Cleansing, a single channel film by Galhotra, is an amalgamation of her concerns with the elements of air and earth and examines the phenomena of escalating dust levels, due to rapid rise in mining and transport.
The film Cleansing is based on very simple and mundane act of cleaning a plant from the artist’s home garden. The plant was not washed or cleaned for a period of 15 days from late October to early November 2016. While cleaning with clinical precision, Galhotra could evidently see that the layer of dust mixed with the oily surface of the leaves, had shielded the plant from the processes of photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration and absorption of phytotoxic gaseous pollutants.
Consequently, the plant was unable to produce oxygen vital for our sustenance. The film presents this realization in a simple yet aesthetically refined manner, for the audience to understand and empathize with the critical situation we are living in.
Aesthetically and ethically, Cleansing encapsulates Galhotra’s conceptual understanding of ecological phenomena and her creative urge to destabilize the audience from their zones of comfort. The movement of the gloved hands cleaning the dusty leaves, evokes the eerie sensation of an operation-theatre. The muted colour palette heightens this sombre feeling of a silent yet morbid apocalypse, slowly but steadily engulfing us.