‘Whole concept of photography has changed these days’: Dilip Piramal

Smita Tripathi


“I started photography at the age of 10,” said Dilip Piramal, the 73-year-old chairman of VIP Industries, adding that he was the designated family photographer and clicked quite a few portraits. “I could have gone on to an advanced level but I never pursued it as I got busy with work,” said Piramal. 

He spoke to Business Today at the launch of the newly renovated Dilip Piramal Art Gallery at Mumbai’s iconic National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), which has undergone a makeover in its 35th year.  

Piramal has been associated with NCPA since 1987 when he became a sponsor. “My association though started seven years before that when it was conceptualised. So it’s been over four decades.” 

So how did he end up sponsoring it? “Jamshed Bhabha, the younger brother of Homi Bhabha, the pioneer of India’s atomic movement was the director of the NCPA. He was close to JRD Tata and NCPA was basically sponsored by the Tatas,” said Piramal. “There was a seminar where a bunch of us met Jamshed Bhabha and he took a liking to me and we became friendly. We met a few times and he asked me if I would sponsor a new gallery they were coming up with. I readily agreed as I was interested in photography and the Tatas had a terrific reputation,” explained Piramal. 

Piramal says while the gallery was set up to promote photography as an art form, he believes that with digitisation, photography has become less of an art form. “With digital cameras and photoshopping, I don’t know how much of an art form it is now. You can change a boy into a girl. With visual effects you can even create photographs. So the whole concept of photography has changed.”  

While Piramal is open to the idea of sponsoring more art and culture venues, he said he is more into philanthropy now. “I am now more into philanthropy rather than art and culture. I don’t have any desire to accumulate any more wealth. But I am doing that because my business is doing well and I get dividends and all. So whatever I get I like to give away. But if something (museum, art gallery) appeals to me then I will definitely sponsor it,” said Piramal.