It has not been an easy journey for Taher Ali so far. But Ali,on a high after getting selected along with three other male models at the auditions for the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer/Resort 2012 on Monday at Grand Hyatt in Mumbai is hardly complaining. Hailing from the small town of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh,he had harboured an ambition to become a model since his college days. My parents didnt approve of it but I never gave up my dream of making it big in the glamour industry, recollects the 24-year-old graduate.
Ali had to wait for two years to get this opportunity; the past four seasons didnt have enough menswear shows for the organisers to conduct fresh auditions. What made his LFW ramp debut tougher was the fact that he was one among a crowd of 240 male applicants (as opposed to just 122 female registrations). I am glad I made it this time. Now I have something to show to my parents, he says.
Modelling remains a popular vocation among Indias youth,seeking a slice of the glamour world. Even though male models have to often deal with lesser opportunities and salaries compared to their female counterparts,the ramp still holds a lure for them. A case in point is Adeem Kirmani. He left his hometown,Srinagar,two years ago to pursue an MBA in Bangalore,but still counts modelling as his first love. Every time I saw a fashion show on TV,I grew more convinced that I wanted to be a model, Kirmani recalls.
The 23-year-old is disappointed over not getting featured on LFWs list. He,however,doesnt plan to give up so soon. I have time. I have been modelling for one and a half years in Bangalore now. So I will look for modelling assignments be it ads,fashion shows or magazine shoots for some more years and see how it goes. I will make a quick money anyway. Meanwhile,I will complete my MBA, he points out.
Kirmanis friend Saif Bhat,who also tried his luck at the LFW auditions,has a similar plan in place. He has completed his engineering,which he calls his plan B. I know that male models dont have it easy. But I want to give modelling a shot. In fact,I will come again for the next LFW audition. Its a game of risks. If I make it,theres no looking back even movies can be within my reach, he says.
Almost all the modelling aspirants have their eyes on Bollywood. Michael Obidike,a trainer at a gym in Mumbai,confesses that when he came for the auditions,he wanted to cash in on his fitness and African genes. Having been born and brought up in India,I am aware of the power of Bollywood. The film industry is my ultimate goal; lets face it modelling is great fun but it cant be the destination, says Obidike.
This is perhaps why the judges were a tad disappointed with the male applicants. Anjana Sharma,Director Fashion,IMG Reliance,says,Ramp requirements are different from that of Bollywood but a lot of boys who turned up didnt know this. They were just beefy,and thats not what walking the ramp is about. Its about being fit and having the right attitude. How one carries oneself is very important. The four we shortlisted were just the ones we were looking for.