‘SYNTHDEV – The Secular God Of Synth Wave’ by independent media agency, @brandimpetus depicts the iconic Kolkata taxi through retro-futuristic visuals, set to electronic music (Synthwave). Anybody who has been to Kolkata would know that the yellow and blue taxi is a trademark of the city and a regular sight when you go out.
It is not just a means of transport but also an important part of the landscape of Kolkata — an ode to a specific kind of emotion that the city exudes. However, the visuals depicted here are anachronistic and cut across different time periods in the city. The people within the cab, including the driver, are seen dressed in Mughal attire, and therefore, represent the city’s past when Bengal and its surrounding areas were under the domination of the Mughals. The Mughals had invaded Bengal in the 16th century, at a time when the region was ruled by the Afghan Karrani dynasty, the last dynasty of the Sultanate of Bengal. Therefore, Mughals riding the Kolkata taxi today depicts an amalgamation of both the present and the past of Kolkata. In doing so, it has truthfully captured the vibe of the people of Kolkata, who till date, remain trapped within the sense of glory that has been passed down from the yesteryears.
The artist believes that the Kolkata taxi also perfectly represents the present: “it is a perfect depiction of the present, in so far as it is not flashy, has flaws, but still functions in full capacity.”
The background of the image is retrofitted with a skyline that is futuristic and unreal, to say the least. It seems like an oddity amongst the traditional landscape, but speculates a future that is yet to come. On another level, it is a stark depiction of the extended technologically-advanced cityscape that has developed in Rajarhat and Saltlake –- the two IT hubs of Kolkata.
By depicting these three different realities existing simultaneously in Kolkata, the artist aims to throw light both on the lives of its citizens wrapped in nostalgia as well as the stark inequality and disparity that goes unnoticed in the busy life of the city.
You can check out the visual art here.
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