See how photojournalist Jitendra Arya’s pictures scale through film and political history
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See how photojournalist Jitendra Arya’s pictures scale through film and political history

mumbai Updated: Sep 05, 2017 01:03 IST
Riddhi Doshi
Riddhi Doshi
Hindustan Times
Mumbao,Exhibition,Jitendra Arya

A photo of Raj Kapoor and Nargis outside Stratford Court Hotel in Oxford Street (now the Edwardian Berkshire Hotel), London, 1956, clicked by Jitendra Arya.

He shot Jawaharlal Nehru playing with his grandchildren in Kashmir; a young Sonia Gandhi with jet black hair posing with her Indian family; Satyajit Ray in a short kurta and broad lehenga, holding a cigarette and leaning against a spanking new Chrysler; model Zaheera looking sensuous in a white two-piece bikini and yellow shrug.

In a career spanning 50 years, the late photojournalist Jitendra Arya (1931 – 2011) managed to capture iconic people in unusually candid settings, and important moments in the history of a young and fast-changing India.

What makes him unique is the intimate, simple yet stylised nature of his work.

You can see some of his iconic photographs at the NGMA all this month, where a retrospective titled Light Works has been curated by Sabeeha Gadihoke, a photo historian and professor at Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi.

  • WHAT: Light Works: a Jitendra Arya retrospective
  • WHERE: National Gallery of Modern Art, Fort
  • WHEN: September 2 to October 8, 11 am to 6 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
  • CALL: 2288-1969
  • ENTRY FEE: Rs 10

The exhibition presents 300 images, selected by Gadihoke over almost a year, from a total of 7,000 in Arya’s archive.

“Arya shot great portraits and loved natural light,” Gadihoke says. “He was also the one who initiated fashion photography in the country, as he shot several cover photos for Femina and Filmfare.”

His pictures on film sets gave people a glimpse into the world behind the camera, and are still a great resource for cinema historians.

Arya was born in Delhi, grew up in Nairobi and moved to Bombay in 1950.

He was given his first camera when he was 10, an inexpensive Eastman Kodak Brownie, which he used to take pictures of friends and family members. At 15, his portrait of Kenyan anti-colonial activist Jomo Kenyatta was published in the Colonial Times.

“The following year, his father Prabhu Dayal Arya took a loan to send him to England on a ship to pursue his passion,” says Arya’s son Kavi.

Once, there he worked for the Hungarian-British photojournalist Michael Peto before striking out on his own.

First Published: Sep 05, 2017 01:03 IST