Lyricist Javed Akhtar is under attack for not giving the 'promised money' to renovate a memorial to singing legend Kishore Kumar at his birthplace here.
The fans say that Javed Akhtar last year publicly pledged to donate the Rs.100,000 in prize money he got for winning the Kishore Kumar National Award to renovate the Kishore memorial. But he has not kept the promise.
"Javed's gesture was a gimmick," said a fan in Khandwa, 192 km from Bhopal.
The Kishore Kumar award, instituted by the Madhya Pradesh government in 1997, is given away for direction, acting, script writing and lyrics every year. It carries Rs.100,000 and a citation. Akhtar won it last year.
Khandwa residents say even after a year Javed Akhtar's promised money is yet to reach the town.
Kishore Kumar was born in Khandwa on August 4, 1929. The singer's family house stands opposite the Khandwa railway station in a dilapidated condition. The singer left for Mumbai (then Bombay) when he was 18. He died on October 13, 1987, in Mumbai from a heart attack. He was cremated in Khandwa.
As a tribute to the singer, the Khandwa municipal corporation erected a two-foot-high, 15-foot-long and 10-foot-wide rectangular structure at the cremation ground as a memorial.
However, the so-called memorial has neither a plaque nor an epitaph. The structure has, in the 19 years since the singer-actor died, literally fallen apart.
Wild grass and shrubs grow through the cracks in the structure. Many tiles have chipped off. A portrait faintly resembling the singer can still be seen.
The people of Khandwa collected Rs 100,000 by contributing a rupee each for a memorial in an effort coordinated by Bollywood poet-lyricist Vitthal Bhai Patel. But Khandwa Mayor Tarachand Agarwal did not permit the restoration.
Even Kishore's son Amit Kumar has not bothered to get the memorial repaired, says Sita Ram, who has been the watchman at Kishore's house for over 35 years.
"Amit visited Khandwa only twice - once when Kishoreda was cremated and the second time on his way to Indore for a show. He promised to perform stage shows in Khandwa to raise money to get the memorial repaired," Sita Ram told IANS.
But he never did.