Perhaps…no, hold on a second, surely, there are millions of people all over the world who possess the same characteristics as their more prominent counterparts, but have been left in the shadows. Maybe, the man who served coffee to Bruce Wayne. Or the Super boy hiding behind Superman’s cape… Ultimately, it’s a matter of perspective: those invisible to same are heroes to another subtler sect.
This, in a nutshell, is the concept that photographer Subi Samule and his creative consultants Rajeev Chudasama and Joy Ghoshal of Marching Ants toyed with while working their new calendar around the comic book theme. A character, as Subi surmises, could even be “Lois Lane’s ex-boyfriend”. So there’s Shah Rukh Khan with a lighter causing a car explosion, Hrithik Roshan arm wrestling and Abhishek Bachchan, who’s walking away in style after doing a hit job. Just some images frozen in the style of comic book panels.
Subi is known to have a wholesome history with calendars; his photographs have a sense of balance wherein neither the personality of the subject nor the photographer is lost. It’s not simply about the right pose or a flash of teeth, there’s some severe thought pre and post-process with these photos. Remember Subi’s calendar with a barely-clothed John Abraham? As for Rajeev and Joy, Marching Ants have previously worked with fashion photographer Daboo Ratnani, also famed for his annual calendars. This calendar with Subi will be released on December 18 and will be available only to their select guest list.
“Comic books don’t go by the laws of physics,” explains Rajeev about the concept, “You can be trigger happy while creating them.” However, he explains that it’s a complex procedure, incorporating this particular theme and its characters with real people. Subi adds that the key was to narrate a story though the photographs. Joy joins in, “These are 24 stories, not 24 pictures.”
To exemplify the grand theme, 24 of the biggest names in Bollywood today were garnered. Subi describes the shots: Kunal Kapoor as the ultimate action hero, plunging headfirst down, Ritiesh Deshmukh as a cat burglar and Lara Dutta in total Lara Croft style, coming down a helicopter, armed with guns. Urmila Mathondkar is in the setting of a high energy club, grooving to music. They go for symbolism with Ranbir Kapoor – the star is shown clinging onto a cross for dear life with a gun in his hand, whereas Deepika Padukone is seen as a warrior who has just finished a battle, guarding a fortress. The backdrop for this will be dramatic snow-clad mountains with leopards and bulls.
Every genre of the comic book is covered in the calendar… including an item girl and lava girl. The stars were unanimously thrilled to be acting out this fantasy-meets-reality extravaganza. “Everyone has a comic or character they can relate to. This concept brings out the child in you,’ points out Rajeev. ‘Words are very unnecessary…’ goes the line from Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence. Agreed. It’s on the shoulders of the image that rests the responsibility of conveying a message.
So each visual in this unique calendar is a work of art that’s gasp-worthy at a glance – no words, no diagrams and no footnotes. None required.