Mumbai-Pune, 15th March 2011
As lighting designer we travel and go places…most of all we meet interesting people. People involved in our lighting business but also people who are complete strangers to what we do. I have met some interesting people on my flights, some well-known figures from public life.
What is the difference between a celebrity and a lighting designer…? One seat…J Lighting designer seat 15D, celebrity star seat 15E. Last night I happen to sit next to one of India’s biggest movie stars, who introduced himself as Mr Kahn. I had no idea who he was, but when people (airline staff included!) were starting to take pictures and ask autographs from the man next to me I started thinking…mmm… he must be some well-known personality in India. So when everyone was belted up for take-off I started talking to him…and asked his name. It still didn’t ring a bell but I later googled his latest movie “Dabangg” and found out that he must have been Salman Khan, celebrity movie star with heaps of movies behind his name. He must have thought, what the…as it was like asking Tom Cruise who the heck was he….anyhow he was really nice and understood my ignorance about the Bollywood scene…Slumdog Millionaire was not really an Indian movie….
We started chatting about his movies and even flipped through the entertainment guide to check out if they carried any of his movies. I introduced myself as a lighting designer and found an interested ear about the work we do. As an actor he deals with light and mood and scene setting all the time so he could fully sympathise with our work.
On landing we said farewell and I promised to watch his greatest hit movie “Dabangg”, which happens to be the biggest grossing Indie movie from 2010 and the second highest earning Bollywood movie of all times (I googled this). No wonder people were staring and asking to take pictures with him….me, I just walked undisturbed through immigration :)…I don’t think we will ever reach the same status of celebrity as lighting designers , but who knows…..!
In Light Watch today I honour the lighting designers who do those great jobs in the movie industry creating the lighting settings for the picture shoots. Watching Bollywood movies is a culture by itself
Light Watch 51: Dabanng, the movie