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That Night At The Taj, Golden Jubilee Of “Tezaab” Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Tabassum And Me..


Ali Peter John

Chandrashekhar Narvekar, who was a trained editor of films and had worked with directors like Gulzar and Bapu from the South had turned director and changed his name to N. Chandra and had made three big hits in a row,“Ankush”,“Pratighatt” and “Tezaab”. The first was a silver jubilee hit, made with newcomers like Nana Patekar, the second was also made with newcomer from Gujarati and Telugu films and the third was made with about to be stars like Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Anupam Kher, Kiran Kumar and Chunky Pandey. The success of “Tezaab” had made Dinesh Gandhi who was a big time diamond merchant, a leading producer and a financier, N. Chandra, who was my neighbour who had not paid his rent for several months and was now the owner of a bungalow named ‘Ankush’ and another bungalow named ‘123′ which was the most popular song of the film which shot Madhuri Dixit to stardom. Every star from Amitabh Bachchan to Govinda wanted to be in the good books of N. Chandra and made it a point to attend all his celebrations, functions and events.

Dinesh Gandhi together with N. Chandra decided to host a grand golden jubilee celebration at the Taj Mahal Hotel in South Bombay, which was considered a prestige issue those days and only celebrities like Dev Anand, Gulshan Rai and some big producers and guests from Hollywood could afford to have their parties there.

Gandhi and Chandra made sure that their party was memorable and so they had the entire who’s who of the industry and other industries packed in both the Ballrooms of the Taj. The party was in full swing with the best guests, the best liquor, the most sumetuous food and the most lilting music playing.

Tabassum who was once the most popular child artist and who had started the first chat show on Doordarshan,“Phool Khile Hai Gulshan Gulshan” was the compere(there were no anchors those days) and the way she was jabbering non-stop was getting on my nerves with every peg till I openly started running her down, even though she was a very good friend.

I got quite high and didn’t even know what time it was when I walked out of the Taj and started walking towards the Gateway of India. I suddenly realised that it was 1:30 in the night and the last train from Churchgate to Andheri was at 1:40. I didn’t have the money to take a cab. I couldn’t run because I was drunked. I couldn’t think of spending the night on the pavement because I had tried once and what an experience it was!

I was almost giving up hope, when a car stopped close to me and a woman’s voice called out my name. It was Tabassum. She asked me to get into her car. She asked for the details. She asked her driver if he could catch up with the last train at Bandra station. The driver said he could try. It was a kind of grace which I have never seen in the greatest Hollywood or Indian thrillers. We reached Bandra station five minutes before the train could reach and Tabassum screamed with joy as if she had won the Derby. I got into an empty compartment and wondered all way what would have happened to me that night if Tabassum who I had cursed a few hours ago had not appeared before me like an angel.

Kabhi kabhi aisa bhi hota hai, Tabassumji aur mere jaise log aise kahaniya sunnane ke liye zinda rehta hai.

Just think of it, Dinesh Gandhi died in a freak fire with his wife in his own house, N. Chandra has absolutely no work, Madhuri Dixit is like a homemaker and even actors like the great Anupam Kher and  Kiran Kumar are fighting their last few good battles. The team of Laxmikant-Pyarelal is the part of history and Javed Akhtar is not being given work because there are people in the industry who give work who believe that he acted smart with the industry when he was a member of parliament.

Acid(“Tezaab”) can be a constructive force, but acid can also be a very destructive force.

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Tabassum, Tezaab

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