New Delhi: He has been creating magic behind the lenses for 18 years, but when ace photographer Atul Kasbekar faced the arc lights for a TV commercial, he found the experience terrifying and says he now has renewed respect for models.
"Acting is something I never thought about and when I was approached with the idea of doing a TV commercial, I had politely declined...but had to do it for a friend and trust me it was a very terrifying experience," Kasbekar told reporters over telephone from Mumbai.
"Ever since that, I have renewed respect for models and actors. Acting is indeed difficult. Even though I had to play myself in the commercial, it was still a very difficult task," the 45-year-old said.
Kasbekar, who is the man behind the camera for the Kingfisher swimsuit calendar, has featured in a TV commercial for a car.
The photographer has clicked almost everyone in the film and fashion industry and hence shares a personal rapport with most of them.
In 2007, Kasbekar had launched his own celebrity management company called Bling Entertainment Solutions and according to him, the enterprise is "booming".
"Last year despite the recession, we managed to scale up our profits by 20-25 percent, which is not bad at all. The celebrity management industry in India is growing and we can proudly say that we are clearly the number one player in the business," Kasbekar said.
And one look at the clientele Bling will only prove what he says. The client list includes Bollywood stars like Shahid Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Vidya Balan and Abhay Deol among others.
Talking about the shift from a lensman to running a celebrity management business, Kasbekar says his experience in the industry helps him understand his clients as well as how the industry works.
"I had a lot of experience dealing with both sides of the branding world - advertising and also (dealing with) celebrities of all kinds. So I felt i understood the two facets important to this field," he said.
"First I understood celebrities and second I knew how branding could work for them," he added.
"Shahid, who is our client, will be next seen only in `Mausam` and in between that, his visibility won`t be that frequent on screen. So we have to see what we can do in between...like pitching for some endorsements," Kasbekar explained.
"Time is such that one can`t afford to be out of sight from the audience...So our job is to make sure that our client is visible enough to be in the minds of people," he added.
Work apart, Kasbekar likes to spend time with his twins Arnav and Naomi and admits that even though he feels he is the coolest dad around, his kids won`t agree.
"You know it always happens. We think we are cool parents but kids think otherwise," he said.