Mumbai’s love affair with Bollywood transcends all socio–economic barriers and touches people on an emotional level, very much like street art. Last month, Mumbai saw 20 Indian and international artists take to the streets in Bandra, Dharavi, Pedder Road, Borivali and Kandivali with an objective to educate and create awareness about this niche form of art. Over the month, St+art Mumbai has manged to accomplish just this!
The festival closes on a high, with a120x150foot mural of Dadasaheb Phalke; the father of Indian cinema, on the prominent MTNL Building at Bandra Reclamation. The mural was unveiled by none other than Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan. In attendance was also Mr. Piyush Pandey (Executive Chairman & Creative Director for Ogilvy & Mather India and South Asia). The mural beautifully showcases the synergy of street art and Indian cinema and the significance it plays in not just Mumbai, but also our country today.
Bollywood is an integral part of the city’s identity yet several people do not know about the origins of this cinematic art-form. This mural is a tribute to the man who sowed the seeds for the industry which the city thrives on today and one which has put India on the global map. Dadasaheb Phalke was an Indian producer-director-screenwriter; starting with his debut film, Raja Harishchandra in 1913 and 101 years later the city of Mumbai still feels this very influence.
Asian paints provided artists with an unlimited supply of paint. Two boom lifts were also provided by Aria Aerial Platforms which helped to complete the mural in 10 days.
Commenting on the occasion, Ranjit Dahiya, founder of the Bollywood Art Project (BAP) says, “Keeping Mumbai and its love for the film industry in mind, the one individual that I instantly thought of was Dadasaheb Phalke- the father of Indian cinema, who truly deserved the most prominent mural.”
When it comes to Indian cinema, it does not get any bigger than Dadasaheb Phalke. The Government of India instituted the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for lifetime contribution to cinema, in his honour in 1969. The award is one of the most prestigious awards in Indian cinema and is the highest official recognition for film personalities in the country. A postage stamp, bearing his face, was released by India Post to honour him in 1971.
“I salute the artist Ranjit Dahiya and the entire St+art team. It is only befitting that Mr.Amitabh Bachchan has kindly accepted to inaugurate this work of art,” says Piyush Pandey.
St+art Mumbai is an initiative by the St+art India Foundation, a non-profit organization, founded by Arjun Bahl, Hanif Kureshi, Akshat Nauriyal, Thanish Thomas and Giulia Ambrogi. They believe in working together with Central & State Governments as well as international bodies to build and encourage artists from our country.
“St+art India Foundation’s vision is to change the urban landscape of India by making it more colourful, interactive and positive. With the inauguration of the iconic Dadasaheb Phakle’s mural by the legend himself, Mr. Amithabh Bachchan our foundation’s vision has been re-emphaisesd. We are keen to work with the central and state government’s to be part of this global movement,” concludes Arjun Bahl, Festival Director for St+art Mumbai