Bohurupi literally means to imitate different kind of forms that make a man of special character. It is a rural art that has been prevalent for almost 200 years. In an era of glamour and grandeur, Bohurupi is still breathing at the hands of some doyens in this field. Among them, Shri Kalipada Pal, Shri Subal Bairagi, Shri Ananda Chowdhury and Shri Uttam Mondal are worth mentioning. Various entities, mostly mythological and historical, emerge in the body of each and every one. At the end of their make-up, they visit the temple in an attempt to earn some money and thus support their families.
Once a popular entertainment in the rural areas, this art form is now on the brink of elimination, largely due to the apathy and disregard of the local administration, and the continuous oppression of superficial entertainment. But where unpredictability is part and parcel of their ill-fated lives, a glimmer of hope is emerging as Bohurupi is slowly being revived, just enough for these hapless fellows to ensure their honorable livelihood in the future. It is this hope resonates in their minds again and again and gives them the confidence to subjugate the odds in their life.
Bijoy Chowdhury is a visual communicator and photographer based in Kolkata. He has received both the Commonwealth and National Geographic Traveler Photography Awards and participated in exhibitions in India, London, Amsterdam, Sweden, China and Japan. In 2010, his work was included in the group exhibition, ‘Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh’, at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. Today he continues to work on a variety of personal projects in India, alongside his regular assignments.