Dabboo Ratnani, one of the most respected celebrity photographers, came out with his 12th annual calendar this year. Having worked with some of the most glamorous faces, Ratnani says, “In all these years, I have noticed that the bigger the stars, the more grounded they are. They are confident of what they are doing. Once they trust they are in the right hands, they are open to suggestions and do exactly want you want them to.” The key, Ratnani says, is in getting the stars to trust you and “to do your job well.”
Whether it’s Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s beauty, Kajol’s carefree attitude, Amitabh Bachchan’s energy, Shah Rukh Khan’s dynamism or Hrithik Roshan’s charisma, Ratnani has captured it all over the years. He talks about his five favourite pictures from his portfolio:‘Photographer’s dream’
Before I became a photographer, I felt it would be an achievement if I could shoot Aishwarya once. She’s every photographer’s dream. A stunning model, she has perfect features and looks equally good in a simple sari or an expensive gown. It’s about the attitude she wears.
The light in this picture is coming through the grill. It’s not flat and that explains the composition’s dramatic effect. No matter how many photo shoots she does, she’s always enthusiastic about the next one. She will go to any extent to make a picture work, and is open to suggestions.
‘I like his intense mood in pictures’
I have shot with Amitji a couple of times in South France, Paris, Cannes and London. He is full of energy. If you want him to pose at a bridge or a café, he obliges. He has a great sense of humour and is relaxed during photo shoots. I like his intense mood in pictures. He looks great in walking shots and formal wear. Once you have explained a shoot’s concept, he takes every picture to the next level.
‘She is very bindaas’
Kajol has a casual personality. She can carry off anything. But she needs to be comfortable and doesn’t like people hanging around during shoots. This picture was shot in natural light with a few reflectors. Once we shot her on the streets of Bandra, and she readily changed in the car and hotel washrooms between shots. She has a playful energy, and is very ‘bindaas’.
Hrithik had come to me for his portfolio. Back then, I didn’t know he was Rakesh Roshan’s son, but he was different from other newcomers. He had this charisma and confidence to face the camera. For this shot, we had seven changes and were prepared for a day-long shoot. Getting a free fall picture and holding that expression is not easy. I had to be quick to capture his expression within a fraction of a second. We got it right in the first take. I had used a motor drive camera for this shot.
‘He is always ready to go the extra mile’
Shah Rukh has great respect for people. He is open to suggestions and is a dream in front of the camera. He adds value to a picture and is fabulous with different expressions because he loves photo shoots. Even when he’s in a hurry, he will not rush you to finish things. He always makes time for my calender shoots; is accommodating and ready to go that extra mile. The idea of this shot was to make him look dynamic, to capture the action and attitude in his body language and the intensity in his eyes.