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I will miss my friend in need, the ever-smiling Calendar Satish Kaushik: Jyothi Venkatesh

Noted actor -writer-director Satish Kaushik’s sudden death has left the film industry as well as several of his fans in great shock.



Satish Kaushik and Jyothi Venkatesh

By Jyothi Venkatesh

Noted actor -writer-director Satish Kaushik’s sudden death has left the film industry as well as several of his fans in great shock. Satish Kaushik better known affectionately as Calendar after his part in director Shekar Kapoor’s film Mr. India passed away at the age of 66 in Gurugram yesterday on March 8, 2023. His body will be brought to Mumbai after a post-mortem is conducted. His best friend and close associate Anupam Kher took to Twitter to announce the sad news.

Satish Kaushik who was born on April 13, 1956, died of a silent heart attack. He was an alumnus of the National School of Drama as well as the Film and Television Institute of India. Satish Kaushik started his career in theatre. He became a household name as Calendar in ‘Mr. India.’ He also made an impact with the movies ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaro,’ ‘Woh 7 Din’ and ‘Mandi’ and ‘Deewana Mastana. Satish Kaushik made a transition to direction with ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja.’ ‘Tere Naam’, Kaagaz, and ‘Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain’ are some of his popular films as a director.

I will miss my dear friend Satish Kaushik, whom I knew right from his days of struggling at Raj Babbar’s wife Nadira Aappa’s theatre group Ekjute where I used to attend every party in the weekend as Raj Babbar was a very good friend of mine in those days when he had been making his screen presence felt in a big way. Besides Satish, I used to bump in at his house actors like Shekhar Kapoor, Aroon Bakshi, Raja Bundela, Suhas Khandke, Kirron Kher, and last but not least Anupam Kher, and also watch all the plays that Nadira Aappa was staging in the weekends at Prithvi Theatre in Juhu. I was at that time working in Hotel Oberoi Towers as well as freelancing for popular film magazines like Stardust, Filmfare, Star & Style as well as Cine Blitz.

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Satish, I remember was very shy and also introvert and soft-spoken and never boisterous at that time but very conscious of the fact that he could not click as a character actor because he was very fat and rotund, very unlike his good friend Anupam Kher, who knew the knack as well as the art of befriending people unassumingly whether they were journalists or for that matter producers or directors. I remember even today how in those struggling days of the 80s, Satish Kaushik and Anupam Kher used to make it a point to go from film office to office in autos sometimes, by walking sometimes with their portfolio photographs in the hope of grabbing some role of the other in the films that were being made in those days.

In a leading film monthly of those days, I remember I had written the scoop of how secretly my dear friend Raj Babbar had married his co-actress Smita Patil in Ooty in a temple even though he was happily married to Nadira Aappa and had not only a son called Gorky but also a cute daughter called Juhi. The two were linked in the media in those days and every day one news or the other used to appear in the papers or magazines. My news became the talk of the tinsel town especially because the monthly chose to announce their latest issue with a billboard all over Juhu stating that Raj Babbar Marries Smita Patil but as expected my khaas relationship with my Aappa was strained after the news was published of course with my by-line and I on my own decided not to visit the Babbar family for some time but lie low.

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One evening, I was about to close my Ledger Books in the Accounts department at Hotel Oberoi Towers, where I was working as the Salary In Charge. I was surprised to see Nadira Aappa walking towards me towards my department along with none other than Satish Kaushik. I welcomed them to my table and offered them coffee, but Nadira Aappa politely turned down my offer (and so did Satish Kaushik). Nadira Aappa, with a straight face, asked me when I knew the news and who had revealed it to me, especially since she was disturbed after the news was in print and told me that the least, I should have done was to at least share it with her, considering the proximity I had towards her family. Nadira Aappa also told me that both the children Juhi and Gorky were refusing to go to their school as all the students were asking them about their dad’s second marriage and really, I felt ashamed and aghast.

I had absolutely no answer at all because I realized that I was a better journalist than a good family friend as I had put in only around twelve years by then as a journalist and needed a solid scoop to establish myself. Though I did offer to walk with both of them, Nadira Aappa and Satish Kaushik politely declined my offer and went to the Lobby of the Hotel on their own to get into their car and drive away from my office. What I liked was Satish Kaushik’s decision to accompany Nadira Aappa whom he also used to call Aappa as a moral support. That day I realized that Satish Kaushik was really a genuinely good friend indeed, who was a friend in need and a real friend indeed, who was least bothered as to whether his move would irk his friend Raj Babbar or gain my apathy.

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Since that day, I have met Nadira Aappa perhaps only once or twice in a span of almost 35 years. And times have indeed changed since Raj Babbar chose to shift to the capital in pursuit of hard-core politics after Smita’s death in 1986 but I consider both Raj as well as Nadira Aappa as my good family friends. I am also happy that though I have not met Raj or had drinks with him since I attended the outdoor shooting of Banaras at Allahabad, once in a while he takes up the phone to talk to me or wish me year after year every major occasion.

Adieu, my dear friend in need Satish Kaushik. I just can’t wait to watch you direct Kaagaz 2.