Article Hindi

36 years of Rocky: Nargis knew she wouldn’t live to see son Sanjay Dutt's debut

Shahu Modak, a star actor of the black and white era, had predicted Nargis's death a few days before the premiere of Rocky.

Keyur Seta

Today happens to be the 36th anniversary of the release of Sanjay Dutt's debut film, Rocky (1981). Unfortunately, his mother, the legendary star Nargis Dutt, did not witness her son’s entry into the film industry. Nargis passed away just four days before Rocky’s premiere after a long battle with cancer.

However, few know that Nargis already had an inkling that she wouldn’t be around when the film was released. This is because somebody close to the actress had told her that she would not live long enough to witness the Rocky premiere. 

It was the late actor Shahu Modak who had made the prophecy. Known mostly for his mythological films, the actor was an avid astrologer too, though he did not practise astrology professionally. His prediction about Nargis was revealed to by Modak’s wife, Pratibha Shahu Modak.

Shahu Modak

Shahu Modak was like an elderly adviser to the actress, she said. "Nargisji had worked with him [Modak] in a film [Bhishma Pratigya (1950)]. He used to address her as ‘Baby’. He told her upfront that she won’t be able to see the premiere of Rocky," Pratibha Modak said.


It was not the only time Modak had predicted the future correctly for Nargis. He had also predicted in the late 1970s that she would become a Member of Parliament (MP). “He [Shahu Modak] had joked, ‘On that day, a lot of people will congratulate you. But you will congratulate me.’ I remember receiving Nargisji’s call at night when she called to thank him."

Pratibha Modak also revealed how her husband prophesied his own death. "When he turned 75 on 25 April 1993, he said he will leave the world within 18 days. And he passed away after 15 days, on 11 May."

Asked how the actor came to acquire such deep knowledge of the subject, Pratibha Modak said, "When he was 10 years old, he read his first book on astrology called Yeh Haath Ki Rekhaen Kya Kehti Hain. He later met a person named Kulkarni in Mumbai from whom he learnt astrology by paying fees. Then he used to study himself. There were times when he used to study astrology for 18 hours a day." 

The knowledge was not always a boon. It also landed him in sticky situations at times. "On the sets, all actors used to always show their hands in between shots," Pratibha Modak said.