Dev Anand Even 30 years after separation, Neelima, once wife of yesteryears actor Navin Nischol, still uses her ex-husbands surname, displayed on the nameplate of her Joie-De-Vivre apartment in Nibana Society, Pali Hill, Bandra.
Neelu (the nickname that Navin allegedly gave her) has taken solace in Jesus after her divorce and has single-handedly raised her two daughters, gaining strength from her devotion. It is unlikely that she will be affected by the current situation, says Shilu Chhetry, her neighbour and wife of the building secretary.
Its relatively unknown that Neelima is film maker Shekhar Kapurs sister and actor/director Dev Anands niece.
While Kapur is now in London and could not be contacted, uncle Anand spoke to Sunday MiD DAY from Aamby Valley where he is currently working on his script about Navin Nischol. The news of Gitanjalis death came as a shock to Anand.
Navin Nischol leaving the court on Saturday I do not know what problems they had, but surely knew that Navin could never have a smooth married life.
The first time I saw Navin in the 60s, he was a handsome, but struggling young man who wanted to step into the film world. My niece Neelima fell for him and soon both got married, says the evergreen hero.
Later Navin asked his mother-in-law, Anands sister, to fix up meetings for him with the director, as Navin wanted to use his influence in the industry to make a career in films. However, before Dev Anand could help him, he bagged the lead role in Mohan Saigals hit Sawan Bhadon in 1970.
But his marriage with Neelima did not last long. Navin divorced Neelima some time in 1976, not before leaving her with two daughters, Natasha and Nomita.
Neelima is a brave woman. She carried on with life and today both her kids are well settled, says Anand. While one of the kids is an airhostess with Cathay Pacific in America, the other assists her uncle Shekhar Kapur.
Even I do not know why they got divorced, but both carried on with life. Navin moved on to marry another time, says Anand.
Sunday MiD DAY made repeated attempts to contact Neelima personally and over the phone, but was told by her maid that she was out.
Keeps to herself
Neighbour Chhetry added that a soft-spoken Neelima, who occupies the ninth floor flat, hardly interacted with the other society members.
Actor Prem Chopra, who occupies a terrace flat in the same building, said that it was rather sad that Neelima hails from a very respectable family and has had to face such circumstances in life even after being separated from Navin.
Now shes leading an independent life and residing alone to the best of my knowledge. Shes often seen on Sunday mornings when she steps out to attend the mass. Beyond that, our interaction does not exceed pleasantries, he said.
Navin is a forgotten story
Neelima Nischols flat at Joie-De-Vivre in Bandra TV actor Anil Dhawan has lived in the same building for over three decades and knows Navin since he was a senior to Dhawan at the Film and Television Institute (FTII) at Pune and before he got married to Neelima.
Navin is a forgotten story. I am not interested in discussing the past, Neelima told close family friend Dhawan in the past when he had tried for a patch-up between the two.
Neelima, who separated from Navin in 1976, is a strong and courageous woman who single- handedly brought up her daughters Natasha and Nomita.
Both the girls still hate their father for leaving their mother in a lurch, says Dhawan. Neelima had a strong financial background and was supported by Kapur and Dev Anands family.
Neelu is a lovely person and a close family friend. She often confided with me about her problems.
She has chosen to maintain her silence after the incident which involves a person who is no longer a part of her life, so why speak about it? says Dhawan, adding, I would love to visit Navin and hope he handles entire situation bravely. I have high regards for him as he is a down-to-earth person.
Dhawan, who has lived in the society since 1972, recalls that the couple was happiest during those days and enjoyed socialising.
He recalls there were only three popular hotels, the Taj, Natraj and Sun-n-Sand, in those days. Instead of frequenting those hotels, Chopra, Dhawan, actors Vinod Mehra and Rekha (who also lived in the building then) met at Navins flat for drinks and potluck dinners.
In 1976, the Nischols developed a serious rift in their marriage. Their reasons were kept private but friends believe it could have been due to Navins slipping career.
We tried to intervene and stop the break-up, but failed as they had decided to separate, says Dhawan, adding that Navin had made attempts to patch up, but Neelima was against it.
After that, Navin never visited the society. Dhawan used to bump into Navin at Otters Club. Initially he enquired about his daughters, but gradually stopped. Over a decade ago, Neelima became more spiritual and turned towards Christianity.
Navin and Praveen Nischol remanded to police custody until May 6 I dont know what problems they had, but knew that Navin could never have a smooth marriage.
Mumbai: Actor Navin Nischol and his brother Praveen were remanded to police custody yesterday, until May 6 by a local court in connection with the suicide case of Navins wife.
The duo was arrested on Friday night on charges of abetting suicide of Geetanjali. The two were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate L M Gajbhiye.
But defence lawyers refuted the charge that Navin and his brother drove Geetanjali to suicide.
Navins lawyer Satish Maneshinde claimed that Geetanjali suffered from depression and she had received treatment for it. He alleged that she herself had a drinking habit.
While suggesting that Geetanjali might have been suffering from a bout of depression when she committed suicide, Maneshinde admitted that the couples marriage had completely broken down.
They were at the point of no return, he said, adding that therefore Navin had decided to obtain divorce through mutual consent.
Maneshinde attributed the age-difference between the couple Navin is 62 while Geetanjali was 45 for their strained relationship.
He also stated that for quite some time now, Navin was living apart from his wife. Navin had purchased a flat in Pune and in the last couple of years, spent most of his time there, barring occasional visits to his wife in Mumbai, the lawyer added. (PTI)
Dev Anand Both of Neelimas daughters still hate their father for leaving their mother in a lurch.
Anil Dhawan She leads an independent life. Shes seen on Sunday mornings when she steps out to attend the mass.
Prem Chopra She has taken solace in Jesus. It is unlikely that she will be affected by this.