Mumbai, Feb 8 (IANS) Chembur, an eastern suburb of Mumbai, now has an intersection named after late Bollywood producer Surinder Kapoor, the father of actors Anil and Sanjay Kapoor, and producer Boney Kapoor. Remembering his father on the naming of Surinder Kapoor Chowk, Boney Kapoor said his family members are true “Chemburites”.
“As a son, I have a lot of memories with my dad, but overall we, including our neighbours in Chembur where we all born and brought up, remember him as a warm-hearted, respected and jovial man. He always had a smile. Although he went through a tough time at one point in his career as a film producer, I never saw him dejected or bitter. He fought all crises with a smile and that is a quality all of us brothers — whether me, Anil and Sanjay — have imbibed. Life was never easy for us but my father believed that one does not have to be negative to deal with a bad situation,” Boney told IANS.
Boney recalled his father’s journey from Peshawar after Partition, remembering how he had been mentored by Prithvi Raj Kapoor, and how he worked as an assistant on “Mughal-e-Azam”, before he went on to produce films like “Hum Paanch”, “Woh 7 Din”, “Judaai”, “Pukar”, “No Entry”, and “Sirf Tum”.
“Papaji came to India in 1952 and he was a socialist. So, whenever he would get a job, he would raise his voice against injustice on employees and then the company would fire him. My grandfather was worried, so he told Bade Papaji (Prithvi Raj Kapoor) to take him under his wings,” said Boney.
According to Boney, his father always stood by all his unit members and provided equal facilities to even employers of the lowest hierarchy.
“That is how my father won loyalty from every employee. I have tried to maintain the same. In our company there are people working for the last 30 years. When I went through a bad time, I couldn’t pay them salaries on time but none of them left us, because for all of them, it was not the ‘company’ going through a bad phase, it was ‘us’. So ‘together’ we faced a bad time and came out of it. Perhaps that is the socialist attitude and trust-building that we have till today,” shared the producer of the cult film “Mr India”.
What is so special about Chembur? “Aapnapan hai ek, ye kaise samjhaoon (there is an affinity, how do I explain this)? My father got a foothold in the film industry because of Bade Papaji and Shammi (Kapoor) uncle. After his marriage, Raj Kapoor saab had given him a place to stay in his Shantibagh bungalow in Chembur. Since my father was a socialist, he refused to take any financial help from my grandfather and also from my maternal grandfather to buy a house. So until he got one, he stayed at the outhouse of Raj uncle’s bungalow,” Boney said.
Describing their native house in Tilak Nagar as a one-room kitchen set-up with a community toilet that was used by six other families, who were neighbours, Boney said: “We had less money but we were happy. My brothers and I, as well as our sister Reena, who taught me driving that came handy later in life as a production guy. We still love calling ourselves ‘Chemburites’. I took Sri(devi) to show our old house in Chembur before our marriage. She took me to Channei to show her native place. I can go on, but in nutshell we brothers are ‘Chembur Boys’ till today!”
Boney thanked the people of Chembur and Sanjay Asrani, Chairman of Safal Group, and Rahul Shewle, Member of Parliament, for the honour bestowed on his late father.