Interview Hindi

My aim is to get sponsors for book on Vanraj Bhatia’s life, appeals Dalip Tahil

The veteran actor shares the current condition of the celebrated composer and thanks Aamir Khan for spreading awareness about him. 

Keyur Seta

Last week, veteran actor Dalip Tahil was aghast to read the sorry condition of the 92-year-old yesteryear music composer Vanraj Bhatia. He has been suffering from an age-related illness and going through a severe financial crunch. 

Tahil instantly visited him and decided to generate financial help for him. But that’s not all. He also decided to bring out a book on his life, to be written by journalist-filmmaker Khalid Mohamed, so that people of today’s era get to know about his life and career. 

“He is my guru. The first time I got a chance to sing in a play in 1970-71 was with him,” recalled Tahil during a conversation with Cinestaan. “I then sang a lot of jingles with him in advertisements. My career started because of him in Bombay.”

Tahil felt bad that he hadn’t kept in touch with him all these years. “I felt ashamed that I didn’t go to meet him all these years. I used to think about him a lot but the life is this city is such that, what to say? People are so tied up in work,” he said. 

While stating the reasons to bring out a book on Bhatia, he added, “Apart from giving such music, I feel personally he has also been colourful and stylish. He has worked with big names like Shyam Benegal.  A lot of people don’t know who he is. I felt it is my responsibility that I should get a book written on him and that too soon in three-four months. We wish to launch it in a grand way so that the advertisers at least get some publicity.” 

After meeting Bhatia at his residence, Tahil approached his friend and superstar Aamir Khan who tweeted about it. “I knew his tweet will have a big impact and that is exactly what has happened. I am deeply thankful to Aamir for this. As soon as he got to know, he tweeted. Right now my aim is to spread about this so that I get sponsors. The cost is not huge but it is still there,” added Tahil. 

Bhatia started his career in the 1960s but it was in 1970s that he became known by giving quality music to well-known films like Ankur (1974), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976), Kalyug (1981), 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981), Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983), etc. He also made his presence felt much later in the 1990s in films like Sardari Begum (1996), Ghatak (1996), China Gate (1998) among others. 

Tahil is happy that following his and Khan’s appeal, people have come together to help Bhatia. “Javed Akhtar sahab is also helping through his foundation. Sangeet Academi has also promised to help him with his monthly expenses. We are also creating a fund for him. Although he doesn’t go out, there are expenses for his caretaker and medicines,” he said. 

When asked if the industry should come together to help many veterans who end up in a similar condition as Bhatia, Tahil was quick to add, “Absolutely, they should do it and do it soon.”