By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Look at what that gentle giant of a man has done . Vindu Dara Singh is known to be one of the most affable and likeable actors we have.
Having known him since his Bigg Boss days and then having interacted with him closely when his father the legendary Dara Singh passed away last year, this writer can vouch for Vindu’s absolutely unassuming bearing and warm nature.
It’s that gregarious nature which has now got Vindoo into trouble. He is exceedingly friendly with many of the A-lister heroes and filmmakers. All of them are now trying to desperately dissociate themselves from even knowing Vindu.
An A-lister actor when approached to comment in his friend’s tragic predicament firmly cut short all conversation on Vindu, saying. “Why do you want to get me into trouble? I don’t even want my name to be mentioned anywhere near his.”
When reminded that there was visual evidence of their friendship all over the place including in cricket stadiums, the star said, “Let it be. He’s a very nice guy. But at the moment no one can help him. He’s f…ked.”
A film producer reveals that leading film personalities, including the director of a recent purported blockbuster remake of a South Indian film, are in the match-fixing net. “Poor Vindu is just the fall guy. The film industry has many producers and stars who put money into cricket betting. What we’ve seen so far is not even the tip of the iceberg.”
So who is Vindu Dara Singh?
Dara Singh’s elder son candidly admitted to me he has a half-brother whose well-being is Vindu’s responsibility after Dara Singh’s demise. Vindu has five siblings. His father had a son from another wife. Dara Singh’s first marriage happened when he was barely 14.
After Dara Singh’s death, Vindu told me, “As my father’s eldest born it’s my duty to make his responsibilities are fulfilled.In fact we in this family are very high on responsibilities. To this day, I look after my ex-wife Farha Naaz and son Fateh although we separated long back and she took away my son Fateh. Fateh will remain with his mother. She left with him and we’ve never looked back after that, though I continue to look after them.”
Vindu was married to actress Farha Naaz. Their marriage fell apart apparently because she insisted on bringing up their only son under a strict Islamic code. In Vindu’s family every member respects and acknowledges religion. Dara Singh encouraged every kind of culture and lifestyle .Vindu’s brother is married to a Gujarati. His sister is married to an American. Vindu married a Muslim and then a Christian. The fights between the couple started because of the way their son was being brought up.
Vindu had absolutely no hang-ups about being a giant like Dara Singh’s son. “I am proud to be Dara Singh’s son. He was very proud of me, specially after I won on Bigg Boss and started getting good work and making good money. He always encouraged his children to do what we wanted, never stopped us from doing anything. We were all allowed to fail once in our class exams. Because we had the freedom to fail we never did. He encouraged me to have my drinks at home, rather than go out and drink in public places. In fact on the night before he passed away we shared a drink together….My Dad wasn’t scared of dying. He was scared my mother would go before him. ‘Mujhe chhod ke mat jaana,’ he told her some months ago. Now he’s gone leaving her behind. We need to look after her even more now.”
Vindu reveals he never moved out of the Dara Singh residence because all his siblings did. “They all got married and moved away. How could I leave my parents alone? If in their autumnal years they had to live alone what was the point of having so many children? I made a pledge to myself I’d stay with my parents, and I did.”
Just before the IPL trouble erupted in Vindu’s life, there was a yearning within him to carry the father’s legacy forward. Vindu was planning to put together his father’s amazing story in a documentary film.
During our last conversation, Vindu said, “It’s important to let future generations know what my father was all about. He always said, ‘I’ve made enough money for all you children to live comfortably forever. If you can’t build on my legacy don’t diminish it either.’ I’d like to carry his name forward. Dara Singh is a metaphor for strength and power. I’d like to think I can shoulder that legacy. I’ve a great father’s name to live up to. I’m hoping to consolidate my position in the industry. I want to work towards making the position that Amrish Puriji had made in our cinema. Let’s see.”
Alas, Mogambo khush nahin hua.