Ramp to Superstar
A rare photo shoot with Bollywood’s movie star icon, Deepika Padukone (a model in 2006), takes Wendell Rodricks on a nostalgic rewind discussing how his fashion discovery moved Padukone from ramp glamazon, to the big screen
Fashion and Words have forever become the very life force of my work.
Similarly, India’s well-known and respected designer, Wendell Rodricks has continued to shine light on his path-breaking fashion work, largely documented today as his legacy. His fashion editorial shoots always a cut-above-the-rest narrative of his garments shot in surreal locations, in as much as the designer’s eye for discovering talent.
One such rare photo shoot with one of Bollywood’s highest paid actresses, Deepika Padukone (then a model in 2006) takes Wendell on a nostalgic rewind discussing how his fashion discovery moved Padukone from ramp glamazon, to the big screen.
IT WAS 2006
“This shoot was shot in 2006. I showed a collection called Isadora in India at the Lakme Fashion Week. It was a game changer for Deepika. Director Farah Khan asked my friend and supermodel, Malaika Arora Khan to suggest a new model to star opposite SRK (ShahRukh Khan) for her new film. Om Shanti Om did not have a working title at the time. I suggested Deepika who was barely two years into modelling. I made her open the show and told Malaika that the first girl I was sending out was the one I recommend. Malaika liked her, conveyed the same to Farah and a screen test was done, the rest is history. Before the film went on the set, Deepika had some free time. I flew her down to Goa and Farrokh Chothia shot the photos over two days. One set was done on the Colvale hills, Goa, and the next morning we shot at Justice Eurico Silva’s house in Margao. We finished the shoot quite quickly and we went to ZeeBop in Utorda for lunch. Through it all, Eurico and his wife commented on her beauty and that they had never seen a girl so beautiful. The next week we saw the results and Sathya Saran, then editor at Femina gave them a huge eight page splash in the magazine.”
A CERTAIN ERA OF PHOTOGRAPHERS THEN ARE A DYING BREED TODAY
“One cannot compare Farrokh Chothia to anyone from his time or even now. He like Prabuddha Dasgupta had an eye for beautiful women. Till today Farrokh has stayed relevant. No one can shoot Aishwarya Rai like him. He can get the best out of a woman. All this said, I think there is a lot of great young talent around. I work with many of them and they are all very talented.”
MY TOP 5 PHOTOGRAPHERS
“Five is too small a number. Here are ten faves.
Farrokh Chothia and Rafique Sayed top the list for various reasons apart from a close friendship and resort developed over almost three decades. While Farrokh does great women’s portraits, Rafique has a mastery over light and geometry. Prabuddha Dasgupta was a genius. He could take great shots with natural light and make them look ethereal. I love Francois Matthys, Tarun Khiwal and Subi Samuel. I have also worked with and like Israr Qureshi for his detailed captures, especially with products and fabric. Two of Farrokh’s assistants, Vishesh Verma and Maneesh Mandanna are also favourites; alongside Prasad Naik from Pernem who has a vast portfolio of fashion work. ”
Deepika Photographs shot by Farrokh Chothia
Wendell Rodricks Photograph by Naina.Co