Milind Deshmukh, Nashik
मिलिंद देशमुख सुमारे २५ वर्षे प्रकाशचित्रण व्यवसायात असून व्यक्तिचित्रण या विषयात त्यांचा हातखंडा आहे. केकी मूस फाऊंडेशन आयोजित आंतरराष्ट्रीय स्पर्धा आणी इतर स्पर्धांमधेही त्यांनी पारितोषिके मिळवली आहेत. तसेच त्यांच्या प्रकाशचित्रांची प्रदर्शनेही भरवली आहेत.
To get the good teacher or Guru is a part of fate or Maktub. Sometimes one has to wait for a lifetime or the other. We need the guidance of gurus or masters at every turn of our life, may it be preparatory school, college or our ventures in arts or business. Though it sounds spiritual to some and others may think of it as spooky; I am sure we get right guru at right moment; like Shrikrishna and Dronacharya for Arjuna or Ramkrishna Paramhansa for Swami Vivekananda. While on a tour for outdoor photography near Tryanbakeshwar (Nashik), we visited the Coin Museum. This museum is a huge data-bank of all the currencies; right from Hon in the times of Chhatrapti Shivaji Maharaj to the latest credit cards. In a hall, we could see 30-40 black & white pictures and of course, us as photographers, were attracted to them. We were taken aback by those amazing photographs. There were portraits of smiling yet wrinkled Tibetan faces clicked from perfect angle and showing beautiful lighting patterns. We could see the wonders of Rembrandt lighting, butterfly, profile, and short light and broad light. The portrait pictures were in low key, high key and middle key types.
There was a picture, rather a character sketch, of a mine worker. It depicted not just his profession but his personality. Portrait of Gandhiji too was in the museum. This was a memorable experience. Of course we became curious about the artist behind those portraits. After inquiring about the same one of the officers told us about Mr. Krushna Gopal Maheshwari aka Babuji. Babuji owns the entire land of Coin Museum and he is one of the in-laws of the Birla’s. He is a businessman and photography is his hobby. But this hobby has entitled him for more than 300 national and international awards like Hon.F.I.I.PC.;A.R.P.S;A.P.S.A.; F.P.S.(Univ.);Hon.F.I.C.S.;Hon.P.S.I. etc. His awards are proudly displayed in the art gallery of the museum.
After looking at his marvelous art, I wanted to meet this great personality and try to arrange his workshop. I met officer Balsekar regarding this and he took me to Mr.Zha who was the manager. Within a month I got a call from him telling that Babuji was ready to give us the workshop. I got his date and then began my preparations to attend the workshop with a few of my friends.
This 2-days workshop taught us about photographic portraits. We learnt how a pictorial photographic portrait should be. Babuji explained how to get an angle with respect to the model’s face, where the model should look and how to capture the right expression of emotions. The workshop was conducted in day-light. The background was hung on two stands and other two stands held a diffuser and a reflector each. Babuji taught us how to use these equipment effectively to our purpose. His specialty is in using the shawls and caps which the models are wearing. Babuji was a 80-year old teenager in the workshop! His enthusiasm and joyfulness are rarely seen in his generation. Maaji (his wife) used to say, “This workshop is like a tonic for him.” Mr. Sunil Kapadiya, a master of pictorial photography was assisting Babuji. Babuji liked my facial features and incidentally I was the model for this workshop! That was another beautiful experience. This workshop proved to be fruitful and I could develop my art further.
The year after, his second workshop was planned and I had to attend it. This time pictorial artist Atulji Chaube was assisting Babuji with the workshop. This second workshop built my confidence and I started to request my customers to get photographic portraits. Later, the third workshop was planned and I was more than happy to attend it. We often say that practice makes a man perfect. On the same lines I’d say repetition makes a man perfect! Despite of attending two of his workshops I was ready to attend numerous more. Meanwhile Babuji couldn’t find anyone in Mumbai to assist him and I was presented with this opportunity. I was elated to assist him and readily accepted the offer.
I enjoyed this workshop as an assistant and arranged 5-6 portraits under his keen observation. I used to design the basics with poses for models, camera angles and light; then Babuji used to improvise it. I learnt an infinite no. of things in this workshop and my art was polished. With this experience I dared to announce an exhibition of my photographic portraits. This exhibition was a success and presented me to lots of opportunities to click celebrities like late Jaisingrao Dalvi, Sindhutai Sapkal, poet Grace, Vasant Abaji Dahake, Anil Awchat, music director Ashok Patki. I was recognized as a portrait photographer. My Sidhutai’s portrait gave me an identity as a portrait photographer. Mr. Sanjay Naik of Thane Foto Circle recognized me as photographer seeing this portrait and then “portrait photographer” became my salutation. Sanjayji invited me for a slide show of my portraits which was another success. Visitors loved the slideshow and eventually I was asked to conduct a workshop for them. This was my step in into an altogether different world and I owe many thanks to Sanjayji and Foto Circle Society.
Today I own the famous and huge 'The Classic Portraiture Studio' in Nashik and my business of portraits & family portraits is growing every day. I have conducted numerous slideshows and photography workshops. The credit of this wealth and fame goes to my guru, Babuji! Today, after 7-8 years after the third workshop, I remember him while clicking any portrait. My friend Sameer Mohite (EFIAP, APSI,FFIP,IIPC(Platinum),APSM,APSS,AICS,FSoF) is Babuji’s fan! Both of us wanted to meet him and we called him in September 2014. He recognized me instantly though he was 92 years of age. He gave us an appointment and we were set to meet him.
Travelling long way from Nashik to Mumbai, I and Sameer finally reached Babuji’s 29th floor apartment at Malabar Hills. He was waiting for us. His servant Haribhau opened the door. Maaji approached us and we touched her feet. Babuji was sitting on a sofa in white pajama and shirt with a red sweater. I had always seen him in blazer. We touched his feet and he exclaimed, “Your features are now more developed for portrait”; looking at my longer hair.
While talking leisurely I began to photograph him with my camera. The day light was flushing through a large window of the hall. Outside the window was a marvelous landscape with ocean on a side and skyscrapers on the other. Of course I clicked the landscape. I clicked some of his portraits and while looking at them his expert eyes couldn’t fail to notice a darker corner. “This side looks darker, we should do something.” He said and ordered Haribhau, “Bring both of them…” Within a moment Haribhau returned with two bags of folding reflector and folding background. Babuji asked us to set the background and reflector with respect to the daylight coming from the window. He placed an old round-chair and made me sit on that, as a model. Then he was the master and everybody in the room was his student! He began instructing us. Sameer and my son started clicking their cameras. Babuji was directing the ones holding that reflector too. I, Sameer, my wife and son; all of us took turns of being a model and with his old quivering hands, Babuji photographed our portraits. Later, over a cup of tea, Maaji exclaimed, “He has had his tonic today”.
(My portrait by Babuji in 4th workshop) Dear friends, this meeting with this 92 years old legend were my 4th workshop! I am lucky to get this golden opportunity. This rare occasion is a memory for this life time. Finally, while saying good bye, we promised to meet him again; on his birthday – 2nd of November. Heavy heartedly we waved and left his place.