A cultural showcase

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RESHMI CHAKRAVORTY
Published Apr 21, 2019, 12:35 am IST
Updated Apr 21, 2019, 12:52 am IST
Film director and artist B. Narsing Rao’s coffee table book on Bonalu effectively captures the spirit and colours of one of Telangana’s imp festivals.
B. Narsing Rao chose the best 128 photographs from amongst 10,000 pictures for the book. (Photo credit: Nagara Gopal)
 B. Narsing Rao chose the best 128 photographs from amongst 10,000 pictures for the book. (Photo credit: Nagara Gopal)

At a time when everything is taking a back seat in the name of urbanisation, film director and artist B. Narsing Rao has taken it upon himself to come up with a coffee table book titled Bonalu — Mahankali Jatara which features an important facet of Telangana’s ancient cultural history. Each of the 128 photos in the book is a complete narrative in itself, telling a tale about the long-lost festivities and pomp of Bonalu.

(Photo credit: Nagara Gopal)(Photo credit: Nagara Gopal)

 

(Photo credit: Satyanarayana Gola)(Photo credit: Satyanarayana Gola)

Talking about how the book was conceived and how he eventually chose the best 128 photographs from amongst 10,000 pictures, Narsing Rao, who is the editor of the book, says, “Nowadays, photography has become an important tool to showcase anything. And with Bonalu being so colourful, every photographer wants to capture it. For the book, I worked with 14 eminent photographers. Choosing the photos took us three years to get everything in place — both the images and the text to accompany them.”

(Photo credit: Nagara Gopal)(Photo credit: Nagara Gopal)

Further describing the festival, he adds, “The team went to different places and temples to collect antique photos as well. The photos not only capture the early Bonalu celebrations where Yoginis in villages are given highest importance but also current day images of families wearing new clothes and coming together for the rituals.”

(Photo credit: A. Sarath Babu)(Photo credit: A. Sarath Babu)

(Photo credit: P. Vijayabhasker Reddy)(Photo credit: P. Vijayabhasker Reddy)

Interestingly, Bonalu, which is an integral part of Telangana culture, is an amalgamation of all facets of human emotions, including animal sacrifices, and communities coming together as one family to hail the power of Goddess Mahankali or Pochamma.

(Photo credit: K. Ramesh Babu)(Photo credit: K. Ramesh Babu)

Divided into three sections — period photographs, the past three decades and village — the book depicts the vibrant yellow, green and red hues through the camera lens. What’s more, Narsing Rao believes that people can learn a lot about Telangana culture with the help of this book. One outstanding feature of all the 128 images is that women are prominently featured, captured in their ‘raw’ forms without any inhibition — be it painting their faces yellow with turmeric, lighting the diyas or arranging neem leaves. “I have always made it a point to give women more prominence in all my works, be it in movies or photos,” concludes Narsing Rao.

(Photo credit: K. Ramesh Babu)(Photo credit: K. Ramesh Babu)

(Photo credit: D.M. Arjun)(Photo credit: D.M. Arjun)

(Photo credit: R. Madhu Gopal Rao)(Photo credit: R. Madhu Gopal Rao)

Divided into three sections — period photographs, the past three decades and village — the book depicts the vibrant yellow, green and red hues through the camera lens. What’s more, Narsing Rao believes that people can learn a lot about Telangana culture with the help of the coffee table book titled Bonalu — Mahankali Jatara

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