By: Vikram Shah
The Bombay Reporter
May in Bombay is a hot, but not brooding month. Brooding would imply a sense of lurking, of watching from the shadows. May in Bombay stings you straight in the nape. Sweat trickles like little geckos down the small of your back, leaving a ring of moisture around the waistband of your trousers. How do I remember that it was in May that I was first put on the Kaleja Khooni case by Rustom Kharabjee, editor of The Bombay Reporter? Well, it’s because I remember there were geckos running down my back when I got off the bus at Fountain, and walked to our dingy offices on the third and fourth floors of Ghazal Chambers. The Bombay Reporter was a smallish publication, but there was one group of Bombay men whose days would not begin without scanning its grisly pages: the film producers. This was the seventies, a time when Russy Bhai’s desi version of gonzo journalism with the Blitz had lost its allure. Rustom’s particular interest lay in sensational crimes. His other particular interest was in blurring the line between fact and fiction. That explains why his pages were a favourite with the men who made movies. The seed for not a few blockbusters was sowed when a producer would peruse the headlines with his morning tea, wicker-chair seated, in a Juhu bungalow.