The shock of Satish Kaushik’s death has not yet sunk in. The anxiety that all who loved this remarkable actor and director have been experiencing in the last couple of days, is to be felt to be believed. We have lost a gem.
But why is destiny often so cruel? This question has been hitting us all the more after we spoke to Kaushik’s Manager Santosh Rai, who was with him on that fateful night in Delhi, from the moment he started gasping for breath till the very end, when he breathed his last. Well, what is revealed is that Kaushik did not experience any acidity, as has been reported. He did not experience any discomfort either soon after dinner.
Here is the full conversation that we had with Santosh Rai. Read on…
You were with Satish ji that night in Delhi on March 8…
Yes, I was.
What exactly happened?
He finished his dinner at about 8:30 pm. We were supposed to return to Mumbai by the 8:50 am flight on March 9. He said, ‘Santosh, let’s sleep soon; we have a morning flight to catch.” I said, “Theek hai, sir ji.” I went to sleep in the adjoining room.
At 11 pm, he phoned me. He said, “Santosh, come over, I need you to fix my Wifi password as I want to see ‘Kaagaz 2’ (Kaushik’s directorial whose shooting is complete) for editing purposes. He started watching the movie at 11:30 pm and I went back to my room.”
At 12:05 am he started calling out my name very loudly. I came running and asked him, “What happened, sir? Kyun chilla rahe ho? Why didn’t you call me on phone instead?” He told me, “Listen, I am having difficulty in breathing. Please take me to a doctor.”
Immediately, he and I went towards the car and he sat down.
Was it just the two of you?
No, his driver and bodyguard were also with us. He always had an arrangement whereby a driver would be available 24 hours.
How many years have you been with Satish ji?
What happened in the car?
As we started and went a little ahead, his chest pain increased and he said, “Jaldi chalo hospital.”
Then, he put his head on my shoulder and said, “Santosh, main marna nahin chahta, mujhe bacha lo.” We reached the hospital (Fortis Hospital) in eight minutes as the road was empty maybe because of Holi, but by the time we entered the premises, he was unconscious.
He also told me a few more things in the car.
He held me and said, “Mujhe Vanshika ke liye jeena hai. Mujhe lagta hai main nahi bachunga. Shashi aur Vanshika ka khayyal rakhna”.
Did you feel in the car at any point that he is no more?
No, I didn’t. But yes, he had stopped responding. I tried to shake him after that — but he did not stir. I didn’t feel that he’s gone because many times in the car in my tenure with him, he would put his head on my shoulder and fall asleep.
What happened in the hospital?
A big team of doctors was pressed into service. But they came out after some time and told us that Satish ji was not responding.
Whom did you call?
It was 12:36 am by then. I called up Satish ji’s sister’s children; they stay in Delhi. They reached the hospital by 1 am.
And when did you call Satishji’s wife?
I called her at 12:40 am.
What did you tell her?
I told her that he is in a serious condition. She said, “Please don’t say such things”.
After that I called Satishji’s brothers’ kids in Mumbai and told them everything. Their families reached Satish ji’s residence by 2:30 am. Apparently, they informed Satish ji’s wife.
Also, I called Anupam Kher ji. Satish ji used to tell me if anything happens or anything is required for him, I should first call Anupam ji and Anil Kapoor ji. My call to Anupam ji went unanswered. Obviously he must have been fast asleep. So, I informed his work-person and told him to inform Anupam ji anyhow. And, Anupam ji soon called back.
Anupam ji and Boney Kapoor ji rushed to Satish ji’s residence and they were there in just few minutes. They stayed on till the next day. Both Anupam and Boney were very, very close to Satish ji.
Did you speak to Satish ji’s wife after that on the phone?
About 15-20 times. She had many questions and was extremely confused and shattered.
Did Satish ji have any heart ailment?
No. He had asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes. His asthma was not acute, though.
I must tell you here that Satish ji wanted to see Vanshika grow up and he wanted to see her marriage. The father and daughter were extremely close to each other. Vanshika wept a lot when his mortal remains were brought to Mumbai. Now, she has gone silent and is not saying a word. Satish ji’s wife is weeping continuously. There are many friends and relatives at their house trying to calm her but she cannot stop crying.
Why had Satish ji gone to Delhi?
He wanted to celebrate Holi with his Delhi friends. He had been travelling a lot since the past 15 days — Guwahati, Jodhpur, Delhi. This led to him being unable to hit the gym and even unable to get adequate sleep.
This is the second ghastly tragedy in their family. Satish ji and Shashi ji lost their son Shanoo when he was just 5 or 6 years old. Vanshika wasn’t born then.
What had happened to Shanoo?
He drank water a bit quickly I guess and it went into his windpipe. He choked. Shanoo ke baahut saal baad, Vanshika paida hui; she used to video-call her father Satish ji every hour. And now this… Dekho kya se kya ho gaya.