Gulbahar Sigh talks about Vinod Khanna's film which releases on April 21
Upala KBR (DNA; April 10, 2017)

The last film Vinod Khanna shot for, before falling ill, is called Ek Thi Rani Aisi Bhi, directed by Gulbahar Singh. Based on the book Rajpath Se Lokpath Par, it charts the life and times of Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia of Gwalior. He plays the Rajmata’s husband Maharaja Jivajirao. The film, presented by Zee Classic, premieres in Delhi on April 21. But the actor won’t attend the event, as he is recovering in a Mumbai hospital. The director recalls, “The last time we spoke was in December last year, when I called him to give the news that the film had got a censor certificate. He was keen on promoting the film and attend the Delhi premiere. When I heard that he was hospitalised last week, I sent him flowers.”

Gulbahar recalls shooting with the actor last year. “At the time, he looked unwell and his voice had changed so much that it became a matter of concern for me. Unki tabiyat theek nahi thi, tabhi bhi. I had heard that it was a kidney problem. I read some Facebook posts saying he is suffering from cancer, but it is wrong to speculate.”

Gulbahar claims he was in touch with Vinod as late as December 2016. The actor dubbed for the film during Diwali last year. “He was very unwell at the time and couldn’t speak properly. His voice was not up to the mark. We were to dub first at Sunny Super Sound, but could not complete the dubbing because of his illness, so we completed it at his residence, Aradhana.”

Adds the director, “He was happy that we completed the film. There were a few scenes with Hemaji and him and Sachin Khedekar which we could not shoot for as he was unwell.”