Jalsa , Mumbai Mar 28 , 2011 Mon 10 : 55 PM
There was a certain bounce within, the entire day. Particularly so in the early hours of the morning. At the gym and then thereafter at the shoot. The energy was good and there was speed in communicating and movement. Sometimes I wonder why every day cannot be so. Is there something different that I do, or eat, or whatever ??
Anyway it was good to be in cheer. The work was not too complicated and we finished ahead of time and schedule, came back to the house in record time of an hour and a half .. thats being ’sarki’ .. it should not take more than 20 mins, and watched the replay of the India vs Australia World Cup game, which was most exciting.
It is now time for the pillow, for, tomorrow is another early call and in several directions. Dubbing in the early hours for Tanishq the jewelry product we endorse and then back to ‘BBUDDAH’.
There is development for the VOG to be spread beyond Indian shores to the United Kingdom and with several other additional services to be included. As we talk there are some very serious minded people sitting across business like tables getting word perfect in order to sign relevant documents. Once it is done I shall be in a better position to guide and advise those that wish to hear my voice in the mornings - not an entirely welcome suggestion - on how we can communicate even better than what we already are. Apart from my morning rants there shall be systems set in place when you would be able to speak to me in person and give me the great pleasure of answering some of your queries. This could come about through a contest or then perhaps through a random choice pick up, pulled out from the proverbial hat !! That should be a lot of fun. From being a mere number or a name or simply an address there shall now be with me a face and a voice of those that shall speak with me. This is such a welcome invention. Nothing quite as connected as an audio connect. So .. get your throats in order dearest FmXt, its time now for sound !!
The shoot today required a crowd of people in the scene. Not too many but many enough ! And it was both joyous and a bit sad to meet some of the oldest ‘junior artists’ in the business. Still the same in demeanor, in spirit and still doing the same job - to be standing around in the background somewhere. I have been at it for 41 years. And they were there before me. For all these years they have remained steadfast in their work. No change in temperament or attitude. They have aged a bit, but otherwise nothing. Never getting the highlight of importance, never aspiring to become bigger than what they were and always there. I wonder if some among them came along just like so many aspirants, to join cinema, and having not gone beyond those first assessments that producers and prospective makers do, have remained satisfied with being what they are doing now. Part of a crowd !
There is a sense of satisfaction among them. They feel they have been fated to be in such condition and are happy with their contribution to the product. No Shashi Kapoor here to pull a starving Amitabh out from the crowd of mourners as junior artists, in his film by Ivory-Merchant. No admonition of wasting time in such practices. Just a job that needs to be done and thats it. Long years ago a team from Britain I think, came across to make a film document on the lives of these junior artists and I remember them featuring a young man who we often met on set, talking about his dream of wanting to become a leading man. But when rejection faced him he turned to being a ‘junior artist’ for his survival and remained thus - close to the stars, but not them !!
There lives have been always filled with a certain poignancy. I have felt deeply on their plight at times. Of how they are categorized on the strength of their presence and ability. Of their physical conditioning and their aptness to be either presentable for high society set ups or to be relegated to the more rural designed films, where that certain sophistication of the metro was not a necessity. Many a times they lost good opportunities because they were unable to dress themselves more elegantly. They not having the means to buy a suit or proper clothing.
I used to part with my excess to them at times and it would be a happy yet sobering site to see their faces brighten up at the thought of being on set now, in the more elegant requirements from a crowd, simply because they had the privilege of possessing a suit - their passport to a better pay packet ! Many of them have fallen on bad times. They have aged and lost that appeal that may have been required for a young sequence - a party or club scene perhaps. Their only means of earning and feeding themselves has been their physicality. And they now have fallen into a lower category. At times on set I overhear discussion on production among the line producers and the assistants and hear them spelling out what their requirements shall be for the coming day.
‘Get me the A category junior artists’ they would state. Or on occasion settle with … ‘ ok B category chale ga’. Its almost inhuman. Like sheep or cattle graded by their genetic status. All over the world they were known and still are addressed as ‘extras’. But in our Industry the word was changed by stalwarts who felt that the word was impolite and degrading for a human, and so the term ‘junior artist’ was coined which certainly gave them a certain amount of dignity and respect !
It is a harsh and ruthless world, the world of films. Is it any wonder then that many within it end up the way they do … !!
My love and more …