Sneak Peek: Sonam Kapoor-Anand Ahuja wedding
In conversation with Anand Rathi who recently shot the much-awaited wedding of Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja
The recent wedding of Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor and Delhi businessman Anand Ahuja has taken the social media by storm. From pictures of her mehendi, the Anand Karaj ceremony (Sikh wedding ceremony) to the star-studded reception, we’ve seen it all on the internet. We’re proud of our WPAI member Anand Rathi, who along with his team at Reels and Frames, covered the much-anticipated wedding. We had a quick chat with Anand to find out about his experience of shooting the grand celebrations. Here’s what he had to say.
#1 Congratulations on being the official photographer at Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja’s wedding! How do you feel? The wedding was just last week!
I feel pretty tired. We went thinking it was gonna be a social affair. But it was madder than your most mad weddings – too much activity, too much energy. And at the same time, we feel surreal because at the end of it when you come out and you see your work being appreciated, it feels nice. An artist wants an audience.
#2 Tell us a bit about how it happened? Did you get a mysterious phone call, a visit, an email?
I don’t know how it happened. They called us one day, they saw through our work and they liked it.
#3 How big a crew did you take for the wedding?
We were a crew of 16-18 people.
#4 Were there any preparations before you went for the wedding?
Lots! Because they are used to paparazzi and they didn’t want the wedding to become a paparazzi show. So it had to be good coverage but inconspicuous. And that balance was achieved by understanding how the venue was, understanding how the event was flowing, assigning people to Sonam, assigning people to Anand. Understanding how Sonam and Anand react to cameras. Other preparations included a lot of walkie-talkies for sure. This was the kind of ceremony where you aren’t supposed to chat or wave hands. It was an Anand Karaj and so like any other Anand Karaj ceremonies, it was a quaint, sit-down kind of affair. So a lot of visual communication was required.
#5 So what kind of photography equipment did you take?
Except for Fujifilm, we were shooting with everything available in the market. We had Canon, Nikon, Zeiss, Sony, lots of Sony’s. Photography and film-wise it was mostly Sony Mark lenses. We also used a lot of lenses which were supposedly in the sports or concert photography category. Long and fast lenses because you want to shoot in a very stealth mode. The rest of the shebang is like any other photographer’s, we have our creative equipment.
#6 Tell us about the challenges, if any, of shooting this wedding?
This wedding was a blur of about 48 hours that just went by. In most weddings, you’ll get a nice turnaround time. But the party ended late in the night. And we had to be ready at 7 in the morning for the Anand Karaj ceremony. So it was a very very short turnaround time. The second challenge was trying to shoot all the A-listers of Bombay without being in their faces. You sort of start understanding the rhythm in a while of how people react to cameras, how Shahrukh takes a camera or how Salman takes a camera.
#7 Is there a difference between a non-celebrity wedding and a celebrity one?
I thought this was going to be a celebrity wedding but turned out to be a complete non-celebrity wedding when it comes to the fun quotient of it. They let their hair down and they partied their heart out. They were mischievous and naughty, something we didn’t expect them to be.
Sonam was a delight to work with. The easiest bride I’ve shot in at least this season, for sure. She gets ready on time, chills with her friends, and smiles like she means it. Doesn’t fake the smiles, doesn’t be like all nakhra-vakhra. Nothing! Normal next-door-girl.
So actually I don’t know the difference between shooting a celebrity wedding. I don’t think I experienced that in this wedding.
#8 Every wedding is all about the couple, their vibe, their chemistry. Tell us about Sonam and Anand.
Oh by god, what a chemistry! All the images that we’ve clicked and the ones that are circulating on the internet – they’re all them. I didn’t even have to utter a word, ki ‘aisa pose karo, waise pose karo’. They look at each other and they start doing their thing. And that’s something they do off-camera as well.
Their personalities are different. She’s bubbly, girl-next-door and this guy’s a nice, real gentleman you know. But at the same time, he has this fun side. So that was very much there through the wedding. And of course, you know, both of them were so social. It wasn’t one of those weddings where people had to go meet the bride and groom (on a stage). They were roaming around. That way it was very nice.
#9 How was your experience shooting this wedding?
It’s still going on. I mean, our experience didn’t stop at shooting. We are still editing, we were editing till 11 in the night yesterday. I think we’re going to pull off another long night today. It’s almost unreal that we’re broken and tired and we need that break but at the same time, we’re super excited that the images we created really really look nice and pretty. Because a lot of things worked out for us, the chemistry worked out, the lighting worked out. One hour into the wedding, when you’re there and you know the couple, then you can switch off your “how do I manage myself zone” and get into a “how do I create zone”. That’s what we did and we were fortunate enough to do that.