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The fearless kissago of Bhopal

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The fearless kissago of Bhopal
Aditya Chaudhary

Sanjay Chauhan 1962-2023

Sanjay Chauhan left. He will write such an ending to the script of his own life, which can only be done by a scriptwriter like him who writes out of the box. Those who know him are surprised by this unexpected news. But if they had been there, they would have said, ‘What if he has gone away? You are saying as if Sanjay is the first person who left or took something from someone. Brother, find out. I have not taken anything from anyone. Along with this, they used to laugh loudly and the whole atmosphere would be filled with laughter. Such was his ruthless sense of humour.

We worked together for years in the editorial department of India Today Hindi in the nineties. He had too much tuning with me. Another colleague of ours in those days, Rajesh Priyadarshi, now digital editor of BBC Hindi, used to say jokingly that when Sanjay Bhai comes, you stand with a racket, as if there is an interesting match between two badminton players. Used to be. Sanjay’s sense of humor was amazing and his mind was as clear as glass. No matter how much the pressure of work, he used to leave bursts of laughter in between.

Sanjay used to talk nicely, but the abuses used to come out of his mouth in such a natural and intimate way that I used to stare. One day I asked him the secret of his ‘confidence’ in this matter. He replied, “Brother, I am Bhopali.” Bhopal is famous for its abuses. The people there are notorious for inventing new abuses.” He used to tell jokes about Gandhiji’s stay in Bhopal and his encounter with abuses there in such a way that everyone sitting around started laughing holding their stomachs.

He was also a Hindi spokesperson for some time in a degree college in Madhya Pradesh itself. One day Sanjay and some teachers were taking a walk with the principal. Then Sanjay took out a cigarette from his pocket and lit it. Seeing this, all the teachers got scared and moved away from Sanjay out of fear, as if telling the principal that I am not with this man. But such things did not make any difference to Sanjay.

I hardly ever hear Sanjay praising himself. While living in Delhi, he was writing serials, had also acted in some but he never even mentioned it. Even while doing journalism, somewhere in his mind, the urge to write for films was suppressed. It was a matter of courage that he left his stable job and went to Mumbai, where he had to face many bitter experiences to gain a foothold.

He told many stories about it. One of the top actors of Mahabharata serial got him to write an episode for a serial but did not pay him. Once he had to go out somewhere with his producer-director in connection with the story. When he reached the airport, he came to know that he does not have a ticket, he has been refused. In response, Sanjay took his news in Bhopali style.

However, Sanjay persevered without making any compromises and mostly did the level work of his choice. I Am Kalam was one such offbeat film which also won the Filmfare Award. Gulshan Grover, who was known for his loud acting, was playing the role of Dhaba Malik in it. Sanjay had told him in clear words that he does not have to spread in this, but has to play his role in a very simple way.

When I saw the film, I was amazed to see Grover’s work. A simple and simple-natured dhaba owner, completely different from his well-known image. There is another incident of his outspokenness and candor. Once, in connection with a film of Sunny Deol, he went to a hill station with the entire unit. He used to work till late in the night and wake up late in the morning. But there the people of the unit used to wake up early in the morning and do morning walk with Deol.

This was not known to some people of the unit. He asked Sanjay to wake up early in the morning and go for a walk with ‘Sunny Sir’. He does not like to sleep for long. Sanjay asked Tapak, “Have I come here for the story or for the morning walk?”

His wife Sarita’s nature was also very similar to him-far from any kind of formality. Once a friend of his came to Sanjay’s house for dinner. He had to take some vegetables while eating. He said, “Sister-in-law, I want some vegetables.” Take it out yourself and eat it.

In the journey of life, you meet many people, good as well as bad. You forget them. But some people are so different that their memories never fade away. Sanjay was like that. Anyone who knows him even a little can never forget him. I am also one of them. goodbye! Brother Sanjay.

Prakash Srivastava (Prakash Srivastava has been a part of the India Today (Hindi) editorial team)