of dance photos by Dr. Susil Pani
March 23, 2009
Pani is an eye doctor from the state of Orissa, now settled in Pondicherry.
He hails from an illustrious family, his father being late Dr. Raghunath
Pani who was an educationist, writer, dramatist, composer, and musician
– both Carnatic Veena and Hindustani vocal singer. Dr. Susil Pani has been
interested in photography from his college days and has been taking pictures
on a variety of subjects. His interests include: Indian classical dance
forms, temple cars, temples, stage photography, nature, etc. He has already
presented solo photo exhibits of Indian classical and folk dances, spiritual
significance of flowers, chariots of god: temple cars, general photography.
2009, an exhibition of his photos on Indian classical dances covering Odissi,
Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Manipuri, Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam are on show
at the art gallery of Dakshinchitra, Chennai.
Dr. Pani take up dance photography as a hobby?
"I have been
fascinated by the beautiful dancing figures from the temples, particularly
Madurai Meenakshi temple during my long stay at Aravind Eye Hospital and
during my travel to eye camps to all the nook and corners of Tamilnadu.
But I did not have the money to buy a camera to take pictures. On shifting
to Pondicherry, I got a Minolta auto focus SLR in 1996 and that started
my journey. I used to attend dance, drama and music programs at the Sri
Aurobindo Ashram theatre or school courtyard, sit silently and take photos
without any flash only mostly on slides, quietly process and print them
and enjoy the beauty and grace without understanding anything about dance,
the dancer, etc. Only in April 2002 after coming in contact with renowned
Odissi dancer Sangeeta Dash, I was further inspired. She prompted me to
put up an exhibit on Indian dances at The Sri Aurobindo Ashram exhibition
house in December 2002. She selected and put things in perspective,
and a grand exhibition was done spanning four halls with more than two
this exhibition at Dakshinchitra come about?
"As the purpose
of my photos has been always a search for the lord, I did not think to
venture out of Pondicherry. After visiting Dakshinchitra in Dec 2008, again
it was Sangeeta Dash who coaxed me to try to put up an exhibition. She
has been my inspiration all along and I have tried to concentrate on recreating
the mood and to bring out the inner feelings of the dancer. So technique
wise I am not an expert or trained at all. I use very basic equipment.
As my aim has not been to venture into creating any name and fame as a
photographer, I have not moved out much out of Pondicherry to take the
pictures. God has been gracious to grant me opportunity at Pondicherry
during festivals and I have made a few trips to Chidambaram. My search
is still on."