The film strike has been going on for so long now that a lot of people, especially children, have forgotten what films are.
For instance my elder son, Darryl, was saying this morning: "What is these films than people keep talking about? At they like the Marathin Sality Sammelan?"
"Films were moving and talking pictures on a screen that people used to go and see in places called cinemas," I explained. "You also saw them, but you were too young then and it was too long ago for your to remember. Let us say they were more like Doordarshan."
"How boring," said my younger son, Derek.
"No, no not at all boring," I said. "May be I am wrong when I compare them with Doordarshan, only in technique they were like it. they had what were known as stars, only they were not stars, they were people, actors and actresses like Sridevji and Jackie Shroffiji and Hemaji. Hemaji was very beautiful and they say she was paid Rs. 50 lakh to say that she used Lux soap or something like that."
"I still don't understand," Darryl said. "Why should they be paid so much money, it is not like they were Kapil Dev saying he used Palmolive."
"Your Kapil Dev is no class near them, no class at all," I said. "I don't think you are getting the right picture. The cinema were things people loved. Even the poorest of people would pay there time the money for the ticket to see an actor called Rishi Kapoor sing in the voice of a singer called Kishore Kumar or some stuntman do the stunts of a very popular actor, Amitabh Bachchan, who later became a politician without a portfolio."
"What a strange and dishonest business," Derek said. "I am not surprised that the government closed it down, singing in other people's voices, etc."
"The government did not close it down," I said, "the film people themselves closed it down, be cause, though Hemaji may be getting lakhs fo rupees to advertise soap, there were others who photographed her and gave her lights who were paid very little, because the government was taking away all the money in tax and the poor film people had no money at all."
"Well, not for a long time to come, but, perhaps, one day," I said. "Not in Sunil Dutt's time, nor in his son Sunjay Dutt's time, but possibly in the time of the son of Sunjay Dutt and Richa Sharma.