It’s hard to say whether people today know who Khalid Mohamed is. Back then in the nineties and early 2000s, Khalid Mohamed was a well-known figure in the media world in Bollywood. He was one of the most respect film reviewers and he was also one of the rare, who had access to superstars. Khalid has directed several films after retiring from the media world, one of which was our favourite film ‘Fiza’.
Khalid recently spoke to Open Magazine about his thirty years in the business and what went with him when he left. He went on to speak freely about the stars that he was close to and is still close to. As a Filmfare editor for many years, he had access to many many Bollywood film personalities and in this interview, Khalid leaves no stone unturned on who are still his friends and who are those who checked him off the list as soon as he became useless. Here are what we found interesting.
Khalid Mohamed authored a biography of Amitabh Bachchan that was commissioned by Jaya Bachchan titled ‘To Be Or Not To Be’
Khalid Mohamed directed three feature films, which are Fiza, Tehzeeb and Silsiilay
Khalid Mohamed shot hours of a documentary on Amitabh Bachchan that was later shelved the Bachchans
Khalid Mohamed used to be very close to the Bachchans, but not anymore today
Khalid Mohamed wrote film reviews for 27 years
Khalid Mohamed in his own words
Khalid Mohamed on the Salman Khan & Aishwarya Rai Saga
Salman Khan came up to me at the Filmfare Awards and said, ‘I’m going to break your other arm’, because he was going at Aishwarya Rai. Her brother and everyone had walked off and I had to handle it. It was Rishi [Kapoor] who actually pulled him aside. Salman then told me, ‘Maroonga.’ It was horrible.
1996, it was traumatic. The police turned off the power while Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Lucky Ali were performing, Madhuri Dixit was on the stage. Then, there was 1998 when Rekha performed to Umrao Jaan and we cut to Amitabh Bachchan—I thought that was quite clever.
I remember I was looking at the time once, and an actor told me to take his Rolex. I was like, ‘Yeah sure [sarcastically]. I have one at home and this one is better, it’s a Cartier.’
I’m a fan boy. The first time I interviewed Amitabh Bachchan was in 1982 when he was shooting for Coolie in Bangalore. He wasn’t giving interviews then. It was in his cottage at Taj West End (hotel)…So when I went to this loo in his cottage, I thought, ‘Amitabh Bachchan ke loo mein piss kar raha hoon.’ It was the kind of feeling you have on meeting The Beatles.
Paul McCartney was the first interview in my life.The interview happened at the airport lounge and when I shook McCartney’s hand, I felt like a teenaged groupie.
Khalid Mohamed on Interviewing Film Stars
It was about the exclusiveness.
Khalid Mohamed on his first Bollywood interview
Raakhee. When I first went to meet Raakhee, I was told that I couldn’t do the interview that day because she was standing on her head doing yoga. The next day, I was called over to try her famous fish [dish]
Khalid Mohamed on how he went from family to stranger with the Bachchans
Mr Bachchan had landed in hospital and I was the only one who had access. Pressured like crazy, I wrote a benign thing like how he was cracking jokes from his hospital bed. The Bachchans saw it as a breach of faith in our friendship. The day I walked into DNA when the report came out, it was like that scene in No One Killed Jessica when everyone in the newsroom claps for Rani [Mukerji]. Later, Mr Amar Singh called me from Abhishek’s cellphone and accused me of doing this and that. He said, ‘Now you have to rework your equation with this family.’ Mr Bachchan didn’t say much but Jaya was obviously upset. She said, ‘You came in as a friend but did this.’ I said mea culpa.
Khalid Mohamed on so-called friends in Bollywood
I suppose it was because I was no longer (pauses) useful in any capacity… I thought, ‘Hey, they laughed at all my jokes, thought I was good company. Wasn’t I an individual?’ Others who I imagined to be close, like Dimple Kapadia, said, ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you.’ The realisation that you weren’t a person to them is tough to take… and maybe, you’ve done it yourself. Suppose a star was popular and had skidded… But I feel I would have maintained the same friendship.
The classic example of knowing when you are not in the Bollywood favour list is by those wretched bouquets on your birthday. Bouquets shrink, so everyone from the elevator boy to your cook ask you, ‘Kya hua?’ You get a couple from your genuine friends, and maybe from those who have forgotten to strike you off the list. You feel bad, but you can handle it.
Khalid Mohamed on his Genuine Friends
My genuine friends have been Rishi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee and Karan Johar. I’ve had a steady love-hate relationship with Ram Gopal Varma.
Khalid Mohamed on his Tough Breaks
Actors give you that lethal line, ‘You are family, yaar.’ I looked for warmth and it was given. But it changed when I wasn’t useful. This feeling of not being considered as an individual by film stars comes from being too close to them. Emotionally close. I’ve been through three tough breaks. Salim Khan was one, then Gulzar, then the Bachchans, Jaya, specifically.
Khalid Mohamed on his Friendships
I was always careful with my friendships. So I’m indebted to no one, from Mr AB to Z. And Mr Bachchan’s blog about serving me ‘exclusive and expensive’ wine was such a joke. The Bachchans owe me and they know that.
Khalid Mohamed on his Bollywood Detox
The detoxification took… nearly two years. I took long walks. I tried theatre, books and documentaries. I’ve not been satisfied even though I’ve done one play, two books, three documentaries… I am writing a novel now and I definitely want to make a feature film.
Khalid Mohamed on the Stars with Striking Personalities
Jiah Khan… She wrote poetry, made video films, worked for the UN. She was a disturbed soul.
Shah Rukh Khan till he became an entrepreneur. Now you have to talk to him about the IPL and whatever else he’s doing. He’s a great conversationalist… See, there is a rule: actors are best during their struggling days. The moment they reach the ‘we are known’ stage, they don’t need you.
You can be stuck on an island with Salim Khan. He’s a great raconteur. I’ve also enjoyed talking to Tabu and Shabana Azmi, though she drove me nuts during Tehzeeb. She’s made a difference to cinema. And Smita [Patil] who was in my college. She was very vulnerable.
Khalid Mohamed on the Star He Wished He Had Known
One girl I wish I’d known, but haven’t met is Pooja Bhatt. I met her father [Mahesh] many times, he’s quite a Bhatt-dose (laughs).
Credit: Open Magazine