How does a photographer line up his shoot during the course of the day? Well- read on- an hour by hour account of the photo shoot with Veena Malik
4.00am Call time for make up n hair at the new store of Libas at Juhu. Veena is a professional, reaches dot on time! I brief the make up artist Sunil Patil and hair stylist Tabassum on phone and head straight for the beach rather than going to Juhu.
6.00am Reach location at Madh Island. Does not look as great as I would have expected, would have to make the best out of it somehow. I don’t know why people expect beaches of Mumbai to be the same as of that of South Africa.
6.30am I do a few test shots . All looks good and sorted with everything under control –but then ‘all good’ lasts barely 20 min.
7.00am A bunch of local boys gather, create a scene and pick up a fight with the designer. Looks impossible to continue shooting. While they keep fighting I signal Veena to keep posing so we don’t go back empty handed if fights got worse and we had to stop shooting.Seems funny now when I think about it- ten guys fighting, abusing n screaming and two people silently trying to steal a few shots.
7.30am Argument subsides and the guys leave after a bit of persuasion from another local. Over night drinking sessions leave little scope for reasoning n peaceful dialogue.
8.00am Laptop battery dies, camera ( medium format-Hassleblad) mal functions and looks like it’s my turn to take the crap. I want to kill the camera attendant and ask him quietly if he can fix it. Apparently he needs time and it was getting hotter by the minute. I tell the designer to get the outfit changed and do the second shot instead of wasting time.
1st change complete. Veena has to change the outfit now, uses the clients big car as a make shift changing room.
9.00am Veena is ready. Make up sorted. Still waiting for the camera and the laptop. Everybody getting anxious. I take out my back up camera- my trusted Canon 1Ds mark-3. Has never failed me yet in last 3 years and I realize I would any day get better pictures in that environment with this camera.
9.15am We find a bed of rocks a little ahead and walk towards it. Veena is quite adventurous that ways and knows how to use a location. She asked if she could lie down on the rocks. I wasn’t very sure considering it was an expensive bridal outfit. Riyaz was more than happy and we got some hot pictures on the rocks. The water had by then started rising dramatically. That’s the only thing I hate about shooting on the beaches. The high tides can be pretty tricky. Before you know you are swimming.
In moments we were in knee-deep water and as I walked through,without knowing what lay beneath my feet, I got worried about a possible slip and damaging the camera. Though we all managed to walk out safe. I like that girls spirit.
10.00am It’s very hot and humid and the entire team is hungry and thirsty. Some one forgot to get a production guy and organize breakfast n water. Its all right- happens sometimes. Though I am very possessive and protective about my team and believe in taking good care of them. And they know about it-so we laugh and joke about it and then grab something to eat on the way to the city.
11.00am-1.00pm It’s a two hour break since Veena has to go to the hotel, freshen up and come back to the store where entire media had gathered up to cover the photo shoot and get her interviews.
I meanwhile slip out for another client meeting for the next day's shoot.
1.00 pm The camera attendant has already reached with a back up camera body and a full charged laptop. I still keep my Canon with me. I loved the results from my camera at Madh Island- the wide-angle lens gave a unique perspective and bodyline. I decide to use both alternately.
It’s madness at the store. There are 40 media people on the first floor and as many on the ground floor and in the café next to the store- and all of them want to cover the hyped up ‘back less photo shoot of Veena Malik’- whatever that’s supposed to mean !!!
1.30pm I conceive a shot for Veena between the mannequins at the display window. Makes an unusual picture and gives media too something different to shoot.
Within next 30 minutes I realize that everybody is now keen only on the media mileage and creativity or getting the garment right was hardly of any value-after all Veena at that point of time was of great media value right after The Big Boss stint.
I reluctantly oblige since my time was given to the client-it was up to him how to utilize it in the best possible manner.
2.30pm The last change I decide to do on the first floor so media got a glimpse and over all feel of the entire store. Wrapped the shot in 5 minutes flat as the PR guy insisted on getting Veena’s bytes for the media.
Riyaz asked if I could stay back and shoot later but I politely refused since my working hours were over. It was up to him to utilize them in the best possible manner and I think we had managed pretty well by then.
I wasn’t too keen on giving the bytes and putting myself in front of the cameras-it hardly matters. I am still not a media savvy ‘Bollywood’ photographer- so I packed my guys and left a happy media with the ‘Backless-choli photo shoot of Veena Malik’
One week later : - Saw the hoardings splashed all over the city. Looked fine to me though could have been designed better.I think whatever one might say about Veena- she loves the camera and vice versa. She is dedicated, adventurous, fun and very professional to shoot with.
On the publicity material she looked good, clothes looked great, the news was on all the channels and everybody was happy. That’s what matters more I guess.
And me? Well I shoot n forget most of the time. There is always something new to look forward to.
In fact the only words me and Veena exchanged through out the day was a “hello” :)
P.S.- If you have not yet been to Riyaz Gangji’s Libas store then you must check out- he has got some really good stuff. And for those who may not be aware- Veena Malik is a well known Pakistani actress more known in India for her stint at Big Boss.