Colleagues remember the qualities and achievements of the former Chief News Photographer of The New Indian Express Jeevan Jose who passed away on August 10
Photos: Jeevan Jose; the pics of an angry Amitabh Bachhchan taken by Jeevan Jose
By Shevlin Sebastian
On January 6, 1988, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan had arrived at Kochi airport on a helicopter following his secret week-long vacation at Bangaram Island, in Lakshadweep, with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his wife Sonia. Thereafter, he got into an Ambassador car. As it was about to leave the airport, The New Indian Express photographer PK Jeevan Jose managed to click four frames.
An angry Amitabh stepped out out of his car and waved his finger at Jeevan and shouted, “No". But Jeevan remained unfazed. Amitabh turned to the security team, but they remain immobile. Eventually, a grim Amitabh entered the car and left. And Jeevan ended up with an exclusive scoop. (At that time the Centre was probing Ajitabh Bachchan's involvement in the Bofors scam. Opposition politicians asked how there could be an impartial scam when the elder brother was vacationing with the PM)
Memories of Jeevan and his many achievements flooded the minds of his former colleagues and friends as the big-hearted former Chief News photographer passed away at Kochi, on Thursday, at age 64, following a heart attack.
Among the people paying compliments was MK Das, former Resident Editor. “Jeevan had a good nose for news,” says Das. “He was ever willing to take risks and go into any type of situation, no matter how dangerous.”
In 1991, colleague Leela Menon and Jeevan went to a colony at Aruvacode, in Nilambur. In this area, because of poverty, prostitution was rampant. Nobody could enter because of the presence of criminals.
By taking the police into confidence, Leela and Jose posed as representatives of the Union Ministry of Social Welfare. “They showed remarkable courage, as they interviewed the women,” says Das. “And they returned with the story about the racket along with the photos.”
It was published in the Saturday supplement. Immediately, it aroused the interest of the national media. “Many newspapers and magazines followed up on our report,” says Das. “This was one of the numerous occasions when Jeevan rose to the occasion.”
Says Leela: “I feel a pain at his passing away. We had gone on many assignments together including the one which Das had mentioned. Jeevan Chettan was very caring and kept a protective eye on me. I always travelled with him on his scooter. He was a nice man, with no bad habits. Jeevan Chettan was very committed to his profession. And he took very good photographs.”
Apart from being a committed professional, Jeevan was also a mentor. “I had always noticed how good-heartedly he mentored newcomers and junior photographers,” says KA Antony, a former colleague. “He would teach them how to take good photos and encourage them. He would help reporters too, with excellent story ideas.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi)