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While in Bangalore I had 2 ‘encounters of the most unique kind’

We were having a family re-union in Bangalore with our 3 daughters under 1 roof which

happens as rare as once in 2 years and is therefore extra special to Hari and me…naturally

“We are 5 now” as I love saying…lasted this time only for 9 days and before I could say

Jack robinson (it could even be hey diddle diddle instead of jack Robinson, wonder how that phrase came about) we are back to ‘we are 3’ syndrome…till we reunite again!

At hotel Chancery the 5 of us were having the most scrumptious breakfast ever when our youngest daughter Sraiyan spotted actor Arjun and said “amma the vande maataram hero is here”

I get true cheap thrills when she identifies celebs according to the films I have subtitled!

Anyways this is a film I’d like to forget ‘cos I wasn’t paid what was promised to me.

And in my naïveté thought people always keep up their word

I should thank that producer ‘cos I became as wise as Vidhura, got myself a netbook that I am still not at ease with! At least I don’t leave behind my ‘labor of love’ in another computer but have it all in mine…till I am paid…though I hate this arm twisting, just not me!

That’s another story for another episode of ‘talkie with rekhs’ on list of people who did not pay me after agreeing to do so and extracting work night and day from me…most often edit studio at Antony’s is free only when the spirits and ghosts step out and I am indeed lucky to have a supportive family that does not mind me rushing away to work at the oddest of hours

Sorry to digress…I went up to Arjun, introduced myself….we had spoken over the phone and can you believe this…he didn’t even offer me a seat! I decided to be magnanimous in giving him the benefit of doubt, thinking maybe he was too keen on relishing the mango on his plate and I was stepping into his space after all…though all I wanted to ask him was if I could subtitle his Kannada film for festivals and take it worldwide

After giving him my contact details we set out to ‘shop till we drop’ at Mantri mall in Malleshwaram as Smriti claimed Svasti can NOT go back to Houston without buying stuff at ‘Mother earth’!

And whom do we meet but ‘Pollaadhavan’ Kishore happily taking his wife and kids out on a family jaunt. He hailed me like the prodigal mother (!) and said “Hey! China returned! Eppadi irukeenga…kalakkareenga”

We decided to stop for a sip of coffee and his kids entertained us for a while. They are such an adorable pair, made me wonder why I wasn’t a ‘patti’ as yet!

I was curious about his Veerappan role in a film to be directed by AMR Ramesh of ‘Cyanide / Kuppi’ fame.

He said ‘it’s sheer coincidence…destiny…or God’s hand…we met when we both won our state awards in March 2006 and Ramesh made up his mind he’d one day cast me as a hero in his film’, with an almost apologetic but most humble smile! He added “I am glad it is a bi-lingual”

His wife, having an eye on the boys and at the same time an ear to our conversation said, “KK has visited jails, spoken to all those who surrendered voluntarily in 1991, who are still awaiting their verdict, he has also walked miles and miles through forests to absorb the experience into him, body and soul, to be able to enact it to perfection”

She flashed her charismatic smile and I could guess why he would have flipped for her hook line and sinker! He rarely talks about himself that I felt like I was this expert dentist trying to extract as many pearls of wisdom as possible from his mouth.

Vishal continued, “thank God he is playing Veerappan” which surprised both Kishore and me…we looked at her quizzically and she added, “for the simple reason he’d be written about now…he maintains such low profile and talks to the barest minimum that it’s a wonder people are even aware of his existence!” Haaahaa…my dentist theory was right after all!

Bingo! I thought why not write all that happens now in my next ‘talkie with rekhs’

We were distracted by the boys trying to outwit each other a la Bruce Lee style and my girls unable to come to their rescue as they were carrying steaming cups of coffee and hot chocolate.

The boys dote on their dad which is a delight to watch. Kishore, pacifying them with casual practiced ease, narrated an incident of how Vaali and Rudra with kitchen knives in their hands thought they were redefining the rules Parasurama had laid in Kalari art!

But this time at the expense of a few stitches on Rudra’s right thumb

He said “war and truce happen all the time between them, that Vishal and I have become experts at drawing up treaties. I am glad I can spend time in-between shoots with them and not miss out on their growing years”

Moving on to his career (now that our chance meeting was not merely a tête-à-tête over coffee, but a chat with ‘a behindwoods calling’) I asked about Aadukalam bagging 5 national awards and his response…where was he at that time?

More pearls of wisdom got extracted! He was in the shooting spot of ‘Mudhal idam’

AVM’s 175th film by debut director R.Kumaran. “I was naturally very happy for Vetri, infact my wife was worried that my changed look (wig) in the film would increase the queue of fans (girls) outside our home!” He winked at his wife who laughed nonchalantly and said ”after rakshasa he is now a rowdy (his character in Mudhal idam )…like sons like father, rekhs”

I told her my experience with Aadukalam. Vetri showed me snippets of the film in his laptop, a few weeks before release and I very innocently asked him, “Who is this guy, he has such startling screen presence?” When he smiled and replied “Kishore”, I let out such a scream that startled Vetri and the A.Ds outside his room! Immediately Vetri called Kishore and said “she didn’t even recognize you”!!!

Just then a teenager walked past us listening to a song rather loudly and a song you wouldn’t normally expect a boy of his age to tune into…Paul Anka’s ‘papa’ song… Every night my papa would take and tuck me in my bed…kiss me on my head…after all my prayers were said…

Kishore suddenly said “In Pon maalai pozhudhu I play ’appa’ of Aadhav, grandson of our lyrics-legend Kannadasan, directed by A.C Dorai (that song had struck a chord in him) a story I could relate to immediately…intensely.” I had heard of this film as Anupama plays his wife and incidentally, she is a dear friend of mine who insists on calling me not rekhs but ray as she claims I am her ray of sunshine! I admire her for her enthusiasm, charm and acting prowess, this young lady from Delhi will soon make people sit up and notice her on our silver screen.

This unpretentious stunner of an actor has 2 more Kannada films in his kitty… Bhaageerathi based on a folk song called ‘Kerege haara’ (sacrifice to the lake) a period film where he plays a lieutenant which Kishore said with pride in his eyes, “directed by my professor ‘Baraguru Ramachandrappa’ who is a famous writer, critic & a poet. Second is. Equally unusual, Edegaarike(Courage) is a true life story, based on the book by Kendriya sahithya awardee Agni Shreedhar and directed by Sumana Kittur (Slum bala and Kallara santhe fame)

So you have no problems being directed by a lady-director, I asked him.

He laughed and said “I am used to it at home!” (while my girls were appalled at my sexist question!!) He continued flashing a smile at them “I am game to act in a film directed by your amma too“

“And I play the victim who himself is a sharpshooter, it is actually the gripping story of a killer and the killed”

“Parimala thirai arangam directed by debutant Jeevan and produced by actor Shreeman is ready for release” Vishal added…It is such a pleasurable experience to see a young couple so enthused about their lives.

By this time, my husband and the girls were dying to explore the shops so I hastily wrapped my serendipity chat by asking Kishore one last question. “Some of the edit boys and A.ds I meet during my subtitling mission seem to think you are ever busy and not approachable that easily…though they all rave about you? Going by what I’ve heard now you have no qualms trying out debut directors as long as the story interests you…”

Kishore looked at me like I had landed from Venus…people do look at me that way even otherwise (lol) but this time it was because my question truly zapped him! And the man of few words had already spilled out too many pearls.

A proud and caring father, a soul mate to his wife, a refined and humble humanE being,

not letting success knock him upside down or sprout a few wings to his ears, a stunner of an actor…confident of his strengths, aware of his drawbacks, he, true to his name is so youthful…that’s Kishore!

May you paint different strokes on our silver screen that will take you to global heights, Kishore!

I can’t resist but type this exit line of mine, regarding my 2 unique encounters of the day: He’ll soon be sharing screen space with…do you know who is playing the joint chief of special task force Vijayakumar in the film on Veerappan…take a wild guess!

Meendum paarkum…or padikkum varai …I must thank each and every single friend of mine out there, who has taken a few minutes of your precious time and hectic schedule to mail me your comments/compliments…I repeat, my mission possible cannot come true but for all the willing hearts and hands

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