By Kedar Dhume
It was more than two decades ago that I first made my acquaintance with Gautam Rajadhyaksha – not in the flesh but through his beautiful work with the camera. I was then a student of Goa College of Fine Art with specialisation in Applied Art and Photography, back in the late eighties. I had taken up photography as an elective subject and back then the demigods in the field were the late Wilas Bhende and his own star pupil, Gautam Rajadhyaksha, who recently also passed away. They were both mentor-like figures and many young photographers of the time aspired towards working with them. And I was one of them.
In pursuit of my dream, I visited Gautam in his studio near Opera House, Mumbai in 1991 as soon as I passed out of college. He received me graciously, but he already had too many assistants working under him. But always ready to help, he directed me to another ace photographer of the time, Jagdish Mali, who took me under his wing for two fruitful years. But I would often visit Gautam in his studio as we also shared a bond with our common family deity, Lord Manguesh.
The following ten years, I had no real contact with Gautam, till one day after I had set up my own advertising agency, I received a call from an event management team from Pune asking me to handle a photography exhibition of Gautam to be held in Goa. This was in 2000, and I promptly agreed to oversee the exhibition free of cost. The exhibition, a plethora of his photographs spanning a couple of decades, had to be accommodated at a specially designed hangar at the grounds around Kala Academy. The show was a major success and Gautam was quite pleased with it. Continue reading