A mystery photographer pushes the envelope with pictures of smooching couples pasted all over Bandra, eliciting a mix of anger and approval
Mystery posters of white-skinned couples in a tight clinch, smooching each other, have shocked Bandra residents and passers-by. Since a couple of days, people in the swish Pali Hill area Mumbai’s Beverly Hills of the pricey Western suburb, have been gaping at photographs of lip locking couples.
A man looks at the kissing posters on the walls of the old Basilico restaurant at Pali Hill. Passion may certainly be on the menu of the next restaurant to replace this one. Pics/Tushar Satam
There are at least three sets of pictures at different locations within a small radius. They are hoardings really, not paper photographs which have appeared on walls. Nobody knows who has put them up or how they have appeared, but they seem to have amused or angered bohemian Bandra.
A website claims that this is the work of an art group called Limits Within, who with this project, is pushing the boundaries of what is allowed or not allowed in public. Near Axis Bank at the Pali Hill-Turner Road Junction, there is a portrait-size picture of a couple kissing near what appears to be Mahim Creek.
The helmet cannot stop heads from turning at the sight of this picture at Turner Road, head turner, literally
A short walk down the road towards Pali Market and near the old Basilico restaurant, there are two more such picture portraits. One is the same one; and the other a new one of a couple kissing, this time as they sit on a flyover railing. Residents seem scandalised by the pictures.
The Zigzag Road lip-lock that is causing a flutter. We know the path of true love is not smooth, but now we also know it can take on a zig-zag direction
Mustaq Motha, a doctor one met says, “This is not our culture. What is going on? I am shell shocked to see this. Whoever has done this should be severely penalised. There are many miscreants in the area; perhaps one of those anti-social elements has done this.”
Catch the culprits
Parvati Omkara, resident says, “These pictures have been up since Sunday morning. The only thing that people are doing is staring at them. No one has the guts to remove them. They are very obscene and not suitable for the school and college students who frequent this area.”
Agreeing with her, Tina D’Souza, a senior citizen says, “Bandra was never like this. The foreigners have increased as has the influence of western culture on youth. The people in the pictures are foreigners; it is an insult that they are kissing on our city streets.”
“This is not a good message and the police or authorities should do something. No one is even taking out these pictures. They have been all over Pali for many days, now. We do not allow people to kiss, then how can these kissing pictures be okay? They are in very bad taste,” says Tukaram Pandit, a shopkeeper.
College student Martha Fernandes disagrees. She says, “If people can kiss in films, at Bandstand, then this is not bad art. I like the photo series — the theme is love in the city where kissing is considered a crime. A kiss is the world expression of love, there is nothing obscene about it.”
Rahul Patil, college student says, “The police have problems if young people hold hand and hug. Why should an expression of love not be allowed? The pictures are a bold statement and I am very happy that someone in Bandra has the guts to express their art in such an intelligent way.”
Ahead in Pali Market is another picture of a couple kissing. Saurab Khanna, a businessman says, “These foreigners are shameless, they start kissing anywhere. In our country everything has a place and a time. These pictures are a bad influence and propagate the wrong message. Those who have put them up should be caught and given strict punishment.”
Shrouded in mystery
Shaan Khan, an MBA student says, “This is art and needs to be appreciated. But people want to create a hue ‘n’ cry over nothing. Kissing is commonplace today; we are in the 21st century. Young people in love should be allowed to express themselves. I like the bold statement this picture series is making.
Also, the fact that the artist is being secretive is more inspiring for other young street artists.” Looking at a photo near Zigzag Road, Taus Pathan, an engineering student says, “The theme of the picture is very intelligent as well as the location where it has been put up.
No one has managed to figure out who the mystery photographer is, nor who has stuck the pictures. If anyone goes near the pictures they get shouted at, because residents are trying to find the culprit.” “We asked the security guards in the area, but none of them had any idea who put up the pictures.
Some people find them amusing, while some find them intriguing, so there is a mixed reaction. Interestingly, I have also seen this on social media especially Twitter,” says Douglas Naik, an artist. Madan Mohan, a shopkeeper near the Zigzag Road poster says, “Many people come and stare at the picture.
Some even click pictures of it. There are pictures all over Pali, so I think the person who has put it up is also from this area only. I live at Hill Road but there are no posters there. This is a very interesting mystery.”
Ram Dhas, Deputy Municipal Commissioner of Zone III under which Bandra West and H-Ward come says, “I will inform the ward officer of these pictures and they will be taken down at the earliest. Putting up posters is illegal and especially those that are obscene.”
Location of the pictures
>> Zigzag Road
>> Turner Road
>> Pali Hill
>> Pali Market