July 2000, quitting my full time assistant director job, I had wanted to branch out as an independent professional doing things at my time working with different directors, producers and technicians. Not knowing where to start, a month or two went in establishing contacts, doing the rounds at Famous studio's production houses, faxing resumes, meeting advertising producers/directors. Networking works like a chain. You connect with X who gives you Y's number then move to Z and so on. Someone gave me Shamz's number and mentioned she was an independent professional doing the kind of work I had wanted to do. Wondered what I'd do meeting up with someone who was already doing what I was doing. It was going to be of no help, I had decided. Nevertheless, made a call and Shamz asked me to meet up with her at Juhu the following day.
Still remember our first meeting. She listened to me for 10 minutes, opened her contact book and started sharing numbers of advertising producers and directors who worked with independent production people. It was strange. I wondered why Shamz was parting with all her contacts with someone who she had just met 10 minutes ago. Not just that. .She said If I was ok I could work with her on some of the projects whenever she needed help. I was more than happy.
A few months later, we worked with a well known photographer who was directing his first social awareness film. Shamz, Sid the DOP and I had a riot being a part of the shoot thanks to the unintentional hilarious moments. Shamz, Sid and I became one gumbal and would meet up often.
Shamz flew down to Madras from Mumbai for my wedding and I was really really touched. She would discuss her family issues with my mother-in-law (who adores her), visit us often and continued to help me in my professional life. Shamz worked with some of the biggest production houses, big actors including Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and had stories and stories to share about Bollywood. Her producers and directors always held her in high regard and I was not surprised. It was and is very rare to come across people who are honest particularly with the kind of job that involved huge cash transactions.
Whenever I hit upon one 'I-am-bored-with-whatever-am-doing-professionally-and-want-to-do-something-different' moment (which was every second year), the first person I'd call was Shamz. And she'd patiently suggest career options for me and share contacts too!
Shamz no longer works in advertising or feature films but continues to manage events and big musicians' concerts / dates etc. We meet once/ twice a year but make it a point to speak to each other often.
It's very very rare to come across such wonderful people like Shamz. Tomorrow is her birthday and with this post (as well) I want to wish her a very very Happy birthday. May God bless her, husband A and little daughter I, with good health and happiness.