Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho toh saari kaynat tumhe usse milaane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai’
- Om Prakash Makhija
I couldn't believe my ears when Rani told me that she will get me a pass to attend the 59th Filmfare Awards. She said it very casually, as if it didn't mean much. For me, it meant as if I am going to be at the shoot of Sholay. Or perhaps, being present while 'Aane wala pal' is being recorded. Rani has seen enough and more of such events to care much. For me it was a first. My heart was beating in my eyelid. I couldn't sleep a wink for a week or so. I had stopped eating. I was imagining what I would do there, what I would wear, will I make it past the security or not and so on…
Way back in 2009, when I was to attend the premier of Sankat City, my friend Kartik Krishnan had told me, "Nobody gives a f about what you wear, nobody gives a f about who you are." Though I was armed with that wisdom, I was worrying about I am going to wear that evening. On a normal day I don't give a f about what I am wearing because I know that nobody gives a f about me. Okay, Rani does chide me at times, for the torn jeans and crumpled tee that I step out wearing. Here I was looking at my princely collection of four white shirts and trying to decide upon one.
The choice was simple, the one that took the least effort to iron. Once that decision was made, I was worrying about my look. I told Rani, "I want to look like a badass gangster with a heart of gold." Don't ask me what that means. I am still trying to make sense of what I had said. For the first time in my life I requested Rani to apply makeup on my face. I was doing everything that I never do till I am too drunk. Hair, makeup and all the razzmatazz taken care of. I remember telling Rani, I know all this is stupid and vain, but I am born for this shit. She nodded in agreement.
So I step out of my home all set to blow air kisses and sign autographs & the sole of my shoe pulls a fast one on me. I never wear that shoe, but for a few rare occasions and on that fateful evening it decided to ditch me. To show me that I am an idiot. To put me back into place. To make me taste humble pie. I wanted to die. Then I decided it would be simpler to just change the damn shoe. It struck me that if I changed the shoe, I will have to change the damn trouser too. A fine gentleman and a great actor-singer, Ayushmann Khurrana was waiting for me, as I was supposed to tag along with him.
Time was running out and some quick decisions had to be made. The shoe, the trouser, the jacket and everything had to be re-coordinated. It took me 3 minutes to ruin everything that Rani had done to style me. In my new avatar I was now looking like a broke journalist-turned-drug peddler-turned-wannabe neta-turned-disaster gangster. You can see the pic if you need evidence. (I am the white shirt guy, the suit wala bloke is Sujoy Ghosh, who made Jhankaar Beats.) Post that disaster management, I hop into Ayushmann's car a little away from the venue. The first thing he tells me is, "Bro, I think it's a 'formals only' event." I felt like dying again, but I tell him, "dekhte hain yaar."
The moment we reach the venue and step out of the car, we hear mad cheering & hooting. It strikes me that the adulation and love was for Ayushmann & not me. I eat humble pie with both my hands again. What happened next just froze me. I was following Ayushmann & Rani into the venue & sweet mother of Rajinikath, I landed up being seated in the 4th row closest to the stage. Imagine a rookie like me, who still has no IMDB page or anything, lands there. I went numb. All kinds of stars, superstars and the ilk were all around me. My brain didn't explode and I quickly realised that one needs to have a brain for it to explode. Jaan bachi to laakhon paaye.
A little less than an hour into the ceremony I began to get bored. I was tired of clapping. I wanted to go out and breathe easy. I felt like it was cheating. A guy like me can't be rubbing his hands gleefully sitting in the same row as Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi and so many more. So I walked out of the audi to a better place. You guessed it, the bar counter at the venue. I realised the only people watching the ceremony were either those who were waiting to win an award or those who wanted to clap for the person who they wanted to win for whatever reason. The rest of the junta was at the bar counter.
Had a great time sipping fokat ka expensive whiskey with interesting people from the industry. The chakhna wasn't that great, but mere baap ka kya gaya? Had wonderful conversations, behaved like a fanboy, swapped cigarettes with Swanand Kirkire, spilled whiskey on somebody's expensive D&G suit, soaked in the feeling of being at the sanctum sanctorum of YRF Studios and behaved as if I owned the place. Super fun & I only have Rani to thank from the bottom of my heart & the top of my Patiala peg. Hopefully me & Rani will attend the 60th Filmfare Awards because our film will be nominated too!
That's something I have been 'maanging' from the 'kaaynat'. Sunn raha hai na tu?