Tilak Rishi's weblog

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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Let Stars Retire In Style

If a star isn't visible in the night sky, has it burned out? And if a celebrity is no longer on our radar screen, is he or she in effect “dead to us?” Just now, reading through Amitabh Bachchan's blog (Day 106), I was transported to decades back in time to the 50s and 60s, the so called Golden Era of Hindi Cinema. A darkened galaxy of once-bright stars, now consigned to the dustbin of our collective entertainment memory. And if lucky, they may surface on a celeb-reality show or cameo in a movie, gasping for air, as we shake our heads and say, “Oh ....., where have you been?” Sure, I could Google all these stars and find out if they are still working or if they are now celluloid memories, digital dreams that rattle randomly around the corners of our conscience. But it doesn't matter. It's not the same. And it never will be. Even Bollywood actors get old!

Most big-name celebrities will retire to their mansions with a houseful of hired help – but what about the lesser-known character actors and back-up dancers? Is Bollywood doing something for them? After all, it is the industry that must have made millions from their movies when it was their time. Bollywood icons need to take note of what their counterparts in Hollywood are doing for their forgotten colleagues. The Motion Pictures and Television Fund Country House in California and the Actors' Fund Homes in New Jersey are retirement communities that take care of little guys in the entertainment industry – supporting stars and extras who lived by the maxim that there are not small parts, only small actors. It's a matter of the industry taking care of its own. While both nonprofit Homes had their share of big-name celebrity residents, majority of residents are not as recognizable by name alone. Both these Homes provide assisted living and nursing care for retired entertainment professionals and their families. The Frances Goldwyn Lodge, named for the actress/wife of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayor mogul, Samuel Goldwyn, houses retirees. First run films are shown in the Louis B. Mayor Theatre. Residents relax in a longe named for Douglas Fairbanks, one of the original founders of the fund. And the ailing receive care at the Bob Hope Health Center and George Burns Intensive Care Unit.

Will Bollywood bigwigs take a cue from the exemplary initiatives taken by their Hollywood counterparts and help their colleagues retire in style? With the biggest ever earnings by the big stars now, it is not at all difficult for them to donate a small part to start such a fund.


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