“Seeing Things” — Exhibition of my photographs at Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai from 17th – 25th August 2010

3 08 2010

In a metropolis like Mumbai, where everyone leads a very busy life with their continuous bustling, and where people are mostly concentrating on the road or pavement, watching every step and dodging their way through to reach their destination as soon as possible, it is not uncommon that the most beautiful and exotic works of architecture go totally unnoticed year after year. Things worth seeing are noticed and documented more by visitors and tourists rather than by those who frequent the roads regularly. Our own locality is taken so much for granted that we are surprised when we are shown things which we ought to have noticed almost daily.

This is an exhibition showing a few such sights in the downtown of Mumbai city in colour as well in Black & White, and also  some miscellaneous photographs in stark black & white for those who like to see a variety in a light very different from that which is normally seen……. Hence the title “SEEING THINGS”.

Dawn over Mumbai’s Chowpatty Bay.

Taj Mahal Hotel & Gateway of India.

Horniman Circle – The faces above the arches of the buildings are very interesting.

Flora Fountain – These are different images of the sculptures on Flora Fountain (now known as Hutatma Chowk)…. so exquisite.

Victoria Terminus (VT) – A World Heritage site, (now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – CST), it offers spectacular architecture and one never tires of studying the different aspects and motifs on the outer walls. It was built in 1887 and was named “Victoria Terminus” in honour of Queen Victoria.This famous architectural landmark in Gothic style was built as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway.

Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) – This is a national heritage building situated opposite the Victoria Terminus.

David Sassoon Library.

Elphinstone College – Established in 1856 it is one of the oldest of colleges of the University of Mumbai. The college is famous for its Romanesque  Transitional style building that has been now categorized as a Heritage structure. Seen here is the bust of Sir Cowasjee Jehangir above the entrance to the college.

Prince of Wales Museum – A magnificent structure built in a confluence of Gothic and Moorish styles, and crowned by a sparkling white dome was built in early 1900s to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales.

Bombay University – The University of Bombay was established at the Fort Campus in 1857. It is well-known for its Gothic architecture.

Regal Cinema’s Art Deco Style.

Some of the Stark B&W Images on display – Mario Giacomelli style.


Mumbai: Down Memory Lane – KalaGhoda Festival (6th – 14th Feb 2010)

19 01 2010

Mumbai….. the city of dreams.  Mumbai….. the home of Bollywood. Mumbai…. one of the cities that never sleeps. Mumbai…. the city originally consisting of seven small islands, but now a megapolis with a population of almost 16 million people most of whom live within an area 440 sq. kms. The city has been under Muslim, Portuguese and British rule for over 600 years and thus has a fascinating mix of architecture which makes a very interesting study by way of photographs.

Life in Mumbai is stressful and fast, and Mumbaikars have no time to reflect on the past and to appreciate the magnificence of their city because they are too busy building their present and future.

The project consists of 11 images that show the “hidden” sights of this fascinating city. This collection is to be displayed at the KalaGhoda Festival, Mumbai from 6th Feb – 14th Feb 2010. All the pictures show details of well-known places but which usually go unnoticed in the normal hustle-bustle of busy Mumbai life.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus  (Victoria Terminus)

This UNESCO World Heritage site is probably the most photographed building in Mumbai. It was inaugurated in 1887, 34 years after the first train in India commenced its trip between Mumbai and Thane. The original name “Victoria Terminus” was changed to “Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus” in 1996. It is estimated that 3.4 million people pass through its gates every working day. Today it is the busiest train station in Asia.

It is a mix of Victorian, Hindu and Islamic styles put together with buttresses, domes, turrets, spires and stained glass windows. The jungle-themed facade is adorned with monkeys, peacocks, lions, gargoyles and other creatures.

This detail of the main facade is very unusual by nature and shows a crocodile eating a fish.

Elphinstone College
Elphinstone College is located opposite Jehangir Art Gallery in Fort area. It is close to the University of Mumbai Fort campus.

Elphinstone College occupies a unique position in the field of education in India. It is one of the renowned institutions, born even before the University of Mumbai, to which it was later on affiliated.

Recently the Elphinstone College has been accredited ‘A’ grade by NAAC (National Assessment & Accreditation Council).  The report submitted by the Peer Team appreciates the efforts taken by its teachers to maintain a student friendly atmosphere & brilliant results.

The institution is known for its open access to students from all strata of the society. This includes various communities, income groups and interests. It is one of the few colleges in Mumbai with an extensive hostel facility for both boys and girls. Located within a walking range from the College and overlooking the Marine Drive, the hostel is certainly among the unique strengths of the College.

The College has an enviable location, which is also historically significant. The building of the College, with its gothic architecture, has been classified as a grade I Heritage structure. It has recently been restored by the Kala Ghoda Association and the college has regained its luminous look. It stands out like a pearl as night falls. The Elphinstone College was awarded Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Culture Heritage Conservation, in 2004 by UNESCO for the one of the best Heritage buildings restored.

This is the detail of the facade at the main entrance.


Flora Fountain (Hutatma Chowk)

Inspired from Flora (the Roman Goddess of Flowers), Flora Fountain is made of stone and is located in the heart of the business district of South Mumbai. Carefully designed by R. Norman Shaw, it was  built in 1864 by the Agri-Horticultural society of Western India. from imported Portland stone. Flora Fountain was erected at a total sum of Rs. 47,000, a princely amount in those days.

This magnificent fountain has now been coated with white oil paint. Initially, it was intended to be named after Sir Bartle Frère, who was the governor of Bombay at the time of its construction. However, for reasons not known, it was decided to change the name just before to its inauguration.

The exquisite statues projected in these 2 images can be seen adorning the lower portion of the Flora Fountain.


Horniman Circle

Horniman Circle is an arcaded ring of buildings laid out in the 1860s around a circular and beautifully kept botanical garden in the business district of the city.

It is situated in the Fort district of Mumbai, and is surrounded by office complexes housing the country’s premier banks. Designed to be a large open space with grand buildings in the middle of the walled city, the area had been known as Bombay Greens in the 18th century. The garden was laid out in 1869 and completed in 1872 with well laid out walkways and trees planted all around. Today Horniman Circle is encompassed stately buildings including those of the State bank of India and The Zoroastrian Society.

The eye-catching structure of the buildings and the symmetry of construction creates an imposing sight for the beholder. The space above the arches of the ground floor are decorated with motifs as the one seen in this picture.


The Statue of a British Soldier.

During the days of the Raj, Mumbai (then Bombay) was dotted with magnificent statues made from marble, stone, bronze, etc. All those old pieces have been removed in the last 50 years. Many of them have been shifted to the Jijamata Udyan (Victoria Gardens Zoo) and are languishing there totally uncared. Many others have been sold for a song to private collectors who have either adorned their homes and gardens with them, or have exported them at a handsome profit.

Nestled in a small lane behind the famous Elphinstone College is a dilapidated tin shed which houses some little-known secrets of the British Raj. The shed is dark and always kept locked. In fact, it is said that it has not been opened for decades. So what lies within??  Is it something that no one wants to see?  Or is it something that someone does not wish to show?  Peering through a small hole of the corroded side one can barely make out the treasure within. It was only after taking this picture that there seemed to be a semblance of a statue of a British soldier and another statue which cannot be fully seen on the left side. There is a likelihood that there are more statues in this corroded tin shed. The soldier’s statue seems to be covered with cobwebs. Who could this person be???


The Taj Mahal Hotel.

The Taj Mahal Palace hotel resort was commissioned in Indo-Saracenic style by Sir Jamshedji Tata and first opened its doors to guests on 16 December 1903.

It has a very impressive design and architecture both external and internal, and is well-known for its famous central floating staircase. The cost of construction then was £250000 (£127 million today). During World War I, the hotel even served as a 600-bed hospital. Another unique feature of this hotel is that it was the first in India to install and operate a steam elevator and also one of the first buildings to have electric lighting.

Contrary to popular belief, the hotel was deliberately built facing inland, possibly because the horse carriages in which guests came to the hotel could more easily approach the hotel from the city and the carriages were then taken to Wellington Mews some distance away. Subsequently, a few decades ago, the old front was closed off, and since then, access has been made through the harbor-side entrance.

The photos here show the varying and unusual designs of the windows and balconies of a part of the hotel.


The J.N.Petit Institute & Library.

The JN Petit Library at Fort is a typical example of a once-magnificent library running to seed.

Housed in a beautiful heritage building dating back to 1895, this massive library has 150,000 books, including a rare copy of Firdausi’s 11th century epic poem The Shahnama, illustrated with gold leaf. Its huge, airy reading room, with stained glass portraits of the Petit family, is supposedly the largest in Asia. Its eclectic collection of books includes rare Parsi and religious books dating from the 16th century, as well as modern self-help books and current copies of magazines such as The New Yorker and Scientific American.

The building of the J. N. Petit Institute (among the highly acclaimed libraries in India) is a beautiful heritage building on D.N Road in Fort area in Mumbai. It is a neo-gothic sculpture with use of stained glass, painted arches, and the original aisle roof. The building is built with Malad stone and limestone. In the photograph we see the majestically arched passage on road level and the well-proportioned artistic design.


The University of Mumbai.

The Bombay University complex comprising two separate buildings, the Library (built 1869-78) and the Convocation Hall (built 1869-74), was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott from his office in London, in the Decorated French style of the 15th century. The project was funded by the Parsi philanthropist Sir Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney and by Premchand Roychand, the banker and ‘Cotton King’. As a gesture of thanks for this, the Convocation Hall of the University was named after Sir Cowasji Jehangir. University Buildings have been designed as per the Venetian Gothic style of architecture, reminiscent of the colonial times.

One of the major attractions of the University Buildings of Bombay is a huge clock tower, which soars to a height of approximately 260 feet. Adorning its structure are, beautifully carved, oriental figures. During the British Era, the tower used to chime with sixteen different tunes, which were changed four times a day. You should also see the building that houses the library of the university. Both, the library as well as the clock tower, were commissioned in 1880.

The entire facade of the University building is adorned with intricate carvings and statues which most Mumbai citizens have never noticed. shown here is a fine example of such a statue.


Holy Name Cathedral.

The Holy Name Cathedral is situated on Nathalal Parekh Marg (off Regal Circle) in South Mumbai.

The Cathedral of the HolyName, informally known as Wodehouse Church, is the seat of the Archdiocese of Bombay. This church was moved in 1960s from the Bhuleshwar area to its present location, in time for the 38th International Eucharistic Congress when Pope John Paul VI visited the cathedral. The church is also known as Church of our Lady of Expectations.

The cathedral has undergone many renovations over the years and is worth a visit for its beautiful architecture. Holy Name also has a renowned choir which holds regular concerts in addition to its regular liturgical services.

The internal style of the arches and the paintings gives the atmosphere a serene touch and people of all religions are known to visit this small cathedral for no other reason but to spend some time in peace and solitude.


Regal Cinema.

The Regal Cinema is one of the few old style movie theatres still operating in the city of Mumbai (Bombay). It is located in the central district of Colaba Causeway. Regal was built during the cinema boom of the ’30s during which other cinema halls like Plaza Central, New Empire, Broadway, Eros and Metro opened. Opened in 1933, Regal was designed by Charles Stevens, the son of a famous 19th century architect. Its interiors with extensive mirror-work were designed by Czech artist, Karl Schara. It was the first of Bombay’s Art Deco cinemas. The main auditorium had a motif of sunrays in pale orange and jade green. Its interiors were designed to create an impression of airiness, coolness and size in harmony with the modern simplicity of the exteriors.

This photo shows one of the few motifs on the exterior facade and gives an insight in the Art Deco style of the era gone by.

Mystique of the East: my first solo exhibition

15 01 2010

Mystique of the East” is a collection of twenty black and white images taken in India and Bali. Rich in religious traditions, culture, spirituality and philosophy, both India and Bali offer a reality that is often in contrast with the Western world.

In this exhibition I explore the effects of time on these two spiritual cultures. The tolerance of the past, which he highlights in his photograph of a centuries-old sensual carving, is in contrast with the conservatism that sways contemporary Eastern society today.

I did not intend these images to be a representation of reality, but rather, a reflection of my subjective and psychological interpretation of the exotic nature and mystique of the east. Using a personal technique, I digitally transformed the original photographs, many of them from transparencies, to suggestive images in stark black and white. The absolute contrast between these two colors symbolizes my vision of balancing the opposing forces of life to complement each other.

Himalayan peak with me moon

This is my first solo exhibition. I have chosen Barcelona because it is a magnificent and fascinating city: cosmopolitan, adorned with the revolutionary architecture of Gaudí, and inhabited by tolerant people; it is a place where life is intense and pleasant. It seems to be part of the nature of Barcelonans to appreciate art and culture. I cannot imagine a better place to share my vision projected by the display of these images.

Chandod: Narmanda River

“Mystique of the East” arises from a selection and recovery project of more than 10,000 photographs that I have accumulated during 45 years as a photographer. The majority of this images are of landscapes, heritage architecture and people, linked by the exotic nature and spiritual life of the mystical east.

Jaipur: Hawa Mahal

The opening of the exhibition took place on the 12th of November 2009 with the attendance of more than 400 people, representing the highest Barcelona’n society as well as people from the Art and Photography environements.

The atmosphere was magic!

This fascinating collection will be available to be seen in The Barcelona Design Gallery until the 31st of March of 2010. Do not miss it if you are in Barcelona during that time!