Raj Kiran: Languishing In An Asylum

Raj Kiran: Languishing In An Asylum
Pics: Raj Kiran found after a decade

It all began with a heartfelt message on Facebook, searching for a long lost friend.

Actress Deepti Naval posted on her FB wall, over a month ago, "Looking for a friend from the film world his name is Raj Kiran - we have no news of him - last heard he was driving a cab in NY city if anyone has any clue, please tell . . ."

Naval and Raj Kiran starred in the 1984 film Hip Hip Hurray and over two decades later, there was not a trace of the star. Many of friends and colleagues had presumed he was dead.

Rishi Kapoor took it upon himself to find out. Raj Kiran had essayed Rishi Kapoor's pre-incarnation in 80s blockbuster Karz. During a recent trip to the US, he looked up Raj's elder brother Govind Mehtani to get more information - and that is when the truth was established.

The actor, who brought smiles to many a face as he sung Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho for Shabana Azmi, has been living in a psychiatric institution in Atlanta for the past few years.

According to reports, his wife and son abandoned him over a decade ago due to Raj's erratic mood swings. The shock of this loss wore him down into an acute state of depression and he was institutionalised in India, before moving to the US.

The only silver lining - Raj Kiran had invested well and could afford to sustain his own treatment.

Even his brothers - Govind and Ajit - had deserted him in his time of need. They didn't even have a contact number to pass on to Rishi Kapoor.

Rishi Kapoor wants to bring back the veteran actor to his home in Mumbai, where he belongs. He wants Raj Kiran to re-establish himselfin Bollywood and get him back on his feet again.

Well-known film maker Mahesh Bhatt, who directed him in the critically-acclaimed movie Arth remembers Raj Kiran as a great friend.

According to him, the signs of a troubled psyche were evident right from the beginning.

"He was a heavy drinker and paranoid. Every time we drank he would keep on looking at his whiskey glass to see whether the glass pieces from his soda bottle which had got uncorked had somehow slipped into this glass which he was drinking from. Little did we know that this was an indication of what was in store,'' he recalled.

Today when he is found alive in a mental asylum, the industry feels the need to support him by all possible means.

  "Anything that can be done to help him out would be great. I think everyone from the film industry should join hands to help him out," says superstar Shah Rukh Khan.