In this film, a Muslim girl and a Hindu boy fall in love and marry against all parental opposition and attempt to live happily ever after. They have two sons, whom they name Kabir Narayan and Kamal Basheer, a combination of Hindu and Muslim names.
Recently I was on a visit to a small town in Tamil Nadu to see my aunt. She related a story to me about one of her neighbours which has a striking resemblance to the film Bombay. This love story happened 70 odd years ago, long before the director of the movie was even born.
The heroine of my aunt’s story is 93 years old now.
In the late 1940s when medical student Shireen met Dorairaj, (names changed) it was not love at first sight. She was a petite Muslim girl, fair-skinned and having Urdu as her mother tongue.
Dorairaj was a strapping youth, tall and dark-complexioned. And he belonged to a very Tamil close knit Hindu family.
But love happened along the way. According to my aunt, Dorairaj helped Shireen’s father financially when he was going through a bad phase in his business. He also helped Shireen complete her medical course.
When the two fool hardy lovers married, their families disowned them.
Seventy years ago, it was no mean feat to walk out on your families and start life afresh. But this couple did.
They had two sons who they named, Devan and Dawood (names changed) A Hindu name and a Muslim one, just like in the film.
The movie Bombay ends when the sons are young. What did they grow up to be?
But we know what happened to boys in my aunt’s story.
Devan became a doctor like his mother and married a Hindu girl, also a doctor. Dawood took over his father’s business and married a Muslim girl of his mother’s choosing.
And they all lived together happily and in harmony for many years.
Gulla Gulla Halla Gulla!!*
It was only a few years ago that Dorairaj died. Dr.Shireen, now 93 years old, lives in quiet retirement. I wonder what thoughts run through her mind as she dwells on her life.
Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction and the story of Dr.Shireen’s life reads like a movie script!
Story By : SF. Written By Gulsum Basheer@talkalittledo
*Gulla Gulla Halla Gulla is a song from the film, Bombay. It has no specific meaning. It is just a bunch of exclamations expressing joy.
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