January on a beach in the Andaman Islands with model Sheetal Menon; February at a wildlife sanctuary in the company of tigers; March looking deep into the eyes of Shah Rukh Khan; cocooned with a Czech model in April; May working for a cause with children; and in fantasy land with Deepika Padukone in June.
There are similar options for the second half of the year—all you have to do is flip the page. With innovative calendars fighting for space, it is easier to pick your party destination for 31 December than to select the desktop that’ll keep you company through the year.
The coveted Kingfisher calendar by Atul Kashekar
For those who associate Kingfisher more with bikinis than beer, it will be a battle to get your hands on the UB Group’s swimsuit calendar. “It goes completely out of control and reaches the point of (being) ridiculous when industrialists and politicians say they wouldn’t even mind the previous years’ calendars,” laughs lensman Atul Kasbekar. This year, a contest on the calendar’s website will offer one to the person who comes up with the craziest reason for wanting to possess the page-turner.
For the six years that Vijay Mallya has been releasing the calendar, Kasbekar has shot models in the most exotic locales. But after the French Riviera and Australia, shooting in India this year seems a little anticlimactic. “It was quite a harrowing task actually. Because of inaccessible locations and difficulties in getting permits to shoot at some spots, our schedule and budget went overboard,” he says. But with an airline at their disposal, and the Kingfisher brand name to open doors, the trip from Ladakh to the Andamans, with Goa and Udaipur thrown in, was over in 22 days.
The DSP Merrill Lynch calendar features wildlife
Glamour and nature seem to be the running themes for most calendars, and since the former goes hand in hand with films, photographer Dabboo Ratnani has had it easy for the last eight years. All it takes is a studio, props and phone calls to his friends from the industry. “I use two stars for every month, but the industry is big and it does get awkward when I can’t have some of the stars in my calendar,” says Ratnani. While the Bachchans, Shah Rukh and Hrithik Roshan get pride of place every year, Ratnani has included newcomers Ranbir Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh in the 2008 issue.
This time, however, he has competition from Subi Samuel, who has combined the glamour of film stars and the magic of Photoshop to come up with a comic art calendar, where every picture is like a page from a comic book, complete with blurbs and a backstory. Earlier, he held exhibitions; this year it is the calendar in association with Marching Ants Advertising that’ll provide the “creative challenge”. “With Dabboo, there’s no rivalry. It’s all healthy,” he adds.
The Pink Charity calendar shot by Subi Samuel
Samuel has worked overtime this year—a second calendar features film personalities such as Shah Rukh, Arjun Rampal, Karan Johar and Priyanka Chopra, all for a good cause. The Pink Charity Calendar by Dalbir Bains, of Mumbai lingerie store Boudoir London, and the British high commission, wants to raise breast cancer awareness, so every picture comes with a cancer factoid. “We’ll follow this with other initiatives through the year,” promises Bains. The Mumbai-only calendar will be available at the British Council Library, Crossword bookstores and Boudoir London for Rs500. Proceeds will go to the women’s cancer initiative at the Tata Memorial Hospital. Coffee chain Mocha Coffees and Conversations has its own calendar cause. They are supporting the Brain Tumour Foundation (BTF) calendar, a series of pictures created by children from the foundation. Proceeds from the sale of the calendars, available at Mocha’s Mumbai outlets, will go to the BTF fund.
Many firms have their own calendars every year, but some of them use it as an extension of corporate social responsibility. Housing finance firm HDFC Ltd. has a wall calendar titled Blue Planet on its theme of wildlife preservation. Hemendra Kothari, chairman of DSP Merrill Lynch, is another person who is passionate about nature and wildlife. In association with environmentalist Bittu Sahgal, Merrill Lynch’s wall calendar features pictures of animals in their natural habitat to showcase our forest heritage. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will focus on climate change for one calendar; it also has a second one that has been shot at UNDP project sites in the country.
The Marching Ants almanac by Subi Samuel
While Jatin Kampani’s images for K Raheja Universal are glamorous, the construction firm also wanted the theme to be eco-friendly, and its calender focuses on natural forms of architecture. So, models pose with faux nests, anthills and beehives.
For some, a calendar will always be about fun and games. Last year, it was a spoof on Hollywood; this year, Vikram Bawa is shooting one for jeweller Yogesh Jasnani with a Kama Sutra theme. To be shot in a palace, he says the “arty” pictures will be “bold but not overtly sexual”.
Too bad there’s only so much space on your desktop.