‘Were we to know this would be his last journey?’

‘He wanted to live long enough to see his daughter settled in life. But God had other plans.’

Rumi Jaffrey is shaken by his friend Satish Kaushik’s death.

“I was informed about his death early in the morning. I rushed to his home to be with his wife Shashi and daughter Vanshika. My wife is very attached to Vanshika. She just clung to the child and sat quietly. We are all in a state of disbelief,” he tells Subhash K Jha.

“We had dinner together, Satish, Anupam Kher and I, on Anupam’s birthday just a few days ago. Satish was in fine health and in high spirits, speaking about his future plans. He had so much to do. Never an idle moment. Now, he’s gone,” he adds.

“Satish and I were friends for more than 30 years. Yeh ekaayak jaana bahot nainsaafi hai (his sudden departure is not fair). And it wasn’t as if he wasn’t taking care of his health. He was eating on time and eating right. He was going on morning walks.

“He wanted to live long enough to see his daughter settled in life. But God had other plans.”

Recalling his first meeting with Satish, Rumi says, “I had come from my hometown Bhopal for a holiday in Mumbai. During that time, I was in two minds about a career in cinema in Mumbai. I wanted to see a film shooting. I was told to reach the venue. And guess which shooting that was?

“Shekhar Kapur’s Mr India in which Satish was immortalised as Calendar. That’s when I made up my mind to be part of the film industry.”

Speaking on Satish’s most popular roles, Rumi says, “Calendar in Mr India was very popular. But Satish’s Pappu Pager in Deewana Mastana which I wrote, was equally popular. So many of his roles were well liked. Recently in the Harshad Mehta bio-pic Scam, Satish played the foul-mouthed character so convincingly. He could play anything.”

Rumi is bewildered at Satish’s abrupt departure.

“Just a day before he was dancing at Javed (Akhtar)saab‘s Holi bash. I feel he was travelling too much. Aaj yahan kal wahan. When he told me he was going to Delhi on a friend’s invitation, I cautioned him against so much travelling. He silenced me saying it was a commitment to a friend.

“Were we to know this would be his last journey?”

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