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How The Tragedy For The Tragedy King Began

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Ali Peter John

It was one of those fraud award functions and the fraud organisers wanted me to get Dilip Kumar as the chief guest. It took me a lot of convincing to do before the emperor of acting could agree to my request. He kept asking me why I was getting involved in such“stupid things”. I told him the truth. The main organiser would provide me with my evening drinks for the rest of the year. He in his usual style said,“I can do that for you in a much better way”. I told him that I had already made a commitment to the man and he only said,“remind me two hours before we have to go”. When I reached 34, Pali Hill, he was not at home and I panicked. His man told me that he was supervising the dubbing of Saira Banu’s TV-serial,“zara dekho toh inka kamaal”. I called him desperately and he thanked me for reminding him and came back home.“suit pehno ya aise hi chalu”? I said,“suit ho toh behtar hoga”. He ran up the stairs and came down in a dark blue suit. He was getting into his Mercedes presented to him by one of the sheikhs of the Gulf when I saw his shirt hanging out of his trousers and pointed it out to him and he said,“phir dekhta kya hai, ander daal”. He wanted me to tuck his shirt in and I don’t know how many feelings crossed my mind while I did it and he stood still…


On the way, he said,“please sit in the front row and keep a look on me when I am speaking and look at me when I come to mentioning the name of your friend and keep repeating the name Ram Jawhrani to me till we reach the hall”. That time came and he remembered all the other names but clearly forgot the name of my friend who looked as if he was struck by some great shock. I had never seen him forget a name on stage before…

I was at a musical night arranged by my friend Manohar Iyer whose friend Dr Nayampally, his personal doctor had invited him. He was expected to talk about the music, especially the music of the good old times, but he went on a tangent and spoke about how he played cricket during his college days in Bombay and no one could stop him or tell him that he was going away from the main subject he was to talk about….

He was considered to be the lucky mascot by Sunil Dutt whenever he had to open his election office or launch his campaign for the North Bombay West seat in Bombay. He was doing it again and there was the kind of crowd I had never seen before. All the other leaders had spoken and it was his time to speak. He normally sang the praises of Dutt Sahaab during every such meeting, but that evening he went on a flash back and talked about the Indo-China war of 1962 and how the industry had stood like one man to support the families of the jawans who had fought and died on the border. He was now becoming a source of concern because he was always known for his memory being very sharp…


He was invited as the chief guest at a massive rally of film employees at the Andheri Sports Complex where Mithun Chakraborty who was the president of the employees union almost cried while welcoming him, but he was lost in a world of his own. Aamir Khan arrived, reached the stage and embraced him and he starred at him with a blank look. Saira kept telling him that it was Aamir and he is reported to have said,“Haan, yeh wohi ladka haina jo hamare ghar par kaam karta tha aur bhaag gaya tha”. Aamir had heard stories about the shahenshah losing control over his memory and took the incident in his stride. But the worst was still to come. Sahaab as we all called him with all the respect started taking off his tie and coat before the large audience and Saira had to make some excuse and take him home..

The one time he embarrassed someone the most was when an ardent admirer and his wife, Trinetra Bajpai and Kanika who used to visit him every evening were sitting with some of their close friends whose dream it was to see“The Dilip Kumar”. When someone asked Sahaab who Bajpai was, he very casually said,“haan inko hum kaise bhool sakte hai? Yeh toh hamari film,“Ganga Jamuna”ke UP ke distributor the”. Bajpai who was writing a book on him was bewildered and stopped writing for some time, but after knowing the truth about his all time favourite actor’s mental and physical condition, he has been working doubly hard to complete and release the book….

dilip saira

This tragic conditio of the one-time and all-time great actor and Tragedy King has dampened the spirits of even some of his greatest fans like Manoj Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Salim Khan and even Subhash Ghai who had once written a thesis only on Dilip Kumar’s performance in“Devdas”and all of them feel frustrated and pained when they know that they would love to see their hero, but feel hopeless and sad when they come to know that he has now stopped recognising anyone and is in a very bad condition at the age of ninety-seven and comes down from his bedroom only once in the evening with the help of his caretakers when it is time for the evening namaaz…

If there is one person who has been by his side all the twenty-four hours of the day, it is his wife for more than fifty-nine years, Saira Banu who I personally believe deserves the highest award for being a very dutiful, sincere and totally dedicated nurse.

Who would have imagined that the man whose life made such a big difference to the lives of five generations, the country and the world would have to have such a painful life to live. Where are you, Oh God, the master of all lives whether it is Ali Peter John or emperor Yousuf Khan?????

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Tragedy King, Dilip kumar

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