Jeetendra turns up to honour ailing Junior’s request | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Jeetendra turns up to honour ailing Junior’s request

ByMeena Iyer, Mumbai
Dec 08, 2023 10:28 AM IST

The sight of his animated fellow actor from the past, now in the throes of pain, made Jeetendra visibly distraught.

Naeem Sayyed aka Junior Mehmood shot to fame as a child actor for his impersonation of the 1950s-’60s comic-legend, Mehmood Ali. So near-perfect was his comic act, that the senior artiste himself rechristened him ‘Junior Mehmood’. His notable appearances were in films such as ‘Brahmachari’ (1968), ‘Caravan’ (1971) and ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ (1971).

Actors Johnny Lever and Jitendra meets Veteran Actor Naeem Sayyed (Junior Mehmood) on Tuesday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/ HT Photo)
Actors Johnny Lever and Jitendra meets Veteran Actor Naeem Sayyed (Junior Mehmood) on Tuesday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/ HT Photo)

It recently became public knowledge that Junior, 67, is suffering from stage-4 stomach cancer and recuperating in his Bandra home. Through this period, the film industry, otherwise known to be self-centered, revealed its gentler side, evidenced by a line of celebrities calling on him.

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Read | Junior Mehmood dies of stomach cancer at 67

On Tuesday, comedian Johnny Lever and veteran superstar Jeetendra dropped by to see him at 6 pm, after Junior requested to meet his former colleague.

The sight of his animated fellow actor from the past, now in the throes of pain, made Jeetendra visibly distraught. “I am here by his bedside, but he is unable to recognise me. He is in so much pain, he is unable to open his eyes. To see him in this state breaks my heart,” said Jeetendra.

He had planned a visit on Sunday, on his way to Mount Mary Church. However, when Johnny Lever told him to come sooner, he responded to the urgency. “I heard he wanted to meet me…” he trailed off.

Also Read | Veteran actor Junior Mehmood battling with stage four cancer, says his close friend Salam Kazi

“I have been coming to the Mount Mary Church for 25 years. When I learnt of Junior’s health condition, I planned to visit him on my way to the church next Sunday. But Johnny reached out to me on Monday night, urging a quick visit,” said Jeetendra.

Recalling his association with Junior Mehmood from the ’60s-’70s, he said: “We worked at a time when movies took a lot of time to be completed. Junior played my younger brother in Nasir Hussain’s ‘Caravan.’ In the course of filmmaking, Ravindra Kapoor, Asha Parekh, Aruna Irani and I ended up spending a lot of time together both on set and outdoors. A major portion of the film was shot in a caravan and so we often found ourselves huddled up together during shoots. However, I had not spoken to him or met him for years till I heard he had fallen ill.’’

Jeetendra has also worked with Junior’s wife Lata, in a film titled ‘Suhagaan.’ “I remember her as a beautiful girl who met me around 40 years ago to say she was marrying Junior Mehmood. I was very happy for her. This evening I met a frail Lata and their two sons by Junior’s bedside. Seeing them I feel even more distraught,” he said.

In the course of his ailment, Junior has lost 36 kilos. “I will keep Junior in my prayers. I hope he has a peaceful evening and peaceful days ahead,” he said.

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