By Subhash K. Jha Bollywood Hungama News Network
Remember Nilu Phule, the stage and film veteran Marathi actor who played the sleazy terrorizing politician in Mahesh Bhatt's timeless classic on countering hooliganism Saaransh?
When the film's leading man Anupam Kher, on completing 25 years in films decided to hold a belated premiere of the film on May 25 at the very theatre (Metro), where it was first released, he decided to regroup the entire cast and crew of Saaransh.
From director Mahesh Bhatt to producer Raj Kumar Barjatya to the film's romantic lead Mohan Joshi and Soni Razdan (director Bhatt's wife) to music composer Ajit Varman (the musical genius now lives in anonymity in Andheri). They all jumped at the idea of reliving what's unarguably the single-most important event in their life.
Only Nilu Phule, an important theatre and film actor active from 1956, was untraceable.
There began Anupam's hunt for the missing actor. "There was no way I'd relive Saaransh which today is more relevant as a work of cinema than ever before, without one of its important actors. No one seemed to know where Nilu Phule was. I finally got an address for him in Pune. I drove down personally to the address. But Nilu didn't live there any more. My hunt began all over again."
Phule was finally tracked him down to another location in Pune.
Says Anupam emotionally, "It was a glorious revisitation. We both could barely hold back our tears. Unfortunately, Nilu's health does not permit him to make that journey from Pune to Mumbai. He was ready to come. But his doctor advised him against it. We'll miss Nilu at the premiere."
Anupam has invited his close friends from within and outside the film industry for the premiere of Saaransh on Sunday. "Naresh Goel and Yash Chopra will be there. But Subhash Ghai can't attend because he's in Cannes. I even invited singer Kavita Krishnamurthy who sang an evocative song in Saaransh . But she's in Poland."
The actor has also commissioned a half-hour documentary on Saaransh.
"To me Saaransh is the sum-total of my entire career. It voices all the concerns that I hold precious. If I'm even 20 percent of the human being that my character B.B. Pradhan was, I've achieved enough in life."