Kannagi Khanna was the youngest participant at the 2011 edition of the Delhi Photo Festival with her Hollywood series and she did it the second time round in 2013 being selected with a body of work on her grandfathers unfulfilled Bollywood ambitions.
It feels apt to start our interview series with Kannagi as a build up to the festival. We asked her a few questions;
DPF : Kannagi, you were the youngest participant at the Delhi Photo Festival in its first edition/2011 – how does it feel to be selected once again for a print exhibition?
KK : I was thrilled to see the congratulatory mail from Delhi Photo Festival informing me that my submission for this year had been selected for the print exhibit. It feels great to be a part of the second edition as well since the first one was such a wonderful experience. I’m glad my work made it and I’m really looking forward to it.
DPF : Tell us a bit about your work at the festival this year and where the inspiration came from…
KK : The work I have sent this year has a lot of personal importance since its based on my grandfather’s dream of becoming an actor and joining bollywood – A dream he couldn’t fulfill because his father didn’t approve. His dream became a very big part of my childhood days and kept showing itself in the form of stories he would narrate, the actors he would mimic and the film songs he would sing to entertain me. The inspiration came from his stories as well as the portfolio shots he got clicked in his early 20’s to send to directors, which I stumbled upon on my last visit.
DPF : What is Kannagi working on now? Any exciting projects, assignments etc
KK : I’m working on a few conceptual ideas which are mainly experimental and a few installations as well. I got to photograph Gulzar, the legendary Indian poet, lyricist and director, for his new book by Penguin and that so far has been the most exciting assignment. I recently finished photographing an old Gujarati actress who houses nearly 150 dogs and I’ve never had so much fun!
DPF : Any views on the Delhi Photo Festival – how was your 2011 experience? Did it affect you in any way? Any expectations from the 2013 edition of the festival?
KK : Believe it or not, I owe my decision of getting into photography to DPF. I was just out of college when I shot the Hollywood series which featured in the festival – It was received so well and given such a platform that it made me a lot more confident with where I was headed. It was also a learning experience since I was exposed to brilliant work of different kinds through the talks and presentations that were organized by DPF. I’m looking forward to seeing the work this year since you received a crazy number of submissions and it’ll be interesting to see the selection. I’m also excited to bring my grandfather to the festival this year and see his reaction to his images in the gallery along with the people viewing them.