Monday, March 14, 2011

It is a moment that most of us who live in isolated comfort

Bhopal , MP    Mar  13,  2011          Sun  11 : 29 PM
It is a moment that most of us who live in isolated comfort, that remain aloof from the reality of the common man, that consider it below dignity to get our hands wet or feet dirty, that never ask or indulge in how and in what condition the common man lives and survives, that has the benefit of giving command and never receiving it, shall never be able to appreciate or understand, that when we do give them the liberty of freedom, of self expression, of being equal, of sharing the same table and the same food, of walking with them shoulder to shoulder, of holding their hands, not necessarily in their hour of need, will you witness a release of expression that you may never ever have experienced before.
I have done so on many occasions ! On festivals in the house, on Holi and Diwali. Of greeting them with the traditional embrace three times once on each shoulder, of applying the ’tilak’ of ‘gulal’ at the morning burst of color during holi before the celebrations start, of sitting with them on the floor, to be together for the Diwali puja and then to give them the privilege of lighting the first ‘diya’ in the house before the whole house lights up. To ask them to join with their families at the time when the firecrackers are lit and give their children the immense pleasure of playing with the ‘aatishbaazi’. At the marriages of my children to seat them down on the same table as the wedding guests and to serve them their meal, much against their embarrassed objections. My Father would greet the ‘harijan’ employee in the house first at holi, put the ‘gulal’ on his forehead, embrace him and then perform the other formalities. At Abhishek’s wedding, much against the consternation that was created, on our guest list, we called our limited friends, but more than that I took greater joy and pleasure in calling the entire families of my staff - the drivers, cleaners, valets, domestic daily staff, employees in office, painters, carpenters, people employed to do all those menial jobs along with their wives and children and sought their blessings instead.
These few, these dedicated few, never ever get an opportunity to be in that moment, to savor the benefits that we derive which they work to create for us, to share the joy of what they see and watch each day being shared by us, but never being able to be a part of.
And when we do give them that moment, their reticence and embarrassment, their shy nature almost telling us through their expressions that this is not for them, they are not worthy of such treatment, it is not in their fate, do we see them explode with emotional gratitude and that free spirit of happiness.
I have just got back from the get together that I organized for the entire unit of the film, every single person that worked on the production irrespective of what their job was. I have looked after their comfort personally, their food, their drinks and their music through a hired DJ, photographed myself with each one of them and then … seen them explode on the dance floor, moving with an abandon that I never witnessed in the entire two months that I lived with them in the toil of the sun and bright lights, in the manufactured rain, in the setting up of camera equipment, in the handling of the crowds, in feeding us during breaks, fetching us our seating our drinks our little little daily requirements without a grimace, facing the wrath of the assistants and the director when work on set was not moving according to design …
And tonight on the dance floor as they all threw themselves around in rhythmic bliss, I discovered that the light man, the trolley operator, that driver, the spot boy … did actually possess a smile ! That he could laugh, that he could move his limbs not to the dictat of his job, but voluntarily to the music from large earsplitting speakers and sing along with a host of his favorite songs which the DJ dexterously spun out on his deck.
For me … this was the moment of the film ! Not the intricate intensity of the writer, not the demanding handling by the director, not the assumed brilliance of the artists that performed, nor the delicate lighting and operations of the camera … nothing … just this moment, when director and actor, camera and director of photography all joined in and became one with those that had put in their unstinted labor of love and dedication.
All in their respective vocations and fields were brilliant - the director, the writer, the DOP, the artists all … but … the brilliance of that uninhibited smile on the face of the worker, was the ultimate expression of freedom of opportunity …
May we ever, endeavor to empower ourselves with the ability, to provide opportunity to those that are lesser privileged …
Amitabh Bachchan
Source:  Big B Blog bigadda

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