27 July, 2021

‘We’d Sneak Into A Few Movies To Watch Madhubala And Nargis’

‘We’d Sneak Into A Few Movies To Watch Madhubala And Nargis’

When I was 17, Bombay was a green city, with gardens coming right down to Peddar Road. It was really wonderful. It was a lively city, and as college boys, we used to go to striptease joints like the Mandarin, near the Gateway of India, especially to watch ‘Tamico, the Hot Tomato’. I used to sport handlebar moustaches, like the military people who were then considered smart and fashionable.

I was already doing theatre, and I produced my first big play in 1954, The Taming of the Shrew. Bombay was an arty place, where theatre was meaningful. Adi Marzban, the master of comedy, was making plays in Parsi-Gujarati. Bombay had no censorship issues and was a very easy town. It was the only city in India that was truly modern: Calcutta was still the British Raj, Delhi was little more than a collection of villages, Chennai was a city of temples and...

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