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5Ws + 1H with Mohsin Khawar

Meet Mohsin Khawar, the man who with the speed of his shutter and the lens of his camera, creates magic out of otherwise mostly mundane moments. A multi talented artist, he wears many hats- first and foremost as a photographer, who has won numerous awards and tokens of appreciation for his work, but what is lesser known is that he is an architect by training, an occasional writer and an actor and model in his previous life. Here he discusses the Who, Where, What, When, Why & How of his latest shoot with supermodel Aimal Khan at a quintessential Punjabi mela.

Who all went with you:

Myself, Mohsin Khawar, as photographer

Aimal Khan, the super model

Republic, the clothing brand by Omar Farooq

Where did you go:

MK: Annual carnival at Sheikhu Shareef, a small village in Okara district.

What did you see & do:

MK: An annual occurrence, this mela (carnival) was exactly as I had imagined, only more vibrant and vivid. There was the quintessential motordrome and open bazaars selling all sorts of wares- bangles, dolls, balloons, beaded curtains, all variety of street food. We encountered malangs (sufi devotees) dancing, drum beaters whirling away; it was a purely native experience.

So the idea was that we incorporate all these elements in our shoot, which we did. I realized that the only thing that would stand out in this rich cultural setting would be Western outfits, hence we chose to shoot for Republic. We curled up Aimal’s hair and had him wear these sharp tailored clothes juxtaposing against the vibrancy of the carnival. At one point, the local children ran up to us while we were shooting and asked me if the guy I was photographing was Hrithik Roshan. With his coloured eyes and curled up hair, Aimal did carry an uncanny resemblance to the Indian star!

Who all went with you:

MK: I worked with Aimal for this shoot primarily because he is a very hard working guy. If I ask him to work on a look, or to run around, or take photos in the sun regardless of temperature, he never has any issues. He’s a thorough professional and might I add, great company to travel with. Here I will also say that I have made very few friends within our fashion industry and he is one of them.

When did you conceptualize this shoot?

MK: Well, I had been thinking about doing this shoot for the last seven or eight months. I wanted to shoot in our rural setting. The colours, the atmosphere, the vibe- I wanted to capture it all. One of my close friends, who is an important person from the area, had told me about this annual festival so when the season for it finally rolled around, my friend facilitated us. He arranged our trip and hosted our stay at his ancestral home which is a hundred and fifty years old. We were fed a rich diet of mutton curry, organic chicken curry, saag (mustard leaves cooked in spices) and rice.

How did you feel at the carnival?

MK: I was so glad I was finally able to do this and with the right kind of support, it was an amazing experience. I’ve never done something like this before. It really felt like being in a technicolour dream and it was great!

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