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DD to telecast largest series on paintings and sculptures of India
Doordarshan has commenced telecast on its culture channel, DD Bharati, of two different series of films by the eminent cameraperson and conservationist Benoy Behl of the ‘Paintings of India’ and ‘The sculptures of India’.

Both the series are claimed to be the most comprehensive documentation on these subjects and have been shot in India and all over the world.

The series on sculptures has been produced, directed, written and photographed by Behl along with Associate Director Latika Gupta and Assistant Cameraman Gopal Prajapati.

The programmes are telecast at 7 am, 10.30 am, 2.30 pm and 10 pm.

Benoy has now won a place for himself in the Limca Book of Records for traveling more than 80,000 km all over the country and in museums overseas filming the 26-episode series.

The 26-episode series on ‘The Paintings of India’ from Ajanta till the present day has documented paintings of practically every century from all corners of India, dispelling long-held earlier views of a fragmented development of painting in India. These films established the fact of a pan-Indian heritage of painting, coming from 2,200 years ago.

The Prasar Bharati Calendar in 2003 was based on the theme of ‘The Paintings of India’ and carried photographs from this series.

Benoy told that his journey had inspired him to embark on a new series on ancient Buddhist art in India. Apart from this, he is also shooting a series on the Cosmopolitan Life in Ancient India. He hopes to complete both these series shortly.

He said it was interesting that the second-most revered deity of Buddhist Japan is Saraswati. Sculptures of almost all Indic deities are seen in the early temples of Nara. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are regularly worshipped by the Buddhists of Thailand and the streets are full of their statues. The great stupa of Nepal has numerous Shivalingas, which are under worship.

Benoy claimed that the series on sculpture was a major landmark in understanding Indian art, as well as the compassionate philosophy and history of ancient India, as it revealed there were no divisions of religions in ancient India.

Elucidating his argument, he said the earliest Buddhist art of the 2nd century BC, which was created in the railings of the Bharhut stupa and the early stupa at Sanchi, were created in the rule of Sunga kings who worshipped Shiva or Vishnu. The next stage of Buddhist art was the later stupas at Sanchi. These were made in the rule of the Satavahana kings, who also worshipped Shiva or Vishnu. Scores of great stupas were also made in the Krishna Valley in present-day Andhra Pradesh, from the BC period into the first few centuries AD in the rule of the Satavahana and Ishvaku kings.

In later times, hundreds of more Buddhist caves were excavated in Western India around the 5th century AD. These were made in the rule of the Vakataka kings, who worshipped Shiva or Vishnu. The same holds true for the Kushana kings and the Gupta kings, under whom a great heritage of Buddhist art was created. These kings also worshipped Shiva or Vishnu.

The inscriptions at all the ancient Indian monuments clearly show that queens were fully free to worship any deity they chose to and patronize the art and monuments of their own choice.

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