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September 10, 1997


'This was an opportunity for all these jealous people, all these vested interests to hit back at me'

Accused: Nadeem Saifi. Click for bigger pic!
Bollywood is in a tizzy. First, it was the threats, the killings, the near-misses. Then came the uncovering of the extortion bids. Followed by revelations of the nexus between organised crime and showbiz. The response was, typically, outrage. And an increase in security cover for most of the top stars and movie makers. But now, with the Bombay police accusing famous music director Nadeem Saifi of masterminding the murder of Gulshan Kumar, its cup of woes is overflowing.

Fear, confusion, anguish, anger; no one quite knows what is happening. Including Nadeem himself, still in London, desperately seeking legal aid to cope with the charge against him. Of murder. Nothing less. This interview with Pritish Nandy was conducted over the phone, long distance.

When did you first hear of these charges against you?

About four days after.

Four days after what? After they were announced to the media here by the Bombay police?

They announced the charges without even thinking about them! How could I have done it? You tell me, how could I have done it?

Why do you think they picked on you?

How can I say? But I think this is part of a very big conspiracy. Some people thought that this man is the best bet. Put the noose around his neck.

There are so many vested interests and they are most jealous of my success, with every film, every piece of music of mine being such a major hit. Every time I hit the top of the charts. So this was an opportunity for all these jealous people, all these vested interests to hit back at me.

Victim: Gulshan Kumar. Click for bigger pic!
So you think this is an industry conspiracy, hatched by those who are jealous of your success?

No, I will not term it as an industry conspiracy. Not at all. In fact, I am very grateful to the film industry, the film fraternity -- at least most of them -- who have so much faith in me and have taken up for me.

Then why do you think this happened? Who do you think was responsible for bringing in your name into this sordid affair?

I am sorry I cannot take any names for obvious reasons.

You need not take names. But you can still tell us who you think is responsible for turning the needle of suspicion in your direction. Your rivals in the music business? The underworld? Politicians? Producers? Have you been able to figure out how the whole thing turned in your direction?

There is a conspiracy, a set up. I have great faith in you, Pritishji. I am sure you know who the people are behind all this. I do not want to take any names. I have been advised against it by my lawyers. I do not want my case to be hurt by anything I say in this moment of great stress. I hope you will understand, sir. My language may not be correct and I do not want all this turned against me in a court of law.

I fully understand and have no intention of putting you into difficulty. I only want to understand the case, and I think the clues lie with you. Maybe you can point me in some direction.

I not only believe but I am assured that there is a conspiracy behind this. There is a political nexus as well.

Why do you think they focussed on you?

There must be big bucks behind it. There has to be. I have no doubt about it.

You mean you are a red herring...

Happier times: Nadeem with partner Shravan. Click for bigger pic!

You mean you are a distraction to the investigations, a patsy?

Exactly. Exactly! Absolutely! I mean they thought that by hounding me like this, I would just get scared and come up and confess (to the crime). But I am 100 per cent innocent and I am going to fight (back). I have great faith in the Indian legal system.

Are you coming back to India quickly, to face the legal system?

Of course, I will come back to India to face the legal system, provided they catch the right people first. I am sure the Bombay police is capable of finding them. They are the most intelligent officers in the world.

Has the Interpol contacted you in London?

No, not at all. What for? I am exactly there in the house where I was. I have not moved an inch. Why should I when I am innocent?

Have you spoken to the Bombay police chief and told him this?

I have contacted the Bombay police 12 times but unfortunately nobody has come on the line.

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

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