In a career that spans over six decades, singer Lata Mangeshkar graced the world of Indian playback singing for countless actresses. Several, with whom Mangeshkar shared a close bond, feature in the 2013 edition of the Humsafar calendar. The calendar has been executed by Pune-based photographer Sateesh Paknikar and includes 17 rare photos as well as anecdotes by the singer on actresses featured and the songs picturised on them.
The black-and-white calendar features actresses such as Madhubala, Nargis, Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman and Madhuri Dixit. The calendar seeks to celebrate the centenary of the Hindi film industry and draw attention to the contribution of yesteryear actresses.
Paknikar, who is an industrial and advertising photographer, has spent over 30 years capturing Indian Classical music artistes in live concerts. He has photographed the earlier two editions of this calendar as well which were based on the theme of music composers and Mangeshkar’s co-singers. Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar suggested the themes and the calendar is published by the Mangeshkar family. The text for the calendar was by film research scholar Sulabha Teranikar and translated into English by Ashwin Kulkarni.
Speaking about Humsafar 2013, Paknikar says, “Panditji supplied me the images of Lata Didi. I searched for images of actresses and went to the National Film Archive of India, Pune. Later, I sourced images from Arun Puranik in Mumbai and Shashikant Kinikar, Pune that stocks a collection of photographs related to Hindi / Marathi films.”
He adds that the photographs were old and not in good condition. “Shot by different photographers at various periods, the main task was to ensure that the different images were homogeneous to the theme. The tonal values had to match. Unwanted details / parts had to be removed. This is always a challenge for an editor of the images,” he admits.
The limited edition calendar is not for sale and is distributed by the Mangeshkar family to friends and family. Various online portals have also posted the e-version. “This is not a commercial activity, and is available online for fans, free of cost,” adds Paknikar.