Thursday, July 14, 2011


When Ravi was in his teens in Mumbai (and I was still an innocent babe in Fall River), one of his favorite pastimes was going to the movies. In the late 50's, American movies were in Technicolor while Bollywood's were still black and white. So he and his friends were thrilled when they arrived at the theatre one afternoon and saw a big sign that read: SOME SCENES IN COLOR!" scrawled across the posters on display for that day's feature.

The first one they watched was a maudlin tearjerker in which a very sad woman wanders down to Juhu Beach, bent on killing herself by plunging into the sea. There she is, all in black and white, slowly making her way toward the water, when suddenly the scene bursts out into color:

and there is Marilyn Monroe, perched first as here, with the Niagara Falls as her backdrop, and then shown lying on a raft being buffeted by waves and holding on for dear life.


The next one was a crime thriller, starring Kishore Kumar. There he is, all in black and white, making a tense, suspense-filled getaway from the bad guys. Suddenly! TA DA!

It's Cary Grant, running desperately away from the evil crop-duster plane bent on snuffing him out.


So I'm thinking there has to be a lesson here for the rest of us. When life gets too difficult and suicide is your only option - change the scene! You are actually a pin up girl in living color!

(But she committed suicide herself. Hang on. Maybe this doesn't work.)

Well, Cary Grant, then.

There you are, fighting evil, warding off the dark forces, but - wait a minute - they still seem to keep winning. No worries! Become Cary Grant! In Technicolor!

(Except for this: Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant," Grant replied, "So would I.")

Technicolor or not, Cary Grant was actually a man named Archibald Alexander Leach who married five times. The sexiest man in America, yet divorce followed divorce followed divorce. Marilyn Monroe, whose brief, poignant life ended tragically in a drug overdose, and whose name was linked to baseball star Joe DiMaggio, playwright Arthur Miller and President John F Kennedy, was actually Norma Jean Mortenson, and who has ever heard of HER?

Life, it turns out, isn't easy for any of us - black and white, brilliant technicolor or anything in-between. Life is hard. The best we can do is to reach out to those on the road beside us and reassure them - black and white, brilliant color, and all the shades of grey in-between: we're in this together. We don't judge. We don't point fingers. We're in this together.

1 comment:

Dr. Ravi Chopra said...

Jo, you have got the exact scene from the film 'Noth by Northwest starring Cary Grant. Amazing! Thanks