I have had the privilege of attending some of the best birthdays parties of my friend, Chintu and never imagined that it would be the end of all our celebrations with in a short time with the cruel stroke of the big C – ALI PETER JOHN
He was now here and so full of life even as he was battling cancer and he was then on that cold floor of the Banganga Crenataorium with just around 20 mourners around him and within minutes, he had gone up in flames in the presence of his only son, Ranbir, friends and a few well wishers.
It looked like it was the end for the actor and the man who had made himself lovable to one and all, but he had made sure that he would be remembered for all time to come….
There has not been a day when Rishi Kapoor has not been remembered and if there was one day he was remembered the most, it was on his birthday on September 4.
There were many ways in many places in the country and the world that people found ways of bringing back memories of him, but the one way I loved was the way in which his close friend, the well known writer and director Rumi Jafry did.
Rumi for those who don’t know was encouraged and inspired by Rishi to be a writer and had also written the script of Rishi’s first and only film as a director, (Aa ab laut chale).
Rumi organized a unique birthday celebration for (Chintu) at his residence in Model Town in Four Bungalows in Mumbai on Chintu’s birthday and had guests like Neetu Singh (Mrs Rishi Kapoor), Randhir Kapoor, David Dhawan, Lalee Dhawan, Hannah Jafry, Sharughan Sinha, Mohini Chabria and Pammi Gautam.
Rumi’s wife had baked a cake with a dafli, a guitar and nagchampa agarbati a symbol of the twitter his autobiography, (khullam khulla), paaya, a bottle of Black Label whisky and other things close to Chintu the man of many tastes.
The party like most of other Rishi Kapoor parties ended late in the morning and Rumi Jafry had to attend a different kind of day-time party organized by Rajesh Subramanian and his Soulful Saturdays to remembered the unforgettable and undying spirit of the man who could never say farewell, the forever spirit, Chintu Kapoor, the man who was called Chintu even when he was the father of Randhir and Riddhima and the grand-uncle of Taimur and…
I have in resent Sundays seen the spirit of Saturdays being bought alive by the doctors, businessmen and young men and women from every other professions but full time singing bringing music alive on stage, but on this Sunday, the the spirit of Rishi Kapoor seemed to have taken charge of their spirits and voices and the way the male singers and female singers sang their hearts out for more than five hours made my old but young heart see great hope for the future of music at a time when I can feel music sinking into the soles of my feet and begging to be saved from the clutches of rhythm /rippers who are hell bent on selling (sur) for a few paisa more.
Every Sunday of Soulful Saturdays I test myself to see how long I can sit through this season of Soulful music and I am surprised with my own courage which I now believe comes from the gifted singers who literally put their voices and lives at stake to dedicate themselves to the cause of good music.
And like every Sunday, I will mention the names of every singer of Soulful Saturdays who made that Sunday and the following week memorable and all the other dependants of music that keep souls alive for one more week. I have no hat, but I bow my head to all the singers of Soulful Saturdays like
Aruna Gupte, Chetan Sheth, Nikhil Bhakta, Pervin kotwal, Heena Mhatre, Shraddha Wagaralkar Prakash Lulla, Sanjay Gopalakrishnan Neeraj Shukla, Smruti Vengurlekar, Yogesh Bhatt, Namrata Barbaria Santosh Subramanian, Satish Nair, Subbu, Narayan, Satish Purohit, Mangesh Deokule, Vanita shah, Mahendra Chavan, Sanjay Mangave and Sachin Ughade.
Rishi undoubtedly was and will always be the first big star of my time who proved how a star changed the Rythmn of the heart beats of thousands and lacks of people and he proved it again that soulful saturdays morning and I thanked him as we walked and danced hand in hand all the way home to celebrate his birthday in the way we use to celebrate it one day not so long ago.