Auto-rickshaw unveils the magic of cinema in Kolkata 

At the art installation Rick-Show in Kolkata.

At the art installation Rick-Show in Kolkata. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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de30 auto | Photo Credit: 9819

A unique art installation in Kolkata packs all the magic of cinema in a humble auto-rickshaw. The installation, ‘Rick-Show’ where cinema is transported by a rickshaw and all equipment — screen, stage, sound boxes, projection system, even chairs can be packed in a box — is on display at Park Mansions, a historic edifice in the heart of Park Street. This is part of Bonjour India, 2022 that celebrate cultural, artistic, educational, and literary festivals of France in India, and 75 years of the establishment of Indo-French diplomatic relations.

Nicolas Facino, the Director of Alliance française du Bengale said that beginning Friday, for the next three consecutive evenings film lovers can have the opportunity to enjoy Rick-Show in Kolkata. Mr. Facino said that if the concept gains popularity, then Kolkata may witness many more screenings of cinema on the move. “Kolkata is a movie buff’s paradise! If the Rick-Show concept, which is now installed in the courtyard of Park Mansions, proves popular, we will look into employing this concept of cinema on the go to screen French / World films at various sites throughout Kolkata during the winter season,” he added. 

French artist Le Gentil Garçon conceived the idea in 2020 and the Alliance Française de Trivandrum invited him to design a work of art for the public space. The artist realised that by changing one letter in “rickshaw” he obtained the ideal name for his concept: the “Rick-Show”. To make the Rick-Show, he worked in collaboration with a team of professors and students of the Department of Design of the College of Architecture of Trivandrum (CAT). The Rick-Show in a way refers to the origin of cinema which was initially a fairground art. Theatres were mobile; they were set up like circus tents. “The rickshaw, because of its popularity and its ability to go everywhere, seemed to me the ideal vehicle to transport my cinema,” he said. 

This artwork creates moments of conviviality after the long months of pandemic without cinema and alongside there is also the idea of reaching out to a wider audience in the public space through a permanent, but mobile experience. The installation has been to Trivandrum, Kochi and Pune before coming to its final destination Kolkata.

A unique collaboration between France and India has made it possible that an entire theatre could be fitted in a small box and move with the auto-rickshaw. In fact, the Rick-Show travelled a distance of about 200 km to Trivandrum from Kochi on road. Shouvik Mandal, CEO of Apeejay Real Estate said that the courtyard of Park Mansions is the perfect location for this mobile cinema concept, replete with pop-up seating. The films that are being screened are from independent artists Janet Biggs and Ben Russel (USA), Jean–Pierre Khazem and Le Gentil Garcon (France), and Ingrid Wildi Merino (Chile) among others. These are films that are very diverse in their aesthetics but which have in common a very humanistic approach to their subject. 

The other events lined up as part of Bonjour India 2022 include Onze Heures Onze, a collective of French musicians who present Jazz trip Nunataq, and ‘A Panorama of Photography’s French Connections In India’ that will depict different visions of French as well as Indian artists who travelled or lived in India from the mid-19th Century to the 1970s, through the medium of photography.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2022 8:37:38 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/auto-rickshawunveils-the-magic-of-cinema-in-kolkata/article65367484.ece