My moment of glory!

We were standing at the entrance of the movie theater at Siam Paragaon. A tall farang walked up and shook my hands and said 'Welcome to Bangkok, I am Nick Snow'. I said 'Thanks' wondering 'where did I meet him and how did he know that I was not in Bangkok for almost six months!' Luckily Tara caught on and told him 'Did you think he was Shyam Benegal? Well he is not, we are also waiting for Mr. Shyam Benegal!'

It felt nice to be mistaken for Shyam Benegal! It surely was an honor as I am a great admirer of his movies. While I have not seen some of his later movies, the earlier ones 'Ankur, Nishant and Manthan' are my all time favourites! Ankur changed my perception of Indian villages totally. I had this very idealistic view of a village having never lived in one. And who can forget Shaban Azmi's role in that movie! It was an astounding piece of acting on her debut.

Shyam Benegal is standing next to Gayathri!!
Let me explain! Shyam Benegal is this year's recipient of the World Film Festival of Bangkok's 'Lotus' Award, and five of his movies are being shown here in Bangkok. The Indian Embassy had organised a luncheon in his honor and to felicitate him. H.E. Ambassador of India, Latha Reddy was kind enough to include me along with Tara for this luncheon at the Rembrandt Hotel.
We met Benegal and his wife Meera briefly at the lobby and later we moved in to hear Ambassador Latha Reddy and Shyam Benegal speak. It was a delight to hear them speak and to discover their long association. Benegal lives in Hyderabad and the Ambassador's family is originally from Andhra and Ambassador's grand father was the first movie maker in Andhra.
Later there was a Q and A session with Shyam Benegal. My question to him was about his transition from an angry young man to the present where he has directed a comedy. I wanted to know the reason for this change. His answer was; 'Shoba de had interviewed me 25 years ago and again last year and she said my answers to her questions were the same both times!' His answer meant that he not changed eventhough his movies have changed.
I spoke to him again at the screening of Mandi, courtsey the Indian Embassy, and asked him whether his transition to comedy was deliberate. He said it was so partially, as the message he wants to give is more acceptable in the form of a comedy now.
It was also a delight to meet Meera Benegal. Tara spoke to her about our being friends of Shyam Benegal's cousin Niranjan and his wife Shanta. I asked her whether she thought it is possible to change the world thru movies as it does change individuals. She said 'No movies do not change the world!' Her answer was clearly sad but true. I remember thinking after I saw 'All quiet on the western front' that the only thing we needed to do was to give a copy of the book to all the world leaders and then urge them to see the movie, if we wanted to avoid wars. Anyway, I was just sixteen then!


Chaya Srivast said…
Yes-you do look like him Nidhi!!
Ram Prasad said…
Totally impressed!!
You do look like Shyam or perhaps I should say that Shyam looks a bit like you.

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