Sentimentality has always been the defining characteristic of us Indians. We’re passionate, sometimes bordering on fanaticism. Anyone we love is accorded blue-blood status, and anything that catches our fancy becomes an unofficial national treasure. Setting out to explore this trend is a new exhibit titled Goddesses, Cinema and Cricket. Aptly highlighting the three facets as the new cultural icons of India, it studies why they have become an intrinsic part of our society.
Leading artists combine
The exhibit is a collection of photographs, paintings and videos that have been put together by over 25 artists. Atul Dodiya, Bose Krishnamachari, Anjolie Ela Menon, Baiju Parthan, Shibu Natesan and Sudhir Patwardhan are among those who have contributed their works.
“Hindi cinema shapes our value systems, fashion and music, while at the same time, creating an image of our nation to the world. It’s the country’s greatest unifying factor. Cricket is the most important sport in India. A cricketer is now akin to a superstar, film hero or demi God,” explains Harsh Goenka, chairman of RPG Enterprises, the organiser of the show.
Larger than life
Artist Riyaz Komu agrees. “In recent years, these icons have become larger than life. In fact, cricket can be considered a very interesting parallel metaphor for our lives too. We take the game ball-by-ball, just as we take life as it comes,” he says. Among the more interesting works on display is a photograph clicked by Jitish Kallat, titled Post Meridiem, due to the time of the evening at which it was clicked. “In a chance encounter, I came across an enormous figure of a deity, being transported in a truck. At a turn, the shadow shifted from left to right, giving the impression that a whole day had passed. For its simplicity, it is one of my dear pieces,” he smiles.