In the late ’90s, when India was on the threshold of an internet explosion, a young Fayyaz Badruddin would spend hours in a cyber cafe on Mohammad Ali Road, Mumbai, dreaming up a job he would eventually pursue.
At a time when most production houses were yet to wake up to the world wide web, Yash Raj Films (YRF), on its newly launched website announced their magnum opus, that marked the coming together of Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.
The film was Mohabbatein, and the year, 1999, when Badruddin, after devouring the site's content with wide eyed wonder, promptly wrote to the mail id given on the site.
He introduced himself as a graphic designer, enquiring if there was a vacancy in any capacity. It was the first step in a long-standing relationship that he was about to forge with the premiere movie moguls of Bollywood, being their first and only in-house graphic designer.
“My mom always said that if I had Rs 1 in my pocket, I would rather watch a film than eat. These two things — Photoshop and movies — connected me to posters,” says Badruddin, sitting inside the corporate office of Yash Raj Studios in Andheri, Mumbai.
It seems he was always destined to work at Yash Raj Films because of the similarity of his favourite red-and-white pullover to the company’s logo — the iconic symbol of Bollywood’s dream merchants of chiffon, champagne and Switzerland.
“They keep teasing me in office about this,” says Badruddin, who had designed clothes when he was helping with his father’s business in Dubai.
Badruddin often made dummy posters from stock images of film stars on his brother’s computer.
It is when few of his brother’s friends mistook them for real posters that he realised the true potential of his designing abilities.
“I used to be wary because I did not have a degree in design and always feared I’ll be looked down upon in the field,” he says.
But with an inquisitive mind and a pro-active approach, Baddrudin self-taught his way into technical finesse. At Yash Raj Films, he conceives all the