Bollywood actor of the 70-80's Vijay Arora, passed away on February 2nd at age 62. Vijay, an FTII Gold Medallist was more a case of "what if?" as opposed to "what became?"
His punjabi good looks coupled withe the FTII power packed training (the same group which gave us folks like Subhash Ghai, Jaya Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Danny, Rajat,etc) made the media proclaim him as the "next big thing," on his arrival to Bombay.
The years and months thereafter were more a downslide slope. Perhaps it was a case of Bollywood not being ready for him, but he slowly dissapered into oblivion and although he did 50 films in total, never quite rose to the heights one had expected of him and what the media had made out of him.
Then came television and like many folks whom Bollywood ignored, it was the idiot box that gave a second chance. The mega serial Ramayana had Vijay playing the role of Meghnath, the son of Ravana. Although mythologically the bad guy, Indian audiences loved his valor and conviction to the cause of his father and he left the serial as one of the more remembered characters in it. More television work followed therafter.
The FTII training did not go waste and Vijay reemerged in films, this time as a Cinematorgrapher. He did some quality films like Dus, Hathiyar, Astitva, Tum Bin, Vastav, etc and along the way also set up a software house doing ad films for corporates.
In true Bollywood style when someone /something is down, people take pot shots to make the situation even worse. It (thankfully) never seemed to get to Vijay, who would always be sporting that popular slided smile, whenever spotted in parties, etc.
Vijay, actually was one of the reasons why I started SAAFA. I never met him directly, but growing up in Bombay and visiting the filmi parties in Hotel Sun n Sand and running into him, I would think to myself that if I had my way with a film or an organization, it would be the underdog, the one that the world had forgotten, yet the talented one, that I would support. This was reinforced when I would run into him, when he was courting his wife and he would visit our building in Bombay and we, then as kids, would discuss and wonder where he had gone wrong as far as superstardom is concerned.
May his soul rest in peace
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