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01-16-2013, 11:59 AM #1
- Join Date
- Sep 2011
Man who immortalised Rekha rescued from streets
Senior photographer Jagdish Mali, who is credited for immortalising Rekha in his flattering frames, was found wandering the lanes of Versova on Monday afternoon in a deplorable state. Mali, who was considered filmdom's go-to guy for clutter-breaker portfolios, was dressed in a tattered t-shirt and nothing else.
"He was covered with faeces and looked as though he had not eaten in a while," says actress Mink Brar, who happened to spot him when she was distributing blanket to beggars. Mink, who is one of the many glamour aspirants to have worked with him, recognised him despite his decrepit state.
Outside a fast food joint on Yari Road, the actress and her brother tried to talk to him. "But he would not answer," says Mink. "He seemed very disturbed and completely disconnected." Despite plying him with food and getting hold of a pair of shorts to cover him up, Mali remained unresponsive. "We asked him where he wanted to go. He said: 'My studio.' He did not remember that he had sold off his studio where some of the biggest names of the film industry have been photographed. It broke our heart."
For those who came in late, Jagdish Mali, who started off in the 80s, was the first port of call for both newcomers and stars who wanted a new portfolio or feature on a magazine cover. In the 90s, he peaked with both his film and feature work earning him fans and moolah. "He was man with a heart, but a loner," says filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani, who worked with him in Shola Aur Shabnan and Aankhen.
Apparently, Mali was keen to see his daughter Antara get into films, and did his best to recommend her to filmmakers. "But Antara lived with her mother in Mahim, while Jagdish lived alone in Aram Nagar," says Nihalani. Antara, who is now married to a journalist lives in South Mumbai. According to her, when contacted, the former actress chose not to respond. "She said she has just had a baby and was too busy," she said. After more than one and half hour of trying to elicit some sort of response from Mali, Mink called up Salman Khan who sent a car and four other people to escort Jagdish back home to his apartment.
When we got in touch with Mali's caretaker Mangesh at this D N Nagar residence, he said: "Mr Mali is fine. We are in Lonavla. He is sleeping." However, when a concerned Dinesh Chaturvedi, president, FWICE went over to the apartment, he found him in a relatively better state. "He is not in Khandala. He had collapsed. But he is okay now," he said.
Word of Mali's breakdown elicited a very emotional response from the fraternity. A senior photographer friend (name withheld on request) revealed he was reportedly going through a rough patch that was compounded by his alcohol problem. Apparently, the man who was extremely social and hosted high-profile parties with top models and film stars, had turned increasingly reclusive over the years. Daboo Ratnani, who had attended some of these bashes said, "He had a heart attack few years ago. We haven't been in touch."
Even his closest friends say they have lost contact. One of them, Rakesh Shreshta, sounded distressed: "I am really shocked. Jagdish had a blood pressure and diabetes problem. But he is stable now."
Speaking from his experience with mentally disturbed persons, Mahesh Bhatt expressed deep concern over Mali's condition: "He needs hospitalisation. It seems to be a case of psychosis."
Mink, who found and rescued him has appealed to all those who have had the fortune of working with him. "Mali sir needs help," she said. "He needs a nurse. I would like to appeal to all those who worshipped him in his heydays to help him. This is the time to show our respect for him. He needs medical care. He doesn't deserve to be left alone." Despite repeated attempts, Antara remained unreachable.
01-16-2013, 02:32 PM #2