- December 23rd, 2009
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It was all a dream, definitely a dream till it turned a reality. I wonder how it begun though; never fathomed a dinner with a friend who told me about the contest by Kingfisher looking for a photographer to cover the calendar launch event, would be it. Yes, that was it. But I came to know about the contest only on 7th December. I had deadlines at my workplace to take care of before my vacation from 9th December 2009 kicks in. So I had to finish my work before that.
Irrespectively, the journey began. I made my profile on the website (My Contest Profile) and started asking (read begging) for votes. I spammed inboxes of all I knew to vote for me and coaxed my friends to spam their respective friends. It worked. Very next day I reached 10th Rank. And the day after that I was in top 5.
As I was about to travel on 9th and my access to internet would have been limited, I decided that I will carry my 4 years old 4 Kgs laptop to browse. I saw myself spending my travel and time thereafter asking (read again as begging, from an expert beggar by now) for votes. Some people who liked my photography also started getting votes for me. Within no time it was a close contest. I moved to first spot in few days and stayed there for good 2 days. But last three days of contest saw a tough competition and I finished second in the number of votes. Yet, I hoped I will still be selected because of my photography skills. When results were declared on 17th, I was there on the list of winners. It all felt like a dream. As a photographer I had some plans, but this was “THE” opportunity for any photographer.
And a BIG BIG BIG thank you to people who had the confidence in me and made me reach there.
I came to know that the event was in Mumbai at Dr. Vijay Mallya’s house. I was already on vacation and about to roam in Mumbai. COINCIDENCE. Isn’t it?
In the dreams, you are supposed to be well dressed and look as best as you can. But the dream was over and reality was so close; I tried shopping for the dress code Calendar-ish, which was kind of confusing. Help came from a friend Yash in finding the good areas in Mumbai to shop. And we zeroed in on a designer shirt and black trouser and some accessories.
I was all set to attend the party; my friend from Kingfisher side was Sambhav, who had the invites for me(The babe on invite was so hot). He had also arranged for the flight back to Bangalore (thanks to the contest). I woke up early in the morning to get ready on time and reach the venue on time. The event was supposed to start at 1pm, but got delayed a little. I like a kid in candy shop arrive a bit early and was lucky to get the glimpse of the calendar girls; their posters were already put up which were not covered by any photographers by then. Not many people around at that time also made me click the pics peacefully (you see, arriving early at times helps). The pics are there in the end of this blog (READ the blog and then only jump to them ).
On the entrance of the house, there were beautiful babes, who welcomed the guests. It would be a sin to address Dr.Vijay Mallya’s house as house, so from now on I will refer to it as a PALACE. And Dr. Vijay Mallya as the KING. On the entrance there was this big poster which depicted all the Kingfisher hotties over the years, truly Kingfisher and Hot girls are like twins. This followed calendar preview, wherein the models came and posed.
Babes receiving the guests
As I heard from a passer-by, the guests list comprised of all big names of Bollywood, it was quite exciting to speculate who all will arrive. The calendar was brought to the stage at around 1:30pm and it was beautifully wrapped in yellow. It itself made a perfect picture. The King arrived at around 2pm and so did the models from the calendar. I started getting some shots of the models and followed each one of them, and they were sweet enough to pose for me.
And suddenly someone appeared … any guesses …. ???
DEV.D (Abhay Deol)
So this Dev.P was in front of Dev.D or vice-versa, I just started clicking him …click click click … and got some nice shots … and then focused back to the models …
Others to make their presence felt were Madhur Bhandarkar, Mandira Bedi, Simone Singh, Purab Kohli. I was getting all confused by now as to whom to click … hot models around me or the Bollywood celebs … and then Nagesh Kukunoor arrived and I clicked him … one more good shot …
Cyrus started a funny game at around 2:30 and it involved five teams of two guys each, YES GUYS … and partner A had to get a drink from a lady in the audience and partner B had to drink the drink in a milk bottle meant for babies… here there was some cheating from all the teams and Siddharth Mallya was declared the winner, the reason given by Cyrus was that he was the son of the King .
After the event was over I was going to the drinks counter, to get some fruit juice but then I had to stop … why… why … why … because Deepika Padukone was sitting inside the Palace. and I got two candid shots of her… and then later on I mustered the courage to go inside the palace and get a click of her … but then she said I will be back in some time … and then later on I got some more good shots … one with the Prince too …
And then Kunal kapoor made his entry … and I went very close to him and I think he felt I was a stalker … I almost appeared so with my big camera … and click click click … few more good shots … meanwhile Cyrus had started his question answer session for the hot models … questions involved their english accents, about their funny names, height and etc etc … and ya their relationship with Atul …
In the end the Ace photographer Atul and the King gave their speech … and Deepika arrived on the stage … there were just click sounds thereafter … She was looking billion bucks. She unveiled the Calendar. I think I was clicking more of her pics than the Calendar…
Post launch Deepika was posing with the new Calendar and thus started the mad rush. Every photographer was stepping on each other to capture Deepika. Glad that I had got much better candid shots earlier.
I had a morning return flight from Kingfisher. I didn’t sleep at all and was uploading some pics on Facebook/flickr … It was really a life changing experience … and I think it is an experience I will cherish for my lifetime …