I am no authority to even commend a dancer, ’cause, I don’t know anything about any of the dance forms.
But, what I can – with confidence – pronounce, is the magical spell I constantly came under while tracking dancers on stage through my camera’s viewfinder, waiting for those mesmerizing moments which I could freeze on my film.
Astad Deboo was one of those enigmatic artists whose performances left a deep spiritual impact somewhere in the abyss of my subconscious. An impact I couldn’t even understand, ’cause, I wasn’t exposed to even the basics of any dance forms to identify what he did to me. But, I knew he did.
Visually, Astad was delightfully refreshing to watch, what with his trademark pirouettes flinging his long gown-like costume (on lines of angarkhas) in illusory circles around him. This mystic effect that was uniquely Astad’s came off a heady concoction he made out of Indian (Kathak, Kathakali), Indonesian and Japanese dance styles… among various other things, I am sure.
Astad was a photographer’s delight and I would consider myself lucky to have got the opportunity to freeze him on my camera.