In my list of 10 people I have to interact with and borrow some of their qualities, this person features right at the top!
He is none other than ‘the most courageous person’ I am fortunate to live in the same century with: CHO!
C is the Convictions he believes in, without fear or favor!
H is the Honest code he lives up to
O is the Overwhelming zest for life that he has
He is much more than all this, but these are adjectives that came to my mind as I sat before him…my mind went blank.
When I cleared the cobwebs from my mind and asked him, “what is his ‘take’ on Tamil cinema now” he said “I can’t even recognize the actors of today!” flashing a very frank smile!!!
He has distanced himself, limiting his cinema watching to an occasional film that he sees, that too, just few scenes, on TV. His visits to the theatre to watch a film stopped with KB, Bharathi Raja, Bhagyaraj…and maybe Mani Ratnam, he said.
The last film he remembers seeing, and that too, a preview was Enthiran as he was invited by our superstar Rajinikanth.
Actors he enjoys watching or appreciates their talent :
He said, “Vijay kumar” and I looked at him quizzically and said, “I meant the younger generation, Vijay kumar is ancient!”
He laughed and said, “Manivannan…but you’ll probably call him ancient too!”
and said “Suriya”!
I asked him “how do you speak your mind without fearing you are stepping on someone’s toes? I truly admire you for your courage and convictions”, my words of absolute admiration tumbled out from within me.
He matter-of-factly replied ”It’s the most practical thing to do, I am not a thinker,
I just say what I believe in. I do not care if it is right or wrong, it is what I observe.
Looking back at my writings, I am surprised that I predicted that Indira Gandhi would resort to emergency measures and that Devi Lal (Chief Minister of Haryana) would topple V.P.Singh”
What’s enlightening is that the latter was written more in anger than as a seer!
Rewind to the film world from politics I asked him about his acting experience.
He acknowledged that the film fraternity has always indulged him, given him the liberty to improvise his dialogs, first preference to shoot his portions so that he could leave early, even before his seniors and stars. His profession as legal advisor to TTK and his passion for theater required his presence as much as the film world did.
“I have never been in pursuit of anything, I believe in karma” he added.
His ‘engae brahmanan’ changed the time dinner was served in many a household!
Imagine the hold he must be having on people world over en masse! When I mentioned
this serial in Jaya TV that is being re telecast now he complimented its director Venkat.
His play ‘sambhavami yuge yuge’ woven intricately with politics as its weft was the reason
he read the Bhagavad Gita many times over.
Cho needed an in depth knowledge of the Gita as Neelu who played the lawyer
in this play quoted these profound lines for every situation he found himself in.
Renowned director KB sir once asked Cho how he can write a script in 4 days,
while he fine tunes his, being the perfectionist he is, for days at a stretch. So KB sir
asked him “how do you write without thinking?” and Cho replied “ that’s the easiest
thing to do !”
Back to current issues of (non)corruption, when I asked him his opinion on Anna Hazare,
Cho said, “I believe JP’s (Jayaprakash Narayan) was the 2nd independence movement”
On a tangent note, what do you, dear readers say about this, that Devi Lal and JP
whom Cho mentioned and Cho himself belong to the zodiac sign Libra?!
Spookier than that is the fact we spoke about JP, on his birthday!!
I would say synchronicity!!
When I asked him what he thought about journalists being paid to write reviews,
especially by the film fraternity he immediately shared his view. When I asked him
if I can quote him, this man who believes in speaking his mind said “Nothing I say
is off the record, it is all on record”
Wowww! I wish we could say the same for ourselves at all times!
His ‘take’ is that producers have formulated this habit, in their anxiety to make their
hard earned money find its way back to their bank accounts. He is of the firm opinion
that journalists should refuse. He also claimed there are still a few who stick to
I would like you readers to know that me referring to him as ‘Cho’ is not an act of
disrespect on my part but a term of endearment that stems out of a potpourri of awe,
admiration and affection. Anything else as in Ji, Mr, Sir, (or God forbid) uncle seems
redundant and most inapt!
When I was about to take leave, having trespassed on his time long enough, I reiterated how much I admire him. I thought aloud, “you must be having a HUGE fan following”. He replied, “I don’t know about the huge part, but I do. It is all from the ‘outside’ ”
So I said, “very true, but that’s how it is in almost all houses”
Until next fortnight,
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