Why was Kader Khan left alone to suffer in the last decade, asks an upset Shakti Kapoor
It’s a very sad moment. I am in Goa and I have been mourning since I heard the news of Kader Khan’s death. It’s not a very good first day of the year.
I have spent half my acting career with Kader Khan – we did over 100 films together, the maximum any two co-stars have done together. Now that he is gone, the film industry has been thinking about him. Why do people remember an actor when they are not alive? Why can’t they say something nice when the person is working or when they are sick or when they are struggling? They only start talking about an actor when they are no more and they are not around to hear it all.
I am upset by this because I have lost many of my best friends in the industry who were lauded when they died but no one remembered them when they were alive. They were not spoken about, their achievements were not mentioned.
When Kader Khan was not working for the last decade and was suffering, nobody was very concerned about him. Why was he left so lonely? And why are actors left so alone when they are sick or not doing too well? Kader Khan was financially very secure but very lonely because when he was sick, not many people visited him or spent time with him. He was left alone with his family.
Did Kader Khan know how much he was loved? Did Kader Khan know his achievements? Did Kader Khan know how much work he has done and how much his contribution is? I can write a book about this man because I was so close to him. I used to call him a messiah; I used to call him a man sent by God.
And he was always talking about why isn’t there any goodness left in this world? Why are children not respecting and looking after their parents? Why are there so much of lies? Why is there so much of politics? Why is the person very happy when he sees others’ films flopping? Why is the same group of actors, same fraternity so glad when they see other director-producer’s film get flopping? Why is this happening? Why are people so jealous? Why don’t people like achievements of other people? These things disturbed him a lot.
Work-wise, he was amazing. There are a lot of things I can talk about. We have done over 50 shows together — Kader Khan-Shakti Kapoor shows were hit all over the world from Japan to America to Canada, they used to go housefull.
There was a time when this combination, of Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor, would guarantee blockbusters. In an industry where posters only have the lead actor and actress, there were banners of just Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor promoting the films. This has never happened in the history of the Hindi film industry. There was the combination of Mehmood and Kishore Kumar but these actors have not done 100 films together and neither did they play father and son, like we did.
When we last met during a show, Kader Khan called me on stage called and said, “Shakti, you are my boy. You came into the film industry where there is a lot of language problem, like your ‘zubaan’ was not pure urdu. And today again, looking at the film industry’s situation, a lot of these actors are looking after their bodies and faces but none of these actors focus on ‘zubaan’. They don’t have language and diction. Why aren’t actors concentrating on diction like Amitabh Bachchan does where every word is crystal clear?” He found even the language of newscasters on TV channels a huge let down; this was my last meeting with him face-to-face.
After that, whenever I spoke to him, he would say, “I will come back very strongly in the film industry for only one reason; I have to teach this new generation about zubaan, what is dialogue delivery and how every word coming out of your mouth should be like a rose and a butterfly. Today, when actors speak, you can’t understand half of it. So, I want to teach this generation of actors the language.”
Besides that, he felt a little sad when he had his knee operation and had to sit on a wheelchair for the first time. After that, he never left the wheelchair. I don’t know what went wrong but he used feel that he will fall if he got up.
I always believed he is going to stage a comeback because knowing such a strong man, I thought he could easily fight it out. I believed he will come back to Mumbai and we will work together again. But it didn’t happen.
We have done leading roles together and we have done comedy. I learnt a lot from him and I will miss him a lot. He once told me that his acting career began as a theatre artist. He was a professor in a college and would come up with dialogues while riding the scooter. His assistant, who would be riding pillion, would write them down.
I always told him that he was my guru; I used to touch his feet. We were the best of friends. I would never leave him alone for a moment when we were together and not shooting because there was so much to learn. He only spoke of knowledge, of truth, of life and how to face sorrow. He wanted peace, happiness, family and people to be good. I want the world to remember him as a good man, an educated man, a man who believed in hard work.
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