Rajini Chandy, who redefined reel grandmas in Jude Anthany Joseph’s Oru Muthashi Gadha in 2016, with her role of a crochety grandmother with a heart of gold, is making waves once again. The actress who is often seen draped in crisp saris is going viral with her recent photoshoot.
If in one photograph, the actress, who shot to fame with Season 2 of Bigg Boss Malayalam, looks like a biker chic with ripped jeans and a denim jacket, she looks as if she stepped out of the 60’s with her bohemian look and ringlet of flowers on her head, in another.
Says photographer Athira Joy, “I met Rajini aunty during an ad shoot. She told me that it was a dream of hers to wear a swim suit during Bigg Boss. She was however booted out off the house before she could do so. Although I assured her that we would do a photoshoot of hers in swimwear, she thought I was saying it in jest.”
For Ranjini’s makeover, Athira had to first convince Ranjini’s husband. “We started the project once he gave us the green signal."
According to Athira, Ranjini was apprehensive regarding doing the shoot as she feared being trolled. “She received a lot of haters post Bigg Boss. Aunty is a devoted wife. Although she does not mind being personally mocked and ridiculed, she can’t stand anyone pointing fingers at her husband.”
The real Ranjini says Athira, is like the one captured through her lens. “Ranjini aunty is a progressive thinking woman. She showed me a bikini-clad picture of hers in her 30s. People view her as this uptight grandma. I wanted to bring out the real Ranjini Chandy. The real Ranjini Chandy is actually soft-hearted and not the bold person she is thought out to be,” says Athira, who adds that Ranjini had just one clause during the shoot, “That I release photographs that have been approved by her husband and son-in-law.”
Ranjini’s choice of wear was arranged by stylist Hassan HN. “We picked out outfits she would be comfortable in. We didn’t suggest a swimsuit as we knew she would decline though,” chuckles Athira, who was assisted by Vishnu Venugopal. Make-up was done by Kiran Black.
Ranjini in a teaser video on the making of the photoshoot is seen having a blast. “Although she is 75-years-old, she became one of us during the shoot. She is extremely fun loving,” says the 30-year-old freelance photographer.
Keeping in mind the rising number of Covid cases in the State, the shoot was conducted at Ranjini’s residence. “We didn’t want to take any risks,” says Athira, who graduated from Indian Institute of Photography, Delhi.
The Vaikkom-based photographer had earlier done a nude maternity photography shoot. And while the photographs set social media on fire, it also drew a lot of brickbats. “The moral police in our society took offence to the photos and some were blocked on social media,” says the photographer, who believes in doing “concept photography. My recent works include a series on lesbian love and one on body art.”