Parsis at Chemould Prescott Road
 

Living News Must-see photo exhibit on Parsis
By Jerusha Ratnam Chande | VOGUE INDIA | March 04, 2013

 

Photographer and screenwriter, Sooni Taraporevala’s book Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India: A Photographic Journey is one of the most definitive works on this minority community in India.

On March 5 Taraporevala will showcase a curated collection of photographs titled Parsis, from her book and others yet unseen, at Mumbai's Chemould Prescott Road gallery. The collection has 108 photographs, some in black and white, and some in colour, spanning a 36-year period from 1977 to 2013.

“The exhibition is just a visual journey,” Taraporevala is careful to state. ”Though the book documented all aspects of the Parsis, this show has no claims to exhibiting every aspect of Parsi life.”

Mumbai was the city that inspired her on this photographic study of the community to which she belongs, but this is the first time she’s showing there.

“My main thing has always been screenwriting and films,” she says. “Also shows are expensive to produce and I was very busy. But then two things happened: Shireen Gandhy, Chemould's current director, has been nudging me for a long time to have a show, and the Tatas sponsored it. And so the show was a result of the combination of both these things.”

Curating the images was a “fun" but also a "difficult process,” says Taraporevala. “I could do a lot more shows like this with just images of Parsis because I have so many. It was hard for me to select and decide, but it was really good for me because I got to go back into the archives and found images that I had forgotten I had taken.” 

One image that’s special to her is, “a picture I took in the Godrej typewriter factory, which doesn’t exist anymore because typewriters don’t exist anymore. In the photograph, there’s a Parsi gentleman working in the factory, with his head turned and he’s actually listening to the typewriter. He was tuning the typewriter as a piano! And there’s another person standing behind him, not a Parsi, making fun of him for working so hard.”

If you're from Mumbai, you could probably imagine the scene.

Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India: A Photographic Journey is on till May 4 at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai.

 

VOGUE INDIA | March 04, 2013

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