On the occasion of Father’s Day Jaideep Sen pens a heartfelt piece for Salim Saab who is more than a father figure to him. Read on…
I don’t remember the context in which I made this particular call to Salim Saab one evening during the interval of a Film that I was watching at PVR Citi Mall, Mumbai. But as usual it was enriching because in the course of the conversation when I mentioned to him that in my understanding, a Love Story comprises of the relationship between a boy and girl, he stopped me and said that it’s a misconception that a Love Story is only between a boy and girl. Now that was a first for me and I immediately felt that some life altering knowledge was going to be imparted by the gifted Salim Saab.
He said that a love story can be between a master and servant, between an animal and his master and mentioned Haathi Mere Saathi in that context. In that very moment my already immense respect for Salim Saab shot up uncountable folds and went through the roof. Such indepth understanding of the emotion of Love, beyond the expected boy-girl dynamic is completely unheard of, but then that’s what separates a man from the boys and a genius from the good.
It is purely because of this understanding that Salim Saab along with his erstwhile partner Javed Akhtar Saab has written the greatest Love Story between two friends in Sholay, a mother and sons in Deewar and between two brothers in Naam, his first film as a solo writer.
These three films had an uninterrupted flow of Love from both parties towards each other but the one complex Love Story riddled with roadblocks was the one between father and son in Shakti, which brought together for the first and last time two of the greatest actors of Indian cinema, Mr. Dilip Kumar and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan in one of Salim Saab-Javed saab’s greatest scripts ever for which they got the Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay.
There is only one word to describe the simmering equation between Ashwini Kumar and his son, Vijay – Volatile.
The misunderstanding that lodges itself in Vijay’s head as a child takes such life threatening proportions as he grows into a young man that he is perpetually doubting the stand and intent of his righteous father. This keeps widening the gap between them to such an extent that the only bridge that finally connects them is death, when the cop father has no choice but to shoot his fugitive son.
That particular moment between the shattered Ashwini and a dying Vijay brings a lump in my throat even as I punch the keys of my laptop and revisit the unforgettable death scene. A dying Vijay tells his father: “Bahot koshish ki ki apne dil se aapki mohabbat nikaal doon lekin main hamesha aapse pyaar karta raha.” (I have tried very hard to remove all traces of love for you from my heart, but I've always loved you.)
I feel these are the most emotionally powerful words ever said to elevate the emotion of love over hatred and genuinely heighten the definition of a Love Story.
Jaideep Sen is a filmmaker and a connoisseur of the art of storytelling
Read some of his earlier pieces in this series here...