Musings with Mahnaz
Actor, Model, Theatre's enfant terrible, Mahnaz Damania, doodles her thoughts and method to madness surviving maximum city, Mumbai
struggle verb (EFFORT)
to experience difficulty and make a very great effort in order to do something:
We are Raconteurs. We flesh out stories to sketch your darkest and most bizarre fantasies
We sharpen our skills and tangle our tongues,
It is in your amusement
That we seek satisfaction.
We exist in multiple realities. All of which we juggle with conscientious precision and meticulous methodology.
We push up
We pull up
We be Clowns and Poets
Singers and Dancers.
Writers and Musicians
Ballerinas and Comedians
Bikers and Models
Gymnasts and professional hula hoopers
Nervous little boys and girls
With their parents.
Patient old men and women
With their handkerchiefs.
Waiting their turn.
Not tired just yet – But energised.
Precise to hit their marks
On their toes with lines given and memorised
Only minutes ago.
And then always that same place where you get the same notes
Yeh achha tha…. Lekin thoda…. Aur…. Matlab..feeling hoti hain naa…. OR
Screen age likho OR
Don’t be so verbatim… do it – like you would say it… ignore the script … its just a frame of reference for the scene OR
I don’t understand why you people do this… stick to the script… those words are on the page for a reason… use them
But from every experience we gather,
Like an added feather to our hat – We learn.
We use everything we have
And put in the hours.
Long diligent hours
Lined in sweat.
Dunked in chai-biscuit breaks.
This – not because we have to,
It is the only way we knew possible
To truly connect
To another human being
And the process that guides us there.
This. The only reality that matters.
Where in those multitudes and parallels
We exist in complete honesty.
With faith in those hours
So loyally kept aside
To do thoda aur
Where the cause was far more important
And the journey to its completion, spectacular.
Spectacular and filled with the success we value.
Where every morning to wake up
To the possibility of ‘Yes!’
We do moan and groan
About EMIs and their loans
Just like you do,
But wake up knowing
Today is another day that we will continue to do what makes us, breaks us and makes us some more.
My only effort is to be better today than I was yesterday.
I am Mahnaz Damania, 30 Years old, 5’7” tall, and these are my profiles.
I have no brand or date conflicts. Thank you.
Man, I’ve never been asked to write like this before. It’s exciting, I can talk about anything I want! This, what I wrote above, is a summed up version of what goes on in my head when entertaining a conversation about being an “actor” or an “artist” or “musician” etc., etc, (add every pursuit of creativity here that comes up).
A friend told me about this incident from a while ago when we met the other day. The idea behind the conversation stayed with me for a lot longer than I thought it would. And this was how it all went down.
Mumbai : Apartment living room
3 young people are sitting in a sparsely furnished bachelor pad. One is busy on his iPhone 6S, the other two are discussing something excitedly. Every now and then, phone person, pops his head up to nod in acknowledgement of the conversation.
Once the, routine checklist of formalities were exchanged, phone guy goes back to his gadget. He only surfaces (as if on random shuffle on the playlist in his head) to ask my friend about what his next “big-banner film” will be released.(Said) friend replies, “No movies for now but I’ve been busy. I’ve written and directed a short film actually…. Abhi ek play bhi chal raha hai.” But before he could finish, he was cut off with,“It’s such a struggle, na?…hhhhhhhmmmmmmm…must be hard.”
So, at the end of the day, nothing else mattered to the phone guy but the idea of a “big-banner film.” My friend’s clear excitement about his Indie short and his play, were nudged aside (to put it lightly), by this misinformed correlation of having done something of consequence as an artist, equals fame and fortune. But thankfully, artists and musicians and storytellers persist – beyond all odds, to deliver the message at hand.
I guess this is just a shout out to everyone out there that’s going “against the grain” in their own little way and to everyone encouraging the Arts. With immense gratitude in my heart – to every Creator and their supporters in solidarity – thank you for doing what you do and being who are.
Photographs by Ayesha Parikh, Rutvik Patel