The most beautiful feeling in the world is the feeling of falling in love. The color of our cheeks, the butterflies in our stomachs, the nervousness, the excitement, the madness and the togetherness, all of it together makes the feeling priceless. Love may happen in the most bizarre ways, in most unusual of the places and in the craziest of the moments. One of the reasons I love to do wedding photography is because I get to hear all those love stories that intrigues, develops and enriches me which would otherwise be impossible. India is truly a magical country and Indian weddings are no less than fairy tales. What’s more fascinating is the beautiful, heartfelt stories behind these marriages. This is what that makes pre wedding shoots an intriguing experience.
In India arranged marriages are still a commonplace occurrence. But what is not common is how love happens in them. That point where a couple who is going to get married, who were not in love before, realizes their moment of love is a priceless phenomenon. And as a photographer I look forward to recreate such moments through my shoots.
Karan and Swati had approached me to do their pre wedding shoot. I was damn excited as a brand new love story was coming on my way for me to explore.
It was November and Bengaluru was pretty cold. I reached a day before the shoot. Having a lot time in my hand I went out to take a stroll and buy a few props. On my way back I lost my way to the guest house. Finally when I found it, it was already late. I Had to prepare the props for the next day’s shoot, have my dinner on time, so that I get a plenty of rest to feel fresh and all powered up for the next day. But damn! Just when I was preparing to go to bed the power went off particularly in that room. The guest house manager requested me to wait for half an hour as their engineer would fix it. Finally in a different room (which the guest house management had to offer me by not being able to fix the problem in that room), I drifted off to sleep.
Nandi Hills, or Nandidurg, our shooting location, is a hill fortress in the south Indian state of Karnataka. Tipu Sultan Fort, a summer retreat of the namesake 18th-century ruler, features stone carvings and wall paintings. Prisoners are said to have been thrown to their death from Tipu’s Drop, now known for its panoramic views. Local Hindu temples include the hilltop Yoga NandeeshwaraTemple, guarded by a huge statue of a bull (Nandi).
So as I was saying, the next morning Karan and Swati picked me up at 5.30 am and we started off for Nandi hills. I started to shoot on the way. I couldn’t just afford to miss those candid moments.
Once we have reached Nandi hills I was astounded to find a huge queue of tourists and bikers at the ticket counter. It seemed like that it will take hours to get a ticket. But Swati managed to get ours in just 10 minutes and we started climbing up. We had to climb little more to avoid the crowd. The place is breath-taking. We finally started our shooting.
Karan and Swati who are both from Kashmir were working at the time at Bangalore. Their parents have arranged their marriage. After a couple of months of knowing each other they have decided to tie the knot. The chemistry between them were unbelievably awesome. It seemed like they have known each other for years. It was almost like watching a film, but only in real.
As they had such a strong bonding and they were so much in love that every moment for me was picture perfect. I usually try to know my clients before I dive in to the actual work, that is, their likes, dislikes, passions, how have they met and so on. I try to tell these stories through my photos. I remember that Swati has described Karan to be crazy yet sensible and I remember she said that he hates lazy people and loves to work out. I definitely had to recreate this side of him through my photography. So a dash of humor and a few clicks gave me the perfect shot.
Karan has said that Swati loves attention. Yes of course! Which girl would not want to be in the centre of her lover’s world? I had to make this a dream come true session for both of them. And I wanted to make it as candid as possible. I believe that as a photographer I had to constantly create that ambiance that would bring out all the romance, all the excitement of being in love. Karan has always wanted to a shoot with his girlfriend and I was having a deep sense of satisfaction that I could enrich his love story at least in some way.
There is something magical about pre wedding shoots. I felt like that I was reading the first chapter of a love story that is going to be an interesting one. I was extremely happy that I could contribute to it by creating moments for the love buds that’s going to stay forever. I usually try to bring out all sides of a couple that I am shooting for. So there are fun filled photographs, romantic moments, intense ones and some random clicks. One thing I couldn’t help to agree more with Karan is that Swati really do have an excellent smile.
After an extremely perfect shoot I had to leave on the same day and what more is that I forgot to keep a track of time. I was supposed to catch a bus back to Chennai but the time was really short. All thanks to the driver who managed to dodge the Bengaluru traffic and I could catch my bus on time.
All the while I was no the bus going back home, I smiled at the memories I have just made, beautiful and fascinating as they were.