Jalsa, Mumbai Feb 12, 2011 Sat 11 : 40 PM
Is it age or mere nostalgic desire, that one thinks back on events and moments, when in the midst of familiar situations or locales. And it seems to happen more now than before. I would shoot at a studio and start to remind those around what transpired there some decades ago. Which film I shot, what scenes they were. Who my colleagues were, and who the director. I am on Floor 16 at the Film City today shooting for Just Dial a service I endorse, a floor that I was first acquainted with, since it had just been made operational, while shooting for ‘Black’. That opulent and artistic set of the main house of the little girl, the hall and the library and the dining area, my little study by the side, that winding staircase with the impressive frescos on the walls … just like it was yesterday !
Sanjay Leela had invited me a day before to get me acquainted and had tastefully lit up the set, furniture and properties all in place, candles burning. It was so inspirational. We had done a reading of the scenes and the script sitting in my chalet constructed for me by Star Tv for KBC, higher up on the slopes and satisfied had begun work the next day. Some of the most important scenes for the film had been shot, a break in the schedule had been announced and the next day, tragedy struck ..
Early in the morning as we were preparing to get to the studio we were informed that the set had caught fire in the middle of the night and had been entirely destroyed. I had rushed to a distraught and broken Sanjay at his house and sat with him as he tried to hold back his tears and his trial with destiny. It was not the first time that it had happened to him. He was on the verge of abandoning the project, but I told him lets build another one and lets start working again, and we shall do better than what we had lost. And so we did, and how !
He never went back to Film City again and the destroyed studio did not get repaired due to Insurance delays for long. But I found myself there again for KBC, this last season. And today as I went through the creatives of four Tv ad., for this service Just Dial, I never brought it up to the others, but many memories rushed through me while I was inside. The first indoctrination to the character in ‘Black’, those intense scenes with the little girl. Sitting quietly there in the presence of the genius of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and watching him and his crew designing those artistic sequences. Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor his assistants, running about getting things in order, pushing production procedures, training the little girl into the scenes, writing copious directorial notes for the lab and the editing departments, checking continuity, dress, dialogue …
Ranbir and Sonam … now huge stars with massive following and successful films, the darlings of the youth today, once assistants on this floor !! What an exciting vocation, films.
Then soon after and not so long ago, KBC ! The winners and losers, the stories of small town aspirants, the screams of the audience the applause and excitement of stars on set. All set in that same environment, but in different context and color.
If only the walls of these great studios could talk … what a story they would have as narration !!
More some other day dearest ones .. I must rest, for tomorrow I travel to Bhopal to join ‘Aarakshan’ and the film in progress. On to set straight from the airport ! Yes its a busy life, but so enjoyable …
Love to you and ..
Happy birthday to Reshmi Philip and Viviene .. may your days and years ahead be full of only happiness ..
Source: Big B Blog