A heroine's life is like an elected government: The party lasts for 5 years. After that it's there for support.'The Dirty Picture' may have been set in the '80s but until recently it would have been easy to say nothing's changed. Bollywood's leading men continue to woo women half their age, while the heroines they pursued at the start of their careers play mothers or get trundled out of the industry entirely. It's a man's game in front of the camera, behind the lens and in Mumbai's skyscrapers of power.
But there are signs Indian cinema is being dragged into the 21st century, and two of those pulling the hardest were together again in a Melbourne skyscraper on Friday morning to 'raise the curtain' on the 2015 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.
Luckily, so was I.
Mitu Bhowmick Lange stood before gathered press, dignitaries and invited guests and introduced Balan as IFFM's ambassador. As usual they proclaimed their shared vision and dedication to the diversity of Indian cinema, but this year I got a visceral sense of the profundity of their partnership. What other film star takes such a personal stake in a film festival nearly 10,000 kms from her home? What organiser has the moxie to build a successful Indian-based film festival in a city where Indian films barely make a dent? Their name recognition may differ but their courage and conviction do not, and I'd venture to say they inspire each other to force the change that needs to happen if Indian cinema is to remain relevant and vibrant to its worldwide audience.
A greaseball like Surya would find his ass whipped six ways to Sunday if he crossed either of their paths. As a joined force Vidya and Mitu could defeat an army of Suryas. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a show I'd pay good money to see.
|Melbourne sparkled in every direction on a perfect autumn morning.|
|Mitu welcomed Vidya at the elevators. By the time they walked through the doors of a meet and greet session they looked and sounded like reunited sisters.|
historic visit to the MCG in 2012 and how she 'floored' TV-personality Eddie McGuire during a live interview.
Amitabh Bachchan taking a selfie (left) from the stage of last year's inaugural IFFM Awards Night and how it made her feel truly at home in Melbourne for the first time. As someone lucky enough to be seated two rows behind the screen legend, and who witnessed the sometimes terrifying degree devotees will go to express their love for a man they've never met but carry in their hearts like a living embodiment of their homeland, I can't begin to imagine what was going through Mitu's mind as the crowd shouted his name and Mr Bachchan -- Amitabh freakin' Bachchan -- playfully snapped a photo of himself on the stage of Melbourne's Princess Theatre. Besides feeling at home, I'd hope she'd also be thinking something along the lines of ... 'I did this.'
Mind Blowing Films, who work tirelessly to make her vision real.
I'd also like to thank Mitu and everyone at Mind Blowing Films for the kindness they've shown me over the years. A more earnest and committed group you will never find.