Image makers: Making politicians look good for the ballot

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) What is common between brides-to-be and politicians facing elections? Well, they both flock to a certain Delhi studio to get their photos clicked – and airbrushed – before their big day.

With assembly elections round the corner, Studios Prem, located in a narrow bylane of North Delhi’s Kamla Market, is busy with two to three aspiring election candidates visiting the studio every day.

Customers – mostly politicians – come from as far off as Arunachal Pradesh, Guwahati, Chennai, Madhya Pradesh and even from remote places in Chhattisgarh.

“We have been in the business since 1972 and have become famous as we not only click portraits but add glamour to the image which enhances their personality,” Umesh Sabhwarwal, managing director at Studios Prem, told IANS.

The glamour touch is courtesy photo editing software Photoshop. For women clientele the studio highlights their hair and cheekbones, while for men they use innovative lighting and sometimes make up depending on the skin type.

The studio gained prominence after it began clicking the candidates of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections.

Studios Prem has recently clicked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“When I met Ravi Shankar Prasad he told me ‘I saw Nakul Bhardwaj’s picture (leader of the BJP youth wing) and then I decided I would get myself clicked by the same studio’,” Sabharwal said.

His clientele list comprises big names like Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot, Delhi BJP’s chief minister candidate Harsh Vardhan to union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister S. Jaipal Reddy.

Sabharwal claims that in the last assembly elections he clicked the photos of 70 politicians and 26 of them won the elections.

“We no longer give politicians those typical photographs with hands joined in namastey. Instead, we click smiling pictures and with poses so that they can use them easily in their hoardings and posters.”

The studio, which started in a 7 ft X 20 ft room, has now grown into a three-storey building with 70-member staff who are a part of the process of capturing memories.

For a portrait the studio charges Rs.2,500, and if need be studio staff also visits the homes of their high-profile clients for the shoot.

“I have been to the houses of Jaipal Reddy, Sushma Swaraj and Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” Sabharwal said.

Though a large number of their customers are politicians, Studios Prem says they are lucky for the would-be brides too.

“We are well-known for clicking matrimonial ad photographs. All those who clicked their picture from me have ultimately got married,” smiles Sabharwal.

Though initially they started with matrimonial ad photographs, Studios Prem soon forayed into wedding photographs.

Its clientele for wedding photography is also high-brow.

“We covered Sharad Yadav’s ring ceremony, Varun Gandhi’s wedding and Lalu Prasad’s daughter’s wedding,” he said.

Flipping through the visitor’s book, Sabharwal proudly shows the comments by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj singh Chouhan who praised the work of the studio.

Named after the eldest son of the family Prem Sabharwal, the studio has now grown into a family business with branches established in Lajpat Nagar, Rithala, Tivoli Garden, Prashant Vihar and Bali Nagar.

(Shradha Chettri can be contacted at shradha.c@ians.in)

IANS 2013-10-27 13:02:03

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