Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My experience of watching movie Sholay in 1975 !

I was studying in class 7th at RK Puram Sect 8 in New Delhi. The movie Sholay ran in Plaza, Connaught place. Plaza that time was owned by Shammi Kapoor. I was staying with my cousin sis and brother in law who stayed in Hauz Khas. My Bil worked as officer in CBI, at R.K Puram office. He was professional photographer. His friends knew Dwarka Divecha, the cinematographer of Sholay. They tipped him to see the movie for the visual narration especially the wide angle and long shots, prominently the close ups of the fight scenes in the running train.   

He also knew people in Plaza and got the tickets for Sunday and so we went to see the movie on the third day of its release.  There was hardly any crowd at the theater then, the quietness bugged me and I was not very keen to see the movie. I thought it might be another art movie, insipid and tasteless.  However, the 70 mm cinema scope that was introduced for this movie at Plaza, gave a different experience and it was the most enjoyable film I have ever watched in my life.

Slowly, the mouth of words praise of the movie started spreading and the crowd started soared at the Plaza cinema hall. The movie became a rage in no time. Have you seen Sholay, became the talk of the town. 

Well Sholay was not just a film, it was an event which no one wanted to miss. I still remember seeing the serpentine queue for buying the ticket that started form from Plaza and went beyond Odeon cinema, a distance of more than 1 km. I knew someone in that lane and use to watch this queue that continued for more than six months. Jokingly, i use to boast off, you guys haven't made it up, i have seen the movie long ago.  

I still remember one of my classmates, doing mimicry of Gabar Singh.  Kitne Admi thei, mein ne ap ka namak khya hai, ab goli kha, dichkwoon dichkwoon, his voice, of the gun shots is still fresh in my memory, even though I don’t remember his name. He use to wear specks. 

The effect of Sholay in Indian cinema can be summed as Indian film history can be divided into Sholay BC and Sholay AD. There has never been a more defining film on the Indian screen than Sholay.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Community, Causes and Networking at IndiBloggers Meet

Community, Causes and Networking at IndiBloggers Meet

Community, causes and networking and celebrating blogging  seemed to be at the heart of the IndiBlogger meet on May 26 2013, at Hotel Hyatt Regancy, Chennai.

Over 200 Chennai based bloggers associated with the IndiBlogger attended the event, which was marked by fun frolic and doing something silly. Up on grab was Samsung Galaxy S4, Ambi Pur car fresheners, cinema tickets, T shirts and of course free lunch.

As head start, a breezy '30 seconds of fame' session followed, where bloggers introduced themselves. Up next was a sumptuous Hyatt Regency lunch with delicious. I enjoyed the desert and had two rounds of it. Well i am sweet tooth!  

During the lunch, Bloggers were invited to take part in a surprise activity where they were blind-folded and escorted into a white sedan car that was emitting Ambi Pur car freshener.  Those who experienced it tweeted about this and the tweet 'the car you pushed me in to, smelt much better than the world I was born into' was awarded a Samsung Galaxy S4.

Each blogger received an Ambi Pur Car Freshener mini clip packs that came in five different flavours. Each flavour holder was grouped in as a team and there were five teams formed. Each team had to do a skit assigned to them with the Ambi Pur Car Freshener flavour being the swan song. .

The teams had interesting themes such as 'Malayalam Art Picture' 'Office Romance', 'Rajinikanth style' etc.

I was in the New Zealander freshener team and our skit was 'Office Romance.' I had some experience of doing this when I was teaching at Manipal U. I was able conceive and design the entire plot of office romance in no time and this was accepted by the group mates.

 It was simply two act skit; a multi-level romance was going on in an office called Nathan & Co. At one level, it’s between boss and secretary, at other, between the courier boy and the receptionist, then the HR and a job seeker, and finally with the office boy and the cleaning maid.

However each one’s seem to be in a foul mood that day because bad odor in the air was playing spoilsport. I enter the scene as a protagonist and fix the Ambi Pur Car Freshener in the ACs that was put up as prop. . Suddenly, the entire environment changes with the freeze of fresh air and the office romance starts blooming again .

After this bloggers associated with a number of causes spoke about their respective cause over brief presentations. They included prevention of discrimination based on skin color, welfare of school children, improving civic sense etc.

Networking was high on priority in these meets, and each one was happy making friends, meeting bloggers across the genres. The event was wounded up with a photo session and a refreshing HI tea that included coffee and snacks.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

India –China have to build a model relationship

India –China have to build a model relationship


The visit of the Chinese premier Li Keqiang to New Delhi comes in the wake of the heightened border tension and growing mistrust and suspicion between the two neighboring Asian giants.

Although the Chinese premier is being quoted saying that the purpose of his visit to India was three-fold — to increase mutual trust, to intensify cooperation and to face the future, the ground reality is, there exists a huge trust deficit between the two countries.

Notwithstanding the facts, if  the two countries have to raise the bar of their relationship to face the future then they have to further deepen mutual understanding and construct a new paradigm in relationship.
The question remains what could be the new model relationship to promote healthy and sound development of each other. It goes without saying that this has to be based on cooperation rather than competition and in order to do so, both the countries have to eschew the cold war mindset and develop sufficient level of trust for cooperation with each other.  

This nugget of wisdom for this comes from Mount Kailash pilgrimage tour that points to a new type of relationship developing between India and China.  The Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) includes an area of the remote south-western portion of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China, and adjacent parts of north-western Nepal, and northern India, and encompasses the cultural geography of the greater Mt. Kailash area.

Each year, India’s Ministry of External Affairs sends some 400 people to Kailash Manasarovar Yatra that includes visit to Mount Kailash and the Manasarovar Lake. The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation Initiative (KSLCI), under the umbrella of the intergovernmental institution called International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) based in Kathmandu facilitates all the formalities of this tour. These organizations have set up an example of how trilateral relationship can actually work.

If Mount Kailash belongs to China, it also belongs to India and Nepal in a cultural sense. This internationalization is now highly formalized, as a trans-boundary process involving three governments, their official research institutes and many NGOs working together for a common purpose.

In this pilgrimage tour, India, China and Nepal, are enthusiastic partners. All see it an opportunity to promote healthy and sound relationship based on mutual trust and deeper understanding of each other. This rapprochement serves as a model relationship that seems to be working well in spite of differences on many other areas.  

Now, when we compare this bohemian with the recent boundary standoff between India and China, one wonders why the same trust level of Kailash Manasarovar Yatra not being replicated to resolve the border row.
India and China has an informal border separating the two countries known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), while the borders have never been formally demarcated, the countries have signed two accords to maintain peace in the frontier areas. The two armies hold regular flag meetings and the two sides are also holding talks at regular interval to draw an actual Line of Control (LOC).

This exercise is going on since past 50 years or so, but no breakthrough has so far been made. Just like the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan the border dispute between India and China has become a sore point whose solution seems to be nowhere in sight.

India- China in between, had three border disputes; the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Chola incident in 1967, and the 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish that all have sullied their relationship.  

The Chinese military incursions into Indian Territory is often reported in the media, the latest being the face off, in the eastern Ladakh sector in April-May 2013.

The recent faceoff between India and China actually took place at Raki Nala in the Depsang Bulge area, a table-top plateau, where China squatted some 19km inside Indian Territory, claiming to be their own geographical limits.

Chinese arduous intrusion threatened to cut off India's access to some 750 sq km area in northern Ladakh. In retaliation, India also sent its troops to the actual flash point and both the troops of both sides faced each other at a distance of 300 meters for almost three weeks.

The main bone of contention was Indian observation post at Chumar that can overlook troop movements on the Chinese side. China insisted on the demolition of the observation post as a pre-condition for the de-escalation of tension.

It was after a series of flag meetings between the commanders of both the sides that was supported by Joint Mechanism between Foreign Office of both countries, that India and China withdrew their troops.

This standoff had all the trappings of a war breaking out as the fast paced developments sent chill waves across the borders. This was more so because war mongers were shouting form the roof tops to go for a kill!  

In the end it was a victory of Indian diplomacy to defuse the tension, but then it remains momentary, as there is all likelihood of the repetition of such episode in future.

The border row has put the progress of the entire gamut of India – China relationship on tenterhooks. Both countries have steadily built-up military infrastructure along border areas and this simmering ember has the potential to burst into nuclear flames.

There is total trust deficit between the two countries. India harbours suspicions about China's strong strategic relations with its arch-rival Pakistan. It also sees Chinese relationship with its other neighbouring countries as a design to encircle it. On the contrary, China sees India as a rising power and has expressed concerns about its military and economic activities in disputed South China Sea.

So the new relationship that the Chinese premier Li Keqiang talked about does not seem to be anywhere on the horizon. It appears that the both the countries like to compete with each other without realizing the futility of the exposition of such power game.

It’s to be remembered that the gap between India and China is deep and wide. If India can keep Kashmir issue alive till eternity, China can keep the border row melting beyond that time frame.

The quest for parity simply does not stand on the test the logic. As India, stands head and shoulders above Pakistan, in the eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth power game and cannot give up Kashmir, its same yardstick that applies to China on the border row and cannot accept Indian demarcation of its line of control.
It’s this disparity of power play that has to be recognized to forge a new relationship. India and China have to evolve a totally different approach to resolve the border row.

In order to do so a separate task force needs to be constituted. It should comprise of an array of specialists besides diplomats and field commanders. This should be an intergovernmental institution with the partnership with nongovernmental institutions working for the common purpose to resolve this festering problem in a time bound and planned manner.

In order to kick star such a process, the leadership of both the countries have to build mutual trust first and this could be in areas of cultural ties such as Kailash Manasarovar Yatra.

It is this new type of relationship that is based on cooperation alone can prepare the two countries to jointly face the future that the Chinese premier Li Keqiang was talking about in New Delhi.

 Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at    

Election Commission must step in to clean-up Indian Politics

Election Commission must step in to clean-up Indian Politics

There is a widespread concern about the prevalence of corruption in the country.  Corruption is happening because many corrupt persons and criminals are contesting the Assembly  and Parliament elections and thus becoming people’s representative which they are not rightly so.

It’s because many of them get elected due to their money power and muscle power.  It is thus a national need to de criminalise politics, which can happen only by preventing corrupt persons and criminals from entering Parliament and Assemblies.

Take the case of recently concluded Karnataka assembly elections where there are over 200 'crorepatis' (multi-millionaires) among the newly elected legislatures. Also there are also 74 legislatures against whom criminal cases are registered. Out of them 39 face serious criminal cases like attempt to murder, kidnapping, dacoity and assault against women.

This is an alarming trend and many look at the Election Commission to exercise its powers under Article 324 of the constitution to prevent criminals and corrupt persons from entering politics.

Under Article 324 of the Constitution, the phraseology “superintendence, direction and control”…” conduct of all elections” and its essentials are not comprehensively laid down. The terms are of wide amplitude and empower the Election Commission to take recourse to address the issue of de criminalize Indian politics.
Importantly, it can do so, because in the absence of Casus Omission (case of Omission in Law), it can interpret and provide the necessary details to fill the lacuna or non-liquet (law is not clear), wherein the jurisprudence can be evolved and empower the Election Commission.

Obviously, the constitution makers have left Article 324 in this way, to pave way for the Election Commission to use its powers to conduct elections in fair and free manner, based on the exigency of the situation and the ground realities.

The Election Commission and its operation form a part of lex specialis (special law) and it is significant to understand that by way of its functioning in times of exigency, it is not in contravention of the constitutional laws but it is well equipped and constitutes an appropriate organ.

So, the Election Commission has the inherent power to bar those persons from contesting election, against whom corruption and criminal charges have been admitted in the court.

The notion of inherent powers (ex debitio justitiae) is basically a principle of natural law (jus naturalae) that it remains unchangeable. It is also a virtue of human value. Therefore, it need not be seen as a residual power but a thesis of Values on Justice, (in the present context Electoral Justice).

The Election Commission with its mandate can ensure that de criminalization of politics as it falls under the category of exigent situation; secondly by way of a directive Election Commission can clearly frame the relevant proposals into the subject it has developed.

Election Commission should clearly declare that with those accused of crime and corruption contesting, the elections cannot be free and fair and therefore those persons should be barred from contesting election against whom corruption and criminal charges have been admitted in the court.

The question is when the Election Commission would assert itself and take a firm stand is something everyone is taking about. The Election Commission these days appears to give an impression that it would be satisfied if the elections would be conducted in a peaceful manner, irrespective of the fact, whether it is conducted in free and fair manner.

There are number of cases of money power and muscle power being used in the elections and in most of such cases, Election Commission has remained silent. This weak approach of the Election Commission has really emboldened the criminals and corrupt persons to enter into electoral fray.

There is every reason for the Election Commission to act firmly, considering the fact that fair elections are a part of Human Rights.   The concept of “free and fair, genuine election/right to vote through the means established in the constitution (free will of the electors)” is also basically a Human Right as per the International Human Rights Law.

Further, the concept of criminalization of politics itself constitutes a crime. The existence of criminals in politics per se will affect the achievement of the objectives of the constitution, where in the victims are the people. Therefore, the subject of criminalization of politics as a matter of crime has to be examined, apart from the offences relating to election and its extended form mentioned in the relevant statutes.

Now comes the fundamental question, how will the judiciary would  react, in case of Election Commission using its powers and barring the persons from contesting against whom criminal and corruption charges have been admitted in the court?

The answer is simple. In India, just as democracy is evolving so is the judiciary.  The Constitution is an Organic/Living document; therefore, it should be liberally interpreted, wherein it is to address the needs of the future societies.

It has been recognised several times that constitution enacted several decades back need to be amended in tune with the changing times and aspiration of the people.  In such circumstances, no judgement can be considered conclusive. Therefore, whatever judgement Supreme Court has given earlier with regard to powers of Election Commission need not be considered as sacrosanct, since judiciary itself has revised several of its verdicts in the past.

In such circumstances, any move of the Election Commission to bar persons from contesting, need not be considered as disobedience of the Supreme Court’s directives, particularly when such directives have been given by Apex Court in some other context at some other time in the past, when conditions were different.
As a constitutional body, Election Commission is entitled to take its decision based on its conscience and wisdom, particularly since it is the conscience keeper of the nation.

In the past, Election Commission has sent number of recommendations for electoral reforms to the government and almost all of them have been ignored. Election Commission should not be satisfied simply by sending recommendations and thinking that it has done its duty. This is more so because in the present conditions, where public concern and anger about corruption in national life is widespread, it should move beyond obligation and fulfil its larger duty and responsibility.

The fact that there is a silent majority among the people building in the country to bar those persons from contesting elections against whom corruption and criminal charges are admitted in the court, it should spur the Election Commission to act, all the more in its realization of its duties and responsibilities towards the Constitution and people of the country.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Asghar Ali Engineer - His life was Gentle; and the Elements…

Asghar Ali Engineer - His life was Gentle; and the Elements…

Well I will never forgive myself, if I don’t pen an obit on revered Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer who passed away on 14 May 2013 in Mumbai. He was a reformist-writer and activist and internationally known for his work on liberation theology in Islam. He led the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra movement. The focus of his work was on communal and ethnic violence in India. He was an advocate of a culture of peace, non-violence and communal harmony.

 I first met him at AMU Aligarh in early eighties where I was an undergraduate student of History there.He was lecturing at the Kennedy Hall and some friends told me about this event. My knowledge about Islamic history was zero and I just curiously went to hear him. He was quoting from the Islamic literature and his speech was so learned that it bounced over my head.  Nonetheless I am indebted to him as he opened the horizons of my knowledge.

I remember vividly how he described about his Bohra community’s politics. The diktat of the spiritual head of the Bohra community Mr. Syedna, how he was attacked inside the mosque when he resisted his fatwas. I owe all this knowledge to late Asghar Ali Engineer. That conversation continued much after the lecture.  This event happened more than 30 years ago, but the memories are still fresh.

After that I started reading him mainly his write-ups in Mainstream then edited by Nikhil Chakravartty, also in Seminar edited by Romesh Thapar. Those were the days I was preparing for Civil Services exam in JNU. I was as well researching on the theme The Demand for Partition of India. My thesis is now in a book.  -

It was also those turbulent years of the late eighties and early 90’s. Ayodhya - Babri Masjid controversy was boiling, all around riots were happening in the country. A sequel of communal politics was happening in India, with first the demolition of Babari Masjid, the Mumbai riots, and then Mumbai bomb blasts.  All this had put the secularist in a corner while the communalist held sway.

It was at this moment of time Asghar Ali Engineer was not only chronicling those events but also through his writing resisting the politics of hate and revenge that ruled the roost. He upheld the secular values at time when communalism was making an onslaught. This is his greatest contribution to Indian society.

I remained deeply engrossed reading his ideas on communalism and secularism as they were so profound. He is the first person in this country to highlight the menace of communal riots. He use to visit those places where the communal riots took place and his fact finding reports published in the media exposed the saffron biases against the Muslims.  

It’s only when his fact finding mission reports gained publicity the so called national media which early use to parrot the police version of the riots or cooked up its own stories, to blame the Muslims, were forced to take a balanced view of such events.

Asghar Ali Engineer was not simply an armed chaired theoretician but also a grassroots worker who actually saw the developments on the ground and made his observations and comments. This makes his position much above the ranks and files of the scholars who have made their own distinct contributions.

He served as head of the Institute of Islamic Studies and the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, both of which he founded in 1980 and 1993 respectively. He also made contributions to The God Contention, a website comparing and contrasting various worldviews.

Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer’s autobiography “A Living Faith: My Quest for Peace, Harmony and Social Change” was released by Vice President Hamid Ansari on 20 July 2011, in New Delhi.

My next encounter with him was in Chennai in 98-99, when I went to interview him as a reporter of a local daily. He was talking at the Anna University, after which I had an opportunity to interview him on the subject of communalism in this country.

My interview centered on the perils of communalism and his prognosis how to uphold the secular values in multi religious country like India. I found him to be convinced about the idea that secularism alone can be guiding principal of nation building.

He said communalists are like frogs that may come during rainy season and vanish. Secularists are those who can brave all weathers and stand like a rock to combat the divisive forces in the society. I must pay him my deep respect and sincere gratitude for imparting me a few piece of wisdom.

Even though he is no more among us, but his writings would continue to inspire millions of people in the country.  He was bacon of light serving the humanity with utmost conviction. All those who have read and heard Asghar Ali Engineer will never forget him and he will live in their hearts as long they are alive.

There can be no one like Asghar Ali Engineer but I am sure his words and action will be a source of aspiration to many in the country who may like to tread the path laid by him. I have no doubt in saying that he was of the finest human beings with whom I had the privilege to meet, interact and shake am hands. I really feel proud for having such an opportunity.  

I like to quote William Shakespeare and his famous lines in Julius Caesar as my concluding remarks in praise of late Asghar Ali Engineer – His life was gentle; and the elements so mixed in him, that Nature might stand up and say to the entire world, THIS WAS A MAN!

Syed Ali Mujtaba is journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mamta Kulkarni’s Life, Another Dirty Picture in Making

Mamta Kulkarni’s Life, Another Dirty Picture in Making 
Syed Ali Mujtaba

Bollywood diva of the 1990’s Mamta Kulkarni who was lost in this lonely planet for some time now has finally been discovered to be living in Nairobi, Kenya.

The heartthrob of millions of youth of her generation has converted to Islam and is living with her husband Yousuf alias Vicky Goswami, a drug lord, who after serving prison sentence in Dubai has moved to Nairobi.

It is said that Mamta had a big role in Vicky’s release as she married him while he was serving jail sentence in Dubai. The marriage took place according to the Islamic rituals and both groom and the bride, recited passages of Holy Scripture before being declared husband and wife.

Mamta’s journey in life seems to be a fairy tale that has all the juice and spice for a Bollywood pot-boiler. It just needs a screen play writer to produce another 'Dirty Picture'.

Mamta charmed her way to stardom in Bollywood in the 90’s and then cashing on her physical assets moved into the inner circles of the underworld, finally to settle with Vikram alias Vicky Goswami, a drug lord.

Vicky Goswami (now 52), was a drug baron in South Africa. He first landed there in 1994 after being deported from Zambia for suspected drug trafficking. He left South Africa in 1995 in a huff, after the murder of drug dealer Robert "Rocks" Dlamini.

Vicky moved to Mumbai from where he continued his business. He supplied drugs to filmy personalities and it is then JAB WE MET story of Mamta Kulkarni started.

Mamta showed great interest in Vicky’s business and it seems both were made for each other. It was around 2002, when Mumbai police was looking for Bollywood connection with the underworld that Mamta moved to Dubai along with Vicky Goswami.

In Dubai, Vicky linked up with senior government officials and set up two methaqualone (mandrax) manufacturing plants.  His business flourished but a joint sting operation in Mozambique and South Africa led to the unearthing of his drug manufacturing factories in Dubai. Vicky was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.

It is reported that when Vicky was in Jail, Mamta stepped into his shoes to control his business. Sources imprisoned with Vicky say that he was treated well in jail. He had access to cell phone and he controlled his business with that.

Mamta use to visit Vicky in jail regularly. She is believed to be instrumental in setting her lover free. Mamta was able to convince the authorities that Vicky has converted to Islam and like to marry her, who has also converted to Islamic faith.

A life sentence in Dubai is in effect 25 years, but prisoners can apply for early release on various grounds. Apart from good conduct, these include converting to Islam and learning to recite passages from the Holy Qu'ran.

Vicky in order to strengthen his clemency appeal, converted to Islam took the name Yusuf and prayed five times a day in order to prove that he has became a devout Muslim and recited passage from the Holy Scriptures daily. While being incarcerated, he got married to Aysha alias Mamta Kulkarni according to Islamic rites. These things speed up his early release and his life sentence was cut short by ten years.

Vicky was released from the Dubai central jail in November, 2012. He was deported to India but since he had no cases pending against him, he left for Kenya along with Mamta Kulkarni. The couple are believed to be living happily in Nairobi.

Mamta Kulkarni was at a point in time, one of the biggest actors in Bollywood. In the ‘90s, she had worked with some of the top stars, including the three Khans, as well as the likes of Govinda and Akshay Kumar who were at the peak of their careers.

Born in 1972 in an ordinary Maharashtrian family, Mamta joined Bollywood at the age of 20. She worked in Tiranga in 1992 with Raj Kumar and Nana Patekar, and carved a niche for herself in the industry.

She got the lead role the very next year in Aashiq Awara with Saif Ali Khan. Both Mamta and Saif won the Best debut film awards that year.  In 1993 Mamta paired with film star Govinda in the film Ashant.

Mamta worked in nearly a dozen films in a brief span on two years, and signed up films at random for the next three years.  Her film with Akshay Kumar in Sabse Bada Khiladi was a super hit. In 1994, she had another hit Krantiveer with Nana Patekar.

Rakesh Roshan's Karan Arjun was a super hit in 1995, in which Mamta appeared with Shah Rukh Khan. At one point of time, Mamta was working with all three great Khans in Bollywood, Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir. She did Baazi with Aamir Khan in 1995, which was a big hit.

It was the year 1997; Mamta become the love interest of director Raj Kumar Santoshi, who gave her an item number in the film Ghatak. Their relationship prospered and Santoshi signed her up for his next film China Gate. A quarrel between Santoshi and Mamta, led to her ouster from the film.

It is reported that Mamta complained this matter to underworld don Chhota Rajan, who intervened and Santoshi was forced to take her back. He however pruned her role badly, and gave the dazzling item number ‘Chamma Chamma’ to Urmila Matondkar. This led Mamta to level serious charges against Santoshi including those of sexual exploitation.

By the year 2000, Mamta was nearing a steep decline in her film career. Her film Qila with Umesh Mehra flopped, and Chhupa Rustam with director Madan Mohla too fared badly at the box office.

In 2002, Mamta did the role of a Devdasi in the film Khajuraho, a small B-grade flick, exposing her physical attributes, but that too got bombed.

In a desperate attempt to revive her career, she appeared shirtless on the cover page of the magazine Stardust, but that failed to create any ripples. The steep decline in her film career was evident.

Some say, Mamta’s mother was the reason behind her downfall, as she was greedy, and forced her daughter to sign films recklessly. Whatever may be the case, it was after that, Mamata changed tracks. She started doing shows for selected clients. This included parties thrown by the people from the underworld.

In 1997, she was reportedly paid a large amount to perform at a private function by a legislator from Bihar, who was later arrested after investigations into the Fodder Scam case.

As Mamta allegedly started keeping wrong company her personal life got in the way of her professional life. Her co-stars and producers began to avoid her, as she was found hobnobbing with the dreaded figures of underworld.

In those turbulent years, when Mumbai police was anxious to unravel the Bollywood-underworld connection, Vicky Goswami got struck in Mamta's charm. Mumbai police record shows that Mamta was in relationship with drug smuggler Vicky alias Vikram Goswami, a drugs supplier to those associated with the Hindi film industry.

Their relationship flourished and the lovers moved to Dubai to avoid controversies and crime. It was from 2002 onwards that Mamata Kulkarni totally disappeared from the Bollywood scene.

It is reported that Mamta owns three flats in her name at Sky Anchorage apartment in Andheri West, Mumbai.  All the three flats remains locked but Mamta sends maintenance charges for them regularly.

The latest buzz is that the 90’s beauty has got a plastic surgery done on her face in 2010 and has acquired a totally different look. She has obtained a passport from Dubai with a different looking photograph. Speculations are rife that Mamta is trying to erase her identity from her acquaintances in India and wants to live a life of complete anonymity in Nairobi.

The saga of Mamta Kulkarni is not yet over. The South African investigation agencies are still looking for Vicky Goswami for his illicit crimes committed in that country. It’s likely that there will be more news coming about Mamta Kulkarni in times to come.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at