An ongoing art display depicts how the legendary actor reflects the concept of India.
Sanjay Bhattacharya, a young, up-and-coming artist from Bengal at the time, was moved by the moment in Manmohan Desai’s Coolie (1983) in which Amitabh Bachchan’s character, Iqbal, was destroying the empire of the villain, with a sickle and a hammer.
An artwork made by the renowned painter to commemorate the actor’s 80th birthday included the shattered clock, hammer, and sickle. I was captivated by the scene’s meaning and it stuck with me.
Sanjay, one of the 51 artists who have paid tribute to the actor in “A Moveable Feast”, an ongoing exhibition in Delhi that contrasts the cinematic persona of Amitabh Bachchan with the concept of India, claims that every time fate knocked Bachchan down, he bounced back – not once, but at least three times.
There are times, according to curator Geetan Batra, when only art could do them right. She claims that the exhibition makes the connection between Bachchan’s 80 years and India’s 75 years of independence, using the star’s unusual life as a metaphor for India’s unlikely and risky journey. She observes that Bachchan somehow reflects the potent and endangered notion of India.
According to Geetam, artists were in a deliciously adventurous mindset as a result of paying homage to an icon and using him as a metaphor to describe their opinions about the country, giving a visual voice to many ways of seeing.
Superior in size
Veer Munshi’s artwork, in which the artist combines Gandhi and Bachchan, two of the most prominent Librans, on the faces of a dice that heads a heavenly body, finds a mirror in this.
He claims that the individuals stand in for the concept of coexistence in India, which is also seen in the background where skyscrapers blend into slums.
Bachchan’s characters appeared to Munshi to be larger than life, yet they are actually quite realistic. Young artist Ananta Mandal’s picture of a Kolkata street where Bachchan is slumped against a wall in his famous “Deewar stance” effectively conveys the concept.
Bachchan is an actor we have grown up with, according to Ananta. Ananta explains, “We borrowed the Deeward dialogue where he tells the goons that he was waiting for them here playing hide and seek while they were looking for him outside.” He continues by saying that the artwork is also a memorial to Bachchan’s time spent in Kolkata, when he lived, worked, and participated in plays.
The exhibition, which is being put on in association with Sony Entertainment Talent Ventures India, Ideographic, and Theta Lab, spans a variety of genres, from folk to digital, and NFTs will be for sale.
The CCA Gallery in New Delhi is hosting “A Moveable Feast” through October 22.