What could have been a short-term, project-based acquaintance with Vikram Gokhale, turned into a ‘family friend’ scenario. Once he met my parents, he was a regular for his evening cup of chai whenever he was in the vicinity. He was ‘Vikram Kaka’… and remained so.
Though I had lost touch with him since almost a decade, I always knew that he would be there rock and solid if I ever reached out to him in crisis.
Vikram Kaka was juggling between successful stints in Bollywood and Marathi theatre when he became a family friend. But when he was home, he was just a warm human being with strong values.
He was a star of the Marathi theatre and one of the sought-after character artists in Bollywood thanks to his calibre, looks and voice. He was fully aware of his assets – eyes, voice, and ability to emote at the drop of the hat! He used all of it even while narrating an incident at the dining table. His eyes – deep grey – were typical Konkansth Brahmin eyes, which bore into you when he looked at you intently. He used his eyes optimally even in his personal life, making it difficult to look at him and hide any mischief that one had been up to.
I still remember the advice he gave me after my mother died, just a few years after dad’s death – “Life can be mean, but you shouldn’t be. Use the cards dealt to create a new game that you can win… don’t ever let anyone set the rules for you… make them!”
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