Mumbai, Sept 2:
An investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Bollywood actress Mamta Kulkarni by India TV, has revealed several leads, which at the end, disappear to nowhere.
In a prime time programme Talaash telecast on India TV on Saturday evening, the channel’s reporters fanned out to different places of Mumbai, met old acquaintances, film producers and spoke to Narcotics Control Bureau officials and even the Indian Consulate General in Dubai, but the actress, who scorched the screens in the Nineties, was untraceable.
First, a flashback: Born in an ordinary family in 1972, Mamta joined Bollywood at the age of 20. She worked in Tiranga in 1992 with Raj Kumar and Nana Patekar, and carved a niche for herself in the industry.
She got the lead role the very next year in Aashiq Awara with Saif Ali Khan. Both Mamta and Saif won the Best debut film awards that year. Director Umesh Mehra described how he selected Mamta for the role.
In 1993 itself, Mamta worked in the film Ashant with film star Govinda. Mamta worked in nearly a dozen films in a brief span on two years, and signed up films at random for the next three years. Her fim with Akshay Kumar in Sabse Bada Khiladi was a super hit.
In 1994, she had another hit Krantiveer, produced by Salman’s brother-in-law Atul Agnihotri, and acted with Nana Patekar under Mehul Kumar’s direction.
Rakesh Roshan’s Karan Arjun was a super hit in 1995, in which Mamta appeared with Shah Rukh Khan.
At one point of time, Mamta was working with all three great Khans in Bollywood, Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir. She did Baazi with Aamir Khan in 1995, which was a hit.
Film producer Madan Mohla says, Mamta’s mother was the reason behind her downfall, as she was greedy, and forced her daughter to sign films recklessly.
Mamta then came in touch with director Raj Kumar Santoshi, who gave her an item number in the film Ghatak. The relationship prospered, and Santoshi signed her up for his next film China Gate, where Tinu Verma was the action director.
A quarrel between Santoshi and Mamta, led to the former forcing her out, but after a reported intervention by underworld don Chhota Rajan, Santoshi took her back, but pruned her role badly, and gave the dazzling item number to Urmila Matondkar.
Mamta then levelled serious charges against Santoshi alleging he had asked her to come to his bedroom. It was the year 1997.
Mamta was nearing a steep decline in her film career, and her co-stars and producers began to avoid her, as she was found hobnobbing with the dreaded underworld, with Mumbai police anxious to unravel the Bollywood-underworld nexus in those turbulent years.
Her film Qila with Umesh Mehra flopped, and Chhupa Rustam with director Madan Mohla too fared badly at the box office.