When Yusuf Saab came calling
With the world no longer graced by Dilip Kumar, I recollect some interviewees sharing encounters with the thespian.
In La Kozy Mansion, the 1891-designed Chowpatty seafront gem with a sparkling white jharokha-and-jaali facade, I learnt that filmmaker MI Dharamsey once occupied a top-storey flat. Dharamsey directed Dilip Kumar for Anokha Pyar, with Nargis and Nalini Jaywant. That casting coup inadvertently brought the matinee idol to perfumer Shishir Mehta’s home a floor below. “Answering the doorbell ring, my father had a heart attack seeing Dilip Kumar ask for Dharamsey. In a daze, he led his favourite hero upstairs to the correct house,” laughed Mehta.
Exploring Bhendi Bazar’s redevelopment makeover by the Saifee Burhani Trust took me to Kumbharwada’s Patkar Manzil, where Tarannum Khan claimed a sliver of silver screen history. A large family, Dilip Kumar and his siblings grew up next to her mother Farida. Her father, Mohammed Ilyas Khan of Bhopal, later became Saira Banu’s secretary.
In Maratha Mandir at Bombay Central, my mind reeled back to the glittering evening of August 5, When Dilip Kumar rode a horse to K Asif’s premiere of Mughal-e-Azam, Madhubala dazzled, vision-like, in a palanquin, and the print arrived on colourfully festooned elephants.