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Mother comes alive in Dutt’s frozen frames

SHILLONG: Sunil Kumar Dutt started his journey as a photographer with Mother Teresa in 1956 and through the years he had captured some of the best memories of the Mother.
An exhibition in the city recently brought together some of the rare photographs of Mother Teresa that depicted a powerful representation of her life and aptly captured her moods and expressions while meeting people from all walks of life. A freelance photographer, Dutt, now 80, has also captured some of the best candid moments of the “City of Joy” that was Mother’s home till she died in 1997. The octogenarian could not make it to the exhibition due to poor health.
D. Debroy, president of Lions Club Shillong that organised the exhibition, narrated to The Shillong Times about Dutt’s association with the Mother, who was canonised in September.
“He was looking for a job but found it difficult as nobody was willing to give him one though he was a good photographer. As a last attempt, he went to meet one Mr Doig (Desmond Doig of The Statesman) with a few samples,” he said.
“Doig said he was willing to give him a job provided that Dutt should give his 100 per cent to the job. He told Dutt to cover a programme on Mother Teresa. From then on he captured every moment of her interaction with people,” he added.
In 1993, he released a photo-book called Mother Teresa, Down Memory Lane. It was released by the Saint herself and below a smiling black and white photo of hers, she wrote, “Dear Sunil, God love you for the love you gave through your photos. God bless you.”
Dutt’s photo-book contains quotes of the Saint when she once said, “There are thousands of people dying for a piece of bread. There are thousands more dying for a bit of love.”
True to her words, the photographs of Dutt displayed at the exhibition captured St Teresa in which she sat beside sick people, spoke to destitute, instructed children. There was also the photograph of the Mother in a toy train to Darjeeling where she received the call from God. Dutt’s every frozen frame tells a story. Another interesting photograph is when she is seen coming out of a jail after releasing prisoners who stayed in jail without trail for a long time. The photograph revealed that it was Alipore Special Jail (Institute of Mental Health).
Most photographs portrayed a frail looking Mother Teresa. She did not take old age as an excuse to quit serving people, as in one picture she was seen walking through the dirty narrow lanes of Kolkata. Several school students and people from all walks of life visited the exhibition, with the hope that these photographs will inspire posterity.

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