Sunday, March 8, 2009

A memorable evening!

March 3, 2009; Abu Dhabi Centre for Culture & Heritage:

I saw her through the space between the banister and the ceiling. I was lingering somewhere half way up the flight of stairs savouring the sweet flow of music from the live piano played at the entrance of the open restaurant upstairs. And the ambience of the interior of The Abu Dhabi Cultural and Heritage centre lit up by the dim yellow lights made the evening all too special. She wasn't anywhere to be seen five minutes before. Now she was there surrounded by not more than a dozen of people. No big crowd save the people, mostly westerners, lingering in the corners only a stone's throw away, seemingly hesitant to come too close, and reluctant to go too far, forming small groups of informal discussions, yet making sure that she was in the field of view. In short, she was totally
Accessible. I'm talking about Mira Nair. Yeah, the highly accomplished film-maker of our time who made masterpieces like Salaam Bombay and Mississippi masala, and of course, Kamasutra: A tale of love (this last one was meant for those folks who know her only linked to that title :) )

She was there in the open, available, smiling, humble, welcoming, and not too much people were there to create any sort of inconvenience. I suppose they didn't make an entry of the programme in their pre-published schedule. Perhaps it was all an arrangement at the last moment. And that's how she was so freely available and I, along with my friend, could manage to get her autograph and even exchange a couple of words. She wrote 'Salaam!' and signed on the pamphlet of the movie 
Salaam Bombay which was to be screened a few minutes later in The Dhafra Auditorium of the cultural centre. (see the pic below which was clicked by my friend's wife. Doesn't she deserve The Best Photographer award?!! Anyway it's good that my face is blurred; Ain't I an anonymous blogger? :) )

It's me talking to her!! The one in the middle looking on in the blue t-shirt is my friend

The pamphlet with her autograph

There was a few minutes speech by her just before the movie started. Her voice was crystal clear as much as her ideas were. Her speech was too brief and yet she succeeded in making the points she intended to make. This was a woman who was so damn clear about what she wanted to speak as well as what she wanted to do. And that was something that was too conspicuous to be overlooked even when earlier I watched one of her movies seriously for the first time. Let me quote myself from an earlier post of mine about her film Mississippi masala: "She is so clear in her work.. nothing more, nothing less.. nothing overdone, nothing underdone.. right up to the mark. great!"

After the screening of the movie Salaam Bombay, the mother of all sorts of Slumdog Millionaires, there was a Q&A session for a short while. She made it clear in her talk that she didn't believe in wasting her time unless she was able to create something worthwhile out of it, as she was a person of family and many other preoccupations and she was accountable for the time she was absent from those engagements.

That was one of the most cherishable evenings! A big fat thanks to ADACH!!

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