The Cinema Travellers

Tucked in the green lanes of Vasant Kunj suburbs that are dotted with farmhouses, Galleryske and Photoink are comfortably ensconced amidst the pleasant foliage. Photoink and Galleryske have collaborated to bring out this particular show which exhibits colored photographs by Amit Madheshiya.

Amit Madheshiya’s project titled The Cinema Travellers began in the year 2008 which later on grew into an award winning documentary by the same name. It was Madheshiya’s idea to revive the magic of the travelling cinema which has lately been replaced by more modern ideas of entertainment. This project is like an elegiac tribute to the dying tradition of cinemas, especially those cinemas that moved from one place to the other and use almost vintage-like equipment.

The gallery is spacious and serene, the photographs that hang from the walls are spotlit while the spaces in between are bathed in a cool darkness. In short, it seems as though one has entered a theater which shows stills from a movie. The photos are vivid, especially with the lighting, and each show a rapturous face whose gaze is trained onto an unknown space–the portable cinema screen. The faces are all illuminated by the glow of the screen and expressions range from awe, dreamy, shock, and bewilderment. The emotions are very real and the moments captured exude spontaneity and percolate with an anticipated excitement.

While the images have been very tastefully and thoughtfully shot, I do believe that the theme is rather limiting. While the lack of varied photos could be a thematic limitation, Madheshiya could have gone ahead to take photos of a collective audience from different perspectives at various moments and played with a whole gamut of emotions. Most of the photos are taken from the front of the subject, and most expressions captured are similar to the point that the nuances are what set them apart. A bit more of a blatant approach would have made this series more engaging and diverse.

Nonetheless, there is almost an old-world, circus-like charm to this entire series of photographs. Saturated with colors and emotions, the show and the project in itself are a visual and emotive delight. This project is akin to the revival of the polaroid photographs in the digital century and different from the run of the mill photography shows that you generally see.

Ongoing from 26 September – 21 October 2017 at A-4 Green Avenue Street, Green Avenue, Church/Mall Road, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.