Monday, November 15, 2010

My make up man Deepak Sawant lost his Mother early

My make up man, Deepak Sawant lost his Mother early this morning

Prateeksha , Mumbai Nov 12 , 2010 Fri 11 : 05 PM

My make up man, Deepak Sawant lost his Mother early this morning. Deepak has been with me for 35 years and has never missed a single day of duty. And neither did he miss today, despite my insisting that he should not come and attend to family and funeral rights at home. But come he did. Finished his work and then went back. Said he was not comfortable being away when his services were required. His dedication and his commitment, just so so amazing !

His younger brother Ashok is Abhishek’s make up man and his youngest brother used to work as Deepak’s assistant for a while with me. The younger one almost lost his life too many years ago. He had developed a brain disease and was beyond repair. Doctors gave him a few days to survive. Deepak was distraught and told me of it. I got him admitted to the best brain hospital in this part of the world, the Bombay Hospital, and had him treated. He survived miraculously. And I think Deepak has never ever forgotten that little deed that I did for him.

In between when I had stopped working, Deepak worked for Smita Patil, until her sudden and untimely death. But came back to me as soon as I restarted. His daughter Dakshina, assisted Dominie who did my prosthetics for Paa. So you can see how deeply connected Deepak and his entire family have been with ours. Not once in his entire years of work with me has he ever complained to me about anything, or ever wanted me to do something that I did not want to do. He became a film producer for three films that I worked in too - a Marathi film, and two Bhojpuri films - but he never stopped doing my face even in the middle of these productions. He remained my make up man even though he had been able to stand alone in his job as a producer. It will be difficult to find such examples in today’s world.

Iris from Israel came down all the way to Mumbai to meet me and what a pleasant meeting it was. She came along with her Mother, brought gifts, took pictures, gave me her hand made painting and showed proof of our meeting in Holland many many years ago through photographs. Such a delight to meet fans and well wishers and members of our extended family.

And then the rest of the evening has been spent with one legal luminary or the other, discussing and planning and understanding the law as far as copyrights are concerned. Sony has sent legal notice to the basmati add., and Lakshmi Foods that were blatantly using the KBC set up and my voice imitation to sell their product. Another shall be going to Airtel for their blatant misuse of my face and the announcement of a facility that they had advertised on television. And another shall be going to our managers of the Vog and Bachchan Bol, for not seeking our permission before putting out on national Tv, whether or not I was going to be involved in their facility with Airtel.

For an unpardonable infringement from such a large conglomerate I do hope that the legal notice shall serve as a lesson for my colleagues and fraternity that our rights and privileges cannot be misused in such a blatant manner. I also do hope that the law of the land shall observe with some gravity, these misdemeanors and give us the protection and justice that such occurrences deserve.

Yes these are all emerging or evolving situations and perhaps there has not been sufficient attention given to them by those that suffer humiliation and ridicule, but someone has to bell the proverbial cat. A certain basic discipline needs to be observed and I am happy to state that all the legal companies that we met today were all in sync with the situation and quite alarmed by the misuse.

Branding and copyright are difficult subjects and shall require very concentrated thinking on issues that keep arising from time to time. But they will form an important element of our lives and we need to feel protected.

Talk of discipline made me mention on Twitter my utter frustration on the traffic habits on the streets her in Mumbai. No one but no one observes any rules. Every morning when I drive down to the gym and back, I encounter day after day, an almost defiant attitude towards what others perceive to be traffic laws. For some strange reason, in this part of the city, the red traffic light at a crossing is taken as an indication to GO. No one obeys signals. No one observes basic driving necessities and etiquete. It is just another jungle.

I once volunteered to make promotional films for the traffic department of the Bombay Police, free of cost, to educate perhaps or make people aware of what the correct requirements for being on the road should be. I spent time with the Deputy Commissioner of Police Traffic on this and we had agreed. But he got transferred to Nasik and that project remains stalled. I took a camera along with me as I drove, to shoot some pictures of those that were not following the rules and was asked by the Department to pass them on to them for action. I still have not.

And the reason for that is simple. If no one has told them or taught them how a vehicle on the roads is supposed to be treated, or what road and traffic sense means, then it would be very difficult for them to understand. I have always felt that to educate the auto driver or a pedestrian on road ethics and law, you need first to be a motorist. Then and only then shall you be able to understand the predicaments of a car driver. Licensing authorities need to have stricter procedures before a license is issued and stricter actions against those that conflagrate the law.

I could write an entire chapter on this issue, but shall refrain. But I must say this and make it a point. All those that possess cars are not villains and rash drivers, or those that cause death and misery on the road. Accidents do happen and sometimes are beyond control. That is why they are called accidents. But what of those that inhabit the streets. Are they completely absolved. What of the pedestrians that walk up the road from the wrong side, that do not pay attention to signals for pedestrian crossings, that jay walk …

This debate can go on for ever … and shall reach no conclusion. The motor car has always been looked upon as a symbol of the ‘haves’ and shall always be envied by the ‘have nots’. In a country with such great disparity there is bound to be an attitude that shall put the haves in a vulnerable position in front of the have nots. And the common code of conduct, or the unwritten law has been that the haves do not have the right to have a voice. In a road accident, its the driver of the car that gets lynched. The automatic blame comes only on him, squarely and firmly. No further discussions !!

I am yet not through with the debate, but feel I shall only be flogging a dead horse if I were to continue. So, prudence advises me its better to get my 6-7 hour rest than face the possible wrath of those that disagree with my assessments.

Love to you …. and more

Amitabh Bachcha

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