I remember many years ago, while still in my teens-I had gone to meet a very sucessful producer regarding a film role at a plush suburban hotel at around 4 pm. He was an out of towner – so was staying in that hotel-so the model co ordinator had told me. They were looking for a new face to launch. These meetings were something that made me very uncomfortable- but part of the business of breaking into bolllywood I was told so i quelled my nervousness, put on my best smile and went.
The producer greeted me kindly at the door. He sensed my discomfort.I noticed a large picture of his wife on his table I heaved a sigh of releif -she’ll join us later he assured me. He then asked me many questions about my background etc talking to me like one does to a child glancing at my portfolio pictures with enormous interest and complimenting me. I was used to that-i was already a succesful model by then having done many commercials and endorsements.He then decided to try to get to know me more. After all it was a huge film he was planning and shooting was to be somewhere in the south (hyderabad i think-for almost a month)
“How many brother sisters do you have? Which school did you study in? ” the questions went on. What does your father do? “hes a commisioner of Incom tax” i told him ” and mother? housewife? ” No. My mother is Head of the department of history at KC college” blah blah
I was begining to feel comfortable. Sweet uncle i thought. Family type.He asked me who i am closer to- my mother or my father?
“My father” i smiled. “my mother is a little strict.
He nodded understandingly and smiled
“Ok phone your father ” he smiled even broader.
I panicked-because my parents had banned me from becoming an actress -in their eyes it was the most deplorable profession in the world.They wanted me to do an MBA or CA and would be livid if they knew i was taking these film meetings behind their back instead of attending college.
I would be housebound and all the jhagda would start again. So i asked defiantly “why should i phone my father?He’ll be in office-i cant disturb him”
“Relax” he told me smiling, a peculiar look creeping into his eyes. I was too young and innocent to understand the expression
“If you want i will phone him. To tell him to pick you up tomorrow morning from my hotel”
I didnt get the gist of what he was saying and looked at him dumb as a dodo “relax. Just tell your father you are spending the night with me at the hotel and that he should come and pick you up in the morning!!”
I panicked and started to gather my belongings
“i have to leave” i belched in terror
” relax” he told me again. “I will speak to your father”
He was begining to get irritated and impatient but tried to calm me down “your wife?” i squeaked glancing at her photograph. WTF was going on?
“she is a good understanding lady” he told me with great pride. She will meet you tomorrow”
i dashed to the door
“you want to be an actress you have to do!!” He called after me , still speaking to me as if i was a child
“How do you expect to get anywhere in films if you dont do it??!! there are 1000’s of girls out there who will die to get this break i am offering you”
‘Excuse me sir I am not interested”
i was holding back my tears, my heart thudding. What if the old geyzer pounced on me right there and then
“Listen to me” he sounded annoyed and his voice was now raised as if talking to a disobedient child “I know you are a good girl but If you want to become an actress you have to do it! So and so and so and so-(he named some of the top league actresses of that time)she do it. She do it and even she do it! They are my discovery. Everybody has to do it”
I ran out crying all the way home. I was too ashamed to tell my parents about what had happened. Everytime i heard the phrase “do it” or “do” or “you have to do ”
bile climbed up my throat. For a long time. For years afterwards
Now So many many years later thank god the phrase has changed its meaning and connotation in my head completely 🙂
Everytime i face a storm or encounter a hurdle or am unnessarily maligned I read this poem called “Do it anyway”
It puts things in perspective and then I just go ahead and do it! 🙂
The original called the Paradoxical Commandments was written by Dr Kent M Keith
What i am posting below is the modified version often credited to Mother Theresa
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centred
Forgive them anyway
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives
Be kind anyway
If you are successful, you will win friends, some false and some true
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you
Be honest and frank anyway
What you spend your life building, someone destroys overnight
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous
Be happy anyway
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow
Do good anyway
Give the world your best anyway
Because, You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God
It was never between you and them anyway