I recently attended a friend’s wedding where they deliberately put strangers on a common table together for dinner. In the beginning every one was awkward but gradually as the evening progressed it proved an interesting experience.
I had on my table a retired doctor who now spent his time reading newspapers and watching television. He said all his nobody ever asked him how he was because everybody was engrossed in telling him what was ailing them. ‘Now for the first time,’ said the doctor ‘People inquire after my health and I love the attention’. My second companion was an MBA student waiting for a job. ‘It is the worst time to have MBA degree’ she told me in a matter of fact tone me, ‘Because today everybody is an MBA and nobody has a job.’
Now it was my turn to introduce myself and when I said write on cinema I was asked a question I always dread to hear: ‘So how does it feel to be a film journalist…Do you believe in the people you write about?’ It’s a question I’m asked time and again by family, by friends, by strangers followed by ‘But you don’t look like a film journalist.’
I have never understood the implication of such a reaction, never understood how I must react. How do they know what a film journalist looks like? Do all professionals look the same? Or maybe just because I’m associated with the film world they expect me dress in ostrich feathers a la Helen and perform an item number to convince them of my association.
Impressions have everything to do with perceptions and to an extent the media is responsible for the exaggerated image of show business. In our hurry to tell stories, we have often spiced up our copies and unknowingly tilted the balance to an extent that the image does not fade.