The CSI calendar is different! It showcases celebs sporting the A to Z of emotions

Put together a few creative heads, a zealous photographer, a bunch of willing celebs and a noble cause, and what do you have? A calendar with a difference.

Child Survival India (CSI), an organisation that strives to improve the quality of life of people in villages and slum clusters through HIV/AIDS prevention and care, maternal and child health, women empowerment and children's education, has launched a calendar unlike any other in 2010.

Conceptualised by Rajesh Ramakrishnan, EVP (Marketing) with Frito Lay, a division of Pepsico, the calendar features well-known artistes caught in different emotions.

Deepa Bajaj, the chief executive of CSI, was enthusiastic about the idea as the calendar would help raise funds for a shelter for children with AIDS, being built in North Delhi.

Says Rajesh: “My idea was to shoot the A to Z of moods and emotions. Initially, we thought of featuring children, but then felt that getting them to emote each mood might get difficult. Hence, we decided to go with celebs, and whose faces had a certain character that would bring out the mood the best.”

He managed to rope in Juhi Chawla, Kay Kay Menon, Konkona Sen Sharma, Shreyas Talpade, Chitrangada Singh, Sivamani, Pradeep Sarkar, Usha Uthup, Divya Dutta, Simone Singh, Nandana Sen, Sona Mohapatra, Balki, Prahlad Kakkar and Ashwin Mushran.

Rajesh says that while convincing them was not very difficult (“all the 15 celebs did this for free since it was for a good cause”), logistics posed a problem. “I was based in Delhi, and almost all of them are based in Mumbai. We used to shoot on weekends, keep two shoots a day and pack in as much as possible.”

Simple shots

Also the shots, all of them close-ups, have been kept very simple. All 15 have been shot in natural light with minimal props and regular clothes. The calendar also has a unique design that allows the pictures to be flipped and changed depending upon your mood for the day.

While shooting for such an unusual calendar, on-sets stories abound. “There were many interesting moments — we went looking for a cigar in Bandra for ‘Bliss', picked up a jalebi from an Udipi Hotel on the way to the shoot with Konkona showcasing ‘Guilt', got Juhi to sportingly use her hair as a moustache for a wonderful picture of ‘Mischief', rushed against time to catch Shreyas for the shoot and listened to Usha Uthup sing while shooting!” reminisces Rajesh.

Rajesh's friend Aloke Bose, an advertising and design professional, was instrumental in putting together the graphics and the layout, including the doodles, and also completed the post-shoot work and printing.

Says Rajesh: “It was team effort; Aloke came up with ideas for some while I did for others. My wife Nirupama wrote the one-liners for each emotion.”