My chance of a lifetime slipped by me, a few years ago when I was doing my MBA in Pune.
One boring day, my classmate and I decided to play hookey and go for an afternoon of shopping on MG road.
After a couple of hours of making our wallets lighter and our backpacks heavier, we headed towards Marz-o-rin, the sandwich place for a bite.
We were walking through the lonely lane adjacent to Marz-o-rin and as usual, I was talking nineteen to dozen with my friend R, who was patiently (and I suspect inattentively) listening. It was while I was in the middle of a passionate plea for improving the kanda pohe served in our college canteen, R suddenly stiffened and gasped.
After a second, she grasped my hand, gave one glance backwards and whispered, “Did you see him?” Seeing my blank look she whispered more urgently “It’s HIM, Sanjay Leela Bansali ! He just walked past us “. Well, she actually said “ Sanjay Leela Bengali” in her excitement. But Bansali is a Bengali so, I’ll let it pass.
I turned around and saw the back profile of a man with a Marz-o-rin bag in his hand. But I had serious doubts that the famous director would be roaming the streets of Pune on a sunny afternoon and conveyed that to R. But she insisted “Don’t you see, he also has a pierced ear, that’s him definitely”. “Maybe someone who looks like him” I replied still unconvinced.
Then I did something that R still hates me for. I cupped my hands and in the direction of the retreating figure yelled “Yoooooooooooooooo, Sanjay Leela Bansali , are you ? Bansali Bansali, I don’t think so “.The figure stopped, turned halfway, (Enough to let me know it WAS the famous director) turned back and walked away.
Stunned for a moment, we slowly made our way to Marz-o-rin and found the whole place in a flurry. (This was just after Devdas was released, so the hype was understandable). Many of them had his autograph and all that.
R gave me a pained look, and unhappily commented if I had not made such an idiot of myself in front of the director, we’d probably be admiring our autographs right now and boasting about meeting Bansali to our future generations and maybe also starring in a Bansali movie as a Bansali discovery. I had a tough time convincing her that I was not out to sabotage her film career and finally pacified her by giving her my favorite silver hoop earrings she admired.
Well, R is happily married now , Bansali discovered Sonam Kapor and poor me has only a 'near-meeting' with Bansali in my kitty.