Your film “ Sadiyaan ” released yesterday and as I always do, I started writing my open letter to you. Due to hectic work schedule, I was unable to complete it last night. Today when I woke up in the morning, I was shocked to see extremely hostile and disparaging reviews of your movie. I am dismayed because some of the observations of the critics about you, are unsubstantiated. I know you personally and definitely better than some of the critics.
I remember the first day when you came to meet me regarding acting classes. I assumed that like most of the star-sons, you would prefer one-to-one class with me. I was pleasantly surprised, when you told me that you would love to be in a batch and that you would love to perform in front of a group and learn from making mistakes. When a person is willing to accept his mistakes and is willing to learn from it, I am sure he wants to be a good actor.
You were in batch no. 06 of Kreating Charakters and I must state that you competed our rigorous training diligently and without any protest or displeasure. After completing the training, you signed “ Sadiyaan ” and I was very surprised, when you contacted me again before dubbing. We did protracted and rigorous voice training and when it was completed only then you started dubbing sessions.
This kind of hard work and willingness to work hard is not common. So when a critic says that you seem to be not interested in acting , I can only laugh. Liking or not liking a film depends on one’s mood and perception. Every one is entitled to his own views and ideas. But I must say that barring Mr. Komal Nahta of “ Film Information ” and few others like , Mr. Taran Adarsh of ” Bollywoodhungama.com ” , all the reviews are biased in tone and derogatory in nature. These are not film reviews. These are prejudiced, biased and malicious propaganda and personal attacks. Any way, some times these things happen. It happened to legendary Dilip Kumar also at the time of his debut film “ Jwar Bhata ”. Extremely famous and dreaded film journalist of his time Late Babu Rao Patel wrote almost equally humiliating and disparaging things about him in the January 1945 issue of his magazine, ” FILMINDIA “. The title of his review was – ” The New anaemic Hero “. I am quoting him :
“ Dilip Kumar, the new hero of Bombay Talkies is an anaemic addition to our film artistes. He needs lots of vitamins and a prolonged treatment of proteins before another picture could be risked with him. He looks gaunt and famished and strikes as along ill-treated convict, who has escaped from a jail. His appearance on the screen creates both laughter and disappointment. His acting efforts in this picture amounts to nil ” .
Taken from the book ” DILIP KUMAR – STAR LEGEND OF INDIAN CINEMA – THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY ” by BUNNY REUBEN ( PAGE – 71 )
It is now history that Dilip Kumar proved him wrong with his poignant performance in his third film “ Milan ”, a Nitin Bose directed movie in 1946. He rose to dizzy heights of super stardom with his seventh film ‘ Mela” in 1948 and fortified it with his ninth film “ Shaheed ” , a super hit of its time in 1948 again. What happened after that is now history and folklore of Hindi film industry. Babu Rao Patel had to eat crow and had eggs on his face as he helplessly watched Dilip Kumar defying his predictions with each one of his films. Who knows, this could happen to you too. And I pray to God and believe that this will happen again. And this should happen very soon.
Dilip Kumar won 8 Filmfare awards and was given prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award too. His place in the annals of Hindi films industry is prominently secured. But the same can’t be said about Babu Rao Patel. Do work hard to prove your detractors wrong.
My best wishes are with you.
Filed under: Open Letters