One of my first acting assignments was a TV show that Sairaji produced. The entire production took place in their home. My first impression of Dilip Sir was that he looked like an angel with his pure white skin and pinkest rosiest cheeks dressed in all white and the kindest smile. One day, after I gave what I thought was a fantastic shot I went over to the monitor where Dilip Sir was watching the shot all ready to receive some mind-blowing praise! Imagine my shock when he turned to me and said: jab mein acting karta tha na toh sound engineer bolta tha ki Sir aapki awaaz kahin wire mein atak gayi hain.. Parul you don’t have to raise your voice to show your anger. This was my first acting lesson and it’s my blessing that the greatest actor of all time gave it to me himself. I can hear him say it me again whenever I see him snap at Mr. Bachchan in Shakt in what’s almost a whisper or when he goes Gaadi Roko Bhai in Mashaal without sounding the least bit shrill..
I had the honour to shoot in their home for an entire year. My fondest memory is of Sairaji and Dilip Sir feeding us from their own kitchen. Another fond memory is watch a huge platter of food leave their home every evening without fail, to feed the needy. The production was run like a family with Sairaji, Farida Dadi, Shaheen and Sultan Uncle. Dilip Sir was the gracious patriarch who loved everyone and was loved beyond anything I have ever seen.
Their home is gigantic and I remember being overawed by the size of their bathroom – felt like I was in an Emperor’s palace!! Sairaji also showed me around the home and I realised that she had preserved all the costumes from all of her movies. She also gifted me a tube of one of her favourite lipstick that she had preserved and kept in her refrigerator. They were truly the epitome of class, an inspiration.
Favourite movies of him: Saudagar (because that’s the first movie I saw of his) Mughal e Azam, Shakti, Ram Aur Shaam are my favourite movies of his