ASTRO MOHAN… a renowned press-photographer, Accredited Sr. News Phtotographer, a magician, an astrologer, a palmist, an orator, an artiste and art critic, a prudent programme organizer – sounds incredible, yet a rare blend of all virtues, a synonym by sheer efforts.
Nicknamed as ASTRO, K. H. Mohan, a prodigy and a genius, joined Udayavani, a famous National Kannada Daily published from Manipal, in the year 1995. His deep academic interest in Astrology earned him a prefix to his name ASTRO only to be popularly known as ASTRO MOHAN among friends, well wishers and also uninvitingly among the people who knew the trick of the trade. Astro Mohan hails from Bellary, and took his early education in a small village known as Cheekanahalli in Hassan District, high school education in Belgaum and degree education in Arts in Canara College, Mangalore. Astro is striving hard to give new dimension to photography in the field of journalism where telltale photos hold sway over millions of words scribbled.
The rare photographs, which Astro shot on the life style of Dr. Shivaram Karnath, Jnana Peetha Awardee of Kannada literature, have been considered a landmark, which brought name and fame to Mohan as an artistic photographer of vivid interest. His spectacular photographs on the beauty and serenity of various flowers made innumerable art lovers to turn once again to the nature. The floral photos earned wide acclaim as having therapeutic values in the present day tension ridden competitive society. The visual values of the photographs imbibed in them the quality to promote peace and happiness in the viewers.
Astro always exposed himself to the newer challenges of photography, which made him inquisitive in his quest to achieve excellence in the field of art. His cautious and careful observations of the ‘changing facets’ of the Car Street in Udupi inspired him to catch rare glimpses of UDUPI RATHABEEDHI which are moving towards oblivion. Popularly nicknamed as the Hyde Park of the Temple City, the Rathabeedi (Car Street) of Udupi has been gaining more and more commercial values while shedding its religious and cultural values in accordance with the changing times. The exhibition of the photos snapped by Mohan catching the glimpses of the changing facets of the Car Street brought him accolades from commoner to the art critic.
Astro has also found interest in creating awareness among the people about the dreaded disease AIDS and the evils of drugs through his state of art MAGIC. He rode motorbike from Mangalore to Karwar blindfolded only to warn the voters not to franchise their valuable votes blindly. He repeated the same venture in Udupi also to promote commitment among the voters. He has also conducted various workshops and demonstrations to create awareness among the people against the black magic perpetrated by the pseudoBaabaas to exploit the hapless illiterates.
Mohan got happily married to Vidushi Praveeena who is an excellent Bharathanatya performer, a charcoal artist and a miniature painter as well. Her recent exhibition of her vivid art works along with Mohan at Udupi, especially the miniature painting works on ‘Raasaleela’, a theme based on the Geetha Govinda of renowned poet Jayadeva, raised the eyebrows of art lovers and critics in appreciation.
Recently when Gujarath experienced the trauma of the century, the earthquake, which caused huge loss of life and property ever heard of in the history of the nation, Mohan dared to visit the quake-hit areas and captured the pathetic and heart throbbing scenes in his camera. The daredevil photos taken by Mohan were recently exhibited in the Banquet hall in Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore. The exhibition under the banner ‘Gujarath Earthquake Disaster as I saw it’ was inaugurated by none other than the Chief Minister Mr. S.M.Krishna who whole heartedly appreciated the pains taken by Mohan in capturing the heart throbbing glimpses of the tragedy of the Century to enable people realise the loss of life and property caused by the fury of the mother earth.
Today the proud and rare photographs snapped by Mohan have found prestigious place in the offices of Syndicate Bank, Canara Bank, Karnataka bank, and also in the offices of the Kannada Sangha at Mumbai, Delhi, etc. The spectacular floral photos snapped by him have decorated the calendars of various renowned banks attracting millions of art lovers.
The eminent personalities of photojournalism like Late Sri. T.S.Satyan, Sudharak Olve of Mumbai Mirror, Sr. Phototojournalist Prashanth Panjir,Retired Magazine Editor if Udayavani Mr. A. Ishwarayya have whole-heartedly appreciated the painstaking artistic works of Mohan who has taken the challenge to explore the newer horizons of journalism with greater zeal and commitment for the last eight years in his quest.
Being blessed with “Shree Krishnanugraha Prashasthi” by the seer of Shree Paryaya Palimaru Matha of Udupi during his tenure of Paryaya, Astro Mohan is in close contact with the seers of Ashta Mathas of Udupi by whose blessings only, he firmly believes, he could scale new heights of success in his life. Added to this, Astro has, to his credit, the choicest blessings of the Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala, Rajarshi, Dr. Veerendra Heggade.
He has earned over 450 National & International prestigious awards till date. His picture “Karavali Kambala” bagged the First Prize in an International Level Photography Competition, held by Nikon in United Kingdom. He has travelled and exhibited his photo worldwide and also been felicitated by various photography associations, he was recently honoured by the Karnataka Media Academy in Bangalore.
Astro Mohan believes in sharing knowledge, he teaches at various universities and conducts various photography workshops over the last decade. He is a distinguished member of Photography Society of America (PSA), Royal Photographic Society (RPS), Director of Karnataka Photographers Association (KPA), Founder member of Udupi Press photographers Association (UPPA).
An incredibly versatile person with a rare blend of multiple talents, Mr Mohan is also a magician, astrologer, palmist, orator, cine actor, artiste, art critic and to top it a prudent organiser of shows. It was his intense interest in astrology which led to him being nicknamed as ‘Astro’ and now widely called by this nickname among friends and well wishers.
MICS, FICS, FIIPC, AFIP, ASOF
Senior News Photographer, UDAYAVANI
Director, Karnataka Photographers’ Association, Bangalore
Past President, Udupi Press Photographers Association