J.D Majethia At NIEM
I must be in class eight when I saw him on screen for the first time and laughed out loud. I didn’t even know his name back then; he has only been Khichadi‘s Himanshu for me; the buddhu, innocent and lovable guy who cooked like a boss, loved his sister to bits and had this style of talking that ruled several amateur mimicry acts for years.
Over a decade later I walk into National Institute of Event Management today and watch him sharing his career experiences with my students. I am in awe and absolutely bewitched by the humility and modesty of this man. He explains several aspects of a show and what goes into creating a television event. I manage to drink in as much knowledge as I can from this man who is a humongous institution himself. It’s a rare sight to watch students listen to someone so intently and not make a single sound. The only time there is a sound in the class is that of genuine laughter and giggles every time he cracks a joke; then, just like that, it all fell in place. Of course there cannot be a better guy to play Himanshu; his comic timing, panaché and just the whole vibe he gives out is just vivacious. No wonder he aced at playing the character. I see camera men, journalists, photographers, and practically every possible media person right there in the room and he just seemed unfazed by any of that; only focusing on students and what he wanted them learn. The students ask him several questions regarding his shows Khichadi, Instant Khichadi, Sarabhai VS Sarabhai, Baa Bahu Aur Baby, Badi Dur Se Aaye Hai (look at the kind of quality shows he has produced!); most of us are obsessed with Sarabhai and Roshesh; he explains what went into the making of that show and why it clicked. My students demand a season two for the show; I mentally applaud them and add a plus five for their internals. Who wouldn’t want to see the Sarabhais going bonkers again? He continues talking about the dearth of creativity after a point and how it’s works if you offer something unique and unexplored to your audience. Every line he articulates, every movement he makes, is education for all of us. Everyone demands him to say something in Himanshu’s style and he obliges us. It’s something else to see him live. When his class wraps up, I see my students rushing towards him like swarms of flies to click selfies. I see him posing with them and smiling tirelessly (that’s tough job). I know I will have to wait before I get to talk to him; I stand quietly in a little corner of the cabin while I watch him interacting with a set of journalists. They ask him a very “obviously expected” pattern of questions; favourite actress, new show, purpose of visit etc. I am disinterested. I watch him answer those and consistently talk about NIEM and that moves me. I am intrigued, not because I get to interview a star today (that’s not why I was there), I get to talk to a student and his undying love for his teacher. When the journalists leave I see exhaustion covering his countenance. He looks at me and smiles.
“I won’t take long sir.” I am in a pile of guilt for keeping him.
“No problem. What do you want to know?” He asks with his infectious smile.
“Nothing about you as an actor and everything about your association with NIEM.” I smile.
“Wow! Okay so Hoshi sir was one of my professors in college and I haven’t come across a man as genuine and endearing as he is. When he decided to start NIEM I was extremely thrilled at the idea. This is just my way of lending support to this amazing man and letting him know that I am always there for him. I come to Ahmedabad every year to talk to the students and educate them in the field of events through my knowledge.”
“Do you ever feel like starting your own institute; an acting school perhaps?”
“I want to but it will require a lot of my time and attention and that’s not possible for now. I want to start my own events training institute and rest assured every person hired there will be from NIEM.”
“One last off the topic question; of all the people you have worked with, who’s your favourite actor?”
“Sincerely speaking I cannot pick one. There are so many from Ratna Pathak to Supriya Pathak and from Deven Bhojani to Sumeet Raghvan, it’s difficult.”
He leaves for a talk show with a TV channel. For everyone else he could still be the guy who knows how to tickle people’s funny bones with his brilliant comedy soaps; I will only see him as a loving student who stands by his teacher and the institute NIEM, no matter what. What else would a teacher want after earning such students?