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September 10, 1997


"Gulshan Kumarji needed me. I didn't need him"

Nadeem Saifi
Have you been able to put across your point of view to them? Have you sent your statement in writing, claiming innocence?

I will do it in the right manner. I do not want to write something that I have to upgrade later, or something that can be used against me. I hope you understand.

Of course. It appears simplistic to argue that you killed Gulshan Kumar because he was ruining your career.

Oh no. How can anyone ruin my career? I am the number one composer of the country and I intend to stay this way for the next 15 years. How can anyone stop me? Gulshan Kumarji needed me. I didn't need him. Me and Shravan, we have always chosen our producers. Producers did not choose us...

Did you ever have an argument with Gulshan Kumar, any hostility?

No. We were like brothers. He used to call mebade bhaiya. He was always so respectful to me. Bade bhaiya, aisa nahi. Bade bhaiya, hum kar denge. Because he was always a polite person. To others he must have been very, very harsh. But to me he was very polite. To me and Shravan.

You never had any spat with him, any confrontation at all?

No, no. Confrontation meaning what? "Come on, this is not fair... You should do the publicity properly... What is this? You know, after all, we are your boys..."

Gulshan Kumar. Click here for bigger pic!
This is normal. The normal way we react. You know how I am, Pritishji. I always like to speak the truth openly. He was already under threat, months back...

But what is this about the Dubai concert?

We went like we go whenever anybody approaches us for a concert.

It is claimed that you did not take any money from the organisers.

Of course, we have not taken any money from them. Neither me nor Shravan.

It is alleged you did not take any money because the money was swapped against the (killing) deal...

How can that be? The concert was held by Sheikh Abdur Rehman al Kasimi. I have got an official letter from him. On his letterhead. I have cassettes showing the sheikhs there. The sheikh of Umal Quwaim. The sheikh of Sharjah. They held the show. I have their letters. They have already sent a letter through their lawyer to Mid-Day when Mid-Daywrote about the Dubai drama... It was a legal notice.

Who invited you?

The sheikh of Sharjah -- Sheikh Abdur Rehman al Kasimi. And Sheikh Abdullah, that is the sheikh of Umal Quwaim. I have got official letters. Everybody has seen the letters. Including Sanjay Pandey.

Dawood Ibrahim
Then why is it claimed that a drug dealer called Vicky Goswami organised the show?

Oh no. First they claimed I had paid the money. Then they claimed I paid one crore (Rs 10 million). Then they claimed I paid six. Now they are claiming that I took no money for the show. But even Shravan had not taken money. That means he is also involved. It means that if among the artistes any one of them has not taken money, then even he is involved...

It is stupid to argue like this. We have done shows for the Mayor's Relief Fund free. This means that was a pay-off. I have done a show for the Lions Club free. That was a pay-off? I have done a free show for the Earthquake Relief Fund. That was a pay-off? I have even done a free show for the Bombay police! Was that also a pay-off?

Why did you stay back in Dubai for three days after the concert?

I could have stayed back for 30 days if I wanted to.

Did you meet during those three days people like Vicky Goswami who are described as your co-conspirators?

Please ask them to look for the real conspirators. Do not blame people like that.

Do you have any idea who they are?

Vicky Goswami, as I know him, is one of the finest people I have met in my life. But I do not know anything about his activities.

How did you meet him?

They walked into the hotel one day and met us.

Where? In Bombay or Dubai?

I don't exactly remember now. I think we had met once in Bombay also. You see, Pritishji, I meet at least 1,000 people every week. I cannot always remember who I met and where. But I am ready to go on record and say that I think he is one of the most wonderful human beings (I have met).

When did you reach London?

On the 17th of July, sir.

For your wife's delivery?

No, for my holiday. I was supposed to come in June. But Rishi Kapoor forced me to stay back. You can ask him. I was not willing to stay back. I told him: "I am not going to cancel my holiday. But he forced me to stay back and do three of his songs. My bookings were cancelled one after the other. In fact, my bookings are always cancelled."

You can see my bookings on Air-India, Emirates, to LA and all that. My bookings are always cancelled three or four times. Because I am busy. Something or the other always crops up. Also I am always very scared of flying. Everybody knows that.

Have you officially expressed your outrage at the charges?

Absolutely. I am angry. I am not going to take this lying down. I have got tremendous support from my friends. I never knew I was so popular.

Very rarely does one hear this. It must be very comforting in times like this.

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray
Yes, sir. I appreciate leaders like Uncle (Bal) Thackeray. Uncle Thackeray is not a politician. He is a great leader.

Have you spoken to him about your travails?

No, I have not spoken to him, but I will. At the right time.

What is the kind of legal advice you have sought in London?

Oh, I have a battery of very good lawyers.

But you have to fight the case in India?

I have lawyers there as well.

But if you are planning to come back to Bombay soon, why are you seeking legal opinion in London?

Because of the seriousness of the charges against me.

You have many rivals in the industry?

Oh yes.

Do you think any of them have played a role in this conspiracy as you describe it?

Oh yes.

Have you knowingly had any rishta (relation) with the underworld? Have you ever done a concert for them, for instance?

Never. I have, in fact, refused a concert for Dawood Ibrahim.

He had approached you?

Years ago.

For a concert in Dubai.

Years ago. I am one who has always been preaching good to people. Whether it is the underworld or the police, it does not make any difference to me. I am a man of God. I believe very strongly in God and in His justice and His mercy.

How many films are you working on now?

More than 12. I have offers of another 12 pending. I have rejected another 12.

Then how come it is alleged that Gulshan Kumar ruined your career?

How can anyone ruin my career when we are the most talented composers in the film industry, most successful, loved by the people?

What do you feel about the allegation that the Bombay film industry has a strong nexus with the underworld?

You cannot blame the film industry for this. You can call it a necessary evil.

Why necessary?

Because we all care for our lives. Tomorrow if you are called, Mr Nandy, you will have to go. Will you say: Jao, hum nahin aata hain?

But you did not go?

No. I told you, sir, I am afraid of nobody because I am a man of God. I believe in prayers and I believe in goodness.

How do you hope to reinstate your name once you are back in India?

I will be a bigger hero than anyone India has ever produced.


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