Rajiv Gupta, a 23 year old Mechanical Engineering student from Delhi would never have thought in his wildest dreams that incessant photo sessions with his girlfriend would one day get him a nomination for the best photographer of the year.
The awards, touted as the Oscars of the Photography world, are handed out each year for excellence in Photography. Rajiv managed to get himself in the shortlist, the only amateur in a list dominated by professionals.
Though photography was never a passion with Rajiv, his girlfriend Simran’s obsession with being in front of the camera is what forced him to take pictures.
“Somehow she is never satisfied with how she looks in those pics. I don’t know if most girls show similar behavior or it’s just Simran. She’ll pout, toss her hair, smile and turn her face left-right at least a hundred times before clicking a picture. I remember a time when I spent an hour in the scorching heat just holding the camera, waiting for her to make up her mind over the perfect pose. If there was ever a relationship status as ‘photographer’ on Facebook, that would be me,” he said, clearly exasperated but without making it obvious.
When asked about the set of pictures which managed to wow the judges and managed to get him a nomination, Rajiv said. “A few pictures which I took in Bhopal went viral on social media and ended up being in the shortlist. I along with Simran were checking out the tourist destinations in Bhopal and as usual I was the photographer. From the serpentine alleys, exotic haveli’s and crowded bazar in the North to the upmarket shopping complex and plush restaurants in the South, we covered everything while taking pictures. Bhopal is indeed two cities in one.”
“I wasn’t consciously trying to take award winning pics. But my guess is that the images we took at Badatalab, which is the largest man-made lake in India, probably impressed the right people,” he added.
As the news of the nomination made it to mainstream media, congratulatory messages started pouring in from across the country. One prominent Bollywood director even had a script ready for his next movie.
“I have found my Raj and Simran. I was looking for a perfect sequel and this story lends itself so beautifully. I am already scouting for picturesque locations in Bhopal. Maybe I’ll name it CDLJ; Camerawale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge,” said Taran Shohar, as he giggled at the silliness of the title.
Amidst all the adulation there was also renewed debate about concerns over how boyfriends were relegated to holding cameras and shopping bags while their better someone coyly posed for pics or went around shopping.
“I have always advocated setting up of ‘National Commission for Men’ that would look into this matter pronto. I will be forwarding my suggestion to senior govt officials for having a ‘day care center’ for men that will offer some respite while women indulged in shopping,” said a prominent personality on the issue of men’s rights.
Though Rajiv didn’t want to run in to unnecessary controversy by taking sides in the men vs women debate, he did agree that his last trip to Madhya Pradesh was ruined thanks to his duties as a ‘photographer’.
“This time around I will be going solo. Heard about some really good tourist destinations in Bhopal. I’ll check out the beautiful lakes in the city along with Sadar Manzil, Gohar Mahal and some wildlife at Van Vihar National park. That will hopefully get my mind off all this unnecessary commotion and ease my anxiety,” he said as he browsed through images of Bhopal on Madhya Pradesh Tourism site.