Thursday, March 31, 2005

This is what happens when you go back to being a full time writer rather than a writer in exile. when you're in exile your blog is the only thing you write and you feed it like a hungry wolf, with all your observations and comments etc. But when you have another medium of expression and you write for a living then you tend to not go back and write some more. But I know I want to and I've been napping so I'm back. First up, a short backgrounder of what I've been upto:

> people met: Donatella Versace, Pierce Brosnan (only seen not met), Abhishek Bachchan, Tushar Kapoor, Rabbi Shergill, Anand Mahindra, Anurag Kashyap, Indian Idols that's all I can remember.
> people spoken to: Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt, Rakhi Sawant, Anu Malik, Sandhya Mridul, Neetu Singh (kept visualising Khel and her other films though she's far slimmer now), Farhan Akhtar (hot voice), Shabana Azmi, Konkona Sensharma, Mallika Sherawat's secy, Salman Khan's secy, Sanjay Dutt's secy, Hrithik Roshan's secy, Ajay Devgan's secy... need more?
> lesson learnt: it pays to be with a big brand because it opens up doors of access but with the proliferation of media, especially TV channels, visibility is just not an issue anymore. So stars have become choosy and that's made life more difficult. So throwing a big name may not be enough all the time.
> lesson number 2: some filmstars are very very painful, others are so sweet and nice they help you deal with the painful ones. but is this one warped, twisted industry... more on Bollywood later

Friday, March 11, 2005

History for breakfast

This morning I was treated to a healthy dose of history. Or civics, or geography. Some of which I didn't know, some of which I didn't care to know. Four girls were in the train cramming for a paper. Because they kept going on and on about the Press Council of India I gathered it was a journalism or media studies paper. They were learning, by rote, when Article so and so was imposed when it was abolished during the Emergency. When the xyz report said that the Press Council does not have the power to censor any article. 'If they do the newspaper tells them to fuck off'. These were the precise words I think. The one girl told the others to stop cramming and she was asked to shut up. She was also asked if she knew the name of the President. 'Kalam something, balls I don't care'. Again, the precise words.
What a difference there is bewteen our education system and what is happening in the real world. How I wanted to tell those girls that none of what they were learning will impact their life in any way when they become journalists (if they do). That , in reality, when they are sent off one fine morning to interview a woman who has just discovered the night before that her husband is leading a dual life and is also married to someone else, none of the words in that textbook will come to mind. Or aid. That when they talk to a father whose daughter has committed suicide by consuming cellphose, which Article allows a news report to be censored will hardly be top of mind. That as a journalist it is far more important to take your head ouf of that textbook, out of your immediate surroundings, to be able to look over, into other's lives, to be able to sympathise, empathise, be aggressive, prodding, embarrassingly so, to ask the difficult questions, to genuinely care, are far more important. To love to talk, to love people, to keep your eyes and ears open, to believe that in any situation there may be a story.... and to find it and develop it and publish it. To go to all lengths to find and publish what you believe is the truth... not what the book says.
But of course I didn't tell them that, I let them cram and turn pages and go on about the Press Council until the entire coach knew what it was, and I smiled, and I smiled...