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An artist's tribute to Bollywood

Madhur Tankha
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Portraits of the film industry's iconoclasts, past and present

from reel to canvas: A portrait of Bollywood actor Rekha by artist Vinita Das Gupta whose show “Bollywood Reverie” is currently on at Art Konsult in Delhi.
from reel to canvas: A portrait of Bollywood actor Rekha by artist Vinita Das Gupta whose show “Bollywood Reverie” is currently on at Art Konsult in Delhi.

To demonstrate Bollywood's transition from the black-and-white era of yore to the modern technology-oriented cinema of today, New Delhi-based painter Vinita Das Gupta has produced a series of portraits of iconic and mainstream actors on display for her ongoing show at Art Konsult here.

A bygone era

Not surprisingly, Vinita is a self-confessed cinema buff who has seen the process of making films from a close range as many of her friends are in the business of movie-making.

Since childhood, Vinita has drawn inspiration from legendary actors like Madhubala, Sharmila Tagore and Rekha, whose fan base is intact even today. “I hold these actors in high esteem. Even though I was not born in that era, I have watched their films with great interest and curiosity.”

To offer a flavour of the bygone era, the artist has also made use of posters in some of her works.

Among the current lot, the artist admires Bollywood's reigning stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Kajol. She is also a fan of Madhuri Dixit and Rani Mukerji.

“I have made portraits of actors from the 20{+t}{+h}Century as well as from the present (like a portrait of a bespectacled Salman Khan from his hit film Dabangg ) to highlight the fact that the film industry has two generations of popular actors,” says Vinita, who has been a professional artist for the past decade, and occasionally also models for big brands.

Through her works in the solo exhibition titled “Bollywood Reverie”, she has attempted to highlight how actors motivate people to do their best and do good deeds. She has also depicted the darker side of Bollywood like the infamous casting couch incidents.

“I have highlighted the fact that Sharmila Tagore was a trendsetter in her time. I have also tried to show the humorous side of the film industry,” she says.

Cultural influence

Vinita has also explored the influence of Hollywood on Bollywood by depicting Marilyn Monroe in various avatars.

Through her work, she says, she wishes to convey that films like Shree 420, Aag, Awara, Bees Saal Baad, Madhumati, Johny Mera Naam, Yaadon Ki Baraat, Bobby and Sholay have helped in the construction of our cultural, social and national identities. These are not merely portrayals of a popular genre but of our cultural icons that cut across regional and national boundaries resulting in a new class of visual imagery, she says.

The exhibition is on up to December 18.

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