3rd April 2013 / by Bindaas


When I was commissioned to shoot the executive calender for KSB Pumps, the brief given were an array of words. These words tried to encompass through vast meaning of the essentials of life : Roti, Kapada, Makaan: Food, Clothes and Home:

1) sumptuous
2) nursing mother
3) nurturer
4) birthplace
5) origin - womb
6) mother of plants
7) interdependency between humans
8) attachment
9) passion
10) faith
11) solitary
12) drama
13) fantasy
14) dream
15) myth
16) mythology
17) god
18) goblin
19) fanatics
20) numerous
21) source of all things
22) upholder – sustainer
23) steady one
24) patience
25) perseverance
26) all preserving
27) all protecting
28) treasure trove
29) penniless
30) mood depiction - lack (instead of barren soil)
31) mood depiction- void (instead of barren soil)
32) fade in
33) fade out
34) obvious
35) subtle
36) black
37) white
38) negative space
39) immensity
40) infinitesimal
41) following
42) icons
43) hypnosis
44) intrigue
45) mystery
46) suspense
47) abyss
48) fairytale
49) sponge
50) lust
51) savagery
52) predator
53) prey
54) possibility
55) illusion – its all a dream.

As all collaborative ventures with Revati Dilip Borawake, my cousin, a designer, actor, artist and producer, our project themes always revolve around the essence of the Indian female mind, expressed through the visual and textual medium.

It is not the female mind that we are trying to express, but always, it is the female perspective that all things material are put through deconstruction in our collective work.

As well, on the other hand, we chose the locations of our estranged ancestors, their forgotten culture, as mediums, as subjects. A sense of homage, sadness and lack of belonging to this heritage being the key intention of exploring them through our art.

When we started this project, we left for Rahata, the birthplace of both our fathers, and the childhood home of the Borawake family, when they were together, and happy. A place which flourished like the fertile soil of love between siblings  and housed the great workings of Rao Bahadur Narayanrao Borawake, our grandfather.

Keeping the words in mind, this time there was very little talk or direction, expectation or even agenda. We would visit there after the Sai Baba temple at 3 in the morning for prayers, which was previously run by our family and community, now in the hands of some greedy Sindhis. Who have converted Shirdi into the new Disneyland of Religious Tourism. Thereafter, head to a random village nearby and shoot the awakening, as dawn is a very important part of the day, atleast for this project it was.

 We were shooting, capturing, keeping the words in mind. This was the first time, since Chotu's death, that I was spending quality time with Revati, and as for my issues with being far away from home, and not being able to address these events earlier, this was a very somber mixture of work, play and family time. As well as much needed closure on the fact that he is actually dead. And she is better. And its a reality to me now. The best way to heal was through our philosophical exploration.

Above: We found a mindblowing idol of Natraja, coming down from the sky, crushing the child-the ego, ever so gently. 

The shoot was chill, as the vibe was mellow. We were trying to keep it that way, because, we both were very exhausted by life a little, the world a little, and all matters in between that and the loss of our little 20 year old brother. All we were trying to do, is encompass some deep feelings flowing through us, we also had Smruti Swaroop Puhan, as an assistant, buffer, referee and bodygaurd the whole time.

I even remember exclaiming to her, that this was too easy, there was something about doing this assignment that was very peaceful, and seamless..."where is the storm?" I asked. As usual, as per our great creative connection  we would let the project drive the end result. Because, we are farmers after all. We till the soil, sow the seeds, but definitely do not disturb; the outcome to be what it will be.

In this organic act, which was commercial, but not to us. We had a collection of 50 beautiful images. Many of our grandfathers surroundings, our fathers childhood reminiscence, some signifiers of our own lives and mostly records of the beautiful culture that we have inherited. From the perspective of the Indian female, struggling with concepts of modernity.

We decided to convert them all to stark black and white images, but leave yellow and red that was nacent in all the images.

The idea of Abhishek in hindu rituals is a form of bestowing utmost respect on  material or physical entities. One of these methods involves putting a sprinkle haldi-turmeric and kumkum-red powder. When one puts this onto a stone, or the forhead of an individual or the feet of a dead body or onto some machinery. It is a way of expressing deepest gratitute and respect towards the material being encountered.

This form of respect was something we were trying to adress throughout the series. As well as applaud our culture for putting faith in something as simple as a rock in worship. As all material is considered a part of the whole. A part of the Mother. We must respect her in her totality as well as in her humble fragments.

All Quotes are from Victor Hugo's from Le Miserables

 A Hanuman temple built by my Great Grandmother in Rahata, Ahmednagar District, Maharashtra. 

The Late Rao Bahadur Narayanrao Sopanrao Borawake