Starring Nani: Photo Series Gives Grandma The Stage She Deserves

Starring Nani: Photo Series Gives Grandma The Stage She Deserves
Farhan Hussain, Yvonne Monteiro & Nikhil Dudani

Each creative project, whether it belongs to a designer, photographer, artist, dancer or anyone from another creative field, is deeply personal. It may not necessarily reflect directly in the product but all the intention, values and perspectives of the artist manage to shine through.

Nikhil Dudani’s project is no different. Except, this one overtly personal: It stars his beautiful grandmother, Taramati Shirawley. The photo series is photographed by Farhan Hussain, styled by Yvonne Monteiro and directed by Nikhil himself.

“Nani was always curious about my work and loved trying on the samples I got for shoots, and sometimes also the clothes I was making as part of my repurposed project called Fawn,” says Nikhil. His Nani seems comfortable as ever and uplifts the photo series in its entirety- almost as if it was meant to be. According to Nikhil, she was more than willing to participate and vetted all the dresses herself beforehand. “Tara loves being photographed, she was very comfortable and confident in her skin. Once she settled into the shoot she started asking for feedback about her body language and poses and it was a pleasure to both capture her and spend the evening with her,” says the series photographer, Farhan.

Styled in a blend of her own sarees, some clothes from Nikhil’s Fawn collection and Yvonne’s trench coat, Taramati steals the show in every picture. She looks comfortable but more importantly, confident in her own skin. Carrying the outfits with ease, she manages to look like someone you would like a hug from, but also someone who can easily intimidate you. Nikhil’s creative direction played a key role here, in the sense of giving Yvonne, Farhan and his Nani enough freedom for them to all feel comfortable enough to pull off this project successfully.

In fact, he admits, “I wasn’t treating this as I would other projects. I didn’t even have a moodboard.”

The photo series, as wonderful as it turned out to be, feels more like a memoir dedicated to Taramati- a timeless depiction of her spontaneity and will to be adventurous. A project so close to one’s heart is sure to produce some inspiring and awe-worthy results.

“I think sometimes these small personal improv projects with a close team and people you know make for great results and memories. Getting people together to doing stuff you feel close to, and have them add their energy to it will always lead to something memorable, at least for you,” opines Nikhil.

Farhan agrees with Nikhil and says, “Shoots like these allow each of us room to play. Since there isn’t any pressure to please a client, the end goal is always for everyone to have fun.”

Taramati, Nikhil, Yvonne and Farhan collectively created magic through these pictures. It goes to show how a mix of passion, family and friendship can result in art that makes you fall in love with it.

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