Rejecting the aesthetics of mainstream art, Jamini Roy moved into the realm of folk art, and told the oft repeated tales in the new art form inherited from the Western world of art.
The tales of Radha and Krishna are a deep part of the Indian knowledge system. By adopting these narratives for his paintings, Roy appeals to the collective understanding of the Indian people. These stories exist in Indian art across genres. Painting, too, inherits these tales and through Roy’s colours and forms, inspired by folk art, they acquire a new flavour, where snapshots of these stories are presented. The traditional folk styles come together uniquely with the framed painting to merge Indian modern art, telling stories of worship and devotion; of liberating women from the rigid impositions made upon them by the society. The exploits of Krishna with the gopis and Radha are a part of an intricate fabric of stories interpreted and reinterpreted by different communities across different times. These are known in the Bengali tongue as Krishna Leela, meaning the love play involving Krishna. The painting is one such interpretation which, eulogises Lord Krishna, as an elegant dancer, a mesmerising flute player and an immensely desirable and affectionate lover.