“Aap Ko Kya Taklif Hai?” they say. They mean: Why do you worry your pretty head?

But I can’t help worrying. The worst of all frustrations is the frustration of not being used.

The feeling of being full of things to give and nowhere to give it. The feeling of being All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go.

I could cry over an Anne Bancroft performance, marvel at the photography of some film which nobody else seems to have seen, but in the morning I have to drive up to a studio to shoot a “very novel” theme: in a nutshell, Boy Meets Girl.

It will be “different”- we are to have locations abroad. So beware, the trees of Acapulco or Timbuktu- here we come chasing around you.

At “story conference,” I long to shout: stop it. Let us seek a new road. But I can’t.

I am a woman. It is the expected thing to be “nice,” to be polite, to say demurely, “Yes”.

A little while back someone brought me the most beautiful story I ever heard of a woman who is a murderess.

But it is not easy to find finance for off-beat subjects like this.

In movies, I long to do many things. The editing room sometimes beckons me- what magic cant I work, I think, with scissors in one hand and the living, pulsating film roll in the other.

  • Nanda portrait

Sometimes I covet the sound man’s earphones. But they are forbidden territories to me.

I am a woman on behavior- a glamour star. I am caged. A woman is doubly punished- she can feel intensely but she can’t do much.

It is a man’s job to agitate and change. In my mad way, I sometimes wish I had been born a boy. Men are so free.

The film is the director’s medium. He is the boss or he should be. I look for a director who can tell me, “Hey, you, it isn’t you Nanda, I want here.

It is this character of mine. This is how you play it. And you can play it.” But the search for such a boss can be a very long one, believe me.

This way my work created many problems for me. But it is in the same work that I find an escape from the weariness, the pounding in the head, these problems bring.

Work is to me like the drugs some people have to take to kill the pain. I go to work as some go to the movies to forget their daily cares.

Of course, when the show is over the problems begin again. “Aap ko kya taklif hai?”

It is a vexatious genie inside the mind, agitating and bullying. I haven’t a gift for peace, to let well enough alone.

Why must I keep seeing movies they make abroad, keep discovering how much we have all to progress?

After earnestly speaking ( as above) on her work, Nanda broke off to comment on a variety of subjects:

On Herself:

partly the tensions of work and partly nature often make me moody, unpredictable. At home, they know these moods only too well.

Sometimes I am quiet, withdrawn, pessimistic. I mope pacing about, a walking exclamation mark on the futility of everything work, ambition, conversation, the social whirl.

At other moments, I find myself gay, outgoing, talking endlessly- I am a very independent girl. I take the decisions myself and stick to them.

Family ties:

Next to the solace of work comes the solace of family ties. I pity those who live, or have to live, alone. When you come home from work in the evening, fatigued- that is the moment you love those at home with you.

A simple action like someone bringing you a tall, cool drink touches you deep down, or it may be just a silent enquiry in someone’s eyes.

We are seven children in the family, a full-house, and always I have liked it that way. If and when I marry, I shall tell my husband.

“Bring your people to lives with us.” Not for me a cold lonely life like something preserved in a frig…

In India, we take family ties for granted. We often hate these too, not knowing what we will miss without them. Abroad these ties are at a discount.

I must tell you about the Sauce Incident. A friend of mine, a girl, went abroad to love and work there. Her brother was there too.

Following the pattern of life there, each of them was minding his or her own business. Once they went to eat at a restaurant.

They were going Dutch, of course, brother and sister! A sauce bottle was also ordered. The brother and sister, not quite realizing what they were doing, started quarreling as to who paid for the sauce and therefore who should use it.

The shock of the incident burst upon the girl a minute to two later. She promptly decided to throw up her jb and return to her country.

  • nanda picture

Old Age:

Oh, yes I have often thought of old age and death. When I am forty or so that’s the time I will send up a prayer, “please, God, now take me.”

The illnesses to which the old are prone, their dependence on others, the coldness and neglect they often suffer appall me. We all die but the old die many times…

Odd Desires:

Don’t laugh, I sometimes wish I had the gift of becoming invisible. That will release me from the bondage of stardom, make me truly anonymous.

Then I could indulge my whim of observing people as they really are…When I see competitions advertising-free trips abroad as prizes, I long to get into them.

That’s the only way, I think always wanted to see the world without P Forms and the like. Call it a desire to escape all over again, if you please.

And to solve my own problems, and those of the world, I wish I had an Aladdin’s lamp. I could keep the genie of the lamp fairly busy.

(One’s own wealth or fame does not exempt one from consideration of the real problems that exist around one, such as poverty and what seems to be the declared intention of life not to give a square deal to many unfortunate people.)

On Fame:

When I talk about great films and great roles, people close to me ask, “Isn’t it your ego that makes you want these?”.

It is a short life we have and if it is egoistic to want to do one’s very best within that time, I am perfectly willing to be egoistic.

But people don’t remember you years later for the power you had in your field or for your pride. They remember you for the good work you did.

That’s the way they remember my father who died 20 years ago. – Filmfare 1966

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *