In his soon-to-be-released autobiography, Khullam Khulla, actor Rishi Kapoor opens up about meeting with one of India’s most-wanted men, Dawood Ibrahim, on two occasions in Dubai.
The first time the two met was in 1988, when the actor was invited to the gangster’s house in Dubai for tea. Rishi wrote that the meeting was before the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts took place and Dawood wasn’t an enemy of the state, so he didn’t think there was anything wrong in meeting him.
The actor described how he was taken to an undisclosed location, where he met Dawood, and the two spoke for over four hours over cups of tea. During their conversation, Dawood told Rishi that he did not drink or serve alcohol, he also said that he had only carried out petty thefts and got someone killed, but hadn’t killed anyone himself.
He wrote, “The year was 1988. I had landed in Dubai with my closest friend, Bittu Anand, for an Asha Bhosle-RD Burman night. Dawood always had a man at the airport to keep him posted on VIP movement. When I was leaving the airport, a stranger walked up to me and handed me a phone. He said, ‘Dawood sa’ab baat karenge (Dawood sa’ab would like to talk to you).’ Obviously, this was before the 1993 blasts in Mumbai and I didn’t think of Dawood as a fugitive on the run. He wasn’t an enemy of the state yet. Or, at least, that was the impression I had. Dawood welcomed me and said, ‘If there is anything you need, just let me know.’ He also invited me to his house. I was taken aback.”
On another occasion in 1989, Rishi wrote that he bumped into Dawood while he was shopping for shoes with wife Neetu Singh in Dubai. The actor wrote that the underworld don was surrounded by eight to 10 bodyguards and he offered to buy Rishi whatever he wanted. On both occasions Dawood had assured Rishi that he could contact him for anything he needed.
He wrote, “Finally Dawood said, ‘I am a fugitive because I will not get justice in India. There are a lot of people there who are against me. There are also many in India I have bought. I pay several politicians who are in my pocket.’ I said to him, ‘Dawood, please leave me out of all this, yaar. I am an actor and I really don’t wish to get involved.’ He understood. He was always extremely nice to me and showed me a lot of warmth.”
Rishi also said that the two have had no interaction at all after that chance meeting at the shoe shop. But there have been some more encounters with members of his family. He wrote, “ I made a film called Shreemaan Aashique which had music composed by Nadeem-Shravan and lyrics by Noora, Dawood’s brother, who had a flair for writing.”
The actor incidentally played Dawood Ibrahim in Nikhil Advani’s 2013 film D-Day.
Rishi Kapoor’s memoir Khullam Khulla, published by Harper Collins, will be launched in Delhi on January 17.