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By – Mahesh Bhatt

There will always be that piece of my heart that will smile whenever I think about you.  That is why perhaps, saying goodbye to you is painful because I know I will never be able to say hello to you again.  I will never hear your distinct voice saying ‘Hello Bhatt Saab! The festival of lights is here again.  And where is your article?  I will not close the issue till you send it to me!’  You would say fully asserting your hak (right) over me. And I would put everything aside immediately to make sure you have your article.

Why did I do it Vikas Jee? People say you and I were so different from each other.  But were we really? Perhaps our backgrounds were different.  And may be our ways of understanding and interpreting the world was different.  But deep down within both of us was that yearning to comprehend truth.  You always told me ‘the reason I like you Bhatt Saab is because you are from the industry but you are not in it. That is why I seek you out to resolve the problems that we as the heads of the various industry associations, are unable to.’

I’ve always wondered why in this industry, where everybody immediately dons another persona to be liked or accepted, you stuck on to your own unique funny yet straightforward, (at times even rather rude), ways of conducting your affairs.  I guess because you understood the mantra that even I did way back in time, that its better to be hated for being your real self, than loved for pretending to be someone else.  I guess that’s why we were brothers.

How much I loved you when you chided me for not reading the Super Cinema issue that you made sure reached my doorstep each Sunday.  ‘You creative people must also know the hard facts of your business.  Never forget that we are in the ‘business of entertainment.’  You made me realize that a film is not just a vehicle of self expression but also a tool to fulfill the thirst of the audience who come to the cinema halls digging their hands into their pockets to find some respite from their dull lives.

How can I forget that glint in your eyes whenever I ran into you at a film function, where a production house was whipping up this perception of success when in reality the film had bombed. ‘Lies, lies, lies. It is the lies that the industry is telling itself that will destroy us. I feel guilty taking from money from such people for the pages that they put out in my magazine, to lie about their collections. But I guess I also have to make a living,’ he would say.

You know Vikas jee, I want to use this column to tell our folks in the film industry something that I learnt from the CEO of Apple, who recently came to my set of Raaz Reboot.  Tim Cook said ‘Life is fragile.  None of us is assured a tomorrow.  So you might as well put everything you have in the now.’

When I got to know from Jayantilal Gada of PEN that you were hospitalized due to a prolonged illness, I decided to pay you a visit the next day. But as the Buddha said, the trouble is we think we have time.  At six in the morning of the day I was planning to meet you, a ping on my I phone from Bharti Dubey informed me that you had passed away that night.  Sorry I couldn’t meet this deadline and sing you the song of hope as you took your journey through that dark passage towards death.

But one thing I promise.  Every Diwali, I will make sure I send my article to Super Cinema without you having to call me up to remind you, because I know that if there was a phone in heaven, you would surely be dialing me from there, and sounding me off in your inimitable style.  Thanks for the memories Vikas jee.   I don’t think I can easily forget someone who made me smile so much.  Goodbye dost…. Trade Magazine



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