‘Bichhde Sabhi Baari Baari’:  The ones we  lost in 2020 in our own Bollywood

In no living year have we seen so many go. And only two of these extraordinary talents died of COVID-19

‘Bichhde Sabhi Baari Baari’:  The ones we  lost in 2020 in our own Bollywood

Subhash K Jha

Irrfan  Khan:  We  lost him to cancer on April 29. And what a loss it was. My last interaction with Irrfan  was  just before the release of his farewell film Angrezi Medium. When I  asked him for an interview he said he can’t speak and could  I  mail him my questions? I wondered why the affable Irrfan was  acting so uppity. Little did I know he  would be gone in less  than a  month.

Rishi Kapoor: A  Day after Irrfan ,  on April 30 we lost another giant entertainer Rishi Kapoor. Till the end he remained in denial  about his  grave  condition. I  still haven’t had the courage to delete his number. I still read his whatsapp chats . He would get angry and distrustful at the  drop of a hat. He was never dishonest. If he  didn’t like  you, you would know. No  covering up in sugar coating for this actor. Rishi  was  so versatile. So  irreplaceable.

Wajid Khan:  You are such a  liar, Wajid. During your last conversation with me  you  said, ‘Good  morning Sir good to hear from  you. I am better than before. Sab Allah ka karam hai.’  I sent you Lataji’s song Do din ki zindagi kaisi hai zindagi . You replied,  ‘Wakay hi do do din zindagi.” And then you were gone . Not fair.

Basu Chatterjee:  Gone at 90 , Basuda’s name evokes  an all-round smile. His cinema  spread  sunshine. And so what if he’s gone? He  will live forever  through his wonderful  films. I saw  Chit Chor and Jeena Yahan after his  death.  Yes,  he lives.

Sushant Singh Rajput: June proved the cruelest month this year snatching one  showbiz personality after another. I don’t think the  film industry will ever get over Sushant Singh Rajput’s  sudden death.  He was not close to me. But we were  connected. I’ve read his last message to me over and over  again after his  death.  It says,  “Sir I remember that I have what all I want already, so I don’t offer any negotiation with my peace or smiles in any ones presence or absence. And we know that it could only get better from here good morning sir.”

Saroj  Khan: The next to go was the dancing  queen Saroj Khan. Didn’t know her well enough to mourn for her. She came  across as mooh-phat to the point  of embarrassment. But she was to choreography in Bollywood what Sonu Sood is to migrants. What would Bollywood dancing have done without her?

Jagdeep:  Comic virtuoso . He is  best remembered for his entertaining  Soorma Bhopali act.  But there was  a lot more to Jagdeep. I hope his sons are working on furthering his name.

Nishikant Kamat: This one I took very personally.  Though I had never met him we shared a certain bonding. Whenever he called he would speak in that soft respectful voice and  tell me that I should not mind if he doesn’t respond to my messages immediately as he travelled  a lot. Now look where life’s journey has taken him. So far away where I can’t message  him.

SP Balasubrahmanyam: What a  voice, stilled by  Covid. SPB lives through his songs. As fellow-singer  Hariharan said to me,  “Because SPB was an actor—he has played prominent roles in dozens  of  Telugu and Tamil films—he could emote in a song  exactly the way  it needed   to be seen on  screen.In that sense Bala Sir  was like Kishore Kumar, always  acting in his songs, adding  things to  a song  that the  composer couldn’t think  of . His voice  conveyed the unalloyed  purity  of a copper vessel.”  RIP

Soumitra Chatterjee:  One of India’s greatest actors, and according to my guru and mentor Pritish Nandy, THE  greatest actor in India. We lost an institution, no question about it.

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