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Xclusive: Check out some candid shots from Kingfisher '07 calendar.

india Updated: Dec 08, 2006 19:55 IST

All right, so you saw it here first. Shot (for the fifth consecutive year) by Atul Kasbekar, with a bevy of models some of whose ca reers might never be the same again, here is the first look at the Kingfisher Swimsuit Special Calendar 2007. (SeeKingfisher 2006 Calendar)

Come the new year, you may not have a copy of it yourself. But don't blame us: we have given you more than merely a sneak peek at the calendar that is India’s answer to the stunning numbers brought out by GQ and Sports Illustrated.

The models this time: Deepti Gujral, Shamita Singha, Nikii Daas, Mia Udeya, Bruna Abdalah and Selma Lasrado. Prior to the shoot on the French Riviera (you can tell, nowhere else in the world is the water that blue; not for nothing is it called the Cote d’ Azure, the azure coast), they models were put on a three-month, high-protein diet and a rigorous regimen of exercise. It shows in the pictures. You could iron your shirt on any of those stomachs.

Model Bruna Abdalah gets set for the shot

Once there, they stayed at Kingfisher boss Dr Vijay Mallya’s new 95metre-long yacht, The Indian Empress. It may sound like one long party but there was a lot of work to do, some of it quite dangerous. Deepti had to go water-skiiing in high heels. “The water churned so much that this huge wave built up and Dipti did a triple somersault and plunged headlong into it,” said Kasbekar.

“Everyone was asking if she was okay. All I could think of were my Prada sunglasses that she had on. They are now somewhere at the bottom of the Mediterranean.” Nikki, who can’t swim, was nearly drowned while shooting when she was hit by an eight-foot-high wall of water.

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But there were amusing anecdotes too. For instance, an Englishman who missed his Kingfisher after he had moved from England to France waived the fees and let the crew shoot for free at an aqua-park once Kasbekar had had four crates of his favourite beer delivered to him.

As the photos show, Kasbekar, has shot the models in sporty, energetic poses as opposed to the languid bikini-babe look. “I have tried to stay away from making it look like a clichéd swimsuit calendar.”

Dr Mallya, who thinks the calendar is our “most flamboyant, most soughtafter platform to showcase the new India: fashion, style, beauty and of course the inimitable Indian talent”, was, as always, closely involved in its making. “We present Mr Mallya with a list of models and he has the final say in who will feature,” Kasbekar said.

Dipti, Mia, Dr Vijay Mallya, Bruna, Niki and Shamita

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The calendar, Kasbekar claims, has been the launch pad for several models like “Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and Yana Gupta, who have all gone on to make their marks in the industry”.

The 2007 edition features a new entrant: Selma Lasrado, a servicing flight attendant on Kingfisher Airlines, was picked after she had participated in the ‘Flying Model Contest’. Where will she be five years from now?

Mia poses for ace lensman Atul Kasbekar



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