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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

The real riches to rags story

The industry is a ruthless place. When you're successful, you'll always be sought after.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2006 02:39 IST
Udita Jhunjhunwala, Hiren Kotwani and Kshama Rao
Udita Jhunjhunwala, Hiren Kotwani and Kshama Rao
None
Hindustantimes
         

The controversy surrounding Navin Nischol's financial and personal affairs once again brings into focus a generation of actors and technicians from the Bombay film industry whose lifestyles and financial affairs belied their star status.

Whether Bhagwan, Pradeep Kumar, Bharat Bhushan, Suraiya, Parveen Babi or the recent case of a homeless OP Nayyar, Bollywood actors and actresses are often discovered to be broke, lonely, unwell (often from alcohol abuse) and neglected in the twilight of their years.

Bhushan suffered losses when his productions flopped, and was forced to sell off his homes. He lived in a chawl in his last years. Manorama too suffered great financial difficulties and was forced to move into a small tenement. Nadira died a recluse, as did Parveen Babi. Both were said to be lonely. More recently, Rajesh Khanna was reported to have had financial worries, leading to his bungalow Aashirwaad being up for auction. Apparently, son-in-law Akshay Kumar bailed him out.

Several A-listers from the ’70s and ’80s secured their futures by buying large bungalows or flats, which have proved to be valuable investments. Today's generation seems more aware, investing in property and building nest eggs. Says actress Asha Parekh, “It's not that stars of yesteryears are living in penury. There is a Cine Artists Welfare Fund that does help in times of need. The problem is that stars of those days thought they’d reign forever. They didn't realise that what goes up must come down. Today's generation knows how to take care of their future.”

Tabassum disagrees, pointing out that the likes of Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, Dev Anand, Nargis and Nutan did not live meagre lives.

Subhash Ghai feels the problem arises when stars forget they’ll grow old and fall from grace.

The problem, agree all, is that many yesteryear actors didn’t consider saving for a rainy day. "They weren't financially savvy. Bharat Bhushan, Pradeep Kumar to name a few spent their final years in bad financial condition. I think Rajendra Kumar was the first to invest in other businesses. Shammi Kapoor proved to be wiser comparatively,” says Raza Murad.

“Not just actors but other professionals from the industry too have made sound investments. The industry is a ruthless place. When you're successful, you'll always be sought after. But when you're past your prime, you don't get the same amount of respect," says Madhur Bhandarkar.