How The Gandhys Of Chemould Introduced Modern Art To The Masses In Mumbai

How The Gandhys Of Chemould Introduced Modern Art To The Masses In Mumbai

Narrating the tale of a family who nurtured and helped evolve art movements in Mumbai by spreading awareness amongst the common citizens rather than in elitist circles, a documentary Kekee Manzil: House of Art by Behroze Gandhy and a biography, Citizen Gallery: The Gandhys of Chemould and the Birth of Modern Art in Bombay share the unusual story of the Gandhy family.  

Kekoo Gandhy, a key figure in Mumbai's art world and the founder of Gallery Chemould introduced an entire city to the beauty of modern art. His story started back in the 1940's on deciding to set up a picture-framing store on Princess Street. The first display of progressive art included artists such as KH Ara, SH Raza, FN Souza. This is also the place where MF Husain sold his first canvas.

The Gandhy family at large brought forth a new art culture and appreciation that was not bound by artistic snobbery. Instead they found a way to communicate to the ordinary Indian and transformed Mumbai into a cultural spectacle like Delhi and Kolkata. Kekoo Gandhy and his business partner and wife Khorshed Gandhy introduced stories as well as visuals that spoke of secularism and libertarian ideas during a highly polarising period in Indian politics.

The two artistic narratives take a deep dive into this history, providing context to the efforts of the Gandhy family in furthering the communist movement in India. The role they played in shaping a post-ayodhya Mumbai and how they were able to form a historic institution. The book had a formal unveiling at the India Art Fair and is now available at bookstores. The film, made by Gandhy’s daughter Behroze, is set to premiere in Paris & British Film Institute this February. 

Find the book here.

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