Memoir...My ears pucked a familiar voice calling me - Hi DON.

He came all the way to the Delhi Press Club for an hour long interview. On my way back from Chandigarh Pankaj again recorded another interview before I left for the New Delhi airport on my way to Mumbai...


His original name was Sahibzade Irfan Khan. Born in the Pink City of Jaipur Sahibzade painted the Bollywood bastion of Bombay Red with his intense acting and down to earth professional mannerism. There was a magnetic pull in his personality that endeared him to all and one who mattered in his life.
Like many others I too have some fond memories of Sahibzade. It was in 2004 or 2005, I don't recollect exactly, that Zee News produced a series of half an hour duration documentaries based  on Mumbai's underworld. A senior production chap came all the way from Delhi to discuss the subject with me apart from seeking my contribution in the prestigious project.

After many meetings, phone calls and months the project finally hot off the ground and was aptly titles 'DON'. Over the weeks it covered the life and times of Dawood Ibrahim, Karin Lala, Haji Mastan and Vararajan Mudaliar among others. In all ten such episodes were proposed and shooting for the same started in a big way.
I was there in almost all the episodes as an expert commentator on crime and underworld activities. 
For weeks the channel gave enough publicity to Don and one fine evening the show started with a bang. However, after two episodes the Zee News felt that it was not getting the expected TRPs. So it was decided to rope in some Bollywood celebrity to prop up the show.

That was the time when Sahibzade Irffan Khan came into the picture.  After much deliberation he agreed to introduce the show every week. The production team would show him the half an hour content of the episode and based on the facts and fiction there in Irffan would prepare his own introductory monologue. In the process he became aware of the experts and reporters who provided their inputs and I was one of the foremost contributors.
With the glamourous but powerful entry of Sahibzaade the show picked up and became so popular that the channel was made to run repeat shows on Saturday, Sunday and even Monday.
During that period I was in Delhi on way to Chandigarh. The Ace Zee reporter Pankaj Sharma requested me to spare some time for an interview to be used in the next episode of DON that was about the Sharpshooters of the Underworld.
He came all the way to the Delhi Press Club for an hour long interview. On my way back from Chandigarh Pankaj again recorded another interview before I left for the New Delhi airport on my way to Mumbai.
Waiting for the flight at the departure l was killing my time observing co- passengers when I spotted Sahibzade flanked by few men in deep discussion. I stood close by waiting for a break in discussion. To my rescue Sahibzade spotted me and after some intense eye contact he said --DON? He hugged me and praised my comments and confidence on screen. He even introduced to his friends.

The next encounter was at hotel JW Marriott a few months after the Delhi meet. I was having tea in the lobby with a friend of mine from the USA when my ears pucked a familiar voice calling me - Hi DON. At my friends request he sat in the next chair and told my friend why he calls me Don. 'His goggles, voice and confidence is that of the Dons. He looks like a real Don', he said with all the sincerity he could muster.
The last I met him at a mall where he had come to watch a film preview and then he went abroad for treatment. I wanted him to portray my role in a Bio Pic being made on my life and times but he left even before I had the chance to make an offer.

Rest in Peace dear Sahibzade.

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