“Kolkata, the Center of Indian culture”; says Javed Akhtar at the opening ceremony of exhibition Voices Of India

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shabana azmi-javed-akhtar in Kolkata

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In an ongoing effort to preserve the culture and heritage of India, Weavers Studio in association with Archive Of Indian Music has organized an Audio Visual Exhibition in ICCR Kolkata that was declared open on August 23rd by Sri. Javed Akhtar in the presence of esteemed guests like Shabana Azmi, Waheeda Rehman, Usha Uthup, Debojyoti Mishra and such others from the film and music fraternity.

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 Sri. Javed Akhtar who was absolutely delighted to have been able to witness this fantastic exhibition, in his very short and crisp speech said, “I feel proud to be here in Kolkata as I consider this city to be the center of the country’s rich culture”. And indeed, with all that the has been showcased in the exhibition, it is bound to make any Bengali proud as it is only here in Bengal that the rich culture of the country is safely cradled. Ms. Azmi and the ever so beautiful Waheeda Rehman seemed to be equally mesmerized by the displays and took keen interest in knowing more about the artists whose works had been displayed in the exhibition. Kolkata’s singing sensation Ms. Usha Uthup who was also present at the occasion added to the already elevated musical aura of the evening by presenting a beautiful Ganesh Vandana. Usha Ji also congratulated Ms. Darshan Shah of Weaver’s studio for this wonderful initiative and wished the entire team success in their endeavor.

 kahani powerful kolkata singer Usha Uthup

The Exhibition which is primarily meant to rekindle the memories of the glorious past of India, precisely in terms of art and music has not only been intelligently arranged but beautifully designed too and the design credits go to Sri. Narayan Sinha. Narayan, the creative genius has designed the set of the exhibition space and the ambience that he has created helps viewers effortlessly breeze into the glorious past of India and gel in with the time that has been showcased in the exhibition.

 shabana azmi in kolkata

Sri. Vikram Sampath, the young and dynamic historian and musician who has to his credit Best sellers like Splendours of Royal Mysore, My Name is Gauhar Jaan and others was also present at the exhibition as it is with his efforts that today India has a music archive in the form of Archive Of Indian Music that currently has over 12,000 restored records and this wonderful exhibition could be organized to spread awareness amongst people about the life and works of these fabulous yet forgotten musicians.

 bollywood veteran actress Waheeda Rehman

The exhibits are each a marvel as on display are original records of some of the most popular Baijis like InduBala, Angur Bala, GauherJan and others of the era when ‘Babudam’ was at its peak in the country. One can also see original records with Guru Rabindranath Tagore’s own voice recorded and signed as Dr. Rabindra Nath Tagore, Bengali recitation record “Naari” by Kazi Nazrul Islam, original photographs of Gandhi Ji and Guru Rabindranath Tagore, a Mikiphone that had been imported from Japan and is still in working condition, The makeup Box of Angur Bala and her perfume bottles, match box labels with pictures of popular Baijis and Gramophones that were playing some old records adding to the wonderful ambience of the evening.

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We also spoke to some of the curators and collectors and the experience that each of them shared speaks of their undying love for the art and most importantly for the country. Sri. Parimal Ray who is also a contributor to the Directory of Bengali Cinema that is known to be the brainchild of Kazi Anirban patiently interacted with the media and gave inputs on the collection. Mr. Ray himself had contributed the Baiji Label matchbox covers which he said had all been collected from trash as not everyone understands the importance of preserving these things. Along with Mr. Ray, the other collectors who have contributed to give shape to this wonderful exhibition are Rantidevb Maitra Md. Ilyas, Ashish Bhadra, Hindustan Records and such others.

 

The exhibition is a must visit for the young and old alike as while one section will be able to relive the golden past of their lifetime the other will be able to get some interesting information about the glorious past of India. Sholoana Bangaliana strongly recommends visiting this one of a kind exhibition that makes us Bengalis proud.

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