Fawzan Husain

Fawazan Husain Interviewed by Deepa Gahlot, 2007

DEEPA GAHLOT: How did you get started as a photographer?
FAWZAN HUSAIN: I started as a writer. While in college I wanted to write, so I joined the Bombay College of Journalism to do a course as a reporter, while I was working with Mid-day in the marketing department. I later joined the paper as a reporter. What put me off writing was the copy-editors’ attitude—whenever an ad came in, your copy would be chopped. Everybody’s copy was butchered, but they could not murder a picture. So for a while I did both writing and photography, found that I related better to pictures and decided to switch over. In 1989, I became a full-time photographer for Mid-day.
DG:You had no training in photography?
FH:My father was a photographer, so it was always in the subconscious. A camera was not a novelty to me. I had seen and handled cameras, they were always around.
DG:Do you remember when you first actually used a camera?
FH:I always handled cameras in my father’s studio, I would focus the portrait, change the lens, shift the lights, but under my father’s guidance. I remember when I was in the seventh standard, my school had a photo competition and I won the first prize. It was, I remember, a nature picture. Then the school made it an annual event, and I won the competition three times in a row. One was a street picture and one, if I remember right, was a picture shot in a jungle.
DG:But at that point there was no intention to take it up as a career?
FH:No. In fact, the first time I actually thought I needed to learn photography was when I went to the North East for a marketing assignment for Mid-day, some time in 1986. It was to promote their magazine Sportsweek, because there was a large English-speaking population there which was also interested in sports.
The North East is a photographer’s delight. That kind of serene beauty was new for a city person like me. My parents used to travel a lot, and even as a kid I had been all over the country, but the North East was virgin territory. I took a lot of pictures, but when I saw them, they were—disaster!
DG:Why? How did they turn out?
FH:I presumed I had the expertise that I actually did not. I thought I had taken great pictures. Actually, they were not so bad but what I had visualized in my mind, I had not been able to get through my camera. I was put off by the results, because what I saw with my eyes, I could not see in my prints. That’s when I decided to learn how to expose and compose correctly.
DG:Where did you learn?
FH:I would go to the Mid-day photographers and ask them to give me tips. I read books and also visited all the photo exhibitions in town. It was self-learning. At that time, there was no course; you had to learn yourself. There may have been a couple of courses, but they were more on the theoretical side, not the practical. Anyway, I already had a job, so I couldn’t take time off to do a course. I learnt gradually. But till then I just wanted to learn to expose correctly. The decision to take up photography as a career came, as I said earlier, when I didn’t enjoy writing.

DG:What was your first assignment as photographer, do you remember?
FH:I was to shoot pictures of the then President of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber, and I recall going to his house on Nepean Sea Road. I was very nervous and hoped I’d be able to deliver. In those days, we took black and white pictures, and there was this anxiety in the darkroom about what the results would be. You know, there was the process of dipping them in a solution and washing them. As they were emerging, I almost stopped breathing. When they came out correctly I was relieved
DG:Which camera did you have then?
FH:A Pentax, a small, nice and comfy camera—no gizmos, no zoom. The then Editor Nikhil Lakshman and Features Editor Carlos Monteiro encouraged me a lot. They understood pictures and knew how to get the best from me. Once you are into photography, then that’s it—a still image captures the moment. You should know how to freeze a moment at the right time. In those days Sunday Mid-day was a photographer’s delight. It was a tabloid, not too many ads and pictures could be displayed nicely. Seeing my pictures blown-up gave me a high.
I was also associated with Dom Moraes for a couple of years. I was assigned to shoot portraits of the personalities he used to profile for the paper. I used to watch what they were doing, listen to what they were saying and try to get that into the picture. Dom suggested I pull out all the pictures and do an exhibition as the British Council. I thought, why would anyone be interested in published work? But I met Rex Baker, who was heading the British Council then, and asked him for time to work on pictures of the city. Three months down the line, I had my Bombay show. It encapsulated three years of my photographic life; of course, I had to add a lot more pictures. Echoes from Bombay was Dom’s idea and his title.  M. Rehman from India Today came to see the exhibition and offered me a job with the magazine. I decided to make a gradual transition to India Today.
All the exhibitions have been directly associated with my life. When I got engaged, I started seeing observing women more closely. I started taking pictures of Indian women and the result: Faces: Indian Women, my next exhibition, also at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Bombay The exhibition showed women in action, women in dramatic situations—not celebrities at all. I looked at women with admiration. When you go out of Bombay, you see the hard facts. Like in Nashik, I saw a man eating, and a woman holding an umbrella. In Latur, I got a picture of a woman bathing a man. You don’t see these things in Bombay. Here, I shot a woman police inspector, when I had gone to shoot the burning of confiscated drugs.  So there were these amazing contrasts.
DG:How did you fit this into a busy work schedule?
FH:I did this work on my own time. I’d travel on weekends, second-class sometimes. Photography is very expensive, shooting, developing . . . Now digital has made everyone a photographer, you can take a thousand pictures and delete what you don’t want at no extra cost. But in those days it was really tough. Transparencies and developing cost Rs 500 a roll.
I developed a dual personality. I would do what was required for the magazine, and in my free time, I would keep shooting what I wanted for myself. A lot of press photographers do their assignment and return—at the end of the day they are drained. But say, if I went so shoot a ship-breaking yard, it would open up the place for me. Darukhana was fascinating—just to see people breaking things. I would do the assignment for the paper, and go back over the weekend to take some pictures for myself.
I’d take a two-wheeler and go wherever I wanted. On weekends, I’d go to different places every time. I saw Bombay that way. Basically, I was a South Bombay guy but I went from tip to tip of the city to take pictures. It was fascinating. I saw the Muslim areas of Mohammad Ali Road closely; Banganga was refreshingly serene. I shot moods of people, couples, a child with another child in her lap, filling water, the underbelly of Bombay, just people . . . no landmarks, no festivals, no high-rises, no Bollywood—no clichés.
It was my own personal interest. Whatever I earned, I pumped back. There was no gain, only financial drain. You know, my father had a photo studio in Bombay, but I didn’t want to do studio portraits, weddings and birthday parties. I could never get interested in that unless I was doing a project on, say, Indian mass marriages.
DG:Did you use your own equipment?
FH:I was always very equipment savvy. I always had the best equipment. Once I started with Nikon, I never looked back, mainly because in those days it was freely available in the gray market. Whatever I required, I invested. For example, I asked my friend Fakhru to get me filters from Saudi Arabia, (even though they cost 100 per cent more there) because they were not available in Bombay. I wanted to understand the use of filters even in the early stages of my career.
DG:The publication didn’t give you cameras?
FH:They gave a basic camera for basic work. When I got a digital camera for myself, I asked India Today to get the same. I worked out the cost and told them that within six months, they would break even. But they slept on it for two years. I used my own equipment for my own work.
DG:How different was your approach to these subjects from your routine journalistic work?
FH:Journalism teaches you to make the best use of a situation. Nothing is staged and that’s where experience counts. Light conditions you cannot control, so either you take the shot or you don’t. In two minutes, things can change. If you go back to shoot something under better light conditions, what’s the use? You won’t get the same shot. Nothing is under your control. You could go back the next day and never get that moment.
In studio photography, you could be wary of someone copying your style or light patterns. But in my kind of photography, no two pictures are the same—nobody else can get the same picture.
DG:How about the artistic aspect?
FH:It takes time to understand the nuances of a subject. Women, for instance, can be made to look artistic or vulgar, depending on your way of looking. Any subject is how you see it. For my exhibition Faith, I was by the Ganga during Durga Puja. A man came to wash banana leaves and in the background, boys were jumping into the river. I shot the man framed by the banana leaves he was carrying. What to keep and what to leave out of a frame, only experience can help you decide. You have to learn to use the right lens at the right time; a wrong lens can spoil the image.
When you approach a subject, you know roughly what you are looking for. You go to the place before if possible, and study it, so you know mentally what to expect. If you get a chance, you speak to another photographer. At the Ganga, early morning, there are no clouds, so you go equipped accordingly. For a good picture, homework means 30 per cent of knowing what to expect, 60 per cent hard work and 10 per cent luck.
With the Faith series, I looked at people’s fascination with faith, and how they associated with it. I started capturing different religions in different regions. I travelled to Ladakh, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Gujarat, where I could look at people and communities associated with faith.
DG:While doing your journalistic assignments did you try to look at things differently too?
FH:At a press conference, Amitabh Bachchan was at a table; in front of him, was a glass of water. He drank some water and I took a picture of him through the opaque glass. So sometimes, in a simple situation, you can also bring out creativity. But then you also have to think, will the paper use it? It can be a setback to always have to cater to the requirements of a newspaper or a magazine. Now, newspapers are slightly different, they accept creative pictures. I sometimes miss being part of the scene now. But working in a paper will drain me. And now the TV cameras have killed whatever respect we had. Actually, it depends on the individual—some are quite content just doing their work and getting out. I always wanted to go beyond that. That led to one project after another. Now it has come to this—that if I don’t shoot for a week for myself, I’ll go mad.
DG:So what came next?
FH:Marriage to Arwa and moving to the suburbs. I had to travel to and fro every day by local train and that exposed me to life on the tracks. I saw a lot of emotions and anger and fights on the train commute and I decided to capture that. It didn’t take off  immediately; it took me three years to adjust to train travel. Then when I had kids (twins Marziyah and Nabilah), it was natural for me to observe other kids. In Kamathipura (Mumbai’s red light district), I would watch the children and wonder what kind of life they had. I went there for five-six months, just to see and be seen, because they can be very hostile to outsiders. I got a lot of help from the locals who live there and I did the show, Children of Kamathipura. Luckily, magazine work was not such a grind, and I could plan weekend shoots.
The trains were still on my mind, and shooting in local trains was tough. They are so crowded that you can hardly breathe. But I did that on and off. Then Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai won the beauty titles and suddenly every state, city and locality had Miss this or that contests. Every few weeks, there would be a crowning of a Miss something or the other. I decided to go backstagestage and sneak a peep at what was happening.
Sometimes, I’d see the same faces. If a girl failed to get through one contest, she’d enroll in another. So the same faces seemed to be rotating. And the sad thing was that most of them never got anywhere. But I enjoyed doing the Guts and Glory show. I was still engrossed with train travel and tracks—Bombay’s Life Line finally happened.
DG:And then the show on mass marriages?
FH:When Arwa and I had got married, it was with a group of seven other couples. I got interested in the subject of mass marriages in other communities and I started working on it. I travelled to Hyderabad, Gujarat, Rajasthan. The mass marriages used to be so chaotic that you could get candid images. I could easily observe and shoot.
My first major money came from this show—one of the pictures was picked up by Geo Germany. Before this, a train picture had been picked up for an ad—a Fevicol ad. One never actually thought one could make money out of this.
DG:Were there any unusual assignments that you did for India Today?
FH:The Editor, Prabhu Chawla, thought I shot dark and out-of-focus pictures. He thought he’d never seen worse pictures because for him, a picture should be straight, bright, simple. So it was tough, but luckily others liked my work. India Today was a safe place to work, they wanted simply lit pictures and there was not much chance to explore creativity. They changed a bit when Outlook came in. But India Today gave me time and freedom. Though I had other offers, I saw no reason to leave. Photography is time-consuming. Like, for my Bollywood pictures, sometimes two-three days would go by without getting any good pictures. I needed a magazine. I couldn't work for a newspaper and do this stuff.
Prabhu and I would argue a lot. I told him he didn’t know photography. He didn’t like his authority questioned and I never got interesting assignments, but I wasn’t looking for them. Luckily Swapan Das Gupta liked my style of work, and I got one of my best assignments—a trip to Iraq to cover Saddam Hussain’s presidential referendum. They had invited journalists from all over to see how popular he was. Of course, it was a farce. I took a lot of other pictures, which were eventually featured as a photo-essay on Iraq lifestyles in India Today.
I also enjoyed a cover story on Shah Rukh Khan. I was on the set for two days; he wasn’t so big then. He asked, ‘What do you want me to do?’ and he did whatever I asked of him. He was very professional.
DG:In photojournalism, do you think a certain impatience creeps in?
FH:You have to work very fast and capture the moment.
For my own work I have to think in the long term and give it time. I usually work on a subject for two years. I don’t have more patience than that. In photojournalism, yes, you have to make the best use of the given situation—bad light, bad time; that’s what counts as photojournalism. Or you could just create a scene in a studio. Like for ad campaigns. Create sets and realistic scenes in a studio. But our forte is to capture images even under adverse circumstances.

DG:Were you never tempted to do studio photography—if only for the control it gives the photographer?
FH:No. never. Then I could not call myself a journalist. Taking candid shots and in adverse conditions—that situation is different. My purpose would not be served if I could control things in a studio.
DG:And you never ‘directed’ people to get a good shot?
FH:99.999 per cent of the time, I never told a person what to do. But for a magazine assignment it was different. There, you know who you are shooting and why. The subjects know why you are there. You can structure a shot and follow the parameters of the magazine’s requirements. On my own subjects, of course, I had absolute freedom.
DG:Did you ever have people objecting to your taking their pictures?
FH:For news stories there is no chance to take permission, because freezing the moment is important. But for feature stories, there is a way around that. You don’t take out your camera the moment you reach a place. I don’t start shooting as soon as I land up. There is a process of breaking the ice. You have to let people get comfortable with your presence. A lot of photographers don’t have that courtesy. I have seen a photographer come to a film set and ask the cinematographer to move. I mean, he’s the cinematographer, not some spot boy. You can’t do such a thing.
You have to understand the situation, understand your area of operation, and start only when people have started accepting you and then try to stay on the periphery. If you, for some reason, require to be in their circle of operations, then go in and come out as quickly as possible. Nobody hinders your work if you don’t hinder theirs. If someone objects, I try to explain to them and then continue shooting.
For my Children of Kamathipura series, I did not even take out my camera for six months. In that milieu, you have to be very sensitive. Once they realize that you are a part of that space, then you get down to business. Not business, actually, because I am not there to shoot them and sell the pictures. There is no sensationalism involved.
DG:Do you every consider it an invasion of a person’s privacy if you shoot them in a public space? Say, if you are covering an incident —a riot or something?
FH:If the person is needed to be in the frame then I do shoot. See, here the ethics of journalism come in. If the editor wants a picture and the reader wants to know, then I have to cater to that demand. In certain cases we are not there for the love of it but because it’s news and we have to get those pictures.
DG:Could you think of an instance when you were doing your duty, but it felt uncomfortable?
FH:It happens. For instance, when the son of a prominent business family (the Hinduja boy) had committed suicide, I didn’t want to be there. You understand that it’s a sad situation. It’s an invasion of their privacy but it’s also news and the paper wants it covered, the reader wants to read about it. But given a choice, I would not have done it.
DG:Recently, photographers had been accused of standing by and letting a man immolate himself because they wanted a good picture when, had they intervened, they could have saved him. Have you ever faced that dilemma?
FH:When Medha Patkar was planning a jal samadhi, as a person I would have stopped her and told her, ‘Don’t do it.’ Ethically, it was my job to document it. You’re there in the first place because you’re sent to document the event. Luckily, in this case the cops intervened so she didn’t drown. Our first duty is to the paper, but there is a very thin line between duty and humanity.
Your role is to make people aware by documenting an event. I’d be failing in my job if I didn’t do that. If I were in such a life-and-death situation, I’d first shoot, then try to save the person’s life. I am photojournalist first, then a human being. If I didn’t have a camera in my hand, then the situation might be different. There are days when I think I want to be a human first.
DG:What about consequences? Like the man who was the face of the Gujarat riots, caught in the act of pleading with the killers—he said later that the picture appearing all over the media ruined his life.
That was a different situation—the photographer was documenting a riot. That picture of a man pleading was so strong that it became famous. A photographer can’t totally predict what’s going to happen.
DG:Photojournalism could also get monotonous. How do you avoid the cliché creeping into your work?
FH:I see a lot of work by other photographers. The biggest challenge is, of course, to avoid monotony. After a few years of experience, you learn to do that. I mean, people come to me because my work is different. I have succeeded in my own way, doing things the way I want to.
For instance, in my Faith exhibition, you could say how different could it be shooting temples and mosques. But I went to Calcutta and decided not to shoot any Durga faces. I stayed on the fringes of the festival. A Bengali photographer who came to see the show was most upset. ‘How can there be no Durga pictures?’ he exclaimed. The fact that he confronted me proved that the show was different. Faith was my mark of success. I keep getting feedback from people so I know what’s working.
DG:Have you considered doing a book of your pictures?
FH:One thing that’s eluded me so far is a book. I’ve got some offers for a book on Mumbai but publishers want pictures that sell to tourists, and I don’t do those kinds of pictures.
DG:Do you travel a lot?
I do a lot of preparation and try to take at least one trip a year only to shoot pictures. I’ve been doing that religiously for the last 8–10 years.
FH:Either alone or with a group of photographers. Like, four of us went to Ladakh—all photographers. I did the Holi celebrations on the Brij circuit with another photographer friend; six of us went to Kumbh. I’m planning a trip to Amritsar—I’ve never shot the Golden Temple.
For any photographer, the biggest challenge is to travel; only travel will get pictures, sitting at home won’t! And one has to travel beyond one’s area of experience. India’s a great place to shoot.
DG:Tell us about some travel experiences?
FH:I enjoyed going to the Maldives, where I was shooting the five islands, because a company wanted pictures for an interactive site on the islands. I must have been the only person in shorts; everyone else was in beachwear or nothing at all. The water was so clear you could see your feet under five feet of water. When Beijing wanted to pitch for the Olympics, they invited 60 photographers from all over the world to shoot Beijing. It was amazing to see the city—green, wide roads, skyscrapers.  In China, the biggest problem is language; you can’t move an inch without the interpreter. Still, the journalist in me wanted to see beyond what they wanted to show us. So I asked for permission to see a jail and a pre-pregnancy test centre. Because China has a strict one-child norm, I wanted to see what their maternity hospital was like. They were so thrilled to know I had twins because in China that’s the only way to have two children.
They refused the jail but I spent some time in the hospital. I also spent a lot of time shooting workers in the streets. They have these ring roads around the Forbidden City and they were building ring roads 4 and 5. Now they must be on to 6. I tried to portray the poverty there. I went to the hutongs there, which are like our waadas—with a common courtyard.
All of us submitted pictures for a fat book they were bringing out and four of mine (thats the maximum from one photographer) got published.
Ladakh was a bit of a disaster in the sense that we were not prepared for the thinner air. I had never been to such heights and we were panting for breath. We flew there and had no idea that the ascent should be gradual to acclimatize. I could barely walk and the dizziness persisted till we returned to Delhi.
DG:Do you also travel with your family?
FH:Yes, but a photo-vacation is different, I work harder.With family, we just go to tourist spots like Manali, Jodhpur, Kerala, with no intention of shooting. There are so many pictures of these places that they no longer appeal to you. I am simply not inclined to shoot the same old palaces and colourful headgear. My idea of going to Rajasthan would be to document child marriages. Actually, I need an event as a peg to go to a place. I need an excuse.
When I am with my family, I keep taking pictures of my daughters and they freak out and get bored and say, ‘Enough Papa!’ But I’ve been taking their pictures from the time they were born and I’ll continue till they’re in their teens. From nappies to frocks to jeans. I don’t know what will materalise out of these pictures. One 250-GB hard disk is dedicated to them and I rarely make prints of them. In fact, at my Pune house, some of these pictures have been displayed and whoever sees them loves them.
DG:Was that the germ of the new Bollywood show?
FH:Bollywood has been on my mind for a while now. I need time to spend on shoots. When Dev happened, Govind Nihalani asked me to take pictures for a book he was planning. I spent long stretches of time on his shoots. I got to see the movie world really closely; how sets are made and destroyed, characters’ make-up, the role of the choreographer. I started observing it all and I liked what I saw. I needed time to understand how a dream is churned out. The reality on the ground is quite different. How shots are taken, how people work. I’m still working on it. I’ve been shooting on and off. It’s difficult to convince people, especially the big banners, to let me hang out on the sets. But I’ve got images from about 18 films that will work for my Bollywood show.
But this show drove me bonkers. Their lighting is different. After spending days on a set, there’s no guarantee that I’ll get a picture of my liking. I’ve spent the maximum time working on this show, never sure what I’m going to get. Since I was not getting paid, a lot of people wondered what I was doing there. They would call me ‘still dada’ and I realized that the photographer doing the stills on the set does not get the kind of respect due to him.
On a film set, if you’re a part of the labour class, the food you get is different, a separate table is set for you. You’re not entitled to drink the mineral water. There’s a clean divide between A Class and C Class and a photographer’s somewhere between. If you go on the set as a journalist you are pampered, you don’t get to see the nitty-gritty of how things function. As a ‘still dada’ your table is set away from the stars. There’s a great disparity that I saw, understood and learnt. In any case, I wandered around the fringes. I never tried to get close to the actors or stars. I had to remain as aloof as possible to get what I wanted. It was an eye-opener for me and I have tried to deglamorize the whole thing. There is too much glamour associated with Bollywood.
DG:And no stars?
FH:My approach is different. I’m doing different things on location. If you know what you want, you’re not waylaid by the glamour. When I see glamour on the set, I shoot it only if it fits my requirement. I might shoot an actress but have her out of focus. For example, on Sudhir Mishra’s set, I shot a guy who was throwing dry leaves in front of a fan while Soha Ali Khan is in the background. This guy was creating a storm out of nowhere and to me, he was more important than the star.
DG:Any other problems and challenges with this project?
FH:Access was the biggest problem. You shoot Holi, Muharram whatever, nobody asks questions. But here the biggest problem is to get the producer or director to understand what you want. Pritish Nandy understood. Tanuja Chandra also gave me a free hand but Madhur Bhandarkar did not. He thinks, you’re a press guy so shoot and go! I explained that I wanted to understand the character of the set. Understand the people and then gradually get inside the circuit. I may not even get a picture on the first day. Madhur was surprised to see me the second day. He said, ‘I can't let you hang around my set.’
Govind Nihalani, who’s a cameraman himself, understands your and his requirements. It was a great experience working with him. His style, I find, is camera perfect. I also found Naseeruddin Shah and his cinematographer Hemant Chaturvedi very meticulous in their approach and would like to work with them again. While with Madhur, his USP is research, his camerawork is crass. If he doesn't understand camerawork, he won’t understand a cameraman and his requirements.
Sriram Raghavan was a big help too, and he gave me full access and co-operation on his sets of Johnny Gadar. These days, Bollywood people are so wary of photographers. I make them understand my project; some relented and I was grateful for their help and support. But many refused, especially the big banners. So I see it as a challenge, especially since I don’t need stars. I notice, once a star is there everybody reacts, there is a sudden churning on the set. My focus is on that reaction, not on the star.
DG:You have quit your job, so what keeps you busy?
FH:I have taken life a little easy after slogging for 16 years. I have another 10–12 years in active photography. I have to think of some new subjects for shows. Something will come to mind. I have started contributing to a few foreign publications and did some work for Marie Claire, though glamour is not my style. I enjoyed the ‘a-day-in-the-life-of’ shoot I did with Vidya Balan. But my style is journalistic and I want to cash in on that. I am also associated with Photoink, an agency in Delhi, and work on their assignments.
I have also started cataloguing my collection—scanning and cataloging 16 years of work. I have about 4,000-odd rolls and 1,500 GB of images, so this will take a while. The idea of digitizing the collection is to minimize the time from requirement to supply. I want to make my work accessible to people, so there can be orders online from anyone—ad agencies, editorial guys, libraries.
As I see it, these 10 years are very crucial for me. If I have to leave a mark, I have to do some serious work; I cannot take up another job and get back into mundane shooting. Two or three international assignments a month and I’ll never need to look for a job. So far, the going’s good. In my free time I have to concentrate on serious photojournalism work.
DG:Now photography is also considered art and sold like canvases. Does that interest you?
FH:It’s in a very nascent stage right now. It’s a challenge to educate the masses about photography as an art form. That process has to get started in India. This organization, Tasveer, is a pioneer in promoting photography as art, and the early players will have the advantage. We are hopeful it will happen.
DG:A painter does one canvas. A photograph can have multiple editions and obviously can’t fetch the same value. A lot of photographers use computer technology now to enhance or embellish their pictures . . .
FH:To each his own. It’s a creative form too and people come out with beautiful abstract images. Of course, amazing things can be done with computer graphics. But finally, it’s not an image that came out of a camera but one that was conjured up on a computer. I may do it when I’m 60 and have no energy. While I have the time, I want to go out and shoot.
DG:If you read the resumes of a lot of cinematographers, they invariably started as photographers. Did you ever consider trying the other camera?
FH:When there was a TV boom, I had umpteen offers to move to the ‘electronic camera’, as they call it. But for me, a still holds more value because it’s a moment you capture. I was told there’s more money in electronic media but there’s so much more I want to do with stills. I’ve also invested too much time and equipment to move to a new medium. I’m not yet bored with still photography. When I take out my camera, I know that it’ll be an
exciting day and that keeps me going.
*DEEPA GAHLOT is a journalist, critic, columnist, editor, author and screenwriter. She writes extensively on cinema, theatre and women’s issues for several publications and websites. She has worked with an NGO in the field of tribal development, directed and written short documentaries and radio features and run the print features syndicate Plus Newsbank for six years. She has won the National Award for Best Film Criticism in 1998. Her work has appeared in anthologies on women’s studies and cinema, the latest being Bollywood: Popular Indian Cinema (Dakini, London); Behind the Scenes of Hindi Cinema: A Visual Journey through the Heart of Bollywood (edited by Johan Manschot and Marijke deVos) and Janani (edited by Rinki Bhattacharya). Her book on Prithvi Theatre (co-authored with Shashi Kapoor) was published recently.