Ali Peter John
The way things keep happening and changing in this mad, bad, sad and good world of Hindi films makes me remember the everlasting lines of Sahir Ludhianvi in which he writes ‘Waqt se kal aur aaj, waqt se har pal shay…. na jaane waqt ka kab badle mijaaz.” And nowhere is this truth about time more true than in the way the fortunes of even some of the legends, stars and superstars change …
Sharmila Tagore was leading the race of the actresses of the seventies and was the busiest star shooting in what was then Bombay and had no time to give interviews to even the known film journalists.
Bikram Vohra was my senior who was a very good writer and was working for the Filmfare magazine and was a very bubbly and enthusiastic young man who enjoyed accepting challenging assignments.
Bikram was asked to interview Sharmila who the gossip press had given the name La Tagore.
He kept calling the residence of La Tagore and every time he called, the voice on the other side said, ” Madam bathroom mein nahaah rahi hai, baad mein phone karo “. Bikram kept calling the whole day and got the same answer. Any other young journalist would have either blown his top in anger or could have sulked in defeat and desperation, but Bikram Vohra was made of sterner stuff and dashed out a piece on his typewriter and I still remember the last few lines Bikram had written and they were, THE NUMBER OF TIMES LA TAGORE HAD A BATH IN A DAY COULD EASILY MAKE HER THE CLEANEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD.
I don’t know how Sharma Tagore must have reacted to Bikram’s piece, but for me who was a cub reporter at that time, Bikram Vohra had become some kind of an idol like many others of those this. Bikram moved on in life and become the editor of a magazine called For You” and then took over as the editor of ” The Navhind Times” the leading English daily in Goa. Bikram then moved to the Khaleej Times of the Gulf and I am told that he is doing very well for himself as a writer.
This is a story about what I was a part of. Kareena Kapoor had just became a star and was a must in every gossip coloum in magazines and newspapers all over the country.
Screen was having its awards and the management wanted her to perform at the awards function. My manager Vineet Chibber and my events manager Hosi Vasunia who was a leading English theatre personality asked me to go with them to where Kareena was living with her elder sister Karishma.
We reached her house which was on the ground floor of an old building in Bandra. I had told Vineet and Hosi that I would only introduce Kareena to them and they would have to do the talking and they had agreed. We received our first big shock when both the sisters didn’t even have the courtesy to welcome us in and did all the talking standing at the door of the apartment Hosi ( God bless the good man’s soul) told Kareena ( they call her Bebo now ) and when she heard Hosi talking about a about a performance at our show, she just shot back, saying, ” Give me a crore and I will do anything for your show” we were absolutely shoked beyond words or feelings and didn’t know when we reached office at Express Towers and I had taken some kind of a vow that I would not have anything to do with her then or in the future and I am grateful to all the powers that be that I retired soon after that incident outside the door of the actress who is now the begem of Saif Ali Khan, the mother of Taimur and who will be the mother of another heir or heiress to the ” throne” of Pataudi.
I don’t have any intentions of giving these two dignified ladies of two different times any kind of a bad name. I am only stating facts about two incidents among the many I have been witness to during my fifty – long journey in a world I have loved even when it have had all the reasons to fall out of love with it.