The death hoax about the iconic Mumtaz shook the nation. One of her closest friends in the entertainment industry is Shatrughan Sinha who in spite of being busy with the Lok Sabha elections made it a point to inquire about her health. “Such a relief to hear she’s well. Ishwar unhe lambi umr den. Mumtaz, I am proud to say, is a very dear and old friend. She is one of the best human beings in the film industry I’ve ever encountered,” says Shatruji emotionally.
He recounts the great debt that he owes the legendary actress. “Indeed I owe her a big favour. When I came to Mumbai from Patna to become an actor Mumtaz was a huge star. She not only befriended me, a nobody at that time, but she also introduced me to producers and director. She also recommended me for a role in L V Prasad’s Khilona. She had the author-backed role and there was the role of a villain in Khilona which she insisted I do.”
The producers had no choice but to listen to Mumtaz.
“It’s because of Mumtaz that I got the part. And I was widely noticed and appreciated for it.”
Shatruji says he learnt a big lesson of life from Mumtaz, “Always be good to newcomers and strugglers. When established stars are rude to newcomers the scar remains. They need support and care. I learnt to be kind to new actors because Mumtaz was kind to me when I was new.”
Shatruji says he would do anything for Mumtaz. “Anytime she needs my help I would be most happy to come forward. When Mumtaz made a comeback to movies after many years I’m proud to say I was her leading man in Aandhiyan.”