Mark Bennington : Bollywood
Ranveer Singh © Mark Bennington Photography
Rani Mucherji © Mark Bennington Photography
Shivam Bhargava © Mark Bennington Photography
Swara Bhaskar © Mark Bennington Photography
Struggling Actors © Mark Bennington Photography
Salman Khan © Mark Bennington Photography
Chitrangada Singh © Mark Bennington Photography
Irrfan Khan © Mark Bennington Photography
Kanan Chakor © Mark Bennington Photography
Sonakshi Sinha © Mark Bennington Photography
Vijay Raz © Mark Bennington Photography
Pushttie Shakti © Mark Bennington Photography
Ranbir Kapoor © Mark Bennington Photography
Pooja Verma © Mark Bennington Photography
Kareena Kapoor © Mark Bennington
Commercial Audition © Mark Bennington Photography
Prem Chopra © Mark Bennington Photography
Abishek Bachchan © Mark Bennington Photography
Ashwin Mushrun © Mark Bennington Photography
Nasseriddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah © Mark Bennington Photography
Gate of India © Mark Bennington Photography
Abhay Deol © Mark Bennington Photography
Deepika Patikone © Mark Bennington Photography
Randeep Hooda © Mark Bennington Photography
Mithun Chakraborty © Mark Bennington Photography
There are two loves in Indian culture that everyone is born with… Cricket and ‘Bollywood’ … and this is not a sports book. Beyond the glitz and flashbulb glam, what do ‘Bollywood’ actors really do ‘day in and day out?’ How does life really look on the inside? The life of an actor, any actor, may seem like a dream, but the bleak and over-crowded realities of the business are something quite different. It is a reality that few dedicated Desi’s consider as they pack their bags and head for the big city. In Mumbai, this ‘Bollywood’ dream pours down like the monsoon, showering every starry-eyed actor arriving daily on its red-carpeted shores. This dream is the story of many that only few know.
"Living the Dream: The Life of the ‘Bollywood’ Actor” introduces the viewer to every corner of the communities inhabitants: from working actors to stars, mega-stars, up-and-comers, character actors, students and strugglers; illustrating the humanity and complexity of the world’s largest acting community. Every branch of the collective ‘Bollywood’ acting tree is revealed in a way that few ravenous ‘masala’ fans have ever seen. Like a mosaic sculpture, being three-dimensional in nature, we can circulate freely around the work, appreciating while exposing the truths and myths about actors in every facet of their everyday lives. We’ll look at: Auditioning, Networking, Philosophy, Ambition, Delusion, Nepotism, Self-sabotage, Life on the set, Acting Schools, Portfolios, Unions, Theater vs. TV vs. Film and of course, Gossip. "Living the Dream…" goes deeper than a straightforward ‘behind-the-scenes’ photography book, combining compelling images with insightful interviews and giving shape, nuance and sustenance to this multi-layered visual study of the actors’ real journey at every level, creating an authentic landscape of their everyday lives and thoughts. In short, this is a book about People, Dreams and the Community that unites them.
The project began in January 2010, during my first trip to India as a simple comparing & contrasting photo essay between the acting communities in Los Angeles and Mumbai. I was in Mumbai for only 2 weeks and by sublime serendipity met a then kind-stranger/now dear-friend film producer, Guneet Monga, who introduced me to about 20 actors in one week. I returned to the United States with the dream of turning the photo essay into a book project and concentrating solely on the acting community in Mumbai. I journeyed back to India in mid- November 2010 and with the selfless work of many, most notably casting director, Shanoo Sharma, who’s love and dedication to the project in combination to my own, turned it into the makings of a full-fledged book. This is the first documentary photography book of its kind on the subject of Actors.
The enduring passion I feel for this project is anchored deeply in my own personal story. Painter Tony Berlant once said, “The more personal the art is, the universal it becomes.” Before becoming a photographer, I was a working actor for 10 years in New York and LA. I have the deepest love and respect for actors and their processes and believe that actors are actors wherever you go as they share a universal commitment to storytelling by hiding and revealing their lives at the same time. It’s this dichotomy that elicits the purest interest for me and is the needle of curiosity that threads the fabric of this project.
With millions of “Bollywood” fans around the world it is clear that interest in this subject is imminent and now with 95% of the content completed I am beginning to search out the best publisher for the book and also seeking gallery representation.
Mark Bennington has worked as a freelance photographer since 2003. Raised by a psychologist and educator, my work as a photographer has been shaped by a genuine and meaningful connection to my subjects, in addition to a layered and colorful aesthetic. In the past 9 years, since picking up the camera, I have been a featured contributor to The Times of India, Wall Street Journal India and The Los Angeles Times, as well as Lucky and A&U Magazines, carving out a niche for myself as a portrait photographer led by a deeply humanistic eye. Additionally, I have worked under the guidance of National Geographic mentor David Alan Harvey since 2005.
Mumbai, India…… 91 9920996920
Los Angeles, CA….. 818 635 5840