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Brush strokes of a genius

From mythology art to creating Zeenat Aman’s look for Satyam Shivam Sundaram, JP Singhal’s body of work is yours to savour in a retrospective

The Indian art lover will get a glimpse of the works of one of its modern masters as works of JP Singhal, known as Raja Ravi Verma of his times, will be put up at Jehangir Art Gallery for a retrospective exhibition. Born on October 24, 1934 in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, Singhal began painting at the age of 10. By the time he was 20, his work got noticed in Dharmayug, leading to his first calendar getting published, which also brought him to Mumbai, and thus began his journey to recognition and fame.

JP Singhal’s works
JP Singhal’s works

From Meerut to Mumbai
The exhibition will showcase over a hundred original paintings and photographs, chronologically divided into six periods of his life. The first section comprises his works between 1950 and 1960 devoted to the Meerut period. The next section features works done in Mumbai between 1960 and 1970 where he focused on mythological paintings and village beauties. The third features works between 1970 and 1990, largely devoted to rural India. The fourth, fifth and sixth sections focus on his works from 1980 to 2014, related to the film industry, black and white photos, recreation of Ajanta & Ellora frescos; and sculptures and abstracts forms respectively.

His son, Dinesh Singhal, who is also the director of the JP Singhal Foundation, says, “In his early phase, my father was greatly influenced by the wash technique in water colours used by the artists of the Bengal school and the flowing lines of Ismat Chughtai. This genre of art was very different from the style adopted by artists of that era.” He adds that the images were realistic, distinct and clear, with an overall look that was well-finished with soft, smooth and gentle brush strokes.

JP Singhal
JP Singhal

Brush with cinema
Singhal also had a very successful association with Hindi cinema after Raj Kapoor invited him to conceive the look of Zeenat Aman for Satyam Shivam Sundaram. He had subsequently lent his creative touch to several popular films like Shaan, Mr India and Border. He was drawn towards contemporary art while working with MF Hussain on Gajgamini and Meenaxi. And through this curiosity he reinvented himself as a modern artist.

Till: December 28 ,
Time: 11 am 7 am
At: Jehangir Art Gallery, 161 Kala Ghoda.
Call: 22843989

Wall of fame

>> JP Singhal is India’s highest selling artist across all forms till date.

>> He had painted over 2,700 original works in his lifetime, which were reproduced over 800 million times.

>> He has designed creatives for 150 films.

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