For the love of Ray, Feluda and Calcutta

For the love of Ray, Feluda and Calcutta

BY ANANT ART · JUNE 20, 2016

Premjish: Who are you fascinated towards: Satyajit Ray or Feluda?

Amritah Sen: My fascination towards Ray positively started from Feluda in my childhood like all my contemporaries. This fascination started before I was able to identify the magnitude of Ray's genius. I entered that world with Feluda and then gradually I went much deeper and wider as I grew up. It has been a rich, inquisitive, intricate and personal journey I made with different sectors of Satyajit Ray's art for last more than thirty years now. I do not know if I should be using the term 'fascination' as in parts I have been critical, inquisitive, questioning and a seeker. But the entry door was 'Feluda'.

Premjish: You have mentioned about the reclusive Feluda, one who stands afar from the mainstream life. Are you a reclusive being too?

Amritah Sen: If reclusive is a big terminology to use, I definitely am an introvert. I do not react quickly. Nor do I participate at everything. Rarely people see me shouting out my opinion or forcing people to hear that. I prefer to sit a bit aside and watch people and incidents. I watch things. I call myself an 'observer'.

Premjish: You enjoy being an 'observer'

Amritah Sen: Yes I do. I feel great doing that.

Premjish: Do you share a love-hate relation with Calcutta city, or are you completely smitten by it? If I ask you to name five objects which you can connect to the city, what would that be?

Amritah Sen: I do not hate the city, no. It's not even that I am completely charmed by the city, but I do have a kind of love for it which stays like a fragrance. Anywhere I go, however exciting the trip was, when I come back, I see the yellow taxi, some typical street lights, and the known crossings or a hoarding written in Bangla, I feel great. It's like a relief. Somehow Calcutta has been able to give me the feeling of home. Like the art of Satyajit Ray, it is the city also with whom I share a long journey. It is not a question of love or fascination or admiration, - these are long, intense journeys.

I like people's cultural concern here. I like the sense of humour. I like the fact that friendship has got a space to celebrate here. I like the summer breeze in Southern Avenue and the dusk time. Food. Gossips. Created headlines. People's tenacity to stick to their point. The long walks that you can take on your own. Coffee shops with a friend. Family get together and values. And many things more. Selecting five is a difficult task.

Premjish: Would you like to talk about your process - in terms of ideation and execution?

Amritah Sen: I think whatever I have spoken till now is about my process. It is mainly about deducting or looking at life from different angles, acknowledging multiple layers and celebrating them. Like I could not give a straight answer to any of your questions. Each one of them has got so many layers and a lengthy stretch it is difficult to be divided into black and white. In a wider sense my process is to celebrate the shades of gray.

This particular series of six works is actually a part of a project I wanted to do about Satyajit Ray.

Premjish: One sees a lot of action going on in your Feluda Series...

Amritah Sen: I think, things come in phases in everyone's life. It is more visible for an artist because he/she is producing something very obvious reacting to these phases. Earlier when I have shown at Anant Art Gallery that was a time when I was going through a period of minimal expressions. Right now it is like an explosion of imageries, activities, comments, texts and concepts. I have a lot to say right now. Feluda series is only a part of it...

Premjish: Any artist who have played an important role in shaping your work...

Amritah Sen: The pivotal role has been played by Satyajit Ray. I have been a very private, critical and intimate follower/'observer'/fan of his works - in different formats, from different angles since my adolescence. I think I have learnt the art of narrating a story from his movies, his illustrations and his literary works.

With that, I was a huge admirer of David Hockney. He was one more person from whom I adopted the languages of visual narrative. Then it was Benode Behari Mukherjee whom I consider my teacher, though I have not seen him. There is Abanindra Nath Tagore for his Arabian Nights. From the contemporary time Bhupen Khakkar and Atul Dodiya hooked me up in the '90s.

I am also a great admirer of William Kenridge.

  • Malavika Rajnarayan
  • Malavika Rajnarayan art
  • Malavika Rajnarayan art
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