Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Me & Filmistan

Years ago, I was called on duty at the legendary Filmistan Studios at Goregaon, Mumbai. It sounded like an impossible proposal. They needed an entire stretch of wall painted with posters of iconic Indian Films. Within two days. Knowing the impossible deadlines, I was aware that this project would never reach that perfection my other works boast of. And perfection is so necessary for portraits.

No assistant artists, no supporting contractors. Just a large wall and two days. And I needed the money.

At that point of time, I was struggling to pay my education fees. Two graduations of four years each isn't an easy task for a youngster who had migrated from Bhusawal to an absolute unknown Mumbai to complete higher education. I used to work at nights and studied during the day. I did the Filmistan assignment because I needed money....just like I did some other Art Direction assignments for tele-serials in those days.

Years passed.........and that stretch of paintings itself became iconic. There were articles of Mr.Amitabh Bachchan in leading newspapers like DNA and The Times of India, where he posed in front of my 'Deewar' movie painting. Suddenly, I felt proud.

Last week I visited the same old Filmistan for another production house meeting. I was stepping into the studio after ages. Incidentally, this thought of the old mural occured and I rushed to the place where it was painted years back. There were queues of vanity vans parked in front of the wall. Yet I managed to click my Mr.Bachchan through a gap. In true Filmistan style, they hadn't cared to protect the original wall nor re-painted it in all these years.....And so, my paintings now stand ageing as though they were painted centuries back.

I thank photographer Edward Mooney from Brighton, UK for capturing this picture of my Mother India poster before the mural came running down...(Edward's profile on Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/people/etm/). I have very little memorabilia of this mural with me. If any of you find pictures of this wall anywhere - fresh or tattered - do send them to me.

Incidentally........did I mention to you that my current sculpture studio is located right behind Filmistan?


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