By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Ram Gopal Varma may not strike his friends as an emotional man. But the death of Jiah Khan has triggered off a yearning for the past that this self-confessed cynic has never felt before.
On Saturday when Jiah’s family held a condolence meeting at Juhu, Ramu, true to his image, didn’t turn up to bid his protégée farewell. Instead he made a 2-minute film as a tribute to the spirited actress who in her very first film Nishabd stole the heart of the Big B Amitabh Bachchan.
The film which Ramu has titled ‘The Reel & The Reality Of Jiah’ catches Jiah at her most reflective and resplendent.
The film was gifted to Jiah’s mother and sisters who apparently were deeply moved by the efforts Ramu had made to capture Jiah’s most effervescent moments in Nishabd.
Subdued and thoughtful, Ramu says, “Ironically, her character in the film feels life should be taken lightly. It is advice that Jiah couldn’t follow in her own life.”
Still shaken, Ramu says, “I couldn’t bring myself to attend any memorial for Jiah. For me, she will always be alive. I decided to put together this tribute. When I was looking at her in Nishabd again, I was struck by how spontaneous she was on screen…and not the least intimidated by Mr Bachchan! I can’t get believe she is gone.”
Ramu regrets not being able to live up to his high opinion of Jiah’s talent. “I should’ve worked with her again. But we had both set such high standards for each other in Nishabd. I couldn’t come up with a role to equal that one for Jiah. And I haven’t made any film as heartfelt as Nishabd.”