I was his greatest admirer. And to see him this way was unbearable for me. Satyadevji had no money in his last days. When I met him recently, he asked me, 'Why doesn't anyone give me work?' The anguished question left me feeling helpless.
It was Dubey's bluntness and honesty that often put even his friends off (Dubey fell out professionally with Shyam Benegal, for instance).
Satyadev was so candid he left you feeling naked under his scrutiny. That's because he was himself a completely naked man. Hence, anyone and everyone hurled stones at him. He took the brickbats on his chin and never flinched from being true to his art.
All of our interactions took place at the Prithvi Theatre
cafe in Mumbai. That's where our bonding began and cemented. I was barely out of my teens when Aakash Khurana took me to meet him at Prithvi Theatre.
He surveyed me so closely, I felt naked. He told me to join his group from the next day if I could afford the bus fare to the theatre.
I never went back. I was totally intimidated. Though I bonded with him over the years, I didn't have the courage to work with him. He was harsh and diffident. But he was also vulnerable and emotional in his unguarded moments. In his later years his sharp tongue and no-nonsense attitude to life and art isolated him from his colleagues.
I will never forget that it was Satyadevji who recommended me for my role in Vikram Bhatt's Ghulam. Because of him I got the important role of Aamir Khan's brother. It was my foray into commercial Hindi cinema. I wouldn't have known whom to approach and how to start in mainstream cinema.
He was a true inspiration and my hero in theatre.