The Passing of Another Friend

21 Comments
When you are young, life is uncomplicated. Student of the year competitions. Ishq wala love.
No big deal.
As you grow older, other more important things start coming into the picture. Cholesterol. Loss of muscle. Tingling of fingers during rainy season.
And the realization that each day lived is a day closer to death.
Nothing though brings home the truth of mortality more than the death of a dear friend.
To be honest, I had never met her. Not in person at least.
But I felt I had seen her, or rather the character of Emmanuelle (after all true artists becomes the character), more than I have known some of my best friends. I have spent more time with her, quality time if I may add, then I have spent with some of the people I call my chuddiest of buddies, a relationship so special that though I never spoke to her, she still spoke back to me, even though the sound was muted.
How many people can it be said that share this wordless chemistry, one that pauses time and video tape?
For those who have never heard of Emmanuelle or the series of movies that bore her name, I don’t blame you.
She was not the kind of friend that needed constant “Say ma name, say ma name” kind of validation.
As a matter of fact, many of her best friends, those who had spent hours interacting with her over bowls of chowmein, would often deny in public any knowledge of her.
But she never held it against them.
To be fair, many who met Emmanuelle didn’t even know it was her.
I mean, how can one know the name of the artiste in a punched scene from a video-showing of “Born Free” or “City Lights” (punching being a cinematic technique used in many alternative theaters in the 80s and 90s wherein scenes from other movies were “mixed” into the narrative of that which was being shown, a technique I discuss in great detail with adequate socio-economic context in my book “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss”) or recognize her from a poorly printed poster stuck on a cow-dung-caked brick wall, that too sometimes defaced by a strategic rip or a charcoal smudge, the handiwork of moral police type people?
As for me, I am proud to have known Emmanuelle. And thankful. For she taught me about different peoples and different cultures in the course of her peripatetic peregrinations across the world that went beyond the monochromatic dullness of our prescribed text books like “Peoples and Homes Of Many Lands” that contained in its pages soporific descriptions of Lapland and the Isle of Man, which I hasten to add was nothing as entertaining or as informative as how Emmanuelle did the same concepts.
Right now though, I shall console myself by the fact that Emmanuelle was a concept more than a character, one that transcended Slyvia Kristel, metaphorically and literally (there were many Kwality-Quality type of altered-spelling inspirations including Black Emanuelle [note the spelling] played by another icon).And take solace from the fact that she and her character have attained immortality in the hyperspace of video-scan-lines and the nooks and crannies of our liquid memory.
So no, my dear friend. I won’t say farewell. That would be too final a defeat.

Instead I will just press the rewind button.

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21 thoughts on “The Passing of Another Friend

  1. Yesterday when I heard the news I was wondering how many people would feel that tinge of sadness. Glad to know I am not alone.

  2. WTF?! I thought “friendship” had a definition from before Facebook, when it was a reasonably symmetric relationship. Did she ever send you a letter or kiss?

  3. Maybe CineMax should restart ‘Friday Night After Dark’ soecial. I know they had it during the early and mid ninetees. It was always Emmanuelle series. She even did it on train in India!!

  4. You and I are probably the same age, +-1 yr…. Thank you for writing…. You near perfectly verbalise my thoughts ..Todays generation is probably not aware of Emmanuelle… But it was a special movie for many of us…. Also makes me feel old when I see it in the ‘vintage’ section….

  5. I may have not heard about her death. Thank you for writing such a beautiful post on someone who was there to make a generation of people dream, love travel, a bit of adventure and later revere that as a cult. Probably not many people can make an impression on a growing mind and heart. Infact it may not be so easy to recollect that phase of life either. Absolutely agree with your last line.

  6. Just have a theory want to put GB.. Do you think Frieda pinto is popular in Hollywood cos she resembles a certain emanuelle icon.. Is her target segment populated by middle aged white men born in 70s and 60s.. Just saying..cos she sure cant act.. And not many Indians seem to be going gaga over her anyway..

  7. In most countries, men are allowed to get married between 18 – 20 but in india its 21 !! Premarital sex is taboo. Obviously we need more such friends.

  8. Truth be told, copious tears will be shed in her memory by our generation. She inspired us to rise above the considerable logistical challenges of the time – right from hiring a VCR to fighting for the least damaged cassette, sneaking through the gap in the hostel boundary wall carrying the contraband, only to leave indelible memories that would fade with passage of time and flagging of energy.
    She and so many other similarly skilled artistes brought about the only possible release from testosterone proliferation in almost-all-male engineering colleges. Barring which, i believe, a much larger number would have wound up taking unconventional and often dangerous routes to the discovery of self-rising.

  9. I think this video represents her popularity in her heydays

    I had gotten Krista Allen and Slyvia Kristel mixed up.. Go to go.. work to do..

  10. Yeah I for one think she was / is the best thing to happen in adult cinema. I mean real quality acting without speaking can be learnt from her

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