6th December 2003 - 25th January 2004
Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery

Below is the text from the brochure that supported this exhibition. A 1 MB pdf version ofthe original with images is also available, please see below.

Bollywood is the nickname given to the Bombay-based popular Indian cinema. It is the world’s most prolific film industry, generating more than 800 films a year - that's twice as many as Hollywood! The movies, produced in a mixture of Urdu and Hindi languages, attract daily audiences of around 12 million people in India alone.

Communities larger than England speak each of 17 major languages in India, which has six major religious denominations. Yet, Bollywood acts as a uniting thread amid the diversity of this vast nation. Bollywood's reach however, is not confined to the Indian subcontinent alone. Popular Indian films attract a huge global audience in such diverse areas as Russia, China, the Middle East, The Far East, Egypt, Turkey, Africa, Canada, Australia and Britain.

This Exhibition brings together classic posters from the British Film Institution's collection, along with video clips of song and dance routines from some of the films. We are also exhibiting Amrik Chhokran’s digital prints inspired by the genre and hand-painted hoardings of Bollywood stars created in Bombay and loaned to us by Hyphen films of London.

Amrik Chhokran Artists statement

My work explores the Bollywood film industry which provides the purest form of distraction/ escapism for its audience. Many of these films are "the stuff of dreams" with their highly unrealistic story-lines.

The Mumbai (Bombay) industry is a prolific dream machine, creating more than 700 films a year. These films tend to be spectacular, melodramatic fantasies, containing a variety of ingredients; action, violence, music, dance, romance and moralising. Although dismissed as escapist, plenty of these movies get their narrative drive from social issues such as communalism, ethnicity and caste. Many also address the effects of modernisation and urbanisation on traditional Indian institutions such as the family and marriage.

"The bulk of people influenced by the films ..... believe in these dreams more uncritically than any other audience in the world. To forget the squalid quality of his own life, a poor man will visit the cinema everyday." (D Moraes - East West 1972)
Fantasy is part of everyday life in India."
"Film viewers dream with their eyes open." (S Tharoor, Show Business - 1972)
My work investigates the industry, Bollywood film stars, popular movies and why audiences want to watch these films. The digital images are large and consist of vivid colours to create powerful images that draw the viewers' attention. My influences include Pop Art, Dada, Surrealism, Film, Bollywood, Music, Popular Culture and Hindu Philosophy.

I have explored these issues and themes by incorporating them in my digitally manipulated images, using the techniques of layering, montage, collage and text. To develop thought provoking, creative and interesting images.