Ace photographer Mark Bennington’s recent project is a photographic journal which captures the best of Bollywood in their most candid moments. Titled “Living The Dream : Life of the ‘Bollywood’ Actor”, the coffee table book of photographs encapsulates 112 pictures featuring every actor in the industry right from those starting off to the superstars.

Mark Bennington

Mark Bennington

Talking about the genesis of the idea for this book Mark said, “This project was not really born out of a long standing fascination with Bollywood but rather an interest in capturing the lives of actors and it just so happened that I was in India for the first time in 2010 and by pure serendipity, found myself in Bandra and met someone who put me in touch with Guneet Monga. Guneet was then a kind stranger who introduced me to about 20 actors in the first week. I returned to the States with the dream of turning this grass-roots project into a very unique book and with the help of Shanoo Sharma that is exactly what has happened.”

“It wasn’t that difficult as I got in touch with the right people. I first met Guneet who introduced me to Shanoo Sharma, as she is a casting director, which helped me reach out to them. I spoke to a few of the artists directly and the rest of them I got in touch with through email,” said Mark when quizzed about how easy or difficult was it to get in touch with the actors that have been featured in the book.

Most portraits in the book are accompanied with short interviews of the actors, and captures the true essence of thousands of people who come to Mumbai for one single thing – To Pursue their Dream. So what would be his favorite moment from the making of this book?

Ranbir Kapoor: During commercial shoot at YRF studios, “If you are rude to a fan, you lose that fan for life. Especially because my Father is an actor and as a kid I used to see him, how he was with his fans- because he is a bit short-tempered, so if he was eating dinner and a fan came for his autograph, he would shew them away and I would always look at the fans face and think, ‘That person is never going to watch my Father’s movies again’… so I don’t take it for granted and I hope I am always deserving of their love.”

“I love the image of Vijay Raaz because it was the culmination of three and a half months of calls and texts in order to get a meeting with him. So many of these stars are so busy but sometimes the character actors are the busiest because they’re doing multiple films in multiple countries all over the world and all the time.”

“I also love the image of Dev Anand because it was one of the last images taken of him. It was a very special meeting that I had with him in which he was giving me advice about my own career as an artist… he radiated positive energy.  And I love the image of Pooja Verma, the TV actress in the dressing room, for it’s aesthetics and rawness,” added Mark.

A trained actor hailing from New York City, Mark who took to photography in 2004 and has since then gained rampant repute for his unique style of photography. His book, which has recently been published and is available for sale by Harper Collins India, features a foreword by none other than filmmaker Karan Johar with an afterword by noted Casting Director Shanoo Sharma. The book is a culmination of five years of hard work.