1. What is your ongoing exhibition Urban Reflections all about?
Urban Reflections is a collection of thirty-two realistic and surreal images of Mumbai as seen by me over the last seven years. These photographs capture the rapidly changing life of Mumbai, which has adopted the path of vertical growth during the last decade. I chose Mumbai as the focus of the exhibition because it is the largest commercial urban area in India.
2. Which are your favourite images?
There are many telling shots but the three I find particularly compelling are of the iconic Gateway of India, of a man standing against an old wall with peeling plaster and the third of a horse rider against the giant billboard (see pic)of an Audi with the catch line Follow Your Own Rules. The rider seems to have taken that personally.
3. What changes have you seen in the city over the last seven years when the images were shot?
This ‘makeover’ in the name of ‘development’ is changing the city’s skyline rapidly; in their quest for materialism, people are uprooted from their cultural moorings thereby, resulting in urban chaos. Sea links, highways and flyovers inundated with vehicles have added to the frantic pace of life. The resulting images are seen reflected on mirrored walls, windows and doors. Urban Reflections features multi-layered images that make us reflect on the future of this vibrant city on the Indian subcontinent.
Till March 26; at Piramal Gallery, NCPA, Nariman Point.
About the photographer
Chandu Mhatre has been a news photographer for over 40 years having shot many seminal moments in recent Indian history. His images have been published in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Forbes and The Times London. Mhatre’s work includes West Bengal’s Naxalite movement in 1970 and Jayprakash Narayan’s non-cooperation movement. In 1984, he spent seven days with Jarnail Singh Bhridanwale, leader of the separatist Sikh uprising in the early 1980s that led to Operation Blue Star at Amritsar’s Golden Temple. He also chronicled the Mumbai underworld, the Bhopal gas tragedy and Operation Black Thunder in 1988.
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