Gautam Rajadhyaksha was India’s leading fashion photographer. He was one of India’s popular celebrity portraitists, who had photographed almost all the Bollywood icons from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, Rekha to Kajol and Lata Mangeshkar to Sachin Tendulkar.
Early Life & Background
Gautam was born on 16th September 1950 in Mumbai. He completed his schooling from St. Xavier’s High School and then obtained a degree from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Later, he completed diploma in advertising and public relations. He is the cousin of noted writer Shobha De.
Journey in the industry
After completing his diploma, Gautam joined the photo service department in Lintas India Ltd, a leading advertising agency in 1974. He soon became head of the department of the company. While working in the company, he was also involved in his passion of photography.
In 1980, Gautam entered the world of fashion photography and shoot the pictures of actress Shabana Azmi, who was his college mate. It was his first break in film industry. Later he clicked photos of actor Jackie Shroff and Tina Munim, who is now known as Tina Ambani. Gautam was soon involved in his passion of photography and decided to quit his job. In 1987, he left his advertising agency and started his own commercial photography business. He started doing product campaigns, media assignments and fashion portfolios. However, he uses to work for Lintas India as a copywriter.
When he was pursuing his photography business, his cousin Shobha De invited him to write for her magazine ‘Celebrity’. While working on his articles, he even started to photographs for his articles and soon he was recognized as a glamour photographer. Later, he started working for magazines like ‘The Illustrated Weekly of India’, ‘Stardust’, ‘Cineblitz’, ‘Filmfare’ and more. He also used to edit Marathi magazine ‘Chanderi’ and composed a popular column ‘Manas Chitra’. He had also exposed his writing skills in the movies. In 1992, he debuted as a screenplay writer for the movie ‘Bekhudi’, which was a debut movie of actress Kajol. Later, he wrote a story for the movie ‘Anjaam’ in 1994. In 2007, he wrote screenplay & story for the Marathi movie ‘Sakhi’.
In 1997, Gautam released his coffee table book ‘Chehre’ (aka ‘Faces’), which contained profiles of 45 well known film personalities. The book starrer with the profiles of actress Durga Khote and ended with Aishwarya Rai, who was the Miss World at that time. Gautam has made the portfolios of many noted celebrities like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Kajol, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Sridevi, Juhi Chawla, Raveena Tandon, Kamal Hassan, Rekha, Shabana Azmi, Jackie Shroff, Smita Patil, Hema Malini and list goes on.
Apart from portfolios, Gautam has also clicked photographers for movie stills. In 1991, he clicked movie stills for the movie ‘Henna’. He also shot stills for the popular movies like ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’, ‘Ishq’, ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’, ‘Hum Saath-Saath Hai’, ‘Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha’ and more. He had also shot movie stills for Dharma Productions ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’.
In 2000, Gautam held his first ever photo-exhibition in Pune. The exhibition displayed his photography work of over twenty years. Later, his exhibitions were held in Goa, Kolhapur and even in aboard in cities like San Francisco, London, Birmingham, Dubai and more. After his death, he had received Posthumous Padma Shri Award.
On 13th September 2011, Gautam Rajadhyaksha died due to heart attack. He didn’t have any immediate family, he just had cousins and nephews.
Name of Films
As a Photographer:
‘Heena’ in 1991
‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’ in 1994
‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ in 1997
‘Ishq’ in 1997
‘Pyar To Hona Hi Tha’ in 1988
‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ in 1988
‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ in 1999
‘Hu Tu Tu’ in 1999
‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’ in 2001
As a Writer:
‘Bekhudi’ in 1992
‘Anjaam’ in 1994
‘Sakhi’ in 2007