Is Dr Farooq Abdullah delivering his political speeches the same way as Dilip Kumar would deliver his dialogues, asks Zahoor Malik
Many people from television production backgrounds who have extensively watched the movies of Dilip Kumar and followed the National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah claim that sometimes there is a reflection of dialogue delivery style and expressions of the legendary actor in Urdu speeches made by the Kashmiri politician.
Whether Dr Farooq is trying to use Dilip Kumar’s style of popular pauses deliberately or it is unintentional but it is a fact that the former chief minister was a huge fan of the greatest actor of the Indian cinema. At a personal level, the two had a good rapport as well. In his tribute, Dr Farooq said Kumar had a lot of love for Kashmir and its people and wanted to do something big for them but could not get an opportunity to do so.
Love For Bollywood
Farooq’s fascination and proximity to Bollywood actors and actresses is no secret. He has a long list of friends there. A number of them have passed away.
The NC president has revealed several times that if he was not in politics he would have been an actor. He has been closely following Hindi movies, actors and actresses. Dr Farooq is known for his love for music and dance as well. While he has not displayed his pure acting skills publicly but he has not hesitated to sing and dance at functions whenever he was in a mood.
Amid routine political pulls and pressure, Farooq loved to be part of Bollywood related functions whether in Mumbai or here. He was a star attraction as Chief Minister with Bollywood stars at a function in Srinagar when the Kashir channel was launched after the Kargil war.
Superstar Amitabh Bacchan was among those who performed. Farooq too tried to entertain the audience in the company of then hit actress Mamta Kulkarni, who was showing some reluctance towards his moves. Happy in her company, Farooq in his typical style sang Tujko Mirchi Laggi Tu Maen Kia Karoon. The next day a section of the press reported that Dr Farooq told this to Bollywood actress.
Farooq took a serious note of it. He got up in the assembly after several days, asserting that he had actually told this to the audience and not the actress.
In his post-1996 regime, a Bollywood unit landed in Srinagar for the shooting of a film. Amrish Puri was playing a key role in the movie, based on a Kashmir centric story. The state government extended all possible help including financial assistance. But the film was never completed.
One evening, a cultural function was held in the Radio Kashmir Srinagar where the film crew was invited. Farooq also attended the function. The proceeding of the function was suddenly halted and the Chief Minister hurriedly moved out.
After some wait, Farooq returned to the venue saying he had to attend a phone call of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who informed him about the Pokhran nuclear test. In his emotional speech, he urged the film industry to make films based on humanity to bring people together as hate was leading only to destruction. He urged the audience to watch movies, which strengthen bonds between different sections of people and which preach love and not hatred.
The usage of words, the emotional touch and the style of delivery created a lot of impact on the audience, who listened to him with rapt attention. Others including the actors also spoke. At the end of the function, a local senior officer told some of his media friends privately that Farooq outplayed Bollywood actors with his performance and proved to them who is the real actor is.
During his Urdu speeches sometimes, while giving an emotional touch, he tries to add the flavour of Dilip Kumar’s style. How far he succeeds in that only the audience, who have watched Dilip Kumar movies can say. But the television people say there is surely some reflection sometimes.
A Friendly Villain
While Farooq got greatly influenced by Dilip Kumar, Amrish Puri during the shooting of that incomplete movie got cosy with the Chief Minister. Bollywood’s established villain characters would observe keenly Farooq during his interactions and speeches.
A few years later, Puri in his role as a politician in Nayak used some of those expressions, particularly that of angry Farooq. That movie revolved around a journalist, Anil Kapoor, challenging the politician and seeking a day to head the government, a bargain that materialises eventually.
In Srinagar, interestingly, he would operate from a special hut provided by the government. One of my colleagues wanted to talk to Puri. He got the special telephone number of the hut from his sources and finally made a call to the actor.
Amrish Puri picked up the receiver and was shocked and surprised when my colleague told him that he was a journalist and wanted to talk to him. The actor asked in surprise as to who gave him the number and denied that he was Amrish Puri. Using his brilliant acting skills, Puri tried to confuse my colleague by talking in Urdu, Hindi with a Kashmiri accent. My colleague handed over the receiver to me and asked to listen to the voice and confirm whether he was really Amrish Puri or the Kashmiri worker in the hut as claimed by the actor. I confirmed that it was the actor’s voice and not that of the local worker. Before my colleague could continue the conversation Puri dropped his receiver with a request not to call again.