By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Star-spangled events are becoming more and more exorcises in glamorous head counts than genuine endeavours to celebrate the magic of cinema.
An event in honour of Yash Chopra on Saturday in suburban Mumbai turned out to be quite a nightmare for the Nightingale who was to receive the first Yash Chopra Memorial Award.
Because of ill health, Lataji was inclined to cancel her scheduled presence at the function. However the organizers were not the least empathetic to the Living Legend’s health status.
Says a source close to Lataji angrily, “She was unwell and she informed the organizers that she couldn’t attend as the doctors had warned her against public appearances. However the organizers would hear none of it. They reminded her that they had pumped in a lot of money in the event and that her receiving the award in Yashji’s memory was the fulcrum of the razzmatazz. Tell me, is the money spent on organizing the event important or Lataji’s health and well being. It is ironical that we claim to honour our icons but actually use them just for photo-options and television cameras.”
More embarrassment awaited Lataji when star after star was summoned on the stage to shower praise on her in her presence.
Says the source, “Some of these gracious stars who spoke about her barely knew her personally.”
When asked about the ordeal by encomium Lataji brushed away the health concerns saying, “It was an award in the name of Yashji, so very very special. As you know Yashji loved me like his own sister. He always said, ‘Jab tak main hoon Lata mere filmon mein gaayegi.’ But our rapport went far beyond the professional. He was always there for me whenever I needed him. Yashji is one of the kindest most gracious human beings I’ve met. I am close to his entire family. Pam Bhabhi (Mrs Yash Chopra) is as dear to me as Yashji was. I miss him constantly.”