If the shadows threw light….

I remember him as the guitar strumming, soft spoken friend of Shabana Azmi in Arth. And, the next recollection I have of him is the man who Simi Garewal mowed down to death in the reincarnation tale Karz. Raj Kiran stood out in these roles, though they were cameos.

I best remember him as the actor with eyes that were both emotive and dreamy, a performer with potential and someone who had immense screen persona. He wasn’t a heart throb, or a macho guy who could make girls go weak on their knees. His performances were intense and made the role of a second fiddle memorable.

Naturally, the recent news report of him being lodged in an asylum in Atlanta is heart breaking. And, even more disturbing is the fact that he is working in the institution to pay off his medical bills. What route took him from the tinsel town to a quaint city in the Southern part of the USA is another story. But, him resurfacing, at least in the media, is a harsh reminder of all those who see the rise and decline in the film industry.

No one would ever know what went wrong with Guru Dutt’s life. Even today, almost fifty years after he was found dead in his apartment, none can say if it was suicide or overdose of liquor and sleeping pills. Largely, it is believed his will to live was shaken after the disastrous opening Kaagaz Ke Phool, his magnum opus, received; add to that his failed romance with his co-star and a marriage in shambles. The film bore a striking resemblance to his life and his death. Call it irony, or a sublime misfortune, today Kaagaz Ke Phool is rated among the all-time best films by Time magazine.

Or, would anyone ever guess what didn’t work for Parveen Babi, the iconic star of the seventies who made it to the cover page of Time magazine? The striking actor who played the most unconventional female roles, along with Zeenat Aman, is believed to have dumped her career for her love, only to be disappointed. A lot of stories have circulated about her attempt to find solace in the mentorship of UG Krishnamurthi. After two decades, she died alone, as she was in life. Later, many rued the fact that Parveen was a phenomenon in her times and it was a terrible tragedy that she vamoosed into oblivion. But phenomena don’t last forever: is an unwritten rule in the industry. Those who decline, stumble on it to discover that.

There was a time when Bharat Bhushan was rated amongst A- listers like Rajinder Kumar and was paired against stalwarts like Madhubala and Meena Kumari. The face of many melodies like Tu Ganga Ki Mauj mein, Zindagi Bhar Nahi Bhoolenge and many more timeless gems, Bharat Bhushan along with his contemporaries bagged some of the finest songs composed by legendary composers, including Naushad and Madan Mohan. But, that didn’t stop his fading stardom, nor did it help him save for a rainy day. He passed away in his rented apartment as an aged man who was nothing close to the once celebrated actor of the fifties. Incongruously, he was counted among legends of the era like Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand.

The show must go on, a popular adage of the tinsel town, speaks another truth. No one is indispensable here; today you are here, tomorrow you maybe nowhere. The curtains come down on your act, but the show must go on.


9 Responses to “If the shadows threw light….”

  1. Soumya Says:

    Lonely, insecure lives behind all that glitter… Rajesh Khanna looks quite pathetic these days 😦

  2. yeah sowmya, the story behind the lights, camera and action is not even half alluring as the one on big screen

  3. lakshmana Says:

    the story of telugu super star savitri, also starred in several tamil films is so tragic. guess the newer stars have gotten smarter, but yes, behind all the glitter is a life that not many of us commoners can really live out,if we have to. u have captured the essence of it so effectively. sensitively too. keep em coming. cheers, lakshmana

  4. very well-written.brings out the efemeral quality of glamour.
    vina leekha

  5. Madhusudhan Says:

    Lovely one… recall Amitabh’s ‘Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon’ – the lyrics mimic your thoughts..

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