A day the ‘Guide’ of Bhopal did not live to see, for he probably would not have endured the tragic loss of his icon Dev Anand’s demise.
Born Rajesh Udhwani, he was popularly known as Rajesh “Guide” after the evergreen actor. The fan in him was born during his teenage years while at Udaipur, he happened to witness the shooting for the film Guide.
His sons, Sanjay Udhwani ‘Guide’ and Ravi ‘Anand’ Udhwani were also named after the icon himself. Recount the brothers, “Our father had always been fascinated with Dev Sahab. Just like people adopt titles, he adopted the title of Guide.”
At Guide’s shooting at Udaipur, being the gutsy lad that he was, he walked right up to the actor and told him what a huge admirer he was. Dev Sahab was impressed with young man’s courage and told him to take up regional journalism as a career.
Guide’s initial career started with Nai Duniya, Indore. After a few years he started a weekly Sindhi paper, ‘Dainik Farz’ thus fulfilling the promise of furthering journalism in his mother tongue.
Rajesh ‘Guide’ never forgot his hero. Whenever in Mumbai, he would call on Dev Anand. It was during these visits that Dev Anand christened him ‘Raju’ and he became ‘Raju Guide.’
Sanjay recalls, “It was customary for father to visit Dev Sahab on September 26, his birthday. Incidentally it was my birthday too. I remember my father would call me from there and Dev Sahab would wish me as well.” Ravi adds, “I would accompany father on these visits to Mumbai on Dev Sahab’s birthday. A special cake would be pre-ordered for the occasion.”
On the release of Dev Anand’s film Censor in 2001, Guide, reminisce the sons, had booked the entire opening show of Jyoti Talkies. He also arrived with them at the hall, with a marching band in tow. “It was some spectacle,” they smiled.
Even Dev Anand acknowledged his hero worship and it was Guide’s great desire to invite the star to the City of Lakes. His wish came true when Dev Sahab arrived at a function at Lal Parade Ground on February 23, 1997 at Guide’s behest.
Rajesh Udhwani ‘Guide’ may have passed away seven years before his hero’s demise but his sons have made sure that his legacy lives on.