Kailash: journey towards self realization

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Many times in life we tend to trade the basic for the complex and usually the trade-off costs a lot. Shamim Akhtar's long desire to traverse the rugged Tibetan terrain in order to reach the naval of the earth, Kailash Mansarovar might not have stemmed out of a yearning for moksha or even questions for the almighty, but the journey nevertheless has initiated a process of looking within. The exhibition is called Kailash: A Journey Within and it starts at Swayambhunath with very simplistic imagery. As one prepares for the long haul, the camera too tinkers around with the obligatory subjects.

The simple wish to search the truth and not salvation has been the underlying brief for most of the photos whose subjects are mere mortals such as holy men outside the divine Pashupathinath temple in Nepal, or everyday objects like life on the street side in Nepal. As the tone of the journey changes so does the mood of the photos. The stay at Nyalam to acclimatize and the drive to Saga introduce the viewer to what is in store. The blues of the sky, the browns of the unrelenting Tibetan countryside simply take your breath away. One wished Akthar had chosen to display the images better for most of them are clubbed together in groups on a single frame.

Akthar's keen eye and effortless creation of a moment in a place that has nothing to offer is what elevates the imagery. A young veteran with over 250 credits even before he turned 23, this is Akthar's sixth solo exhibitions. If this exhibition were to be like a film then the twist in the tale comes as soon as the photographer is out in the open. This is well balanced with the first five pictures of reaching the destination, which are staid and contemplative. Somewhere the photographer seems to have lost the battle to usual trappings of the subject that he chooses. Sadly a major part of the collection is very basic and straight on; while that as an approach isn't a deterrent but when you photograph something as popular as Tibet or mountainous journeys, the approach most certainly falls short.

There is an image of a desolate monastery, which as an image might be done to death but in Akhtar's hands still looks hauntingly beautiful. But when compared to the next image, of a starry night in the open at twilight, the monastery pales in comparison. Kailash: A Journey Within is wonderfully curated, especially the latter half and more than a handful of photos will surely leave you awestruck but there is still much more that could have been there. Shamim Akthar believes this is just the beginning of a journey and maybe the next stop along the road would be more introspective. Till that time…enjoy this stopover.

The author is an entertainment news editor and works for many websites related to event, bollywood, music, movie, concerts and theater. Visit one more interesting article of author: Umaesh Pherwani's Holes and Poles... No Holes Barred or http://www.buzzintown.com/mumbai/event_umaesh-pherwanis-holes-poles-no-holes-barred--id_134718.html

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