The 'Photu Wala' - Faisal Raza Khan

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An actor, Faisal Raza Khan has been a part of shows like ‘Banoo Mein Teri Dulhan’, ‘Kumkum’, ‘Rishton se badi Prathaa’ just to name a few. Though television is his mainstay, Faisal is a tremendously talented photographer. You won’t find him doing commercial photo shoots or clicking well established top models but you will find him taking pictures of people he is extremely close to. The art of photography is just that personal to Faisal…he holds it very close to his heart and in return each photograph is a glimpse into his soul…it’s just that simple. He does not ask his subjects to pose or pout rather he just lets them be and the results are beautifully vulnerable candid shots of his friends…well known faces from the television industry. Tinsel Gupshup brings your Faisal Raza Khan, the photographer whose pictures capture the soul…



TG: Have you always been interested in photography?

FRK: Yes, I have always been interested in it. Earlier though, photography was quite an expensive hobby but now you don’t have to be a professional photographer to own a digital camera, lenses, equipment etc. So luckily I can pursue my passion much easily now. I feel that my photographs are quite different because I come from a film and television background so I understand the technical aspects; I know how to create frames and use props. I have always been a very creative person so instead of sitting at home and waiting for the right project to come along…I channel my creative energies into my photography. I actually believe that each and every opportunity is a photo opportunity.



TG: When you say you come from a film and television background…you mean as an actor?

FRK: Yes. As an actor, you might be in front of the camera but then you start learning about the different aspects that go into making a scene come alive. You get a sense about angles, lighting, how the cinematographer makes a frame etc. I have always taken a keen interest in what goes on behind the camera and how the scene is put together. I utilize that knowledge in my photography. If you have a look at my photographs, you will see that they tend to be very ‘filmy’ shots.




TG: What was your first camera?

FRK: My first camera was a Canon D7. Now, I shoot with a Canon EOS Mark II or Mark III. It all depends on the shoot requirements.


TG: Right now photography is your passion but would you ever consider going commercial?

FRK: No…not at all! I am very close to my pictures. None of my work is commercial and I don’t ever charge for clicking someone. I look at the whole process as if I am painting an image. Even if you ask me what my most memorable shoot was, I won’t be able to give you one because I am extremely protective about each photo I have clicked…so there are no favorites. I consider the whole city as my studio so I could be out with friends or alone and start clicking. 99% of the time, I will have my camera on me.





TG: Since you have a creative eye, do you ever go behind the camera after a scene and give the DOP your input?

FRK: Yes…yes…yes! Most of the people I work with are well established actors and they know that I have an eye for detail. So, if I do give my creative input on lighting or frames, they take it in. I have to add that I only click photographs of the people I am very close to and when you know your subjects on a personal level then it is so much fun! Most of my photographs are very candid, so though the frames are quite filmy, I never ask them to pose. I always ask them to go with the flow and you can see the results for yourself.



TG: You photograph people you are very close to…do you have a vision in mind for them when you start a shoot?

FRK: I’ll give you an example so I can explain the process. I was working with Nigaar Khan on a show and at that time we were just colleagues so we did not really know each other. I saw her coming out of her vanity and she was wearing a very pretty sari, mangalsutra, full makeup and all. So, I asked her if I could click a few photographs but I stressed on the fact that I wanted to click her just as she was at that very moment…full bahu get up and all. She agreed and after the shoot, I went ahead and took her photographs. Those pictures came out so well…I still get complimented for those clicks! Sometimes, you just have to make something because the people, the surroundings…it all just comes together in such an attractive way that you just have to capture it. Earlier, I would not plan my shoots but now I have started. For example, I just did a photo shoot with Sharad Kelkar and it is called ‘Dark Temptation’ and my next project will be based on Holi. So I’ll use my creativity, my models, and my imagination and create a visual treat.



TG: Even though most of the people you photograph are actors and models. Have any of them shied away from being clicked because they feel they are not photogenic or don’t enjoy being photographed?

FRK: Oh, I love clicking shy people!! People like Sharad, Ashish etc are so shy in front of the camera and they just don’t like being clicked at all! I always have to get on their case to photograph them and once they see the final pictures, they are so happy. Honestly speaking, so far, I have clicked almost 50 models and actors and out of those, 45 have just not been interested in getting photographed. Every time I say – ok, let’s click some pictures…they will be so apprehensive and say stuff like – ok…but do we have to?? You have to understand that they are well established models and actors and they don’t feel the need to get their photographs taken. They already have expensive portfolios and people have seen their photographs a million times so they just don’t need another picture. Fortunately, they can’t say no to me and I end up giving them a collage of two worlds. So, they might look like calendar models in the pictures…the fact is that a close friend is clicking those pictures so I always manage to capture a vulnerable side.



TG: Who would you love to photograph?

FRK: Oh, I will feel complete if I get a chance to click Rekha! She is just not from this world and I am completely fascinated by her. She is the perfect combination of a model, a diva and a beautiful woman! There is just something extraordinary about her.


TG: Who is the most fascinating person you have clicked so far? Someone who has intrigued you?

FRK: I loved clicking Nupur Joshi! If you meet her, she is just like a kid…an absolute kid! She loves balloons, chocolates, amusement parks but once she faces the camera…MY GOD…she is someone else! She is my favorite. Amongst the guys, I loved clicking Sharad Kelkar. He has a wonderful smile and the camera just loves him. When he smiles he looks very charming and when he has a stern face he looks very dashing. It’s just mesmerizing the way he can play with his expressions. For my ‘Dark Temptation’ shoot, he just comes across as a man with an attitude. Sharad is absolutely fantastic!



TG: Have you watched Twilight?

FRK: Only the first one…


TG: Ok, so when Robert Pattinson auditioned for the role of Edward, a lot of people were convinced that he was the wrong choice. People said he did not look good enough, he was not photogenic but the director of the movie told everyone involved in the project – ‘just give me my camera and lighting and I promise you every girl in the world will fall in love with him by the end of the movie…I will make him look stunning!’ As a photographer…what do you think of that?

FRK: Wow! Now that is a very nice question! See, everyone has a vision and it is all about that vision in your head. Some people can create something beautiful out of a shadow. For some people it may just be a shadow but I could show you a peacock, feathers…a man! So, the director of Twilight had a vision on Robert Pattinson and as a creative person she was convinced about her vision…and as you can see…she was not wrong! I face this challenge every single day. As I mentioned earlier, most of my subjects don’t like to be clicked and that makes them completely raw in front of my camera. Once you give them the right ‘chaabi’ they come up with some brilliant shots. You have to understand that good looking does not equate to photogenic. A person might be extremely good looking but in front of a frame he might look dull and boring. So, my vision and creativity has to come into play here. You have seen Sharad Kelkar on television but for my ‘Dark Valentine’ shoot I gave him a very Broadway look. I dressed him up in a sharp suit, cigar, stubble and he looks nothing like what you see on TV. It all boils down to the image and vision in the photographer’s head.



TG: You shoot for yourself but you have also done the portfolio for Neerusha Nikhat’s Womaniyaa. You were shooting gorgeous girls like Nupur, Mouni, Kamya etc. Did you face a situation where the girls got dressed up in all these gorgeous clothes but you were not happy and changed things around?

FRK: When I shoot…it is my way or the highway! So it is my input from start to finish. From the color of the nail polish, to what clothes they wore, to the shoes…it was all decided by me. Sometimes I would hand my camera over to my assistant and fix the girls’ hair or makeup myself because I felt it did not look right. I really don’t care about hurting feelings or offending someone because it is my picture, I am making it and I am a perfectionist.



TG: Do you like being behind the camera more than in front of it?

FRK: No, I enjoy both. There is a different feeling, different fun and different experience in each. In front of the camera I am my director’s actor, if I am behind the camera I am very dominating and an absolute pain in the behind.


TG: Have you ever considered becoming a DOP or a cinematographer?

FRK: I do whatever excites me. Right now I am majorly into photography, I love taking pictures and making frames. Everything grows and changes with time. I enjoy showing people that photography is not just clicking pictures, it is about creating something beautiful. I can’t answer that question just yet but never say never…right?


TG: Now days everyone who owns a Canon or Nikon tends to call themselves a photographer. Do you think this is a just a fad, a passing phase?

FRK: I think it is absolutely wonderful and why only Canon’s or Nikon’s?? People are constantly taking pictures with their phones and even those come out so beautifully. I think an interest in photography is so healthy both for the people and for the art itself! I am on Instagram and I follow a lot of people. It is amazing because people are constantly taking pictures, adding different layers and dimensions to them and uploading them. For them it might just be a normal click but for me it is an inspiration of sorts. I might get an idea or get inspired for my next project. So it is a wonderful thing!




TG: You have been a part of many shows. According to you which show had beautiful cinematography?

FRK: Rishton Se Badi Prathaa was done beautifully. It was a visual delight…


Photo credit: Faisal Raza Khan

©Tinsel Gupshup


Jun 12, 2013
The first I heard of him was the photoshoot he did for Womaniyaa, Neerusha's line. It was so stunning I took a look at his other pics on FB. He really has a great eye!

Feb 18, 2013
Faisal is super talented and we have seen that over the years. from acting to photography he is a class apart but above all he is a wonderful person and that makes him special. Hope to see ore of him.

Feb 17, 2013
Once again loved your article. I don't know the person you interviewed but I like your write up and questions relating to their career and passion. Well done.

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