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Capturing reel and real life in every frame

April 28, 2007 17:45 IST

Capturing the vividness of life in a two dimensional photograph is no child's play. That's where some lensmen stand apart from the crowd of other shutterbugs.

A camera when held in the right hands becomes a sponge that absorbs life, its colours, emotions and mood swings in totality. This is where ace photographer Fawzan Husain and his work fall into context.

Aptly titled Silverscreen, an exhibition of his collection on Bollywood and its myriad expressions will conclude at the NCPA Piramal Gallery in Mumbai on April 28.

Each exhibit has a story to tell, often more meaningful than the one that they narrated on the actual silver screen. Some of the striking images include a group of junior artists waiting for their shot with a screen blocking their faces, except for one who is sitting with a longing expression on her face, may be for her much awaited big break on the screen.

Husain has captured the duality of real and reel life in each and every frame. Most of the images bring out a striking contrast between reality and films where actors are captured with the filmi emotions while the rest of the elements are deeply rooted in reality.

This includes the one in which the hero is staring into the distance (obviously waiting for his lady love) with dry leaves flying in the wind. This would have been the shot we saw on the screen, but Husain also included a unit member with his head tucked inside the clapboard avoiding the flying leaves and dust while the filmi hero is standing upright lost in his thoughts.

"It is very impressive. The use of colours is very impressive. He has brilliantly captured the vibrant colours and shades of Bollywood," said Anil Dharker, renowned journalist, who was at the exhibition.

In one of the  photographs, Husain has clicked the hero and heroine clinging on to each other in rain along with one of the production boys in the background playing the nondescript role of 'on location rain god', spraying water.

Another one taken on the sets of a recent movie based on the life of street urchins at a traffic signal, shows the 'onscreen' urchins clicking pictures of each other with their mobile phones while another one has Fardeen Khan enjoying a cutting chai on the sets of Govind Nihalani's Dev.

When contacted over the phone, Husain said, "Bollywood is all about selling dreams. But there are people who toil hard on location to realise these dreams on the big screen. I wanted to show this aspect through my pictures. I basically wanted to say that it is not only about glamour and glitz."

He also added how difficult it is to gain access to film locations and take snaps.

"One will have to bear a lot of attitude, but there are also some elements in Bollywood who realise the importance of documentation and are willing to cooperate," he added.

Out of the 44 exhibits, Husain's personal favourites include a still captured on the sets of the Pooja Bhatt flick Paap and another one where Kareena Kapoor is trying to understand a dance motion in the movie Chameli (which is also featured on the invitation card).

When asked about his upcoming projects, he told about his plans to zoom his lens on women who have broken conventional social barriers and taboo and have taken up professions that were considered men's forte till now.

"You know like women bartenders and stuff like that. I also want to take up a project to showcase our country in its original and true essence. Not like the stereotypical image of snake charmers, poverty and all that is associated with our country especially in international circuits. I want to show the real India; its beauty, splendour and wealth," he said.

With the Mumbai session concluding on Saturday, Silverscreen will be exhibited in Bangalore during the last week of May.

The exhibition organised by Tasveer, an organisation promoting Indian photographers and their works in collaboration with Foss-Gandi, has already been held in Kolkata and Delhi.

The merging of real and reel life in Husain's work is even depicted in the title where Silverscreen is given as a single word rather than 'Silver Screen'.

Binoy Valsan in Mumbai