“I have been upset ever since I heard that my dear friend director-producer Arjun Hingorani passed away in Mathura. It’s literally the end of an era for me. For Arjun was like my own brother for more than 65 years. We started together. He gave me my first break. Actually the first film I signed in Mumbai was Bimal Roy’s Bandini. But that took time to take off. You know how it is with these genius directors like Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Raj Kapoor. They take their time in making their films. So while I was waiting for Bandini to happen, I met Arjun Hingorani. He kept saying, ‘Main tujhe sign karunga’. I didn’t even know who he was. And why should I have worked with someone unknown when the great Bimal Roy had signed me? But Arjun was insistent, ‘Main tujhe hero banaaonga’. I said, ‘Chal, banaa.’ That’s how my first film Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere was made and released in 1960.
When Arjun had no success for the first ten years of his career and then Kab Kyun Aur Kahan clicked he decided it was the 3 ‘K’s in the title that did the trick. And he always managed to get the titles with the required ‘K’s. I would joke with him to make ‘Kaan Ka Kachcha’. After Kaun Kare Kurbanie Arjun suddenly became a Krishna Bhakt and migrated to Mathura where he spent his last years. I missed him. I would call him. But he was in his own world. It’s heart-breaking to lose all your friends one by one. It is the love of my fans, friends and well-wishers that has kept me going for so long. I hope that is never taken away from me.”
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