After an hour-long meeting with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi at his residence in Ahmedabad, composer Ismail Darbar has decided to join the BJP. Quiz him on his decision to throw in his lot with Modi, who has as many foes as he has followers, and Darbar retorts, “Given how much he has done for the state, we should be lauding him instead of lambasting him. While the ruling Congress has only brought trouble to the common man through growing inflation and rising prices, he has been their saviour, creating employment opportunities to sustain families at a time when the world’s going through a recession.”
Darbar’s decision wasn’t prompted by a personal agenda, but by the need to do something for Surat that has been home to five generations of his family. “The house my parents moved into after marriage and from where their funeral procession started, is still my home, though I can afford to move to a posh locality now,” he says. “But I want to live with the people whose problems were once mine and help them. I’ve always said that no matter where I die, I want to be buried in Surat.” But before the end comes, he wants to keep this promise he made to his ammi (mother) who died two years ago. “It helps when you have power,” he reasons.
He admits he made a mistake by questioning the Academy’s decision to give an Oscar to AR Rahman. “I’ve bagged the National Award too and I know how big an honour an Oscar is. I didn’t want to hurt the Academy and have apologised to them as well as Rahman, my brother and friend,” he says, “Baat purani ho gayi hai (This is a stale story now), let it go. Let’s talk community service now.”