Frame The Star Challenge 2022 — Stormy Showdown in Mumbai


The unique photographic challenge, Frame The Star 2022 by Mercedes-Benz, in partnership with Better Photography and OVERDRIVE magazines, has begun in full swing, with the exciting 4-day Mumbai leg of the challenge just completed. The goal of this challenge – to discover photographers with a unique way of seeing automobiles, in particular, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine and the GLA 200. And just like the singular way of seeing by each photographer, the two cars, admirably and yet distinctively elevate their vision.

Frame The Star Participant - Syed Danish in action during Face-off Challenge

Frame The Star Participant – Syed Danish in action during Face-off Challenge

Phase 1, or the Online Challenge

The initial part of the challenge involved participating in an online contest. Participants were asked to submit photographs of any four-wheeler of their choice, including public transport. The two themes were… The Car in the Urban Landscape, and, View from Inside the Car. The first phase saw entries from photographers across the country. Out of almost 1800 participants who submitted their entries, two finalists from each category (a total of four) moved into Phase II, the Face-Off Challenge round.

These very deserving photographers were Syed Danish, Purnendu Deo Kodwani, Mahesh Kumar, and Pranav Prabhakar.

Phase II or the Face-off Challenge

The Face-Off challenge was planned in two parts – first in Mumbai (4 – 7 July 2022) and then in Chennai and Puducherry (22-26 July 2022). The four finalists from the Phase I Online Challenge now pitch their talent against 12 specially invited photographers to photograph the sleek Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine and the elegant Mercedes-Benz GLA 200, in a live, exciting Face-off. Each of the 16 challengers got to take the car anywhere in the city to click pictures.

A Tale of Two Cars and A City

Held in Mumbai, the first leg of the Face-Off challenge started with a thunderstorm boom (quite literally!). It saw 8 participants face off against each other while braving the Mumbai streets, chaos, and tumultuous monsoons for four days. Their only brief was to showcase the two cars, Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine and Mercedes-Benz GLA 200, as creatively and uniquely as possible, even as they interacted with the urban landscapes of Mumbai. Each participant was encouraged to use their own vision and make the best of the time they had with each car. Each of the eight photographers was given six hours exclusively with each car, across the four days. With no other restriction on their destination or equipment, the participants had the creative freedom to showcase their photographic talent to the max.

Drenched, stuck in traffic, with limited assistance, and with curious glances from the milling crowds, the eight photographers strove to weave a story that showed the city at its best and worse from the elegant sedan and SUV. They charted the heritage lanes of South Bombay, the urban forest of Aarey, the windy cliffs of Malabar, and the busy piers of Bandra as they took turns in Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine and Mercedes-Benz GLA 200. Each photographer brought a fresh perspective to the city-car interactions. While some highlighted the sublime cars, others focused on how these cars interact with the busy Mumbai streets. Here’s a glimpse of what they thought of their experience!

Participants at Frame The Star Photography Challenge - 2022

Participants at Frame The Star Photography Challenge face-off

Eight Participants, Eight Perspectives

Physiotherapist student and one of our finalists from Phase 1, Syed Danish (24), had a series of firsts with this challenge. It was his first time in Mumbai, and photographing unfamiliar streets in a heavy downpour was challenging. “As a Delhite, I was out of my element with the Mumbai monsoons. However, this made the whole challenge even more thrilling. It was a new, unique yet comfortable experience thanks to Mercedes-Benz.”

Commercial photographer and finalist Purnendu Deo Kodwani (25) was no stranger to the city. He shares “I’m a big fan of Mercedes, and Mumbai is like a second home to me. To photograph my favourite brand in my favourite city was a dream come true. The interaction between the cars and the city was inspiring, and while shooting two cars in a limited amount of time did keep me on edge, it did motivate me to think out of the box.”

A glimpse inside

A glimpse inside

Echoing the same love for Mercedes, software engineer and content creator Rushikesh Ware (35) wanted to create a story and highlight the human connection through his photographs. “It felt like a symphonic orchestra that I was in command of! This freedom and the MBUX features of the cars inspired me to bring out the human spirit associated with the brand.”

The participants had to go back to the basics as they weaved a story to portray their photographic talent and creative skills. It was all about storytelling for wildlife photographer Mandar Ghumare (27), “Beauty and the beast is the perfect line for the cars. The A-Class is a slim beauty, and the GLA 200 is a powerful beast. Yet both cars ooze comfort and success”, shared

On the waterfront

On the waterfront

Banker and documentary photographer Nilanjan Ray (63) was also intrigued by the artistic interactions, “The Mercedes-Benz enhanced the beauty of the cityscape. And the interaction between the two was like looking at poetry in motion. I had an excellent time while capturing these characteristics.”

In the lap of nature

In the lap of nature

Filmmaker Abeer Khan (32) found the face-off to be thrilling and adventurous, “The challenge made me feel like the protagonist of a movie who gets to have a glimpse of royalty entirely to themselves. Mumbai and its people were the best part of the shoot. However, shooting ten images in hard-hitting rain was truly challenging.”

Rains, dancers and the A-Class!

Rains, dancers and the A-Class!

Automotive photographer Sumit Gaikwad (31) shared, “Shooting in the heavy rain while keeping away from traffic in a limited time (especially during peak hours) was a challenge… This only pushed me to be more creative with how I portrayed the cars and the city.”

By the sandy beaches of Mumbai

By the sandy beaches of Mumbai

It was all about intuition for cinematographer Manas Godara (23). He wanted to give a unique perspective to the Mercedes-Benz and show how the cars can be at home in any environment. “Mercedes-Benz attracts attention whenever they are on the streets. The A-class fit perfectly with the old, fancy buildings of SoBo and the GLA 200 felt at home in the forests of Aarey. I think the same would be true if we switch cars.”

The intense Mumbai leg of The Face-Off challenge has concluded, but the challenge is far from over. With eight new participants waiting to duke it out, as we move forward to another spectacular city. Four days and an intense battle later, we will be ready to announce who has won the chance to go on an all-expense-paid trip to the AMG Winter Drive Experience in Europe.

So stay tuned and happy driving!

Tags: frame the star, Frame the star face-off, The Mercedes-Benz 'Frame The Star' Challenge is back, frame the star photography challenge