Hope you’re not expensive: Kaka to surgeon

‘I hope you are not a very expensive heart surgeon, I may need your services some day.’

This was Rajesh Khanna’s prayer to cardiologist Mukesh Hariawala when the superstar called on legendary composer RD Burman after the latter had been operated upon in a London hospital.

The year was 1989, Hariawala recalled in an interview from Boston.

On seeing Pancham in hospital, Rajesh Khanna remarked: ‘I was looking for you in the recording studio, but they told me you are in a London hospital. Toh pehli flight lee, aur seedha yahan chala aya. [So I took the first flight and came here straight].’

Burman died in 1994, and Rajesh Khanna,
aka Kaka
, breathed his last on 18 July.

‘I firmly believe that Rajesh Khanna and RD Burman were destined to be soulmates. The affectionate bonding between Pancham and Kaka was visibly touching,’ said Hariawala.

The two have together given evergreen hits. While Pancham composed melodies like Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate, O mere dil ke chain and Yeh shaam mastani, the actor added his spark on the silver screen.

Hariawala recalled how Rajesh Khanna wanted to take Burman out of the hospital to a nearby pub for a beer, but the doctor declined to give the permission.

‘Rajesh Khanna was disappointed but in a gentlemanly manner apologised for suggesting to break hospital rules,’ the doctor said.

‘In the hospital, Burman boasted to Rajesh Khanna that Hariawala had observed that [Burman’s] heart was physically larger than most people’s.

The superstar immediately responded with a smile: ‘Puri duniya jaanti hai ki Pancham bade dilwale hain.’
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