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Here comes the sun

india Updated: Apr 17, 2009 21:20 IST
Anoushka Shankar column

Yesterday, I was in Los Angeles for the unveiling of a Hollywood Star, being dedicated to the late Beatle George Harrison. It was an unusually cloudy and windy morning, and those of us in the VIP area on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard huddled together to keep warm.

My father hasn’t been keeping too well since we traveled back to San Diego, so he wasn’t able to come up for the event, and Ringo Starr was out of town. But so many other people who were close to George in various phases of his life were there: Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Jeff Lynne, Eric Idle from Monty Python, numerous other musicians and people from the music world, and of course George’s wife Olivia and son Dhani, who is like a brother to me.

Eric Idle made a hilarious, irreverent speech in which he wondered what the “quiet Beatle” would have thought of a Hollywood Star (probably that it was a load of bollocks) and kept us in stitches as he spoke. Tom Hanks followed just as brilliantly, saying he was there to represent the Americans among all the English people present, and reminding us that the man who wrote some of the best love songs in history bought his first guitar for the equivalent of 75 cents.

Olivia spoke sweetly about her late husband, and then Dhani came to the microphone and simply said a quick “Hare Krishna,” at which point the hundreds of fans on the street went wild remembering George. There was a beautiful moment which followed, as the Star was placed on the ground and right then, the sun came blazing out from behind clouds, inevitably reminding me of one of George’s best-loved songs.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Los Angeles, and generally enjoy living in San Diego, nearby but out of the crazy bubble people in the entertainment world generally reside in. But whenever I go to LA I’m reminded of the benefits of being around other artists, and where things are constantly happening.

It was great being there for the Star unveiling, because I’ve known all the people there since I was a child through George’s close relationship with my father, and I also had the opportunity to work with many of them when we did the ‘Concert for George’ in London several years ago.

While in LA, I also went to a screening of a beautiful film called The Soloist, which will be releasing soon. It stars Jamie Foxx as a homeless, schizophrenic musician living on the streets of Los Angeles, discovered by a reporter played by Robert Downey Jr. The acting is incredible on both their parts and the film is visually gorgeous, which is hardly surprising considering it was made by Atonement director Joe Wright. I highly recommend it!

Sending all of you in Delhi some lovely California ocean breezes to cool you down.