24 November, 2020

Me, You And B&W

From chiaroscurist J.H. Thakker's studio come frozen timepieces of Bombay film's golden era

Me, You And B&W

The sepia tone has seeped through a rigid surface-the blas front of the Mumbai collegians. Hand-holding teenagers propelled by calf love pose before J.H. Thakker’s enlarged photograph of Raj Kapoor and Nargis, trying to copy the clinch. They’ve themselves clicked that way-in an indirect compliment to Thakker’s portraiture photography.

Sixty-nine of Thakker’s monochrome portraits, on display till February-end at Mumbai’s National Gallery of Modern Art, retread a route to Bollywood of the ‘50s and ‘60s. The show Chitranjali, put together by photo-historian Noshir Desai, is part of the Bombay Photorama organised by the Kala Ghoda Festival. Senior citizens like Sohrabji Godrej, battling their way up the steps to the third floor, wheeze out their own eulogy: "I feel nostalgic".

There’s the moustached Salim, then a wannabe actor with the clean-mean looks that hint at the gene stock that yielded studs like Salman Khan; Madan Mohan sporting the unctuous hair-style of the ‘50s; cheerful neophyte Meena Kumari, incredibly...



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