How Dabboo Ratnani made Bollywood stars pose in quirky ways for his 2018 calendar
Photographer Dabboo Ratnani shares pictures of Bollywood celebrities from his coveted annual calendar and the thought behind each click
Dabboo Ratnani and Sunny Leone
Celebrity photographer Dabboo Ratnani's annual New Year gift to Bollywood stars is his calendar. It occupies pride of place in the homes and offices of the actors. This is the 19th year of his trademark almanac. It features a mix of the new and old stars, with some portraits in black and white to add to nostalgia. Amitabh Bachchan has featured in the calendar for 17 years, while Miss World Manushi Chillar, who has yet to step into Bollywood, makes a debut in Ratnani's annual ritual.
The non-commercial venture has the stars excited about striking the best pose. As Ratnani says, "It is part of their annual ritual as well. I begin working on the concepts by mid-year with shoots lined up in November and December."
The actors do numerous shoots throughout the year for films, endorsements and photo shoots, but when they want to shoot for Ratnani's calendar, "they want to challenge themselves. The bar is always raised higher," says the lensman. Ratnani shares some of his clicks and explains the thought behind them.
I wanted to do a location shoot with him in black and white. I was keen to capture him in a stud farm in Goregaon. Initially, Akshay Sir was to shoot with one horse, it was to be a close up of the two as if he was kissing him, but suddenly another horse galloped into the frame. I then decided to shoot Akshay Sir with both the horses.
Though the way she is dressed appears to be for a red carpet gala, I wanted to do make her look informal in formal wear. I told her I was going to shoot her chilling in a bathtub. She found it cool splashing her feet in water wearing a ball room gown. I shot her in my studio in Santacruz. Kajol is amazing with expressions; her eyes in the picture say it all.
I wanted her picture to look like a fashion shoot. It's sexy, edgy and grungy. A fur coat has been thrown on Parineeti as she sits in a rundown car in a wrecked garage. There is this element of rawness and chic.
He is athletic and has a great body. I made Tiger do what he loves doing all the time the backflip. We have seen him doing aerial somersaults and literally flying in the air. Taking it a notch higher, I made him jump over a boulder. It was right up his alley. I froze the shot at the exact moment when he balanced himself with one hand on the boulder. We shot in this huge open space in Andheri. The shoot barely took five minutes. This is the second time Tiger features in the calendar. Last year, I shot him hanging from a crane. He's always ready to challenge himself to new endurance levels.
Rekha's hilarious reaction to Amitabh Bachchan's photo at Dabboo Ratnani's calendar launch