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The return of the Sultan

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HISTORY RETOLD Actor Sanjay Khan
HISTORY RETOLD Actor Sanjay Khan

Sanjay Khan's "The Sword of Tipu Sultan" will now be telecast in Tamil

The scars are still clearly visible. But nothing can stymie the spirit and joie de vivre of Sanjay Khan. One look at him and it reminds you of the terrible fire that burnt down the sets of the then hugely popular mega serial "The Sword of Tipu Sultan." Sanjay Khan, who played the role of the valiant Tipu, suffered third degree burns. "I was in a coma for two months and in bed for more than a year. I think Tipu gave me the strength to wage the battle for life and endure the pain of 72 operations." And now "The Sword of Tipu Sultan" is back on the small screen. The serial has been dubbed into Tamil and will be telecast on DD Podhigai from May 28 on Sundays at 11 a.m. "It is great and exciting that he is back especially in the troubled times that we live in. I am happy the serial has been dubbed into Tamil, a language with a long history. Interestingly, you will find Tamil-speaking people across the globe," Sanjay smiles.

Another serial

The yesteryear star is planning a film "The Legend of Ram". "I have always been fascinated by his character and consider him the hero of all times." Talking about the serial on Tipu Sultan, which proved to be a second coming for him, he says, "After the accident, I was discouraged by many to continue working on the serial. But I was determined not to leave it halfway through."Re-living those moments, he continues, "When I went to America for plastic surgery, I was desperate to get back to work. One of the doctors attending on me called me the `miracle man' because he felt that only one in a million third degree burn victims survive. I remember writing the crucial battle scene lying on the bed." After "The Sword of Tipu Sultan", Sanjay Khan made "The Great Maratha", "because I thought the battle of Panipat had not been well narrated for future generations." And then came "Jai Hanuman". "India is a great treasure of stories and I wonder why our filmmakers keep looking westward for ideas." The original king Khans, Sanjay and his flamboyant elder brother Feroz managed to hold their own in Bollywood that was then dominated by the Kumars and the Kapoors. "I coaxed my brother Feroz to take up acting as a career and later I joined him."From 1964, when he made his debut in "Dosti" to the 1980s when he produced films such as "Abdullah" and "Kala Dhanda Gore Log", Sanjay, the handsome romantic hero, had every reason to feel delighted about his decision to move from Bangalore (where he spent his childhood) to Mumbai. "I had never imagined Feroz and I would do so well as actors." Talking about the recent controversy over Feroz Khan's remarks made in Pakistan during the premier of the film "Taj Mahal", he says, "It's unfortunate that so much was made out it. The mood is good and people at various levels are trying to foster people-to-people contact for better relations between the two countries. The Pakistanis are such warm and loving people. I feel Feroz should have been more careful before making such sensitive comments."Today, Sanjay Khan is thrilled to be known as Hritik Roshan's father-in-law and teen heartthrob Zayed Khan's father. "My son has a way of charming people. He is also a bright boy and has studied every aspect of film making in London besides business administration." As for his interior decorator-wife Zarine, "Oh! She's my goddess. She has inculcated the best of values in my children and I feel so proud when people today talk about how well behaved my son and daughters are."She also the one who keeps this Khan cool and going. CHITRA SWAMINATHAN

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