He was known for his blockbuster films about desh bhakti and desh prem. And yet Mr Patriot had a dark side to him that only his heroines knew about. He worked with some of the most gorgeous legendary heroines of his times. Each one of them seems to have her own horror story about Mr Patriot’s drunken calls. One of his most distinguished no-nonsense heroines told me this incident.
“I got a few late-night calls from him and sternly told him to not call me after 6 pm. Then the next day I was shooting with R (she names another beautiful legendary actress). Between shots, she told me she had been receiving those slurring late-night calls too. I said, ‘You too?!’ and we both had a good laugh.
For another top heroine of the 1970s gave up her superstardom to marry an iconic actor, Mr Patriot’s post-midnight antics were not a problem. It was his leery attitude. She recounted, “We were shooting on the crowded streets. I was dressed in a saree tucked around me like a loincloth and blouse as I was playing a very rustic character. Between shots I would put a dupatta over my blouse. He insisted I remove the dupatta. He is a very dirty man.”
I know of no leading who doesn’t have a story to tell about this legendary actor-filmmaker. If he existed in the era of MeToo he would been behind bars. Or maybe just banned from drinking after shooting. Come to think of it, so many of the big guns from the entertainment industry misbehaved with female actors, as though by right.