I first heard about the pehlwan (wrestlers) of Kohlapur a few months ago and decided to include it in our next India itinerary. I wanted to tell the visual story of the rigoureus regime of the pehlwan and their life in the talim. The only drawback was, would I a woman be allowed inside the talim to obtain the photos I desired.
Fortunately a friend directed me to Arun Saha and from the first point of contact Arun knew what I wished to achieve and offered a tailor-made photo workshop for myself and husband.
We travelled to Kohlapur from Mumbai and Arun from Pune, and met exactly at the pre-arranged time and place. Arun’s planning of the best photographic time to visit each talim was very well organised. During the four separate sessions not only was the shooting fruitful but also pleasurable to be with Arun. Arun offered good tips, and was instrumental in obtaining for me the access that I required.
Arun and I met as strangers and left as friends. I look forward to the opportunity of shooting with Arun in the future and would have no hesitation to recommend Arun Saha to other photographers.
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Elaine SpringfordRetired Managing Director and Avid Street and Visual Storyteller, Published Author for National Geographic