Big in India

The World's most prolific recording artist is Indian-born composer and musician A.R.Rahman pictured at the Blythswood Hotel in Glasgow, UK.

A new website brings a flurry of interest from across the world but among all the pie charts and line graphs in my analytical war room I discovered something surprising this week- that I was big in India. Thanks to a portrait of super megastar A.R.Rahman and his fans.

He has sold more records than the Beatles or Elvis and he is still going strong. Most people in UK will know him, if they do, for his soundtracks including the Oscar-winning 'Slumdog millionaire'.  One article described this “Mozart of Mumbai” as the “most prolific recording artist in the world”. And by extension the universe. Superlatives scare me before a shoot so I only glanced briefly at a biography before I met the man. 

The portrait was scheduled in a hotel after the journalist's interview.  I arrived early, chose a suitable suite and waited for my allotted time. The limiting factor in most shoots is the subject and how much time and effort they bring to the shoot so preparation is key.  The brief was brief- use a colourful background because the paper is pink in colour. Lighting was simple- a flash head shot through white umbrella. But what about the subject?

Many have attested that fame makes people monstrous. Mind you, so can obscurity. Gladly AR was courtesy and very obliging. We chatted about cameras (he uses Canon if you must know) but I refrained from sharing my ambition to star in a Bollywood film. Its a new but true ambition.

I can’t claim to have looked into his soul but I discovered this- he is refreshingly normal. I don't mean it as an insult, his musical talent is clearly stellar. But he behaves like he is a human and he knows you are one too. That is the highest praise I can give. That must explain why he has legions of adoring fans across cyber space, the same fans who repost my work across their sites. 

PS to fans, please ask before nicking the photo.

Portrait shot for Financial Times Weekend.

subjects: behind the photo  on the road  process