Final Frame, Gautam
By MovieTalkies.com, 16 September 2011
It's a birthday... but the mood is mournful. And it can't be but otherwise... as Gautam Rajadhyaksha is no more. The ace lensman is someone who's presence will be missed forever. September 16, 2011 would have been one helluva jolly day... had he been alive on his birthday.
Gautam's home phone and mobile would keep ringing incessantly and he'd be bombarded with congratulatory messages from A-list celebs that ordinary mortals would give an eye and a tooth for to merely catch a glimpse of.
"Darling, for one or two days after my birthday, I just don't feel like taking any calls," he'd once joked with me. "My ears start paining with all the calls that I take and I'm constantly talking all the time on my b'day."
'Darling', incidentally, was a unisex term that he used for those whom he liked. And believe me, there were plenty of luminaries and non-luminaries who were at the receiving end of Gautam's 'darling'.
Sadness. Numbness. A feeling of deep loss. All that and more flooded my psyche when I heard and got stunned by the news. The sudden demise of Gautam Rajadhyaksha (September 13, 2011) owing, reportedly, to a heart attack, came as a shocker to cinebiz folks and others. Later, when my tears went dry... my mind delved into flashback mode.
I recalled the first time I spoke to India's ace lensman over the phone. The voice was honey sweet, the mood upbeat. He told me to come and see him the next day at 5 p.m. as regards a book that I was commissioned to write on a leading fashion designer of the industry.
When I did meet Gautam in person and got talking, the first thing that struck me was his choice of words, not to mention the endearing smile that flitted across his face intermittently even as those articulate words embellished his thoughts and tumbled out.
Pity, that designer book turned out to be an aborted attempt later. Gautam and I, though, struck up a swift rapport. When I got employed by 'The New Indian Express' as their Principal Correspondent, I requested him for an interview, the peg being an exhibition of photographs that he'd done, then, at Pune.
Moreover, he was all set to put together his coffee table book 'FACES'... and was all keen and excited to speak over the topic.
When I did show up at his Hughes Road residence (Mumbai) for the inter-phew, Gautam spoke at length. And he was thrilled to smithereens over all the background info that I'd mugged up on him and gathered from assorted sources too. "I can see that you've done your homework and so I feel all the more reason to give you more of my time," he beamed.
And did he speak? Gautam spoke like there was no tomorrow! Ferreting out anecdotes, he regaled me with naughty stories about the stars once the dictaphone was switched off. I was delighted to discover that he was also a good mimic. He'd do a super take off on the mannerisms of the stars. And he also shared lots of interesting facts with me.