Dinesh Raheja Column: Ask and thou shall be given

Did I know that Oscar winning actress Bette Davis had put an ad in a publication in the 1960s saying that she was seeking employment in Hollywood? No. As much as I like Bette Davis, I was not aware that the legendary actress had taken this bold step after acting for 30 years! But I think it was an absolutely awesome move on her part considering she did it so long ago when it must have been much tougher. I respect her for being brave and strong. I am told that Mr Amitabh Bachchan had approached Yash Chopraji for work despite being in a league of his own. I say, ‘Bravo!’ See what he went on to become! Can anyone deny him his iconic status?

I am also completely impressed with what Neena Gupta did, though to be honest I have not seen the notice she put out (for work). But so many people told me about it and I am glad that thereafter she got ‘Badhai Ho’, which won her praise and awards besides fetching her even more work.

It was probably what I needed to hear and draw my inspiration from; and I recently wrote on social media that, after a long hiatus, I was receptive to working in films once again.

I left the industry many moons ago. I had reached my saturation point at that time so I decided to call it a day. The roles I was being offered were getting repetitive and it was not fun any more. Besides my emotional state was not a happy one and I had had enough of just about everything. Today, I can laugh about it because time teaches us so much. I am grateful that a very good friend came forward to help me and feel blessed that I switched careers. It’s a decision that I don’t regret.

I have been in Dubai for the past 19-20 years. For the first 15 years, I worked with my dear friend's restaurant. When he moved on to other things, I started working for another friend. But since June 2019, I am free to explore other options for work in Dubai or Mumbai.

When I am not working, I am unhappy because I have always worked all my life. I am not happy doing nothing so I am eager and willing to work hard. It could be a job or a role in a film, TV serial, web series -- anything.

While in Dubai, I did a film, ‘Fragile A Wall Of Glass’, for a talented young man Ali Ghazanfar. It was a very interesting message-oriented film with a young cast. It was shot in the UAE. The UAE has been good to me and my family and it’s been our home for so long. The people are friendly, kind and polite. A lot of them speak Hindi very well. I am a strict vegetarian so I enjoy the local salads that make a fabulous meal in themselves. I am friends with loads of people in Dubai however I only go where I must. I am not a party person but of late I have been socially active because I love interacting with people.

Mumbai will always be home to me. I am July born and what I miss most about Mumbai is the monsoons. I like being drenched by an unexpected rain shower. I love the aroma of wet soil and I relish bhajiyas and chai. Going off for a long drive with a garam bhutta is my idea of bliss. I have happy memories of all that is beautiful about Mumbai. I was born here; and Mumbai is the place that gave me everything.

When I come to Mumbai for short trips, I stay with a very dear friend whose home is my home. I would not like it any other way. He has been my friend for over 30 years and I just know that he will always be there for me. I catch up with as many people as I can. I have many friends; they give me undiluted joy when we meet or talk on the phone. I have also been in touch with a few people on the social media. Anyone can call me and I will be there but I will not impose myself on anyone because I don’t like intruding on people’s space.

Hopefully, I will be back in Mumbai soon to start work on a film once again! Life presents numerous possibilities.

Kalpana Iyer is famous for dancing up a storm in 1980s chartbusters like ‘Rambha ho...’, ‘Koi yahaan aaha naache...’ and ‘Hari Om Hari...’. She shifted to Dubai two decades ago, but is now keen to pick up the threads and resume her acting career in the Hindi film industry

Co-ordinated by Dinesh Raheja

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