This is my 15th calendar issue but the excitement and energy is like it’s my first. I am always slightly nervous before any edition. The calender will not have been possible without the trust of my actors. For them to do this for me is a very special feeling as they are not doing this for any commercial gain.
Usually, I don’t have one general theme in my editions. There is a concept behind each picture. Rather than get creatively restricted by a concept, I let my photography stand out and allow the actors to
This year most of the shoots were done in December, while few happened in November. And there were few newcomers such as Parineeti Chopra and Sidharth Malhotra. Since I have shot with them, I have a good equation with them. With Parineeti, I wanted to do something she has never done before. In this edition, she is lying down in a wheel barrow to give the feeling that she is not wearing anything. She is looking glamorous in that space and in terms of the mood, it looks quite cool also. With Sidharth, we made him look very dirty and grungy because we have always seen him looking sophisticated. We made him put on a lot of grease, almost like a mechanic and did the shoot at a petrol pump.
When I conceptualise a shoot with an actor I try to see what he/ she has never done before. But when you have shot with someone many times such as Sonakshi, Salman, Deepika and Saif, it becomes difficult to outPlay magazinedo that and you are competing with yourself. You are fighting with yourself and it is a great evolving process. With Salman for instance, I have always done an outdoor shot. And the previous year we had done a shot with him walking in a jungle. This time, we have done a
classic 1960s-like portrait in Rembrandt lighting.
Since it is important to keep the mood relaxed on the sets, music is a very essential part of the shoots. It contributes to the ambience. Salman likes listening to my collection of ’80s retro music and Bachchan saab shoots really quick so there is no opportunity to play the music. He is very punctual and gives as much as is necessary. The ‘in’ an ‘out’ times are mostly between three-ten minutes. It is important that the quicker and better prepared my team is, the better will be the outcome of the shoot. They prefer that I keep the shoots simple, uncomplicated and snappy. I am the probably the fastest photographer in the industry as I get my shots done really quick.
Sometimes the actors pitch in with their opinions on the shoot. I have to keep in mind they are not professional models with whom I can select any picture. Also, the shoots are a team exercise so if a suggestion comes from an assistant, I like to listen to it at least. I am here to learn and always open to suggestion.
The planning for any new edition usually begins much in advance. I could start gathering ideas from anywhere. When I see something interesting I just take a picture on my mobile phone or make a note of it. In Mr Bachchan’s shoot this year, we have shown him dressed in a tuxedo, emerging from an autorickshaw as though dressed for a red carpet movie premiere. So we got an auto rickshaw decorated and made it look really kitsch. This auto rickshaw idea was in my head for the last three years. I ended up doing it with Mr Bachchan because he has probably not sat in a rickshaw for the longest time. He even thanked me for this concept in the video while making the shoot.
When conceptualising a shoot, it has to suit the celebrity because they are celebrities and people follow them. If they are convinced it makes them look good, they will they pose for it.