Indigo is not just a colour, it never was… it was wealth, it was mystique, it was colonialism, tyranny and protest. It made history, but itself fell prey to the events and processes of time, until one day it seemed to disappear.
As the world begins to demand natural dyes once again, it is back in the spot light. The stubborn dreamers who refused to forget their craft feel vindicated, but the world that once nurtured this difficult and capricious colour is no more.
Traversing between the verdant monsoon of Tamil Nadu, the earthy expanses of springtime Telangana and the wintry desert of Kachchh, Neeli Raag is an attempt to tell the story of indigo as it is practiced in India today. Interwoven with the narratives of the indigo craftsmen is the colour itself in its many moods textures and forms. How does a green leaf yield blue colour? How do the different shades emerge? What is the chemistry that makes this possible? The processes of indigo are almost magical to behold, as murky solutions transform into a vibrant blue, bit by bit. This is a blue that deepens, mesmerises, stains, and seeps into the skin and nails, indeed the lives of those who craft it.