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Remembering the stylish Navin Nischol

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Navin Nischol’s death anniversary falls on March 19. Rajesh V. Gaur and Suneel V. Gaur chronicle the charming actor's life and times, who was the first gold medal winning actor from the Film and Television Institute of India

In Parwana (1971) Navin Nischol played the hero and Amitabh Bachchan, the second lead. The irony. Years later Navin Nischol played the second lead in Desh Premi (1982) where Bachchan, a superstar by now, was already playing a double role.

Unlike Bachchan, Navin had begun his career as a leading man. He was meant to spell box-office gold. He had conventional good looks. He was the first gold medal winning actor from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). His debut in 'Sawan Bhadon' (1970) was a roaring success.

Post 'Sawan Bhadon', Navin never really peaked though there were a few memorable hits. 'Victoria No 203' (1972), for instance. And 'Dharma' (1973), And if 'Hanste Zakhm' (1973) had featured maybe a Hema Malini or even a Rekha, and not the unfortunately taciturn Priya Rajvansh, it would have been a hit too considering it had a great musical score, a radical love story where Navin played a committed suitor with believable anger, jealousy and pain.

In Parwana, he was the playful, charismatic boyfriend setting off Bachchan’s introverted obsession for a childhood love. At no point did you feel that Navin was a lesser actor or any less handsome and charismatic than Amitabh. Navin was a natural, no-fuss performer. A laid back, sophisticated charmer. Someone who rescued the heroine from prostitution ('Hanste Zakhm') or an abusive husband ('Dhund') or whisked her away from a life of poverty and struggle ('Victoria No 203').

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