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The day I saw Peter Jackson

Last updated on: February 18, 2004 14:05 IST

Peter JacksonI consider myself a Lord Of The Rings fan. Some might even call me an LOTR junkie. One of the first things I did when I came to London recently was to hunt for the collector's edition DVDs of the Lord of The Rings movies.

You get the picture.

Being new to London and having stayed on the outer periphery of the city, I was longing for a visit to Central London. Last Sunday, after weeks of procrastination, I managed to talk a friend into accompanying me to check out the sights.

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We spent the morning immersed in the wonders of Ancient Egypt and the metopes and friezes from the ruins of Parthenon at the British Museum. Then we decided to take a bus to Trafalgar Square.

Travelling by bus along the streets of London, we suddenly saw many vans and trucks carrying film equipment parked on the road near Leicester Square. Curious, we got off the bus and made our way to the Square.

A huge crowed waited beyond barriers that enclosed a red carpet with a giant gold-coloured mask at one end. The mask rang a bell in my mind. I realised that this was the venue of the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards. This was big!

After clicking a couple of snaps of me with the golden mask in the background, we decided to wait for the stars. Tuxedo-clad security officials were making some last minute checks and excited television reporters practised their lines.

An hour rolled past. And the next. There was no sign of the glitterati. Many left. We inched ahead, anticipating a clear view of the red carpet.

Suddenly, there was a buzz in the crowd. The first cars arrived, gleaming under the lights. Celebrities walked out of the cars and onto the red carpet, sporting wide smiles which grew wider when someone in the crowd called out their names.

Limousines were greeted with oohs and aahs, while the celebrities who came by cabs managed to evoke laughter from the noisy teenage girls who stood in front of me.

One of the first stars to arrive was Emma Thompson. Clad in a lovely golden dress with a fur stole and fabulous earrings, she was gracious enough to walk straight toward the crowd to sign autographs. She came within a couple of feet from where I stood. I managed to click a snap of her.

The star count kept increasing; almost each car brought someone recognisable. The crowd shrieked out names of the stars as they walked on the red carpet: John Voight, Alicia Silverstone, Jude Law, Benicio Del Toro, Holly Hunter, Bill Nighy, Scarlett Johansson, Billy Boyd, Thandie Newton, Jerry Hall, Tim Burton.

The biggest cheer of the evening went up when, late into the evening, Johnny Depp stepped out of his car. People went berserk.

For me, the best moments of the evening were when I managed to see director Peter Jackson and actor Sir Ian McKellen. Having been such an ardent fan of LOTR, I was thrilled to bits to see them in person. It was like a dream come true. Something that made the three-hour wait worthwhile.

I returned home late that night with stars in my eyes, only to find that I missed the broadcast of the BAFTA Awards on television. But my evening was more than worth missing the awards!

I now consider myself a very lucky Lord Of The Rings fan.

Photo: Getty Images

Sameer Gharat