Millennium Post

Let second be the first!

Let second be the first!
The women who have been a foil to the innocent-as-lamb image of the leading lady by their courage, their boldness and their sexual freedom take a centre-stage in this exhibition. It will showcase B-grade horror cinema like – Zibah Khana,  Zinda Laash,  Aurat Raj from Pakistan and Indian movie  Miss Lovely.

The debate around representations of women in Hindi cinema and its surrounding cultural production has often exposed the unabashed sexual objectification that the female form has been subjected to.

This strain of argument, while not altogether false, seems simplistic and buys into the much-contested narrative of the ‘woman as victim’. It is surprising how within the seemingly homogenous fabric of sexualised representations of women on film, there are multiple and diverse narratives of women of the entertainment industry who claimed their sexual identities with pride and earned their living, in spite of perceived social stigma, by generating a sexual ethos through their bodies within the language of Hindi films, an ethos which was central to cinema becoming a truly mass medium.

In a moment of art imitating life, many of the women who played these roles were in reality from backgrounds very different from the prima donnas of Bombay. This exhibition takes a look at visual representations of the second-heroines, anti-heroines and vamps, attempting to interrogate how the tropes have changed and modified over time.

Paul noted, ‘ I had been collecting oleographs from calendar art and advertising materials for some years, when a dealer came by with hundreds of lobby cards and posters. These were fragile paper objects and I realised that they would soon be destroyed. It seemed like an urgent project to me, and I started collecting as many such artefacts as I could.  I looked for images that had a strong graphic quality; that juxtaposed tradition with modernity; that were amusing or curious in some way; and of course, those that had actors and films I could recognise.’

Where: Khoj Studios, Khirkee Extension When: 26 November – 8 December Timing: 11 am to 7 pm
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