“When I heard Jadgeep Saab had left us, it felt like I had lost an elder in my own family. Though we were not related I shared a very long and deep bond with Jagdeep Saab and later his sons Jaaved , Naved and their wives. In fact, recently I went for a meal to their place and Jagdeep Saab remembered our long association so affectionately. I met Jagdeep Saab for the first time when at the age of 18 I came from my home town Bhopal to Mumbai to attend a wedding. I dropped in to meet Jagdeep Saab as a fan. I could never forget his kindness and generosity. Not only did he ask about me and made me feel comfortable, he lent me his apartment in the building named Gildana on 29th Road Juhu for me to stay in. ‘Kitna pyara bachcha hai. Kahan pe thehre ho? Kiske saath aaye ho?’ He asked me a hundred questions. Such generosity is never forgotten when it comes to you when you are just starting out in life,” says Rumi emotionally.
Rumi shared close ties with Jagdeep until the latter’s death on June 8. “In fact he did his last two films Life Partner and Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai with me. By then the work for Jagdeep Saab had almost stopped. I remember how happy he was to be back on the sets for Life Partner. And he kept expressing his happiness.”
Rumi faced opposition from his own team in casting Jagdeep. “And there was a reason for it. Years ago I had written the dialogues for a Film called Pehla Pehla Pyar. It required a cameo appearance by a comic actor. Asraniji was supposed to do the role. But he couldn’t make it. There was no time and we approached Jagdeepji. He asked us why we had approached him so late when the shooting was just hours away. One of my team members blurted out that Asranji had left us and since Jagdeepji was not doing any films… Bas, that was it, Jagdeep Saab refused the role saying, “Dilip Kumar Saab is also not doing any films. Why don’t you offer it to him?”
Since this incident Rumi’s producers were wary of signing Jagdeep. “Until I directed my own film. Then I had to sign him. It was an old debt I had to repay. He was so good in both Life Partner and Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai. Jagdeep Saab was such a warm human being and such a fine actor. He was capable of a lot more than Soorma Bhopali. In fact he started as serious actor. Not many know that Jagdeep Saab was cast as Birju , Nargisji’s rebellious son in Mother India. They even shot the film with him. But somehow director Mehboob Khan felt Jagdeep Saab wasn’t getting the expressions right. That’s how they replaced him with Sunil Dutt Saab.”
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