Filmmaker Kamal Swaroop’s workshop presents a mash-up of two creative geniuses, from art and film
Though Dadasaheb Phalke was born 22 years after Raja Ravi Varma in 1870, there was a time in history when their lives overlapped. There are instances of the two meeting, such as when Phalke worked under Varma on oleographs and lithographs, before the siren’s call of cinema took him to London. But, there are imagined encounters as well. When in Baroda, could the Father of Indian Cinema have been inspired by Varma’s works at the Laxmi Vilas Palace in Baroda?
A still from Kamal Swaroop's film, 'Tracing Phalke', which will be screened for the first time on March 18
Imagined tales and documented events will be at the core of a workshop and talk by National Award winning filmmaker Kamal Swaroop, titled, A Tale of Two Giants’, which will trace the parallels, both in art and life, between Varma and Phalke. Visitors will be able to delight in the artistic and literary spin-offs, as well as the first public screening of his film, Tracing Phalke (2006).
Conducted as part of the ongoing exhibition, Pages of a Mind: Raja Ravi Varma – Life and Expressions at the Piramal Museum of Art, the workshop follows a similar model as the content of the film. “In 2006, we conduted workshops in six cities where Phalke lived and worked. Participants from fine art, literature and architecture backgrounds responded to the life of Phalke,” says Swaroop, who has made eight short films on the filmmaker.
Both Varma and Phalke were admired and criticised, says filmmaker Hansa Thapliyal, who has assisted Swaroop. “Varma did not belong to art schools which the British created in India, and went out of vogue when illusionist art faded away,” she says. “Phalke was considered a technocrat during his time, unlike Baburao Mestry who was thought of as a true artist,” says Swaroop.
For more on this, drop by for the screening or register at firstname.lastname@example.org for the workshop on March 14 and 18.
Where: Piramal Museum of Art, Peninsula Corporate Park, Lower Parel
When: March 18, 6 PM – 9 PM