Bhubaneswar, Jan 24: Pattachitra, an ancient traditional art form, holds a significant and revered place in Indian culture and tradition, particularly in the states of Odisha and West Bengal. This intricate and colorful art form, which translates to "cloth picture" in Sanskrit, is a manifestation of rich cultural heritage, showcasing a diverse range of themes, mythologies, and social narratives.
Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt was standing out in an exquisite silk saree during the Pran Pratishtha ceremony of Lord Ram at Ayodhya. The pallu of the silk saree was adorned with hand-printed depictions inspired by the key moments of the Ramayana, portrayed in the renowned Pattachitra art of Odisha.
The intricately crafted scenes included the breaking of the Shiv Dhanush, King Dashratha’s promise, moments in the boat with Guha, the golden deer, the kidnapping, Ram Setu, Lord Hanuman presenting the ring to Maa Sita, and Rama Pattabishek. These miniature paintings, meticulously done in the Pattachitra style, required a staggering 100 hours to complete.
Alia Bhatt chose to don a Mysore silk saree from Karnataka for the auspicious occasion, and the hand-printed pallu showcased the thematic narrative from the Ramayana. Bharathy Harish, Head of the designer label Madhurya, explained, “The pallu work is hand-printed, where you can see the depiction of key moments that are mentioned in the Ramayana.” She further highlighted the exceptional skill involved, mentioning that two artists dedicated 10 days to the custom-made creation.
The intricacy of the depictions within the 4-inch pallu bandh amazed onlookers, capturing the essence of the Ramayana. Bharathy Harish shared insights into the craftsmanship, stating, “Imagine, within the 4-inch pallu bandh that we had, the artists accommodated the theme.” The effort and artistry involved in creating this unique piece were truly commendable.
Pattachitra has deep roots in Indian history, dating back to several centuries. Originating in the village of Raghurajpur in Odisha, this art form has been passed down through generations, with artisans refining and expanding their techniques over time. The historical context of Pattachitra often revolves around its use in narrating religious stories, legends, and social commentaries.
Themes and Narratives:
Pattachitra paintings depict a wide array of themes, ranging from Hindu mythology and epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata to scenes from daily life and nature. The artists, known as "chitrakars" or "pattachitrakars," skillfully illustrate stories with intricate details, vibrant colors, and traditional motifs. Each painting often tells a story or imparts a moral lesson, making Pattachitra a visual form of storytelling that transcends linguistic barriers.
Techniques and Materials:
The creation of Pattachitra involves meticulous craftsmanship and the use of specific materials. Typically, these paintings are done on specially treated cloth or canvas using natural pigments derived from minerals, stones, and plants. The artists use fine brushes made from animal hair to achieve intricate details. The process also includes preparing the canvas, outlining the design, filling in colors, and finishing with delicate strokes. The result is a visually striking and harmonious piece of art.
Pattachitra is not just an art form; it is a cultural tradition that reflects the identity, beliefs, and aesthetics of the community. The paintings are often associated with religious rituals, especially in the context of various festivals. Pattachitra is also used in the creation of traditional scrolls known as "patachitra patta," which are unfurled during religious processions and performances.
Promotion of Diversity:
The diversity within Pattachitra is evident in the various styles that have evolved over time. While the traditional Pattachitra style is prevalent in Raghurajpur, there are distinct regional variations, such as the "Kalighat Pattachitra" from West Bengal. Each style brings its unique nuances, contributing to the rich tapestry of Indian art and culture.
In the modern era, Pattachitra continues to thrive as a symbol of cultural resilience. Contemporary artists are adapting traditional themes to address contemporary issues, ensuring the relevance of this ancient art form in today's context. Moreover, initiatives to promote Pattachitra as a means of livelihood for artisans contribute to its sustainability and preservation.
Additionally, Bharathy Harish disclosed that the custom-made saree's approximate cost amounted to Rs 45,000, underlining the exclusivity and craftsmanship that went into crafting this one-of-a-kind ensemble for the significant event. Alia Bhatt's choice of attire not only paid homage to the cultural and religious significance of the occasion but also exemplified the fusion of traditional artistry with contemporary fashion.
Pattachitra is not merely a form of artistic expression; it is a living testament to the cultural diversity and artistic brilliance of India. Its ability to adapt and evolve while maintaining its cultural roots underscores its enduring relevance in the ever-changing landscape of Indian art and tradition.