“Along with the good, fame has also brought me in contact with people of dubious character. One of them was Dawood Ibrahim. The year was 1988. I had landed in Dubai with my closest friend, Bittu Anand, for an Asha Bhosle-RD Burman night. Dawood always had a man at the airport to keep him posted on VIP movement. When I was leaving the airport, a stranger walked up to me and handed me a phone. He said, ‘Dawood sa’ab baat karenge (Dawood sa’ab would like to talk to you).’ Obviously, this was before the 1993 blasts in Mumbai and I didn’t think of Dawood as a fugitive on the run. He wasn’t an enemy of the state yet. Or, at least, that was the impression I had. Dawood welcomed me and said, ‘If there is anything you need, just let me know.’ He also invited me to his house. I was taken aback.”

On another occasion, Rishi claims to have bumped into Dawood in 1989 while he was shopping for shoes with wife Neetu Singh in Dubai. The actor says that the underworld don was surrounded by 8 to 10 bodyguards and he offered to buy Rishi whatever he wanted. On both occasions Dawood had assured Rishi that he could contact him for anything he needed.

The actor incidentally played Dawood Ibrahim in Nikhil Advani’s film D-Day in 2013.

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