It’s a lesson in how perseverance pays. After catching the Dhobi Ghat promos in a cinema one day, photography enthusiast Mulchand Dadhia decided to make a call to director Kiran Rao. He felt that his amateur photography group, Mumbai Weekend Shoot (MWS), formed on Facebook, had some photos that might interest the debutante director.
The result? Aamir Khan Productions decided to organise a photo exhibition of members’ shots at PVR cinema in Juhu, which will be attended by Kiran Rao and her actors Kriti Malhotra and Prateik Babbar. "I did some research on the film and found out that she was trying to portray Mumbai as the fifth character. I made a couple of calls to their office telling them that we had shot in quite a few places in Mumbai and would like to show her the pictures. In about a 10 days, they got in touch with me telling me that they’d like to organise an exhibition," says Dadhia.
Started about two years, the group currently numbers 3,000 members on Facebook and about 1,500 on Flickr. It welcomes everybody from amateur photographers to enthusiasts with expensive equipment, and the only prerequisite is that new members must buy older ones chocolates on the first day of the shoot, failing which they might be forced to shell out for breakfast.
"Once we got the word out to all our members, we received 300 entries in three days," reveals Dadhia. "We shortlisted that to about 160, and after diving them into various categories, 80 images will be a part of the exhibition."
While the photos are not for sale, Dadhia insists that their only motive is to create a platform for the group. "We want to make it a big event to reach out to amateur photographers across Mumbai. Now they will find a club that shares their interests," says Dadhia.
He adds, "Being a part of this group is easy, there’s no membership fee and you can join even if you only have a cell phone camera. But it helps build people’s confidence and skills, and also allows them to explore some photo-friendly places in Mumbai that they may not have known of."
Shutterbugs' guide to Mumbai
MWS organises frequent trips to scenic places in and around Mumbai to help photographers hone their skills. Here’s a list of places they recommend for the camera-happy.
Bombay fortress garden- Next to Sassoon docks, this is very well maintained and is spacious and green. It's ideal for portraits and macro-shoots.
Sewri Jetty- You should shoot there specifically in the winters so that you can capture the flamingos.
Chor Bazaar- Most photographers are quite scared to go there alone. MWS usually goes there in a group on Sundays by 7 am.
Kotachiwadi- This area has a lot of quaint Goan architecture that is fairly well-maintained.
Bandra fort - It's open to photographers, but you're not allowed to set up a tripod or use videography.