The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, May 13, 2001

She stands out on both sides of lens
By Anjali Chopra

PRATYASHA Bole lives up to her name beautifully. A woman of multiple aspirations, she landed in Mumbai to study architecture, took to designing interiors, became known as a hi-fashion model and is now wowing the world with her photography.

Model-cum-photographer Pratyasha BoleOver the short time she has been around, she has earned the reputation of a shutterbug who makes it her business to show up where the action is — capturing that transient moment of an event which becomes news headlines the next day.

At other times, Pratyasha could just be "chilling out" while training her lenses on a foreign dignitary passing through the city, a singer engrossed in herself, Amitabh Bachchan offering prayers in a temple or a set of clotheshorses strutting their stuff on the ramp.


"But photography is only a hobby," insists this leggy 20-something. "Faces have always fascinated me. And so, it is the human angle to any happening that I try to capture on camera. I guess this is because I am essentially a visual person. But more than that, I have been a sportsperson through my growing years. Photography helps me to be on my toes all the while."

Pratyasha’s break into modelling began with the Navy Queen contest, followed by the Femina-Miss India pageant in 1998. It was more of "testing the waters" then, as she found herself swamped with offers from designers like Krishna Mehta, Bhamini Subramaniam, Aseem Merchant and Sangeeta Desai.

Here is the face that launched the Calvin Klein and Bucherer watches with Sharmila Khanna. Malaika Arora picked her for Style Check on MTV and Achala Sachdev featured her on Tara channel. She was on Style Tantra site for Rajesh Pratap, the Queen’s Catalogue and

Besides, there are dozens of retail outlets in the city — ranging from Hiranandini’s Kulture Shop to the Intergold jewellery showroom and Shopper’s Stoppe, not to mention smaller department stores for which Pratyasha has been selling a million dreams.

Such success has not come easy: "In Rajkot, the town from where I come, women lead very sheltered lives, following the beaten track with scarcely any major ambitions. One was supposed to do well in studies, get married, look after a husband and kids... and that’s it. But I had this independent streak, to break out and prove myself on my own steam, that brought me to Bombay."

Like most immigrants, Pratyasha had her share of ups and downs. But soon enough, she discovered that the best part of the city was its warm and hospitable, yet impersonal character: everybody could belong to the city and yet, it did not belong to anybody.

"But that is not to say that nobody got into your way," she explains. "You tend to meet all kinds of people who talk big, make tall promises and do not deliver. Unless you are careful, you get taken for a ride by these conmen. This is especially true in show business and more so, for a single woman."

That apart, there is the usual hostility towards a newcomer to any profession. "Modelling is a very competitive line with a lot of beautiful girls hanging around for work," she explains. "There’s so much of professional rivalry, down to undercutting of fees that it’s not funny! But at the end of the day, it’s sheer professionalism and your merit that takes you through. Only the best survive in this profession."

Pratyasha got lucky pretty early. For one, there was designer Azeem Khan who ‘discovered’ her and took her for his show with Marc Robinson. For another, she found an admirer in Sharmila Khanna who signed her straightaway for the Bucherer watch campaign after merely glancing at her portfolio.

"Actually I was supposed to debut with Azeem Khan’s show, but after meeting Sharmila Khanna, I was on the ramp for her show the very next day," Pratyasha clarifies. "And the best part was that she paid me Rs 2,000 over and above what she promised . The same thing happened when I did the Calvin Klein show for her... People paying you extra in the modelling business is unheard of!" — MF

Home Top