There was a pall of gloom and a feeling of dread in Bollywood when news of the 92-year-old veteran actor Pran's hospitalisation filtered in.
But we can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now. According to actor Raza Murad who visited Pran saab on Monday afternoon, the ailing actor is well on the way to recovery and should be discharged from hospital very soon.
Says Raza Murad: "I met him at the hospital. I also met his daughter Mrs Pinky Bhalla. She is looking after him so well. He is on the 9th floor and being well looked-after. They are all hopeful of taking Pran saab home in a day or two. It was nothing but a minor respiratory problem brought on by the smoke during Diwali."
Pran Saab had a fairly lengthy conversation with Raza Murad.
Says Raza Murad: "I told Pran saab he was my guru. I learnt acting and how to throw my voice during dialogue delivery from him. He asked me why I didn't meet him at Bachchan saab's birthday bash. I told I wasn't there. Before I left him smiling, I made Pran saab promise we'd all have a grand 93rd birthday party for him in February."
What saddened Raza Murad was the blatant absence of other visitors to inquire about Pran Saab's health.
"There was not a single person from the film industry to see him. When A K Hangal saab had passed away there was no one from the industry at the funeral, why? When Yash Chopraji was ailing there was a veritable stampede of celebrities competing to be seen visiting him."
"We need to respect and value our veterans while they are alive. Let's not measure their importance in the present times. Let's keep in mind their contribution to our cinema in totality before ignoring them during their illness," says Raza Murad.