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Love At First Fight
Photographs by Akash Mehta
PUBLISHED: Volume 12, Issue 1, First Quarter 2004
We have our own space to define what we are doing — so there’s no room for jealousy if the other one is doing better. In fact, it’s a matter of pride.

"I’m noisy and messy, while she is organised and calm. From time to time, my hyperactivity gets to her and she politely smiles and shuts the door." - Jitish Kallat

Darlings of the art and media circle, their youthful exuberance belies the maturity of their social and political concerns. Unafraid to take a stance, their collaborations make a telling impact on society. Spirited painters both, husband and wife, Jitish and Reena Kallat speak about their different strokes and colourful coexistence to MARIA LOUIS.

They have grown together as students on an artistic journey, spent the last decade of their lives sharing their thoughts and emotions, crossed the oceans together in pursuit of their dreams and lived as man and wife for the past four years. He is an artist who is a talented writer, she is an artist who is a trained dancer…and the choreography of their lives is synchronised with the rhythm of their hearts. They work hard…but party equally hard. They are the darlings of the art and media circle in the city of Mumbai, where their artistic collaborations have made a telling impact — most recently visible in the 15ft x 59ft billboard mural of the Colour Ghoda exhibited in the Kala Ghoda precinct. Meet Jitish and Reena Saini Kallat, young artists who live together, sometimes work together… and always look good together!

I observe them at Velvet Lounge, the new discotheque designed by Reena’s architect brother, Rajiv Saini, at the Renaissance, Powai. For a minute, they appear drained from working against the clock towards new local and international exhibitions…and sit down to nurse their drinks. Then suddenly, Jitish perks up and leads Reena on to the dance floor. Her face brightens and she willingly follows him. Uninhibitedly, they sway and move to the pulsating beat — a rarity among the city’s normally restrained breed of artists. But these are youngsters on the threshold of turning 30…and their youthful exuberance belies the maturity of their social and political concerns.