Okay, there are a few images beginning to filter out of the calendar-that-isn’t-a-calendar. For newbies, Dabboo is the biggest celebrity photographer. And every year, he gets together with his celebrity friends and shoots a calendar. 24 images, which are revealed at a party in January, and then 24 copies of the calendar are made and given to the models. That’s it, you can’t buy it, and the images aren’t made available to the public. Except through illegal fuzzy reprints that slowly leak out on the internet over the course of the next 24 hours. Which is their purpose, to be leaked so we all know Dabboo’s name and he gets publicity. Dabboo Dabboo Dabboo.
Here’s the other important thing to know. Dabboo’s business is a family affair. His wife does the lighting for him, and his 3 kids are running around on every shoot. Which is why everyone agrees to do the shoots, because his kids (especially his oldest daughter) are really something special. They’ve been doted on and spoiled and loved by the whole industry since day one. And it gives a little added touch to these super sexy photos knowing that there is a bossy chatty little girl yammering away in the background the whole time they are being shot.
Here’s an old video of Shahrukh “interviewing” her:
And now, on with the show! These are the super early images, so they were clearly taken at the gallery opening, through the glass, and are not that great. Also probably not complete, Dabboo sometimes shoots multiple versions that are released over time. But this is what we have for now!
Sanjay Dutt. Which I love. This may be my favorite, a nice composition and a nice moment and a really nice smile on Sanjay.
Sidharth Malhotra. Who is a professional model and I feel like he knows a little better how to sell these photos. I’m not getting as much personality, but I am getting the perfect expression and so on to fit the concept Dabboo was going for.
Oh Tiger! This is the first one that I begin to find a little boring. Dabboo shoots these mostly in his backyard/studio area, sometimes at people’s houses. The problem is, after over 10 years of this calendar, he’s kind of done everything already that he can do in the backyard. I know I’ve seen that wall and window before. Tiger is new, but the composition isn’t thrilling me. Especially because what Tiger is doing is what he always does, so that part isn’t new to me.
Shahrukh!!!!! Not my favorite Shahrukh, but then this is also a very bad blurry version of it. I like the idea of the make-up and the kind of glam-rock look, I’m not sure if it lives up to his spectacular previous SRK photos.
Arjun Rampal. This is nice. Another former model, he isn’t doing anything too showy (TIGER!), but he is nicely fitting in with the idea and I am drawn to looking at his face.
Farhan Akhtar. Eh. I feel like Dabboo has done this idea too many times before, fully clothed in water. It’s probably easy, most stars have a swimming pool, but it’s not that imaginative. Also, Farhan is trying too hard to look cool.
Varun Dhawan. Now this one is really interesting!!!! It’s the same “big tires” set up that he used for Shahrukh last year, but the angle is really interesting, and he managed to catch a totally new expression on Varun’s face, probably by giving him this super awkward position that distracted him from putting on a mask.
Hrithik Roshan. I really want a better version of this photo and I want to study it! I can’t tell if it is trickery, or if Hrithik really is looking in a mirror and his expression is that different from a different angle. Either way it is a very cool concept, especially in terms of the introspective scandal ridden sort of life Hrithik has right now.
Amitabh. On a bike. I am getting deja vu, it really feels like Dabboo has done this with him before. But then, it’s Amitabh, how many options are there? I like the purple suit and the sunglasses, he is looking very good at least.
Akshay Kumar. This is great!!!! I assume it is at Akshay’s house, because I don’t think Dabboo has horses. I love the sincere smile on his face, I love the contrast between the two horse heads, I love everything. This is a photo I would sincerely enjoy just as Art, even without a famous person in it.
Aamir Khan. This is brilliant. No fancy bells and whistles, no nothing, just an interesting angle and Aamir’s own face to carry it. I love this photo.
Abhishek Bachchan. Eh. Definitely seen this before too. Kind of weird that Abhishek is still wearing glasses and a coat inside, but whatever.
Aishwarya. This is clearly not the full photo, but almost all of it. Looks like she is blowing confetti maybe? Aish cannot take a bad photo, so Dabboo kept it simple I am guessing, just a close up of her face and some flying sparkles. Unless the border we can’t see reveals a tiger or something.
Alia. Eh. So-so. Kind of a spooky concept of age appearing under her skin, which maybe he was going for her surprising maturity. But I’m not sure if it works.
Sonakshi Sinha. This is a great photo! Totally different awesome tough kind of look for her. Maybe I could do without that weird lens flare thing, but it also sort of draws your eye, so I guess it is okay.
Jacqueline Fernandez. I also love this photo! Simple, nice composition, and feels like Jacqueline, like it captured her unique personality.
Kajol. Very nice. Same bathtub we’ve seen over and over and over again, but I like how Kajol is selling it like she is just sitting in a normal thing instead of playing it all sexy or eccentric. And she looks really really great, like herself, but the best possible version of herself.
Kriti Sonam. BO-ring!!!!! Nothing new, nothing exciting, same photo that hundreds of photographers have done before him. Works well with Kriti, she has a kind of tough cowgirl vibe, but really? You couldn’t think of anything else?
Parineeti Chopra. I really really hate this. Boring concept, and also it turns her into this sad little waif type, which is not what she is at all. I feel like her face is even saying that a little bit, struggling to keep the bubbly girl inside. And her photo last year was so great!
Priyanka Chopra. Also, BO-ring!!!!! I feel like I’ve seen her do this hooded routine before for Dabboo even. Certainly if she hasn’t someone else has.
Shraddha Kapoor. Not terribly imaginative or interesting.
Sunny Leone. Really? This is the best you can come up with?
Vidya Balan. The caption says Vidya but I almost can’t believe it. She looks sooooooo different from usual, which is sort of a remarkable accomplishment all on its own.
And that’s it! That’s all the ones I can find so far!
UPDATE: Found a different image of the Shahrukh photo which I like a lot better. The gold tone brings out his skin in a nice way, and makes his expression easier to read. Plus it is just more in focus than the other one.
So, of these:
Most interesting as a photo:
tie between Akshay and Aamir
How about you?