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CatFit presents ‘Tryst with Destiny’ Rising Back from a crisis with entrepreneur Pooja Bedi

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CatFit panel
CatFit panel

NewsX recently carried out a special show- ‘Tryst With Destiny’ Rising Back From A Crisis With Pooja Bedi, presented by CatFit. This series provided a holistic conversation about mental health, challenges faced in life and how to come out of it stronger, with anecdotes from Pooja Bedi’s life. This discussion targeted how to deal with adversities in life and the different coping skills required to overcome those challenges.

NewsX was joined by Arpan Dixit, Global Head, CatFit, Shefali Chopra, TEDx speaker and Storyteller, CatFit and entrepreneur Pooja Bedi, for this special episode, ‘Tryst With Destiny’ Rising Back From A Crisis With Pooja Bedi.

In her inaugural address, Pooja Bedi spoke about her mental and emotional crisis which drained her and how she came out of it. She said, “It’s very easy to look at an exterior, like a film family and put a bracket around it and stereotype people while saying what an easy life. Having said that, we’re all human beings, whatever it is that we go through, we through as a human being going through life and being a star child is actually very difficult because your life is public domain. There’s a lot of trauma associated with the fact that parents may have had relationships or are divorced and that becomes public fodder. One goes through challenges in terms of emotional challenges, for example, I was sexually molested in my teenage years by my stepfather, so those are human experiences you go through and rise from. An emotional experience for me would be, from the age of 27 to the time I was 32, I think I lost everything that was important to me in my life. I lost the man who raised me, my Nani passed away, my dog passed away and my mother died in a landslide, my brother committed suicide because he was schizophrenic. My marriage broke up, I had two small children and in addition to that I was starting off life with no income once again. I started writing columns for 4,000 rupees for Midday, trying to get my life back together again. These are huge challenges from 27-32 when you’re just developing your own sense of identity, going out there in the world and figuring things out. It’s a huge setback to lose every support system known to you at that point of time and still be positive. When people saw me, I never cried and lamented, I did in private when I cried and let it all out because it’s very important to never suppress thing but to experience it. The idea is what is the bigger picture, I could wallow in what has happened, I can look back at the past and wail. At the end of the day, it’s my life and these are my choices as to what happens to me doesn’t define me but my attitude towards what happened to me defines me. It’s not exclusive to me, everybody will lose a parent or go through a failed relationship, everybody goes through professional challenges and ups and downs, it’s called the journey of life. How I choose to embrace my challenges, rise from it, be stronger as a result of it, those are my choices. It’s up to me how I handle a crisis, whether I allow myself to be scarred by it, be bitter about it or to be better because of it”.


When the CatFit team goes to schools, they find a lot of children, male and female who have been molested or violated and result in suicidal tendencies or going into a shell. Giving out a message for such children, Pooja said, “I think it’s very important to take away stigma and shame from that. If you don’t attach stigma or shame to it, a child will go in a shell. It’s important to tell people to speak up, to tell children they have a right and they must speak up. I believe statistics say that almost 80% of sexual abuse cases take place with somebody known to the victim. It’s necessary to speak up and there are so many times families tend to push it aside because it’s somebody known and they don’t want to create a family drama or create an unpleasantness within the family but I’m sorry, if someone is a bad person, they need to be highlighted, spotlighted and everybody needs to keep their kids away from them. It’s important to turn around and make a statement, mothers should not accept the fact that their child is a rapist and go stand up for him but give him two tight slaps and say how dare you violate the integrity and dignity of a woman. It is women who need to stand up for other women whether it’s mother-in-law’s who may have to tell you to abort a female fetus and are put through the trauma because the family wants a boy. Women have to stand up for women and if there is a case where people are looking the other way, that means a woman is involved and that is so unfortunate”.


Speaking about the mantra and where her resilience to rise back comes from, Pooja said, “Basically my parents really led by example, they had really rebellious lives, they went out there and fought conventions and defy a whole bunch of stuff. These days your trolls are available and the type of media on you in every possible way. I think watching them say if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen, the fact is you choose to go down a path. Take responsibility for yourself, your actions. It’s important to understand that every single thing in life is your choice, every decision that surrounds you, so you look at your life with a lot of gratitude and at yourself with a lot of appreciation. If you’ve made bad choices, then turn around and make some good choices. I think resilience also comes from a sense of self-worth, a lot of people don’t feel good enough and they accept the bad that is happening in their life because they feel they can get no better or they can do more and that they don’t deserve more in their lives. It’s very important to develop self-worth and that must be inculcated since childhood, we’re so used to telling people off and putting children down, be like so and so, do better, strive for these marks. Comparing children and motivating them only for success, making them feel less like they haven’t done their best or they’re not well rounded enough and all sorts of pressure is put on them. We need to build their self-worth, not in an overconfident, bratty way but true inner self-worth, where they believe that if they put in their time and effort for something, it will be of good use and generate value and great results. We all have these programs, limiting belief systems that we’ve all been programmed with, break out of them. Which belief system doesn’t work for you, let go of those systems instead of holding on because of a sense of identity, if it’s not serving you, it doesn’t belong in your life or space. Most importantly, gratitude, count your blessings and at every point, you feel victimized, turn around and count your blessings, the good things in life. If you fill your life with positivity, it gives you the strength to go forward as you realize your blessings and face any adversity better at that point of time. The stupidest things that we take for granted around us, emotional, material, mental, be grateful. What very important in life is passion, to have passion for something, everything else becomes inconsequential. When you have a goal and focus, you will do what you want in life and whatever happens along the way, you deal with it because you’re focused on where you’re going”.
Talking about her highest and lowest point so far, Pooja said, “When you’re going a crisis, it’s the worst because nothing in life feels as bad as that moment. At that moment, everything is paramount and everything has its place. When you look back in hindsight you realize, if you can go back in time and just tell yourself that everything is going to be okay and you’ll come out stronger. Whenever I’m going through any crisis, I think of my future self, coming back to give me a hug and say that everything will be fine”.


Speaking about her take on teaching psychological and mental health at schools, colleges or workplaces, Pooja said, “I think it’s extremely important to give children coping skills. As we know the world is getting smaller due to technology, the access to all the information can be used and misused. So many kids are addicted to these devices, they’re just engaged and don’t have any outside coping skills and are immersed in their screens. The fact is, this is the new generation, it’s their life, this will be their reality. So, our job isn’t to ask them to not do it because it is their world and if they do, they’ll be disconnected with a future that is impending. I would ask parents and schools to give the children coping skills to deal with the fact that we are human, going through a robotic space in so many ways and where is the emotional quotient leading to your mental quotient and strengthening that. We should give our children emotional, social, interpersonal, financial skills, teach them more and send them outdoors. How to heal, how to be better human beings and not shut off, how to handle a crisis, how to speak up, to develop personality and body language are things which are very important”.


The CatFit team has Special Forces and NSG commandos who go to schools, colleges, universities, corporates. Speaking about her closest experience with the defence personnel, Pooja said, “Firstly, I was in a military boarding school, it took a lot of mental toughness. I was surrounded by kids from the armed forces because the school catered to that entire demographic on a large scale. Second, my fiancé’s father, who was a Captain of the Indian Navy and Arjuna awardee. The kind of experiences he shared about the Navy, how incredible his journey was with the armed forces was very heartening. The armed forces care of their own and the courage, respect, care within their circle in very phenomenal”.


Talking about people finding their inner strength out of their comfort zone, Pooja said, “We always say that we developed our inner strength and toughness because we came out of our tough times and that teaches us a lot about us. Your greatest tormentor is your greatest teacher because the tormentor is teaching you so much about yourself and somebody that you despise with all your heart may be a hero to someone else. So, the person isn’t bad, your equation with them is. You need to figure out what is it that went wrong between the two of you or what is dysfunctional about you and that person. The part of you that believes in the dysfunction is what perpetuates it and it’s important to turn around and take responsibility to every relationship, good and bad, to thank those people who sometimes need to come into our lives to teach us a hard truth and thank them for teaching you a lesson”.
Life skills are the most important skills and talking about which skills she believes should be a part of student’s lives and work culture, Pooja said, “The most important thing to teach everyone is the importance of holistic wellness. Unfortunately, wellness is only seen as physical and nowadays mental wellness is coming into the picture. However, there’s also emotional, spiritual, sexual, financial and social wellness, all these different forms are intrinsic to our proper functioning and if one of these is out of balance, a large part of us is dysfunctional. It’s important to us to, firstly, in schools, colleges, workplace to introduce the concept at every point of holistic wellness. Second, self-worth. Teach people to stand up for themselves, not accept nonsense, bullying, to have the strength of purpose and integrity. It’s extremely important to emphasize integrity, it’s okay to make a mistake but not lie about it. Also, in terms of coping skills, to have certain forums in place between the sexes, how to interact, work and live with the opposite sex. You need to have this at all levels and you need education regarding this because of the many myths surrounding it and issues surrounding it. There are so many mental phobias and fears around it, people are scared to work with women in the workplace now because they might get accused of sexual harassment, misuse the law. I think all this leads to a very unhealthy environment in the workplace, it’s important to educate people how to use and not misuse the law, how to treat the opposite gender with the utmost respect at all levels”.


Psychologists at CatFit have done research on mental health and they’ve put forward their findings. Sharing that body of work, Arpan said, “Last year, four of our psychologists were a part of the Government of India’s study and the whole idea was to find out the impact of Covid-19 on mental health. This will give everyone an idea of what it does to a person’s mind, mental, psychological and emotional health. Six fields were undertaken, teachers, parents, doctors, policemen and the Corona warriors to identify what was happening inside the brains of these people. It was an extensive study, six books have been published in the field by the Government, this is for posterity. Now, on the basis of this study, we can go back and will be in a perfect position to find out what kind of depression levels, stress, anxiety, emotional issues or levels of resilience they had. How to ensure that they have better coping with adversity skills. So, these are some of things we managed to bring out through this study and this is what we will pass over to the people once the restrictions are lesser”.


Speaking about weaving storytelling dimension to mental health and its response and success, Shefali said, “Initially when I started, there weren’t many takers but now I realize people are opening their minds to it because one story can change many lives. These stories aren’t community-based but they travel from country to country. When there are stories regarding strength, self-worth and talk about illnesses and breaking the mental shackles, I have stories to do with it. People will always remember these stories and their impact. Schools must take storytelling as a serious subject because they really transform people. The stories with regard to strength, it creates an impact and is unbelievable how a story can lives”.


Pooja added, “It’s all about your mind and how strong your mind is. Martina Navratilova said ‘The game of life is played in the six inches between your ears’. It’s all happening in your mind and strengthen your mind is, is on you. How you program yourself, reprogram yourself is all up to you. You have all the tools available, incredible psychologists, incredible teams, the Internet to research how to do that, how to go about changing certain aspects of yourself and getting the mental strength required and need to have an amazing life which you deserve. I think that’s the most important thing we should share today, is to tell people the power to change life is with them and it is their choice to stay where they are, or to move on and ahead, going from strength to strength”.

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ON DOCTORS’ DAY, NETIZENS THANK DOCTORS FOR THEIR IMMENSE CONTRIBUTION

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As India celebrated National Doctors’ Day on Friday, politicians, business leaders and social media users took to Twitter to thank doctors for their immense contribution and serve to the nation. #NationalDoctorsDay took the top trend as wishes poured in on social media. Leading the celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a video on social media and said, “Doctors Day greetings to all hardworking doctors who play a key role in saving lives and making our planet healthier.”

Union minister Nitin Gadkari remembered Bharat Ratna Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, who was an Indian physician, freedom fighter, educationist and philanthropist. “Deepest gratitude to all the doctors on National Doctors Day. I salute their tireless efforts in keeping us safe during the global pandemic,” he said.

Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan also remembered Bharat Ratna Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy and tweeted, “Remembering Bharat Ratna Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, one of the pioneers of healthcare sector on National Doctors Day. Today , let us express our gratitude and take a moment to appreciate all our doctors for their round-the-clock efforts for a healthy and fit society.”

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Fearing a layoff? Devise an action plan

Priyanka Sharma

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India›s workforce has been at the receiving end of the economic impact of the pandemic. While many of the employees faced salary cuts up to 40-50%, there are a significant number of people who were laid off. One might assume that layoffs were a phase and the time to recover losses that occurred due to Covid-19 is not too far, but the recent layoffs in EdTech giants like BYJU’s and Topper paint a different picture.

In such uncertain times, there are certain strategies that one can adopt to evade a powerful economic blow. Having an action plan might not help in retaining the same job, but it will sure help in sustaining a huge financial blow as well as finding more opportunities.

BE INDISPENSABLE

The trick to retaining a job is to be invincible. Be so good at your job that it prompts the employer to think twice before taking a decision on laying you off. This does not happen in a day. Daily actions translate into a long-term commitment. Show up on time, learn as much as you can, deliver more than expected, come up with new ideas, maintain good relationships with your colleagues as well as your seniors, and you will carve out a space for yourself in your organisation.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

Learning is a process that must never end. Skills like creative writing, social media marketing, video editing, graphic designing, machine learning and others are skills that are highly in demand. Even if you are working an 8-hour shift and are not actively looking for a job, these skills will give a boost to your resume, enhance your skill set and set you apart from others.

BUILD NETWORK

Social media has made it possible for us to stay connected all the time, not just with our friends and family but also with potential employers. Building a positive relationship with your colleagues, ex-colleagues, seniors and people who are working in other organisations will ensure that you never miss an opportunity. Showcase your work on websites like LinkedIn to ensure that you don’t look for an opportunity, rather it comes to you.

BUILD ASSETS

No matter what your current pay scale is, it is always advisable to have multiple sources of revenue. That is only possible when you start investing early. Whether it is your 1st paycheck or your 300th paycheck, make sure to save a portion of your salary. Spend that amount on things that will give you a bigger return and not just dig a hole in your pocket. It is always advisable to have an emergency fund. As the term suggests, this emergency fund will help you sail through a difficult time. Even if you are laid off, you will be financially secure.

POSITIVE SELF TALK

Finally, it might get difficult to stay unaffected by what is happening around you. The uncertainty can take a toll on you but staying positive can help you not only manifest your dream job but also avoid the stress. Have a positive self-image, eat nutritious meals, dance your heart out, spend time with family and wait for life to surprise you.

Having an action plan might not help in retaining a job but it will help in sustaining a huge financial blow as well as finding more opportunities.

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‘THE TERMINAL LIST’ FAILS TO LIVE UP TO THE HYPE

Despite the promise, ‘The Terminal List’ doesn’t really offer anything new to the world of action thrillers.

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Over the last decade or so, Chris Pratt seems to have overtaken everybody else to become a leading blockbuster action hero in Hollywood. He brings with him just the right mix of charisma and rugged machismo. Not many are aware that there was a time when Pratt failed the auditions for J. J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek’ and James Cameron’s ‘Avatar.’ But, it all changed for Pratt with ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ wherein he played one of the soldiers who took part in the eventual assassination mission to take down Osama bin Laden. He followed it up with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ wherein he essays the part of a brash space adventurer named Peter Quill who gets hunted by relentless bounty hunters after he steals an orb coveted by Ronan, the Supreme Accuser of the Kree Empire. Subsequently, he went on to star in films like ‘Jurassic World,’ wherein he undertakes the seemingly impossible task of training raptors, ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ wherein Pratt stars as a member of a band of cowboys who are hired to protect a small town from an evil baron, and ‘The Tomorrow War,’ which stars Pratt in the role of a man recruited to fight an invasion taking place in the future.  

With such hard-hitting action thrillers under his belt, Chris Pratt looks like the ideal choice to play the part of James Reece in the new Amazon Prime Video series ‘The Terminal List,’ which is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Jack Carr. The series follows Reece after his entire platoon of Navy SEALs is ambushed during a high-stakes covert mission. Reece returns home to his family with conflicting memories of the event and questions about his culpability. However, as new evidence comes to light, Reece discovers dark forces working against him, endangering not only his life, but the lives of those he loves. The series stars Constance Wu, Taylor Kitsch, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Riley Keough, Arlo Mertz, Jai Courtney, JD Pardo, and Patrick Schwarzenegger, among others. Antoine Fuqua, the veteran director of films such as ‘The Equalizer,’ ‘Training Day,’ serves as an executive producer (he also is a director) on the series. The show is written by David DiGilio (‘Strange Angel’), who is also an executive producer on the show alongside Fuqua and Pratt.

To help with authenticity, ‘The Terminal List’ engaged veterans and their families as part of multiple aspects of the series production. For example, half the show’s writing staffers are either veterans themselves or have veterans in their families. ‘The Terminal List’ adds to the list of action thrillers which are already a part of Amazon Prime Video’s catalogue such as ‘Jack Ryan,’ ‘Hanna,’ ‘Reacher,’ and ‘Bosch,’ among others. And, despite the promise, it doesn’t really offer anything new to the world of action thrillers. Yes, there is Chris Pratt and the wonderful supporting cast, Jack Carr’s bestselling novel, and Fuqua’s direction. But, it just doesn’t add up in a way the makers would have hoped and fails to live up to the hype of this big game-changer of an action show that marks Pratt’s highly anticipated return to television.      

A show like ‘The Terminal List’ could have been a trendsetter had it come out a decade back but today there is so much solid action content out there that it’s very difficult to stand out in the crowd. If anyone could have delivered it, it’s the team of Pratt and Fuqua but unfortunately ‘The Terminal List’ falls short by some distance. A much better option with the story on offer and the chosen treatment perhaps would have been a four-episode miniseries or a feature film rather than a full-fledged series. However, the show isn’t without merits. There are loads and loads of action on offer and even though most of it is pretty predictable the action lovers wouldn’t be disappointed. Fans of Chris Pratt too wouldn’t mind seeing him beating the bad guys to pulp. Some of the old action buffs might even be reminded of films of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, notwithstanding the lack of novelty or surprise on offer.      

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ON SOCIAL MEDIA DAY, NETIZENS CALL FOR CAUTION AND VERIFICATION

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Section 144 CrPC order on social media

On the occasion of Social Media Day on Thursday, netizens took to social media to spread the message of caution. The official Twitter account of United Nations shared, “We all love to share. But sharing misformation is harmful and it spreads faster when we are upset. On Thursday’s Social Media Day, we ask you to #PledgeToPause and verify content before you share it online.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also tweeted: “Lies and misinformation spread around the world at the touch of a button. We can do our part to stop the spread. On Social Media Day, I encourage you to pause and take time to verify facts before you share something online.”

A social media user said, “Social Media Day is a day to celebrate the freedom and opportunities that this platform has given us,” whereas another social media user said, “Happy Social Media Day to all. Let us pledge to be more sensible, factual, responsible and positive on social media platforms.”

In today’s day and age, when the world is going digital, social media is paving its way to become an information age. From getting to know which celebrity is partying where, who got a promotion amongst your friend circle and sometimes, getting your daily dose of news, social media has emerged as one of the most important tools in our daily lives.

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16 LGBTQ filmmakers awarded at ‘Colors of Love Film Festival’

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About 16 LGBTQ filmmakers were awarded at the fourth edition of the “Colors of Love International LGBT Film Festival”, organised by Script Factory Production Private Limited. Out of 61 film submissions from LGBT filmmakers around the world, the jury recognised 22 films and 16 filmmakers for their inspiring work. The LGBT Film Festival received submissions for short films, documentaries, animation films, music videos, and web series with LGBTQ themes.

OUT, a short film directed by Seth Chitwood of the United States won the best LGBT-Gay film, followed by best LGBT-Lesbian film ‘Where do the sounds go’ directed by Florent Gouelou of France, Best LGBT-Bisexual Film ‘Write to me by mistake’ directed by Guiseppe De Candia of Italy, Best LGBT-Transgender Film ‘Sisterhood’ directed by Tobias Kralmark of Sweden, Best LGBT-Sexual Diversity Film ‘Quality Check’ directed by Harriette Murtland of the United States, Best LGBT-Documentary Film by ‘Merchant Marine Paul Goercke and Alexander Hamilton Post 448’ directed by Alexander Zane Irwin of the United States.

Best LGBT-Animation Film ‘Embrace’ directed by Latesha Merkel of the United States, Best LGBT–HIV based film ‘More Tomorrow than Before’ directed by Ulises Perez Mancil from Mexico, Best LGBT–Music Video ‘Give Her Your Love’ directed by Celeste Lois from Argentina, Best LGBT–Pride Celebration Film ‘Heaven in Hell’ directed by Len Rosen from the United States, best LGBT Director ‘Send Pic?’ directed by James Cooper from Canada, Best LGBT Female Filmmaker ‘Shall We Talk?’ directed by Katya Mikheeva from Russian Federation, Best LGBT Screenwriter ‘Keep Off the Grass’ written by Francis Rudd from the UK, best LGBT Cinematography Film ‘Enigma’ by Cinematographer Rayner Cook from the United States, best LGBT Editor ‘Breathe’ edited by Stefan Hickert from the Netherlands and Special Jury Mentioned award ‘Romario’ directed by James Cooper from Canada.

The LGBT Film Festival received submissions for short films, documentaries, animation films, music videos, and web series with LGBTQ themes.

Gary Punjabi, director of the LGBT Film Festival said, “The USP of the LGBT Film Festival is that it was organised during Pride Month (June),”addi ng, “There was an audience interaction on the topic “Women and Bollywood,” where we discussed female Bollywood filmmakers, and hosted a panel discussion on the topic “Pride is Every Day,” with panellists Jaswant Kaur, Kirandeep Sahay, and Ravindra Mukherjee.”

Color’s of Love international LGBT Film Festival was founded by the Script Factory Production Private Limited in 2020. An LGBTQ community enterprise, Colors of Love was founded to curate and present queer short films to new audiences in a fun and informative manner.

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SPENDING TIME WITH NAMBI WAS A GREAT INSIGHT, SAYS MADHAVAN

Actor R. Madhavan is all set for his directorial debut. Will ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ kick off a new era for Indian cinema? Find out in this exclusive conversation.

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With less than 50 days to go for 75 years of India’s Independence, patriotism is evidently in the air. This Friday, audiences will get to witness it across cinema halls in India, with the release of the much-awaited “spy” thriller –Rocketry, The Nambi Effect. Narayanan was a part of the golden engine team that was instrumental in kicking off India’s ambitious satellite programmes. Narayanan’s fight for justice to clear his name off the falsely accused espionage charges forms the central theme of this movie. The Daily Guardian Review spoke to actor R. Madhavan for an exclusive conversation before his big release. Excerpts:

R. Madhavan (left), and Nambi Narayanan.The poster of the film.

Q: Are you nervous, excited or a bit of both?

A: Right now, I have reached a stage beyond exhaustion and so I’m kind of numb. I’m happy that the film is releasing. I’m very keen to see the outcome of this film. I think I have moved past the stage of excitement and nervousness.

Q: What was your experience of working with Nambi like?

A: I think it was an eye-opener. First of all, it was embarrassing that one didn’t know enough about him and his story. It was even more shocking that what you knew about him was not even scratching the surface. When I knew the truth about who Nambi Sir is and what he has done for this country that nobody was aware of, it made me feel ashamed. It was that emotion which drove me to make up my mind about doing this film. 

Q: Did you build a ‘more than movie’ relationship with him?

A: Oh yes! I’m in awe of him. Absolute awe. On top of that, he is kind, he is generous, and with age, he has been more active than most of us put together- mentally and physically. Had it not been for Covid that he, unfortunately, got in the last week, he would have been there with me now for all the promotions, which is something that I miss about the whole film, the promotion.

Q: How difficult was it to get into the skin of the character? 

A: See, the thing is, I spent a lot of time trying to get into his mind and trying to understand what makes his mind tick. What makes him such a crazy patriot? You know the kind of guy who looks beyond the obvious and makes the impossible possible, right? Spending time with him was a great insight. I realised that people like him are patriots because they do their job with absolute sincerity, without any expectation of fame or money or anything of that sort. That’s an attitude, which is in-built and cannot be cultivated.

Q: How important is a movie like this for Gen Z to get inspired and feel patriotic?

A: The whole idea was to increase the intellectual capital of India, which is so required at this juncture. Telling a story of technocrats like Nambi Sir and glorifying the technological achievements in fields like science or medicine or IT is very essential. The idea is to see the film and understand that there are some geniuses, who have studied in the esteemed universities abroad and came back to work for the country. 

Q: Is that why you recently also described Nambi as the ‘Father of James Bond’? 

A: Yes, I think so. It’s uncanny the things he has done. I wish I had 12 hours to tell his story. With the sheer amount of strength, tenacity, and bravery to go with technical finesse, he is a genius in making the rocket engine. All that makes him the ‘Father of James Bond.’ Imagine, James Bond with everything he did and also an inventor and a scientist.

Q: From Madhavan, the actor to Madhavan, the Creator, how significant is that change?

A: Well, you know, academically it’s a huge change and I have little idea how much I have succeeded in it till the first of July and how the outcome of the film will be in terms of the public. For me, it was sort of a mission, almost insanity. No rationale for me to have done this film with the kind of budget we did it in, but we did it and finally, I have to tell you that I’m nervous about that outcome as anybody else. 

Q: What is your reaction to the film getting a 10-minute-long standing ovation at Cannes 2022?

A: (Laughs) Well, I have to figure out if that ovation was for Nambi Sir alone or if some of it was for me as a director as well. I suspect it was because Nambi Sir was there. 

Q: ‘Life Before Nambi’ and ‘Life After Nambi’, for you, what is the road ahead?

A: That already happened. My life before I met Nambi Sir is very different. Madhavan before meeting Nambi Sir is very different from Madhavan after having met Nambi Sir. I think I am permanently changed. And I suspect, for the better.

Q: Your directorial debut is a biopic. Will we see a pattern for your subsequent ventures too?

A: I hope so. Maybe I won’t be directing them but definitely looking at more ventures that are meaningful, about technocrats and their achievements and the possibilities that this country offers in every aspect of technology. We only end up making biopics on soldiers and sportspersons but I think it’s about time we made it about our technocrats as well. On that note, ‘Rocketry’ is all set to take off. 

Vaishnavi H.S. is an entertainment industry analyst who has worked in leadership roles in many leading television and radio channels.

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