The Man Behind the Madhuri Magic

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The Man Behind the Madhuri Magic

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

R

ikku Rakesh Nath chuckles softly when he sees the name of the caller flashing on his phone. He holds it up so that I could see for myself. “MD Fan Pakistan”, it reads. I can’t help but smile. He was just telling me about Madhuri Dixit’s obsessive fans from the ’90s. Even after all these years, they still try to reach her through him. They haven’t received the memo. The two had ended their long-running professional relationship in 2012.

If you ever scan filmi photographs from the ’90s that feature Madhuri Dixit, you can spot Rikku Rakesh Nath lurking in the shadow like a protective angel. And in many ways, that’s what the man, who managed Madhuri Dixit’s career, really was. At the peak of her career, admirers would show up with garlands outside her house and studios, hoping to marry Madhuri, and Nath was always the one called in to deal with them. If a shoot that was scheduled for 34 days got stretched to 200 days (like it happened with Beta), it was Nath’s job to fight the battle to accommodate the three other movies that Madhuri had committed to, while making sure that the actress’s image wasn’t tarnished. If Madhuri green-lit a project and then backed out, it was he who’d go back to the filmmaker and break the news.

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