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Snapping it all up

Ace lens man Atul Kasbekar shuttles between sexy swimsuit -clad models and suited corporate czars

Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

PHOTOGRAPHER FRAMED Atul Kabekar

Think of swimsuit calendars and the images of beautiful women and exotic locales float in your mind. But, for lens man Atul Kasbekar, glamour got demystified a long time ago. “The pressure that you have, to outdo yourself every year, is immense . You have to take it to another level. Maybe this year, I will have to shoot from a plane! So every time it’s about raising the bar.”

Kasbekar was in Bangalore recently for the opening of the Louis Vuitton store, one of the clients of his celebrity management company Bling Entertainment Solutions.

Luxury calendars are big now but Kasbekar clarifies their popularity is not even half as close to the rage abroad. “But what it has done is led to an increase in quality across the board. People are putting in more money, time and quality to produce such calendars,” says Kasbekar. The Kingfisher swimsuit calendar was launched in 2003 and gave huge mileage to models like Yana Gupta, Sheetal Menon, and Katrina Kaif.

In 2006, the ace lensman shot Deepika Padukone for the calendar in Australia. There is a deeper connection with Deepika’s aunt, a gynaecologist, delivering Kasbekar’s twins. “She took me to meet Deepika but I was more interested in meeting her father Prakash. She is going to be iconic. People will talk of her in the same breath as Madhuri Dixit. She isn’t here for a short term and is fully prepared. Bangalore is going to be very proud of her,” says Kasbekar.

Kasbekar is now doing Deepika’s brand management through Bling Entertainment Solutions, which Kasbekar launched in August last year. “People always fascinate me. I like that whole feel of building up someone right from the start. It’s a holistic celebrity management service where we manage their films, endorsements and work on building their brand. To name a few we have Shahid Kapur, Deepika Padukone, Jia, Vidya Balan, Abhay Deol on our list. We did Ranbir Kapoor’s first deal with Pepsi.”

Kasbekar has his hands full. Last year, he also launched Corporate Image, which focuses on the identity of the top management of India’s corporate organisations. Isn’t the corporate world too drab for someone who is synonymous with fashion and glamour?

“It’s an extended service as a photographer. We photographically capture the personality of the company through the individuals who lead it. You represent the management identity of your company and it should be projected correctly,” says Kasbekar.

Depending upon the wish of the client, Kasbekar shoots them accordingly. “For some, home is off limits but some like to do various shots in different atmospheres. We do lifestyle shots, corporate shots. This month we are shooting Gautam Singhania at his Alibagh home. He loves automobiles so we plan a shoot around it. He has a yacht so we will shoot him there as well,” says Kasbekar.

SHAILAJA TRIPATHI TANEJA

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