LET'S GET PERSONAL
- Shayan Italia
“my heart sees love
in many faces. it is not defined by gender, colour, culture, caste, creed or places.”
Ever since I was a child, I have been brought up with a very clear ideology: that all human beings are equal: that no one is more than the other, and definitely, no one is less. I was taught to Love. Without Boundaries. And to never judge based on gender, colour, culture, caste, creed or places. This is what I know life to be; and it is all I have ever known. Since losing Mum and Dad at a young age I’ve tried my level best (though, not nearly good enough) to champion those that face discrimination in this harsh world of ours.
I am fortunate to come from such an open-minded family. Once someone dear was very hesitant to tell us something crucially and life changingly important. He sat us all down, was literally shaking, took a deep breath and said “Okay, I’m gay”. Everyone stopped, looked at each other very slowly and then screamed at him “Are we going to miss 10 min of our movie at the cinema for this crap!!!”. Lol 🤣🤣🤣!!! Now isn’t the Italia family the coolest family ever or what!!! – something money can never ever buy. Think about it, our reaction was so “bleh”. It didn’t matter one bit if he was different and didn’t fit in. Genuinely we didn’t care. Hell, we love him even more now for being who he is and who he wants to be. And I wouldn’t trade that ethos for anything. Anything!
Someone recently said, “If you believe in the equality of women, then you’re a feminist”. I actually believe women are far far better than men in every way. Most of my cousins and closest friends are women, and they are the ones I seek advice initially from, as they see the world differently and uniquely. I can’t tell you how much my life would suffer, or I personally move several paces backwards, had I not had the consult and wisdom of the women in my life that make me a far better human being than I deserve to be.
I was once asked “what do you stand for Shayan?”. And I had to really think about this. I didn’t have a definitive answer, but I did come to 3 simple truths: a) I have never cheated on anyone b) I have never not paid anyone c) If I’m late, I’m dead. I guess that sums me up. Living in Mumbai, in all its chaos, I’m never ever late. Never. It’s stems from something my late Dad instilled in me as a boy: “VALUE OTHER’S TIME EVEN IF THEY DON’T VALUE YOURS”.
It stuck with me. Be who you are and who you want to be. Be true to yourself and the right people will come into your life. Get rid of the naysayers and the people that don’t truly wish you well. In 2020, I reduced my contacts list from 3,500 to 247. I’m so much happier, feel so much lighter, and those that I hang around respect me, and I them in spades. That’s exactly how it should be. Stop chasing the social metrics of others. It holds no value. Believe in what you do, love what you do, and just keep doing the same. You’ll lead a great life. Today, success is a “social calamity” that actually holds no value.
Be intrinsically content and happy. If you are, I can tell you, having met a lot of big-wigs, you’re more successful than most. In the end, it’s a very big and beautiful Earth we live in. See as much of it in the short amount of time you have the privilege of being on it. It’s what matters.
Over 100 people have tirelessly worked towards bringing this vision of mine to life and I cannot be more thankful towards each one of them. Even a small part played is a huge one to me. I gave someone a credit and she said “but what did I do???”, to which I replied, “that night when we strolled down for dinner in Bandra, you gave me a thought, and that helped me better the video in a small way”. She’s also a marketing whizz. She actually gave me multiple ideas. To have her not on the SPECIAL THANKS list would make me feel sad. Credit is warranted where credit is due. Nothing comes from taking the glory. Everything comes from giving it.
And on that note of giving glory, it’s very important to say this: almost 90% of this project coming to fruition was borne from sharing the passion and drive with my co-visualizer, creative director, director and partner-in-crime of this incredibly eye-opening journey, Muni Agarwal.
There were many times the project came to the brink of being shelved, changing production hands many-a-time too. At every step, it was Muni’s positivity that led me to always move one step forward and eventually ‘bite the bullet’ and green-light the project. This is as much his, as it is my baby.
I’ve never ever been driven by success, fame, glory or money. Whether the Sha La La video gets 1 view or 100 or 10,000, it makes absolutely no difference to me. I’m all about the music. For me it always has, and always will start with, composing a great song on the piano, and then building it up from there.
It’s the only way I feel close to her, from what she left me with.
Mum. I miss ya. You’d be proud of what we have created here.