If you are a movie buff, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, is exhibiting a rare collection that evokes legendary B.D Garga’s perspective of cinema from his personal archives
Bhagwan Das Garga, was India’s pioneering documentary filmmaker, film historian and one of India’s pioneering internationalists. The ongoing exhibition, The Story Called Cinema: The B.D Garga Archive, evokes the legendary kahanikar and has unique memorabilia that helps piece together the colourful history of Indian cinema as it is today. This includes rare posters, photographs, working stills, lobby-cards, advertisement, books and journals.
Conceptualised by Dr. Gautam Chatterjee, the exhibition is an attempt to relive the history of cinema through the eyes of Garga. Chatterjee says that, “When I conceptualised that an exhibition was to be made I knew that I wanted the archives to reach people. Cinema is nobody’s reserve. B.D. Garga’s collection inspires us to reconnect with the visual heritage of India and to enjoy as a collective experience.”
The exhibition has been curated by award winning scholar and filmmaker, Anandana Kapur. This personal collection of over 4000 film memorabilia has been showcased for the public for the first time ever and has seen over 200 visitors in the first few days itself. Kapur points out that this collection is significant because it contains working stills, posters, lobby cards and film stills from the silent era and beyond. Of the 1300 silent films made, including, the talkie Alam Ara only 1 per cent survived and that too in fragments. This is therefore a unique opportunity to experience film history first hand. Kapur chose her team of filmmakers because of their passion for cinema. Aoun Hasan, who sees frames closely and is inspired by older cinema scripts loved working with the photographs. Umang Sabarwal, a filmmaker who believes cinema speaks across hierarchies enjoyed linking Bollywood to the rest of Indian cinema and invoking its colour and drama. Abhishek Yadav, led the design and execution and worked closely with Anandana to ensure that the exhibition is as experiential as it is informative. For him this was an opportunity to appreciate the origins of Indian cinema which we often neglect or ignore. Abhishek Negi, whose journey as a cinematographer took a definitive turn with this exhibition because stories of pioneers inspired him to keep on his own journey of experimentation with the flimie form and Sonal Vij, who says cinema is the salt to her food.
The fact that most of us identify Indian cinema with ‘Bollywood,’ is a notion that this exhibition challenges in a way by examining several compelling portraits of the film industry and its evolution. If you are passionate about movies and crave nostalgia, this is the place to be—go experience the timelessness of cinema and live through the story of the art form.
The exhibition will be on till the 23rd of February