‘He gave us a place in the industry’
I cannot believe Gautam Adhikari is gone. About 24 years ago, I called him and asked for a meeting. I was poor, unknown and without recommendation. He asked me why I wanted to meet him. I said Sir, I would like to give you a copy of my book ‘November Rain’. Immediately, he asked me to meet him, took the book and asked me what it was about. He promised to read it, and I thought that was it.
Within a week, two calls came. One was from his office, asking me and my wife Mrinal to go and meet Jeetendra’s daughter Ekta, who was planning to start a production company. And the other was to ask us to send stories for Gautam Sir’s hit show, Commander.
Gautam Adhikari actually read our book and gave us a place in the industry. Mrinal has now written more drama episodes than any other writer in India. A lot of her hits have been with Ekta - starting with India’s first supernatural show ‘Maano Ya Na Maano’, and Adhikari was the visionary who paired them.
He backed a very innovative story of ours for Commander - and that helped us always stick to our guns later when anyone objected to our new ideas.
He was already famous and extremely busy. He didn’t need to meet a new aspiring writer with no credentials. But he did make time. He did more than that - he provided opportunities for us to make our mark.
I can never repay his debt. Now, Mrinal and I try to help others in exactly the same way. I have lost two people this October who listened to me and Mrinal when we had nothing going for us and gave us our first assignments - Kundan Shah and Gautam Adhikari - all I can say is: Thank you, Sirs! May you always shine on!
ABHIGYAN JHA Undercover Productions Ltd