art events snaps theatre videos

Gunehar diaries #6 – the wrap up post

The Shop Art Art Shop Residency and Exhibition got over on 14th Jun. I returned to Goa last evening. And it’s time for a wrap up post. I still remember how I had felt first, on reaching the village  – “now that I am in Gunehar, I wonder what stories I am going to end up with, in the next three weeks” (quote from diary #1). As it turned out eventually, I didn’t end up making a story on any of my first ideas (house with the best view, village life, struggle of artists etc. – diary #2). Even the sniper project that I started in the second week (diary #3) did not lead to anything exciting other than a dramatic fight scene (which I started showing as a story in itself, but gradually just retained the most interesting parts of that video for a jingle that I made later). Diary #3 also mentions a “juicy conversation” (quoting below) and that finally did become a story [you can watch it here on 3 Minute Stories’ Facebook page].

…villager approached me…  …shared a lot about his life. Pretty juicy stuff for first meeting – how his first wife had an affair and dumped him, the reasons why he doesn’t like his father, a foreigner who has promised to adopt his children and take them to England and things like that.

Made DharmSadhu click a portrait of mine with a super-fake smile, one day; to be used for “Artist Profiles” posters (that never got made eventually).

The stories that I eventually did create and screened have their origins in my thought process by the end of second week –  “…find one specific subject in each generation category and then shoot him / her + do a bit of interview to put together something that at least resembles a story”.

The first story that I finished editing was on Maniram (sharing it below). To read up more on how this story happened, you can visit my blog on 3 Minute Stories.

By the time I wrote my last diary from Gunehar, I already had two more stories ready + 1 super duper cute jingle. You can watch Indira and Chhangu’s story on Facebook (the video description on FB also explains how the story happened). It’s a simple story about a woman and her hopes and desires from her teenage son.

The exhibition part of the residency was only two days away. So I started tidying up my shop (this residency was not only about making documentaries, but also about managing a space like a multimedia installation). I am not a space person, so it took me considerable time and effort. I am thankful to Eeint (the bottle guy from diary #5) who helped me with some good ideas about setting up the space.

3 Minute Stories Shop in Gunehar.
Because I didn’t like a single picture of my shop taken by anyone (after it was setup), I finally had to direct a photograph myself, with biwi as my cameraman. Biwi had come over for few days in the third week, then left for a trek in Manali and then, joined me again in the last 5 days of the programme.

The final week was more about screening my stories every time someone came to my shop. I also found enough time to edit a new story (the juicy one, mentioned above).

My village multiplex offered a variety of seating arrangements 😛 Maniram – protagonist of one story, stares from the screen at Shivang – the kid who features in another story.
Children were frequent visitors to my shop. The Italy Holioke was their favourite screening.


I would also go out once in a while during power-cuts (that were rare) or during rains to make images.

Ran into a guy who said he worked in Goa for many years, selling tshirts. He has a German girlfriend who wants to invest in a cafe / guest-house in Gunehar. He took me to his house and made tea for me as I clicked a picture of his niece and her neighborhood friend.
Terra’s landlord spends moments of solitude in his house, as it rains outside.
He introduces me to his new baby goat, after the rain stops.

Two days before the event / residency ended, there was a dance programme by the villagers and a trial Gaddi fashion show. There would be an even bigger function on the closing night, but I didn’t take any pictures then; so sharing the ones from this prior evening.

The hero of my 3 Minute Jingle from Gunehar.
The gathering was 3 to 4 times bigger on the closing ceremony two days later.
Gaddi fashion show models await their turn.
Not everything happens on stage. Some happen under it too. Especially for those who can fit in! 🙂
The young audience.
The old audience.

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After his own performance, God and His mother enjoy performances by others.
Ken’s 360 degree camera tries venturing into new territories, during the Gaddi fashion show.


A true God always finds His devotees.


Unfortunately, after all the amazing time that I had in Gunehar (sans the falling sick and accidental formatting of memory card once), the biggest shit that happened to me, was during the closing ceremony. 🙁

Maniram’s story had just started when 4T decided to change the angle of the screen. Yes, in the middle of the screening with thousands of villagers watching. I am sure 4T just wanted more people to get a good view. But everyone who has set up a home projector that has couple of wires going from here to there, knows that it’s a fragile setup and any lose wire can shut off the screening. While in a home setup, that’s fine because it usually doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to sort things out, in a public screening, it can lead to chaos. In my case, because of the abrupt and unplanned change in the way the screen was put up, I had to readjust my projector and in the process, the sound cable probably got loose from some point (and there were too many points). Sound stopped. And I could not figure out why, for about a minute. So yes, the screening stopped. So did my heart. 4T soon announced on mic that because most villagers had anyway seen my movies, it was ok.  And I guess it was indeed ok for many. But boy, what a heart-breaking moment that was for me (I can still feel the pain). I was in pain and I was angry. For many hours following that, I kept wondering how amazing it would have been, had 4T not tried adjusting the screen in the middle of a screening. But then, was it really his fault? He just forgot to take into account the fragility of the whole setup when he decided to do what he did. He only wanted more people to watch the screening properly.

The local singers took over the stage immediately and I zoned out, unable to focus on anything. I am sure majority of the villagers had indeed already seen the stories in some screening or the other, as 4T had rightly said. But I also knew many in the audience had not. And in any case, this was not about who had seen the stories and who had not. For me, it was simply the biggest gathering of audience who were watching it and that’s a difference experience altogether.

Eeint saw me dissolving in the background, and could read my expressions. He hung out with me for a while. Some villagers offered booze and I tried to feel normal again. But in spite of trying so for few hours, (I even went up the stage, dressed like a Gaddi and did a bit of drunk dance), I finally realized I had to deal with the fiasco on my own. I had to let it sink in, stop blaming anyone and move on. Shit happens all the time and that evening was just my unlucky day. While the rest of the artists partied till late night, I chose to skip my dinner and went to sleep. Sleep came very late. It was the worst possible way the festival could have ended for me.

During the last night, someone took away this chap’s cap and placed it on my head to make me look like a complete Gaddi. We did run into each other later and he got back his cap.
Real kids playing with painted kids in Gunehar. Artwork by Kaki and a team of Kangra miniature artists.

‘Where had you disappeared last night?’, Kaki asked me the next day. She added that everyone had missed me and all of that. I wondered if I should make an excuse. I didn’t. “I was not in a great mood yesterday”, I gave her an honest reply. I think she understood.

The bigger question is, does one fiasco really take away all the wonderful things that I experienced during my 4 week stay in Gunehar? No, it doesn’t.

So to sum it up, I would love to wrap up my Gunehar diary on a happy and positive note. My stay was about:

  • back to back hard work, doing something that I really liked doing;
  • creating films on purely personal stories for the first time;
  • screening my Gunehar stories for several days, both for villagers and visitors (who often complimented – but then I never take compliments too seriously – most people do it out of politeness anyway, don’t they? 🙂 )
  • consuming amazing food on most days (and a crazy variety) – thanks to my (now) friends from Goa;
  • getting to see, meet and interact with so many different kinds of artists;
  • McDowell’s No. 1 every single night :D;
  • and last but not the least, growing up some more, as an individual – with a new life experience.

May life be interesting always. Full of things to write and talk about, like this! Over and out for now!


art events snaps

Gunehar Diaries #5 – 2 more days for the festival to begin

Most artists are more or less approaching the final stages of their work.

They have to. 🙂 The festival starts from 7th and ends on 14th (June 2016).

Eeint – an artist from Delhi, repairs his bottle work after heavy winds left many of them broken.  A drunk guy came soon afterwards and left behind his empty whiskey bottle. “You guys are in need of empty bottles I can see”, he remarked before leaving. So very helpful!


Terra prepares to carry her clay houses from her shop to burn them in a locally made brick furnace.


Bluehair met with an accident day before yesterday. That left her with a crushed big toe. The injury is so serious that the toe might even get amputated. 🙁

But we all are hoping for the best. I was told her toe has already shown some signs of recovery. And that means she could end up keeping it, if nothing goes wrong. She is admitted to a hospital in Palampur and some of us plan to visit her in the evening. She would most likely return home once she is discharged from the hospital. All of us are slightly disturbed and sad about this, but then, such is life.

I have three stories ready + 1 jingle that is a story in itself. 😀 I think I have enough extra footage to create few more as the festival starts (I am thinking may be two more). Pretty proud of myself! The stories are not online yet. I would slowly release them once the festival starts. Or may be after 14th, when it’s over.

Biwi showed up and stayed for few days before leaving for her trek that started in Manali.

She even brought with her, our projector from Goa. It’s being of much use here.

Villagers enjoy screening of few stories in my “ArtShop”.

Biwi also helped me make my shop look better (painting, sticking papers and all such things). The work is not yet complete but should hopefully look much neater in the next few days. Biwi also took few dance classes for the village girls, for a possible performance during the festival. I look forward to her returning on 10th.

Biwi interacting with the village kids.
A village girl poses for my camera in my shop. I have a big print of this (and few more faces) now, that I plan to stick to one of the columns.
A poster that I have gotten printed in a huge 3X5 feet size. There are couple of more – will try using them in a way that they give a village multiplex feel to my shop!

Life in the village is going on as usual in the meantime. My interactions with villagers declined somewhat over the last few days because of all the editing and shop beautification tasks that I was upto (still am). But I did go out once in a while to capture some of what I saw.

A girl waits for her turn to get Kerosene from Ram’s ration shop.
A villager takes cover during a short spell of rain. I almost never see anyone carrying rain-coats here, even when it rains every few days (albeit for short duration).


I ended up meeting Vishnu again (had mentioned him in diary#3; a guy who works in a perfume factory in Chandigarh, misses his village when working in the city, but also gets bored when he comes to village for short duration). I shot him working with bullocks in one of his fields. Often, his nephew and niece would take over. Later he took me to his house and made me see parts of the village I had never been to. He returned to Chandigarh the next day.

Vishnu’s nephew works with bullocks as his niece observes her brother. Sister in laws help remove weed to prepare the field for rice plantation.

A funny thing happened. Pinkhair who is an author and is an integral part of the Shop Art team, (blogging regularly about artists and the development of the festival) is from New Zealand. So I shared my New Zealand Holioke with her. She loved it, showed it to Eeint and then slowly everyone ended up seeing it, one by one. It was proposed that I show them to the villagers too, when I screen my movies. And guess what, I did so. Since then, both that and the Italy holioke are like hot favorites here in this village. In fact, they care more about those videos than their own stories! 😀

While I screen inside a dark room during day time, the screenings shift outdoors during the evening – for half an hour.
Villagers – mostly kids, absorb the beauty of Italy via the Holioke that Biwi and I made last year.

In less than ten days, it would be time to leave this village and I have this feeling, I might miss this place for quite some time.

Alright, let me go now and decorate my shop. The huge posters that I have, need to be framed so that they can be put up on the wall. And then there is always some editing to do. Villagers want more and more stories and I don’t want to let them down.

art events snaps travel

Gunehar Diaries: #4 – How I lost some video files and other such things

This Sunday, I created a half-baked 3 minute story (that I don’t want to share here because, yes you guessed it right, it’s half baked 🙂 ), transferred the video to my phone and started showing it to every villager who cared to watch.

So the villagers now understand that I am not just some random guy shooting shit with his camera, that they will never get to see.

This has made my life easier because now they are coming up with more ways to help me find subjects, stories and all that.

Village kids watch my half-baked 3 minute story on my phone. By their expressions, they probably approve of it.

I want to focus on views and lives of people of different generations in this village (oldies, working adults, college going kids and possibly a young kid). One of the biggest challenges that I have with this approach is – there is no clear cut well defined “story” really  – something that I have always depended upon over the last two years since I started 3MinuteStories. I am dealing with it anyway. Don’t ask how. :/ This week’s plan was to find one specific subject in each generation category and then shoot him / her + do a bit of interview to put together something that at least resembles a story. Could it get boring? Possibly yes. Is there anything else that I can probably do? Can’t think of much. Fortunately, I already do have somewhat exciting subjects from each category and for many, I have already shot this and that. Working hours are going up slowly – with all the hard core editing required and stuff. So blogging might go down a bit.

A film-maker from Quebec (Canada) happened to be in Gunehar for few days. He sat with me one evening, looking at some of the work-in-progress stories. He advises directors and film-makers on their stories, professionally. It was nice to have his feedback. I hope it helps in the final output.

Oh by the way, day before yesterday, I accidentally formatted one SD card, without copying the video files to my hard disk 🙁

They were clips showing villagers working together to re-divert part of the river water to a channel. The channel takes the water to the fields. Majority of villagers own farms and this is the time to sow paddy. So they really need water in the channel. Heavy rains about two weeks ago (before I had arrived in the village) had set many boulders and stones rolling all over the river-bed, damaging the channel and blocking the entry of the river water to it. After few days of combined effort by the villagers, the water is flowing back to the channel now. I have shots of that. But I lost shots which showed the blockage of water. And that’s kind of sad. 🙁 This was like the only “clear-cut” story that I had accidentally stumbled upon. I have already tried almost every possible software since past 24 hours. Nothing worked! I am moving on as I type away this blog.

The villagers working on the river project, asked me to show something. My phone came handy. The goat was clearly more interested in the film-maker than his films! 😛

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It rained later that evening. I put on a rain-coat (borrowed from 4T), wrapped a plastic around my camera and went out to shoot whoever I could. Till it got very dark and rain stopped.

Kaki and her friend take shelter under a shop. Her wall painting is coming along nice.
Bluehair. Blue sky. And some lens flares.

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Howmuch – the pop-artist from London, has an intern working for her now. “I am a bad excuse for an Indian”, she keeps telling everyone.

That’s about it for now. Let me get back to editing and hopefully I will also have some video-story to share when I return to my blog next.

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Gunehar Diaries: #3 – Turning into a sniper

I am well now. Just a bit of coughing, that should go away soon. I hope. I found an unused wooden plank, painted a signboard and put it up in my “shop”.

Yesterday, I also setup a tripod in the shop and shot like a sniper from a fixed vantage point.

The idea, for one of the 3 minute stories that I plan to create, is to combine actions taking place in a limited frame, shot over multiple days, and give it a structure in a way that a seamless story evolves – without any interviews or voice-over. This sounds as complicated as it would be to execute. But worth trying nevertheless. From just few hours of doing my sniper thing, I got one very interesting piece of action.

Now that I am well again, I have resumed the process of hanging out in general and letting the villagers get familiar with me. The villagers are super friendly and love to talk. And I love taking their pictures. As you can see.

Gunehar’s favourite spot in market to hang out. Especially in evenings.

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Howmuch – a pop artist based out of London, smiles during a work-break. Kaki is apparently lost in deep thoughts about how the Kangra painting that she is working on, would come out eventually.
One of the Kangra painters from Himachal (working with Kaki) waits for his chai. He would be part of one of the video stories (3MS).



Terra (extreme right of photograph) and the village children outside Bluehair’s artshop.
Bluehair and her balloon. Children and their balloons. There is a balloon for everyone.


Why are the balloons sperm shaped?, I asked Bluehair. Oh fuck, didn’t realize that, she replied.


Because of my fever, I could not shoot farmers cutting wheat from their fields. Now that I am well, everyone is already done cutting off the wheat.

I had become friends with one farmer – let’s call him Vishnu. He works in Chandigarh but had taken few days leave to be with his family, so that he could help in the whole wheat harvesting job. I have some interesting conversations that I had with him, on camera. He told me how women and girls worked more in this village than men (men feel shy to do agricultural work), how he wished he could be in his village only if there were enough jobs, his possible engagement and so much more. But the only footage that I have of him, other than him talking is when he was packing up the hay and loading the wheat in a truck. It would have been so awesome to have shots of him working in the field and carrying the load from the fields to the place where sieving happens. Will see what I can create from whatever little I have.

Another villager approached me as I was sitting in my shop and shared a lot about his life. Pretty juicy stuff for first meeting – how his first wife had an affair and dumped him, the reasons why he doesn’t like his father, a foreigner who has promised to adopt his children and take them to England and things like that. Need to listen to more stories. Need to shoot more. Things are getting interesting by the day. Will get back with more dope soon. Everyone in the village is now waiting for some rain. Getting too hot during the day.

art events snaps travel

Gunehar diaries: 2 – I have some broad story ideas now

Today is my third day in Gunehar and I have already fallen ill.

It started with a moderate cold when I got up in the morning. And since then, I’ve been feeling pretty feverish. I can only hope that the body temperature doesn’t rise. Fingers crossed. My ‘shop’ has been identified. I should put up a signage soon – once I feel better. As of now, even creating this blog-post is a pain. But laying on bed and doing nothing is probably even more painful.

My art shop. Technically, a villager’s house in progress. But should do. The entire village is busy cutting off wheat from fields, drying them in any open space that they can find (like what you see in this photograph) and getting grains out. Rains could start any time now and if the wheat job is not completed before that, it’s going to be a big loss to the villagers). Picture by DharmSadhu.
Every house (or may be almost every house) in Gunehar has a miniature temple in their courtyards that’s home for a God that dresses in yellow.
A village kid helps Terra in her preparation for a terra-cotta project that she is upto. Terra, along with Conman are possibly the only artists here who have already started work – that can be seen.
Conman with his cast and crew, seek help from 4T – the organizer.
Takecare, one of the caretakers. Looks more like a model than a care taker. Every time I carry water in these wine bottles from the restaurant to my place, I find kids discussing amongst themselves if I am really carrying water.

Yesterday, I roamed around, up and down the village main road (the length is just around 1 Km or so) with a camera, clicking away pictures. I would have done the same today had I not fallen sick. The process has been helpful both for me and the villagers (I guess). I want them to see and recognize me as a photographer to the point that they don’t care any more. That’s when interesting stuff would happen. And from being a photographer, I would turn into a film-maker who can manage to capture the reality the way it is.

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Story ideas are slowly taking shape. Some of the potential ones are:

  • Whose house has the best view? – I can find say three people who are proud of their houses and try to explore if they care about the view at all! Who do I think has the best view anyway?
  • My take on “life in a village” – could become pretty boring unless something unexpected happens while I am it. Their is lot of typical village activity that can be captured, but I need to figure out a thread to weave them together, in a way that they become a story of some kind.
  • Mystery of the blue and pink hair – we have two women here who have got bright coloured hair. I am wondering if something interesting comes out when I start enquiring on what the villagers think about the coloured hairs. Do they care? Do they have an opinion? How do I know their opinion is candid and not “for the camera”. What is the real reason these two got their hair coloured?
  • The struggle of few artists to bring back a dying artwork to main stream – I have maximum clarity on this story. Kaki is working on Kangra wall paintings with few Himachali artists. What they are doing should help more people take notice of this particular art-form.
  • I also like what Terra is upto (the lady working with clay in one of the pictures above) – and have this feeling that I can extract some story from there. The ideas are pretty vague at this point of time.

That’s it for now. Pray for me to get well soon. Will get back with more stuff soon.

art snaps travel

Gunehar diaries: 1 – the beginning


Now that I am in Gunehar, I wonder what stories I am going to end up with, in the next three weeks.

I reached this village in Himachal Pradesh yesterday. The day before, at Delhi airport, I met Conman – an interesting film-maker from Singapore – also participating in the SA/AS residency. I had flown in from Goa and he from Hongkong. He teaches production design in couple of film schools. He also acts in movies and commercials. And he has made few feature films as well, including one documentary on the homeless in Japan. Conman recently had a heart attack and had to undergo a surgery and has to carry emergency medicines with him at all times. His project in Gunehar will revolve around involving the village children in making of fiction movies (most likely a continuation of something that he had started two years ago in the first edition of this residency).

After few hours, Kaki – another fellow participant from Delhi, found us at the food-joint outsider terminal 1. It was past eleven in the night. We soon teak seats in Raju driver’s Innova. 4T – the main organizer of the residency had sent Raju driver from Himachal to pick us up from Delhi. It took us about 10 hours to reach the village. I didn’t get much sleep.

Conman trying Sprite at a dhaba to deal with his suspected diarrhea. Somewhere in Punjab / Himachal – on route from Delhi to Gunehar.

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4T, the organizer of the program welcomes us on our arrival in Gunehar. Also seen in the picture, is a sleepy Kaki.

Some participants had already reached. Few more would arrive later in the day. We were shown our rooms, spread across different houses in the village, along a common main road.

art events

My one month cool and experimental plan for the summer of 2016

In short, I will be running a 3MinuteStories (3MS) shop in a village in Himachal Pradesh for a month. What the heck is a 3MS shop? And what exactly would I be selling from my shop? Read on.

What can ‘arts’ achieve in the 21st century if it is taken out of its usual cosmopolitan setting and related dependencies? Shop Art / Art Shop (SA/AS in short) is a contemporary Arts event that is trying to explore answers to this question, by inviting 10-12 artists to do a one month paid-for residency in Gunehar, a small village close to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. The first SA/AS was held in 2013. This year (14 May to 24 June 2016) would be its second edition.

Loly – my dearest friend – is working for SA/AS and that’s how I got to know about the event / residency. She connected me to the other organizers, they checked out my 3 Minute Stories and soon, Frank – who leads SA/AS, asked me if I’d like to be a part of it. I jumped in. What did I need to do? Well, like the other artists (some of them are still being finalized I guess), I will be occupying an empty shop in Gunehar and will be creating, yes you guessed it right, “art-work”. 🙂

A painter or a sculptor or a fashion designer can possibly sit in a shop and create stuff but what would a film-maker like me do sitting in a shop really? Edit movies on his laptop? Also, how do I exhibit my final work? Set up some TVs? What would be my final work anyway – a couple of 3 Minute Stories that I can possibly shoot in the village? I don’t have answers to all these questions. But hopefully, I will figure some of them out before I land up in Gunehar! More than anything else, it would be cool to keep checking out how the other artists proceed with their work. And of course, what they end up creating.

Of the four weeks that the SA/AS residency would be, the first three weeks would be for creation and the last week for exhibition. The exhibition is planned in a way that it not only demonstrates the end result of the artists’ work but also incorporates typical local ‘mela’ elements, such as concerts, screenings, discussions etc. to reach a broad cross-section of the society.

The SA/AS guys also plan to take some of the work created during the residency to different locations, galleries etc. around the world in a modified and actualized version in a series of follow-up exhibitions. Let’s see how my 3 Minute Stories does on that! 🙂

Will keep you guys posted on how things shape up! For now, pretty excited.

PS: the feature image is a photograph I took in Himachal Pradesh last year end. More photographs here.


Haleem Khan – my big project for the year 2015


Haleem, in the picture above, is the subject of my next documentary movie project. His full name is Haleem Khan. And he is not a terrorist. He is a Kuchipudi dancer. Kuchipudi – the folk dance of Andhra Pradesh, is a dance form almost predominantly learnt by, and taught to Hindus. But for Haleem, dancing is a religion in itself. And that’s why he didn’t care about which community he was born in, when he got attracted towards classical dance. It all  started by watching performances once in a while on TV, as he grew up in Ongole. He didn’t know whether he was watching Kuchipudi or Bharatnatyam or anything else. The only reason he ended up learning Kuchipudi and not anything else was because the only teacher he could find in Ongole, taught Kuchipudi. It was not easy for him to convince her to teach him. All the other students she had were younger Hindu girls. Here was a Muslim guy in 11th class who wanted to learn classical dance because he was attracted to similar performances on TV! What was she to do? She refused. But Haleem persisted. And he eventually won in convincing her. And that’s how the journey started. He knew it would be next to impossible to get approval from his conservative parents. In fact, his parents came to know about their son being a Kuchipudi dancer, only after 7 years of him starting to learn the art-form. Because by that time, he had become famous enough and the media had started talking about him and writing about him.

What has made Haleem really popular in the Kuchipudi circuit are his female impersonation performances, which he started few years ago. In fact, in the recent times, almost all shows that he does, he performs dressed as a female dancer. And he has performed not just in India but even internationally in countries like US. There is a reason why he tried a female impersonation for the first time. Haleem explained to me that, one cannot call himself a complete Kuchipudi dancer, unless one has given at least one performance as a female dancer. Historically, when Kuchipudi evolved, women were not expected to / allowed to dance. So men would dress up like women and perform. In our modern times, the perception towards classical dance is that of a feminine thing. Guys from outside dancing families hardly want to learn it and almost no one wants to dress up like a woman to perform. So it’s not surprising that when Haleem does it, some wonder if he is a gay or a transgender. When someone asked him this question for the first time, he was surprised. Is it so hard to believe that a straight ‘man’ can dress up like a woman to perform a classical dance, purely for the love of art? Apparently, yes. And that’s what makes his journey interesting.

There is not much money in classical dancing. Many a times, even organizers don’t want to pay you (we would give you a wonderful stage to perform and great audience, what do you need the money for?) and when they pay you, they pay you as less as they can. And yet Haleem Khan, who went on to also get an MBA degree, left his job after few years to focus on being a full time dancer. His life is a struggle. And for him, the struggle is worth it, because of his love for the art-form that is Kuchipudi. All that he wants to do is perform (and get paid for his performances like a true professional) and spread awareness about the awesomeness of Kuchipudi worldwide. And this passion of his, is what I want to bring out in my documentary.

Because Haleem is based out of Hyd, and I live in Goa, it is a challenging task to shoot him and his life and his journey on a regular basis. I have been trying to rope in friends based in Hyderabad, who can shoot footages occasionally. Let’s see if their initial interest persists over time. This is my big project for this year (definitely beyond 3 minutes 😀 ) and I hope you all look forward to it as much as I do.


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My collection of some of the top wedding photographers in India

After going through hundreds of websites, I have compiled together a list of some of the top wedding photographers in India. I have mentioned the pricing info wherever I could find it.  This is my personal opinion. Given that I am a candid wedding photographer myself, I do have a basic understanding of bad, good and awesome work! If you know of more photographers whose work should show up here, do let me know! Most of these photographers offer their services across India and abroad. Most of them are based out of main Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Goa etc.

Top wedding photographers in India

The listing below is in no particular order.


ShaadiGraPher (Amrit & Neelabh)


Fee for candid wedding photography for a day varies from INR 50,000 to 70,000 based on your schedule. Fee for wedding cinematography starts at INR 1 lakh (for a day).



Their basic photography package starts at INR 1 lakh for 8 hrs.

list of best wedding photographers in india


Arjun Kartha

His basic photography package starts at INR 1 lakh.



Ramit Batra

The website is silent on price but most likely should start at INR 1 lakh or higher.

best wedding photographers in india - ramit batra


 Mahesh Shantaram

As per his website, “very, very rarely are we able to take up assignments valued at less than a lakh”.



Sephi Bergerson

The price is not mentioned on his website, but given that he has been in the industry for a long long time, it has to start at INR 1 lakh. Could be much higher, can’t say. You can contact him through his site!



Joseph Radhik

Could not find the pricing on Facebook and other site is down presently. But I guess it definitely starts at over 1 lakh.



Amar Ramesh

The website is silent on the fee. By the way, the groom in the picture below is a batch-mate from IIT and was in my wing in our first year!



Into Candid Photography

Pricing info not available on their site.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 10.29.47 pm


Anshumm Photography

His website does not mention pricing details.



Anbu Jawahar

Surprisingly, the website has a “pricing info” link which funnily does not mention any price range at all!

anbu jawahar


Siddharth Sharmasiddharth


Hope you liked their work. Once again, this compilation is based on my personal opinion and is not comprehensive by any means. There are many more good wedding photographers out there and it is quite possible I might have missed them out here. I plan to add few more names over the course of next few days. In the mean time, you can also suggest few more photographers whose work is truly topnotch!

art – best wedding photographer India

There are weddings. And then there are Indian weddings. Or Shaadis as we call them. Colourful. Vibrant. Full of stories. Stories about stolen shoes. About that mama who outperformed MJ when he danced together with the baratis. About that kaka who complained about every food-item and yet ate more than everyone else. And so on and so forth.

Neelabh and I believe these stories need to be captured the way they unfold. Naturally. Happily. But we realized most of the regular photographers weren’t doing this right. So we thought, let’s do it ourselves. And then we started doing it ourselves. Clicking pictures not for the sake of clicking because someone paid us. But for the sake of the stories we just mentioned about. For the sake of pure happiness and dhoom-dhadaka that Indian weddings are all about. The idea is to soon be regarded as the best wedding photographer India has to offer to couples getting married in India.

And now we have gone official. We call ourselves shaadigraphers. Check out for select portfolio. And if you like our work, spread the word around. It’s a long way to go before we are called the best wedding photographer India, but at least the journey has begun!


Best wedding photographer India

Also delinked amritvatsa.blogspot from today