Saturday, November 11, 2006

Role model.

Believe it or not (sorry, Ripley), my role model once upon a time happened to be an actor. I somehow instinctively started to admire him. He was a theatre and film actor and a Communist. He used to visit the Red Flag Hall on the first floor of 233 Khetwadi Main Road off and on. This morning, I happened to notice an excerpt from his autobiography translated into Marathi in a Sunday supplement. He writes in this segment (‘My first turn in prison’) about his early days in the Hindi film industry. In it, he mentions about how he used to be escorted from the Arthur Road Jail back in 1949 in order to fulfill his commitment to act in K Asif’s Hulchul. He had been arrested for participating in a morcha or protest march that had a rather bang-up climax in Parel. He recalls how his fellow inmates used to ask him to bring back signed photographs of Dilip Kumar and Nargis, bidis, specific brands of cigarettes, tea powder and so on. K Asif who had arranged for his daily trip to the Rooptara Studio used to obligingly instruct one of his assistants to do the shopping. Our first-time jailbird also recalls how Sahir Ludhianavi, a poet and fellow traveller under police surveillance, who dropped on the sets because he heard he was shooting for Hulchul, beat a hasty retreat when he saw our man dressed as a policeman (his role as jailor required it). He also writes about a totally self-absorbed Raj Kapoor dropping in one morning and talking only about himself and the film he was then shooting, Barsaat, without ever bothering to enquire about his friend’s predicament. What I admire about our guy is that he describes the incidence without any rancour or accusation – as a mere witness in the true Advaita sense. Every time I watched him on the screen I got that certain feeling about him that here was one human being who was sincere, simple, honest, forthright, humble and decent to the core. Even that biggest liar in the whole wide world – the movie camera – could not hide the truth about Balraj Sahani.

1 comment:

Information Junkie said...

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