Do you have a Resul or Rahman, Lata or Loveleen, Anand or Abhinav around you?

Joy Ho ! This morning has been one of the most inspirational mornings of my life, not only because of the Oscars that Pookutty, or A R Rahman / Gulzar have won for the first time along with Danny, Kate or a brilliant Sean Penn, but also because, the endeavours like that of Dr Subodh and Satish of ‘Smile train’ that brought smiles to ‘pinkies’ of the country, got recognized. It inspires me to look around and respond, to dedicate my life to bring smiles to fellow human beings..

As ‘my manthan’ continued, it struck me that our movement, Career Launcher, is in the right space of facilitating children, as there lies enormous potential in every child…..just look at the tremendous contribution the children have made to the success of Slumdog….or looking at each winner of the Oscars, where they began their life and where they reached. When I researched a little more on each of the winners this morning, I came across this uncanny resemblance to their rags to riches stories…aka Slumdog..Facilitating the Children

Let us facilitate the uniqueness to blossom

Resul Pookutty

Hailing from a small village of Vilakkupara in Kerala’s Kollam district, which didn’t have electricity for 17 years of his early life (ironically Vilakkupara means ‘village of light’), went on to graduate from FTII Pune in 1995 and win accolades for films like Black, Amu, Saawariya and the latest, Gajini among many of his films. Thankfully, Slumdog Millionaire happened for the world to recognize the extraordinary talent. He wins BAFTA and OSCARS apart from Cinema Audio Society (CAS) award for best sound mixing for the film. The first Indian Technician to win the Academy award went on to thank for “The history being handed over to him.”

A R Rahman

Allah Rakha Rahman, ever humble musical genius, hailed the almighty (Ella pughalum iraivanuke – All glory is to god) while accepting his double-Oscar. AR Rahman, who took the responsibility of the family at the young age of nine, dedicated his Oscar to his “loving” mother Kareema Begum, who was seated among the audience at the Kodak Theatre, by saying “Mere paas maa hai.” He went on to say, “I always had a choice between love and hate in my life. And I chose love and I am here.”

Though Rahman never had an opportunity to get proper education in his life, his genius compelled London School of Music to invite him to spend a couple of years in the campus, where he honed his western classical music along with his phenomenol grasp of Indian Classical Music. He returned to work with gurus like M S Vishwanathan and Illai Raja, before bursting on to the tamil film scene in 1986 and on to Hindi film world with Roja with Mani Ratnam, then followed some exceptional music in Bombay, Rangeel, Dil Se etc..

Resul Pookutty paid tributes to AR Rahman, saying that “He is a superlative sound engineer with mastery over technology working on desired sound and texture. He makes notes while listening to story narration itself.” He said that his Bafta and Oscar are courtesy A R Rahman.

PNK Naveen Kumar, who plays flute on Rahman’s compositions, Keith peters, the Bassist, noted percussionist Sivamani, Carnatic singer Unnikrishna all had to say only one thing “He is very humble and, gives respect and credit to every musician he works with”

A R Rahman, a spiritual soul, visits regularly a small Sufi Dargah in Nagore in rural Tamilnadu, and his composition in the movie FIZA – ’Piya Hazi ali, piya hazi Ali piya Hazi ali piya ho’ was inspired by the renditions at the Dargah.

Danny Boyle

Boyle was born in 1956 in Radcliffe into a working- class Irish Catholic family. His parents had wanted him to join the clergy but he decided against it much to the gain of the world of cinema. From his humble origins in a working class family to the glittering stage of the Academy Awards, Boyle has sure come a long way.

He began his career as a film director with the 1994 movie Shallow Grave after spending over a decade in the British theatre scene. The film was a psychological crime thriller which also marked the debut of actor Ewan McGregor. Train Spotting, a film revolving around the life of a group of drug addicts in recession-hit England, brought repute for Boyle. The film developed a cult following and was at the 10th spot by the British Film Institute in its list of Top 100 all-time British films. 52-year-old Boyle has never shied away from unconventional subjects for his films be it druggies in Train Spotting, zombies in 28 Days Later or futuristic astronauts in Sunshine.

Boyle won his first ever Academy award after being adjudged the Best Director for his Mumbai-based potboiler Slumdog Millionaire. The film had already won Boyle a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for ‘Best Director’ along with the top award at the Director’s Guild of America awards. His act of re-designating the talent director as Co-director of the film shows his humility and honesty in acknowledging fellow contributors.

Meanwhile, Boyle’s family including his father and twin sister Maria continue living in his native Radcliffe in the house where the now celebrated director grew up.

Dr Subodh K Singh of ‘Smile Train’

Smile Pinky by American filmmaker Magan Mylan is the other India-based film (documentary) that won Oscars this morning. Eight-year old Pinky had stopped smiling, even stopped going to school because she was ashamed of her cleft lip, a deformity 35,000 children are born with in India every year. Then this year, The Smile Train arrived in Pinky’s village and her world changed forever.

”She tried to smile but she was in a little pain so she couldn’t. But her eyes were saying so many more things. She looked at her face and then at my face and I think that is the best gratification I can get,” said Dr Subodh K Singh, Plastic surgeon. “This Oscar will bring the problem of clefts centrestage and probably change the lives of thousands of Pinkys who are still living with cleft lips,” said Satish Kalra, Director, The Smile Train.

I am sure all such “Trains” moving around the country will continue to bring smiles to more human beings. I wish to anchor a couple of such trains..

The past one year has seen a flood of accomplishments by Indians on the world stage – the three Oscars here to go with Vishy Anand and Abhinav Bindra in Sports are definitely bound to inspire scores of children. As A R Rahman summed up in his acceptance speech, “It is just a great starting point.”

Every child is Unique, and we celebrate this uniqueness. We, as a movement in education, are in unique position to stroke the imagination and talent of the impressionable young minds and hearts to facilitate their dreams come true. Come, let us make it happen.


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