Raaj Grovers First Book ‘The Legend Of Bollywood’ Lunched In The Midst Of Legends
Ali peter john
I was a junior journalist when Raaj Grover was a senior PR man who worked for celebrities like Sunil Dutt and Nargis Dutt, other stars and down to Zarina Wahab who he and his wife Shashi not only gave her a place to live in their house when she came out of the FTII and had no shelter in the city and Raaj Grover even got her the first break of her career in Rajshri’s “Chitchor” which was the beginning of her career as an actress. Raaj had a very close relationship with everyone associated with the industry, whether it was ‘Kaka”, the restaurant owner who was known for his large heart which made him feed struggling stars like Shashi Kapoor, Raaj Grover himself and above all Dharmendra for whom he took a strong liking and is said to have even lent twenty rupees to report for the recording of his very first film, “Dil bhi tere hum bhi tere” and which started a relationship between the two which made Kaka a part of Dharmendra’s family and was a must guest at all the family events in the Deol family and at all the events associated with Dharam’s career which included the muhurats of Dharam’s sons’, Sunny and Bobby’s first films
“Kaka” has been a friend of Raaj Grover for more than fifty years and he proved how good a friend he was when he made his presence felt at the launch of Raaj Grover’s book, “Yaadein Zara Zara” in Hindi and Urdu and “The Legends of Bollywood” in English translated by Suchitra Iyer. Raaj had produced two films, “Taaqat” and “Thikaana”, the first directed by Narinder Bedi and the second by Mahesh Bhatt after which he not only left the industry but also the country and settled down in New Jersey but never lost touch with the industry to which he had dedicated almost his entire life.
He however had all his memories about people and events intact and some three years ago he decided to put down his memories in writing and first started writing in Urdu and decided to call his memoirs “Yaadein Zara Zara” . His decision turned into an obsession and he made three trips to India to see that all was going well with his passion. It could have been easy to understand his passion if he was doing it for money, but Raaj Grover was a man who had grown up on certain high ideals and it was one of these ideals that made him write the book in an effort to see that every rupee that came out of the sales of his books would go to the help of cancer patients and sought the support of Priya Dutt, the daughter of Sunil and Nargis Dutt who was now in-charge of the Nargis Dutt Foundation for cancer. Arrangements were also made to see that a part of the proceeds would go to the Beugum Khannum Hospital for cancer built by the now Prime Minister of Pakistan, the former cricketer as a tribute to his mother who had died of cancer.
It was a lesson in human determination to see Raaj Grover going all out to share his memories with as many people as he could. The way he has written his book, chapter after chapter is an example of writing being able to bring back people and their memories alive and I as an admirer and a follower of Raaj Grover as a story-teller and a teller of endless jokes and anecdotes have started admiring him all the more after this book which is the result of the sheer will power of a man still madly in love with the industry.
The presence of legends like Dharmendra, Prem Chopra, Tabassum, Ranjeet, Mahesh Bhatt and even the Younger Zarina Wahab at the Title Waves, one of the best book shops in Mumbai showed how much they respected Raaj Grover who had spent the best years of his life with them and for them. There should have been many other legends and even lesser beings who should have been present at the function, but not everyone and not even the tallest and the greatest who once held Raaj Grover’s hand when they were struggling and no one cared for them are born grateful. I will return with my complete review of the book when I have imbibed the spirit of Raaj Grover’s labour of love.
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