Father, Son And The Humble Ghost (Me)
Ali Peter John
This too had to happen in the life of that boy from a village called Kondivita.
I grew up watching the films which made my life rich, especially the films in which Balraj Sahni played roles that became examples in excellence.
Balraj Sahni was one the few dreams I wanted to come true for me.
And I am not still sure which power has been taking decisions for me and marking or charting out my destiny, and it all began with that miraculous meeting with K.A Abbas who changed the direction of my life and opened up several worlds for me.
One of the greatest happenings during my life with Abbas Sahaab was my meetings with great writers like Sahir, Kaifi Azmi, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Ali Sardar Jafri, Inder Raj Anand and above all the dream I wanted to come true for me,a member of believe it or not meetings with Balraj Sahni,
who became a friend more than the image I had in mind when I first set my eyes on him in a film called “Hanste Zakham”and then followed by all his till “Amaanat”after which he died of a massive heart attack when he was only sixty-one, leaving behind memories that can never die…..
The years passed and his son Ajay or Parikshat as he was originally named returned from Russia after doing a long course in film direction and even though he was not interested in acting, he had to follow in his great father’s footsteps and was a winner right from his first film, “Pavitra Paapi”in which he had to clash with his father and realised how insignificant he was when compared to his father.
As he continued his journey, I happened to meet him and we have been friends ever since. It was only last year that I made realise how good he was as a writer (I had read one of his short stories called“The Bitch when I was in college and it had left a big impact on me)I asked him to write a book on his father which would be more about his relationship with his father than a critique about his work.
I feel excited that I was responsible in encouraging him and sometimes even pushing and threatening him to keep working on the book. I knew how much Amitabh Bachchan was an admirer of his father and asked him to talk to Amitabh to write the foreward to the book and to his surprise, he had a lengthy foreward written by the busy as busy can be Big B which only doubled up his enthusiasm and he finally completed writing the book which was taken on by Penguin Random Publishers and the book which is now in the final stages of printing will be released some time in June and if you think I am excited, you are right.
How could that boy from the village reach a stage when he could have the courage and the rare power to make a popular and powerful son write an entire book on an actor who has been a major source of inspiration for several generations and will be for generations to come and as long as acting in a part of life? I leave the answer to that power who has brought me out of that slum in a place called Latif Abdul Cyclewala compound to whatever place I have reached today.I have been a witness to several famous fathers and equally and sometimes more famous sons and I firmly believe that I have been doing one long dream life for half a decade.
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