Sunday, October 23, 2005
You meet the gorgeous man from ‘Pretty Woman’ and one of the first things he does is show you a tear in his trousers. Just as he was sitting down for the interview Richard Gere said to me, “I’m so jet-lagged and tired… look even my trousers are torn.” I just smiled and said, “Welcome to chennai.” (?? D’Oh!!?)
From then on I was determined to be a better conversationalist. The moments while your cameraman is checking the lights and sound are always extremely awkward. The interviewee is sitting right there in front of you and you’ve got to make easy conversation till you can abruptly start when you hear the word, “rolling”. What easy conversation do you make with Richard Gere? Turned out I didn’t have to worry about that. Gere is a seasoned TV interviewee.
He began to fill the space by beginning with, “Have we met before? You looked so familiar sitting there in the press conference.” (I was meeting him in an ante-room after his presser with Kamal Hassan, Parmeshwar Godrej and Kalanidhi Maran) I told him we hadn’t, although I was flattered for some reason. We started talking about this and that and he enquired about Dr. Prannoy Roy. But even as we talked, I began to get a bit fidgety because I was still not getting the green signal from my cameramen. Richard Gere immediately noticed that and wonderful gentleman that he is, asked me if the other people in the room were making me nervous. I assured him they weren’t and a nice woman from ABC news (cant remember her name now but her handshake is memorable… she was very strong), also chipped in with, “Its her cameramen who are making her nervous.”
Anyway, so the interview finally began. My introduction to camera was smooth and I set him talking about his mission of spreading awareness on HIV and AIDS. He has given these interviews many, many times so his sentences flowed like an extension of repeated thought. For an interviewer, that is always disheartening. Its as if your questions are not inspiring your interviewee to think anew about the same things.
However, I felt his body language change a little bit after the third question. I had kept the best questions for later. His reply was more spontaneous and thinking yet clear and concise. But just as I was settling in, his manager warned me that I could ask only one more question. My exclusive time with him had been eaten up by the technical delay.
So I shot my last question to which I think he gave me his most spontaneous answer. I was very pleased but had to wind up, at the point where I thought it was really getting interesting. Imagine my delight when he said, “I wish we had more time.” I could only say, “Me too.”
Incidentally, white hair and torn trousers have never looked more becoming on a man.
Posted by Alaphia Zoyab at Sunday, October 23, 2005