India through the lens

COLOURS OF LIFE Pictures of incredible India and (right) expatriates dance to Bollywood tunes

COLOURS OF LIFE Pictures of incredible India and (right) expatriates dance to Bollywood tunes   | Photo Credit: Photos: R. Shivaji Rao

EXHIBITION Expatriates from 17 countries exhibited snapshots of Indian life

Sunbathing squirrels and elephant’s toenails, road-crossing cows and dozing rickshawallas, inquisitive monkeys and sleeping babies, gopurams, sadhus and boat races. Those are just some of the snapshots of life in India captured through the lens of expatriates in Chennai for the tenth annual Global Adjustments Beautiful India photo competition.

Over 320 entries came in from expatriates of 17 different nationalities for this edition of the popular competition. “This is India, familiar yet fresh, seen through the eyes of our expatriates,” said Ranjini Manian, CEO of Global Adjustments, at the awards ceremony in Taj Coromandel recently.

The ceremony this year, featured a lively theatrical presentation titled ‘Navarasa’ by Event Art, exploring the emotional journey of those coming to live in India.

The emotions ranged from the initial excitement felt to the cultural clashes that occur, assimilation and peace to sadness at having to leave—and they were mostly expressed through enthusiastic gyrations to popular Bollywood tunes.

Regardless of whether they were from the U.S., Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Japan, China, Belgium or Turkey, 11 ladies dressed in pretty salwar kameezes danced gamely to ‘I love my India’, ‘Where’s the party tonight’ and ‘Kya mujhe pyaar hai’ (with a bit of help from professional dancers of the Raack Academy).

Even little kids got into the act, wearing ghagra cholis and kurta pajamas and waving shiny pompoms on stage to ‘Rock and roll soniye’ as the packed audience cheered them on.

Then it was time for the prize distribution. Dave McTavish of Canada walked away with the Overall Winner 2007 award for his sensitive picture of two little schoolboys in ‘Two Close’, and Darren Burnham of Britain won the Crowd’s Favourite award for his beautiful ‘Sunrise on Marina Beach’ photograph.

There were winners in a number of other categories as well—Faces of India (McTavish first and Alex Thompson second), Culture and Festivals (Nathalie Quadranti first and Danielle Barkhouse second), Into India (Basia Kruszewska first and Francois Mansuy second) and Places in India (Burnham first and Lucy Robson second). In addition there were best caption prizes, a humour award, the Global Adjustment favourite award and a number of special commendation prizes in each category.

“The photographs simply took my breath away,” said Mark Fry, consular section chief of the U.S. Consulate, one of the judges.

All three judges agreed that it was hard to pick the winners. In fact, Mike Eliseou, director of Texon India said jokingly that he might consider going back to being a participant in the contest next year—he’s taken part and won every year for the last six years.

Arindam Kumar, general manager of Taj Coromandel was just deeply impressed by the quality of the photographs: “I kept asking ‘are you sure they’re not professional photographers?’” he said, laughing.

At the end of the event, Rs. 1.1 lakh was handed over to Chitra Mahesh of the Mahesh Memorial Trust to help build the paediatric wing at the Cancer Institute.

The money came from the sale of ‘India Insights’, a handbook released by Global Adjustments a few years ago.

And then it was time for a sumptuous brunch for the hardworking photographers and their appreciative audience.

The awards ceremony might be done, but you can still have a look at the photos between November 21 and 24 at Lalit Kala Akademi.


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