Insider Scoop by Sonam Kapoor’s Wedding Maker: Anand Rathiby Opinion Express May 15, 2018 0 comments
The photographer who captured every single moment of Sonam and Anand Ahuja’s wedding, Anand Rathi, takes us on a behind-the-scene tour, said by the author Ramya Palisetty.
The most talked about Bollywood wedding was nothing like what photographer Anand Rathi expected. He went with the mindset that the Sonam and Anand Ahuja’s wedding would be a Bollywood affair where everybody would be holding their guard up while behaving in a certain way. But all his assumed perceptions were shattered.
How was the wedding different from your expectations?
It was a happy wedding that most brides and grooms dream about.
There were no hang-ups and everybody was a regular guest who partied like there was no tomorrow. The bride and groom were easy people without any fuss. They were not the kind of individuals who would especially pose for the camera. All the pictures that are breaking the internet like a peck on the cheek by Anand and Sonam’s giggling smiles were all natural. The Kapoors were so warm and affectionate that the first time I walked up to them, they hugged me and somehow that moment set the mood for the rest of the celebration.
The most astounding thing was that here was a couple who knew that whatever pictures they clicked were going to go wild. They could have easily chosen prim and proper ones yet they chose simplistic ones which defined them as individuals. The whole celebration was a 48-hour marathon. Nobody slowed down for even a moment and it was just like any other Punjabi wedding.
What do you hope would the couple and the guests take back from the photographs?
The theme of the wedding was very fresh with the smell of mogra in the air throughout. I wish that when the couple look back at these photos, they still smell the freshness.
The type of pictures and the idea?
Usually, at weddings you receive a detailed brief by the happy couple about the kind of pictures they want, the dresses they are wearing and the urge to make everyone look thin. In this wedding, there were zero requests. They trusted our style and didn’t try to mould us according to their needs. There was an unsaid chemistry everytime we were shooting them or they were around and it didn’t feel like we were invading their space. They completely forgot we were there. I felt like a photojournalist after a long time.
How are the memories documented?
There are pictures which are timeless and then there are gimmicks. Gimmicks catch attention and are used as marketing tools. I feel pictures are like feathers that you pass on to the future generation. Twenty years from now, when Sonam and Anand’s children look at the pictures, what would interest them and what they would like to look at was the idea in our minds when we were clicking away. Sonam is well aware of the angles and the different cameras but it was astonishing to know that Anand was all about being understated.
There were various themes around the rituals. Like the Mehendi had a white theme, the wedding had pink theme…how did you work on tonalities?
We did a run through with our lightning technicians before the event to allow us to click the white on white images without making it look jarring or gaudy. We didn’t want too many flashes going simultaneously to prevent it from looking like a paparazzi affair. The wedding pictures are very light in their tones and pastely.
The journey of the photographer?
Imagine walking into the Mehendi where the bride meets you and hugs and the groom does the same. It instantly makes you feel like you are at a friend’s wedding. With everyone, be it the DJ, wedding planner or the vendors — they made sure everyone was comfortable and relaxed. There was so much warmth that vendors were on the dance floor serving appetisers and at the same time, their feet were tapping to the beats of the groovy music. The happy vibes were in the air.
How did they zero down on you as the photographer?
We had done a few high profile events. Rhea played a pivotal role in choosing us along with Sunita, Sonam’s mother. Both of them have a very keen eye with artistic minds. Sunita Kapoor, as we all know, has a very refined taste. Somewhere, our style matched their taste.
Weddings are a very personal affair as you are in someone’s emotional space and physically very close to them on their big day. Hence, it was important that they feel the vibes that you carry and vice-versa. We never felt out of place.
Sonam as a bride?
If you see any of the movies with Sonam as the actress, there is a girl next door giggle where she covers her face with her hand. I observed her do that for the very first time during the Mehendi ceremony and I understood that this is her personality. It is very rare that you find someone being comfortable in their own skin at a wedding touted to be the wedding-of-the-year. Most brides and grooms would have a game face on but these two were just blissfully happy.
Anand as a groom?
The first time I met Anand, he told me that I look sharp and greeted me with a hug. At a wedding, it is difficult to keep a tab on everybody but they knew everyone. And then we had a conversation about basketball, one of my favourite sports. This wasn’t a facade, it was something that was there throughout the celebration.
Challenges and obstacles?
We had an instant edit team on standby as we knew we would need pictures that were to be released to the media. They weren’t fussy about the pictures at all. There was zero usage of photoshop. The Anand Karaj ceremony was a challenge as it was a silent ceremony. We had to be practically invisible and the choice of equipment and the lens were basically the ones used for sports photography. With Sony cameras, we could shoot at a good speed and be totally silent. There was no movement of the photographers as well.
One obstacle was keeping up with Bollywood on the last night. Salman Khan would not stop singing and Shahrukh Khan would not stop dancing. At 4:30, they were on stage and going about it like there was no tomorrow. Then, there was Ranveer Singh with a whole different level of energy. After the wedding got over, during the lunch, there was a band playing Bollywood numbers in a slightly fusion way. Arjun and Ranveer are such stand-up comedians that they decided to do a performance and retrieved the Maskalli song from somewhere. They were two jokers but nobody cared and everyone was laughing uncontrollably.
Writer: Ramya Palisetty
Courtesy: The Pioneer