Ace photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha passes away

Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent and Agencies, Mumbai
Sep 14, 2011 02:01 AM IST

Leading fashion photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha died of a cardiac arrest early morning on Tuesday, family friends said.

Leading fashion photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha died of a cardiac arrest early morning on Tuesday, family friends said.

HT Image
HT Image
The 60-year-old, who lived alone, was the man behind glamourous Bollywood divas such as Rekha and Madhuri Dixit. Residing at a building near Girgaum Chowpatty, Rajadhyaksha's is writer Shobha De's cousin.

He was popular also for his soft focus images of legendary personalities such as Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, JRD Tata and Sachin Tendulkar.

He was cremated at Chandanwadi on Tuesday evening and several Bollywood personalities attended to pay homage. Among those who attended were Asha Bhosale, MNS leader Raj Thackeray, Tina Ambani, Tabu and Ashwini Bhave.

Born in 1950, he completed his graduation in chemistry from St Xavier's College and later worked in advertising industry for more than 15 years. He started photography in 1980 coincidentally when he shot pictures of actors Shabana Azmi, Tina Ambani and Jackie Shroff. He soon became famous for portraits of Bollywood stars shot in soft diffused light.

He was associated with Rajashri productions and Yash Johar's Dharma productions as still photographer for superhit films such as Hum Aapke hai Kaun, Kuch Kuch Hota hai, and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam. Known for his mild manners, in 1990s, the ace lensman also wrote films such as Bekhudi, (Kajol's debut film) and Anjam starring Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit.

In 1997, Rajadhyaksha published a book titled Chehere (Faces), which documented pictures of 45 film personalities from yesteryear actresses such as Durga Khote to Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai.

The social networking sites were abuzz with tributes for Gautam Rajadhyaksha since morning. "He was more like a family," said Madhuri Dixit through her publicist.

I am completely shaken: Shabana Azmi
I am completely shaken and it is hard to gather my thoughts right now.

Just 15 days ago, Gautam had sent a script to me and was raring to go. He was not even ill.

Gautam was a pioneer because he took up from where photographers Dheeraj Chawda and Neeraj Arya left.

He brought sophistication in portraits. He photographed so well because of the warmth that he exuded.

I was very awkward in front of the still camera and it would be a chore if not for Gautam.

I became his friend because of my husband Javed and I used to go to his place and spend the day there discussing theatre. He was interested in opera.

We have visited him at his house in Kunnoor too.

He had written such a beautiful letter to me when my father passed away that it healed me. He has shot lovely pictures of Farhan and Zoya when they were children.

I've known him for 30 years and he was very, very dear friend.

He was young and left a steady career in advertising career to take up photography.

There was a not a single mean bone in his body and he was loved by everyone.

(as told to Prachi Pinglay)

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