April 05, 2020
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Rushdie In Velvet Pants

Rushdie In Velvet Pants
RETURNING to Bombay is always accompanied by an overwhelming rush of nostalgia. In our younger days we congregated at the first floor flat in Soona Mahal near Churchgate, where lived Uzra Butt and her husband Hamid. Most evenings, their friends, all starting professional life impecuniously in an expensive city, brought along their own dinners in tiffin carriers and had pot-luck and a wonderful adda. We were joined by Zohra and Kameshwar Sehgal, Krishen and Renu Khanna, sometimes M.F. Husain. And quite often by Anis and Nagin Rushdie (Nagin was Hamid's sister) and their young son Salman. I reminded Salman Rushdie when he visited Delhi that I called him Lord Fauntleroy because his mother dressed him in velvet pants and frilly shirts. "I must have been obnoxious," he said. "Well that's what the girls felt," I replied. And then, of course, there was 41 Pali Hill, Bandra, the abode of the Anands, Dev's friend Guru Dutt, sitting in and out, and Vijay 'Goldie' Anand, a little boy with real golden curls. Ara was living in the servant's quarter of an American diplomat. And Adi Marzban was producing rip-roaring bedroom comedies for the Parsis, while Hamid Sayani and Sunil Dutt anchored filmi pop for Radio Ceylon. It led to such a stampede from the All India Radio that Dr Keskar had to lift his ban on film music. And so Vividh Bharati was born.

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