Diving bells and a butterfly!

Posted: July 5, 2010 by moifightclub in bollywood, cinema, life, RIP, Thoughts
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Since last ten days, was completely out of social network. Friends, colleagues, well wishers and readers of our blog sent messages, mailed and tweeted to ask where have I vanished. Was busy with life, and death. May be the toughest ten days of my life. Because its scary when Goldman’s great quote on showbiz seems to apply on life too – Nobody knows anything. What do you do then ? Pray ? But am a born atheist. May be not any more, may be am converting.

Mr S.U.N

Just back from ISKCON, Juhu. Director Anurag Basu and his friends organised a meet to remember Sourabh Usha Narang. The young director who passed away on 26th june after a prolonged battle with cancer.

In the morning, I was in Calcutta. After almost ten days, returned to Mumbai by noon. And then it was straight down to ISKCON. Unlike many others who  were present there, I wasn’t close to him, never worked with him and can’t really call him a friend too. But I knew him.  And I felt like going there. I generally avoid going for any kind of days…birthdays, deathdays and all days in between. Either am scared of something or I get bored easily!

Had met Sourabh few times, here and there. And then sometime back, we met formally, through a producer friend. He was working on a film, looking for a writer. Talking movies in bollylalaland, aha, there is no end to bitchfest.

We started with the film, went back to our school life, college days, his college friend whom I knew and passed him some goss that he was happy to hear and was surprised, his tv days, and the shows which I saw when I was in school/college. And it seemed like a never ending session that day. He asked me to write few scenes – some he liked, some he wanted a different tone. After that, it was a comma, i was told. Never imagined that it will turn into a fullstop so soon.

Many films die everyday – on paper, at producers office, at actor’s house but people don’t. At least, those whom we know. So easily, so early. At 37, that’s just cruel.

It was a sunday afternoon of untold stories and uncontrollable tears that rolled. What happens between two people, remains between them. And with Sourabh, I guess, there was lot that happened between  him and those who were there. Ketan Mehta, Anuradha Prasad, Mahesh Bhatt, Anurag Basu, Vijay Raaz, Vikas Behl, Chetan Motiwalla, Rucha Sharma,  Sachin Krishn,  Sohail Tatari, Vidya Balan and many of his friends came on stage to share those stories of dreams and demons, of fights and farewells, of writing and writhing,  of daaru parties and dramas, of coffee and cigarettes. The list in endless. Some were calm, others took long pauses to gather their thoughts, some left the stage with incomplete sentences and some  just could not control themselves. Its difficult talking about someone with whom you ever shared something memorable.

Kameena chala gaya…Vishal Bhardwaj’s voice choked as he remembered how Sourabh helped him direct his first short film. As he continued, the pauses became longer and he said he will  just wrap it with two songs that he feels like singing  – Paani paani re and the one that Sourabh loved – dil toh baccha hai ji. Rekha Bhardwaj and Ankur Tewari also sang – the songs that Sourabh loved, the songs that bonded them somehow, somewhere.

Saw many known and unknown faces, the auditorium was packed. Its rare in bollywood. Having seen the industry from close quarters in the last few years, have realised one thing – Nobody will come to your funeral if you had a glorious past but you have been out of work. And all the Khans & Kapoors will appear in spotless white if your next generation/company has a great future.  To put it simply, in showbiz, people care about the future, not the past. So, it felt great in a way. Because here it was about a filmmaker who made just one film (Vastu Shastra. He did lot of tv before that) but people wanted to talk about him, share their memories, tell those tales. Every good friend deserves such a goodbye. It reminded me of the essay topic in school which I could not understand for a long time – we live in deeds, not in years.

I used to call him Mr S.U.N. Shine, wherever you are mister!

And as the saying goes…the only difference between life and cinema is that in cinema everything has to make sense and in life, it doesn’t. Aha, life!

Diving bells and a butterfly

The day I got to know about Sourabh’s death, I was in Calcutta. Too much was going on in my life. Someone close (G) was detected with a tumor in her spine. And at an age of 83, every doctor warned us of the risks involved. What risk ? Anything can happen. ANYTHING! They didn’t want to spell the bad word. Solution – Only surgery. Or ? There is no way out. Tumour will keep on growing. So, in worst case scenario – it was slow death in five years or in just two hours. Almost everyone was against surgery. The warnings from the doctor had created more fear. Slow death – no way. Whatever happens, will happen – lets go for it, I thought.

It started with convincing my parents, close relatives and then the most important person – G! No, i cant do anything. But i tried to talk to her everyday to make it sound that there is no risk, its a small surgery, the result will depend on what she thinks and believes in. That’s it. Told her about Roger Ebert and how he survived. About 101 year old director Manoel de Oliveira whose film was at Cannes this year. Lil’ tales of big hope and survival. I was trying to boost her confidence but I was scared, shit scared! Sourabh’s sudden death made it look more scary. Viveka Babajee’s news was all over the news channels. Seemed like the universe was conspiring and wanting to tell a different tale to me. I was trying to run to other side.

Days were spent in hospital, in the night I would try to find a reason to return home late. Because at home, the same discussions would go in loop. Walking down long distances, window shopping and some random films in the theatres saved me.

INT. AMRI HOSPITAL – Day

Baba..baba…baba…baba…baba…she whispered into his right ear. Or at least she thought she is whispering. With every “baba” her voice was growing louder. The man on the  bed wasn’t responding in any way. There were several tubes, respirators and medical stuff which I cant identify, coming out and going in through different pores of his body. The man remained silent.

A security woman came from the other side announcing that visiting hours is over, time to leave. Please hurry up. The woman continued whispering Baba…baba…till the security woman asked her to leave the room.

Next day – I heard the same sound...baba…baba…baba….baba…the man was still silent. Third day, it was the same sound and the same expression. Fourth day…G was shifted to other room. Next day, I saw the woman’s face clearly, at the medical store. Completely calm, expressionless. May be her glasses covered her eyes or may be I need a new pair.

HDU Unit. Bed – 2460

The man on the left side of G’s bed was staring blankly at the ceiling.  Another man standing next to his bed, pulls out the earphones from his pocket, connects it to the mobile phone and puts the plugs  into the man’s ears. I guess it was some music he loved. They tried talking to him too. The man on the bed didn’t respond.

The next day, I smiled and we started talking. Got to know that the man on the bed was in CRPF. Had an accident, some major internal haemorrhage and now he  has stopped responding. Though he can hear. So, everyday, during the visiting hours, his friend and brother come and play the songs that he loved. I asked him what songs. But we were lost in translation. English-Hindi-Tamil-Bengali – there was no common ground. I said Paruthiveeran, Subramanipuram…two of my favourite tamil films in recent past, to connect the dots somewhere. He said Singam. And then Suriya. His first film, saar. I guess he was playing the songs from Suriya’s first film.

Visiting hours over. They quietly took out the earplugs and left. A male nurse informed me that its the same routine since last few days.

Red Rose

Coming out of the lift, saw a man on wheelchair. He had a red rose in his hand.  Think that’s the norm in the hospital, the sign of being discharged. Am not fond of flowers or roses as such, they look best in their natural environment. But this time I am desperately hoping for the red one. The surgery went fine. G survived. Finally a butterfly – it was a big relief. She asked for some hot drink just after she came out of the OT. The nurse smiled. She said was feeling very cold. I informed the nurse that Horlicks is her lifeline.

Was informed today that my G will be discharged soon. She is still under observation but is doing fine. Will she be able to walk again ? Goldman comes to mind again. And that’s the answer from the doctors too. Rest all depends on physiotherapy and her efforts. Yes, I will convert completely if G starts walking again.

( PS – Started writing the post yesterday. Could not complete. Was becoming too heavy. Also, do watch the film The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. Its a must must watch. The last film which blew my mind.)

Pic Courtesy – Am not sure who made that montage. It was put up at the meet along with few others. But whoever did it, thanks a ton)

Comments
  1. Frankly, I have never been so moved by your post as much as I was with this post of yours. Not entirely because of the topic but because the way you have written. Write more often. I hope you get what I mean when I say “write”. You have it in you to tell things the way the mind sees. And please give a giant hug to G from my side when you meet her next.

  2. Fatema says:

    Prayers and wishing G well…

    About Sourabh…death is a funny thing, the way it comes and grabs you and even though we live in its shadow every day we are surprised when gripped by her…and the age does not matter then…or even the expectation or none…it was an absolute shock to hear of his death…I was supposed to AD him on his film with Spotboy, had met him only twice but was totally looking forward to an enriching experience, something that is somewhat an irregular expectation to have as an AD…it was shocking to know he was ill itself…then this…dunno why but it left me shaken for days….even now when I read this beautifully written heartfelt post. Wishing him peace wherever he is and his family the absolute fortitude to bear with his loss.

    And yes, the film industry is an equally funny place an surprises you as much too.

  3. Rusted rick says:

    Undoubtedly the finest post this blog has seen, probably the most moving post i’ve read in a while…
    Why don’t you write like this more often!!

  4. Kuldip says:

    Very touching post.
    Very sad demise.
    RIP Mr. S.U.N.

  5. jahan says:

    Extremely touching and even though it was about death, I haven’t read something so life affirming and full of SUNshine in a long long time,

  6. arshdeep singh says:

    I am regular reader of your blog but never felt commenting on it but this by far is the most personal write up on the blog and really loved it.

    Kip writing such post on cinema and life in general!!!!

    RIP SUN shine!!!!

  7. very touchy and nice…. really liked …..

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