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The man with the golden heart

A permanent void has been marked with the death of Feroze Khan — the original male style icon of Bollywood Madhur Bhandarkar pays his own tribute to the legend who was hearthrob of a million...

india Updated: Apr 28, 2009 19:30 IST
Madhur Bhandarkar column

A permanent void has been marked with the death of Feroze Khan — the original male style icon of Bollywood. This man spelled style not only by his on-screen image but otherwise too...he was a man of great style and panache...

My encounter with Ferozeji happened on a flight from Dubai in 2004. I sat next to him for over two hours. I was thrilled to have the undivided attention of the star; whose movies always stood to inspire me in my growing film-making years... Though so senior to me he never flinched before appreciating the work of a junior like me.

Feroze Khan’s entry on the screen was always greeted by major whistles in the theatres. His unbuttoned shirt, cigarette dangling from his lips and a horse waiting to be ridden by the debonair man would always create a stir amongst his audience. He was the one who brought the West on to the Eastern screen. His cowboy image made him stand apart from the heroes who loved to play it safe with the good Indian boy image. His cowboy image was the soaring point in his career with films like Khottey Sikke and Kala Sona.

Ferozeji’s style quotient transcended when he turned a film-maker too. He didn’t shy away from breaking the barriers in creating his own niche. Who can forget his first directorial venture Apradh. He played a car racer — a concept that was very new in that era. Ferozeji shot the famous Nuremberg car race in Germany and that still stands strong over the decades. Apradh was just the trailer to a beginning of a film-maker whose journey was going to a historic one.

For this man cinema was not a profession but a passion. His next venture Dharmatma a larger than life film based on the Godfather. The film was had some never-seen elements in Hindi cinema. It was for the first time shot in Afghanistan and it featured the Buzkhashi race. The music of the film still echoes in the memories of film lovers...

Feroze Khan created history with his next venture, Qurbani. The entire nation swooned to Nadia Hasan’ Aap Jaisa Koi. Very few directors have it in them to potray their female characters like Ferozeji did. Qurbani proved to be a cult film in Indian cinema.

A man with a heart of gold, a larger than life film-maker, an actor who had the courage to be different, Feroze Khan was a cult to be followed by generations. My heart goes out to his family. LONG LIVE THE JAANBAZ.