The night before a friend was wondering about the unusually high number of buffed people he was noticing on the streets lately. The news paper report that morning got me jumping. Mr. India 2010 was being held in Benaras. Not a big fan of the muscle league, but the fact that it was being held here in Benaras, that certain bit of paradox was fascinating.
Even more irony heaped here with this show of brawn being held on the grounds of the Sanskrit University. It worked perfectly well for the organisers though. With marauding drunk university hooligans on the sides, politicians/mafia sitting in the front seats, scouting for bodyguards and henchmen, and a bunch of locals more used to seeing religion and music on stage rather than calves and deltoids.
The physically challenged came first to mad roars from the crowd. The peeks behind the stage were far more interesting where the builders were flexing every muscle for the camera. I had one 39-year old gasping for breath as he flexed and I couldnt get my focus right. The demographics of the builders were fascinating. The ones from Kerala were winning a lot, the Delhi boys were there and made a little mark with the medals, Punjabis were there too and got the crowds going with their Punjabi songs for their pose rounds. There were overly built Maharashtrians who have always had this body building habit which I think emanates from their complex of their build. The Manipuris who could be the most gifted athletic community in the country, were my favourites, they left the locals baffled by their ways. Except a few snide and racist remarks of the Chinese not having a chance against the Indians, most cheered them on. They went on to win the most by the end.
The next morning the buff was off the streets of Varanasi.
Shot on Nikon D60, Nikkor 18 - 55, 55 - 200mm.
Mr India 2010, Benaras, India from Akshay Singh on Vimeo.