Ace photographer Jayesh Sheth talks about his idol, lensman Jagdish Mali, who passed away on May 13. The last time I met Jagdish was after the recent article came out (a news report claimed he was found roaming the streets in rags), but he was very disturbed by that, so I didn’t talk at length about it. It was a sad incident.
Other than that, he had no complaint about life.
He looked at everything positively. He was a dildaar aadmi (a generous man), a fun-loving guy, who never bothered about the future. He wasn’t calculative or manipulative. He was true to his profession. He was helpful and encouraged talent: I did a music video, ‘Lift kara de’, with Adnan Sami, and, on Jagdish’s recommendation, I gave a break to choreographers Bosco-Caeser.
He took everything in his stride, so right after being discharged from the hospital (he had a liver problem), he began working. He said, ‘I don’t want to lie in bed and get sympathy from people.’ He wanted to be known for his outgoing personality and jolly mood.
I was inspired by his pictures in the early ’80s, which is how I started my career. He used to work for Cine Blitz (magazine) then, and he was an idol for me.
He used to shoot Rekha, Parveen (Babi), Vinod Khanna for the magazine’s covers… it was inspiring. And he continued to shoot Rekha in the later years too. He kept upgrading his craft through his life.
He was also a cricketer. He used to play for the MIG Cricket Club. That place, at times, was the adda for him; he used to meet people people. To catch Jagdish Mali, you could just go to the club.
— As told to Kavita Awaasthi