An exhibition of rare photographs from India’s post-Independence era will be held from June 6 to June 16 at the Indiart Gallery, Bhosalenagar, from 11 am to 8 pm. The exhibtion, ‘Singular Moments in History’, comprises photographs from the archive of the late documentary filmmaker Prem Vaidya and it has been put together by Milind Sathe, who runs Indiart Gallery and the Art India Foundation, and Abhay Vaidya, the son of Prem Vaidya.
The collection includes: Surrender at Dhaka (end of the 1971 Indo-Pak War and birth of Bangladesh), the last photograph of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri at Tashkent; pictures from Indo-Pak War of 1965, JRD Tata flying his aircraft, JRD Tata at TELCO, Sir Edmund Hillary with Indian turban, pictures from ‘Ocean to Sky’ — Indo-New Zealand jet boat expedition in Ganga and the Chinese military delegation visiting Indian military establishments in 1958 on the invitation of Shri V K Krishna Memon, then India’s defence minister, among other photographs. Entry to the exhibition is free.
In his 31-year career with the Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Prem Vaidya, who passed away at the age of 87 in July 2014, worked as a cinematographer, director, scriptwriter and producer, witnessing a number of extraordinary moments in Indian history.
Altogether, 50 photographs will be on display. Speaking about his father’s exhibition, Abhay Vaidya said, “The era captured in the photos was a decade and-a-half before Doordarshan existed. He rarely talked about his work at home and had an extraordinary career.” He added that his father always carried his Asahi Pentax still camera while on filming assignments, which included the 1965 Indo-Pak war, a visit to Tashkent with Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 and participation in Sir Edmund Hillary’s Indo-New Zealand jet boat expedition on the Ganga in the 1980s.
An accomplished name in the field of short films, Vaidya received a number of national and international awards for films such as Man in Search of Man on the Andaman and Nicobar aboriginals, Veer Savarkar, a biographical documentary on freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Against the Current on Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition, Ocean to Sky and other films.
Prem Vaidya joined the government’s Films Division as an assistant cinematographer in 1954 and retired as producer in 1985. He wrote articles in English, Hindi, and Marathi in national and international magazines and newspapers. Of these, The Filming of Asian Games and Documentary on Veer Savarkar were published in the American Cinematographer. He has authored two books — Memorable Assignments on Moving Images published by the National Film Archive of India, and Savarkar A Lifelong Crusader published by New Age International Publishers. In 2003, the Indian Documentary Producers Association honoured him with the Ezra Mir Award for Lifetime Achievement.