More often than not, we come across a phenomenon that shakes us and takes us into a whole new part of the world. Sometimes it’s an idea and sometimes it’s a someone. I wonder occasionally, why were stories ever created? Plays, books, TV shows and of course movies, all are a story ; trying to sell us a reality that does not exist . In fact, it’s only existence is in one’s imagination. Have you ever watched an old-post war-Hollywood movie and amusingly wondered to yourself, how did they manage to make life’s biggest dilemmas, a source for comic relief? ‘A cheating husband? Well, that’s funny! Here, let us make a comedy of errors out of that’, they seemed to be saying. And we bought it willingly. Why? Well because of the people who convinced us to! Who were these people? Well, they were none other than the charming, debonair, rugged, handsome and beautiful Old Hollywood stars. They had a presence that made you forget your most recent thought. They had a mystery about them that made them irresistible. They were perfect. They were the perfect meal for a post war wounded world.
There were love stories that took place in wars, there were fairies and angels that took care of little kids when their parents couldn’t. There was something for everyone! And there was always a happy ending. Maybe that’s why we call it ‘The magic of movies’.
Years have passed by, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, James Dean, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe have all departed from this humble earth. Yet we are entrapped in their charm.
Pick up Pillow Talk and you’ll find yourself falling in love with Rock Hudson in an in explainable manner . It was my first heartbreak, I remember and I couldn’t fall asleep. So I decided to watch some TV to distract myself from the pathetic love story of my life. Through some miracle, I switched to a movie channel that was playing an old Hollywood movie called Man’s Favorite Sport? that starred the very handsome Rock Hudson. One glance at this macho man, and I was bloody hooked. I stayed up every night now, hoping I would be lucky enough to catch another movie that starred Rock Hudson. I never bought movies as a kid, I have always been a ‘if-you-have-got-a-good book-I’ll-buy-it’ kind of girl but it was then that I found a deep fondness for movies. I would hop into every store and look for old Hollywood classics that starred Rock Hudson. They were hard to find but I was persistent. Eventually I ended up with Send Me No Flowers , a Doris Day and Rock Hudson classic.
Rock Hudson had this screen presence that made you feel all marshmallow-y and sugary inside. You could fall into his arms and he would protect you from the greatest harms, that was a given fact.
But all was not as glossy as they made it seem, apparently. He died a sad death, to say the least. As a closeted gay, he had to live a careful life, whispers alone would have damaged him. He got away with it for almost his entire life and it was in the end that reality eventually caught up with him. It was his death that eventually brought the whole world’s focus to HIV AIDS.
Oh, his death broke million hearts, I am sure.It surely broke my heart further. I sympathized and empathized with him. I wished I were born decades ago so that I would have been able to meet him. In a weird cosmic way, I connected with this man. He felt like one of my own. I guess that is what it means to become somebody’s fan. I recently ordered his autobiography in an attempt to better understand him (another first for me). I know it won’t provide many answers but at least it will provide a few.Ah, how I wish I were alive 5 decades ago. So that I could watch him in his prime. I wonder if he can see, that some folks on this planet are still keeping him in their thoughts.
Today, calling someone a star seems really dumb. For me today’s generation of actors are just that, actors. They are regular human beings doing their jobs, just like we are. Maybe it’s because there is no mystery anymore. You know their thoughts, their breakups and their love affairs as well as they do but I believe this wasn’t the case ages ago. Then, in the 50s, every actor or actress was a mystery to be thought about and if you couldn’t fill the gaps with facts, you might as well use a little bit of your own imagination. These truly, will be the stars that shine forever.
This brings me back to the point of our discussion, ‘The Creation of Stories’. Speaking from a point of observation, it feels that every story we see today was the byproduct of someone who wanted to escape reality. That person dreamed up stories and fed them to anyone who needed them. Who knows how Shakespeare ended up writing the most beautiful and painfully accurate stories about the human form? What was his inspiration? What was, his reality? I once heard that to be a great writer you need to have had the most tragic of lives. And it is only today that I realize its true meaning. Tragedy gives birth to a desire to escape reality ; to dream up a perfect and happy scenarios and get lost in a world that doesn’t even know our pain.
I guess stories shall exist as long as the human form does. Even if we were in the future, fully equipped with flying cars and time machines, we would still find something else to dream about.We would still find something to make a story about, we would still keep hoping for the perfect reality.
But in the end it is our choice. We can look beyond the veil or we could simply enjoy the whole thing, forget it and come back home.
The point is to forget reality, isn’t it?