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Journalist Rajkumar Keswani, author of the definitive book on Mughal-e-Azam, dies at 72


Keswani was also the first person to raise the alarm about the possibility of a gas leak from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal.

Rajkumar Keswani

Our Correspondent

Journalist and author Rajkumar Keswani died yesterday in Bhopal of COVID-19 complications. He was 72.

Keswani had tested positive on 8 April and was admitted to hospital three days later. He was discharged on 20 April after testing negative. However, he had to be re-admitted soon with a lung infection brought on by COVID-19.

As a journalist, Keswani is best remembered for warning about the possibility of a gas leak from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal. The warnings were ignored and the city eventually suffered the infamous Bhopal gas tragedy of December 1984.

Keswani is also known for writing the definitive book on the making of K Asif’s magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam (1960). It took him 15 years to research and write the massive volume, titled Dastaan-e-Mughal-e-Azam.

During a conversation with Cinestaan.com last year on the 60th anniversary of the film's release, Keswani spoke about the moment when he felt he should write a book on the world cinema classic starring Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Prithviraj Kapoor.

“The realization dawned upon me only when I found, in some sense, that my hands were full of some beautiful pearls unknown to the world. That’s when I decided to travel deep into it and bring out everything possible,” he had said.

Asked how many times he had seen the film, he had quipped, “There is no count. Ginti vyapariyon ke liye hoti hai, aashiqon ke liye nahin [Traders keep count, not lovers].”

Over the years, Keswani had worked with top media houses and received many awards for his journalistic work.

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