When two Pune constables were intrigued to see him — a mere tramp, in their eyes — reading a torn English newspaper under the Wakad-Hinjewadi bridge. When they drew closer, they were surprised to see Sangeet Date’s blue eyes and fair skin, and assumed he was a foreigner. “We thought he was a foreigner, but he was fluent in Marathi. He never told us that he is the son of a legend,” said constables Vishnu Nagare and Sachin Khopkar from the Hinjewadi traffic unit.
The police found an unusual looking tramp under a bridge in Wakad, only to discover that he is Sangeet Date, the 48-year-old son of veteran Marathi singer Arun Date. But neither his family nor his ex-wife wanted anything to do with him when the cops called them.
Arun Date. saregama
The cruel times:
Recounting his descent from riches to rags, Sangeet said, “A month ago, I came to Pune to start a hotel after selling one of my houses in Bandra. In order to understand the market prices, I was on my way to the Juna Bazaar area when I suddenly fainted. Someone took advantage of the situation and stole my mobile phone, wallet and my bag, which had my clothes, cash and documents. After an auto rickshaw driver called the emergency services, I was taken to Sassoon General hospital, where I was treated for 20 days.”
He went on, “After that, I was on my way to Mumbai in an auto, when three people pulled me out of the rickshaw and began to thrash me. I could not stand or move because of the injuries I had sustained on my leg. Some people assumed that I was a beggar and gave me money. Another beggar gave me a good blanket and pillow.”
Upon contacting Sangeet’s elder brother Atul, he had an entirely different tale to tell. “Sangeet has smeared our image in society and we have had to face a lot of embarrassment because of him, in the past and now, once again. He is a manipulator and fraudster. He is addicted to liquor and there is a lot of debt on his shoulder. His debtors would come to our house to recover the money. After facing this harassment, our father disowned him four years ago.”
The daily Mid-day tried to contact Sangeet’s wife, but she remained unavailable. However, his friend, Lalit Mishra, confirmed that they used to be classmates at the King George School in Bandra East, which is now the IES New English School. Sangeet’s ex-wife was also in the same class.
“This incident is unfortunate, but it is not the first time he had landed in trouble. Two years ago, Sangeet called me and said that he needed my help. He told me that his father had disowned him and cut him out from the family property and said it was a great injustice,” said Lalit.
He added, “He used to be the one who organised grand parties for us whenever there was any occasion. In 2000 as well, he had organised our school reunion. He is a gem of a person and a good singer too.”
Title image: mid-day