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‘Does Aamir remember me?’

It’s not easy picking out his Bollywood favourites from 40 years of photographs. But photo-journalist Pradeep Chandra has to go through the unenviable chore as he readies for his exhibition, Faces—Mumbai, that will be on show at the Jehangir Art Gallery from May 18 to 24.

art and culture Updated: May 03, 2011 13:53 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

It’s not easy picking out his Bollywood favourites from 40 years of photographs. But photo-journalist Pradeep Chandra has to go through the unenviable chore as he readies for his exhibition, Faces—Mumbai, that will be on show at the Jehangir Art Gallery from May 18 to 24. We present a few of his faves, along with the story behind each picture.

‘Aamir refused to look into the camera’
A crowded press conference is hardly the place for a shoot so I drove down to Famous Studio to wait for Aamir Khan. I’d heard he liked vada pav. So I’d picked up a couple and got a tea vendor on the sets to pour him a glass of cutting chai. With a book in hand, Aamir was ready to chill out. But he refused to look into the camera. “How can I when I’m reading?” he reasoned. I kept clicking… From 30-40 frames I got my shot! He autographed a Ghajini poster for me and promised never to forget my name again. Does he still remember?

‘I shot another RK with the Joker’
We had an appointment at 4 pm at RK Studio. I arrived early and was doing the tour, not expecting Ranbir Kapoor to make it from his Bandra home in the torrential rains. At 4 pm, he was standing behind me! I shot another RK in the studio’s property room with his grandfather’s life-sized joker and the piano on which Raj Kapoor had played Dost dost na raha… (Sangam) that had been bought for Rs 66,000. There were no nakhras. Ranbir is nothing like his grandfather, dad or uncles. He is his own man.

‘Two pairs of hands express a lot’
This shot was taken on the sets of Dilli 6 during the shooting of the Masakali… song. You don’t see Sonam Kapoor’s face but her hands, along with those of Abhishek Bachchan’s, express a lot. I also like the expression on Abhishek’s face as he looks up to the skies…

‘Madhuri’s birthday cake sat on phone directories’
I needed her to cut a cake two days before her birthday because our edition had to go into print. I reached her manager Rikku Rakeshnath’s office with the cake. Madhuri Dixit walked in. The light inside wasn’t good, so we went out. The table was too low so we put the cake on three-four phone directories. By then, star-struck fans were climbing up the walls for a dekko of the star and Rikku’s chants of "Jaldi karo (Be quick)" got louder! At her birthday party for the media, she told me with a laugh that all day people had been calling to talk about the picture rather than wish her.

When a fan met a movie legend...
I shot the photo at a silver jubilee function for lyricist Anand Bakshi. It reminded me of the huge fire that broke out near Bombay Talkies in the 1950s. Turned out that the fire was for Ganga Jumna’s shoot. I met Dilip saab recently on his birthday. It was a fan meeting a movie legend!