Why should I go to Bachchans for help: Sholay film editor
In a tragic twist of fate, the largest slum in Asia -- called Dharavi -- houses a man who gave India one of her most revered films: Sholay.
M S Shinde was the film's editor, and the only person to win a Filmfare award for it. He has edited over 100 movies over the years. But the 81-year-old man is reduced to living in a 160 square feet small room with his youngest daughter Achala.
Things were not always so bad. Until six months ago, they were living in Parel, in central Mumbai. But the building collapsed, and they were forced to shift.
Even though their new quarters is a transit camp, they don't know how long they will live in it.
Image: M S Shinde shows off his Filmfare award for Sholay
Photographs: Hitesh Harsinghani
Working for Rs 2,000 with the Sippys
Shinde is partially bed-ridden. He cannot bend or sit for a long time and has been advised not to indulge in strenuous activities. Recently, he had to undergo a femur surgery. A cataract operation is scheduled for this week.
Back in his younger days, Shinde used to work on a monthly payroll of 2,000 with the Sippys. He has edited most of Ramesh Sippy's movies like Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay and Shaan.
He has also worked with producers like I S Johar and Sanjay Khan, and has edited films like Soni Mahiwal, Shakti, Sagar and the popular television show, Buniyaad. Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Zamanna Deewana was his last film in 1995.
Image: M S Shinde
'I don't have any more hope from the film industry'
But Shinde, who spent 35 years in the film industry, seems disillusioned by it.
"When I fell down last year, I wrote a letter to the film editor's association and they came to visit me. I got a cheque of 5,000. But I've not got any help after that. I don't have any more hope from them," Shinde says.
Did he approach any film personalities for help?
"Actors work for money and their own interests. Let it be Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan or any other celebrity. Why would they work for someone else's benefit? And why should I go to them?" Shinde asks.
'My father has never asked anyone for money'
"My father has never asked anyone for money," Achala says. "There have been so many instances where producers haven't paid him for his work. But he did not go to them for money."
The only help that he has got is from the Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena, who will take care of his cataract surgery expenses, and all other medical expenses.
"Amay Khopkar and Shalini Thackery have given us 51,000 and have promised to take care of the medical expenses," Achala says. "Barrister A R Antulay has promised for 500 every month and has sent a lumpsump amount too."
Image: M S Shinde with daughter Achala
'I did not get married to take care of my father'
To take care of their daily expenses, Achala runs a catering centre, where she takes orders for cakes and fruit juices. "I did not get married because nobody would have been there to take care of my father. I had to quit my job," she says. "When we stayed in Parel, I had some kind of income. But since we moved, the orders have decreased. My (two) elder sisters, who are married, try to help us however they can."
Like A K Hangal, Shinde seems to have joined the list of forgotten film talents, who live out their lives in poverty.
Image: The Shindes talk about their plight