For celebrity photographer Vishal Saxena, the journey from Jharkhand to Mumbai may not have had a rosy beginning, but end result has been quite rewarding. "Life wasn’t a bed of roses to begin with but I don’t want to romanticise my struggle. Everyone who comes here to become something has to work hard. I did the same," says Vishal, who came to the city seven years ago to fulfill his childhood dream of being a lensman.
Vishal credits celebrity friends Bobby Deol and Irrfan Khan for having motivated him in his initial days. He says, "We all need someone who believes in us when we are starting off. Both Bobby and Irrfan did that for me. I am ever grateful to them."
The photographer, who comes from humble beginnings, advises budding photographers not to go overboard in trying to be a good celebrity lensmen. He says, "If you are honest with your frames, celebrities notice it. It’s the comfort level that you offer your subjects — celebrity or otherwise — that works best for a picture."
‘He is like a brother’
Irrfan is like my brother and closest friend. Whenever he is in a mood to try something different he calls me over and we discuss shoot concepts. Once I wanted him to shoot in a slum and I wasn’t sure if he would agree. But when I narrated the concept, he agreed without a second thought. Normally he’s seen sporting a brooding look, but I wanted to shoot him with a smile.|
‘He is humble’
We shot this at Brooklyn Bridge in New York when Saif Ali Khan was shooting for Kurbaan. He looks handsome, with or without make-up. And despite his lineage, he is humble and down to earth. During this trip, I even caught Saif and Kareena Kapoor practising yoga at six in the morning on my lens and they didn’t mind me shooting.
‘PC is a stylish angel’
I shot this while Priyanka was working on Dostana. She had just completed shooting for her first item-song Desi girl… which went on to being a hit. She is a stylish angel. For me, what works is her smile for the camera. You don’t need to jazz up when you have a smile like hers, with that full pout.
‘SRK put me at ease’
The best part of working with SRK is that he is aware of his stardom and its effect on people. So before he starts work, he puts everyone at ease. Keeping the awe-factor aside, with Shah Rukh work starts to flow seamlessly.
I became a romantic watching his films so I wanted to capture that delicate romantic side of him in my pictures. I asked him to show his famous dimples, but the challenge was to get him to cast his eyes down as if in deep thought of his loved one. He loved the final image.
‘He has boyish charm’
This one was for Prateik’s first portfolio before his Bollywood debut. Prateik had got bags full of costumes and left it on me to decide his look. Despite his raw energy, he was a dream in front of the camera. I feel it’s in his genes. He has a boyish charm, which can turn into a Casanova grin with a wink of an eye.