Feroz Khan’s flamboyance remains unmatched

Feroz Khan died at his farmhouse in Bangalore after a year-long battle with cancer at the age of 69

Feroz Khan (Source: Social Media)
Feroz Khan (Source: Social Media)

Subhash K Jha

Feroz Khan was gracious and loving till the end. Khan died at his farmhouse in Bangalore after a year-long battle with cancer at the age of 69. The entire family was gathered in Bangalore, feeding him with their hands. Khan enjoyed his glass of wine in the evenings till the end.

As per his wish he was buried next to his mother. Contrary to his flamboyant image, Khan was a sensitive person. He was loved by all his friends and colleagues. Even in his frail condition towards the end he’d get up from his chair to greet each one in the family no matter how old or young.

Khan was fearless even when faced with death. He was the apple of his mother’s eyes. All the five Khan brothers and two sisters looked up to him. Till his last breath, Khan was known as the Indian cowboy. No man or woman ever said no to Khan. Not to a role.  When Hema Malini was hesitant to play the  brief role of an Afghani gypsy who gets bumped off after 20 minutes of her entry into the plot in Khan’s directorial Dharmatma, Khan was unperturbed.

“Trust me, Baby. You will never be presented more classily,” Khan promised. Malini melted because was right.

Sridevi too was reluctant to do the brief role in Khan’s Jaanbaaz. She melted after he spoke to her in fluent Tamil.

Khan wanted to be and do the best. He did everything in a larger-than-life way. When he didn't like a set for Qurbani, he actually got it dismantled and built a new one. He wouldn't compromise on his vision. What he created  on screen was what he was in real life. Zeenat Aman who played the lead in the staggering Qurbani remembers Khan as a thorough gentleman, “very charming and he epitomised a certain kind of masculinity that was way ahead of its times”.

In Dharmatma which was a scene-by-scene ripoff of Francis Coppola’s The Godfather, Khan decided to take on the challenge of making Hema Malini look more glamorous and sensuous than ever before. That was a tough job because Malini was constantly fighting to cover herself up more than the costumes by Parmeshwar Godrej in Dharmatma allowed.

Dharmatma was shot in Afghanistan. I don't think any film unit had gone there before. The crew had to rough it out. It was freezing cold in Kabul. They had to stay in tents. In the evenings, the  entire cast and technicians  sat together to prepare for next day's scenes.

Khan was always revved up about the films he was making. He shot them all over the world. For the climax of Qurbani he  went to London. He had international technicians in Qurbani, something very unusual for that time.

At his funeral in Bangalore, Celina Jaitley who was introduced by Khan in Janasheen was horrified to see the poor turn-out from the film industry. There was just Celina, Sajid Khan, Sanjay Gupta and Kishen Kumar. And of course, the entire family of Khan including Hrithik Roshan who at that time was married to Khan’s niece.

The last time Celina met Khan was three weeks before his death. She met him at the Breach Candy hospital. He got into his Versace track suit to meet her. That was the man, stylish even when he was in acute pain. He had needles sticking out of his body but he was wearing Versace.

Director Sanjay Gupta who planned a bio-pic on Khan and dropped the  idea as he couldn’t find an actor to play Feroz (his son Fardeen is not at all  like his Dad) once told me "there are two things one can never forget. The first time one has sex and the first time one meets Mr. Feroz Khan.”

Famous last words.

Songs  Filmed On Feroz Khan:

Jo tumko ho pasand wohi baat kahenge (Mukesh,Safar)

Dil ki girah khol do (Manna Dey-Lata Mangeshkar, Raat Aur Din)

Darpan ko dekha tuney jab jab kiya sringar (Mukesh, Upaasna)

Jeevan mein tu darna nahin (Kishore Kumar,Khotte Sikkey)

Tere chehre mein woh jaadu hai (Kishore  Kumar, Dharmatma)

Kya khoob lagti ho (Mukesh-Kanchan, Dharmatma)

Qurbani qurbani : title song (Kishore Kumar , Anwar)

Har kissiko nahin milta  (Manhar, Jaanbaaz)

Chahe meri jaan tu le le (Jolly Mukherjee, Dyavan)

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