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Screen + Sound + Stage
January 27, 2015

Master Procrastinators

Text by Nittal Chandarana, Illustration by Wyanet Vaz

These brilliant people are born procrastinators. If you are one, join their elite club

Everyone’s permitted to go easy on a deadline. We’re all familiar with that apologetic feeling of turning in work late. But how about being tardy by a decade? One of our favourite authors, Vikram Seth, dilly-dallied for ten years before setting a potential release date of 2016 for his forthcoming novel, A Suitable Girl, the sequel to his magnum opus, A Suitable Boy. Verve gives you a few procrastinators famous for taking long sabbaticals but churning one brilliant masterpiece after another. Of course, they’re excused.

1. Procrastinator: Leonardo da Vinci
Our token deceased international person on the list, da Vinci was an artist, scientist, sculptor, architect, musician and so many more things, you wonder when his lazy side got the chance to dominate. But he did take the better part of 15 years to complete the Mona Lisa. He was also notorious for skipping deadlines and many a times, leaving work unfinished.
What he was doing: The man was busy conceptualising flying machines, designing the iconic Vetruvian man, dissecting corpses, making history by merely scribbling in his journal and such.
What we think he was doing: Wining and dining and living a life of heresy in 15th century Italy!

2. Procrastinator: K Asif
Token deceased Indian on the list, he gave us Mughal-e-Azam. Conceptualised in 1944 and finally released in the year 1960, it was a huge achievement for Indian cinema. He had to deal with Partition (producer shifted to Pakistan), rival parties and in-house obstacles. Some sets took six weeks to construct!
What he was doing: Making a fiercely ambitious film. The song Jab pyaar kiya to darna kya was picturised in a set of the Sheesh Mahal, which took 2 years to build and cost a princely sum of 1.5 million, unheard of at the time. A whole movie could have been made with those resources.
What we think he was doing: Nobody wants to snap out of a life of royalty, courtesans and unabashed luxury. He was probably enjoying it while it lasted, trying to make it all last for as long as he could!

3. Procrastinator: Mira Jacob
The writer who gave us The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing. Imagine the agony and ecstasy of holding your first novel close for ten years and then suddenly, it’s not yours alone; the readers take over.
What she was doing: Working on the book, establishing Pete’s Reading for upcoming writers….
What we think she was doing: Participating in spirit meetings/callings as research for the book.

4. Procrastinator: Shekhar Kapur
Known to take his time and work at whim, this master director’s debut Masoom (1983) was his only claim to fame till Mr. India saw the light of the day in 1987. Co-directing Joshilaay and Dushmani in 1989, his magnum opus, Bandit Queen would only release in 1994. A couple of Hollywood projects later, work on his forthcoming project Paani begins in 2014. What a beautifully lethargic life.
What he was doing: Busy producing films, getting on board as executive director on the movie The Guru (2002) and the musical Bombay Dreams, establishing Liquid Comics, and a whirlwind of eclectic activities.
What we think he was doing: Revelling in the fame of his last movie till the buzz died and he had to make another one to prove his worth.

5. Procrastinator: James Cameron
The Terminators, Aliens, Titanic and finally Avatar, his body of work is par excellence. Not without a glitch, if one can call it that. There was a 12-year gap between Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009).
What he was doing: He is responsible for contributing to underwater filming and co-developing the 3D camera fusion system. He also worked on several documentaries in the interim and became the third person to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench solo. One can only stand in awe of a man who was so passionate about a project that he developed the technology to make it real.
What we think he was doing: Living his own Narnia with the Na’avis. We’re certain he accidentally came across those beautiful blue beings and on returning, screamed a cinematic eureka!

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