Memories of a charity match played by all the popular stars of the bygone era which I had the opportunity to watch at Ferozshah Kotla stadium in New Delhi in early 1950s, when I was still a student in Delhi University:
My sister in Bombay, married to Surendra, popular singer-actor of the early era of Hindi films, informed that my brother-in-law would be in Delhi for a day along with most other film stars to participate in a charity cricket match, all of them would be staying at the Maidens Hotel and would be happy to meet us at the hotel around 9 AM before leaving for the match venue. I was, of course, very excited to have a chance to see the stars so close at the hotel and so was my sister Toshi, two years elder to me, who had been a diehard fan of Suraiya since our Lahore days, so much so that she would not only watch every movie of her favorite star but also get a dress specially made to the exact design of what Suraiya was wearing in the film.. We two were the only ones then living with our parents, other siblings having spread to other cities in India and one of them to London. So, we were at the hotel at the appointed time - 9 AM - and were very warmly received by our brother-in-law and even introduced Toshi to Suraiya as her biggest fan since her childhood. Suraiya, who was my brother-in-law’s co-star in Anmol Ghadi(1946) and 1857 (1945) was extremely sweet and happy to autograph all the photos of Toshi wearing Suraiya design dresses, which she had specially brought in case she could meet her. Our brother-in-law invited us to watch the match and took us to the venue in the hotel cab. It was, indeed, a thrilling experience to watch all the pioneering stars of Hindi cinema playing live before your eyes, the stars going to whose movies we had grown up - Ashok Kumar, Motilal, Prem Adip, shobhana Samarth, Naseem Bano, Yaqoob, Kanhaya Lal etc. and the current heartthrobs of the time like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Suraiya, Madhubala, Nargis and so many more. The stars as well as the viewers in their thousands enjoyed to their hearts content.
There were no TVs then, so the pleasure of watching the stars playing and having fun together was for the exclusive entertainment of the viewers who were actually present at the event.
Since then there have been many charity matches played by the film celebrities, the most philanthropist community in the country. I accidentally came across video of one such match played in 1962 at Shivaji Park, Mumbai - team Dilip Kumar played team Raj Kapoor to collect funds for charities. Here is the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edFz MoLd 88