Candid cameraman

Photojournalist Praveen Jain’s exhibition displays humorous and emotional moments of powerful men in the very colourful and controversial world of Indian politicians


Ten Prime Ministers. Eight Presidents. Countless Chief Ministers. Indian Express Photo Editor Praveen Jain has captured them all. A noted photojournalist, Jain has been covering Indian politics for the past 35 years. Putting together some of the offbeat photographs of politicians from his collection, his works will be on display at an upcoming exhibition.

Titled ‘200 And One’ the exhibition has 201 photos, as the name suggests. With his well-known proclivity for capturing the leaders off-guard, the photographer presents the other side of politics that seldom comes to the limelight. Snaps of politicians with their family, sharing meals and laughter with other leaders, light-hearted moments at the Parliament; 200 of these photographs portray such unfiltered emotions. PV Narasimha Rao looking at Farooq Abdullah eating chicken at an Iftaar party, former friends Ram Vilas Paswan, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav laughing with their arms around each other, Rajiv Gandhi with his wrist full of rakhis, Rabri Devi with her children in the servants’ quarter in Patna where they earlier resided, Atal Bihari Vajpayee talking a walk with his granddaughter Niharika and her dog — many such other moments are on display.

The other ‘One’ photo titled ‘Monkey Business in Parliament’ records a hilarious moment right outside the Parliament where a monkey is running away with a roti in his mouth. “Everything is monkey business in Parliament. I wanted to portray the halla that goes on inside the house,” says Jain.

For Jain selecting only 201 photos from his huge collection was a very difficult process. Many of these pictures at the exhibition were never used before and will be on display for the first time.

In one of his photographs, an emotional Priyanka Gandhi is touching her father’s eyes in a cover photo of a brochure at the first memorial lecture of Rajiv Gandhi. “This is one of my favourite photos. I became very emotional while clicking this and I recall Rajiv Gandhi as a caring person while I travelled along with him,” says Jain.

With a mixture of black-and-white and colour photographs, the exhibition gives us a glimpse of Indian politics over the past 35 years. So, drop in at AIFACS Gallery at Rafi Marg November 2-8 to witness politics in a different light.

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