She didn’t have a big role in Dibakar Banerjee’s delicious ode to Delhi, Oye Luck Lucky Oye. But say Dolly, and people still remember her. Remember, Main tujhe hoat nahi lagti? That hoat one is Richa Chadda, who will next be seen in Anurag Kashyap’s two-parter Gangs Of Wasseypur which premiered in Cannes Directors Fortnight Section. She shares her Cannes experience in this post.
I took a cab from the Carlton Hotel, at the Croisette, for the airport. Throughout the way the cabbie chatted me up in faltering English. Probably in his mid seventies, he was genial and had a flush on his cheeks that could only come from tomatoes or happiness, at that age.
“That building looks like a ship”, I exclaimed when I saw one designed like a deck, over looking the sea. “No, it’s quite expensive!” I explained that I meant ship and not cheap. He laughed for twenty seconds. We Indians seem to care a lot more for the official language that is necessary because of the inferiority complex we associate with our own culture. This Frenchman didn’t care. It was because of the cabbies contagious laughter that I forgave him and his GPRS easily. (I almost missed my flight because he had mistakenly taken me to the Villenieve Loubet village instead of a town by the same name.
Just as we entered the airport premises, he told me, “Miss, you have pretty eyes, and long lashes, also you eat more for a skinny person, and I think you come for festival”. “Oh, thank you, Sir, and how did you guess?” I don’t concur with the skinny remark.
Then he replied in a manner almost shy. “I think, may be, you are an artist”.
People always ask me upfront if I am an actor or a model. But this was the first time anyone called me an artist. (No, this doesn’t include the Mumbai Cine-Artist Association type slang) I was touched. There was respect in his eyes. I reached out to my ticket and wanted to tear it. I experienced a sudden cheap-thrill at the idea that I CONSIDERED the idea of wanting to tear it. Just the previous week, some ex-bureaucratic octogenarian type secretaries of my housing society in Mumbai had expressed displeasure over residents that worked in the film industry. This was indeed another world, an evolved one, where people with a creative bent of mind were not pariahs or a nuisance. I don’t mean to generalise, but it can be tiresome to try and explain your species to the world. Here I was, in a foreign country, with a man who didn’t understand my language, but understood me perfectly.
“Yes, I am an artist”, said I. He smiled suddenly and have me a Toblerone.
PS – My trip was also successful because I saw another artist! Jean Dujardin crossed my car and winked at the Croisette, in front of the Grey Goose party. Salt and pepper hair, generous smile and a black tuxedo. That you won an Oscar, is secondary. You held the audience in a silent film! Respect.