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Unsung moments

B. Narsing Rao's exhibition of photographs takes you back to a quieter, spacious and easy-going Hyderabad

Graphics. Raja J

THE CITY beckons. From the centre. From the margins.

With its history, its miring grime, its grotesque charm.

On show at ICCR art gallery, Kala Bhavan (Ravindra Bharathi complex), from March 1 to 10 will be 61 extremely well-produced black-and-white prints that are a result of the meandering yet sharp gaze of ace filmmaker B. Narsing Rao.

There is a lot in them that will disturb you but you will also find the plucky enthusiasm of those very struggling people of the soil, the shack, the slum or the footpath who happily pose and work their way into these photographs wringing out an affectionate smile from you! At 59, the creative energies of Narsing Rao can never be kept silent. It could be writing poetry, sketching or painting like possessed for days, or his passion for collecting music, books, pieces of art, craft, and some apparently useless things like old locks!

Bees saal pehle...

So, in this exhibition you will see about half-a-dozen photographs, which show the scene outside as seen from a car. These pictures were shot more than 20 years ago (on a Asahi Pentax fitted with a 50mm, 1:1.4f lens), many of them while travelling by car, within the city and on the outskirts of the Hyderabad, for a couple of days each in the summer of 1982 and the winter of 1983. Intense heat and a mildly chilly, blurring fog will be the two contrasting but strikingly dominant atmospheric features in this exhibition.

On display also will be the superb collaboration with the renowned master of pictorial photography and specialist of black-and-white printing, Rajan Babu, who has now fully migrated to the digital dominion. The negatives were scanned at extremely high resolution and then the master sat with the imaging specialist getting every bit of grey tones, and the whites and the blacks to a creative perfection. Then they were printed on a seven-colour inkjet printer on long-life photograde paper.

Walking past the photographs will take you back to a city, which was relatively staid, less crowded and easy-going. And less cruelly flashy!

SUMANASPATI

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