Today is May 1st…World Labour day..incidentally, ‘Thala’ Ajith ’s birthday! I am just recollecting some sweet memories of the 10 days I spent with him in May 2009. That experience feels green forever in my life. Why do I think Thala Ajith is Amazing?
One day in 2009, Ajith’s wife Shalini called me and said that Ajith likes to learn photography from me, and if it’s possible kindly allocate some time for him. I said Yes..immediately. In fact, Shalini, referred by G.Venkat Ram, Fashion Photographer studied our Basic Photography weekend course for 24 days in April 2003.
Respectful and humble
Afterwards, Ajith called me. He wanted to use a break in his shooting schedule to learn photography from me. I told him that I would come to his place and teach photography. He immediately said that it is not correct for the Teacher to visit the student but the student has to go to the Institution and learn from the teacher. So, he said he would come to Ambitions 4 Photography Academy. Considering his popularity, fame, and safety I proposed a one to one session and he agreed.
There are lot of people like, software engineers, IT employees, doctors, advocates, chartered accountants, CEOs, corporate heads, teachers, IPS, and IAS officers, advertising executives, college professors, graphic designers, cinema directors, art directors, students, homemakers, politicians and others who have studied in our part-time weekend course in Ambitions 4 Photography Academy. But we were all excited that for the first time a popular movie star, ‘Thala’ Ajith was going to be with me to learn photography.
Punctual and committed
He asked me where should he pay the fees? I said “its OK… we would see it later..” “No..No… Sir, first you should take the fees and then you can start the class” Ajith said. He literally pushed the money in my hands. Once again I was amazed at Ajith.
Simple and down to earth
Curiosity in learning
He was very practical and curious about asking doubts in photography and talking a lot about life, humanity, psychology, and practicality. The sessions were like sharing each other’s experiences in our field and life. He did not speak anything about cinema saying that the cinema was there with him every day but this experience was very unique any different. I was amazed at his openness and could see a very fine human being in him. The amount of calmness and politeness that I found in him surprised me. I had redefined some of the faiths and beliefs about life and profession.
Some days my wife used to make and offer him little snacks, masal vadai, meduvadai etc. He enjoyed the snack and asked for more appreciating my wife’s skill in cooking. He was like a child, uninhibited and way different from my imagination. I could replay that scene even now after ten years. Some memories are always fresh..!
Powerful and diplomatic
Knowing somehow that Ajith was coming here every day at 10.00 am, one day Thala Ajith’s fans crowded in front of Ambitions 4 Photography Academy gate at 11.00 am and were trying to enter the premises to see their favorite Movie Star. They were shouting, “Thala veliyae vanga… ungala pakkanum…”. In the middle of the class session, Ajith said, “I am extremely sorry Sir..if you could give me some time let me go and check outside”. I followed him to the gate. He asked them to calm down first and listen to him. The crowd was calming down. He told them that he had come there to study and it was not nice to create a scene and to disturb anyone on the street. He asked them to leave. The crowd was calm and waited till the end of the class and cheered him when he left in his car. I was moved by his diplomatic approach in handling his fans. He was really amazing..!
On top of all this, he was approached by a lot of press and media about his interest in photography learning. As usual, he kept himself away. But despite all that, ‘The Hindu’ had interviewed him about his interest in photography. He had mentioned me and Ambitions4 Photography Academy openly in the press. I called him to thank for that and he said he had told only the fact. This was a small gesture that I wanted to show as your dedicated student. I was taken aback and simply moved by his determination to learn and tell about his learning experience. I was frozen and again Ajith is amazing…!
For the Tamil version of the post click here
This article is written by KL Raja Ponsing popularly known as KLR the photo guru. Mr.Raja is the founder of Ambitions 4 Photography Academy and is a popular YouTuber and author. He loves to share his experiences with his students and fans through his classes, YouTube channels. Facebook page, blog and various magazines and publications.