Match career wishes with capability

He went there to become a hero, but returned as a beggar. Ghulam Jeelani had left his home and gone to Mumbai to become a hero in Bollywood but after years of struggle in the film industry luck didn’t favour him. He returned home devastated. Mir Iqbal found the devastated man.

Jeelani, who is in his mid 40’s  now, returned home in Nowpora Srinagar after 21 years recently.

 When he reached his ancestral house, his family members could not recognize him. His mother Ameena Begum says, “I was not able to recognize him and gave him a 10 rupee note. I thought he was a beggar.”

 But when he told his mother who he was, she started crying loudly. “What has happened to you? Where had you been for so many years,” cried his old mother.
    News about Jeelani’s return spread like wildfire in the neighbourhood and everybody started visiting his house to see him. Some people felt pity at him, while others ridiculed him by saying “murari chala tha hero banney”.

Jeelani had completed his graduation from Amar Singh College and had been a bright student.  He used to take private tuitions and the money he would get from it, he spent on watching films in different cinemas of Srinagar.

“He gradually developed a feeling that he looks like Amitabh Bachan,” says one of his friends, Mushtaq Ahmad. “He used to dress like Amitabh and also talked like him, using filmy dialogues like ‘Don ka intizar to ghyaraa mulko ki police kar rahi hai’, ‘meray pass maa hai’ etc, which were famous dialogues of Amitabh Bachan in those days. Whenever anybody called him Amitabh, he used to feel extremely happy.”

In 1990, he had qualified bank exam and was selected for the post of manager in the State Bank. But Jeelani had other ideas; he wanted to become a film star like Amitabh Bachan. He didn’t join the Bank job and went to Mumbai instead, where he struggled for years together just to enter into the film industry, but that remained a dream for forever.

“We searched for him in every nook and corner of the country.  We even went to different military camps to look for him but we couldn’t trace him,” said his brother Irshad Ahmad.

Irshad said that Jeelani was respected by everyone in the locality. He might have thought of returning home, but for the sake of his honour he might have hesitated.

Now, Jeelani is in his home, although mentally disturbed, his family members are still taking care of him. He was admitted in the Mental Hospital Rainawari.
When asked about his situation, he narrates his painful journey. “When all my hopes were shattered I felt frustrated, my health started worsening day by day and I fell seriously ill. There was no choice except begging”.

He begged at the shrine of Peer Haji Ali during the day and in night he used to stay at the beggar’s home which was constructed by the Haji Ali trust for beggars in Mumbai.

For last many years he followed this routine there. But in 2011, his health deteriorated further and he was deported back to his home by the trust management.

He had injured his foot in an accident but due to lack of treatment and unhygienic conditions he lived in, this injury became more serious and infection developed in the injured parts of his body. For this reason the management of the trust decided to throw him out of the beggar home.

Although Ghulam Jeelani could not become a hero, but his life is full of drama and emotions which could make a good bollywood script.
The return of Jeelani prompted his friends revisit their youth days, particularly those friends who were cinema lovers like him.


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