If I have ever been exhausted physically n mentally in a shoot, than this was the one-VARIJA 2011 calendar- but then undoubtedly this was also one of my most favorite n exciting shoots.
Fourteen different shots in one day are almost an impossible task to achieve. But then I had to, as it was a promise I had made to Varija- who was not just a great designer to me but also one of my closest buddies.
So we wrecked our minds working on the concept, finding the right models, choosing the best designs and then of course the location mattered the most.
It was all semi bridal wear, colorful outfits for the younger brides speaking of celebrations. VARIJA as a label is quite known for that and the launch of the calendar had to coincide with the celebrations of six years of completion of VARIJA as a label.
Finally we came up with idea of shooting the moods n journey of a bride- from a village to a modern bride and shoot them against rural settings to bring out the contrast and capture a whole range of emotions a bride would experience.
It sounded good but was really tricky to capture.
The most crucial element of any such shoot is meticulous planning. You just can’t afford to go wrong when you are hard pressed for time. Usually something like this requires two and a half days of shoot.
And I had to do it in one day. Budget has always mattered.
So I had to find a make up artist who was good n fast and who wont get tired trying to achieve fourteen different looks in one day.An art director who would be ready with the next location by the time I got done with my first shot.Models who understood me perfectly, wouldn’t crib n complaint if they had to wait and who could beautifully carry such designer outfits.
In short, everyone had to understand their job perfectly and had to be in total sync with my thought process and requirements.
All was done. I found a really great set of people for the job. Shubhra handled the makeup department and Amrit took up art direction. And on top of that we got the best of the best models for this calendar- Sumit Atwal, Poppy Jabbal, Unnati Davara, Khalida Jan, Vedita Pratap Singh.Couldn’t have asked for more. From sweet to sexy we had an entire range of superb models.
The biggest problem that still remained was the location. Studio looked useless as it wouldn’t give the real village feel and shooting in real village was unimaginable. It gets difficult to handle a crowd on an outdoor shoot like this.
My assistants and me must have spent 5 days trying to work out a possible location, till finally someone suggested a studio on the outskirts of the city where he had seen a village set erected. Great. Done.
I went, saw n locked it immediately. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but gave me enough scope to play around and my art director assured me he would manage to give me the look n feel of what I wanted.
So we reached early morning with truckload of lights- from HMI’s to tons of reflectors, battery packs, flash lights n everything close to being a professional light. I had decided to have two teams and simultaneously work on two different shots. So I would give the brief and half my team would be working on the next shot.
Morning 7am to 11pm at night –finally it was a wrap. Everyone was exhausted yet elated. I was dead.But then once I saw the pics in print- it was well worth the effort. Of course, I am never ever again shooting something like this in one day.
Calendar was eventually launched by Sunil Sethi, president, Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) and co sponsored by Gitanjali group.
I know I am a few months late in posting this article, but it’s never too late to share the good things.Posting a select few pics from the shoot and you can check the making of the photo shoot as well. It’s quite an interesting video and will give you an insight to the kind of efforts made for this shoot.