I was in school and then in college when I used to see an old and huge bungalow at Bandstand in Bandra which was used for shootings and was last used as Boney Kapoor’s house before his wedding reception when he married Mona Shourie – Ali Peter John
I had met Amjad Khan and Vinod Mehra on more than many occasions when they were shooting in this bungalow which looked like a haunted house.
A boy from Delhi called Shah Rukh Khan had come to Bombay to try his luck as an actor after making it in some TV serials like Fauji Dil Dariya and Circus.
This Shah Rukh was both talented and a quick mover and within no time, he was working with some of the leading filmmakers like Yash Chopra, Yash Johar and several art filmmakers.
He was also moving from one house to another and had got married to his beloved Gauri. Yash and Yash had taken a strong liking for him and when they came to know that Vienna Villa, the bungalow near Band Stand was up for sale, they moved heaven and earth to get Shah Rukh to buy the bungalow and Shah Rukh the eternal dreamer went out of his way to build his own dream mansion and named it “Mannat” without knowing that he was to be the owner of a major landmark in Mumbai and even in India and the world.
It was in this ” Mannat ” that he grew into the Badshah of Bollywood and raised his family consisting of his wife Gauri, his son Aryan , daughter, Suhana and son Abraam, besides his sister Shehnaz who has been invalid ever since he came from Delhi…..
It was success and more success for the favourite son of god,till some two years ago when three of his films fell flat on their faces, “Zero ” , ” Fan” “Ra One”.
There was panic among the millions of his admirers and fans all over the world . He had not signed a single film in three years, but his popularity was still as crazy as ever as was proved during his birthdays on November 2 which was celebrated with the same gusto and joy not only in Mumbai but in different parts of the world.
It seemed like 2021 would be the year of a grand comeback for the Badshah and it was proved right when he signed ” Pathan” , his ambitious film for Yash Raj Films with Deepika Padukone and John Abraham playing the lead roles.
He was also in talks with Atlee, the known director of the South and things were almost finalised to start what was to be the biggest film to be made in India, but like that immortal dialogue from Yash Chopra’s “Waqt” goes, ” Kabhi Kabhi Ungliose Chai Ka Pyaala Hoton Tak Pahunchne Tak Ek Zamaana Beet Jaata Hai” and the film took its own time to be made and may not be made now ….
It was October 2 and the country was debating on whether Mahatma Gandhi had done good for the country or not and in the sea was a cruise with a number of young people all set to sail to Goa to have, naturally, a good time or a blast as the generation today would call it.
And on the cruise was the handsome 23 year old son of Shah Rukh Khan, Aryan Khan….
And then what Shah Rukh or Aryan or anyone else must have expected that morning when they were having breakfast at “Mannat” happened like an explosion.
A team of the Narcotics Control Bureau swooped down on the cruise ship and took charge of Aryan and some of his close friends and they were led to the NCB office for investigations.
And even as the news about three thousand kilos of drugs being hauled at the Mundra Port of the Adani Group in Gujarat, Aryan and his friends were held for possessing merely ten grams of some kind of drugs…
That was the beginning of hell for Aryan and his family. The agencies themselves accepted that they had not found any drugs on Aryan and they had not found any traces of drugs in his blood tests, he was put behind in at the infamous Arthur Road Jail and was branded prisoner number 957 and his superstar father had to send him a money order for 4,500 rupees to but him his breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day’s he would have to spend at the Arthur Road Jail.
Aryan had the best of lawyers in Satish Maneshinde and Amit Desai, but they too couldn’t get Aryan out on bail as he was slapped with new serious charges based on his WhatsApp chats which even hinted that he was an important part of an international conspiracy connected with drugs.
Even as the Aryan Khan case is baffling and bewildering the country, Aryan’s lawyers have appealed to the High Court and millions and crores of people are raising their hands in prayer.
In the meanwhile, all kinds of meanings are being read into the Aryan Khan case. Some say it is a clear case of political vengeance since Shah Rukh has never shown any signs of bowing down to the ruling dispensation.
Some say it is the ruling party’s way of making Shah Rukh agree or compromise with the party in power.
And the critics of the ruling party have a strong feeling that the SRK and Aryan Khan case will be used to the advantage of the ruling party during the elections to the Vidhan Sabha in Uttar Pradesh.
And someone like Kangana Ranaut keeps going hammer and tongs at what she keeps calling the ” Bollywood drug mafia ”
The coming months will be a time of high drama with hundreds of questions asked and very few answers found.
And I would like to end this sordid piece by asking if the man who has a special place in the hearts of millions will have the heart to celebrate his birthday on November 2, a day which is otherwise celebrated like a national festival.
I don’t know what the law of this country or the politicians of this country will do with this dicey case, but I know Shah Rukh as a man with more than one heart and many souls and I would pray to a hundred million gods to see that he and his son Aryan fly together in the sky of freedom again.