It was a lovely, truly GLAMOROUS evening – the 6th Muscat International Film Festival (MIFF) Felicitation Ceremony happened on March 14th, 2010 and guess who was asked to be the Master of Ceremony (MC). 🙂
It was a great pleasure and great honor – another surprising thing that “just happened” in my life, with effortless ease… 🙂
The event took place in the Majan Hall of Al Bustan Palace Hotel, the most luxurious hotel in Muscat (the unique landscape surrounding the hotel indeed resembles a fairy tale).
Aside from several Omani and Egyptian celebrities gracing the occassion, the celebrities that stood out that evening were the following:
Resool Pookutty (Oscar winning sound designer, editor and mixer – won the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing for the renowned film ‘The Slumdog Millionaire’),
Antonino (Lakshen) Sucameli (a well known Hollywood director, writer and independent producer from Italy, who is currently working on the feature film called ‘Osho The Movie’ (www.oshothemovie.com), the first ever film about the great Master from India – Osho),
However, most definitely, all eyes were GLUED on the astounding Amitabh Bachchan, who created a big sensation when he appeared on the stage wearing the traditional Omani dress. His charisma, elegance, and most of all, his humbleness, surprized me.
I really enjoyed the moment when I was to introduce Amitabh Bachchan on the stage – I could feel the great anticipation in the audience, brimming with desire to see him. Here are a few lines from my MC script (which, I must admit, Mohanji wrote for me spontaneously a weekend before the event), introducing Amitabh Bachchan before he stepped on the stage and created great excitement in the hall:
“The LIVING LEGEND. A man beyond comparison. From an angry young man on the silver screen, to the most VERSATILE actor the world has ever seen. Over the years we have seen him outshine his fellow actors by his SHEER PRESENCE and his THUNDERING voice. Yes, IFFO is honoured to present you the LEGEND, the one and only – AMITABH BACHCHAN!!!”
It was an exclusive gathering with a crowd of approx. 200, the elite of Muscat. After introducing the actors, I announced the Question & Answers session with the celebrities. After the mike was given to the audience and first, second, third and forth question went to Amitabh Bachchan only (!), it was evident that the main reason why most of the people came was just to see him – they did not care much about social etiquette and what is or is not appropriate. I could tell that Mr. Bachchan, answering one question after another, was starting to feel uncomfortable, especially after one lady exclaimed: “For me, you are God!” (a highly inappropriate statement in a Muslim environment)
As the evening went on, it was becoming impossible to prevent the people from crowding around Mr. Bachchan,trying to approach him, take a photo of/with him, or simply stare at him spellbound. The Security surrounding him was becoming helpless and frustrated.
At one moment, without even having his dinner, the sweet Amitabh simply had to get up and leave, followed by the security guards.
When I saw him leaving, I too rushed behind the stage, knowing that this was my last chance to hand over a small gift I prepared for him (even though I was one of the organizers, the ‘Big B craze’ was so intense that, during the past two days he spent in Muscat, there was no chance of approaching him for even one second. Many waited for hours, and got so disappointed. Our dear friend Anilji came all the way from Dubai to see Amitabh Bachchan – he neither slept nor ate that day, brought a suitcase full of photo albums (collected over the last 20+ years), books and photos of his beloved Amitabh, spent endless hours in Al Bustan Hotel waiting, but could not see his beloved star. I felt sad that I couldn’t fulfill this indescribably great wish of his – here was a man who sends birthday greetings to Amitabh Bachchan EVERY YEAR for the past 20 years or more, and he couldn’t even shake his hand. Oh well…
I must say that I have never seen this kind of genuine devotion to a film star before – but as I got to know more about the stature of Amitabh Bachchan, which indeed is ever greater than his status, I started to understand Anilji better).
Back to March 14th – I’ll never forget the scene that followed: security was rushing Mr. Bachchan down a narrow corridor towards the elevator. Running after them in my expensive cocktail dress, I was just about to reach the elevator that Mr. Bachchan already entered, when the security guard suddenly BLOCKED my path violently with his muscled arms (as if I’m some kind of a terrorist aiming to attack Amitabh Bachchan). I found that to be SO RUDE and exaggerated – out of revolt, I just screamed, from the top of my lungs: “Hey, I am A LADY!!!“
(please note that ‘making a scene’ is really not my cup of tea – I have no idea how this scream came out of me, but it did). My voice resounded in that marble hallway like a thunder 🙂 and all the heads turned towards me. Amitabh Bachchan, who already stepped into the elevator, signaled to the security to let me through.
In the next contrasting moment, I WAS IN BLISS as the living legend of Bollywood, a great gentleman, shook my hand softly and looked deep into my eyes. I forgot all about the security guard and the discomfort that preceded this moment. A grand, heavenly feeling of calmness and loving serenity overtook me as I bathed in the bliss of this precious moment. This brief eye contact indeed said it all and no words were needed – the genuine kindness and unmistakable radiance of Amitabh Bachchan left a deep impression on me. It is indeed, through the eyes, that we get the glimpse of the soul’s unfathomable depth…
Anilji, indeed, I am understanding you more and more 🙂
I happily handed over the gift I prepared for him, which included Mohanji’s Bless the World Meditation and the spiritual visit card. I felt deep contentment within, like someone who, after a long struggle, finally fulfills an important mission.
After this blissful experience, I floated off happily back to the hall, joining Mohanji and Sudeep (whose birthday happened to coincide with that evening) for dinner.
I was just sharing with them the experience with Amitabh Bachchan, when one Omani government official approached our table. He told me that Mr. Bachchan sent him to APOLOGIZE to me ON HIS BEHALF. As he was uttering these words, I could feel my heart centre expanding. Wow! What a gentleman, a wonderful, accomplished human being – the Big B indeed! Since then I named myself ‘the Small B.’ 🙂
Resool Pookutty was another humble artistic giant whom I got to speak to that evening. This is the second time I’m meeting him since he first came to Muscat a few months back, for the occasion of inauguration of International Film Fraternity of Oman (IFFO), of which I am a founding member. What a sweet man, a real embodiment of humbleness. Mohanji told me that he symbolizes the new generation of Bollywood celebrities – hard working and humble to the core. I felt so comfortable to chat with him, as if he was a dear friend, or a cousin. Oh, what a lovely evening!
And Antonino (Lakshen) Sucameli – another surprising character, the first film director with a spiritual bent that I ever met. 🙂 He is a direct disciple of Osho, who himself gave Mr. Sucameli the spiritual name ‘Lakshen’. He attended our Bless the World meditation last Friday, said he really enjoyed the Shaktipat experience, and later on shared with us his intimate spiritual experiences with Osho.
I am so looking forward to seeing his “Osho the Movie” feature film materializing on the big screen. Osho was/is a great Master, completely misunderstood by many due to numerous scandals and controversies – however, his spiritual stature is amazing and he surely deserves a movie which will tell his unique story and reveal the truth about how his physical existence was ended…
While reading one interview with Amitabh Bachchan published in Omani newspaper on March 14th, I found out about his personal blog, on which, to my great surprize, he promptly wrote about his experience in Muscat (as he said, the secret of his success is that he applies himself fully, is prompt and fully dedicated to his work). I was really touched by his humility and childlike spirit of exploration visible in the three write ups about the Muscat experience:
Thank you Universe, thank you Masters for this unexpected, memorable experience!
Love to all,