May you live in interesting times!

A rant on how “interesting” the 5th day of ’30 minutes of writing for 30 days’ project was. Read at peril.

This is the 5th day of this new project where I try and write every day for 30 minutes. As I start writing this, it is 11:17 PM (ended at 11:54 – well over 30) and I don’t have a lot of time (have some work) and thus I may not get 30 minutes under the belt. Plus, what I have to say is anyway not going to take much. So let’s see.

Today was an “interesting” day. For a lot of reasons. Lemme see if I can describe the reasons for interestingness in an interesting manner so as to do justice to the grandeur of this day.

A. The Helping Hand

For starters, three different people asked me to help them today.

One wanted help on writing, second on managing time, and third on reaching his life purpose. I know these three people from three different circles (one from MDI, second from Twitter, and third from work). Each lives in a different city.

And yet each of these people thought that I could help them with their respective predicaments.

While I am not sure I can help them, but I am glad to know that people have started to recognize me as someone they could reach out to when they need help. This is definitely a step in the direction of my #lifeGoal! So, yay!

B. The Good and The Bad and The Resolve

I have recently picked a few gigs where I am giving away fixed hours in exchange for money (counter-intuitive to every advice that I have ever held dear about how to get rich). And even though its not even been a month, I can clearly see why its a bad idea. And why its a good idea. Lemme elaborate.

Bad

I believe life is far larger and far meaningful than wasting time by doing things that don’t matter (to you!). Such as, wasting an entire day at an office, only to pick a laptop! And spending your night, working on a presentation that did not require any urgency per se.

Good

I had to pick these gigs cos the work that gave me the money to live a fairly good life? That has dried up (thank you, COVID. And thank you, SG for some really stupid decisions). And if I did not have these “stable” businesses wanting to hire explorers like me, we’d die hungry.

And I also appreciate that there may be people that like the idea of “stable” work that sucks their soul, in exchange for money that allows them to experience grand things in life on the weekends. Even though it is not for me, it’s not a bad tradeoff if you ask me.

So yeah, bad and good.

The resolve?

Well, I promise that I will get back to a point where I work for anyone but myself. The way things are, I don’t think that will happen before a year and each day in the year would be, well, interesting. I’d ideally love to run away from it as fast as a rat runs away from a ship that has hit an iceberg!

But I promise to myself that I would stay for at least a year (if not more). And I will use each “interesting” day to make my resolve stronger. And my hustler, harder. All in hopes that I don’t ever have to see these interesting times again.

C. The Notches

I wore denims and a formal shirt and sports shoes. My typical work attire. Or any formal occasion attire for that matter. And while I did that, I also wore a belt and I realised that I have put on so much weight that I need to add a notch on the belt.

While I should be gunning for removing notches from the belt, here I am, growing (quite literally) in the other direction. When this lockdown thingy started, I had resolved (where did I hear this word recently?) to lose weight, learn guitar, finish #book2 and I dont know what else. Of all the goals, I was fairly confident of losing weight. After all, I am not a foodie. Wait, lemme munch onto this Egg Roll that I just ordered. So, yeah, I am not a foodie and I could have lost weight but I put on weight! And I need to do something about it.

That’s it. That’s the third part. Nothing more. Nothing less. A reminder to self that I need to lose weight.

***

So yeah. This is for the post of the day. A ranty one. But at least I shipped. After all, real artists ship! Even on interesting days.

PS: If someone wishes you that “may you live in interesting times“, you now know what to do. Don’t you?

This is part of the ’30 posts in 30 days’ project. This was Day 5. Other posts are at 301031100111, 0211

The Marketing Connect Meetups

If you are a marketer in India, here’s a networking opportunity that you can NOT miss. Come meet other marketers like you with this curated, 1v1, networking opportunity.

Lemme tell you a secret.

I am a podcast host. Really.

I am.

In fact, I am the host of The Marketing Connect Podcast where in the first season, I have spoken to some of the finest marketers in the country. Via these conversations, I try to learn from their journeys and what it takes to succeed in the day and age that we live in! I am not sure if that has helped the listeners but I have learned a lot. Just that I hate my voice and thus I have not really marketed the marketing podcast. Well, the mystery of life 😀

So, one of the reasons I started this podcast, was to meet interesting people.

My thesis was that if I wrote into seniors from the industry and asked for a meeting, they may or may not respond to me. But if I told them that I have a podcast, they would respond faster / better.

And they did!

I was able to reach marketers from more than 15 companies like Pidilite, Burger King, Eros, Magicbricks, FBB, and more. Each interaction was for good two-three hours and I could ask them questions about their lives, career trajectory, mistakes, learnings, and more. I don’t think I would’ve ever been able to get into such candid chats with people if it were not on a podcast.

Of course, the downside is that each conversation required hours and hours of prep (research on the guest, editing, and general operational things).

Ok. Wait. Lemme digress for a bit…

Hello, Lunchclub.ai

I recently got introduced to this website, lunchclub where they match me with “interesting” professionals and invite us to get into 1v1, quick, short video calls with each other. Think of speed “dating” for professional conversations.

In the last 2 weeks, I have had 3-4 calls and the quality of people I’ve met has been superb. Most of these people I met were like me – explorers, tinkerers, generalists, Jacks (and Janes) of all trades, and others of the ilk. And since these calls are 1 on 1, I could open up about things that I would probably not on a public chat.

So, it works well.

And it is quite similar to podcasting – just that the people I meet are strangers (so there is that excitement and tentativeness when I meet them) and there is no background research required (so, I need to invest less time).

This is when the light bulb went off in my head!

Hello, Marketing Connect Meetups!

So, what if I marry the podcast (that I hate to market) and some tenets from lunchclub (that I love)? And create a matchmaking opportunity for marketers?

To attend these meetups, you have to be a marketer. You could be on the client-side or the agency-side. Or you could be a freelance consultant (like me). But you have to be in the marketing space!

So, Marketing Connect Meetups is an opportunity to meet other marketers!

Sounds cool?

Here’s how this would work. Simple steps.

  1. I invite you to fill this Google Form. And no, I will NOT spam you.
  2. Once you’ve filled in, each weekend, I will curate matches (manually!!) and make introductions. I will send emails to you guys and invite you to meet each other.
  3. You guys then move me to BCC and plan and schedule a meet / call.
  4. What happens post that call? Well, up to you. May be you’d work together, maybe you’d pick brains, maybe you’d teach others something that you. are passionate about! The possibilities are endless.
  5. Give me feedback! Simple!

Simple. Right?

Oh, here are some ground rules.

  1. Safety first! Like any other matchmaking platform, we would get all sorts of people and it would be tough to filter the kind of people we’d get. So, please do stay safe. Although these meetups are planned in a professional setting and we have the Linkedin handles of each attendee, you never know.
  2. Respect trumps everything. Respect is not just about how you speak to people but also about how you conduct yourself, and how you respect the other person. For example, if you have set up a particular time for the call, you better show up on time! I hope you get the drift.

And here are some disclaimers.

  1. I am merely giving you an opportunity to meet others that you would other. Please do know that I can not control how these meetings would turn out for you.
  2. This is an experiment. I don’t know how this would pan out but I would love to have this become a way to meet new people.

In the end, I don’t know if this will work or not. Or if this will appeal to other marketers. But I do think that this “variation” of lunchclub is worth giving a shot. It is yet another itch that I want to scratch.

And here I am, with it. Lemme know what you think.

Oh, and this is part of the 30 posts in 30 days project. This was Day 4. Other posts are at 3010, 3110, 0111.

Day 3 – Spilled!

I continue to be butterfingers and spill tea on my laptop and the table that I work at!

Read about it.

As I write this, I am at a Starbucks (yeah, even with lockdown and COVID by withstanding, I have been coming to a Starbucks for a week now). I am one of those rare ones to believe that nothing would happen to me. It is 6:42 PM (published at 7:13 PM) and I am going to write for the next 30 minutes. And I do have a thing that I want to write about. Read on.

So, I am one of those people that has extremely good hand-eye coordination. so much so that I can give competition to Po, the greatest Kung-Fu master of all time. Or to those robots that seem to be snatching balls mid-air. Even Jonty Rhodes is nothing compared to me (do see this video of Jonty in action to get a sense of how good I am!).

Once I see a room with my eyes, I can walk in there with a blindfold on my eyes.

Really!

In fact I claim that once I place something on a table with my hands, I am so aware of my surroundings that I can close my eyes and reach out to things that I have placed on the table.

And yet… I have this notorious record of spilling things on my laptop. Thing is, when I write, I like to keep the laptop an arm away, stretch my hands and place my notepad, pen, tea / coffee / coke / water etc between the laptop and the edge of the table.

See this picture.

Saurabh Garg's desktop
Apologies for the bad picture quality…

Yeah yeah. I am sure you are worried that I am walking on eggshells and I am inviting disaster every time I even flinch. And I agree. But what is that life that you don’t live on the edge of?

And you know what is missing in this picture?

A cup of black tea that I was sipping onto, that I spilled on the table and the notepad and the laptop!

Sigh.

Thing is, most days I am ok with this setup. And most days I don’t spill things. But today, I did. At a crowded Starbucks and I had everyone staring at me as if I were a petulant child! Or I was Edward (Scissorhands).

So yeah, that was the achievement of the day. I had no clue that I would write about this but now that I made the mistake of spilling tea, why not make it into an opportunity and talk about it 🙂

And with this, its over and out. See you guys tomorrow!

If you like this, spread the word. Help me get an audience. I know these essays are cool :D. Older posts – 3010, 3110

Day 2 – Humans vs Robots

A tiny home-improvement decision that I think I will take as I move to a new house in the next week. Part of my 30 days of writing every day for 30 minutes project.

This is the second day of this new project where I try and write every day for 30 minutes. As I start writing this, it is 9:09 PM (ended at 9:56 PM) and I do have this one thing that I want to talk about. Let’s see how long I take to write it.

So, in less than a week, I move to a new house. Like all the other houses that I have lived at, this one is also not mine and that means I am reluctant to acquire things that make the house a home. I mean I don’t put no pictures, no photos, no posters, nothing that resembles a place that is lived well. Even the furniture, I don’t acquire it. I don’t like the idea of material possessions (while I do have a bagful of memories – photos, postcards, tickets, hand-written trinkets and all that), I try and not attach myself to things.

There are multiple reasons for that. Lemme make a list.

A. In the past, when I did have things that I could attach myself to, every time I’d move the house, those would break and I’d get sad about em. So, to avoid disappointment, I decided against acquiring things.

B. Thing is, I like finer things (you know, expensive, made with love, limited edition, by artisans) and I have this big child ego (I either want the whole world, or nothing) and I have never had a lot of disposable money to be able to buy all the nice things. So, I trained myself to overlook these material things and not pine for those. I would of course continue to spend money to get some of these for friends. These gifts are voluntary – I can choose to get those or I could not get any at all. However, if I get addicted to better things, I would start pining for those and I know I can’t afford em. So, detach.

C. Continuing with the thread of detachment, I am trying to have minimal attachments to material things. This means I am embracing minimalism, Buddhism, Stoicism, Mary-Knodoism, Hagge-ism, and every other such -ism that tells us to be simple with our lives.

Of course, do get emotional when I have to change the house. I do not like to be around when I move. I rely on my friends and handymen to do so. Like they say, truth, is weirder than fiction 🙂

D. I saved the best for the last. I love space. And the kind of houses that we have in Mumbai, we have anything but space. Even with minimal furniture and furnishing, you sort of keep bumping into the walls all the time. So, I try and avoid stuffing the house with things!

***

So yeah, I have lived my life in a certain manner (like a robot) and I think it serves me well.

So, why this post?

Well, as I said, I am going to move to a new house in the next week. And as I get ready to make the move, I am thinking that I will change it! Thinking. Not doing it. And I will list those reasons as well here.

Let’s go.

1. I want to look at life on the other side. The side where you get emotional about things. I am after all an experience junky. To a point that I want to pack a thousand lives into this tiny one that we have. And I’d love to see things from. the perspective of the vain ones.

2. I want to assert my personality. When I had a business that was well and alive (prior to the COVID shock), I could project myself via my work. Now, I cant. So, I need to find something that allows me to. Even if it’s a simple wall in one of the rooms where I post things that are important to me.

3. I have always been a public-place person. I cant spend time at home. I feed off the energy of others and that means I love places like cafes and offices and worksites where I can see others working. Thanks to this WFH thingy, I know that I may not be able to get back to an office anytime soon (even though I have been going to a Starbucks every day for a week now). So, I need to convert the new place to resemble a bright, cheery place. That means I will have to get home those yellow lights, ambient speakers, the aroma of the coffee, and more! music systems and all that. And that means I will have to set up a few things that make my house, well, home, and start living like a human!

Robot. Human. Get the drift?

That’s it for the day.

With this, its over and out. See you guys tomorrow!

If you like this, spread the word. Help me get an audience. I know these essays are cool 😀 Older posts – 3010.

The 30-minutes a day writing habit

Come find out why am I picking a new hobby of writing everyday for at least 30 minutes.

So, I am part of this group of writers that meets once every week (on Zoom). All of us want to write long-form content (3000+ words in length) and in general, be better writers. Thus, a lot of our chats are around how to write better, how to get better ideas for writing, how to have an interesting perspective on things to be able to write about those, and so on and so forth.

We throw ideas at each other, we ask each other tough questions and more importantly, we try and help each other out when we are stuck.

On this week’s call, Shravya talked about Andy Matuschak and his routine of writing every day for 30 minutes. What he writes could be a thing as simple as a summary of the book that he’s read recently. Or it could be a part of an essay that he’s working on. Or something from his writing inbox. The output is not important. What is important is that he gets 30 minutes of writing done.

Think of it as your daily practice of workout, meditation, or even those 10000 steps! It’s such a simple idea and I think like all other things that you do as routine for a fairly long period, it would compound and give you fabulous returns.

I have myself engaged in a similar exercise at different times where I would ensure that I would write every day. I have done various avatars – from writing an SoG a day to writing 1000 words a day to even taking a picture each day and writing about it. Of course, I always slack after a few days.

But I have never been this serious about writing as I have been in the past few months. Not even when I was writing #tnks! Thing is, I have seen some crazy connections happen just because what I wrote resonated with so many people!

I realise that writing could actually lead me to things that I want in life – access to interesting people, money and more importantly, impact. Even if I am not the most flowery writer. Even if I am not the deepest, most insightful writer. And even if I what I write does not move a mole!

So, buoyed by that, here’s a promise to self.

To double down on effort I make with my writing. I will add 30 minutes of writing to my daily routine (other things there are 10 minutes of meditation, 16000 steps and 20 pullups). And I will publish each day’s work here, on this blog.

I will do this for at least 30 days, start today. Today is Day 1 and this post is today’s output 🙂

Do read what I write and do feed me back with how I could improve.

Over and out!

Smita Patil – The Unofficial Biography

An unofficial biography of Smita Patil – researched and written by Saurabh Garg.

Hello! So somehow I stumbled onto the life of Smita Patil and I was so fascinated that I got reading about her. The output was this twitter thread. Here’s the same thread, in the shape of an essay. 

Smita Patil was an actor par excellence and above all, an extraordinary human being. She lived for all of 31 years but her legacy HAS to stay around for 31 millennia at least and this is an attempt towards that. 

If I could sum her life in 3 bullet points, I’d say, she was/is…

  • – a study in contrasts
  • – deeply compassionate, especially towards under-represented (indie filmmakers, feminists, the common folk)
  • – fearless, spoke her mind and lived life on her own terms

Lemme elaborate.

Wait. Before I start, I think she was probably not meant to be even born! 
Smita was the second child of Shivajirao Patil (a politician) and Vidyatai Patil (a social-worker/nurse). However, when her mother was pregnant with Smita, their financial condition was unstable and her mother was reluctant to continue with the pregnancy when she conceived Smita. Even when the mother went ahead with Smita, she was born premature baby (on 17 Oct ’56). 

Legend says that when she was born, she had an angelic smile on her. Her mom named her Smita. Smita means “ever-smiling woman”. And since she was dusky, her mother endearingly called ‘Kali’ or its appendages like ‘Kaloba’ and ‘Kaluli’. 

Most of her friends call her Smi though. I will take the liberty of calling Smi in this post. 

Smi, as long as she lived, had a very strong and important relationship with her mother. Smi would often quip (in Marathi), “Tula mi nako hote na” (you didn’t want me, right?). Nothing could be far from the truth. Smi’s mother has been a pivotal figure in her life. She in fact raised Prateik (Smita Patil’s son) when Smi passed away at the young age of 31. 

Growing up, Smi’s family was based in Pune and was part of “Rashtriya Sewa Dal” where they’d travel to towns and villages across India and performed dance dramas. She’d play the role of Jijabai (Shivaji’s mother). This was her early tryst with dance, acting, stage, and everything else that we know her for!

HOW DID SHE GET INTO FILMS?

Well, luck! 

One of her friends, Deepak Kirpekar, was a hobbyist photographer and would take pictures of Smita Patil in various outfits. Since the photographer’s friend was a newsreader on DD (Jyotsna Kirpekar), the couple would often go to the DD office at Worli, in Mumbai. Once while they were there, the office was getting renovated and the friend spread Smita’s photos on a makeshift table, while his wife was busy. These photos caught the eye of then DD director, P.V. Krishnamurthy. 
He invited Smi to audition and the rest is, well, history!

Smi started as a newsreader on DD and she was so good with her husky voice and magnetic eyes that people would rush home to catch her show! One of these was actor Vinod Khanna, who was romantically involved with Smi at a point in time.

Cut to FTII. 

A couple of students (one of them was Arun Khopkar) were looking for actresses for their Diploma Film. They asked Shabana Azmi but she was unavailable. They were lost and went walking around the FTII campus. They passed by a TV shop where the bank of TV screens was tuned onto Smita Patil, reading the news! They were stuck by “defined cheekbones and striking eyes” and decided to cast her. 

They did not know who she was but they tracked her down and convinced her to do a role in ‘Teevra Madhyam’. This film is on Youtube! See it here
Post that film, Smi got to work on some roles for Shyam Benegal. These included Charandas Chor (a children’s film), and Nishant (Smi shared the screen with Shabana Azmi in this one). 

Later, Benegal signed her for Bhumika, which was based on the life of Marathi actor Hansa Wadkar and her struggle to cope with her career, love, and independence. For this role, Smi won the National Award for the best actress (in 1977).

This film made her realize that films were her calling. And there was no stopping her. 

Three years later she won her second National Award, this time for Chakra (in 1980). It is said that she donated all the money that she got as the award to women’s causes. She also won a Filmfare for this film (in 1982). Oh, random trivia – Nasserdduing Shah was her co-actor in both films. And years later, the two of them also auditioned for an adaptation of Gandhi. 

Her string of awards did not stop here. 

She was conferred with a Padma Shri in 1985, one of the youngest (if not THE youngest) film personalities to be awarded.

The Government of India ever released a postage stamp honoring her! 

AS AN ACTOR

As an actor, she chose to do experimental, small, and art films over commercial ones. 

She would do films for free or tiny sums if she liked the subject and content. Case in point? Bhavani Bhavai (in 1980). The film explored caste-discrimination in Gujarat and Smi did it because she believed in the underlying theme and message of the film.

She eventually did foray into commercial cinema. She did only to expand her acting prowess. Plus she believed that if she becomes famous, she could support small filmmakers more! After all her audience would be curious to see smaller films if they featured her. She apparently said, “commercial film is a job I have to do in order to pursue my goal of helping create an audience for the small film in India.”

Even with commercial cinema, Smi refused to do films that underplayed the role of women. 

Namak Halal is a noteworthy exception. The ‘Aaj Rapat Jaaye’ track apparently pained her immensely. She was reportedly very upset with the song and after it was shot, she locked herself up in her room and cried for hours. It was only AB who could put her at ease! 

Anyhow. She did about 80 films. About 10 of those were released after she passed away. She was paired frequently with Rajesh Khanna. And with Raj Babbar (RB).  

PERSONAL LIFE

In Mahesh Bhatt’s Arth, Smi’s character loves a married man and wants to settle down with him. Ironically, the theme played out in her real life as she fell in love with RB, a married man with two kids!

Smi was married to Raj Babbar (RB) and like other things in her life, it probably wasn’t meant to happen! 

Why? 

Well, for starters, RB was already married to Nadira. Second, her mother was unhappy about it. She apparently said, “I can’t get out of our purana sanskar nor can I embrace contemporary morality fully.” Plus, it may not have mattered to her but the very feminist institutions that she supported, labeled her “ghar todne wali” once the news broke.

But Smi and RB persisted and eventually married. Oh, and RB was still married to Nadira at this time. A big deal in Indian society. And more so in those times! 
Years later, RB said about Smi, “I would say that she was a bit mizaazwali (this is being said with all the respect and humility towards her)” 

And so yes she was! 

PS: I must add that there are unsubstantiated reports that she apparently had a turbulent, emotionally abusive marriage with RB. She reportedly planned to leave him after childbirth. Not sure of this though. 

Smi was “delighted” when she became a mother. Here is an anecdote. Soon after PB was born, she developed a high fever (104 degrees). She put ice packs on her body and fed him! 

PS: I can write a LOT about the early days of Prateik Babbar and how he coped with the loss of her mother! But I think I would skip it.

SMITA PATIL’S LEGACY

Smita Patil is probably the most remarkable person I have come to know. I don’t even know how to get started talking about her. 

People that knew her to call her bindaas, bohemian, and Tom-boy-ish. And yet she stood for women’s rights and the early feminism movement. Even though she would play tough, conservative roles on screen, in real life, she was the polar opposite! She was a typical bindass girl, “very liberated and progressive in her thoughts and work.” She was fond of western clothes and wore off-shoulder dresses, halter tops, fitted trousers, and boots in contrast to her screen image in perfect handloom sarees.

For her news gigs, she would go to the studio in her jeans and shirt and wrap the saree neatly just minutes before the camera rolled in! 

Her mother once said, “She used to dress like a bhikaran (a tramp). She’d wear a pair of jeans, pull on a kurta (even her father’s), Kolhapuri chappals, tie her hair into a bun and rush out. She never needed a mirror. Once she was to meet a well-known editor for an interview at a restaurant. He couldn’t recognize her. He kept waiting for ‘actress Smita Patil’, till she introduced herself. They both burst out laughing.”

Smi was dedicated to women’s causes and women empowerment and wanted to change the perceptions about women. She was part of the Women’s Centre in Bombay and contributed the money earned from her awards to women’s organizations. This link is a great read about her support for the feminist movement.

I have to say that unlike most of her co-stars, she belonged to the people! Apart from taking a vocal stand for feminist causes and indie & small filmmakers, she truly was a gem a human being. She treated everyone with respect. She could be found playing volleyball with the unit boys. 

She would sit with the women of the village to catch breaks between shoots and was often unrecognizable to the public who had come to see her. Smi was a vegetarian and did not complain even at tough locations. If required, she would cook her own food, by borrowing things from the villagers. 

Once there was a rebellion in one of the units on a shoot. The workers were demanding better food. Smi tackled and ended by announcing and eating the same red rice that they were served! 

Even as a child, she was deeply compassionate. She’d bring stray cats and dogs home and feed them with milk and biscuits. She would personalize her gifts. She would write something special to make the gift special.

Smi was fond of photography, roads, drives, and adventure in general. The minute pack-up would be announced, she’d zip off! She once took off to Rajasthan and gave no explanation, no reason to anyone. When she came back a month later, she had a heap of photos she had shot on her Leica.

Once during monsoons, Smita drove Ashalata, another actress, at neck-break speed to Khandala. She jested with the scared Ashalata and said, “Imagine the fun if tomorrow the headlines carry, ‘Smita and Ashalata died in a car crash’!”
Other trivia about Sri before we move on? Well, she… – wanted to be a director- contributed to production and costumes- came up with “Genesis” as the name for the new company of the veteran adman, Prahlad Kakkar.

Smi loved the sea and she wanted a sea-facing flat and yearned to enjoy the rain splashing through open windows. On her visits to see the house she was building, she would have chai from the kettle along with the workers. In fact, Smi wanted these very workers to be the first guests in her home! And they were indeed the first guests. Just that Smi had passed away by then!

DEATH

The end of this fascinating life is also intriguing like the rest of it. During the shooting of Situm (1984), a handwriting expert apparently said that “She won’t live long!”.

She herself had this uncanny 6th sense, apparently. She had a premonition about AB’s Coolie accident the night before it happened!

About her own life, at different times in her life, Smi apparently told her younger sister that she wouldn’t live long. And she told Mahesh Bhatt that the lifeline was short.

The most freaky? She told actress, Poonam Dhillon that she’d die at 31! 

And boy, was she right?

She did die at the age of 31. Her son was all of 2 weeks old at the time.  

The most commonly held belief is that Smi died of Viral Encephalitis and most reporters write it as complications arising from childbirth. I am not sure of this though. Plus there are accounts that she died from medical negligence. And there are murmurs of murder. No, this is NOT substantiated at all. 

I’d say the cause of death is a mystery. 

Once Smi told a friend (Deepak Sawant) that when she died, she wanted to be sent off as a “Suhagan”. And as per her wishes, she was indeed decked up like a bride on her last journey. Random Trivia – DS has worked for decades with Amitabh Bachchan as well.

IN THE END

As I wrap this piece about Smi, I want to mention two people here. Shabana Azmi (SA) and Prateik Babbar (PB).

A. Shabana Azmi – SA and Smi started their careers almost at the same time and they had this rollercoaster relationship. SA apparently said they “were good colleagues who could never be friends.” Further, SA said, “She was born for the camera. It lingered over her face and she held it captive without the slightest effort. I felt both challenged and inspired by her as a co-actor. She was also very feminine and deeply traditional, at times easily intimidated. I think it’s these contradictions that were both her strength and her weakness. But it was also this that made her an artist who will always be spoken of when the finest actors of Indian cinema are counted.”

B. Prateik Babbar – I can write a LOT about the early days of PB and how he coped with the loss of her mother! But I think I would skip those. Have to mention that PB was raised by Smi’s mother. 

As I end this, two things stand out about Smita Patil. 

  • She is if not THE MOST, one of the most remarkable women I’ve ever come across.
  • It’s uncanny how her Reel and Real lives were so similar and so starkly different! Truth as they say, is stranger than fiction!

That’s about it. Thanks for indulging. Oh, who would you want to read about next? 

DISCLAIMERS 

  1. 1. All photos from Google / FB searches. I did not save the sources. Regret the laziness.
  2. 2. All info from online research that I did over a few days.
  3. 3. I don’t mean to slander. Am merely presenting what I found online. If I am wrong, please do point out.
  4. A lot of this has come from various reports, press releases around the time Maithali Rao’s book on Smita Patil came out (on Smi’s 60 birth anniversary). It’s titled Smita Patil, A Brief Incandescence. No, I have not read this. 

PS: There are talks of someone making a biopic on her life. When it comes out, I will be there. The first day, first show. I am that smitten with her!

PPS: Secret wish to Universe – I’d love to work on crafting the biopic!

Other things that I did not know how to include in the essay?  

  • Smita did not know English as a child. She learned it herself by reading Hadley Chase novels and through her friends
  • Smi would frequent FTII to see evening screenings with friends. In fact, she was so regular and frequent and commonplace, some people mistook her for a student/alumni.

Links that I read to come up with this essay? These are not in any order