Nalini Jaywant Photograph by JH Thakker Silver gelatin print Collection and image courtesy: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art
L: Suraiya Photograph by JH Thakker Silver gelatin print Collection and image courtesy: Kiran Nadar
R: Naushad Photograph by JH Thakker Silver gelatin print Collection and image courtesy: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art
Thakker quickly understood the exceptional role assigned to him—that of shining the glittering light of these stars on the earth, while masquerading as any other crew member on the movie set. Thakker not only utilised his technical acumen and astute sense of the “chiaroscuro” (the light and dark gradation of tones) but deployed imagination to formalise and posture glamorous subjects as the icons of popular romance. Within these “temples of desire” exquisitely perfumed by timeless music, song and dance compositions, Thakker’s practice can be contextualised as that of an idol-maker.
The newly Independent India had a vexed relationship with the burgeoning film industry, despite the role it would play in cementing nationalist values and the creation of popular stars across cultural differences. By the year 1968, Thakker, as Bombay cinema’s favourite photographer, had distanced himself from the world of stardom. He was disillusioned by the sharp changes in production process wherein the Technicolour reigned supreme and actors were no longer required to spend long hours at the photo studio for promotional stills. Instead, Thakker now preferred to use his vast repertoire of photographic talent to image the common people with the same interest. In 2003, the expert lensman joined his beloved stars in the night sky, leaving behind countless photographs and memories of an era of filmic time.
Text Roobina Karode