All Good Things Must Come to an End
Lijo Pathilchira gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the last day of the competition, as the Jaipur trip comes to a spectacular conclusion.
It has been a long journey and the last day seemed the longest. It started off relatively early for me, which means I was able to make it to breakfast on time. After having a heavy and satisfying meal I headed out with Vikas to the salt lake. Little did I know that the meal I just had would have to last me till 5:30 PM. For the uninitiated, the salt lake is about 90 kms away from where we are currently staying. Vikas had spent the early hours of the morning shooting at Amer fort and the surrounding areas. He was able to get a nice shot of his red Mercedes-Benz CLA in the parking area of the fort. The cobblestone floor provided great contrast to the radiant color of the sedan.
He found an old ruin on his way and was in the process of shooting a picture with the CLA and a peacock, when a group of bikers interrupted the shot. The peacock flew away and Vikas’s wish of a great shot remained unfulfilled. In an attempt to redeem himself he decided to venture where no other photographer from this trip had gone before. The sheer distance of the salt lake from the hotel put the fear of God in everyone else and they decided to leave that location alone. However, Vikas had already ventured that far the day before and was determined to bring the CLA there. That’s when I decided to tag along and be a part of his adventure.
An adventure is what he promised me and an adventure is what I got. His plan was to shoot the CLA doing 360 degree turns on the salt lake bed. A bold move, but one worthy of an attempt nonetheless. His only fear was the rain that had poured the day before. As we bid goodbye to the city and ventured on a road that few travelled by, we braced ourselves for the worst. Vikas knew that this was a do or die move and that he was putting all his cards on the table. If he could pull it off, he would have the most unique background amongst everyone else in the competition. And if he blew it, it would be too late to try anything else. On his way there Vikas got the permission he was looking for to enter and shoot Samode Palace. However, he decided to ignore that call to action and proceeded to continue on ahead.
When we finally reached there his worst fears came true. The rains had turned the lake bed into sludge and the car couldn’t even enter, much less do 360 degree turns. However, Vikas didn’t let nature ruin his moment. Afterall, he had driven all the way out there, he couldn’t return empty handed. He parked the car as far out as he could take it and decided to use the open scenery and sky. He still managed to get some shots that he could use. After an almost disastrous choice that could have cost him the competition, he decided to head to Castle Kanota for some more shots.
Waiting for us there was V Ramana, the brand ambassador of Sony, sprawled across the green grass shooting his white CLA. He had visited Jal Mahal early in the morning, but had got most of his shots on the streets on Jaipur. As I watched him work I realized that he was a man who didn’t mind getting his hands dirty, or his clothes for that matter. Setting up his tripod far and low he laid down on the mud to get his shots. All this time Altaf Khan was taking things easy. He woke up at 7 AM and quickly finished the shoot at Castle Kanota. This turned out to be a wise move, because as he later found out the weather conditions made it difficult to shoot in the morning. He later continued shooting at Tonk road.
As this trip comes to an end I must say I am exhausted. The last five days have been taxing to say the least. However, the experience has nonetheless been rewarding. From seeing the ancient forts of Jaipur to seeing Amit Ashar dancing at a Puma store, it has been a joy through and through. I met a lot of talented photographers, some of whom became my friends, on Facebook. Now it is time for me to return to my dreary existence, until an opportunity like this presents itself again. My journey has ended, but for the guys at Chikmagalur it is yet to begin. Here’s wishing them the best of luck, because they have to face some fierce competition from Jaipur.
When Lijo isn’t creating content for some of India’s leading brands (he has sold his soul to the advertising industry), he spends his time dreaming of traveling around the world and making movies.Tags: Rajasthan, Jaipur, face-off, june 2015, frame the star, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Mercedes