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Gautam Rajadhyaksha's fabulous photographs

Last updated on: August 12, 2010 17:37 IST

Those fabulous Indian faces!

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Patcy N
How we gushed over some of Bollywood's most beautiful personalities shot by star photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha in the special feature exclusive to Rediff.com

In this concluding part of the special feature, Mr Rajadhyaksha shares more images of the well-known Indians he has photographed -- from his new book, Chehere -- and his experiences of shooting them in this conversation with Patcy N.

Rekha

Rekha is India's ultimate cover girl.

She is extremely hard working, and takes a lot of pain over every single picture.

No photograph of hers is a mistake.

I think stars like her, who take so much trouble to be in the public eye, deserve to be loved and treated like legends.

She is a wonderful human being, extremely sensitive and a very good friend.

She is really quite a shy and private person.


Image: Rekha

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Nutan

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I don't think there has been a beauty quite like Nutan.

She is my all-time favourite face.

She was a poetess and a composer. She was multi-lingual. She knew French, English, Hindi, Marathi and many more languages.

She said people her age in India didn't get the kind of roles like Katharine Hepburn or Meryl Streep (did). She said it was better to shut shop than doing the same single dimensional maternal roles.

I knew her for a long time. I like this shot, as it was among her last pictures.


Image: Nutan

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Asha Bhosle

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I think she is versatile, wonderful at heart, a great cook and absolutely indefatigable.

At almost 78, she has the spirit of an 18-year-old or 8-year-old.

She has tremendous zest to keep doing something.

I adore and admire her.


Image: Asha Bhosle

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Sachin Tendulkar

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I have lots of memories of this picture; it is one of my all-time favourites.

It was taken at the time when Sachin made it on the international scene; he was busy breaking records.

I was shooting him for a book that his brother was writing. I asked Sachin to throw the ball in the air.

I was looking at the ball as the earth and wanted to capture it like he was playing with the earth. So, I lit him with one light.

The ball looks like a crescent, like how the earth would look from the universe.

Sachin likes this picture a lot. He is a very nice, very sweet and wonderfully unspoilt man.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar

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M F Husain

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I like this picture of M F Husain because it was shot at around 7 am.

Once when he came to my place, I told him, 'Husainsaab, I really want to shoot you, almost like a fakir surrounded by pigeons'.

He said, 'Alright, so where do you suggest?' I suggested (Mumbai's) Gateway of India and he agreed. He was there before I arrived. He just squatted and the pigeons were around.

This is one of my favourite pictures. It speaks volumes about Husain.

Husainsaab is a very interesting man. He knows a lot about Indian film history, world cinema and art. It was a great experience to discuss these things with him.


Image: M F Husain

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Bhimsen Joshi

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I think there is something to be said about Pandit Bhimsen Joshi; there is divinity on his face.

He attributed his life to classical music and after so much of riyaaz, when he sings bhajans there is divinity radiating out of him.

I remember meeting him for this picture after his second brain operation. He couldn't sit, but he sang.

He sang a Vilas Khan Todi around 11 am since that is the right time of the day to sing that. I clicked this picture while he was singing.

I like Zakir (Hussain) and Abba (Ustad Allah Rakha). I got Zakir in the right mood. He knows a lot about world music and yet is humble and willing to learn.


Image: Bhimsen Joshi

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J R D Tata

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I liked this picture of J R D Tata simply because it was done at short notice.

His book Keynotes was about to release and this photo was for the cover.

A prominent photographer had taken his pictures, and I thought they were very good, but they showed his age. He was in his mid-80s then.

But I realised every man has his vanity and he wanted a younger-looking picture. That was the first time I used a soft focus filter on the camera since then the soft focus has stuck with me to clean up his face a bit.

In the 1980s, we did not have Photoshop; you had to do everything with lighting and filters.

During the shoot I realised what a wonderful man he was.

He gave me an hour and behaved exactly like I wanted him to for the picture. We had a lovely conversation on cameras and import-export duties.

A few months later when I met him in Delhi, he recognised me and said, 'I really loved the pictures that you had shot of me; at least I don't look like a thermos flask.'


Image: J R D Tata

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Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

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I like Sam Manekshaw's pictures, especially the one with the field marshal's baton.

He was living in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, just opposite my bungalow. He invited me for cocktails one evening and I told him I wanted to photograph him. He said 'most certainly'.

He gave me a date and I was there very early, but he was ready with his civilian clothes and his uniform. He was so obedient.

When I asked him which clothes he wanted to wear first, he said, 'I am entirely at your disposal; you are the master.' I told him, 'That means I am the field marshal.' He said, 'As long as the photo shoot goes on you are the marshal.'

So, for those 30 minutes or so I was the field marshal of India; it made me feel good.

Manekshaw has wonderful tales to recount of the times of Partition and his relationship with Indira Gandhi, how completely wonderful and nice it was.

He was very charming and always very helpful. Many a times in Coonoor I have seen him go up to a lady and say, 'May I give you lift, my dear?' He was a thorough gentleman.

Smita Patil was so bright and intelligent. She died very prematurely, at age 32. I always thought her best was yet to come. She was very sensitive to people.

What people see are her 20 to 30 films, but what they don't know is the amount of good she has done.

She has rehabilitated so many people, and monetarily helped various camps and institutions.

She has helped with ideas and various other contributions. She was quick to absorb and extremely erudite.

It has been 25 years since her death, but she is still remembered like it was yesterday.


Image: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

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