(courtesy the Hindu)
Arundhati Nag knows that her acquaintance with the life and works of Ramkinkar Baij is not as deep as that of an art historian or an artist. But what she has learnt from Ramkinkar Baij is the passion of pursuing the enigmatic call of unbridled creativity and his perseverance of frugal life. As a creative artist what Ramkinkar wanted was a platform to do his art povera. Baij celebrated life in its naturalness and created works from what was available, maximising their mediator qualities despite their minimal stature in life. Putting the humble components of nature together, Baij created a galaxy on earth of which the stars like Santhal Family, Mill Call, Harvester, Sujata and so on still shine with their original glitter. Arundhati coming from a different creative circuit has found her soulmate in Ramkinkar when she visited Santiniketan a few years ago and accidentally confronted the imposing presence of Ramkinkar's sculptures in the campus.
Girish Karnad giving instruction to Arundhati in Ranga Shankara's landmark production 'Bikhare Bimb'
"I did not know anything about Ramkinkar then. But the monumental sculpture - Santhal Family took me by force. The rawness of their contours, the blissfulness on their faces and the curiosity in their eyes; their balance and poise, everything attracted me. The theatricality of his sculpture was just real, never falling into the gorge of sentimentalism. I understood the drama in it. Since then I have been an ardent admirer of Ramkinkar " says Arundhati.
" If human beings are moving sculptures then sculptures are frozen drama theatre" Arundhati had said a day before the formal memorial lecture. She uttered these inedible words when she stood enthralled before the sculpture of Ramkinkar's disciple K S Radhakrishnan. " Theatre gives the great high of impersonating a character which is not you. An actress is someone who hosts another personality in her body keeping the objectivity intact without ever falling into the trap of the character. Sculptures also have that quality one being the other without subjecting the artist to its demands. There is a relationship and there is a high, but it is that of impersonating" says Arundhati in her lecture.
In Paa with Amitabh Bachchan
Receiving Padmashree from the then President Smt Pratibha Patil
Arundhati with Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar
Arundhati with Sanjana Kapoor
(Images courtesy: Internet)