September 2, 2002 
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A star in his own right
A tribute to comedian Mehmood's talented son Macky Ali

Lata Khubchandani

Maqdoom Mehmood Ali aka Macky, son of veteran film comedian Mehmood and younger brother of singer-actor Lucky Ali, died of cardiac arrest at 0300 IST on August 31. He is survived by his wife Bilqees and son Mizaan.

Macky was returning home after saying goodbye to his father Mehmood, who was to fly to New York at 0600 the same day. The duo, who lived on Mehmood's farm in Bangalore, had come to Mumbai with Macky's brother-in-law Sajjid. On the way back from the airport, Macky became breathless in the car and suffered a massive heart attack. He died before he could be taken to a hospital. Mehmood cancelled his flight to the US.

Macky's life was a drama of sorts. Mehmood's son from his first marriage to Madhuri, sister of actress Meena Kumari, Macky was born with polio and a dead right hand. He suffered a lot of agony when his parents separated. In his later years, he was diagnosed with acute diabetes. Towards the end, his polio-afflicted body disallowed much movement and he suffered from loss of eyesight as well.

Yet, Macky was ever cheerful and full of creative ideas.

Perhaps one of the best things he did was marry Bilqees. They lived with their son Mizaan in Versova, a suburb of Mumbai. As his health began worsening, he accepted his father's offer to shift to Bangalore, where he lived for two years before his death.

We kept in touch. Every time he needed something, he called me. Only 10 days ago he called saying he was in Mumbai and needed my help. He laughed and told me that he was watching a film. Then, correcting himself, he said, "No, I'm listening to the film."

He confided that he wanted to wind up matters in Mumbai and expressed a desire to be buried in Bangalore near his grandfather, after his death. One could see that each day he lived was like a bonus to him.

Macky was a star in his own right. He acted in Kunwara Baap (1974), which revolved round a handicapped child. People may not have realised that the child in the movie was genuinely handicapped. The film made him a celebrity overnight. But he was soon forgotten.

Meanwhile, Mehmood remarried and Macky's stepmother taught him to be independent. He left home trying to earn a living. He tried his hand at a number of things --- arranging stage shows, shooting marriage videos, assisting his father in films, and learning post-production work. Macky even cut his own album, Shaayad. Like Lucky, he was musically inclined, but couldn't learn anything. "R D Burman wanted me to learn the violin," he once said. "But since I can use only one hand, I couldn't play it."

In 1999, Macky recorded an album written by lyricists Arif Dehlvi and Khalid. The music company Venus agreed to market it. The album was produced under Macky Music Inc, a company he started in an effort to get his work moving. The company was also a platform for talented newcomers. When he brought out the album, Macky said, "In life, you will see how relationships are destroyed by suspicion. My family also disintegrated due to this. That is why I decided to do something with the subject. Khalid, a fine writer, wrote the title number."

Eight songs and two videos were compiled. Shaayad was Macky's first solo album. Viewers may also recall the popular Ram Shankar number enacted by Macky in the music video Yaaron sab dua karo and later in Tirchi topiwale, sung by Altaf Raja. Macky found a sounding board in (uncle) Anwar Ali and he would often cook up schemes for doing something better.

Today, Macky is free of the handicapped body that prevented him from expressing his potential. I am certain that if he is reborn, Macky will return fit and zestful to complete all those ideas he was simmering with.


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