Wide Angle Films. It premiered on February 15.
The film traces the life of sculptor and painter Gujral as a boy in Lahore to his days of glory in the Capital as a multi-faceted artist, who has worked with the widest possible range of material and mediums. The artist, an ace architect, was also awarded the Order of the Crown for designing the Belgian Embassy.
The movie brings to the screen the colours, perfection, lyricism and grandeur associated with Gujral’s art. It explores his evolution as a rebellious youth with affinity for dark paintings to a matured and open artist after his marriage to wife Kiran. “My marriage to Kiran changed my outlook to life,” says Gujral in the film.
“The external affairs ministry has been making films for the last 30 years to project India in diverse and interesting ways. But very few know of it. We are now making special efforts to dub the movies in all the UNESCO languages and posting smaller versions on YouTube,” says Navdeep Suri, joint secretary (public diplomacy) in the ministry of external affairs.
“The ministry has also entered into a partnership with the Public Service Broadcasting Trust to make films that reflect the spirit of India abroad,” Suri adds. For the Gujral clan, which was represented by the artist’s wife Kiran, son Mohit, daughter Alpana at the premiere, the occasion is nostalgic. “It is a very good introduction to his work.. just a preface. It has to reach the right audience,” says Kiran.
Currently, the artist’s family is building a small museum of his art on a plot of land it has acquired adjacent to the Gujral residence on Feroze Gandhi Road.