Artists on Film
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The concept of making a film on the lives and works of modern and contemporary artists in India is not entirely new, but the approach that has been adopted for this series of 13 films on as many contemporary Indian artists might be.
The first of these, titled Being Peripheral, features Kerala-born, Mumbai-based artist, Baiju Parthan, and gives viewers a detailed look at his life and works from his point of view as well as that of other artists, critics and curators who have been closely associated with him over the years.
In 2007, Anupa Mehta — an independent art consultant, curator, writer and manager of the arts space The Loft in Lower Parel — authored a book titled India 20. This book featured interviews with 20 important Indian artists, and although it took a relatively comprehensive look at their work, it prompted her to think of a series of films that would serve the same purpose, but in greater detail. The first of these films was completed two years ago — directed by photographer and filmmaker Nrupen Madhvani, who also shot the photographs that feature in India 20 — and will be screened for the first time on Saturday evening at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Nariman Point.
"I thought of the possibility of making films that could be used in galleries and museums for educational purposes," says Mehta. Being Peripheral, therefore, has been shot with the aim of making it accessible to everyone. "For me, the script is about accessibility to the critical viewer, while at the same time, it's not only for people interested in criticising," she says.
Lack of funds delayed the release of the film for two years. That's also the reason why shooting for the other 12 films in the series has not begun yet.
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