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•Mahesh Bhatt seems to have been born for being a part of controversies and doing some of the most daring things, defying his family and society. He was, in a way following in the footsteps of his father, Nanabhai Bhatt who was a shocker in his own times,a man who had married more than once and having children from different wives. Mahesh was the son of Nanabhai’s Muslim wife, Shireen –Ali Peter John

•Mahesh went to a convent school where he was first recognised as a rebel.

•Mahesh played for a band in a local restaurant cum bar way back in the sixties.

•Mahesh was a fan of Raj Khosla and had also assisted him, especially during the making of films like “Mera Gaon Mera Desh” and some other films and got all his training in filmmaking from Raj Khosla (who was once an assistant to Guru Dutt).

•It was while he was still in his twenties that he married Kiran from whom he had two children, Pooja and Rahul.

•He started off with a controversial film called “Manzilein Aur Bhi Hai” with Kabir Bedi who went on to be one of his best friends. The film was banned, but it was the efforts made by the Blitz National Forum led by R.K Karanjia, the fiery and even fraud editor (there are many reasons why I use the word fraud for him and this is not an authoritative biography about him) and K.A Abbas and the angry protests and public meetings they held and address against the censoring of the film. Mahesh had started his career on a fiery path.

•His next film was “Vishwasghaat” with Sanjeev Kumar in a double role and Shabana Azmi as the leading lady. The making of the film got him recognition and success.

•But he really shot into the limelight when he made films associated with his own life, films like “Arth” which was a hard-hitting subject about his wife and his relationship with Parveen Babi, with Shabana playing the wife and Smita Patil playing the other woman based on the life of Parveen Babi.

The film saw a tough competition between Shabana and Smita and it was difficult to say who was better.

The film also won a number of major awards. “Saransh” was another film based on the character he had seen or known during his days in the middle class Maharastrian locality in and around the famous Shivaji Park near Dadar.

•It was during the making of “Saaransh” that he had some turbulent times with his first wife and took to heavy drinking, even while he was making “Saaransh” and a doctor had to regularly visit the sets at Mehboob Studios where Mahesh sometimes used to swoon and even fall, which was or could be the result of his hangover and the emotionally staggering scenes that were a part of “Saaransh”.

It was towards the end of the shooting that he fell in love with the theatre actress, Soni Razdan who formed the younger team of actors in the film with Madan Jain.

It was during these difficult times that he even separated from his first wife and married Soni Razdan and lived in a posh apartment in Juhu, which was something he had once vowed he would never do, like not having a car, walking to a studio and not wearing shoes.

•Mahesh had a strong weakness for godmen and it was he who made Bhagwan Rajneesh popular in the industry and he was also the first to be disillusioned by his Bhagwan, but he found another ‘bhagwan’ in the writer and philosopher U.G Krishnamurthy and there were times when it was difficult to say who was more in love with Parveen Babi, Mahesh or Krishnamurthy, who was supposed to be Parveen’s advisor when she was fighting depression, drugs and other addictions which were seriously affecting her mind and her body.

•Mahesh had introduced his elder daughter, Pooja Bhatt in “Daddy” which was a story about his bouts with alcohol and Anupam Kher had played the daddy in a brilliant way.

He was however not paid for “Saaransh” or “Daddy” or for the next ten films that he did for Mahesh and when Anupam said he had done enough of free work in gratitude for giving him the role in “Saaransh” and that he now wanted to be paid, he was never offered a role by Mahesh again.

•It used to be an interesting scene when Mahesh was living with Soni and his first wife was living with her two children.

Everytime Mahesh received an installment, he called his accountant and asked him to divide the amount into two parts and asked him to see that one part was sent to his first wife the other part was handed over to Soni.

•Mahesh did not talk money, personally, but he had his brother, Mukesh Bhatt who was once a secretary to Vinod Khanna, Smita Patil and Deepti Naval who now took charge of all his money matters.

Mukesh was also responsible for tempting Mahesh to get into commercial films when he signed an offer with Gulshan Kumar of T-Series for ten lakhs of rupees to revolve a love story around the ten songs from his own music bank.

Mahesh succeeded in doing what he was asked to and the scent of money made him do a whole lot of films which fell in the commercial category and could even get his brothers and assistants work that could get them good money.

•When Mahesh went commercial, he went crazy going commercial. He had stopped thinking about original ideas or stories for his films.

He just booked a room in a tiny hotel in Santa Cruz where he made his writers, Javed Siddiqui, Robin Bhatt and Sujit Sen sit and have all the luxuries they needed and he sent them cassettes of films, both from Hollywood and some old Hindi films.

And their only job was to see how which film they saw could be plagurised or be the inspiration for one of the many films he was making then or planning to make in the future.

•Mahesh saw his elder daughter, Pooja taking to producing and directing films, some of them even in Pakistan with whose industry, the father and daughter had a close association those days.

•Mahesh was too busy to know about what was happening on his family front with Soni Razdan.

Soni brought up her two daughters, Alia and Shaheen and took special interest in training Alia to be an actress.

She found her chance to put Alia’s talent to test when Karan Johar was looking for a new girl to play a student in his film “Student of The Year” and Alia not only passed the test, but also turned out to be a brilliant student as an actress who was instantly in demand after the grand success of “SOTY”.

•Mahesh had once smooched his daughter, Pooja for the cover of a leading magazine edited by his friend Pritish Nandy which created a sensation.

He used the same magazine to make an ‘outrageous’ statement like ‘I am a bastard’ which made his extended family break off ties with him, but it didn’t make much of a difference to him.

•His last few films were turnips both creatively and financially, even though he was now a very different Mahesh Bhatt who was the head of Vishesh Films and had a huge office on Linking Road in Bandra where his company had Tips Industries as its neighbours.

•He then made another shocking statement when he said he was giving up directing films and drinking alcohol for good.

The only time he wrote a story was for the Vidya Balan starrer “Meri Adhuri Kahani” which received a lukewarm response and he again went back into his shell.

•In the meanwhile, Alia had become a superstar and was wanted by every big filmmaker Mahesh saw the director in him struggling to live again.

And he ended up deciding to direct a film again. He has now completed the shooting of the sequel to his earlier film “Sadak” with his favourite actor, Sanjay Dutt and both his daughters, Pooja and Alia.

•The rebel who once hit walls in anger till he bleaded has now settled down, or so it seems.

He has given up all his brave and bold ideas. He now wears ‘pink shoes’ as his daughter Pooja says.

And to top it all, he has agreed to give the hand of Alia into the hands of Ranbir Kapoor who is almost double her age, but a Bhatt will soon be a part of the first family of the industry, the Kapoors.

•With a man like Mahesh, it is still too early to say the end. Who knows, what looks like the end could be a new beginning for Mahesh Bhatt.

Whatever happens, it is difficult to imagine Mahesh Bhatt wearing a dhoti and a vest and sitting in his armchair and playing with his grandchildren!!!!

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