Saturday, June 16, 2007

K K Mahajan, behind the scenes

Wanted to share some photos as a tribute to K K Mahajan, the wonderful cinematographer who began his career in the late 1960s and shot a number of films for such directors as Mrinal Sen (including Bhuvan Shome and Ek Di Pratidin) and Basu Chatterjee (including the delightful Rajnigandha and Chhoti si Baat), and won four National Awards for his work. (Full filmography here.) I’ve been corresponding with K K’s wife Praba, who tells me he’s extremely unwell. She has shared a few old pictures from his work in the 1970s and kindly given me permission to put them up here. These are all from the shooting of Sen’s movies, and I like the impression they create (however true or not) of the rigours of filmmaking at a time when sophisticated technology was unavailable (look at some of these cameras!). Also, of course, the behind-the-scenes candour.

In the first pic, Mrinal Sen is on the left (which is as it should be, if you know anything about his work and his affiliations), with K K next to him.

Daredevilry in Calcutta: Spider-Man had nothing on this.

Not sure what Mr Sen is doing here; looks like a fake-snow set. Maybe Praba can elucidate.
Bell-bottoms rock!
This one is probably from Padatik, since that looks like Simi Garewal in the centre (I haven't seen the film).

And finally, this caricature of K K, drawn by cartoonist Mario Miranda. (Praba tells me K K is a fine gourmet cook; the dish he’s carrying here contains one of his specialties, mutton chops in milk.)[Click photos to enlarge]

P.S. More here from Uma.


  1. Ever since I posted a comment congratulating you on your shaadi-shudi i've been reading your blog. She Who Must Be Obeyed has since informed me that your blog is apparently the most read blog among all the desi's in London (which, seeing as i'm one of them is a dubious honour at best).

    Anyway, I'm just letting you know that since becoming aware of that accolade i've been casually dropping your name and our acquaintance into conversations to get free dinner invites from people every time SWMBO and I feel like eating desi food but are too lazy to cook. Its great. I'm now well fed and I don't spend a penny.

    Who knew that your name would be so lucrative bugger?

  2. Yes indeed, who knew Panchshila Montessori circa 1980 would lead to this one day! Think I'll change my site description to "Jabberwock. Gets you Free Food."

  3. Earthy Cinematography indeed.

    I'll be watching Bhuvan Shome today.

  4. I am really glad someone knows about people like K K Mahajan. Write something about V.K. Murthy, R D Mathur and Nariman Irani too. It will be a pleasure reading about them.

  5. hi, I can't remember how I stumbled on to this blog,neverthless, I'm really glad,I did. As it happens, KK Mahajan, was my bff's uncle(mamaji). I have no clue if she is in NewDelhi or jammu or god knows where...
    In these times of you.. twit.. face.. I still feel paralysed because I'm in Florida, USA. I've tried my hand at every search engine, but it is just
    annoying, no results. Could you kindly help, please.....

    Hoping for a miracle

    Pratibha B.

    1. Hi, I'm Methun. i'm too much interested to know about KK mahajan. about his work, which is not in internet.
      here is my e-mail-
      and this is my Facebook ID mail- FB name is পটা দা

  6. Pratibha: mail me ( or send me your email, and I'll try to put you in touch with his wife.