The nonchalant Bollywood camaraderie perhaps seemed novel to New York-based photographer Mark Bennington, who says “business always comes first” in Hollywood, while actors here work like a “family”.
“Things are different here.The acting community in Bollywood works like a family...a tight knit family. Obviously, in a family you have brothers and sisters who at times love to hate each other. But, nonetheless they know they are a family,” he says.
Hollywood, on the other hand, is more business oriented. “There it is always business first and relationships second. There can be an exception, but generally it works that way,” Bennington said, who has recently launched a coffee table book of photographs on the who’s who of Bollywood.
Living the Dream: Life of the ‘Bollywood’ Actor, which consists of photographs and interviews of 112 Bollywood stars, tells the “story of many, that only few know”.
While the Foreword to the book has been penned by filmmaker and producer Karan Johar, casting director Shanoo Sharma has written the Afterword. Bennington insists that the book follows no hierarchy – while the ruling superstars conspicuously make the chunk of the book, newbies and yesteryears’ legends also find space in the tome.
“On one page you will find a photograph of Rani Mukherji and on the other there is a photograph of someone you probably never heard of. Be it a one-hit wonder, a struggler or a yesteryear star, the book follows no hierarchy whatsoever. It is a book with no table of contents,” he says.
Like most photographers, Bennington’s shots are also “candid” and “off-screen”. But, the element of freshness is rendered through his uncanny compositions. For instance, he has captured Bollywood’s Dream Girl, Hema Malini watering plants sporting a pair of jeans.
“Have you seen something like this before ever?” Bennington asks rhetorically.
“There might be books where they have written about individuals, but not about the entire acting community. And if there is one, then surely it is not a book of photographs,” he says.
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