Last Sunday, the team had the first collaboration for thebrowniris//PROJECT. Vijay Khatu’s workshop at Lower Parel was selected as the location for the collaboration where we would capture the making of Mumbai’s favourite lord, Ganesha. With Ganesh Chaturthi coming up in a few weeks, work on the idols was in full swing at the workshop. The workshop had close to 50 people working on various idols.
There were rows upon rows of idols in various states of assembly. All of these were being attended upon by young men hustling and bustling about carrying buckets of plaster or water, blow torches, paint brushes and various other tools.
– Chirag Thannirbhavi
The attention that was given to each minor detail of the statues spoke volumes about the dedication of these artisans.
Each nail being carved, each iris being painted, each curve of the belly, each tusk being honed was immaculately worked upon leaving no doubt upon the quality of the workmanship.
The workers often paused briefly to catch their breath in the middle of their works of labour. At times like these, they offered a stark contrast to the masterpieces behind them.While there was hardly a speck or blemish on the idols , these hardy men were caked in plaster, grime and sweat, no thanks to the halogen bulbs hanging overhead.
On the other hand, it sometimes also felt like the lord was watching over this band of men toiling away to make him look presentable.
These are the only men who are allowed the luxury of climbing on his shoulders and sitting in his lap, while even the most affluent and richest men in the city have to support him on their shoulders.
The halogen bulbs often threw a halo around some of the towering idols and stark shadows as well, which often made you feel overwhelmed walking among them.
|-Jay Thakkar & Siddharth Samant|
You truly have to look up to the lord when you walk among the various idols on display here. You will find one looking at you with a mischievous smile, while another has a twinkle in his eye. Yet another has a benevolent gaze while one will transfix you with his serene calm.
This workshop gave us an insight into the efforts that actually go into preparing the grand idols we see around the city. The finished product gives off a polished sheen only because of the sweat of the many labourers who pour hours into making the bappa look as lifelike as possible.
We plan to capture some more glimpses of the lord during Ganesh Chaturti and also during the culmination of the festival. Do let us know your thoughts, views, opinions, encouragement and criticism in the comments below.
Photographs by respective photographers. Written by Ravi E, exec editor thebrowniris.blogspot.in