The Gardener of “Souls”
“He was such a wonderful human being. He was gentle, not a Hitler-esque cruel director. I never saw him get angry; he wasn’t a tortured human being in any way. Because he’d been an actor himself, he made a gardener director. He knew exactly what the plants were, how much sun and how much earth and water they needed. He let them grow and blossom in their own time. I loved him and I shall miss him like anything.” –Saeed Jaffrey
“Dickie, a one-man entertainment empire, was at least as significant as those humanitarian titans he brought to life on screen. He was also the quintessence of kindness and modesty, and it was a privilege to have known and worked with him.” — Michael York
It took twenty years. He told everybody that he would do it.
It took him twenty years of Championing to get the funding and to make it.
Richard Attenborough was able to make Gandhi (1982), which had a fine performance by Ben Kingsley in the title role. The film is dedicated to Lord Mountbatten, Pandit Nehru and an unknown Indian called Motilal Kothari, who suggested the subject to Attenborough in the first place in 1962.
Nehru’s advice to Attenborough was that it would be wrong to deify Gandhi: “He was too great a man for that.” The film won eight Oscars – best picture, best actor, best director, best original screenplay, best cinematography, best art direction, best editing, best costume design – the biggest haul ever for a British movie. In his acceptance speech, Attenborough said: “Gandhi believed if we could but agree, simplistic though it be, that if we do not resort to violence then the route to solving problems would be much different than the one we take.”
She took his advice. For he was persuasive and he had her best interest in mind. It was Common Sense in his mind. He knew the value. He pushed the napkin toward her.
He was right.
And she became wildly successful. Almost 3 billion dollars worth.
But his day job was to be a critic. A Movie Critic. He would often say and do thumb down.
“It’s not the critic who counts.
It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled.
Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena…”
Although he was a mere movie critic, he was in the arena of life, like all of us, however. And he was concerning and constructive.
Lucky for her. Thumb up. He knew what he was talking about.
He gave his opinion on what movies were good, thumb up, or not so good, thumb down, and you decide. With his partners it was two thumbs up. It was his business to be familiar with the movies and the entertainment industry. He did it for 46 years.
“I didn’t have a sense of purpose.”
“You might as well live a lot, really hard, and not give a shit, because you can always walk through that door. So I started to live as if I could die any day.” [Our emphasis, not hers]
But she couldn’t.
She couldn’t live as if she had no purpose. It wasn’t in her nature.
So she had started her search, not knowing why or how, or even where. She didn’t even know that she was searching.
Be Beautiful, Brilliant, and Bold
“I’m a sworn enemy of the convention. I despise the conventional in anything, even the arts”
Hedwig Kiesler, was declared the “most beautiful women in the world,” but she quickly got bored of the sobriquet. She did not play the Hollywood game. She spent many of her evenings creating. But few would know, what she was creating for it was classified as secret for 40 years.
“Any girl can be glamorous — all you have to do is stand still and look stupid”
Six different husbands. All married her for different reasons. But not any like her father. He loved his daughter for her intelligence, not for her beauty. It was he, who encouraged her to ask how things work, which gave her a supreme self confidence even by the tender age of 15. “I must make my own decisions. Mould my own character, think my own thoughts.”