I first met Prabuddha Dasgupta in the mid 90s. And I have never met anyone like him since then. He was one of the most impressive personalities that I have met in my life. His close cut hair (often he kept it long as well), the way he spoke, the way he rolled his own cigarettes, his general air of casual attitude combined with his rather warm, yet strong demeanour was striking enough to make him stand out in a crowd.
After a few interactions I have decided that he resembled Harrison Ford. For the last decade or so, I started addressing him as Indiana Jones or as Harrison Ford and he would always smile and say, “I take that as a compliment!” When I met him again recently, he said jokingly, “I am converting myself into Al Pacino now…”
He gave me one of his best interviews while I was working with my earlier publication. He spoke about his entire life… both personal and professional while sitting at his Nizamuddin East house. It took him some time to open up… but after a few cups of tea and few smokes, he was ready to talk… and he talked.
And the joke did not end there. About a couple of months back, my wife Neena who edits Marie Claire magazine told me she was off to Goa to shoot for her cover. She told me Prabuddha was shooting. So, when she took off from Delhi, I sent a text message to Prabuddha saying, “I heard you are going to meet my wife Neena in Goa?” After some time I got a call from him. “Yeah I am meeting her… in fact all of them are waiting for me and I am just finishing my hair cut… let me hurry,” he laughed.
Later, Neena told me how much of a perfectionist he was while shooting. She told me Prabuddha used the Goan football team along with his muse Lakshmi Menon for the shoot and he wanted the team to be panting and sweating like sportsmen after a game. Instead of spraying water and making them look sweating, he asked them to play for an hour in the sweltering heat around two in the afternoon… and shot the images… no fancy gadgets, no poloroids… everything was in his mind…Prabuddha just shot as he saw…
But then, that’s what he was, all his life. He did what he felt was best and it always worked for him. He was reticent yet fearless, perfectionist yet polite and of course epitome of success, yet feet always on the ground…
I will always miss him as a friend and a fine professional.