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Writer-painter Dinesh Rai passes away after prolonged illness in Bhopal

10:41 PM Sep 13, 2021 | Staff Reporter

BHOPAL: Dinesh Rai, an author, a painter and a playwright passed away at his residence here on Monday morning . He was 81. Rai, who was ailing for the past many years, leaves behind wife and two daughters.

A man of many talents, Rai had also penned screenplays for a few films, including ‘Wafa’ and ‘Kalka’. He had also written the scripts for many TV shows and radio plays. Rai, who was a lawyer by profession, was a close friend of poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar and film actor Rajeev Verma.

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In fact, Rajeev Verma, claimed, Rai was a ghostwriter for Javed Akhtar. Verma said that Rai was an excellent painter and writer. “He was like my elder brother,” he said, adding that Shyam Munshi, Rai and him were like a family.

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Rai had authored the dramatic adaptation of Munshi Premchand’s celebrated novel ‘Godan’, which was staged at the Ravindra Bhawan about 40 years back. “I acted in the play as well as was on its production team,” Verma said.

It was the first play to be staged in the open in the city on a grand scale, said Urdu playwright Rafi Shabbir.

Mumbai-based writer and film director Rumi Jafferi said that he had first met Rai in 1986 in Mumbai. “At that time, he was shifting base to Bhopal and he had handed over his rented accommodation, along with the furniture and fixtures, to me,” he said.

An exhibition of his paintings was held at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai. “Javed Akhtar and I went to see the exhibition. We wanted to buy one of his paintings but he instead asked us to purchase the works of young painters from MP. ‘Mine I will give to you’, he told us,” Jafri said.

According to Jafferi, Rai’s demise is a big loss to Bhopal. “He was a very talented person. But he was not ambitious,” he said. Jafferi said that when Javed Akhtar visited Rai’s residence in Bhopal, he was surprised to see that three rooms in the house were overflowing with books.

Artist Hamidullah Khan ‘Mamu’ said that Rai was like an affectionate and loving head of family for him. Mamu said that Rai took great interest in the annual Iftekhar Natya Samaroh and offered valuable advice and guidance. “The city has lost three fine individuals in the recent past - Shyam Munshi, Manzoor Ahtesham and now Dinesh Rai,” Mamu said.

Theatre actor and director Dinesh Nair said that Rai was an idealist. “He quit the legal profession as he did not want to defend people who had done something wrong,” Nair said. Rai was in love with his ancestral house and was getting it rebuilt. He had shifted to a rented accommodation in the meantime but passed away before his house could be ready .

“Rai came from an illustrious family of freedom fighters,” journalist LS Herdenia said while paying his tributes to the writer.

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