Capturing golden moments


September 30, 2006

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Art | Individuals

Meet Armaity Bamanbehram, the first Parsi lady to have completed 25 years as a videographer

Armaity Bamanbehram is no stranger in the world of videography. And is quite a renowned name among the Parsi community. After all, she has 25 years of experience in the field. Also known as the first Parsi lady to have completed more than two decades in the field of video shooting, Armaity took on to this profession to help out her husband rather than out of interest. She started her stint in the field by first assisting her husband, Rashid Bamanbehram, a well-known press photographer, by holding camera lights in the late seventies.

“I got married after a very short courtship in 1977. I used to work as a telephone operator but stopped after marriage. I started helping my husband out when he used to cover marriage or navjote functions. My first assignment was covering a navjote ceremony at Dadyseth agiary. Everything I learnt was from my husband. When I started, there were only Super 8 mm movies, which could be seen on projectors. Video became popular in the late eighties,” says the petite lady.

So was it awkward working in a field dominated by men? “I never used to get embarrassed. I was eager to learn and I used to love what I do right from the start, so there was never a question of feeling bad or self conscious. I was at ease running around with a bulky video camera and interacting with people. Besides which, my husband was always by my side. He used to photograph and used to take the videos. It was a perfect match!”

Armaity has three children, two sons and a daughter, who are all in different fields. Only her daughter, Nazneen, is interested in still photography as a hobby. Was it difficult to manage a career and three kids? “Not at all. Our children got the best of education and were always taken well care of. During the slack season they would get my complete attention. We never pushed them into this field either. Today one of my sons is a web designer; another is a banker while my daughter is a teacher and I’m very happy for them.”

Armaity has no idea about the number of weddings, navjotes and birthday parties she has video taped. “I can’t think of a number even if I tried to! There were times when it would get hectic but I would take it all in my stride. Somehow we got through! We never used to advertise our services except for small advertisements in a local Gujarati paper. It was simply by word of mouth that people wanted us to come and cover their happy moments,” says Armaity.

Although she has covered numerous functions, Pankaj Udhas, Nirupa Roy, Justice Lentin, the Soonawalla family, being her prominent clients, Armaity still feels she has miles to go. Today of course, she uses the best equipment there is in the field. A far cry from the bulky cameras, she once used carry around on her shoulders. “Even after so many years, just the fact that we’re still around says a lot about our credibility. My biggest plus points are that I have a very steady hand, an eye for detail and do all my work on my own. I also change my equipment every two years, so that my customers get only the best results. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of what I do.”

The fact that Armaity has orders for functions that will take place in 2010 just goes to show how popular she is, especially in the Parsi community. Besides being an expert videographer, Armaity is also a renowned cook. “I love cooking; I can cook for 70 people at one time! I love to make new recipes for my family and friends.” So would she like to become a chef someday? “No,” she says with a shy smile. “I think I’ll stick to videography.”

BY ZEENIA BARIA | Wednesday, August 16, 2006 11:37:51 IST