JYOTHI VENKATESH recollects fondly how Himesh Reshammiya had taken him for the first time to London to cover the mahurat of his maiden film Aap Ka Suroor way back in 2007.
Today happens to be the 48th birthday of ace music director cum playback singer cum producer cum actor Himesh Reshammiya. I take this opportunity to wish the bright boy a happy 48th birthday and place on record my heartfelt thanks for having given me an opportunity fifteen years ago to visit London for the mahurat of his film Aap Ka Suroor. Himesh Reshammiya, it may be remembered, was not only the producer of the film but also the leading man. It was at the hotel where I was put up to cover the mahurat, that I met Deepika Padukone who was actually discovered by Himesh to play the lead in his music video.
How I started knowing Himesh at close quarters makes interesting reading. I knew Himesh’s talented father Vipin Reshammiya for a long time and actually it was he who had introduced me to Himesh Reshammiya at a gathering. I was happy when Himesh had called me up to tell me that he was going to compose music for Salman Khan’s film Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya. Himesh did not look back after he composed for Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, which was followed by Bandhan, Hello Brother, Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge.
My association with Himesh grew manifold when he hired me as a translator for all his Hindi dialogues of his TV serials when he decided to turn producer of TV serials and regularly I used to go to his office at Versova to translate the Hindi synopsis and dialogues into English. This was in the late 90’s or early 2000’s, when Himesh was working round the clock as a TV producer and a few of his TV serials were on the floors. Reshammiya had begun producing TV series and Jaan like Andaz, Ahha, Aman, Aashiqui, Amar Prem etc all for Zee TV.
Himesh also asked me to act in a couple of his TV serials because by then Ekta Kapoor had already cast me in her serials like Hum Paanch and Kahin Kisi Roz and I had acted with Ashok Saraf, Yash Tonk and Sudha Chandran, besides Arjun Bijlani in the serial Laavanya. I member there were days when the cast and crew including me used to wait at some bungalow in Madh Island for Himesh Reshammiya to send us the dialogue sheets for the shooting of his serials, since HImesh used to write the choicest dialogues of all his serials at that time.
Thanks to Himesh, I got the opportunity to act with the likes of Shekhar Suman, Lakshmikant Berde etc in his TV serials. Though Himesh never used to drink at that time, occasionally his father Vipin used to sit with me over drinks. I remember we used to drink rum at that time. However, a time came when Himesh decided that enough was enough and he would now not ‘waste’ his time just producing TV serials and instead decided to concentrate on composing music and producing films.
I had stopped meeting him because he was busy making his plans to make his film Aap Ka Suroor. One day I was told by my colleagues that Himesh was planning to take around 50 journalists to London all the way from Mumbai to cover the mahurat of his film Aap Ka Suroor but though I was confident that Himesh would have asked his pr team to invite me, till there were only four days for the departure of the journalists, I was not at all invited by Himesh to cover the shooting. At that time, I was covering films for the now defunct evening paper Afternoon Despatch & Courier.
Since my ego did not let me ring Himesh up and complain that the PR person who belonged to an agency did not bother to invite me for his event in London, I rang him up casually and asked him whether he was composing for Ramgopal Verma’s next film or not since there were whispers in the film industry that he was. Before answering my query, Himesh asked me if I was all set to fly to London after three days. I feigned ignorance and asked him why he was going to London and why he was asking whether I too was flying to London. Himesh was angry to know that the said PR guy did not call me at all and said he will ask him to invite me and also make arrangements for my flight to and fro to London and back.
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The PR guy who did not know that Himesh was close to me bluffed him that since I did not have my passport ready, he had dropped my name from the list of journalists. The next day, the PR person rang me to tell me to go to his office at Lower Parel to drop my passport to enable him to process my Visa for London but I stubbornly refuse to go to his office all the way from Kandivali as I was angry that he had not bothered to invite me in spite of Himesh’s instructions. The guy came all the way to my house in Kandivali to fetch my passport since Himesh was furious with him for not inviting me to London.
After two days the Visa was ready and I left for London on the third day to cover the mahurat of Himesh Reshammiya’s film Aap Ka Suroor. It was indeed a memorable visit to London, which was a place I had only seen in films and dreamed of visiting some day or the other though I had gone to Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Dubai earlier. Since I was required to write the reason why I wanted a Visa to London, I wrote that it was my dream to visit London and write about it in all the publications where I was freelancing as a film journalist and hey presto; my Visa was approved within five minutes.
I really enjoyed my three day vacation in London where Himesh ensured that his vegetarian guests were taken to restaurants where shudh vegetarian food was served. Himesh proved that not only was he a good singer , actor, writer , lyricist, music director and producer but also a good host when all of us who had gone to London as his guests, returned back to India full of fond memories of our lovely stay in London!