Flash Back: The ‘local Kamal Haasan’
This weekly photo-column recounts how an old, special photograph of a celebrity was shot and this week it is about T Rajhendherr
This photo was taken when I was working as a still photographer for T Rajhendherr’s Uyirullavarai Usha (1983). Like many pictures shot during that time, this is a black and white photo, and I do feel that such photos have more nostalgia value. Back then, TR was very popular for having the image of a common man. He didn’t have the image of a hero, but one who was representing your average man on the streets. He was making family dramas, a genre that became a huge hit among the family audiences. The characters in these films were, again, representative of similar people you’d meet and interact with in your neighbourhood. I, like many others, was a huge fan of such work.
It’s sad that people like TR and K Bhagyaraj aren’t really doing much today. In fact, there was a time when he was recognised for the variety of talent he had on offer. I’d probably call him a ‘local Kamal Haasan’ (laughs). He can sing, dance, write, and direct films; and he can take great photos too. I remember showing this photo to him. He immediately fell in love with it. This was a time when people preferred to take photos in natural light. I always liked the glow of a backlight. I will always remember how he looked at this photograph and told me, “Unakku aesthetic sense romba jaasthi.”
(The writer has taken photographs for more than 500 films over the last three decades)