Photo feature

Photos: These gorgeous images of iconic actresses are only a click away

An online exhibition by the Google Arts & Culture platform and Museum of Art and Photography displays annotated photographs of famous Indian movie stars.

The incomparable Meena Kumari’s mesmerising gaze is the first photo of Google Arts & Culture’s latest online exhibition, titled Faces That Launched a Thousand Movies. Curated by the Museum of Art and Photography in Bengaluru, the exhibit displays a little under 40 gorgeous photographs of iconic Indian actresses.

The Museum of Art and Photography, a two-year-old upcoming museum in Bengaluru, is the brainchild of businessman and art connoisseur Abhishek Poddar. The building in which the museum hopes to be housed is under construction and is slated to be completed by 2020. Meanwhile, MAP has been building up an archive of photographs and other material.

Usha Kiran in Dost (1954). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.
Usha Kiran in Dost (1954). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.

The exhibit explores the period between 1945 and 1984, Shilpa Vijayakrishnan, a curator and researcher with the museum, told “We were looking at early Indian cinema in the post-independence era, because this ties into other cultural debates of gender and societal acceptance and leadership,” she said. “The idea was to start there and look at how cinematic representation reflects that.”

Lalita Pawar and Sulochana Latkar in Sajni (1956). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.
Lalita Pawar and Sulochana Latkar in Sajni (1956). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.

The current exhibit has been specifically created for the Google Arts & Culture platform, Vijayakrishnan said. “They were having a women in culture kind of project, where they look at the exhibits thematically.” MAP has curated two exhibits – Faces That Launched a Thousand Movies (Women in Cinema), and Maharanis: Women of Royal India – for Google. “We are very interested because this exhibit is at an intersection of a lot of the work that we currently have but is not yet out there in the public realm,” she said.

Nadira in Garma Garam (1957). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.
Nadira in Garma Garam (1957). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.

The MAP team pored over hundreds of photographs and lobby cards to create the exhibit. “There are many parts to this – some of the photos are of iconic stars like Meena Kumari and Madhubala, who you really can’t miss if you are looking at a historic trajectory, while others are photos looking at the kind of roles women played and how they changed and were challenged over time,” Vijayakrishnan said. “However, since this is a virtual exhibit and people tend to have a short attention span online, it is important to not overload the viewer.”

Several photos, with few exceptions, are of women looking directly into or in the general direction of the camera, which creates an interesting dynamic between the subject and the spectator, Vijayakrishnan said.

Meena Kumari in Yahudi (1958). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.
Meena Kumari in Yahudi (1958). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.

The exhibit includes a few videos, such as the song Piya Tose Naina Lage Re, featuring Waheeda Rehman in the movie Guide (1965). The use of videos, aided by the technology of the Google platform, allows viewers to make associations, Vijayakrishnan said. “While looking at the stardom of these women and how their bodies are constructed in a certain way, song and dance becomes significant,” she said. “Having video links becomes important and enhances the experience for the viewer.”

Shakila in Hathkadi (1958). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.
Shakila in Hathkadi (1958). Courtesy Museum of Art & Photography.

The idea that a museum doesn’t have to be a physical entity has been gaining favour in recent years. “Digital exhibits definitely give you the opportunity to discard traditional labels of categories and explore multiple narratives, which we are most keen to do,” Vijayakrishnan said.

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It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday

Here are some great destinations for you to consider.

Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:

March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto

For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.

Nothing beats camping to ruminate over all those new ideas collected over the past few days. Make way to Killarney Provincial Park for 2-3 days for some quiet time amongst lakes and hills. You can grab a canoe, go hiking or get back to nature, but don’t forget to bring a tent.

If you use the long-weekend of 2nd March to extend your trip, you get to experience the Toronto Light Festival as a dazzling bonus.

June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago

Famous for creating the deep-dish pizza and improv comedy, Chicago promises to banish that mid-year lull. Get tickets for The Second City’s Legendary Laughs at The UP-Comedy Club - the company that gave us the legendary Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Key & Peele. All that laughter can sure work up an appetite, one that can be satiated with Lou Malnati’s classic deep-dish pizza. For dessert, head over to the Ferrara Original Bakery for mouth-watering treats.

Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.

If you use the long weekend of 15th June, you can extend your trip to go for Country LakeShake – Chicago’s country music festival featuring Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.

August: 7 days in London for Europe’s biggest street festival

Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.

The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.

October: 10 days of an out-of-body experience in Vegas

About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.

It’s time to get on with the vacation planning for the new year. So, pin up the holiday list, look up deals on hotels and flights and start booking. Save money by taking advantage of the British Airways Holiday Sale. With up to 25% off on flight, the offer is available to book until 31st January 2018 for travel up to 31st December in economy and premium economy and up to 31st August for business class. For great fares to great destinations, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.