Ever tried clambering up an elephant's back with the help of a ladder? No?? Well... I did just that a few hours ago, and trust me, it wasn't either easy or fun. The four remaining Kingfisher models had just finished their gruelling shoots atop the same elephant. The pachyderm was not amused. His mahout was even less so. Beach bums at Varca were having a field day gawking at the bikini clad models perched precariously on the elephant, while Colston, the ace photographer yelled instructions like, " Use your arms.... expressions!! I want to see expressions!" These were the politer ones. The girls gingerly stood up on the elephant's back while he twitched and shifted his weight from one foot to the next , and held impossible poses as the cameras clicked and whirred. Who said modelling is easy? Milind, wearing a hot pink tee and white shorts was adding his own bits of advice - " I want better co-ordination... stretch your spine..." Sure. And risk breaing your neck. One model went for a toss and fell off the elephant's back. Another confessed she was terrified of heights.
My own moment of truth arrived when the director asked whether I'd do the link from the elephant's back, just to experience what the models had gone through. I gamely and foolishly agreed. Huge mistake! Just when I joined Milind (who had already clambered up and made himself perfectly comfortable), the elephant decided he'd had enough of this nonsense and was ready to lumber off. Believe me, this wasn't funny, especially when the angry trumpeting began. My nerves just about held till the shot was canned.... and I swiftly came down to earth! The perky models were really sweet - they cheered my 'feat' spontaneously!
Tonight, one more shall be eliminated. That will leave the three top finalists. I have picked my winner. But one never knows.
I met the elephant as I was making my way back to the room. The guy was thirsty - and how. I watched him drink a few gallons of water before heading back to Ponda from where he'd come. As and when you do get to see the Kingfisher Calendar 2010, you'll recognise the real superstar of the shoot - the jumbo!