A Rendezvous with Simi Garewal

Simi Garewal

I once went to interview Simi Garewal for a video film presentation on Subhash Ghai which I had been asked to make on the completion of 10 years of Ghai’s company Mukta Arts. Simi was gracious to a fault and went as far as to serve our crew delicious home-made cake and tea in fine bone china.

This was in complete contrast to many others, the primary example being composer Laxmikant, who made us wait in the watchman’s cabin, and when he finally summoned us, he was wearing a jacket and tie waist upwards, but only underpants below. His terse explanation was that we only needed a close up so there was no need for him to wear trousers. That’s Bollywood for you.

Back to Simi.

I was naturally delighted to encounter her again several years later at a dinner party. I waggled my fingers at her conspiratorially in a room full of virtual strangers, including Shobha De, and said airily: “Remember Subhash Ghai?” She looked at me coldly without batting a lid and said: “YOU’RE not Subhash Ghai!” I blushed beetroot red and beat a hasty retreat amongst the snide Sobo titters that inevitably broke out. But my humiliation for that fateful evening had not ended yet. To my horror she was still seated regally in vantage position when I was leaving. I tried to tip-toe out unobtrusively when I heard her voice saying loudly: “Bye, SUBHASH!!” Luckily I have not met her since.


This is one of my more interesting experiences while I was with HMV, the music company which now goes by the name Saregama.


Joy Bimal Roy is the son of Bimal Roy (legendary filmmaker) and Manobina Roy (one of India’s pioneer woman photographers). He started his filmmaking stint as an assistant director to Shyam Benegal, and years later, made a biographical documentary, ‘Remembering Bimal Roy,’ which received rave reviews at international film festivals. He has his own designer label, ‘Touch of Joy’, is presently writing the first of his books on the behind-the-scenes happenings of the Hindi film industry of yore, and designing clothes and interior spaces. He aspires to be a film costume and set designer.

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