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A return to roots

He is my grandfather. I have grown up taking holidays to this little town— Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. I try to help take care of him. I do what I can. I thought I would immortalise him on black and white film. Zishaan Akbar Latif writes. Stories in pictures

entertainment Updated: Oct 29, 2011 02:52 IST

Dhanji Anklesaria is 89 years old. I am told he has lived each and every one of these years as a strong, dominating, hotheaded, relentless and principled man. I believe it is these characteristics that led directly to my existence.


He is my grandfather. I have grown up taking holidays to this little town— Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. I try to help take care of him. I do what I can. Aside from being my mother’s strict father aside from the secret stories, I am told about his complicated Parsi familial past, and aside from the fact that he is old, reclusive and alone, I feel close to my grandfather… because I see myself in him.

I thought I would immortalise him on black and white film.

After starting, it soon became evident that this was not about photographs anymore but an effort to balance the sensibilities of a grandson and the sense of a photographer as I went on documenting a fierce man in my family, but a man who I started relating to because after spending time with him I realised what he is at 89 is me at 26.

Now we spend time with each other to understand our respective lives in two different worlds and how we got there. Its a process of introspection which is ongoing.

— Best known as the still photographer for the Bollywood hit 3 Idiots, the author is a Mumbai-based lensman whose work has been published in several international publications. His work was most recently on display at the Delhi Photo Festival.

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