Exclusive: Dabboo Ratnani Explains His Iconic Bollywood Calendar

Ranjit Rodricks , 07 Jan 2014
Bipasha Basu and Dabboo Ratnani
Bipasha Basu and Dabboo Ratnani

Every year in January, Mumbai gears up for the mother of all calendar launches – Dabboo Ratnani‘s iconic Bollywood calendar, which shows some of our most famous and favourite stars, letting their guard down and just having fun.

This year was no different. On Sunday evening, Dabboo and his wife Manisha played host as stars like Arjun Rampal, Sonakshi Sinha, Bipasha Basu, Priyanka Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan arrived at Olive Bar & Kitchen to celebrate his latest tome.

Team MissMalini speaks exclusively to Dabboo about what goes into the making of this glamorous annual calendar.

Team MissMalini: How long does it take to put together this twenty-four image calendar?

Dabboo Ratnani: The conceptualization and discussions with the stars start in September while the actual shooting starts post Diwali, in mid November. But if some star is travelling on a shoot, then I start as early as October. But to be honest, at least ninety percent of the shots are done in December. I keep myself free during that time and don’t take on any other work. In fact, for this calendar, there were two days where we shot three actors each on both days.

A few were shot in my studio, few were taken in the homes of the stars, some happened in studios like Mehboob or Famous studio and I’ve shot a few in outdoor locations like garages and the Marriott hotel in Mumbai.

Arjun Rampal
Arjun Rampal
Pria Kataria Puri
Pria Kataria Puri
Sophie Choudry
Sophie Choudry

Team MM: Is there a theme you decide upon when you plan the annual calendar?

DR: I usually don’t do thematic calendars because it can get restrictive. When the theme becomes the hero, I have to work around it and that can be restricting.

Back In 2007 I did the theme of water only because the possibilities were endless. I shot Hrithik Roshan in a swimming pool and John Abraham with a tear in his eye. Themes only work well for a few pictures for a magazine editorial. Not when you have to shoot twenty-four pix.

Team MM: Tell us about Shah Rukh Khan’s picture?

Dabboo Ratnani
Dabboo Ratnani

DR: The picture was shot at his house and sees him sprawled on a bed with satin sheets, pillows and bolsters.The idea was that he’s come back, tired, from a premiere and just takes off his jacket, throws it on the bed, lights up a cigarette and just dives into the comfort of his bed.

What’s unique about this photo is that over years, I’ve shot women in bed (for the calendar) but I’ve never shot a man in bed. Hence, this was different. I’ve done lot of outdoor pix before with Shah Rukh but this time, I wanted to do something sexy. This is a very strong photo in terms of colour – black and white with a red backdrop.

Team MM: What was the idea behind Vidya Balan’s bold picture?

Gulshan Grover
Gulshan Grover

DR: In all my calendars, since 2007, we’ve always done a sensual photo with Vidya Balan. People rarely see her in this avatar. She has a lot of potential to do sensual pix and so each year, we try to push the envelope and make it sexier.

This time around, she’s seen only wearing jewelry from Amrapali. I haven’t done this kind of a photo before. For an actress, I think it was a great shot. She is most comfortable shooting these sensuous pix with me and she knows I will not use them if I’m not happy with the final results.

Team MM: And finally, Priyanka Chopra’s pic is so animated. Tell us about it?

Priyanka Chopra and Dabboo Ratnani
Priyanka Chopra and Dabboo Ratnani

DR: Anybody who is a fan of Peecee knows that she loves taking selfies and this idea started from there. We did a few shots of her holding a camera. But this pic was most dramatic, with her holding polaroid shots in her mouth and a camera in her hand. I love the idea of a photo within a photo.

More Photos:

Pix: Viral Bhayani for MissMalini

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