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Madhur bol

My indecisiveness and my fascination with cinema led to a very peculiar business for a middle class boy... renting out video cassettes. Madhur Bhandarkar tells more.

entertainment Updated: Feb 10, 2009 20:14 IST

The reactions to my first column from the readers floored me... it was your true emotions that inspired me to open up one of the most fascinating episodes of my life - the days when I was just a video library guy...

My family did not know which way my life was going. With no career strategies, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to be in films.

My indecisiveness and my fascination with cinema led to a very peculiar business for a middle class boy... renting out video cassettes. I had found a way to pursue my passion ... but I had no idea that this small venture would teach me the greatest lessons of my life or get me up and close with people who were just names on the big screen.

I used to travel door to door in the western belt of Mumbai renting out VHS's. This was the 80's, the era of Bollywood cinema on VHS. My job took me to strange quarters where I first time came face to face with the dance bar girls of Mumbai, women who lit up the dingy bars of Mumbai who, during the day, would hire videos of the latest Bollywood films and practice the dance numbers of Rekha and Sridevi for their dance bar routines.

What I adored about these women was that they were never stingy, they were regular customers who always paid on time. Strangely it was the filmi people who were the defaulters when it came to paying. They would hire VHS from me on regular basis but when it would come to paying they would turn their backs on me with their "sahib ghar pe nahin hain" excuses. But this was not the same case with everyone, there were a few whose memories I still carry.

I was a major Mithun fan in those days and delivered videos to Mithun da's place too. This is a man with a heart of gold. One day, in a casual conversation, I mentioned that I was short of cash to upgrade my stock. He immediately asked Yogitaji to give me Rs500 so that I could make my purchases. Those days Rs 500 was a big amount. Years later I got a call from Mithunda asking me where I was. I told him I was in my office. Within 2 minutes the bell rang I saw Mithun Chakravarty standing in front of me in "my office".

Another incident was like a scene from Deewar..... I used to deliver videos to Subhash Ghai. After the success of Chandni Bar he invited me to work on a project. At the end of the meeting I told him that I was the same Madhur who used to deliver videos to him a decade ago. Subhashji couldn't believe that he was on the verge of signing the same videowala boy.... Such are life's diaries....