A cousin of mine was telling me a very interesting thing last Saturday; some movies that we watch during childhood have a lasting impact on our thought process he said. I did agree. They make us who we are. Inspiration does not take longer than striking a match during that phase of life. We ended up discussing about all those beautiful movies that we used to watch way back then, a very nostalgic conversation that one was, there was no end to our flashbacks. And all that while I had one particular John Williams sound track from a movie running in my mind.
A while ago when I heard that this man has left us, I could not get this one scene out of my head for hours, it is from an another adorable movie. The love with which he waves his hand from inside the carriage every time the train passes by, it just makes me wish for a Grandpa like him. If you have watched the movie ‘The Railway Children’ and remember the character of The Old Gentleman who does everything possible for the three kids in the movie, you know whom I am missing and talking about. Or I am sure you remember the quirky scientist John Hammond, wearing a white shirt and a hat, walking around with a stick like he owns a normal zoo and says “Dr Grant, my dear Dr Sattler, welcome to Jurassic Park!”
I belong to the category of people who have graduated their childhood through this movie and derived a hell lot of inspiration to learn about evolution only to realize how minuscule we humans are, and hence this feeling, I have lost a teacher. “How can we stand in the light of discovery, and not act?” he had said. Even Spielberg considered him as an inspiration. It is indeed amazing how we connect to people whom we have never met. No wonder I had that soundtrack running in my reverie.
Although internationally acclaimed and awarded for his direction with the film ‘Gandhi’ in which Lord Richard Attenborough had literally put his life into his work and many of his other films which he has directed or acted in; like Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Doctor Dolittle and Chaplin to cite a few, I have always remembered him as a white bearded Santa Claus like old man with a odd gap between his central incisors which kind of inspires even the dullest man on this earth to smile.
I happened to read one of his interviews in the Guardian in 2008 now, and I could not stop myself from sharing. Here is the link : Richard Attenborough on laughter, levity and the loss of his daughter. Most of us know about our actors and directors as artists and nothing beyond that. We appreciate and laud them for their work but rarely do end up getting a personal connect. Today I cried, because with Dick like he preferred to be called, I had one. A part of my childhood and science, I owe entirely up to him. Thank you for making it beautiful.
Rest in peace Lord Dick Attenborough.