Chintu has been my friend, co-star, director and neighbour. I really have no words to express my sorrow and how I feel exactly. It is a great loss to the film industry. Nobody can be like him.
I have worked with him not only as a co-star but he has also directed me. I worked in his directorial "Aa Ab Laut Chalen". He was very caring on the sets as director and producer. Being an actor, he understand the difficulties that actors have to go through.
I was also his neighbour. The last time we met was when my daughter Payal passed away. He had even attended Payal's wedding. We had invited only select people from the industry because my daughter wanted it to be a private affair. But all my neighbours including Chintu came.
When he was in the US for treatment, we used to chat over phone. I even spoke to Neetu. Every year they used to invite us for Ganpati puja.
The news of his death is extremely shocking. First Irrfan and now Chintu. Both of them were not only great actors but also very good human beings. Yesterday and today are very bad days. On both days, I opened my eyes in the morning and heard such shocking news. I also feel very bad for Irrfan and his wife Sutapa because I know them personally.
Today I am thinking about Neetu, Ranbir and the entire family. The Kapoors are full of love and affection.
I will always remember Chintu as a foodie. He used to love good food and drinks. I remember one day he came to the sets of "Aa Ab Laut Chalen" at 5 in the evening. I asked him if he would like to have tea or coffee. He asked me if I hadn't made fish curry today? I said of course I did. He replied he first wanted fish curry and rice and then he would think about tea and coffee! I had to get fish curry and rice from home and he enjoyed it so much! Such was Chintu, always a true admirer of good food!
I have been telling Rishi since the morning that now that he is up there he should meet Payal. My daughter left us a few months ago. After that shock as a mother, very few things affect me anymore. That is a pain I cannot express in words.
As a person, Chintu was very outspoken and he awalys told me I was like him.
He used to tease me, calling me "moti" (obese) when I was pregnant with my daughter. But he used to take care of me during our outdoor shooting, I can never forget all that. He was a buddy. We would often get into fights and make up soon after! During our fights, Neetu would support me. Today, all such memories are flashing in my mind.
I am shattered to learn that he is no more. Even though I knew he was not keeping, he was a very positive person, so I strongly believed that he would fight back.
When I worked in the movie "Piku" after a long time a few years ago, he took to the public platform to encourage me and wrote Moushumi is such a good artiste! That was Rishi, a true friend.
I remember when Vinod Khanna died, Rishi was very upset because not a lot of industry people turned up to attend his last rites. He had an outburst saying people lack gratitude. But look at the irony that Rishi passed away at such a time that even if people want to go, they cannot due to this lockdown.
Today all I am left with are memories which are flooding on my mind. I have so many memories of Rishi that I can keep talking about him for hours and yet it would remain incomplete! May you rest in peace my dear friend.
(As told to Ahana Bhattacharya)
( With inputs from IANS )