Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Page 11

I have watched Madhur Bhandarkar's Page 3 nearly three times. So I had an idea of what the Mayanagri would be like. But what I did not know was that Page 3 is a phenomenon rampant within the Page 11 people too.

My trip to Mumbai and my tryst with the "budding stars" of television and big screen was nothing short of an eye opener. In less than one week, my ears had nearly grown deaf of hearing how talented everyone was. If this appreciation was coming from elsewhere it would have been pleasant. But it came straight from the horses' mouths. Nearly every budding buddy of mine claimed to be as versatile as Leonardo Da Vinci himself. Five minutes of casual conversation with a big/small screen person and you'd know how he/she is the sun around which the whole solar system of cinema revolves. And if it doesn't as yet, it soon will.

Perhaps that is the kind of belief required to survive in that world. And there is no harm in believing in oneself. After all, that is the stuff achievers are made up of. But what I do not understand is the compulsive need to speak about it and that too in high decibels. At a certain level, I found the whole system to be running on mass hysteria. Where the one who cries "wolf! wolf!" the loudest actually begins to see the wolf, and surprisingly, everybody else does too. The whole scenario reminded me of the story of the Emperer's New Clothes.. Interestingly, the Glam-world has striking parallels to the story...

In the story of the Emperor's New Clothes, the emperor was a man more concerned with clothes than with his subjects or military pursuits. He hires two cheats to make the finest robe for him. The cheats do not make any robe and convince the king that those who are stupid cannot see the robe (that is non-existent). Fearing being mocked at for being stupid, he claims that he can see the robe and goes in a procession without any clothes on. Soon the news spreads among the crowd that those who are stupid won't see the king's robes. No one admits to not being able to see the robe when a child shouts out that the king is nude!

In my trip I met many such self proclaimed emperors who donned the invisible robe of self-importance and talent and went about in a procession of vulgar display of it. On many occasions I wanted to be the child who ahouts out "Nude!", but ultimately, I too sided with the crowd for the fear of hurting their monolithic egos. It seems a rather harsh judgment to pronounce, and it certainly does not apply to everybody in that domain, but writing this post, I'm finding it hard to be politically correct.

At a certain level they are not entirely to be blamed. In a community where humility is mistaken for lack of talent and silence for lack of ideas, such behavior is not very out of place. But to anyone who has artistic ambitions and who has still left in him some charge of patience and courage, I'd like to remind, that Sachins speak with their bats, Rehmans with their music and Rays with their films.. Because that is the stuff players of long innings are made up of...

Just as music and dance were once the prerogative of the fallen, but a few good men and women changed that, I end this little write-up in the hope that more such players of long innings find their way to
Page 11 and make headlines someday for their work and their art, with the grace that comes from being humble from within.