Every person has his character written on his face," says ace lensman Gautam Rajadhyaksha.
He may have spent the last 25 years in glamour photography, but behind the glitter of the glossy portraits that have become his signature style is a man who has his head and soul firmly in place. He attributes it to his solid middle-class upbringing.
While in school, Gautam was interested in astronomy and Egyptian history. "My father died when I was very young. His sister and her husband raised me. They were a very liberal couple and encouraged me to pursue my interests," he recalls. He became passionate about opera music, which he has nurtured to this day.
He graduated from college with a degree in Chemistry and Microbiology. Then an unexpected break landed him a job as a management trainee in Lintas Advertising. Equally opportune was his transfer to the photo services department, which exposed him to some masters of Indian photography like Vilas Bhende and Jehangir Gazdar. "In 1975-76, I spent two months worth of my salary on buying my first camera," says Rajadhyaksha.
Then, his college friend Shabana Azmi asked him to shoot her pictures, thereby introducing him to the world of films. If Shabana pushed him into the world of glamour photography, his cousin Shobha De helped him hone his skills as a writer and photographer by giving him space in her magazine Celebrity.
"Before long, my pictures became more popular than my articles and eventually people only wanted my photographs," he says.
But his love of writing still translates into newspaper columns and has resulted in two film scripts, Bekhudi and Anjaam. He is now in the process of writing his third. "This time I will finish the entire script down to the last detail so that if the filmmaker wants to make changes, he will have to give me a good reason for doing so. Right now, I have no compulsion to do anything, so I'll do what I have to at my own pace and on my own terms," he asserts.
Next on the cards, apart from the script, is a book titled Chehre and an album with Asha Bhonsle. "She is very special," he says.
Meanwhile, Rajadhyaksha takes us through innumerable memorable sessions with the who's who of Bollywood.
Click here to see his cherished faces
Photographs courtesy Gautam Rajadhyaksha
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