Amitabh Bachchan

Date: 23.02.15
Author: Louise Haywood-Schiefer
Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,

I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t really heard of Amitabh Bachchan before I got commissioned to photograph him. The reason I feel ignorant is because he is basically one of the most famous people in India. Recently having been awarded the prestigious Padma Vibushan for his contribution to the arts, he is one of the nations most prolific and revered film stars.

The process of researching him was a little overwhelming and I must confess to feeling a little intimidated afterwards. It’s strange knowing you are going to meet someone super famous without quite understanding or having experienced the level of their fame. I was told by the journalist that most Sundays hundreds of people convene around his home just for a glimpse of him as he stands outside and waves at them. Crazy.

The shoot was squeezed into the schedule of a hotel press junket to celebrate the launch of his latest film Shamitabh, as usual time was tight but fortunately the suite he occupied was incredible. Usually in posh hotels there is the obligatory magnolia walls and soulless trimmings, but the St James Court was just perfect. Rich red walls hosting golden framed paintings of popular Indian Film stars was such a lovely surprise and really fit with the theme of the shoot and the regal nature of my subject.

For saying I had barely fifteen minutes, Mr Bachchan’s quiet demeanour was actually very calming. There wasn’t much time for chat but it didn’t really matter. Being a complete pro he gave me the warmth and friendliness in his eyes that I needed for the shots and even offered to hold my reflector as I juggled trying to keep it in the correct position whilst hand holding my camera during those last precious moments with him.

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