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Show pays homage to forgotten Bollywood legacy

26 Nov 2008

The world's first exhibition of photographs copied by Bollywood artists onto large billboards across India is to be launched at the Contact Theatre, Manchester this week.

Aishwarya Rai in the 'Shakti: The Power

Dr Rajinder Dudrah from The University of Manchester, who is curating the show which will go on tour across the UK, says Bollywood's 'Action Stills' are not given the attention they deserve as important aspects of Bollywood culture.

Scenes from the stills featuring Bollywood stars are routinely copied onto hand-painted billboards across India.

The show's images were taken by Bollywood photographer Damodar Kamat and have also been also used for posters, press and magazine advertising.

The exhibition consists of 40 images which documents the importance of the genre to the growing Bollywood scene in the UK and internationally.

The 'action stills' have been loaned to Dr Dudrah and the curatorial team by Kamat Foto Flash studios whose archive is in Mumbai, India.

The show has been supported by Punch which organises music events, seminars, workshops and festivals and Shisha, an agency for contemporary South Asian crafts and visual arts.

Dr Dudrah said: "While there are many exciting elements to the Bollywood film industry that have been recently highlighted in the international media, the publicity and marketing factor known in the Bollywood film industry as 'Action Stills' has been overlooked.

"The exhibition will pay homage to this neglected area of Indian film publicity while also offering an insight into the many and varied images that this form of media production has given rise to.

"I think this fascinating tale about the global rise of Bollywood will provide mainstream, as well as South Asian audiences, a means through which they can find out about the key elements of Bollywood  cinema.

"It will show how it has evolved in the UK and its relevance to the wider music and film scene today."

Notes for editors

Images are available. Please  state: Copyright and Courtesy of Kamat Foto Flash, Mumbai

  • Actor Pran in the film ‘Bramhachari’ (1968)
  • Actress Aishwarya Rai performs a dazzling 'item number' in the 2002 film 'Shakti: The Power'
  • Actor Dara Singh plays a Herculean hero in ‘King Kong’ (1962)

The launch of Bollywood stills - unique action photography From Kamat Foto Flash Studios, Mumbai - national tour autumn 2008 will be on 28 November at the Contact Theatre, Oxford Road Manchester.

The Kamats, owners of the archive, will be at the launch.

Dr Dudrah is available for interview

For media enquiries contact
Mike Addelman
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881 567
michael.addelman@manchester.ac.uk