New Delhi: "I hope you are not a very expensive heart surgeon, I may need your services some day!"
This was Rajesh Khanna`s prayer to cardiac surgeon Mukesh Hariawala when the superstar called on legendary composer R.D. Burman after the latter had been operated upon in a London hospital.
It was the fifth day after the now US-based Hariawala`s bypass surgery of Burman at London`s Princess Grace Hospital. Rajesh Khanna trooped in with "Aradhana" director Shakti Samanta.
The year was 1989, Hariawala recalled to reporters in an interview from Boston.
On seeing Pancham, as R.D. Burman was known, in hospital, Rajesh Khanna remarked: "I was looking for you in the recording studio, but they told me you are in a London hospital."
"Toh pehli flight lee, aur seedha yahan chala aya. (So I took the first flight and came here straight)."
Burman died in 1994, and Rajesh Khanna, aka Kaka, breathed his last July 18.
"I firmly believe that Rajesh Khanna and R.D. Burman were destined to be soul mates. The affectionate bonding between Pancham and Kaka was visibly touching," said Hariawala.
The two have together given evergreen hits. While Pancham composed melodies like "Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate", "O mere dil ke chain" and "Yeh shaam mastani", the actor added his spark on the silver screen.
Hariawala recalled how Rajesh Khanna wanted to take Burman out of the hospital to a nearby pub for a beer, but the doctor declined to give the permission.
"Rajesh Khanna was disappointed but in a gentlemanly manner apologised for suggesting to break hospital rules," the doctor said.
"As an alternative, he then spoke of plans to celebrate the success of the surgery," said Hariawala.
In the hospital, Burman boasted to Rajesh Khanna that Hariawala had observed that his (Burman`s) heart was physically larger than most people`s.
The superstar immediately responded with a smile: "Puri duniya jaanti hai ki Pancham bade dilwale hain. (The world knows that Pancham is a large-hearted man)."