Kangana Ranaut's director Sai Kabir enters rehab after help falls to death from 7th floor

Updated: 08 February, 2018 11:03 IST | Mohar Basu and Hajra Bi | Mumbai

Friends of director Sai Kabir say he was depressed after his next film was put on the back-burner, but deny he could've flung his house help off his 7th floor flat

Sai Kabir is currently admitted at Masina Hospital in Byculla
Sai Kabir is currently admitted at Masina Hospital in Byculla

No one knows exactly what happened at Rajdoot Apartments, Yari Road, on January 31. But in the days since, there have been hushed whispers in Bollywood about how filmmaker Sai Kabir (Revolver Rani) was committed to rehab just hours after his domestic help mysteriously fell to his death from his seventh-storey apartment. One thing colleagues agree on is that while Sai is a talented writer and director, he was struggling with depression and substance abuse after one of his films didn't take off.

When mudslinging begins, stars make a run to keep their image pristine. But despite all the noise around Sai Kabir, a renowned celebrity manager, who was professionally well-acquainted with him, tells mid-day, "He took very good care of his servant. Raju had been working with him for many years, and Sai was protective of him. We met Raju when we went over to Sai's place for work. He was family to him, so it is highly unlikely Sai could kill him. But, you never know what happens behind closed doors."

The building watchman points to the spot where the domestic help, Raju
The building watchman points to the spot where the domestic help, Raju

However, the celebrity manager's recollections are from over a year ago. Several members of the film industry have confirmed that over the past couple of years, Sai had cut off from everyone and mostly kept to himself.

Also read: Mumbai: Domestic help of renowned builder commits suicide by jumping from 24th floor in Bandra

Failed movie
Some digging shows that Sai had been battling depression as well as a major alcohol and drug abuse problem for years. His condition spiralled when he couldn't find takers for his film, Divine Lovers. The project was a labour of love, and Sai had spent years developing the script, which was eventually picked up by producer Shailesh Singh in collaboration with French film commission, Film France. The script was ready, but lacked punch. Sai never got around to fixing the script, and eventually, the film was put on the back-burner.

A production hand in the know said, "That is by far one of the most fantastic scripts around. It is raw and beautiful, but the film failed to kick off for multiple reasons. Sai had put his all into the movie and, yet, for some reason, it was difficult to put faith in him. When you see someone undergoing such health problems, you also pull out of the project.

He added, "No one wants to risk their name by being attached to a movie that lacks finesse. He would sometimes walk in all enthusiastic about the film at jam sessions and then would disappear for months. We have seen him put on a lot of weight, lose a lot of weight abruptly. It was a big risk to invest in someone like him."

Fell to his death from the 7th floor flat. Pics/Satej Shinde
Fell to his death from the 7th floor flat. Pics/Satej Shinde

Social recluse
An actor who had worked with Sai in the past divulged, "He has a history of mental depression. Even his mother battled depression for many years. He would hardly ever speak about his family. But there was frequent mention of an ex-wife who lives in Paris. On his better days, he would tell us that he fancied the idea of running away to Paris and starting off there. The one person he really looked up to was Kundan Shah. He was a shagird (follower) of his and revered him. The last I remember, he was developing a script for a major production house."

Sai's talent notwithstanding, his conduct puzzled the film industry. A PR executive, who had known him socially, added, "The only thing I found fishy was the question of how he was managing his finances. He had been out of work for a long time. He was a social recluse. We would hardly spot him at parties. He had cut off from his friends too. But the house he lived in was gorgeous. I often asked people who knew him well, how does he maintain a house like that? His lifestyle would also depend on his mood. Sometimes he would show up unkempt, and other times he would be dressed in his best fare. Though over the last few years, we completely stopped seeing him around."



Sai was behaving strangely: Doctor
Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla at Masina Hospital confirmed that he is treating Sai Kabir for cannabis, nicotine and alcohol abuse. However, he refused to comment further. "I have to abide by the patient confidentiality clause; all I can say is that is under my care," he said. 
A psychiatrist attached to the hospital added, "Sai Kabir was under the care of Dr Matcheswalla a year ago for substance abuse. After initial treatment, he was referred to one of Dr Matcheswalla's students. Two weeks ago, a close aide of Sai had called Dr Matcheswalla, stating that Kabir was behaving strangely and that they intended to bring him for treatment." He added, "Soon after this, when Sai's servant died, the police took him to Cooper Hospital. That is when the police were informed about his treatment under Dr Matcheswalla."
Inputs by Vinod Kumar Menon

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First Published: 06 February, 2018 08:22 IST

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