Abhishek Krishnan



FRAUDS IN CINEMA - PART 3, Frauds in Cinema, Abhishek Krishnan


(Disclaimer: All names used in this column are pseudo names. Any resemblance to real people is unacceptably coincidental)
For Part 2 of this series, click here.
“What? Really? Are you sure?”  I was hyperventilating over a phone call. 
It was Tom Cruise at the other end. It had been 8 months since the “rejected-due-to-lack-of-dedication” incident happened. Although Spielberg and Disney moved on to pull out someone else’s kidney, I was in constant touch with Tom Cruise. He had always been nice and also referred me to a few of his contacts. 
“Yes, Abhishek. I am producing a film. You will be playing a very important character in it.” He said
However, I did not get carried away by the news although my oxygen intake was high - I had automatically learned to control my excitement post my past experiences.
“Are you going to ask me for money to prove that I am dedicated?” I asked trying to be very straightforward.
“No. Definitely not. I know how passionate you are. There are no strings attached. We are going to have a pooja followed by a week long shoot schedule. Get to Coimbatore and call me.” 
Well, I suddenly felt like I had seen water trickling in after digging the earth single handedly for a real long time. 
I reached Coimbatore and booked a lodge for a couple of hour’s time as he said he was busy and that he would meet me personally and take me to the place where accommodation was arranged. 
As promised Mr Cruise met me in exactly two hours. He narrated the story to me, explained my character and also took my pictures to add in the print materials of the pooja. I accompanied him to the graphic designer’s and was completely pumped up seeing my pictures in the posters and invitations.
We were walking in the street to get a few other things done when it suddenly struck Tom that he had forgotten his wallet at home. He asked me to lend him three thousand rupees and that he would return it as soon as he gets home. Although, it was all I had, I decided to give it to him, after making sure I kept aside about 500 rupees for emergency. 
Mr. Cruise immediately took an auto rickshaw and extended to me an impromptu invitation to his house. On the way, he stopped at a liquor shop and treated himself with some alcohol, using the money I gave him. We pulled over at about four other liquor shops on our way, like a public transport bus stopping at appropriate locations. 
By the time we reached his house, he had used up some of my money and all the balance in my phone to talk to random people and he was so drunk that he probably did not know who I was. 
I really wanted to get back to my room and wait until the next day as the pooja was to happen the next day. I happened to meet Tom’s friends, Undertaker and Andrew Flintoff, who offered to drop me in my room. But, I soon realized that my kismet had other plans for me, when the two barflies directed their bikes to a local bar, where they authoritatively used up whatever was left in my wallet. 
As the spirits intoxicated their medulla oblongatas they decided to strike a deal with me. Andrew Flintoff claimed that he was James Cameroon’s associate and that he was going to make a movie with Julia Roberts as the heroine. He told me that he would make me the lead opposite her, if I paid the production house ten lacs. 
“How do you like this deal?” Mr. Flintoff asked.
“Can you please drop me in my room?” was my reply.
My reply made Undertaker and Flintoff sober. They wanted to fill their stomachs with more alcohol. I wished them a Bon Appetit and walked back to my room, which was a good 2 kilometers stretch.
At the lodge, the receptionist asked for extra money to spend the night and when he learnt that I did not have any, he demanded to keep my phone until the next day, as I had promised him I would pay up the following day. The long walk had made me tired and hungry. I called it a night after feasting upon  a couple of biscuits that I had left over during my travel to Coimbatore.
Tom Cruise came to my room early next day and popped me an apology from the bundle of excuses he carried on his hunch back, which he used to sanctify himself. I got introduced to another loser who proudly announced himself as the Hero of the film. Mr. Cruise had apparently been struck with memory loss again, as his wallet was still at home. (I wonder if he even had a wallet)
He borrowed money from our Hero and paid the room rent, getting my phone back in the process. He behaved as if he had just rescued me from being pulled into quick stand, oblivious of the fact that he had stripped someone else’s clothes in the process. 
But ultimately what was gladdening was that we were heading for the pooja and that the shoot would commence the following day. 
On our way to the pooja location, my heart slapped me hard when the taxi slowly pulled over beside a liquor shop. However, I was happy when I learned that the unit vehicle from Chennai was on its way and Tom had pulled over so that they could catch up with us.
After about thirty minutes of waiting conjoined with a flurry of phone calls, Tom declared that the director of the film had suddenly bailed out of the project. The news led Tom and our Hero into the liquor shop, while the taxi was sent off, leading me into an unbelievable basket case. 
Although Hero and Tom had spirits running through their brain, they had a neat solution to the apparent glitch we were in. Tom proclaimed Hero as the director, while I already started thinking of a way to get the next bus back to Chennai. 
Now that the movie had a new director, Tom was in the mood to celebrate, putting us in an auto rickshaw that sincerely ran along dotted lines stopping at every liquor station that fell on the way. The level of their intoxication began to badger the level of the auto driver’s tolerance. He pulled his brakes midway and asked us to pay up and get off the rickshaw. 
This unanticipated act by the driver, unveiled a small twist in the tale. Both ‘new director’ and Tom Cruise appeared rupee-less due to their alcoholic philanthropy. Tom snatched my mobile phone and attempted to exchange it in a nearby mobile store for money. After a brief argument, Tom tossed the mobile back to me and asked me to wait with the auto driver assuring him that he would be back with the money.
He returned after an hour, paid the auto fare and hired a taxi that was to finally take us to the pooja location, were at least a hundred people were waiting. However, my plight just did not end there. We were to pick someone up on the way. Tom asked me to get off and wait for that ‘someone’, telling me that he would be back in ten minutes as he had a small errand to run nearby. It took me an hour to realize that neither ‘someone’ nor Tom was going to show up. 
I was left abandoned in the street with absolutely no balance in my mobile phone and with bankruptcy echoing through the walls of my wallet. I took a bus to the lodge room with the little change that I carried and called my friend using the phone there, asking him to send me some money. 
He said he would be able to make it only by late evening which meant that I was to spend some more time in the lodge with a stomach that had not seen food since the previous night and with a head full of frustration and regrets. 
While I rested on my bed waiting for help, Tom Cruise and “New Director’ got to my room. They were so drunk that they crashed on the floor the moment they stepped in. I was so weary and stymied that I did not want to turn to their side. Just when I convinced myself that my situation cannot get worse, I noticed Tom Cruise sitting beside me, attempting to invite me for unnatural conjugation. 
This was my limit. I pushed him aside, picked my bag and made a vamoosing exit to the reception, telling them that I wanted to check out immediately. However, at the reception, I was told that I could not check out without sending out the two inebriated occupants. 
I explained to them my situation, for which they reciprocated well. They sent in a couple of well built staff, who neatly towed them and placed them on the road, where they were open to spend the rest of their night.
My friend came meanwhile and helped me take the next bus back home, carrying a whole lot of food and some bitter memories that was to lamentably linger in my head forever.
Friends, the film industry is not a place that lacks sanity. However, there are some dangerous trojans such as this, from whom you might want to keep away. In my previous part, someone had commented that I was crying for ten thousand rupees. It is not the money that I was worried about. I am just upset that it went to the wrong people. I have met many wrong people who have never ever been part of the industry. But, I have met many great people too.  Love your passion and educate it as much as you can - success will seep in.

Abhishek Krishnan

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