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“Bhimsain Ji Was An Amazing Artiste,” Says Bhimsain’s Gharonda Heroine Zarina Wahab



Animation director, ad maker and feature filmmaker Bhimsain passed away ar the age of 81 . He was a pioneer in the field of animation fimmaking. His animation film Ek Anek Ekta is considered an iconic achievement.

It was in 1977 that Bhimsain made his first feature film Gharoanda about the housing problem in Mumbai and how one couple(Amol Palekar and Zarina Wahab) decides to solve the problem by getting the girl to marry into money.

Bold and well ahead of its times Gharoanda was a pathbreaker.

Recalling the experience of making the film its leading Zarina Wahab says, “Is Bhaimsain really gone? You know, it is so sad and shameful that once our film was complete I barely met him two times in his entire life. Today I miss him and I wish I had kept in touch. Bhimsain was a true artiste. His background was in animation films, so he could divide shots in his head and then put it down on paper frame by frame.We shot Gharoanda in 22-23 days. We had no idea it would turn out to be such a talked-about film.”
The beauty of shooting Gharoanda was that it was shot entirely on actual locations.

Recalls Zarina, “My co-star Amol Palekar and I had already done a hit film Chitchor together. That was directed by Basu Chatterjee. Gharaonda was an equally memorable experience. We shot the film in actual locations of Mumbai.We were never mobbed.Neither Amol nor I was that kind of a star.A lot of the shooting was done in Bhimsainji’s own house in Mahim. Then I remember there was a chawl where my character’s home was supposed to be.We shot in a chawl. We were on the streets constantly somehow trying to complete the film on the meager budget that we had.”

Zarina was paid a pittance for Gharaonda. But she brushes away the money factor. “A role and a film like Gharaonda comes once in a bluemoon. It was priceless. We all took a pay cut to ensure the film was made and released.”

While she was already comfortable with Amol Palekar she had never worked with theatre and film legend Dr Shreeram Lagoo. “He played my husband in the film. And it was such an honour to face the camera with a legend like him. Everything in Gharaonda just fell into place including Gulzar Saab’s lyrics and the late Jaidevji’s compositions.”

To sing Jaidev and Gulzar’s unforgettable songs in Gharaonda Runa Laila was imported from Bangladesh.

Recalls Zarina, “The songs like Tumhe ho na ho mujhko toh itna yakeen hai and Do diwane shaher mein were such a craze! I feel honoured to be associated with such a film and such songs.Bhimsain ji offered me a role in his second feature film Dooriyaan in 1979 which had Utttam Kumarji and Sharmila Tagoreji in the lead. But I was committed elsewhere and couldn’t find the time to do it. But I will always remember Gharaonda with much fondness. Bhimsainji turned it into a magical experience.”

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