Though incredibly busy, it had been one heck of a week. In the meanwhile, I met some interesting people from the film industry who didn't fail to impress despite my constant attempt at asking silly questions.
It all began on Monday night when I had a chance interaction with SRK at Mannat. I was made to wait for 3 1/2 hours but it was worth the wait. This guy is phenomenal as I must have noted before but this time around, he was doubly fun because my interview lasted 56:53 minutes—more than double the time allotted—all thanks to his generous "Let him finish!" to his manager. He is such an awesome raconteur and has so much to say, with his trademark pinch of humour. I still feel that his early movies were his finest in terms of acting but I believe that he's an enlightened soul now. I might be wrong here... but he was right about chasing dreams without worrying too much about consequences. Well, he tried and look where he's now.
The following morning, I went to meet Ang Lee at Marriott. I was supposed to wrap up the interview in 15 minutes. And there I was sitting next to the most humblest person (given the scale of individual achievements, of course) I've ever met in my life. It's hard to accept that this saintly guy made such bazooka films! The more occupying thing I heard from him was about God. He said something to the effect of filling the void in us by creating His/Her image outside us. The first and last celeb I took a picture with was Shashi Tharoor. I so wanted to click one with dao-yan (meaning director/master in Mandarin and that's what the lucky debutant Suraj Sharma calls him) but then I decided against it. Related: I'M SO F—ING REGRETTING MY IMPULSE RIGHT NOW!
Later that day, I also got in touch with Tabu and Irrfan. The former was very funny, quashing the serious image media has so far created out of her. The latter was quite absorbing and diplomatic. Since Life of Pi has a strong dose of spirituality induced, I asked him about it. His question to me was eye-opening: "What do you mean by spirituality?" This was a startling response because at that point, I fully acknowledged the ambiguity of words. My spirituality could be different from yours just like your ignorance could be better than mine. Everything differs.
On Wednesday, I met Reema Kagti. She directed Talaash and is waiting for its release, just like Aamir's fans are. I wish I could say that she was boring because if you look at her picture, that's the image that your mind tends to paint. At least my mind did. Anyway, Reema was on a blitzkrieg and barely allowed me to ask my usual foolish queries. The no-nonsense interview got over in 11:34 minutes, a new record!
Thursday was spent doing what I generally do: waiting for the kind of weekdays I just mentioned to occur.
On Friday night, I went to Tata Theatre and met Naseer saab backstage. I was warned beforehand by my Editor that he's a difficult person to talk to and if my questions don't interest him, he won't hesitate to let me know. Fortunately, he spoke for more than 15 minutes and even cracked a few quips while he was at it. To me, he's one of India's few complete actors. Before leaving the green room, he re-asked my name and said, "Write whatever you want!" In all probability, I must have posed engaging questions for him to say that.
On Saturday, Katrina Kaif called at 12:46pm when she was supposed to pick up my call at 11:30am sharp. Talking on phone is a pain because I'm not really good at it. One-on-one is comparatively easier. Also, stardom and punctuality aren't meant for each other in Bollywood; especially when it comes to phoner. But her heavily-Brit accent was certainly meant for my screwed-by-transcription ears. To top that, she battled all my tabloidish questions with panache. She is no dumb girl as the ads in which features suggest. I'm not saying this because she was nice to me and said "Babu, please speak a bit louder... I can't hear you" but because she was nice to me and said "Babu, please speak a bit louder... I can't hear you".
On Sunday afternoon, I saw Astad Deboo at NCPA. I can't dance but I admire dancers. More so, I admire Astad for all the good work he has been doing with the street kids and hearing-impaired ones. I feel he's under-appreciated given the change he has brought to modern Indian dance form by his fusion. He's as old as my dad but it's hard to believe. I liked him.
This field of art and artistes are full of such unbelievable people whom you come to believe once you sit down for a chat. They are very much like us: flawed and humane. Sorry for being pompous but being underpaid never felt so compensated!