If the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, could make simultaneous appearance before the voters of as many as five States, the man who ensured his omnipresence through 3D holographic technology is U.K. Senthilkumar, a Chennai-based cinematographer.
“We put up 750 screens in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, and millions witnessed the magic of Mr. Modi addressing them directly,” says Mr. Senthilkumar, who was trained in Musion Ltd, the world leader in holographic technology.
Michael Jackson and Princess Diana had used holograms in the past. “Hindi film star Salman Khan plans to use it in one of his films,” he says, speaking to The Hindu on the phone from Hyderabad. Mr. Senthilkumar was introduced to Mr. Modi by Bollywood director Mani Shankar. He first worked for the BJP leader during the Gujarat Assembly polls. “We placed gigantic screens behind containers on grounds across the State and broadcast his campaign live,” he recalls.
When the Lok Sabha elections were announced, Mr. Modi invited him to Gujarat again for shooting. “Modi is very friendly, but sometimes very strict. He keeps himself abreast of the latest technology and is impressed with its effectiveness,” says the 42-year-old cinematographer.
Mr. Modi fondly calls him ‘hippi’ as his long, curly hair flows onto his shoulders.
A native of Coimbatore, he belongs to the 1989-92 batch of the Government Film Institute, Chennai, and has worked in about 50 films. “The AIADMK approached me for recording Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s campaign speeches, but it did not materialise for lack of time,” says Mr. Senthilkumar, who is now helping the campaigns of Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief Chandrasekara Rao and the former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Kiran Kumar Reddy.