How Srimala was Born - contd
by Srijaya Char
Back to Page 1 of the story
My mother did not mind my going for dance classes where I was be paid `300 every day. My brother was attending school. It was a government school and we had no worry about his fee, food and clothing.
“Ma, I have something to tell you and narrated the sequence of events of that day and said, “I will be provided with food and clothing, Ma. I am supposed to lodge with Ranjita Ma’am. I need to move out. I shall hand over the 200 to you every day in the evening,” I said and looked at her askance. She seemed happy!
I was diligent in my practice and when finally a day came for the shoot with the regular dance director of a movie. I was thorough with my dance steps, the rhythm and the music. Ranjita Ma’am called all of us and gave us a talk about what we should do and how we should behave with the new director. His name was Balaji and he was famous in the Bombay filmdom. I was a bit apprehensive about working with a famous director for the first time.
We were supposed to give him our bio-data. Some of them who went before me gave him a paper. I had none. When my turn came I was almost in tears. I went to him and told him all about me honestly. I said “Sir, I do not have a bio-data. I don’t even know who my father was.
“Excellent!” – He said. I like your honesty and you are very pretty and if you have learnt some dancing that is all I need. We don’t look for education or degrees. You should know how to turn and twist your body according to the rhythm of the music Now, we were all sent to one a man named Kamal. He called all of us and gave instructions regarding what exactly was expected of us for a particular scene in the movie. I was thrilled!
“Yes. I did exactly as he told me to do. He danced with me; now and then he would come near me and lift my hands up or down and would instruct me as to how to twist my body to the rhythm. Though I felt a bit uncomfortable, I did not hesitate. “That is the way dancers are trained. I should not be feeling this way.” – I said to myself.
He would put his hands around my waist and teach me how to twist to the rhythm of music and the band.. “You are very pretty and you have the best figure. If you seriously continue with this kind of dancing, you may even become a heroine. We will teach you acting as well.” – He said. “I appreciate your honesty– He asked.
“God, you are really honest and I appreciate you for that.” – He said as he patted my back.
“Sir, Can I take four days leave to see my mother?” – I asked.
“I’ll give you Rs.400/- now. I shall give the other 100 only if you return within two days.” She said.
“That’s okay Sir” – I said.
I went home and gave Rs. 100/- to my brother and told him that he should pay his school fee of Rs.25/- and give Rs.50/- to mother and keep the rest to himself.” – He jumped
When I justified to my friends about my decision to become someone big in filmdom, they all had a hearty laugh. It was not encouraging. It looked like they were making fun of me.
I had this secret desire to become a big film star in the filmdom and also marry a big-wig in the industry. Though I did not wish to disclose it to anyone and it just came out without my knowledge.
Slowly money poured in as I had become uninhibited about many things. I became a regular dancer for many films and slowly climbed the ladder of success and even became a STAR and got mobbed wherever I went. My name was now Srimala…Srimala was a known star in Bombay filmdom. Srimala became a big star. Everybody looked forward to seeing her in films and was given very good roles by directors and I was surprised with the ease that I could act. Nobody taught me acting. How is it that I can act so well? Every time I did a scene it was Okayed at the first shot itself.
I now had a good house and a car, a driver, two landlines a mobile and a secretary. Now was the time for me to call my mother to Bombay and live with me. I was in a position to provide a good job to my brother as well.
I could not be in touch with them as they had no phones. As there was no proper address to their home as it was just a lean-to, just with a few bamboos put together with some torn tarpaulins as a cover. Srimala could not even send a letter or a parcel of a mobile-phone to her home in the village.
She met her director and told him about the plight of her mother and brother and begged him to somehow get them to come and live with her in Bombay. He was a very obliging person. He took all the details and directions to her house which was in a small village near Hubli. He sent one of his assistants with a female escort to bring them to Bombay by train.
The mother and brother were perplexed when two people came to their shanty and gave her a long story about her daughter and told them to accompany them to Bombay. Though they had their own doubts about these arrangements they agreed. The woman who was with them gave her, her mobile phone and called Srimala to talk to her mother so that she would feel safe to travel with them to Bombay. Though the mother felt very difficult to converse on phone, she was able to understand what her daughter told her and finally agreed to accompany them to Bombay. **
The rest was history. Srimala’s mother was renamed Vasundhara and the brother got a name Sundar Kumar. They accompanied her in her car to the shooting sights and their joy knew no bounds. Srimala recognized the talents of her brother as well and took him with her and introduced her to many directors. Though he did not become an actor, he learnt the art of handling the camera and became a cameraman. In a short while Sundar Kumar became a famous cameraman.
This is the story of Kuppi, the sweeper, who became Srimala revered and respected wherever she went. A ‘BIG STAR’ in Bombay. ***