Get Reddy, Bollywood! Finally, an all-day high-energy stylish photoshoot for a male! And who would make a perfect subject if not a young Bollywood actor?
Meet Ruthvik Reddy Kondakindi, a young Bollywood actor from Hyderabad, India who is now studying at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and is Mumbai-bound upon graduation. Another Lee Strasberg student, Shubham, introduced him. It became clear from the initial phone consultation that a standard two-hour photo session would not cut it. Ruthvik needed something elaborate, versatile, creative, and impactful. Heck, he’s preparing to invade Bollywood!
Ruthvik isn’t new to the camera (duh) and from his Instagram, you can see his past encounters back in India. He was now looking for something different; my portfolio settled the deal. We met in the city to go over the concepts. Another all-day session was in order but this time, unlike all such previous ventures, it was just about a man! I’ve been waiting for a long time and wouldn’t imagine it turns out to be a young Bollywood actor. We narrowed down our locations to:
Times Square is a groovy place to shoot but the tourist crowd may kill it, especially if you want to set up light stands: first, people will probably knock them down, and second, you’d need a permit unless someone is holding your light (see more info on my NYC Photo Permits page). Ruthvik’s friend planned to join us to help out so I didn’t arrange for a lighting assistant. His plans changed, I scrambled to find someone last minute, but it was too short a notice. I pushed for a 3 AM start to minimize the crowds in the background, anyway, and took a chance with the light stands. It worked! The minor distraction was that all the few late-night tourists would stop and talk to us, some photo bombing.
Another thing you’ll notice in his Instagram is that our young Bollywood actor got style! A suitcase and a bag fitted all his 10 planned outfits for the shoot (we forgot to change into the red one for the fire theme). Each suit had a separate pair of shoes.
His acting skills shone as we were going through a variety of sets. We can all attempt to play angry or surprised but you go get your eyes tearful on cue! I learned that they provoke memory-driven tears using specific craft exercises to feel real emotions. You cannot bury a talent; Ruthvik Reddy Kondakindi felt so when applying (secretly from his parents) to one of the best acting schools with alumni comprising talented stars like Chris Evans, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Ranbir Kapoor, and many more. An interview with You and I sheds some light on this young Bollywood actor’s career path.
Shubham did join us for the final leg of the 14-hour saga which was very helpful in handling the flames and especially the Holi festival powder! Now, we seriously lucked out with those Holi colors. The idea came late in the planning and I asked Ruthvik to buy some. It turned out they aren’t allowed for sale in New York state because of limited health concerns. Ordering online wouldn’t make it on time and I checked with six stores in New Jersey—all were out of stock. Another friend generously gave us his supply, we used two colors. There was yet another prop we couldn’t buy in NY stores but I am saving it for another round of hellzapoppin’ photo adventures for Ruthvik, another young Bollywood actor, or maybe you, my hyper-energetic reader?
Click images for full size. Kindly refrain from re-uploading images to social media during the first week of feature. Share instead and give credit!
I am making myself shoot more of the behind-the-scene, especially videos. Here’s an outcome from this. It’s little but I am trying! Thank you, Shubham, for providing the in-car party footage!
And lastly, one before-and-after of a Holi powder shot to show some of my enhancing touches: