A poet paints, a painter pens
Apart from a retrospective of Sanjay Bhattacharya's works, New Delhi would see his first book on poems "Crossing the Hurdle" to be released at India Habitat Centre this Friday. RANA SIDDIQUI speaks to the painter-poet.
A work by sanjay Bhattacharya from the retrospective.
THERE WERE times when Sanjay Bhattacharya, a well-known young contemporary painter from Kolkata, almost gave up on painting with water colour, for "it was a very difficult medium to handle". But he tried again, taking it up as a challenge but dealing with love. Finally he was successful. And there were times when roaming on the streets of the then Calcutta, he would invariably start humming a tune, after he would see it bursting with life.
He would come back home and start shaping his tunes into songs. After all, he had lived in the music-enveloped ambience of Santiniketan for quite some time where he grew listening to the Rabindra Sangeet. Those streets of Calcutta also made him scribble something that he could not translate into painting. And the result was several poems that he jealously guarded till date.
So, for the lovers of Bhattacharya's art works, it is going to be an audio-visual treat; in the form of a retrospective of his works with a book of his poetry in Bengali titled "Crossing The Hurdle" translated into English by Dhrubojyoti Roychowdhury from Kolkata, as a compliment. And this treat will be served by Krishna's Collection at India Habitat Centre this evening. "It is a retrospective of Sanjay's works from his student days. Most of the works are from private collections also. On this occasion his first book of poetry will also be launched.
A few of his poems will be read for the audience too," informs Krishna Chandan from Krishna's Collection.
The works contain his struggle with watercolour and his command on it over a period of time.
Subjects of poems
The book is a result of his writings since 1977. It has poems on as varied subjects as sin, death, longing, ageing, humour, expectations, the negative side of love, death of a professor whom he admired and so on. States Bhattacharya, "I don't want to be a poet. These are the feelings that I could not get in my colours and paper. Poetry has been happening in my surrounding and I had been very sensitive to it. But my friends would never listen to my poems, they would say, `don't read your poems to us' knowing I would go on and on.
So, since I can't recite my works to them, I will hand it over to them in the shape of a book. And I have not mentioned any price on it. I am calling it `priceless'," says the painter laughing.
Only a few know that Bhattacharya writes lyrics too. He has got 10 songs ready; most of them are social satire. Take for instance, one of his lyrics warns ditchers, `Don't ever venture on the streets of Kolkata, for the girls you ditched are the mothers of your children now. Now if their husbands see you, they will beat the hell out of you'... and so on.
A sensitive lyricist too?
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