By Subhash K Jha
BOLLYWOOD: He was truly the doyen of Indian journalism. The grand old man of the written word passed away on Thursday at the ripe old age of 99.
Actress Divya Dutta, who played one of the leads in the screen adaptation of Khushwant Singh’s Train To Pakistan, met the incorrigible Sardar a few months ago.
She says, “I’ve the fondest memories of him! We shared a bond ever since Train To Pakistan. I visited him at his home in Delhi a few months back. We had a heart-to-heart chat. He was full of life. He gifted me a book with a lovely message. It would be my cherished gift for life.”
Divya is now in the process of writing a book culling together the anecdotes she has gathered from Khushwant Singh. “We discussed life in general. I am writing down his anecdotes. I could never get enough of them.”
Actor Rajit Kapur, who starred in the screen adaptation of Train To Pakistan, says, “If there was one Indian who really spoke his mind and who really had a way with words it was Khushwant Singh. He was a man of letters all the way.”
Writer Prasson Joshi says, “He lived like Khushwant Singh. Dominated our consciousness, lived without pretence and had this throbbing sense of life which was unmatchable. We will really miss him.”
Author-columnist Farrukh Dhondy adds, “Very sorry to read of Khushwant’s passing. He was undoubtedly the father of Indian intellectual mischief. His sense of irreverence and humour brought a modern consciousness to an editorial generation characterised by a sobriety which often verged on an unwelcome solemness. RIP.”