Filmmakers Behroze Gandhy and Dilesh Korya’s documentary, Kekee Manzil – The Home of Artwork presents a glimpse into the interiors of a heritage residence, shedding gentle on its iconic residents Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy. Kekoo established the one picture-framing firm in Asia within the 1940s and later opened the town’s first up to date artwork gallery, Gallery Chemould, now generally known as Chemould Prescott Highway, run by his daughter Shireen Gandhy. The documentary captures how Kekoo and Khorshed displayed compassion throughout difficult occasions, stayed true to their secular beliefs, and remained engaged civically, whereas constructing frameworks inside which artwork might develop in postcolonial India.
In an interview with The Hindu, Behroze shares how even supposing her grandfather, who constructed the home (naming it after Kekoo) was a conventional Parsi patriarch, Kekoo invited every kind of individuals residence. “It was a source of much amusement to us as kids watching our grandfather’s face, as various folk used to troop through,” she shares. Later, Kekoo opened up his residence as an area for group conferences, for artists to dwell and practise in, and as a spot of refuge. The bungalow, situated in a secluded sea-facing neighbourhood, grew to become a web site the place the socio-political and creative climates of the town have been nurtured.
UK-based Behroze, grew up in Kekee Manzil and moved to London when she was 19. In her mid-thirties, whereas producing the present, On The Different Hand within the UK that handled South Asian points, she realised, “How connected [her] father was as [she] had access to guests from every walk of life.” She elaborates, “When the riots in Bombay exploded after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, I was commissioned to do a show in Delhi. This was when my father was busy with the Peace committees in Bombay and our work interconnected.”
She started recording her mother and father in 2002, realising how they have been a repository of the early years of the Indian artwork motion. She additionally interviewed their contemporaries – members of the Progressive Artists’ Group together with SH Raza, Akbar Padamsee, and Krishen Khanna. She took a brief hiatus after her mother and father handed away between 2012-13, however quickly started analyzing the fabric she had entry to. Regardless of dropping footage and being unable to clean-up profound interviews just like the one with artist Ram Kumar, she had sufficient to assemble a story in shut collaboration with Korya that featured members of the family, buddies, and previous archives from eight mm movie.
She says, “The story was a curious one — of how my father, a casualty of the Second World War, as far as his incomplete studies at Cambridge were concerned, landed up being one of the catalysts of an art movement, which was totally at odds with his family’s Parsi business background. It all revolved around a shop selling picture frames and a series of curious co-incidences which led him to the point of opening Gallery Chemould.”
Korya persuaded Behroze to embody the narrative voice within the movie. It’s a strong selection that provides sensitivity to the story. She narrates Kekoo’s life, acknowledging how her distance from Mumbai gave her a essential “insider-outsider perspective.” “Kekoo was excited I was filming him; he felt like someone was taking him seriously in his old age,” says Behroze including how Salman Rushdie, Nalini Malani, and Anish Kapoor immediately agreed to be interviewed for the movie, a testomony to his affect.
Household and buddies
Intimate household scenes across the eating desk and front room spotlight the joint-family life in Kekee Manzil. Behroze’s siblings Adil (who runs Chemould Frames), Rashna, and Shireen, Kekoo’s brother Rusi, in addition to the eldest surviving family-member, his cousin, Dara function prominently. Behroze says, “I wanted to bring out how crucial my mother was in running a gallery like Chemould. We try to address this in the way my siblings and artists like Nalini Malani speak about her contribution, but somehow my father dominates the film.” Kekoo, she describes was chaotic, “Khorshed had the persistence to see his visions through.” The musical rating of the movie, produced by Talvin Singh, evokes the Indian classical music that Khorshed sang in the home each Thursday, or listened to often. Whereas Khorshed is absent bodily in a lot of the movie, she is completely current by means of the music.
The movie narrates Kekoo’s probability encounters within the metropolis, with Italian prisoners of warfare who educated him in artwork, Jewish emigres who escaped Nazi Germany, and Belgian businessmen who needed to put money into pictureframe moulding. Kekoo’s assembly with Austrian artist Walter Langhammer was transformative; by means of him, Chemould Frames on Princess Avenue grew to become a hub for artists. It led to Kekoo assembly the Bombay Progressives. The Gandhys’ shut friendship with MF Husain is highlighted — though their conflicting stances following Indira Gandhi’s Emergency strained their relations, they later reconciled.
“Something I learnt about my father is that he interacted with people at a human level. He would talk to the local sweeper, policeman, neighbours, strangers on the streets; he never made distinctions. He was wildly impractical and helped those in need at his expense,” says Behroze. She acknowledges how his phases of despair throughout his later years have been occasions when she spent reflective moments with him. She didn’t see his bi-polar dysfunction as a illness, “If he gave so much, he had to be able to recharge himself.”
Artwork and politics
The movie transports viewers to an old-world metropolis — scenes in a quieter Bandra, Juhu Seaside the place the Gandhys would go swimming, and different components of the town evoke easier occasions. Kekoo and Khorshed watched the town develop, witnessed historic moments of optimism and disillusionment, and concurrently constructed relationships with artists grappling with the occasions. It showcases Tyeb Mehta who was supplied a solo exhibition at Gallery Chemould in 1964, “became known as the conscience of the nation.” Through the years, because the Gandhys witnessed the town remodel topographically, additionally they discovered their beliefs come below risk throughout crises just like the Emergency and the Mumbai riots. For the Gandhys, secularism and freedom of speech have been paramount. Kekoo showcased exhibitions at his gallery that embraced abstractionist, narrative, and conceptualist views, that includes works by Vivan Sundaram, Nalini Malani, Gieve Patel, Mehlli Gobhai, and Rummana Hussain, amongst others. These artists mirrored upon the occasions round them, challenged injustices, and even, as within the case of Bhupen Khakhar, “Scandalised the artworld with sexual depictions featuring his long-term partner, Vallabhai.” The documentary, for us is then a reminder that the material of artwork is intrinsically tethered to socio-political happenings.
E-mail [email protected] gallerychemould.com for particulars on the way to view the movie on-line.