Interview Hindi

Exclusive: How Kader Khan selflessly helped build an engineering institute in Navi Mumbai

The late artiste got able support from Maharashtra's former chief minister Sharad Pawar. 

Keyur Seta

Kader Khan was known for his brilliant performances as an actor and witty dialogues as a writer.

Not many would know that he was also a professor at MH Saboo Siddik Polytechnic in Mumbai, where he also taught drama.

Even less would know that Khan was also responsible for taking efforts to build another engineering institute called Abdul Razzaq Kalsekar Polytechnic in Navi Mumbai, established in 2002-2003. In an exclusive chat with, Abdul Razzak Waghoo revealed this trivia and a few other incidents relating to Khan's contribution. Waghoo is the vice-president of the OSA [Old Students Association] at MH Saboo Siddik Polytechnic.

Khan was the president of OSA when he, along with Waghoo [who was then joint secretary] and few others from the association, had visited the then chief minister Sharad Pawar to present an invitation for the wedding of Kader's elder son Sarfaraz.

“During the course of the conversation, Pawar jokingly asked Khan, ‘You were in the education field. Did you forget education after entering the film industry?’” informed Waghoo. “Kader sahab said that he is the president of this organization. Pawar asked if he just wants to remain a president.”

To this Khan explained that he is in search of a plot of 5-10 acres in Mumbai to build another engineering college. “Pawar said, ‘Khan sahab, forget Mumbai. If you want in Navi Mumbai, I can speak to CIDCO and get you a five-acre plot under concessional rates for education right now.’ But Kader sahab refused saying that their origin is in Bombay. Pawar sahab said he would regret after 10 years if he refused,” recalled Waghoo.

Pawar then went for a short cabinet meeting and asked Khan to give his final answer by the time he returns. “During that time, we urged Khan sahab to take the land. He finally agreed.”

MH Saboo Siddik Polytechnic where Kader Khan taught

But there was more drama in store. The CIDCO chairman was shocked to know that the association had only Rs32,000 as bank balance. “He immediately called Pawar sahab and said 'these people have no capability to buy this land, how will they purchase land worth Rs40 lakh?' We had to pay Rs4 lakh as deposit,” said Waghoo.

Pawar asked the chairman to waive off the bank balance condition and provide the land if they raise any funds. “Thankfully we generated funds. By God’s grace we found a donor in Abdul Razzak Kalsekar. He owns a perfume business in Dubai. We started Kalsekar Polytechnic in his name,” he said.

Khan was concerned about the progress of the institute even after he migrated to Canada in the past few years. “He would regularly call from Canada and inquire as to how everything was happening here. He used to regularly ask for updates,” said Waghoo.

He added that a lot of people have benefited because of Khan. “These does not just include Muslims. The character of Anjuman-i-Islam is secular. It is because of Kader Khan that we get a lot of respect everywhere. We also kept receiving funds because of him. He has a big role in our success. He always kept stressing on the importance of education. He always used to say that education is our weapon,” said Waghoo. He added the other big names like Dilip Kumar and Tabassum also studied under Anjuman-i-Islam.

Waghoo was also a student of Khan at MH Saboo Siddik Polytechnic where he taught engineering students. “There used to be 50 periods in the year. He used to take only 10-12 periods due to his engagements in drama and films. But in those 10 periods he used to teach in such a way that it always entered our minds. And this was enough for him to finish the whole syllabus,” said Waghoo.

He recalled the entertaining manner of Khan’s teaching. “For example, if he had to make us understand that liquid exerts equal pressure in all directions, he used to say that water molecules are so haramkhor that if you apply pressure at just one place then they will spread in all four places,” added Waghoo, laughing.

During the OSA Silver Jubilee celebration, Khan had become emotional after being honoured by the association. “We presented him with the lifetime achievement award. At that time he hadn’t won any award for his film work. He was in tears to see that his alma mater gave him an award,” said Waghoo.

Mohammed Aslam, principal of MH Saboo Siddik Polytechnic

The current principal of MH Saboo Siddik Polytechnic, Mohammed Aslam also studied at the same place and has been in his chair for the past 32 years. Interestingly, he studied drama under Khan.

Speaking to us about the late artiste, Aslam recalled, “During our ninth and tenth standard he used to teach us drama when he was also a professor in the engineering diploma course. I remember he taught me some dialogues. We were emotionally attached to him after we interacted with him. We had a group called KK [Kader Khan] Group.”

He added that Khan’s plays like Badi Der Ki Meherbaan Aate Aate, Roti, Bus Stop, etc, used to be fullhouse. “People had to take passes for his plays and the whole maidan [ground] used to be jam packed. Through dialogues he went into films. It is a matter of pride for us that someone from Saboo Siddik earned a name, made a place for himself in the film industry and gave a message to the society,” said Aslam.

He also recalled Khan’s helpful nature. “Whenever people from our college used to go to him with some issues, he always used to help. So it is a big loss for Anjuman-i-Islam and Saboo Siddik. We pray to Allah that his soul rests in peace,” said the principal.