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No formula for success

My first shoots were with Jumping Jack Jeetendra at his home and Sunil Dutt at Ajanta theatre, back in 1979. I have seen so many girls and boys become overnight stars,” says celeb photographer Jayesh Sheth.

entertainment Updated: Aug 08, 2011 15:32 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

My first shoots were with Jumping Jack Jeetendra at his home and Sunil Dutt at Ajanta theatre, back in 1979. I have seen so many girls and boys become overnight stars,” says celeb photographer Jayesh Sheth.

He recalls how Rani Mukerji used to take calls from him and how he’d joke that her husky voice would drive clients away. He adds, “Then Kuch Kuch Hota Hai came and suddenly Rani was ruling the marque. Even her voice was a big draw.” And when she was living in JB Nagar, Andheri, Sheth used to find Madhuri Dixit’s sister more beautiful. But it was the ‘ordinary looking’ Madhuri who became a diva. “There’s no formula for success, it’s a fairy tale journey,” he says.

‘Akshay is a true Khiladi’
Akshay Kumar and I go back a long way to when he was my assistant. The comfort level is great and during this recent photo shoot, I was able to get a reel of about 500 shots in just half an hour. I love Akshay’s athletic agility and his childlike glee. He is a true ‘khiladi’ and even at a mature 40-plus, his ‘masti’ shines through.

‘Richard Gere introduced himself to me’
I was picked out for an exclusive photo shoot of Richard Gere on his first visit to India. The Hollywood star walked up to me in the lobby and introduced himself. Then, in the elevator to the suite, asked if I’d like dinner first. I opted to shoot first and he surrendered to me completely. When Shekhar Kapur asked him to check the mirror, he said, “Mr Sheth is my mirror.” This black-and-white picture matches his salt-and-pepper hair and gives him so much character.

‘Rekha is an institution’
This picture was taken at the Uday Vilas Palace in Udaipur in the stable with the royal horses. It was shot in the evening and the colours were magical.

I had photographed Rekha several times, but she had never experimented with the cowboy look before. She was game. The horses were not. They were prancing around wildly, out of control. I was a little panicked, but the combination of Rekha and the horses clicked to give me a picture that was truly ‘international’. For me, Rekha is an institution. I have upgraded my craft every time I have shot with her in terms of technique, timing and lighting.

‘Hrithik is the Indian Braveheart’
This was a shoot done for Hrithik Roshan’s home production Krrish and I wanted a rough-and-tough Greek God look. I wanted to capture that raw machismo and a little incompleteness that added to the beauty of this perfect man. That’s the reason I opted for dry lips, raw body tones and a guy with an attitude. It’s a rare picture for Hrithik Roshan. It’s along the lines of Mel Gibson’s look in Braveheart. For me, Hrithik is the Indian Braveheart!

‘I wanted a sexy beauty with an attitude’
Madhuri Dixit is famous for her pretty looks and her million-dollar smile. But I wanted a sexy beauty with an attitude. It was an out-of-the-box look and the Bollywood diva was initially hesitant to try it. But it turned out great. Hers is an unforgettable, ageless face. Even at 70, Madhuri will look just as good!