He expresses no overt resentment, but the late and great writer-actor Kader Khans son Sarfaraz bitterness spills through when he talks of the way his illustrious father was neglected by the film industry after he migrated to Canada to live with his three sons.
Sarfaraz said: “It is the way the Indian film industry has become now. There are too many fragmented camps and loyalties. The out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality can’t be helped.
“My father always told us, his sons, not to expect anything from anybody and we grew up with the belief that one must do what is required in life and expect nothing in return.”
However, the hurt is palpable, specially since not too many from the film industry have bothered to call his sons in Canada even after Kader Khan’s death.
“There are so many people in the film industry whom my father was close to. But the one person that my father loved the most was Bachchan saab (Amitabh Bachchan). I’d ask my father whom he missed the most from the film industry and the answer promptly would be Bachchan Saab. And I know the love was mutual.
“I want Bachchan saab to know that my father spoke about him till the end,” said the doting son emotionally.
Shakti Kapoor, David Dhawan and Govinda were others who worked very closely with Kader Khan during the 1980s and 1990s.
Govinda has gone on record to say Kader Khan was like a father figure to him.
Sarfaraz laughed mirthlessly, and said: “Please ask Govinda how many times he inquired about his father figure’s health. Has he even bothered to call us even once after my father’s passing away? This is the way our film industry has become.
“There are no real feelings for those who have contributed to Indian cinema when they’re no longer active. The top guns may be seen getting clicked with these retired veterans. But the affection goes only as far as photographs. No more. Look at the condition in which Lalita Pawarji and Mohan Chotiji died.
“Luckily, my father had three sons to look after him. What about those who die with no financial and emotional support?”
Kader Khan’s fans would be happy to know that he passed away surrounded by those he loved the most.
“There was a smile on my father’s face when he passed away. I cherish that smile more than anything else in the world. My father’s final years were very painful for him. He suffered from a degenerative disease that left him completely without the will to do anything. He got the best possible medical care here in Toronto.”
Kader Khan’s three sons live close to one another in Toronto. Sarfaraz says the family intends to carry his legacy forward.
“My father has contributed so much to Hindi cinema. We intend to honour his memory in a substantial and relevant way. At the moment we’re all mourning his going. But I can assure his fans all over the world that we won’t let the film industry forget him.”