Nemai Ghosh is best known as the photo-biographer of Satyajit Ray. From 1967 to 1992, the year that Satyajit Ray passed away, he photographed...
How do you capture a dynamic world like theatre in the still world of photography? What does the photographer need to understand about theatre to capture dramatic moments on camera? Why are such photographs important to theatre and the arts?
We are thrilled to invite Nemai Ghosh - photographer and theatre-insider - to Mumbai Local. Best known for his work with filmmaker Satyajit Ray (with an archive of over one lakh photographs), Nemai-da has also taken extraordinary photographs of theatre in Bengal. "Theatre was and is truly my first love... But as fate would have it, my exploits on stage did not last very long... at no point of time did I lose my touch with theatre and its progress. Maybe I was no longer a part of it, but I watched from a distance through the lenses of my camera. It was as if the camera was an extension of myself that built an invisible bridge between me and the stage.", says Nemai-da.
Spanning across four decades, Nemai-da's photography offers a powerful, pictorial history of four decades of Bengali experimental theatre. He has captured the distinctive styles of theatre greats from those eras - Shombhu Mitra, Utpal Dutt, Badal Sircar, Ajitesh Bandyopadhyay, Bibhash Chakraborty, Kumar Roy and others - offering future generations a vivid record of their legacies.
In this Mumbai Local, Nemai Da will take us through a selection of his theatre photographs, and share with us his process of capturing the magic of theatre on camera. As we journey with him through theatre, we can look forward to Nemai Da sharing his insatiable love for theatre with us.
This Mumbai Local session is brought to you in association with DAG Modern
@ MCubed Library, Bandra (W) - 1st Sat, 5 pm
@ Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla (E) - 2nd Sun, 5 pm
@ Kitab Khana, Fort - 3rd Fri, 5:30 pm
Nemai Ghosh is best known as the photo-biographer of Satyajit Ray. From 1967 to 1992, the year that Satyajit Ray passed away, he photographed every aspect of the maestro at work.
His extensive archive of photographs on Satyajit Ray has travelled all over the world and been exhibited at the Cannes International Film Festival 1991, Festival d'Automne, Paris 1991, Festival des 3 continents, Nantes 1991, Aix-en-Provence 1992 (with Henri Cartier-Bresson), London International Film Festival Nehru Centre 1993, Brussels 1993 (with Henri Cartier-Bresson), Nandan, Kolkata 1993, 2002, 2003, New Delhi Max Mueller Bhavan 1993, Nord Pas-de-Calais, France 1996, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi 2003, Lalit Kala Academy New Delhi 2003, Sakshi Gallery Mumbai 2004, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai 2006, the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka 2006, ICCR, Kolkata 2009, ICCR Bangalore 2009, Florence 2010. His exhibition 'Land and People of Kutch' was exhibited along with his suite of photographs on Ray at le Mans, France, November 1996. His photographs on Ray are exhibited at the permanent gallery of St Xavier's College, Kolkata, and are in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Modern art, New Delhi and at Nord Pas-de-Calais, France. His most recent solo exhibition, Satyajit Ray and Beyond was hosted by the Delhi Art Gallery in January 2013 to celebrate the 100 years of Indian Cinema. The exhibition is now travelling the major cultural hubs throughout India and abroad.
Although Nemai Ghosh is identified mainly with his work and an association with Satyajit Ray that stretched for over thirty five years, he did not restrict himself only to Ray. His passion for theatre led to a second collection of photographs that forms a pictorial history of theatre in Kolkata over the last four decades. He concentrated on the experimental theatre groups of the city and its neighbourhood and his photographs capture the distinctive individualities of renowned directors, actors and actresses, such as, Sombhu Mitra, Utpal Dutt, Ajitesh Bandyopadhyay, Tripti Mitra, Badal Sarkar, Manoj Mitra, in performance as well as in directorial presence. A selection of his theatre photographs was exhibited at Nandan, Kolkata 1998.
He has documented the making of films such as Jukti Takko Gappo by Ritwik Ghatak, Interview, Calcutta 71 and Ek Adhuri Kahani by Mrinal Sen, Paar by Gautam Ghosh and Ijjodu by M S Sathyu.
Ghosh photographed the great masters Jamini Roy, Ramkinker Baij and Benodebehari Mukherjee over the years 1969 and 1970. He went back to his interest in documenting master artists from 2002, photographing more than 30 major Indian painters and sculptors at work, resulting in a massive suite of photographs of the best minds in contemporary Indian art at work.
He has photographed the land and the people of Kutch in Gujarat (1995-97), Bastar in Chattisgarh (1998-99), Bonda Hills in Orissa (2007), the Apatani tribe in Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh (2010).
His publications include Satyajit Ray at 70 with a foreword by Henri Cartier-Bresson (Eiffel Editions, Belgium and Orient Longman, India 1991), Dramatic Moments (Seagull Books, Kolkata 2000), Manikda: Reminiscences of Satyajit Ray (Bingsha Shatabdi, Kolkata- Bengali and French editions; later published in English by Harper Collins, Delhi), Satyajit Ray: A Vision of Cinema with photographs by Nemai Ghosh, drawings and scripts by Satyajit Ray and text and captions by Andrew Robinson (IB Tauris, London 2005), Faces of Indian Art, Volume One (Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi 2005), The World on Canvas: Paresh Maity, with photographs of the artist by Nemai Ghosh and text by Sharmila Tagore (Art Alive Gallery, 2010) and Uttam Muhurta with photographs of Uttam Kumar, the famous Bengali actor (Kol-Katha, 2011 - Bengali and English editions). A book of photographs of Benodebehari Mukherjee with text by the eminent art historian Partha Mitter is currently under production. Another collection of his photographs, Nemai Ghosh's Kolkata, is published by the HarperCollins in 2014. In 2015, his photographs of Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni were exhibited in the International Film Festival, Nandan, Kolkata.
He is the recipient of major awards in photography including First Prize in Stage and Screen Photography, awarded by Press Photographers' Association of India, 1978, and the Yakult Prize in the Fifth Photo Contest in Asia and Oceania 1980 organized by the Asian Cultural Centre for UNESCO.
He has served as Jury Member in the National Film Awards Committee for 2007 in the year 2009; and is recipient of the Padma Shri, a civilian honour instituted by the Government of India in the year 2010.