Mumbai, March 21 (Calcutta Tube) ‘He was my buddy more than my brother. Do you know I stayed with him longer than I’ve stayed with my parents or any member of my family?’
Navin Nischol’s brother Praveen tries hard to keep the pain and incomprehension of a beloved brother’s sudden loss out of his voice.
But the hurt peeps out will-nilly as Praveen can’t get over the suddenness of it all. ‘Was it a premonition? But for the first time before he left the house to go to Pune he said goodbye to all of us individually, our mother, my adopted son, even our brother who stays abroad… Navin said, ‘Okay bye’ to all of us one by one. Usually he’d just leave after announcing loudly that he’s doing so.’ Navin Nischol died Saturday after a heart attack. He was 65.
Navin had gone through a rough patch a few years ago when his wife had taken him to court. This was the actor’s first and only unsavoury public scandal and it left him hurt. But Praveen says Navin had gotten over it. ‘It was an unfortunate episode,yes. But Navin and our family had managed to tide over the crisis. Navin was very happy in his last years. He lived with me and my mother and he had good friends with whom he spent a lot of his time. He was content and at peace with himself. But he didn’t look after his health. Not that he had any problems. But after a certain age you need to get regular check-ups done. He never did. And he was a smoker. It was always ‘next week’ when he would give it up.’
Shedding light on what went wrong with Navin Nischol’s spectacular career after a headstart in ‘Sawan Bhadonw’ (1970), Pravin explained, ‘As a nervous newcomer before the release of ‘Sawan Bhadon’, Navin signed six films which were not quite the projects to take his career forward. People advised him to break the contract. Navin being a gentleman and a man of his words, decided to go ahead with those films thinking he would be able to live them down. They brought him down.’
Known to never seek work Navin let go of the opportunities that could have catapulted him to the big league.
Says Praveen, ‘He could never bring himself to ask for work from anyone. He would reason. ‘If they want me they’ll ask me’. And he turned down plum assignments like Shashi Kapoor’s roles in Yash Chopra’s ‘Deewar’ and Manoj Kumar’s ‘Roti Kapda Aur Makaan’. Even after years when he made an impact in ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’ he didn’t seek work. He waited.’
Pravin, a producer of long-standing repute had launched a film ‘Jaan Se Pyara’ with Navin in the lead. ‘He was a big star then. Unfortunately the film was shelved. We didn’t work together after that.’
Now there’s only the memories. And an old incomprehending mother at home who wonders how her son could go before her.
‘We’re all coping. We have to. There’s no choice,’ says Pravin almost inaudibly.