Official Press release

Circumstances leading to the cancellation of the Love Quadrangle: Ghalib and Gulzar exhibition at the Victoria Memorial Hall on 20 February 2016

In October 2015 we were first approached for this possible exhibition by a Kolkata couple – one of them a journalist, and the other a Professor – both of whom knew the artist, Mr Shahid Rassam, from before. Since the exhibition proposal was very interesting, bringing together the themes of love, poetry and the historical connection of Mirza Ghalib with Kolkata, and promised to bring an iconic cultural personality like Shri Gulzar to the VMH, we responded positively to the idea.

Subsequently Mr Shahid Rassam joined in the email conversation from Karachi, and undertook to bear the costs of the transportation of the paintings, as well as for his own and Shri Gulzar’s travel. Accordingly we agreed to host the exhibition for nine days in February 2016 to coincide with the 188th anniversary of Ghalib’s arrival in Kolkata, and to pay for the local accommodation of Shri Gulzar and Mr Rassam, and for stretching and framing the paintings, which our budget permitted.

We subsequently wrote to Shri Gulzar, requesting him to come and read Ghalib’s and his own poetry at the inaugural event. Though we did not receive a written confirmation from Shri Gulzar, Mr Rassam sent an email confirmation on 4.11.2015 that he had a discussion with Shri Gulzar and that he had agreed. After receiving his request to hold the inauguration of the exhibition on 20.2.2016, we sent a formal letter to H.E. the Governor, requesting him to inaugurate the exhibition on 20 February. He so very kindly consented to do this.

From the very outset, it was always very clear that Shri Gulzar was the main attraction of the event and his presence was the overwhelmingly major reason why the VMH undertook to host the exhibition. Since early November 2015, we have all along been led to believe by Mr Rassam – and through him, by his two friends in Kolkata mentioned above – that Shri Gulzar had agreed to attend and that we could make all plans and arrangements for the event on that basis. Based on this trust and good faith, we arranged to take delivery of the paintings sent by courier, to stretch and frame them through a reputed agency, to arrange for the printing of the exhinbition catalogue, to print and send out invitation cards, to arrange for elaborate venue preparations, to put out advertisements in the newspapers, and to arrange for the accommodation, reception, transportation and local hospitality of Shri Gulzar and for the accommodation of Mr Rassam.

On 19 February, a day before the inauguration, Mr Rassam sent me an email with the flight details of Shri Gulzar on 20 February. Although this was not a copy of a properly booked e-ticket but only flight numbers, we acted on this information because it was agreed from the very beginning that Mr Rassam would arrange for Shri Gulzar’s travel.

At early morning of exhibition day, 20 February, I received a phone call from Mr Rassam’s chief contact in Kolkata – who quoted Mr Rassam to say that Shri Gulzar was unwell and unable to travel to Kolkata for the inauguration. This was a bolt from the blue, but we believed him and called Raj Bhavan soon thereafter to submit this information. Thereafter I wrote an email to H.E. the Governor’s Secretariat stating that Shri Gulzar was unable to attend because of illness and that we would be honoured if His Excellency still came and inaugurated the exhibition. A phone conversation with Raj Bhavan subsequently confirmed that His Excellency was still willing to show this act of kindness.

Shortly after this we were visited in my office by Shri Gulzar’s contact person in Kolkata, Shri Mohan Kumar, who helped me to speak over the phone with Shri Gulzar himself. During this phone conversation Shri Gulzar made it very clear that he had not received any flight tickets from Mr Rassam, and that he had all along told him (from October 2015) that he would be unable to attend the inauguration on 20 February. He expressed displeasure that the VMH invitation card included his name, when in fact he had all along refused to do this in his conversations with Mr Rassam. He in fact said in so many words that there had never been any confirmation by him, and therefore the question of booking his flights did not arise. He also said that it was completely untrue that he was ill and that he was clarifying this to several people from Kolkata who had been calling him for yesterday’s programme. To quote him, “Why should I tell one thousand lies to cover up one big lie” (Mr Rassam’s)?

It was at that moment that we realized that Mr Rassam knew all along that Shri Gulzar would not be coming to the exhibition. He deliberately fed us misinformation about Shri Gulzar’s spurious flight itinerary and subsequently about his “illness.” Clearly he tried to trick all of us into a situation where VMH would be forced to hold an exhibition whose very idea had been accepted because of the Gulzar factor in the first place. This was not only a grave betrayal of trust but criminal fraudulence of the worst kind. It was at that moment that we decided that in the interests of the public we should not hold an exhibition that turned out to be premised on lies, trickery and deceit. We wanted to spare H.E. the Governor and all the other invitees the ignominy of unwittingly buying into this falsehood, and thereby effectively legitimizing a scam.

It was immediately afterwards that we sent an email to Mr Rassam, explaining the reasons why we were calling off the exhibition. Subsequently Mr Rassam sent us an email expressing his sorrow and his willingness to pay us for “whatever the damages”, thus effectively admitting his guilt, while making no reference to his fraudulent trickery in giving us Shri’s Gulzar’s (non-existent) flight details and the news of his “illness.”

Accordingly, we posted cancellation notices near the gates to our campus, and on our website and facebook page. We also sent out emails regarding the cancellation to our mailing list, citing “unavoidable reasons” because we wanted to respect Mr Rassam’s privacy and did not want to publicly expose the fraudulent trickery of an artist from a neighbouring country, who may have worked with Gulzar in the past but who clearly faked the scenario of Gulzar’s attendance in the VMH exhibition.

Jayanta Sengupta,
Secretary and Curator
Victoria Memorial Hall and
Director-in-Charge
Indian Museum
 

An exhibition of 40 aquatints by Thomas and William Daniell from Oriental Scenery of India

On view daily till August from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (entry closes at 4.30 pm), Except Monday & National Holidays
Portrait Gallery, Victoria Memorial Hall

 

 
 
Download Card   Download folder of exhibition

 

 

Ongoing Exhibition in VMH Museum
Artworks of Jamini Roy - Portrait Gallery

 View - "Painting & Sketches by Jamini Roy" -
(1887- 1972), from the collection of Victoria Memorial Hall
Click here to view
Watercolours of Samuel Davis-The soldier-painter

 

 

     An exhibition of Oil Paintings
in the collection of
the Victoria Memorial Hall,
Calcutta.
Restored in collaboration with
the Calcutta Tercentenary Trust,
London
 Venue: Darbar Hall. (Still on display)
It was inaugurated on Saturday, 20th January 2001
by the British High Commissioner, Sir Rob Young
in the presence of His Excellency Sri V. J. Shah,
the then Governor of West Bengal.

 

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________PAST EXHIBITIONS_________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Exhibition

 

presently on view

 

in the Portrait Gallery,

 

Victoria Memorial Hall

during

 

August, 2014

(back on view by popular demand)

 

Download the Brochure

 

 

Download brochure of the exhibition

 

 

 
Download Brochure 
 

Victoria Memorial Hall presents "Art Works of Samuel Davis (1760-1819)" - a British amateur artist, from the collection of Victoria Memorial Hall.

The exhibition features water colour paintings that Davis produced
during his stay in India and Bhutan.
The exhibition will be on view for the the public
from 05 JAN 2014 to 07 FEB 2014.

ALL ARE WELCOME

 
Victoria Memorial Hall and Embassy of Hungary in India organised an exhibition of works by Hungarian Textile Artist Anna Kubinyi. The exhibition was inaugurated by Dr. Janos Martonyi, Honourable Foreign Minister of Hungary on Wednessday,13 November 2013 at 6.00 p.m. at Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata.
It remained on view
till 8 Dec2013, except on Mondays and Govt. Holidays. Details

 

 

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
and
State Museum, Lucknow
are organising
"1857: The First Spark of Independence"
An exhibition featuring reprints of objects on the first war of Independence
from the collection of Victoria Memorial Hall
Inauguration on Saturday, 31 August 2013, 3.30 pm
at State Museum, Lucknow
by
Shri R. C. Tripathi
,
former Chief Secretary, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India

Invitation Card

The exhibition shall remain on display iat the Lucknow State Museum,
till 22 September 2013 from 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
and
Rajakiya Swatrantrata Sangram Sangrahalay, Meerut
are organising
"1857: The First Spark of Independence"
An exhibition featuring reprints of objects on the first war of Independence
from the collection of Victoria Memorial Hall
Inauguration on Tuesday, 28 May 2013, 4.30 pm
at Rajakiya Swatrantrata Sangram Sangrahalay, Meerut

Invitation Card; Newspaper Clippings

Inauguration Photos

The exhibition shall remain on display till 3rd July 2013
 

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
and
Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati,
Santiniketan is organising an exhibition of Black and White Photographs titled

"E.O. Hoppe's
Santiniketan Photographs
from 1929".

Photographs by Emil Otto Hoppe from 1929
(Gift of Graham Howe and Pratapaditya Pal)

Prof. Sushanta Dattagupta,
Vice-Chancellor, Visva Bharati
has kindly consented to inaugurate the exhibition.

Inauguration 11th May 2013, Saturday, 11 a.m.at the Nandan Gallery, Kala Bhavana,
Visva Bharati, Santiniketan

A joint effort of
Marg Foundation; Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati, and
Victoria Memorial Hall


Invitation Card

 
The exhibition will remain open till 18 June 2013,
10.30 am to 12.30 pm
and 2.30 to 5 pm
(except holidays).

Download Brochure
 
Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
and
Directorate of Archaeology,Archives & Museums, Bhopal
presents
"1857: The First Spark of Independence".
An exhibition featuring reprints of objects on the first war of Independence
from the collection of Victoria Memorial Hall
opening on Tuesday, 16 April 2013, 5,00 pm
at the Sate Museum, Bhopal
The exhibition will remain on display from 16th April 2013 to 21st May 2013,
daily 12.00 p.m. to 7 p.m., except Mondays and National Holidays

 

 

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
and
Government Museum, Jhansi
organised
"1857: The First Spark of Independence"
An exhibition featuring reprints of objects on the first war of Independence
from the collection of Victoria Memorial Hall
opened on Tuesday, 18 December 2012, 4,00 pm
at Government Museum, Jhans
i
The exhibition remained on display from 18th December 2012 to 9th January 2013,
daily 2.00 p.m. to 8 p.m., except Mondays and National Holidays

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Memorial Hall
in collaboration with
Lalit Kala Akademi
presented
an Exhibition of Sculptures by Shri Prodosh Das Gupta
celebrating his birth centenary year (1912-1991).
The Exhibition was inaugurated on Wednesday, 25 July, 2012 at 6.00 pm.
Shri Sandip Sarkar, renowned art critic spoke about Prodosh Das Gupta’s life and work.

The exhibition was on display for the public
in the Portrait Gallery & Entrance Hall of Victoria Memorial Hall till 12 August, 2012 daily 10.00 am to 5.00 p.m. (entry closes at 4.30 pm)
except Mondays and National holidays

   

 

 

Victoria Memorial Hall
presents a retrospective exhibition
SAKTI BURMAN
The Wonder of It All

inaugurated by His Excellency the
Governor of West Bengal
Shri M. K. NARAYANAN

Monday, 2 April 2012, 5.30 pm
at Victoria Memorial Hall

Art critic Shri Manasij Majumdar
spoke about the artist and his work

The exhibition will remain on display for the public in the
Portrait Gallery and Entrance Hall of Victoria Memorial Hall
from 3 to 29 April 2012, daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
(entry closes at 4.30 pm), except Mondays and national holidays
 
Victoria Memorial Hall
in collaboration with
RABINDRA BHARATI SOCIETY
cordially invites you to an exhibition of paintings by

GAGANENDRANATH TAGORE

to be inaugurated on Monday, 30 January 2012, 5.00 pm
at Victoria Memorial Hall

by eminent artist Shri Shuvaprasanna

Dr. Ratan Parimoo will introduce the exhibition

Open to public in the Portrait Gallery of Victoria Memorial Hall
from 31 January to 15 March 2012,
daily 10.00 am. to 5.00 pm (entry till 4.30 pm)
except Mondays and National Holidays

______________________________________________________________
Dr. Ratan Parimoo, eminent art historian and Director, L.D. Museum and N.C. Mehta Gallery, Ahmedabad has curated the exhibition of 108 paintings.

These paintings are part of collections of some five thousand artworks that VMH has recently acquired as enduring loan from Rabindra Bharati Society, Kolkata. This exhibition is the first of several exhibitions planned in the coming days. A Catalogue of 108 paintings by Gaganendranath Tagore will come out soon.
 

 

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
presented an exhibition of original
KALIGHAT PAINTINGS
Inaugural preview was held on Saturday 15 October 2011, 6:00 pm
at Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
in the presence of
Jawhar Sircar, Secretary, Culture, Government of India
Martin Roth, Director, V&A Museum, London
____________________________________________________________________
Calcutta Chamber Orchestra presented Scottish-inspired Tagore Tunes
and
percussion concert with Dhakis presented by Ratul Shankar and Group

_____________________________________________________________________

 

 

Part of the V&A's International Strategy : India Programme
Supported by the Bonita Trust
and
Ministry of Culture, Government of India
_____________________________________________________________________

Exhibition remained open from
16 October 2011 to 11 Dec 2011. Daily 10 am to 5 pm.
 
 Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta
presents
an exhibition of lithographs
by
Charles D'oyly (1781-1845)
from its own collection titled
"Calcutta, Early Nineteenth Century"
inaugurated by
Shri Jawhar Sarcar,
Secretary, Ministry of Culture,
Government of India
on June 25, 2011 at 6 p.m.
at Central Hall, Victoria Memorial

More on D'oyly

 

 

 Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta
and
The Marg Foundation, Mumbai
present
Hoppé's Santiniketan,
an exhibition of photographs on Tagore
and Santiniketan
from 1829
by
Emil Otto Hoppé.

The exhibition will remain open till
30th June 2011
 
 
 Victoria Memorial Hall is hosting an exhibition of photographs on
Mother Teresa
by
Sunil K. Dutta.

It will continue
(except on Mondays and national holidays), 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
in the Central Hall of Victoria Memorial.
 

 

 

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