An opportunity to see the art of Nemai Ghosh
Aug 18 2013
As part of the centenary celebrations of Indian cinema, DAG had launched a splendid book a few months ago in Delhi, along with the exhibition of 250 ‘specially selected images’ curated by Pramod Kumar KG. DAG acquired the Nemai Ghosh archive of photographs in 2006 and has since digitised about 1,20,000 images which are now part of ‘Delhi Art Gallery’s extensive archives’. The Nemai Ghosh exhibition is in fact the Gallery’s first attempt at ‘exploring the medium of photography’. Having missed the opening of this unique show when it opened in Delhi, I was determined to take this opportunity of finally meeting Nemai Ghosh. I had known Ghosh’s son Satyaki -- a good photographer in his own right -- many years ago and thought this would also be a good opportunity to catch up with him as well.
Nemai Ghosh’s photos on the sets of various films became familiar to me and others, through the striking images that Ghosh had captured of sundry Bombay films and later on the sets of every film that Satyajit Ray had worked on. I had not been aware that some of the images of famous film stars like Dev Anand and other Bombay film stars that I had seen earlier in magazines, were Ghosh’s work. These were taken during his earlier days and well before his involvement with Ray’s directorial efforts. One might say that after his images of Ray and the characters on the sets of his numerous films became so prominent, his earlier body of work almost ceased to exist. At the exhibition, visitors will enjoy seeing his photographs taken during the filming of the documentary based on the legendary Bharat Natyam dancer, Balasaraswati. The dancer had performed on the beach with the sea as a backdrop. There are also images taken during the filming of ‘The City of Joy’, which brought together two of India’s leading actors Om Puri and Shabana Azmi, with Hollywood star Patrick Swaze.
With Nemai Ghosh having spent around a quarter of a century recording Satyajit Ray and his work, it is fitting that the exhibition should be mounted in Kolkata -- Satyajit Ray’s base for creating a body of work feted the world over. The exhibition that is on till August 31st offers an opportunity to a wide spectrum of people in the city consisting of film buffs, photographers and art lovers, to see the ‘art’ of Nemai Ghosh and perhaps if they are lucky, even have the opportunity of shaking the hand of a very special artist.