Apres La Mort!

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
26 July 2012 17:39 IST

There can be little doubt that Rajesh Khanna – immortal star, incurable romantic and recently deceased was the one star who introduced many of us teeny boppers in to the world of Hindi Cinema.

I think  I must have been 5 or 6 when I saw one of my first Hindi movies – Andaaz.  It starred Shammi Kapoor  &  Hema Malini, a story of a widower  and a sort of widow, falling in love. I understood nothing of the movie but my lingering memory of that Ramesh Sippy block buster was Rajesh Khanna driving a motor cycle, wearing outsized goggles, singing that memorable  Kishore Kumar ditty “ Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana”. The superstar had somehow woven his magic around even a 5 year old.

Of course, since my hormones had still not started  jumping then, I could never quite understand why some of my uncles and my Dad’s  friends wore yellow pants with elan, wrapped large polka dotted scarves around their necks, cocked their necks at impossible angles, flashed idiotic smiles and wooed many of my aunts with their non existent dimples. It must have been the Rajesh Khanna effect.

But this aint about Rajesh Khanna and another ode to him. What mystifies me is why do we say the nicest, purest and heart felt, sincere things about many of our heroes – AFTER THEY ARE DEAD!

All these glowing tributes over the last two weeks for Rajesh Khanna!! Would it have hurt if they had come a week earlier? Imagine a dying possibly cirrhotic, cancer afflicted superstar watching  all that effusive praise and love heaped on him by millions of his fans on TV / Twitter / Facebook. Imagine him realizing that he still lived in people’s hearts long after age, decay and  oblivion had become  a devastating reality  of his daily existence.

Imagine him actually knowing that women in their 50 to 60s now still considered him their eternal “Sapno ka Raja”. Wouldn’t  he have slipped into the night  a more serene contented soul?

In the Indian Express,  I think  only Lord Meghand Desai paid a tribute to him before he died.

So too closer home, we recently lost our genuine Goan superstar Matanhy Saldanha and  remember all the glowing and deserving tributes paid to him after he left us inexplicably, suddenly and tragically. (I also penned a tribute to him, but after his death so mea culpa too )

Remember the hero’s funeral he so thoroughly earned for himself.

So how much would it have cost us to  praise, perhaps even just acknowledge that glittering body of work he left behind for us when he was alive – so that he would know we cared for him – so deeply.

And of that firebrand, passionate legislator Dr. Kashinath Jhalmi? How many of us were around him when he was struck by illness and was a pale shadow of his original self ???

But the post mortem tributes will abound.

So, too, in our daily lives how often do we care to spend time and sing along with forgotten neighbors & aunts and uncles  & friends & teachers who made us laugh and smile when the world wasn’t exactly a canvas of sunshine as we trudged along our daily graveled path.

But at the funeral, the elegies and tears will flow!

May be a funeral is meant to be a catharsis of conscience for many of us.

So may be I’ll do this! Clearly they have many many fruitful years  ahead of them, but let me raise a toast to many of Goa’s heroes / heroines ante mortem. It makes so much more sense.

For all that you do and sacrifice so much to make  our  Goa a better, safer place thank you Claude and Norma and Ramesh Gawas, Rajendra Kerkar and Carmen Miranda. Three Cheers to you Remo, Hema and Wendell. Go get it, Girls: Sabina, Ritu, Patricia, Venita, Zarina,  Albertina,  Swati & Reboni (pray I have got all the women in, or else I’m dead and some one will have to do a post mortem on me) Grazie & merci Monsieur Manohar & Floriano, Alina and Christopher, Aleixo Reginaldo and Shripad and dear old Pratap Singh  (despite his impossible son) and Shantaram, Girish and Victoria. And A bravo to Sandesh, Sujay,  Rico, Rajan, Derek, Jyoti, Raju, Vinayak, Prakash, Dhavlikar (not the brothers) and Devika for setting the  agenda and asking the uncomfortable questions.

And Viva Franchicoto, Jose Maria, Satish, Aires,  Fr Maverick,   Fr. Eremito,  Nandu, Anand M. and all the IAC, anti SEZ, anti illegal (Shh, can you still utter this word ) mining guys & gals for raising your voice and putting up the good fight

Thank you Edgar, Dean, Charles, Brian, Sanjeet, Rahul for digging your feet in and standing in there.

Tres bien merci Saturday club!!

Sure, I must have missed out on  many  people working for a better Goa, and many of who I  have  acknowledged  may not be perfect but at least they try to do their bit for our Goa, however imperfectly, and that is what is so important.

Needless to say on the flip side there are the apparent stars in Goa (sleazy real estate tycoons, criminal mining lords, greedy corrupt politicians and officials breaking  all the laws) who have enough people prostrating before them and kissing the ground they walk on when they remain alive (unfortunately for us) on this planet.

But there are millions more, who I dare say, are jostling in queues for an opportunity to simply spit on their graves when they kick the bucket some day and get flushed in to the bowels of hell (O.K. O.K. I’m going for confession, to atone for that comment ).

For now, Adeus Rajesh Khanna & thank you for introducing me to my magical, magical world of hindi cinema.

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Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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Previous Comments

Danke schon to our Dr. Oscar for his contribution on the social front

- Nelson , Carmona | 30 th July 2012 04:07


Lets make it a habit praising and thanking people who deserve all the accolades ante mortem.

Thanx dotor for the eye opener.

- christie bennet, Curchorem | 27 th July 2012 13:51


Thank you too Dr Rebello

- Girishs Sardessai, Goa. | 26 th July 2012 18:40


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