The Final Showdown

Photograph/ Suresh Narayanan

Photograph/ Suresh Narayanan

The stage is set for the finals of the Frame the Star contest. Mithila Mehta could not be more excited!

Ladies and gentlemen, the long awaited day is finally here. After traversing the length of the country from the palaces of Jaipur to the forests of Chikamagalur (which my dear fellow blogger Prasad NP has covered vividly through his pieces), we have narrowed in on the Chosen Three. The stage is set for the showdown of the Frame The Star contest, and the competition has risen to the next level!

Altaf Khan, Kevin Nunes and Raju AK – Our top 3 finalists turned up at Park Plaza in Chandigarh (with bags full of equipment in tow) ready to take on the final challenge. The destination is The Chalets in the beautiful hill station of Naldehra, nestled close to Shimla (but far enough to remain tourist free.)

It was a happy reunion of sorts as the delighted finalists met the Better Photography team. Handshakes, hugs and high fives were exchanged all around – and the excitement in the air was palatable. All three of the photographers admitted that they weren’t expecting to make it to the final round (“There were so many talented photographers who did such great work!”) making the moment even more special.

As I spent the evening with the finalists, chatting with them over food and drink, I was struck by how different they were from one another. They come from diverse backgrounds and carry different types of experiences. Their styles of planning and shooting are very different – while one may labour over a particular frame for hours, the other is fond of spontaneous, on-the-go shots. While one swears by intensive research, the other is happy to just ‘discover’ things by pure serendipity.

That said, let’s waste no time in cheering on our talented finalists. May we have a drumroll, please!

Raju A Khokle may have started off as a Chartered Accountant, but followed his heart to become a photographer. He is always looking to make his photographs bring alive a “situation,” making him a story teller par excellence. Raju plans his shots to the last detail (and carries around massive bags full of every piece of photography equipment conceivable), painstakingly working to do what’s never been done before.

Kevin Nunes, bespectacled and bearded with a ponytail to match – he has earned over eight years of experience shooting stills on set for films. Behind his seemingly casual demeanor lies an extremely artistic ability to frame images poetically, unexpectedly and (seemingly) out of nowhere. Kevin effortlessly brings together contemporary themes with classic treatment to create a truly exceptional result.

Altaf Khan fell in love with photography after entering into a college competition. Although he didn’t win, there was no looking back as Altaf worked his way up to becoming a leading name in the world of advertising. He strives for perfection in every frame – and his beautiful photographs wear an attractive, glossy look. The Better Photography team also tells me that Altaf created a giant, raging bonfire as a background for his shot in the previous round (which makes me wonder, what next?!)

As I write, the finalists have already begun scurrying about for their next set of shots. The pressure is on and the bar is being raised with every shot. Who will rise to the challenge and return home as the winner? Well, watch this space!


Mithila Mehta is a journalist, author and intrepid traveler. Follow her adventures on

Tags: chandigarh, face-off, July 2015, frame the star, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Mercedes, Shimla, Mithila Mehta, Kevin Nunes, Altaf Khan, Raju A Khokle