Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Farewell - Ravi Baswani

There are many people in this World who come into public focus for a brief period of time, and then fade away - only to be remembered when they pass on...

Ravi Baswani, Bollywood comedy actor, was one such personality. He died of a massive heart attack in Haldwani. Most people survive a heart attack, but Ravi was unlucky. His attack was massive, and he died before a Doctor could get to him

The first realization that surprised me about Ravi's life, was that he was 64 years old ! Had I not read the news report about his death, I couldn't have imagined he was so old.

Ravi Baswani belonged to that generation of actors, who were tremendously talented. He belonged to the same pedigree as Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur, Om Puri and many others who honed their acting skills through formal training at reputed institutions like the National School of Drama (NSD) or the Film and Television Institute of India. They then set foot in Bollywood, with a dream - to become film stars one day.

Many of Ravi's class got lucky. But life was rough to many others, including Ravi. It was a long struggle but not a lost battle against many odds. Ravi and others got their first break in movies by the time they were well past the prime of their youth. They started their career very late in the day.

Ravis' two most memorable performances were in movies of my generation - "Chashme Buddor" in which he played the role of 'road side Romeo' while living with friends (Faroukh Sheikh and Rakesh Bedi). At the end of the movie, everyone was in splits, and Ravi had established himself as a comedian.

"Jaane bhi do Yaaron" followed and two films later, Ravi seemed to have got it made. But strange things happened in Bollywood. Ravi disappeared from the scene almost as soon as he had arrived. He did feature in some more movies none of which were either successful or can be remembered today.

Ravi also dabbled in television. But by then it had become sadly clear, that it was almost the end of the road for this bundle of talent.

It is sad that people like Ravi Baswani are taken for granted. No one remembered him when he was alive. I didn't too. But he did make us laugh when I went to see "Chashme Buddor" and "Jaane bhi do yaaron", and we admired him at that time....

Ravi's life and more importantly his death, should be a lesson for all of us - to remember and forever be grateful for all those who were part of the 'showbiz' world, and who in their own special way, made us feel good, even though for a few moments.

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