Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Film maker

Have a good look at the photograph below.

Do you recognize the child in it? It is not difficult. I got it at my first guess. OK here is a hint - he is a film maker.
Now for those who are still struggling and have no clue, here is one more photograph.
Compare both and see what is common.

Who can forget the soft spoken Sq Leader Roger in The Great Escapeor John Hammond with his dinosaur eggs in Jurassic Park or General Outram in Shatranj ki khiladi. (that is Outram above)

Yes I am talking about Richard Attenborough the famous actor cum director cum film maker.
His acting is so genuine that his portrayal as a serial killer (below) in 10 Rillington Place gave me the jitters. 

But what I admire him most is for the dedication and devotion that he showed during the making of Gandhi. I should say that I have a special connection here as most of the movie scenes were shot in Pune (India) and I had the privilege of watching the shooting. I was really impressed by the disciplined and well planned way in which the whole shooting took place. 

I saw him with the mega phone well in control of the whole situation, never losing his temper and well aware of his surroundings. There was a scene where the protesting Indian crowd were supposed to lie down on the ground when the mounted British soldiers tried to ambush them. This was based on the well known fact that a horse never steps on a human body. But before the actual shooting, Richard wanted to try it out so that there would be no injury. His contention was that “we know this fact but does the horse know?”

There were many pictures made on Gandhi (before and after Attenborough’s Gandhi) but none of them come even close when we talk about perfection.
The Indian government was so impressed with his contribution that he was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1983.
Much later he admitted that there were flaws in the movie and he could have done some scenes better. In his own words “Gandhi was a well made film but surely not my best. It had flaws which I understand, two and a half decades after I directed it. I will never call it a propaganda film for the Indian Congress, but it could have been made better had I concentrated on certain minute details”
He also feels that the length of the film should have been edited by at least two reels.

About his movie getting the Oscar “More than my Gandhi, I feel, ET deserved the Oscar"

About his choice of Ben Kinsley for the role “Yes, Ben Kinsley was my ideal choice for Gandhi and he really lived up to the expectations of an international audience. I did not find any Indian actor worthy to perform the role of Gandhi in the early eighties though there were brilliant performers like Naseeruddin Shah in India. Kinsley looked and behaved like Gandhi and my most favorite sequence in the film was the Dandi march”

The movie (Gandhi) was nominated for eleven Academy awards out of which it won eight. 

His stint in the Royal Air Force must have helped him in doing justice to the role he played in The Great Escape.

One of his remarkable achievements was the making of the movie Oh what a lovely war for which he managed to get together an all cast British actors and it went on to show the real horrors of World War-I on the screen.
His contribution to the movie world (and the stage) was so great that he was knighted in 1976 and became a life peer in 1993.

He stopped celebrating Christmas after the loss of his daughter and grand daughter in 2004 in the tsunami at Phuket.

One of the hallmarks of being in the show business is changing partners. But Dickie got married to Shiela Sim in 1945 and is still with her. I always wondered how he got the nickname Dickie. I wonder if any of you know.

Apart from acting in many movies he has directed a dozen movies.
According to him, A Bridge too far was one of the best films he made. He agrees that it’s a bit slow as per the present standards, but that was made 35 years ago.
I think some people are carved out to do some things and Dickie was one who was meant to entertain people, be it theatre or making films. Did you know that he was bad in academics and his father wanted him to have the best possible education. So when he (Dickie) stumbled once more in a school certificate exam, his father made a deal with him.
“I know you want to be an actor, but I am going to make a bargain. On your 17th birthday, I am going to give you the substantial fee that has to be paid to for the RADA scholarship. If you get it I shall back you. If you don’t, then you have got to forget about theatre and get down and pass your A-levels”
Dick said “Yes father”, then went out and got it !


SherryE said...

What a talented man!

Jeremy Bates said...

It is a common nickname among men/boys in America. If it's a young lad he is usually called Dickie, whereas an older man is called Dick. I guess his Dickie named just appealed to him better and he kept it.

He's a great actor!

Bikramjit said...

He is the best and his brother too who makes documentaries ..
he is a fantastic actor


A said...

Wow, lucky you, you watched them shoot the movie!! One of my all time favorites, by the way... Lucky you!!!!

Sharon Hamilton said...

Wonderful post. I learned so much. You were indeed lucky to witness this part of history, and the making of the story is indeed history. Now I'm going to think about him on Christmas and say a little prayer.

Christine H. said...

A very talented man. I didn't recognize him by his baby picture though; he looked like Winston Churchill.

Jennette Marie Powell said...

So cool that you got to see the filming of Gandhi! I would never have picked him out from the baby photo either. But definitely a multi-faceted, multi-talented man!

Sonia Lal said...

interesting. I never knew all that.

Sonia Lal @ Story Treasury

Jax said...

I don't recognize him, but I suppose I should with that great list of films! Now I'm also intrigued to watch his Gandhi film!! You taught me a few new things today :)

Janie said...

Interesting to learn more about this man. I loved the Gandhi film.

Indrani said...

This is great! Never knew so much about this great actor.

Anupama K. Mazumder said...

What immense amount of research you had to do!

deeps said...

looks like i am poor at guessing :)

anyway, thanks for this one

A.D. Duling said...

I enjoyed reading your post and had to include your blog and this post in my A.D.'s FAV 5 of the A to Z Challenge today!

Have a glorious Friday!

Reflections said...

That was a lovely read!!!
And interesting!!!!

Leslie Rose said...

This is a lovely tribute to an amazing man. Thank you for sharing. The move Gandhi had a profound effect on me. It made me work on being more politically and culturally aware.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joe .. Richard is shortened to Dick ... and thus Dickie - what a wonderful post - especially about the horses and Gandhi .. I saw his film with Ben Kingsley .. and Kingsley was exceptionally good as Gandhi ..

His loss of his daughter and grand-daughter must be very hard for him to bear ..

Great post - thanks - Cheers Hilary

GardenofDaisies said...

This is one of my favorite movies of all time!

Fairday Morrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fairday Morrow said...

Great post! I learned so much from reading this one. I didn't recognize him from the baby picture- but thought it was the actor that played Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Thanks for sharing.

David said...

Great and interesting post. He's made some of my favorite films and David Attenborough is a fantastic documentarian, especially "The Life of Birds."