Copyright © 2010-2023 Gautam Valluri. All rights reserved.

The Noble Mansion
2023, France, 35mm, 7', Colour, stereo sound

In his first address to independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru described his vision of India as a 'Noble Mansion'. Nehru, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, chose to address his nation for the first time as head of state in English, a language incomprehensible to the 88% of the Indian population at the time.

Two Indias were thus formed at that time. The illiterate India and the noble mansion of Nehru, who dreamed of joining their Western buddies over a good drink and an intellectual discourse.

Images of these two Indias, often juxtaposed, can be found in the now-defunct magazine "The Illustrated Weekly of India". In the 1970s, Nehru's daughter Indira had taken over as head of state and established a quasi-dictatorship under the pretext of a state of emergency amidst hundreds of demonstrations across the country.

So while illiterate India was protesting, the noble mansion was dreaming of race cars and shiny bathrooms. Every week, then, the regular reader of the Illustrated Weekly of India was confronted with this collision of images of two Indias. While the articles reported the news of the protests, the advertisements for soaps and perfumes occupied his peripheral vision. So was it necessary to learn about the effects of famine in the east or to dream of a trip to Japan at a discount?

The footage in my film was shot from images found in my father's Illustrated Weekly of India collection. Through the use of the animation stand and the optical printer used in this film, I wanted to pay homage to Pramod Pati, one of the early experimental filmmakers who delved into the same subject of the two Indias in the 1960s and 1970s, especially in his singular film "Explorer".

Exhibition format: DCP and ProRes 422HQ.

26.01.23, 20.00 : L'Abo et l'éclair, Réflet Médicis, Paris, France