Sunday, April 11, 2010

A second shot

Back to one of his favourite subjects for a second time, Raghu Rai discovers how Calcutta has changed in 21 years

Twenty-one years after photo grapher Raghu Rai’s first book on the city, most jingle-jangle tin buses have made way for air-suspension, even air-conditioned, public transport. Glass-topped trams ply on concretized tram lines while swankier cars swish past the Ambassador. Post-plasma viewing experiences have replaced Uptron TV and terry-cotton bell-bottoms have been swapped for frayed denim. Even communism—a constant fellow traveller in the city’s contemporary life and a motif in Rai’s earlier book—has got some serious competition.

In the interregnum between Rai’s Calcutta, released in 1989, and his forthcoming Calcutta, Kolkata: It Never Begins… Never Ends…, to be released in September, it is not insignificant that Calcutta has become Kolkata—a city that is forcefully re-emerging from the debris and hubris of its colonial past. For the much-feted photojournalist though, the city’s present is decidedly about the continuation of its past.

No comments:

Post a Comment