I was born in a tiny village near Banaras, but was brought up in the city of dreams – Mumbai. My father was Principal of a BMC school so our family moved to the megacity from a tiny village. I was never interested in education, in fact, the books frightened me. Struggling my way through scholastics, I passed the high school, but the real question was what to do next? Those were the days of black-and-white photos. The touch-ups were done with brushes. I was a fine painter so my elder sister advised me to pursue photography because she thought I can do the touch-ups nicely. My fate was sealed and I began to search photography tuitions. Finally I found the classes in Dadar but they charged Rs.700! That was a huge amount for me. Again, my lovely elder sister gave a helping hand; yet we could gather half the amount. My father refused to pay the remaining so finally I stepped into the classes paying half of the fees. The course was in English which obviously went tangent and I didn’t understand most of the things. In short, this course is my only formal education in the field of photography.
After the vacations, I was admitted to college but couldn’t put my heart to studies. But my boring life took a happy turn when I met Raj Shailiam. He was s still photographer in film industry. Impressed, I chose the line of my career – photography! In the very beginning I assisted him with an intention to meet the movie stars, but it didn’t happen. Somehow he couldn’t get the movies and began to photograph the functions and ceremonies. I began assisting him to the functions but nobody would allow me to touch the camera. I realized that I must own one. Like they say, a friend in need is friend indeed; one of my friends, Jayant Tavde, let me borrow his camera. Yet, I didn’t own one and how long can you borrow from friends? I got a good piece of bashing from my family and determinedly saved money to purchase Pentex K 1000. This camera brought me my independence and soon I was a function photographer. But function photography lacked the challenges which my creative mind sought. So I began with table-top and portrait photography, asking friends to be my subjects and using the negatives which I could save in the functions. Later I bought Mamiya RB 67 and began shooting for advertising agencies and corporate.
Meanwhile, I came closer to one of my school friends, Vikas Kashyab. He was an art director for movies. I disclosed my interest in working in that field and after a few months he offered me to work for a cameraman for a TV series. I happily joined Naren Gedia as a trainee assistant. The series was “Ek hota Raja”, the first of Shreyas Talpade! We became good friends then and are till date. Later the shoot was planned in at place called Faltan, but the trainees were not on board. After a day or two, Narenji called me and asked me to find his replacement as he needed to return urgently. I called and inquired with all the cinematographers he named, but none of them was available. However armature but I was the only option left with him. Heavy heartedly he accepted my proposal of me volunteering in his stead. I didn’t let him down. I never struggled with lighting or framing owing to my solid basics of photography.
Our director, Tanaji Ghadage, saw my footage on editing table and was highly impressed. He offered me to be cinematographer for his next series, Samidha. Menwhile, Narenji was working on Hindi TV series. He often called me to share his work load. Again, a similar situation popped up when he had to travel aboard; but by this time I had gained his trust. The director of this series was Bhushan Patel. Bhushanji was a cinematographer himself and had an eye for detail. Nobody but I was ready to work with him. This is how I got the series “Guns and Roses”. Eventually I was nominated for the Best Cinematographer Award in the Indian Tele-awards. This nomination boosted my confidence.
Bhushanji offered me to work for “Twinkle Beauty Parlor”. Here I met Vasim Sabir and he was highly impressed with my work. Then my wagon was hooked to his train! I have been working with Vasimji for 8 years now. Within this tenure we worked for 12 TV series. I had worked on 27 Hindi and 4 Marathi serials till date. Currently I am shooting “Saraswati Chandra”. To this date my creative hunger is not sated. I am eager to work more and on a bigger level. Some day I’d like to shoot a Hindi feature film. The film industry attracts many and I was no exception; but I never had thought that I might make my career in the same line. Accidentally I became a part of this show business and am proud to have given my contribution to the industry. My father would have patted my back, proudly, but sadly he is not here to see my success.