THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As a little boy, Leen Thobias looked with awe at the lensmen who could get a glimpse of singer K J Yesudas from close quarters and take a snap of him. It was a dream come true for him to catch the singer on camera while he was a college student. He who was one among the many admirers of Yesudas, later became fortunate to click thousands of snaps of the master. He made a mark or himself in the Limca Book of Records for making the first photo biography in India, that too of K J Yesudas.
His passion and dedication in capturing the moments from the life of the iconic singer was evident in the frames displayed in the photo exhibition ‘Ente Gandharvan’ at Trivandrum Club. The photographs chronicle the illustrious journey of the veteran singer through years.
The catchy taglines that accompany the photographs add to their worth. For instance, there is a picture where the singer appears in the attires of three different religions and the caption reads, ‘Easwaran Hindualla, Islamalla, Christianialla’. The caption for another snap showing Yesudas along with maverick musician P B Sreenivas during an evening walk is ‘Saptha Sudha Sagarame’.
“I take his snaps giving equal prominence to the lines he has sung. Thus I maintain a story board in mind while taking the pictures”, Leen says. Sometimes he has deliberately created some situations for that poetic charm. An example he cites for this is while taking a snap of Yesudas and S Janaki. “I thought it is good if the mood of the song ‘Akale Akale Neelakasam’ can be recreated. So I told him to sing a few lines by looking at the blue sky and made the songstress stand near him,” he recollects.
For Leen, his most cherishable moments are linked to the singer himself. He says “On our journey together, he tells me about some memorable junctures in his life including places and people. When I find a photographic element in that, he will fully cooperate to make it real.” Yesudas’s wife Prabha and son Vijay too pointed out such memorable moments in the life of the singer. Along with that, he recopies some rare pictures that are among the possessions of some people.
One of the striking features of his photographs is the showcasing of the change in times. Yesudas is seen along with Santha P Nair in a photograph, ‘kanumbol njanoru’ years after singing their first duet song. ‘Ezhilam Pala Poothu’ has two snaps showing Yesudas and his son Vijay Yesudas singing with P Suseela. In another snap, Yesudas holds the microphone before little Vijay Yesudas and in another the son holds the mike for the father.
Being an exponent in panoramic photography, the Yesudas effect has appeared in his interactive panoramic pictures on Kolloor Mookambika temple and Our Lady of Good Health Church in Velankanni. In the background you will hear the songs sung by Yesudas ‘Kudajadriyil...’ and the Tamil version of ‘Yahoodiyayile...’.
When asked what he plans to do with the thousands of pictures, he says “I wish to put them together in a book soon, as he celebrates 50 years in his singing career. The profit from it would be spent for charitable activities spearheaded by him.”