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The Guns Of Banaras Fire Their First Salvo In Mumbai!!!


Ali Peter John

I had stopped going to these events organised to promote films, songs and stars, mainly because of the crass humiliation of time, the almost life-threatning stampedes caused by both the media which comes in from nowhere and it were at such occasions, especially the men and even the women with all sizes of scary looking cameras, trying their beastly best to get the best pictures and in the process causing danger to the life and limbs of others and above all the inane questions asked by the same members of the honorable media every time and besides the same popcorn, the same samosas, the same sauce and the same thumbs up every time….

But, this time it was to be something different and very personal, or so I thought. It was the launch of the promo of my friend Rakesh Nath’s(also known as Rikku) “Gangs of Banaras” in which his only son Karan Nath was said to have made a striking comeback after his first film had not done as well as was expected. I was excited for Rikku and his entire family who I have known for the last 35 years. I had seen Rikku grooming the careers of Ranjeeta, Anil Kapoor, Salma Agha and Madhuri Dixit professionally and helping many others to take the right steps in the right direction. He had also produced films like “Dil Tera Aashiq” with Salman Khan and Madhuri and helped Salma Agha in producing a mega-film like “Begum Sahiba” which unfortunately did not get made. The biggest setback in his career was when Madhuri married Dr Shriram Nene from Denver in America and decided not to come back to Bombay or to films. Worst happened when she did comeback and did films like “Aaja Nachle” and “Gulab Gang”, but made it clear that she didn’t need his services of her ‘herRikkuji any longer, the same Rikkuji without whom neither she nor her family took any step once’. Her husband Dr Nene had literally taken over as her buisness manager….

Rikku was left with no other choice but to watch his children, Shaina Nath, Karan and Dakshina grow up into young people who could take decisions on their own. Shaina joined hands with Ashok Munshi as a partner and decided to produce “Guns of Banaras”. Karan who not many would remember was the child artist in “Mr India”, wearing glasses looking mischievous and innocent at the same time was to be the hero whose name would be Guddu Shukla. Shekhar Suri,a director from the south was to direct the film and Nathalya, an actress known in the South was to be the heroine and the real star according to many in the unit was to be Sham Kaushal, who is now unquestionably the number one action co-ordinator of films in India.

The film as the title indicates was mostly shot on locations in and around Banaras. The action film look as real as real can be. The songs have the scent of the soil and without any attempt to flatter a friend’s son, I must say that Karan Nath has put in a do or die performance. I will say more about the film when I see the entire film, but….

I had seen the Hollywood cult film “The Guns of Navarone” which had some of the biggest stars when I was only 14. I had travelled to South Bombay by train without a ticket and had bought a ticket in the lowest class for a rupee and  twenty-five paise. I had seen the film and thoroughly enjoyed it. I came back again traveling without a ticket and had spent 4 hours in all and I still remember that afternoon, that evening and every scene of that great film. And here I was at a time when I was nearing 70 and I had taken my friend’s invitation seriously. He had asked me to be there at 12:00 noon sharp. I was there before time like always only to see that there were only the security guards standing there. They asked me to go up to the third floor. I followed their instructions, only to be frightened away a young security guard who had one look at me and said,“raat ko neend nahi aayi kya?Chalo,abhi aa hi gaye ho, toh waha kone mein jaake baith jaao, function 2 baje start hoga”. I kept sitting. I made calls to my friend Rajan deep Singh in Dehradun, to my lawyer friend Saveena Sachar Bedi and others, but it was still not 2 o’clock. Some strange people came up to me with folded hands and some touched my feet and some hugged me as if they felt I had come back from the dead. It was the first time I realised that I had grown ancient.

The only time during the whole of the first and second half of February 13 when I had a slight smile on my face was when I saw ‘Bhaiji’, once known as the only star who could replace Rajesh Khanna, Kiran Kumar, he was a star in Hindi films first, then a superstar in Gujarati films and then a super villain in Hindi films again. He rushed to where I was sitting and kept shouting out my name and saying,“the greatest journalist ever,the greatest journalist ever “and then called out to his handsome young son Shaurya and said, “paair chuoo,paair chuoo inke, tumhari taqdeer achchi hai,tumko yeh mauka mila”. Kiran Kumar or Kim Kim as the gossip magazine called him in his younger days and the son of Jeevan, the villain who specialised in playing the scheming God, Naarad Muni, saved and made my day that day.

Will I go to another event like this? It depends on who invites me. How, when, where and under what circumstances.

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Guns Of Banaras Trailer, Madhuri Dixit, Rikku Rakesh Nath

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