December 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
Shut doors and I have a strong connection. Every time a door was shut on me, I’d find a rabbit hole!!! (So much for being a big fan of the song – “Who the F#$K is Alice?” )
Looking back, I can see all the doors that were shut on me over the last decade. I keep wondering what would have happened if these doors were not banged on my face! Where would I have been today?
The shut door of Year 2002, else I would have been in USA
These years of my life is when I was in my engineering college. I was a very curious student. I loved technology, and I was hoping to be an inventor sorts. I used to think of crazy things, I once even wrote down how to make a Teleporter, I mean seriously I was that crazy about technology. But then engineering said that being curious is of no use, you’d got to be good at scoring at the internals and at the semester exams. I was pretty bad at those, I just couldn’t and wouldn’t want to SCORE, i enjoyed practicals but not 6 internals and 2 exams in a year. I decided to Drop out and that is how Engineering college SHUT doors on me.
The shut door of Year 2003, else I would have been a mess
I slid through the Rabbit hole and found myself in a fantasy world called THEATRE. I thought I was born to Marlon Brando (err… you get the point, right?) I had a piece of paper on the wall next to my bed, it read “5 Oscars for acting”. Every night I’d sleep thinking of those naked gold painted guys. And I was 20 and I thought that my ticket to LA would be through theatre, and that too theatre with a Bangalore based company called THE SCRIPT. I did learn a lot of my basic lessons in theatres arts with them, but what I imbibed was the BUSINESS ANGLE to the Arts. I completely owe it to them for making my young hyper mind understand that business in arts is VERY VERY important. I owe that I will give up Oscars but never give up working with this team. It just took 10 months of collaborative work, where I figured that our paths were different and an incident made me feel INSULTED. And I walked away from them, rather shut that door on myself.
That was the most difficult time of my life. I was 20, I had quit college and I quit the people who I thought were my role models. I remember going back home n crying, bcoz I thought I was a loser, I couldn’t even run back to college. But thanks to my dad, though I really was a loser at that point and any parent would use that as an opportunity to prove the child wrong, but not my dad, instead he appreciated the fact that at 20 I had the courage to walk away from the people who insulted me, he said never lose that instinct. If you are not valued, then don’t stay there. It is that little piece of advice that made me enjoy the doors that were shut on me. (Even when it came to Girl friends )
The shut door of Year 2004, else I’d be a struggling ‘ever-waiting’ actor
I ran to Mumbai to hide. Bangalore, family and friends constantly appeared like they were laughing at me. Only later I realized that all were busy with their lives and no was even looking at me. Anyway, so I ran to mumbai to live the Oscar dream. My plan was very simple, I had a kickass one man play, I’d perform that a couple of times, Spielberg would be around, he’d see me and have tears, and then I’d find myself discussing a script with my co actor – Tom Hanks. It really was that simple in my head.
I spent a year in a friend’s place – eating curd rice. I guess I performed that one man play about 2 times and many people thought I sucked! I went for auditions and they were all disasters. I kind of depended a couple of times on my (then) GF’s money to live. Made my dad pay for my cellphone bills, which by the way were pretty huge (err 21 n a GF, well you can imagine the kind of money I have donated to Reliance through those bills!)
Mumbai doors were never opened for them to be shut on my face, I was sitting wasted by the shut door for a year, before I came back running to my house in Bangalore. But getting wasted is the biggest form of education, I pity those who have never gotten wasted for at least a year in their lives. The things you learn from those embarrassments, insecurities and rejections can never be taught by anyone or any institution. PERIOD.
The Shut door of Year 2005, else I’d be a very successful Theatre Entrepreneur
So I got back to Bangalore, I was 22 but I was a little tough now. I had fallen enough to not be sacred of falling. Whatever I did between 2004 – 2005 can be considered ‘MADNESS’. I stopped asking people to cast me or give me work, I said ‘F U’, I will create my own theatre, I will do my own plays. I don’t know how good or bad they were, but in a matter of a year, I had managed to create a small following for my theatre works. There was an audience who wanted to see my work. I believed in Rangashankara in 2004 when they were gearing up to open, I spent about three to four months trying to be of any little help I could be to make that space THE THEATRE HUB. It opened and it did become the HUB. And for some stupid reason I felt like it was my second home. I used to think only theatre. My idea was not to just do theatre but to make it a successful career, I wanted to create a good business structure for theatre artists to earn from it like everyone else earns from other jobs. I hated the fact that theatre was considered as a poor artists profession, I wanted to change that. I tried pretty hard, I used to come up with some new ways of marketing, I used to stand on MG Road and hand out fliers about my shows, no one used to market plays like that. But the luxury of Rangashankara got me lazy, I couldn’t do theatre in other spaces. One day all of a sudden they shut doors on me, things started changing so much in there, it was not the place which I thought it would be and for about 6 months I was denied of dates to perform. Eventually I got one day and I performed my last show in December 2005 and accepted the shut door. I felt so cheated and hurt back then (however a few years later I grew up, got mature, got disconnected, disassociated and figured that it was just a PRIVATE HUB after all).
The Shut door of Year 2006, else I’d be working in a TV channel or an AD agency
I ran back to mumbai. This time I didn’t want to do theatre or be an actor, I had become arrogant. I told myself that it was their loss and not mine, I used to just be involved in some backstage work in few productions. I started swaying towards ‘Films’. I again found a small place to live and I’d spend all my time watching movies. Once I ran out of cash, worked at DELL for a month. I used to edit corporate videos, meet people to get into TV jobs, or act smart enough to be in Advertising. Looking back, I really don’t know how I wasted my 2006. Other than doing some random corporate video jobs and watching movies (a lot of movies) – I did nothing, ofcourse I shot a short film, my first film experience. For a while I also did this wonderful job called ‘Content writing’, I had to write the features of different kinds of cellphones – “Slim and powerful” “Dual sim” “256 colors screen” Blah Blah… I have done this for some 3000 cellphones!!! It paid the bills. It hit me one day that I was 24 and I had to chase a dream. I packed up and came back home again, leaving behind all the TV/Ad agency jobs that were kind of opening up if I had stayed any longer.
The shut door of Year 2007, else I’d be working at OnMobile
This is a small yet a great event in my life. I was back in Blore and was desperately looking for acting jobs in films. Of course I wasn’t getting any, and I had no money, I saw an Ad where OnMobile was calling out for Video and Audio editors. I had the skill, I wore my formal clothes and went for the job interview. The HR guy looked at my profile, it had a lot of info about my theatre works and my works in Mumbai as a corporate film maker, he then saw my short film, he called his friends in the office n showed them my work, they all liked it. Finally he said “You are over qualified for this job, and you are meant to do bigger things and this job would limit your growth. So I’d be doing a favor to you by not giving you this job.” I didn’t know whether to be happy or be frustrated. I walked back home confused and dejected. It was a door that was not banged on my face, but was gently shut.
The shut door of Year 2008, else I’d be (I don’t know what)
This is a door that I shut myself. After I did the infamous Vaasane Babu role in Suri’s film. I did get a lot of acting offers, but they all were of the kinds which would kill my soul. On the other hand I had Yogaraj bhat telling me that I should become a screenwriter and not waste time on looking for acting jobs. I was so much in awe of him, that I just shut that door and started working with him as a writer, but secretly I’d write a small character for myself. You have seen those. Good I followed his advice, else I’d have done some horrible films or I’d have gone mad not working.
The shut door of Year 2011, which you and I broke open
The shut door of 2011 is me not getting a producer or a star to make LUCIA. But instead of finding a rabbit’s hole, we this time kicked this shut door open and barged in. Project Lucia is now completed successfully.
What did I want to say through this post? - Kiss the Shut Doors, they are there for your own good. Make them feel sorry for shutting the door on you. I guess that’s what I have learnt from my journey over last 10 years.
(but make sure you kiss the girl one last time before she shuts the door errrr … I hope feminists will not read into it wrongly! I meant take the girl’s permission before you do that)