He was considered a reason to make the movie in his times. He was the real showman and was the reason behind the success of Raj Kapoor’s romantic movie ‘Bobby’. Remembering and recalling the showman, Vakil Singh (83), a veteran film distributor who died in a hit and run case on the flyover of BMC chowk here on Saturday morning, Hindustan Times talked to one of his best friends.
Singh was killed in a hit and run case when he was taking a stroll on the flyover of the BMC chowk in the morning when an unidentified vehicle hit him and he died on the spot.
His friend and companion film distributor, Satnam Singh shared that he was called the ruler of film distribution in his times. “He started his career with movie, ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh’ in 1959 which was a hit after which he gave hits in the film industry”.
“When the movie ‘Bobby’ starring Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia came, he was very keen to get the contract of film distributor. He spent ten days in Mumbai to convince Raj Kapoor to give him the rights of distribution. Raj Kapoor gave a deal that he will charge Rs. 4 lakh but Vakil ji was so confident that he was ready to pay Rs. 5 lakh. He gave a new meaning to the name of marketing by launching pick and drop buses which were also named ‘Bobby’ buses which use to take the people from a particular spot to the theatre. The movie tickets were provided in the bus only”.
He added that the idea clicked and the people not only loved the movie but also the strategy behind its marketing across the country.
“After that Vakil Singh was a known name in the industry as Raj Kapoor gave all the distribution of rest of his movies to him without a single thought. The producers started considering him as lucky mascot to make the movie hit. Even the climax of the movie Bobby was reshot on the request of Vakil ji. He told Raj Kapoor that why you are killing the two love birds at the end. He said give a happy ending to the story to whcih Kapoor agreed reshot the whole climax”.
He remained a prominent film distributor of the region and was instrumental even in inviting and organising late Rajesh Khanna’s visit to the city in mid seventies. Many actors were associated with him and have visited his home including Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Rajinder Kumar, Dharmender and Vinod Khanna.
Satnam said that he was very fond of walking and wanted to make his knees function properly. “He decided to walk on flyover so that his knee problems may not aggravate but his passion for walk has been turned into the reason of his death. It is a great loss as a friend and a legend. He was a fit man even in 80s”, he recalled.
Meanwhile the bhog ceremony to commemorate Vakil Singh’s death would be held at Model Town gurdwara here from 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Sunday.