It was sometime last year that Navroze Contractor, who died in a shocking biking accident on Sunday morning at the age of 80, wrote an email to say he had given up on writing his autobiography. “I tried putting down everything. 150 pages and I was still not in University! I have stopped writing completely. It all sounds like fiction.”
It would, wouldn’t it? A man who packed three normal lives into one could only be a fictional character. Had he completed the autobiography, it would have had to be a saga in three parts: jazz, art and photography in one volume, cinematography and films in the next and motorbikes and cars in the last.
Navroze Contractor was, before anything else, a warm, unassuming human being who hid his achievements under the bushel unless called upon to speak of them. What he loved doing in company and did with panache was tell a good story. He told us once about the film he shot on the life of a man of wealth. In his puja room, which Navroze was urged to shoot, stood a statue of Mickey Mouse. The reason why the cartoon character had found its way there was because the gentleman had…