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Hero turns Baba

S. M. AAMIR
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Chat Jackie Shroff plays Sai Baba in “Malik Ek”

Matters of spirit Jackie Shroff in
Matters of spirit Jackie Shroff in "Malik Ek"

T he ever popular Jackie Shroff has not been in the limelight for a few years now. Confined to the margins of the film industry, his last notable role was in Devdas many summers ago. All this might just change with his foray into mythological films. He will now be seen as Shirdi Ke Sai Baba in Deepak Balraj Viiz's Malik Ek. Jackie cannot stop gushing about the film, “I have done more than 170 films but all of them are on one side and Malik Ek on the other. Even then this film will outweigh the others.”

Speaking to the media, Jackie Shroff is a picture of good cheer and humility. Jackie plays a pivotal role in this multi starrer, which has the likes of Smriti Irani, Anup Jalota, Vidya Sinha, Ranjeeta, Parikshit Sahni, Zareena Wahab, Givind Namdeo and Shakti Kapoor. Jackie claims playing Sai Baba transformed him. “Whenever I used to wear the cloak of Sai Baba, I used to forget all the reservations I had about the role and also all my planning went for a toss. Some divine energy used to possess me. I did some research on the Internet, looked up Wikipedia. I also spoke to some devotees of Sai Baba as part of the research.” Now he has taken to propagating the teachings of Sai Baba in real life. “I ask everybody to practise the teachings of Sai Baba – be good, obey your parents, respect your elders, love the kids and spread non-violence.”

The mentor

Introduced by Dev Anand, Jackie has a lot of respect for Anand and even today never forgets to give him a call at least once a week. Jackie says Anand introduced him as a villain in Swami Dada. “It was an ashirwaad (blessing) from him. Subhash ji put me on course, Mahesh Bhatt gave me Kaash and with Gardish people started acknowledging me as an actor.” King Uncle, which didn't do well, is close to his heart.

Jackie says he learnt lessons of humility from Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor. He also has a word of caution for the young actors, “Don't fly too high after the success of one film. Fate can clip your wings any time and you could come crushing down.”

Talking about his kids, Jackie says that his daughter Krishna is interested in becoming a writer/director and is nowadays doing some plays at school. His son Jai Hemant, fondly called Tiger, is getting training in acting and will be seen in films in future. Jackie himself has no plans of launching his son but says that his friends Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Suniel Shetty and a few others are thinking on those lines.

Jackie Shroff will soon be seen on television in a cookery show. “I am fond of cooking and love to cook for my children,” he signs off.

S. M. AAMIR

Whenever I wore the cloak of Sai Baba, I used to forget all the reservations I had about the role

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