Jalsa, Mumbai May 30/31, 2013 Thu/Fri 2 :13 AM
Rituparno Ghosh, that young and most respected director from Bengal, passed away this morning .. suddenly, and most unexpectedly ! It has been extremely shocking for all of us and indeed the entire film fraternity, at this most rude and unbelievable news. 49 years is no age to die, but Ritu Da as we affectionately called him has gone, and left a huge void in the world of some of the most progressive work done in recent times.
I did “The Last Lear” with him. And this came about after years of meetings and mutual desire to work together. It was done in English. The story of a not too successful stage artist who performs Shakespeare, now almost living in seclusion, approached by a film maker to act in his film. Stage, Theatre and Film have had a perennial attitude with each other. The theatre always giving more importance to their craft as opposed to the film makers, yet finding the popularity and commerce of cinema, larger and therefore almost offensive. Theatre is a more difficult craft and those that have through the ages been committed to it, have always had a point of discontentment with the other form, called moving pictures !
It is true that the instant connect, the writing and the level of performances demanded from a stage actor has been immensely more difficult, perhaps more satisfying, and one that has always invited immediate reaction from a live audience. This in particular has had a distinct charm of its own. Reconciling to the fact that because their stint has not been as appreciated as it should have been, and now having to face, almost an embarrassing situation where perhaps for survival a compromise may have to be made, is what the main construct of ‘Last Lear’ was as far as my character was concerned. The tragic ending, ironically insisted upon by the character to perform a dangerous stunt in the ‘film’, came from the arrogance of the actor from stage of not succumbing to a duplicate doing something that he was supposed to do. He pleaded for that moment with the film director, even begging of him on bended knees in a drunken stupor.
There were of course those wonderful moments constructed in the film, where in order to impress the film director of his theatrical presence and performance he plays portions of Shakespeare, to a most astonished and overwhelmed film man, within the confines of his drawing room, now furnished with several memories of his stage days.
The obsession with Shakespeare and the English language as spoken in its purity, was one of the characters obsessions. Often I had observed through the years of being in close proximity to some great theatre artist that they, never seemed to leave the stage as it were, even when they were off it ! The tone and speech of their character on stage was replicated in real life too. I felt it needed to be played so, and Ritu Da did not disagree. So in their daily existence, the speech style and movements and delivery of the spoken normal conversation was what they were with on stage !
For all practical purposes, the character was a Bengali. In actual fact as the back story goes, he was from Bihar, but settled in Bengal and so one typical of the region. His speech throughout was that of an affected British stage performer. But that was a put on. On occasion, when he had indulged in more than his quota of the pricy and exclusive Scotch, he would be his Bengali self. The tone of his delivery, slurred, but never far away from the common man’s Bengali English, which, if you have spent sufficient time in Kolkata, would not be too difficult to identify.
As a writer and a director, Ritu Da was pat on in recreating this world for the character and how his life unfolds with all the other very important people that come into his life. I found that each of the artists that performed in the film were all exceptional - a joy for any actor to be in their company.
Ritu Da was well planned and understanding of the needs of actors on set. In a most tiny little space he and his efficient DOP would at times have a three to four camera set up, so that there was a continuity of performance in a particular scene. He was never rigid in his directions to the artists and rather enjoyed the impromptu additions that actors tend to make at times.
The unit spoke in Bengali, which was a joy, for it gave us all an opportunity to pick up the second most sweetest language in the world. The first being French. At the end of a days work he would call Jaya and share a laugh at all the wrong pronunciations that I was making in my Bengali. But he was essentially a delight to work with. Challenging, gently pushing for a correction, giving immense liberty to the actor on set without any interference, and readily accommodating any peculiar demands that most actors often tend to make when they are facing the camera.
I had wished him on his birthday some months back. He had wished Jaya on hers last month and they spoke of doing a film together, as did he with me too some weeks ago, of a story he was constructing for us to work together in.
Yesterday, Sujoy Ghosh, of ‘Kahani’ fame and me had sat together to finalise our project that we are planning together, and a large portion of the conversation was about Ritu Da - Sujoy having just returned from Kolkata, after finishing the shooting of a film with Ritu Da, where he, Sujoy, is an actor. And this morning …
Fatima our dear Ef from SaF has lost her aunt today too. Very sad, because she had messaged for prayers for her which I did, a few days back.
Life is just beyond explanation …
May all that suffer be filled with the strength of our thoughts and prayers …
PS : the other distressing news that I was wanting to comment on Twitter was that Shanouk is very very ill. Shanouk is, as you know my lovely Piraña Dane. His heart is giving way, water is collecting in his stomach and he is in serious condition. We revived him today at the vet by sedating him and pumping out the excess water collected, but things are not looking good ! Sad !
He was named Shanouk by Abhishek, who had read this expression somewhere. Shanouk in American Indian means … ‘a gentle warm breeze, on a cold morning’ …
He has always been that to us …
Jalsa, Mumbai May 29, 2013 Wed 10:37 PM
Designed and presented by the Kank of Kolkata … thank you my dear, the effects do justice to the words.But these words are not from a poem, just random words given as an advice by my Father, when I was down with measles a day before my School Play in Sherwood. They are not from any poem or such … just words that I believe in and one’s that have seen me go through many trials and tribulations of time ..
‘If things happen the way you wish … good ! If they do not .. better ” ! Why better ? Because they happen according to the will of God and He shall never think bad for you .. so better !
The spasm in the back has laid me down .. happened after my gym in the morning. Horrid to be in such environment. Such a defeatist feeling, one of not getting the maximum form the body .. disturbing !!
But tomorrow is another day and hopefully all will be well … hopefully !!
Punching lines even as you lie can be a difficult exercise, so do pardon the brevity of my connect. I shall hopefully get better by the morrow and shall party with all … ha ha ! Could see some eyes and faces lighten up !
One day … one day … someday … we shall all party !!
For the moment I cannot even think about it ..
My love as ever …
out focussed and without color … yours
Jalsa, Mumbai May 28/29, 2013 Tue/Wed 1:06 AM
Just because one gets to bed late and rises early due commitments made of time, it has often given the impression that the concerned person must be an ‘insomniac’. On several occasions when despite my late hours I have been on time for the early morning promise, the almost cynical condescending view has been that because of my insomnia I am able to live up to my given schedule !! That is pretty laughable ! This is not an acceptance of the punctuality of the situation, it is almost looked upon as a rather lame excuse for being on time. Does being on time really require an excuse ? Those that indulge in such belief, need pathetic sympathy.
But … when insomnia does trouble one, it has the makings of a most disturbing condition. I had one such experience last night, and may I say that it can be one of the most nerve shattering moments in any life. The bed has been occupied, the pillow is in place, the lights are switched off, the eyes are shut … but there is no sleep !!
What does one do in such situations, has the makings of an entire film story. And may I say that many stories were written last night in that most unwanted state !
There is twisting and turning, there is adjustment of position, there is building a visual that does not exist, there are conventional sheep counting exercises, there is the lying flat eyes wide open and looking no where, there is the putting on of the night lamp, of television of reading of listening to music, of listening to anything … but all you get to hear is that complex machinery atop your system which continues to tell you .. no way buddy, tonight you shall follow what I have to say … and I say thou shall not sleep tonight .. !!
So .. one reconciles and allows the body to take over the working and guide us towards what it feels is correct, and you accept that and hope that it remains a single solitary and a momentary episodic illusion …
For the moment may I say, that the above assessment of the situation has been holding up. Work in the morning began on time, the gym took place, the meetings and the propositions for new and fresh ventures were pleasant and hopefully fruitful, script readings are in progress, some gadgetry adjustments acquainting myself to procedures and its complexities have been overcome, a few glitches in the writing of this rather unimpressive blog is on its way, a few remarks on both the other platforms have taken place without incident - some complimentary and others not so - and the chiming on the clock announces the time for another test, perhaps in overcoming what could be described as a recurrence of the dreaded condition, ‘insomnia’ …
Dinner has been had. Many among the Ef worry if that has taken place and I do appreciate their concern, since they do know that I am ‘home alone’. It was the thin crusted tomato and cheese Pizza, with large spreads of red chilli pepper, personally sprinkled on top of the delicacy, a must for most Indian food junkies, followed by the fruit of the season - the mango !!
The medications at night are over, proteins absorbed through some hot liquid preparation, ‘saunfh’ has been devoured as the ‘mukh shuddhi’ and it is now a few minutes away from the ‘duvet’.
A short, very short, remote crusade on the channels has taken place. The vocal volumes of the anguished and questioning anchors have been seen and heard, the mobiles have been put on ‘charge’, paper work that concerns the morning of tomorrow have been studied, schedules checked and noted, and just the physical movement from the desk to the bed, a few feet away, is what is left of the day …
But what remains is ” in the rush of life, when did we ever get the time to sit perhaps somewhere and think, what we did, said and believed in to be good or bad “
Another day endeth in the words of my Father ..
Jalsa, Mumbai May 27, 2013 Mon 11:56 PM
I have finally come to the conclusion, one that I was quite aware of, that my knowledge of the contraptions of the modern world, are beyond negligible. I marvel at the inventions that invade our daily lives, and bring to us such adaptations that essentially make living in todays times so much easier and comfortable.
There seem to be no questions, that in our normal existence, remain relatively unanswered. Yes there are some mystical, medicinal, philosophical, and many more such, that still astound us, but by and large, we now have the facility of almost all the required information or solution, virtually at our finger tips. The only problem that seems to bother each one of us that battle with these gadgetries, is the speed with which the models keep changing. Just as soon as we are getting close to understanding the very basics of the one on hand, another image, another more sophisticated version emerges, blasting the marketing and promotional activities, so vividly expressed on our Tv screens and banners, making it impossible to resist its purchase !
Cameras, mobiles, computers and the lot simply keep getting updated almost every day !
Here then is the question ! With the upliftment in technology taking place so rapidly, does this also insure the updating of the species called humans ? I wonder. Each day we read and listen and observe how depraving some of the human acts taking place are. If we have the acumen and the brilliance to enhance technology, which in turn improves our living conditions, surely those elements that the human mind uses to one, should be applicable to the other … but I guess not !!
Those that are proficient with human resources, management and particularly time management, have prime respect in my environment. I simply admire those that have the ability to pick and choose the absolutely right people to take care of the right kind of jobs assigned to them.
In the times we live in and in what has been described earlier, this selection process, should also not be an issue. All information after all, is now facilitated by some excellent procedures … man or woman made. So where is the apprehension of its execution ? Simple to write about it, extremely difficult to execute … and more so for a person such as the one that decorates or defiles the face page of this platform !!
Some very convenient philosophy has been designed by time to understand such situations and to get over their intricacies, when answers to questions evade us .. fate, karma, dharma, the wishes of the creator .. being some of them .. all very legitimate, I would like to believe, and all very applicable … simply because, the suggestions are beyond questioning ! Some atheists would strongly resist and disagree, but a majority would comply ..
But if one follows the scientific talks, discoveries and all what emerges from them, it is becoming even more astonishing, as to what where and how we were ever created … and more how we all function and why in a particular manner ..
I was watching on one of the discovery channels or the one on animals, how scientists were able to study the foetus of a cat .. cat lovers, suddenly strike up a sitting position … and analise how the ears or the hearing of the cat takes shape. Cats can rotate their ears 180 degrees to catch sound, and have the ability to hear the foot steps of a mouse or rat, at distances of over 2 miles … there are flying preying birds too that can ‘see’ their dinner from miles above in the sky ! Incredible !
Now why couldn’t the ‘maker’ give us humans this faculty !! Just kidding ..
But seriously though … wonder how it would be if we had those ‘gifts’ ..
Good night dearest ones and may you all have pleasant nights filled with comfortable dreams - cat lovers and all !!
Jalsa, Mumbai May 26/27, 2013 Sun/Mon 2:46 AM
The delight of the day being of course, the winning of our team we support for the IPL, Mumbai Indians. A sensational win, seeing how unexpected our start was, and then how wonderful our fight back from extremely disastrous conditions .. CSK is quite undoubtedly a massive team and with Dhoni leading it, one can never be sure what the results shall be .. he is a phenomenal player and a great captain .. one of the greatest in the world !!
Then there was the Sunday meet with the well wishers. They had been missed sorely, since I had been out of town, and it was wonderful to see them in large numbers again ..
Dubbing for ‘Satyagrah’ began this morning and shall continue for long hours and days. Its like shooting the film all over again, in a few hours sitting in front of a microphone !! Tough job. Because this is the work that shall decide what the calibre of your work has been.
Its early again tomorrow and I always promise that I shall write extensively the next morning .. but I get busy again and the opportunity is lost ! Its the same today, so do excuse the brevity ..
Some pictures though to keep you company till we meet again ..
And in case you missed some from the KBC shoot … here are some again ..
My love as ever and lots more … keep well and with prayers for all ..
Lovingly and longingly ..
Jalsa, Mumbai May 25, 2013 Sat 11 : 50 pm
Waiting waiting waiting … waiting for the UEFA Championship Football final to start … and its still a few moments … so before I get involved .. a quick connect ..
Abhishek has been invited to the game in London and its been wonderful to see him on the tele being interviewed on the pitch .. such moments in life one cherishes a lifetime ..
The Wembley Stadium, prestigious and important and a milestone venue became our destination when I had started concert shows way back in 1981-83 . Getting Wembley was difficult, but the promoters managed, and a almost 70,000 audience came over … what a moment and what a concert it was … the biggest ever.
Sridevi, Aamir and Salman and Neelam I had invited to the show to perform. It was their first appearance ever .. what fun ! They were not the superstars they are today, apprehensive and anxious what would happen. But they did well in a one item appearance … how time flies ..
Need to spend a lot more time in describing that day and lead up to it someday … BUT … the drama on screen now has begun as the pre game event starts ..
See you guys .. later .. love you
Jalsa, Mumbai May 24/25, 2013 Fri/Sat 2 :45 AM
I have nothing to say, nothing to do and nothing whatsoever to think about … the state of a mind that is crowded with multiple ideas and no where to put them .. or if there is a place where it could be put, then not be able see them …
I see opportunity. I see desire. I see the wish to get somewhere. I see all this but in my mind. What I do not see is the way to employ it, or a method by which a system could take it all over and deploy it for me …
Many have come by with suggestions of how it could be done as far as I am concerned, or as far as what could be of concern for me … but even though there is great sincerity in their effort and will, I remain unmoved and a tad pessimistic .. pessimistic may be too personalised a word, or perhaps too harsh, knowing my circumstances, so let me find another word …
Errmmm … not coming .. so shall search for it in time ..
What an opening to the Blog .. got everyone all worked up at what it was that could be done to extricate me from this situation ..
No there is no need to worry or grieve or trouble all your delicate minds. Just sharing some of what I at times wish to think aloud. That is all.
I am self contained. I work better when the state is such. The attention span covers a lot more than when in assistance. Perhaps it comes from never being in a situation before … a time when all was handled and done singularly … perhaps …
Many find themselves in similar situations … many of us cannot. Envy then when we lack the acumen to be able to do that, which perhaps comes naturally to those that do differently. I hear talk of ‘team’ and ‘management’ and the accompaniment of several who go along looking, thinking, assessing, the good for their ‘client’ .. these are terms which are alien to me and terms which perhaps would never function as well as they do with others, than they would with me …
There are two schools of thought here ..
Either you deploy a team to market you, to find opportunity, to get things done for you … or you make yourself into a state where others market to get at you .. both are acceptable … its just a matter of temperament … I possess neither, which is why I write about it .. I may tomorrow .. which is when I shall not write about it …
Writing though, has been an activity which some of the earlier lot of those that had access or capacity to write, wrote. That was and still is a domain, which they excel in .. and why not .. after all they are the professionals of that vocation. But because of the facilities and mediums at our doorstep, or shall we say in our virtual hands, there is hidden somewhere a prospective writer, photographer and a documenter ..
The domain or the impenetrable walls of this fortress - the fortress of visibility and information has been breached, and there are most positive indications of further breaks and fissures in those walls. With time it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep away from this invasion … an invasion which to us seems extremely intrusive, and which to the fresh generation, a part of their everyday life ..
Better then to accept, than to resist. Our resistance is a minority now. We may be heard in our complaint, but not much else can be expected after .. it has been the way of the world with minority for centuries, and unlikely to change …
Change requires immense will … will to adjust, to understand, to look at the other point of view, perhaps to get up from a position of regulated comfort and to walk across to the fence to peep into the ‘greener’ grass of the neighbour.
It may require quantum leaps … but the way of the world has only prospered for those that have continuously made effort to do so …
We today are a ‘third world’ and a ‘developing’ nation … and as a citizen I hurt when we are referred to in such manner. But history has not been on our side. It is now, and for the time we have taken to play catch up, is the time that most others have or shall take several lifetimes.
There have been examples of many other that have been in similar, but have laboured and striven to excel .. we must too … and we shall ..
I say all this not in the context of extreme patriotic fervour .. it is a rather obscure example of what we started off with at the start of this missive …
The elder shall necessarily have to step back .. the young shall necessarily have to take command .. giving in is not defeatist, it is wisdom in such matters …
Perhaps I shall be able to elaborate another time ..
Good night my dearest ones .. tomorrow we shall rise to fight again and excel and conquer, to set example and finally to flourish ..
Jalsa, Mumbai May 23/24, 2013 Thu/Fri 4 :09 am
Dear dear me … it is past 4 am … I must rest .. or else I shall … you know what .. I am beginning to hallucinate a bit .. any way , just had to do the Blog and the Twitter and the FB .. will leave you with some rather odd pictures .. not entirely of my liking, but shall wait for comment .. love you all ..
ha ha ha ha ah … historic picture !! was about to lose my pants .. they were a bit loose .. lost more weight methinks … need to get trimmer .. really !!
Do not worry about the green … that shall be filled up with all kinds of graphics .. the age of modern technology … they can remove me and put an animal there and no one would know the difference ..the stool to shall go .. as shall most of the creases on clothes and … the face … photo shop does its bit, but on film they have the capacity to do much more and greatly more efficiently …
Off to bed .. more tomorrow ..
Jalsa, Mumbai May 22/23, 2013 Wed/Thu 3 :07 am
A strange feeling as I type in my location above. It seemed almost as though I had lost the address, that it was fresh and new and almost mysterious …
But there it is, glimmering in its faithful glory and continuity, a steady reminder that the world changeth for a while, but cometh back too … does it ??
There is always the joy and comfort of being home, irrespective of all the glory and glamour that other more renowned and important locations one may have patronised, before. And it is a wonder that even though the period of absence may have been long and arduous, the functions of the ‘home’ are always well engraved in our minds - the light switches, the doors tables, furniture, dressing regions and where to find what needs to be found ..
And of course the inmates ..
Abhishek is here alone, Aishwarya and Aaradhya still walking the carpet in Cannes, and Jaya and the rest of the family in New York with Shweta and her mother in law, and family .. well Jaya and Navya on a flight right now to NyC ..
In a days’ time Abhishek too leaves to be with family, and all the various functions and events that he has to attend. Envying his guest invitation to the Championship football in England though, and then events for Gucci and the AID’s effort that they are involved in ..
Abhishek of course played a celebrity football game as you know for the proceeds to go for the ‘girl child’ campaign they work for .. and many other such noble causes …
I ramble along .. there is much to catch up with and I expect that there shall be time to do that as the day goes by .. systems must be in place for such procedure .. a team that works out the preliminaries and then you step in guided and advised by them to deliver that one moment ..
The eternal problem … how to find the correct human resource ! I admire those that function in well oiled machinery that looks after each aspect of time management, and professional advice. I do believe I have an infrastructure in place, but perhaps lack the structure … that one element to which one can leave all the decision making to and know that it will be done according to your taste, time and liking ..
Some day … hopefully it shall all fall into place ..
Till then .. good night …
London on the Isles, UK for May 21/22 of 2013 in the time of 12 : 45 AM gmt on the Tuesday that flows over to the Wednesday ..
A meeting with the EF … a simple honest caring encounter… it is the simple things in life that stand out .. and the Ef stood out along with me .. Jaya paid a surprise visit to where we were and it was good that Ef got a chance to be with her for a photograph ..
Ever respectful, the EF sought permission whether they could mention about their meeting .. well … does this missive leave any doubts … ??
Winding up and packing for home can be fun and exciting … but there is always that longing of wanting to stay back .. or at least have a plan to come back soon .. hopefully it shall happen !!
Some ugly and disparaging remarks appear on the waves and I for a moment thought of bringing it all to your notice .. but that would have unleashed a barrage of hostile reactions to the concerned person … leave it .. it takes a lot for the mind to build hatred and vile thoughts … it destroys rather than deliver the purpose of the distaste .. that is the meaning that most that indulge shall never understand .. let them not ! If you wish to cut the branch you sit on, I can only predict the outcome .. I may not be able to save you ..
I leave tomorrow for home … it has been a most eventful and fulfilling few days .. and I do hope that it shall remain so .. humbling, exciting and filled with affection from those that mean so much ..
Allow me the haste with which I end this today .. rest is needed ..
My love ..