Sunday, July 4, 2010
Being A Page 3 Photographer
By Manuwant Choudhary
Forget Delhi and Bombay if you want to be on Page 3 you should head to Bangalore, yes you got that right not Bengaluru ...thats what it is called by the saffron brigade who attack women in public only because they drink alcohol.
I first visited Bangalore in 1994 as a reporter with the Afternoon Despatch & Courier, Bombay. We were invited to cover a very important technological development in the country - the launch of pagers !
Bangalore airport then could be any other airport...Patna..Guwahati....Bagdogra....but girls welcomed us at the airport with red roses in their hands as we were taken to stay at the Taj.
We saw how pagers were going to change the way India is run and we also saw how a single company made it possible for women to do night shifts without fear. Company buses would take them home at any hour under full security.
But Bangalore was still a very sleepy town...all the desire was on Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road)...the rest of Bangalore could be like Benares or Patna.
I loved the stay at the Taj and hoped that more Pagers would come to India so journos like us could get more junkets.
I recall I was the only journalist who actually wrote an article on the visit.
Pagers are history.
This time however I was invited by a friend who was to celebrate his 40th birthday. Not having wished him for 40 years I decided to fly to Bangalore.
A swanky new airport and a dedicated corridor to take people to the city without road hold-ups is a plus and one feels it is possible to change India.
But Bangalore has changed already and it has lead the technological leap in India. Plus the launch of two airlines by men who live here shows the city has an energy of its own. Deccan by C Y Gopinath and Kingfisher by Vijay Mallya - the King of Good Times.
But the Bangalore Metro is not underground. They have built a huge concrete flyover..bang in the middle of MG Road..over which the train would run...completely overshadowing posh MG Road.
My friends birthday bash was at a place called `Opus' a local club...where they serve food and drinks and it has live musical programs.
His wife is a pilot with Kingfisher so the crowd would generally be pilots, airhostesses, aircrew, relatives and business associates and my task was to take their photos with a powerful Nikon.
As the gliterati arrived I took a few photos...when suddenly I noticed I had competition...another photographer grabbed a few quick shots and introduced himself as a photographer with Indian Expresss..thanked us profusely and ran out saying we would see the photo tomorrow on Page 3.
And then I noticed there were a battery of photographers from all the national newspapers - their editors had all sent them for Page 3 photos!
But what exactly is a Page 3 photo. Well, the shorter the skirt the better the photo. Simple.
I now understand why even Bollywood actresses wear less and less these days...look at Deepika Padukone.
So I had the most interesting job - Being a Page 3 photographer - some women love it...others hate it...and some run away from it only to be drenched by 40 bottles of champagne!
But there are perils in being a Page 3 photographer...men steal each others wives..but one thing they are still scared of is being on Page 3...so they would even attack a Page 3 photographer.
A walk on MG Road...coffee and dinner at `The Only Place Restaurant' and the beautiful weather makes Bangalore a worthwhile destination. Forget the Sri Ram Sene, being in Bangalore and meet up with so many pilots and my autopilot friend who can never grow old is worth it.
How else could I have seen a pretty 21 year old pilot who cant drive a car!