FILM life story of Zoran Pavlović from the USA: “Marinkova’s pond is still somewhere dozing in me today”

The life of Zoran Pavlović, a Serb from the USA, had a thorny path. From growing up in Marinkova bara in Belgrade to the hotel, the yachting life spun the most difficult, unusual and various adventures.


Pavle and Toma Nikolić flee from Pirlitor-Montenegro to Serbia from the revenge of the Turks. They come to Dudovica and there they change their surnames to Pavlović and Tomić.

Pavle had a son Petroni and 6 daughters. Great-grandfather Petroni had a son Branislav and 5 daughters. Branislav son of Radomir and 5 daughters. And Radomir got 7 sons and a daughter and I am the youngest of his children. There is a 22-year difference between Slava’s oldest son and me - this is how Zoran begins his life story.

Zoran with his father the first time he came to Serbia from America

My late father was born in 1911 in Čibutkovica near Ljig. Grandfather Branislav was killed on the Thessaloniki front. The father was left an orphan with 5 sisters. At the age of 13, he killed the boss for whom he was a servant in Vukovar. Boss, the German kept beating him. With a whip. Until it got dark in his eyes. Beaten and covered in blood from the beating, he took a knife and killed him. He spends several months in prison in Mitrovica, but managed to get out due to the fact that he is a minor. After a few years, he also killed a relative from the family. He served only two years because it was proven that he killed in self-defense. Father was a dangerous man, very fierce. He married many times and they all had to be virgins. My father, Radomir Pavlović, it’s hard to describe what he was like - he talks about his father Zoran and his difficult life in Belgrade. His father had several marriages and at least one child from each marriage.

Among others, he married a beautiful woman whose father was a well-known Valjevo lawyer - Karamarković. He had a son Miroljub Pavlović with her. According to his rules, that woman was quite immoral and the marriage soon broke up - says Zoran.

Zoran with his mother when he was 11 years old...

Somewhere he also meets Zoran’s mother. She was practically a child. At the age of 17, she married Radomir and came to Belgrade. He was 22 years older than her.

Mother was an uneducated girl from the village. Only later did she finish primary and secondary school, while he was already the director of procurement in the hospitality company “Stambol kapija”. My parents’ life is strange, full of ups and downs, constant changes - recalls our interlocutor.

Hell in Belgrade

Life in Belgrade was not great.

Basically, they were not happy. He cheated all the time. Mother was there all the time aware. And she knew. An extremely virtuous woman, she never reciprocated or seriously objected to him. There was no talk of returning to his native Nepričava. She simply suffered. She was a beautiful but very unhappy woman. I guess because she was constantly beaten by her father, for no reason at all, it never occurred to me to hit my wife. Actually, I still carry those traumas.

Zoran with his mother, father and brother

Such a life in many ways created my personality. Life in the parents’ house and two in hospitals in Belgrade and Slovenia because of the heart defect I was born with. Those were hard times for a kid like me. Even the first time I went to school, the first day of the first grade, I went alone. The mother had to work, and the father lay drunk at home.

Zoran with his family

He managed to explain to me where to go and I was the only one who arrived at school alone, without anyone. Bitter experience. At that time, the father lost his job at the Domovina restaurant. He had an argument with the director With a jeep, everything became even more difficult. I can’t explain, basically he was a good man. Good for everything except for us - Zoran tells us his life story.

Music marked their life

And from the very beginning, she was accompanied by music. Thanks to his excellent playing, he managed to survive the Second World War. He played for Chetniks, partisans, Germans, whoever...

He somehow got away with it. He also taught my mother to play so that we often played together. And my own brother, Dragan, played the accordion. I decided to play the guitar since it was monotonous for us all to play accordions. It was all a strange and unusual picture. The lives of all of us are such that books could be written about them - says Zoran.

Growing up Zoran in the Belgrade neighborhood of Marinkova bara was marked by a difficult and traumatic childhood. But there were also beautiful moments. It was music that permeated his family’s life. We already wrote that his father and mother played the accordion, he decided to play the guitar himself.

Zoran’s father Radomir Pavlović as a young man

My father’s oldest son, so my half-brother Slava Pavlović, was an excellent accordionist. He played in the “Radio Belgrade” orchestra and lived with a famous singer at the time. When the relationship “broke”, he left for Paris with the children and never returned to Serbia. My brother Slava in Paris is one of my stops to my final destination to America. No matter what was happening, no matter how much our lives scattered us around the world, music was always present. That’s where I started playing at the age of 12 in Belgrade bars. The first independent stall was in the Velika Čukarica restaurant. With me on stage was the famous Lilja Petrović - and “The Baby Accordionist” - says Zoran and underlines with a sigh that “all in all, childhood is full of suffering, but even from this distance of time - and beautiful”.

Zoran Pavlović as a high school student in ATŠ

The whole area where I grew up is different in itself. Only about fifty Serbian houses and probably more than a thousand Roma ones. Marinkova’s bar is still somewhere in me today. In general, the time was completely different, the rules were known, but they were incomparable to the ones that apply today. There was no kidnapping of children, pedophiles, drugs... As hard as it was, it was somehow carefree. Now that we’re talking about it, it seems to me that it was really nice. It’s hard to explain, memories and emotions get mixed up. The bottom line is that there is no anger, no anger, childhood was as it was and I remember it with nostalgia today - Zoran tells us.

In such an environment, gambling soon came.

Primitive way of gambling: munte, krlać, ofene, anjc, but all of us from the region started gambling very early. It is also the moment when, as a child, I realize that the money will, in difficult jargon, “come to the cards”. My father was also an avid gambler. He explained to me that it is better to somehow be the organizer of the game, to “hold the pixel”. Of course, just in case, he also taught me how to sand and file the cards, how to set them up. When I was nine or ten years old, I had to forcefully take the money I had earned from gambling from one Mića Dandare, that’s what we called him - says Zoran. Later he became a tough guy and had a fair fight with the late Gishka.

with friends from secondary school ATŠ

And then came the moment when, as a child, he had to grow up. Over night.

Father came home drunk. It was St. George’s Day... He slapped his mother out of pure peace. My film broke. I jumped for the knife to defend her. However, he did not back down. He immediately grabbed the ax. I still don’t know how I got away with it. It was clear that I had to run away from home. Childhood, that first youth, ended abruptly, brutally. There was no going back and worst of all, it was forever. I will never forget the mixed feeling of uncertainty and newfound freedom. There was no more pressure, there was no fear of what the father would do next. I think that then, in that moment of sudden growth and the obligation to take care of myself if I want to survive, I realized somewhere deep inside that I had become a traveler. World traveler. - witnessed Zoran.

It was no longer a problem that “some gypsies from the neighborhood” stole the money he was collecting for snacks.

at a celebration with friends from ATS many years later…

All that seemed foreign, distant and irrelevant to me. Feelings of freedom and independence were becoming dominant. Speaking of school, I’d like to record one more story that left a deep mark on me. Due to heart failure, I was released from physical education. I tried to fully prepare for the next class while the other children were running and doing exercises. I would read something, study, renew... I remember that physical education was taught by a certain Branko. I think he was a handball coach, maybe even in the women’s national team. One day he took it out on me and asked me to drop the book and watch what the other kids were doing. He snatched the book from me and a photo of my mother fell out of it. He asked who it was, I answered, and he followed it up in a simple way with a distorted expression “beautiful woman, I wouldn’t forgive her”. I tell him “I wouldn’t forgive his daughter either” - Zoran recounts the anecdote with the physical education teacher.

At first there was a shock, a shock, as was the custom at that time - a slap!

I still remember her. As I was, small and weak, I fired my fist into his head as hard as I could. Of course, the athlete, a big and strong man, didn’t even feel it. It was important for me to show that I have m.., that they can’t mess with me. The urge to survive was stronger and of course I immediately started to run because I’m sure he would have beaten me severely. In that race, like in a bad movie, I bumped into the school principal and we fell to the ground together. It was an unannounced farewell to the elementary school “Dositej Obradović” in Dušanovac - says Zoran. They transfer him to the “Stevan Sinđelić” school. Next destination - “Branislav Nušić” elementary school.

There, I remember, I was sitting in the bench with one Bran Stojanović. He was a Roma, a gypsy, as anyone likes to say. Back then, we practically didn’t even know what Roma was. Gypsies were Gypsies and no one was angry about it. Brana represented the school at competitions. The best mathematician! Later, he represented Belgrade in competitions. I also remember a Saint Andrejevic who was with us in the department. He was an incredible 18 years old. He couldn’t even count how many times he repeated it. Many years later I met him in Italy. Beaten and beaten by the Carabinieri, he spent many years in prisons, a serious thief - recalls Zoran.

In such an environment and under such circumstances, he somehow completed his primary education and enrolled in a secondary construction school. This is where things change significantly.

As a 14-year-old, Zoran plays at a wedding in the vicinity of Belgrade

A child cannot play in bars all night and go to classes normally in the morning. I supported myself a lot, I had a lot of money. That, however, did not help me not to repeat myself. In the second grade, my determination became clear and I left school. I was making a few average salaries, about $1,200 was the minimum I made. It was a serious hunt both then and now - Zoran recalls the period before he left for the white world.

After leaving home at the age of 14, the hero of this story, Zoran Pavlović, set off into the world. Suddenly his childhood is over and he faces the world of music where he earns a living by playing the guitar.

He starts playing in the restaurant "Plitvice" with Novica Zdravković. Then follow "Lotos Bar", ship "Split", "City", "Volan", "Putnik", "City Cellar"...

Zoran at 6 years old and his first accordion

He left for Austria with Ljubomir Đurović to a small town called Lustenau near Bregenz. The guests were guest workers from Austria, Germany and Switzerland, since the place was located on the triple border.

We literally didn't know what to do with the money... Shillings, marks, francs... It's an incredibly large restaurant with almost two thousand seats. Miracle. We played an extended weekend - Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Guest musicians also came on Saturdays. I especially remember Muharem Serbezovski. I took serious money with him. I know that since one month I have sent 4,000 marks to my family for Belgrade. It was clear that there was nothing to return to Serbia. I felt big money that I can't make at home even in my dreams - says Zoran.

In Slovenia, in the army, he played with Anđelka Papec

Everything important that existed at that time I went through as a kid. I played with Šaban Šaulić in Yugoslavia for a year. Orchestra: Veroljub Jovanovic violin, Rajko Budža In Slovenia in the army he played harmonica with Anđelka Papec, Janko Smederevac played drums and I played guitar. Then Šaban took with him the singer Radet Petrović and a girl, a singer who had no legs, she sang beautifully, I never heard of her again. Otherwise, literally ten girls chased him every night to sleep with him. At that time I was in some kind of relationship with Usnia Redzepova, we met "at Desa" in General Zhdanova, she was just a beginner. I say in some kind of relationship because we did not achieve what men fantasize about with such beauties as Usnia was in her youth. I was younger than her. She later fell in love with Shelet the accordionist and married him. There was no luck with Snežana Đurišić either, we met at the manager of Mumin, we exchanged phone numbers, but the meeting didn't happen, although there was some chemistry, but... I left for Germany, my good friend Sloba Gvozdenović, the accordionist, sent me, to whom I told him that he should I see with Snow White. When I came back, she was having fun with him, he was too much for women and then he was having fun with Vera Savić, a famous singer from „Metropol“ - says Zoran about his film life story.

After his performance with Šaban Šaulić, doors opened for him and he could play everywhere.

He played with Novica Zdravković for a year

Hasan Dudić has just arrived in Belgrade. He hung out every day in Grmeč, and I in Šumatovac. It was the golden age of musicians, we hung out, exchanged information about the stalls and which girls were waiting for us when we arrived at the stall. I chose where and with whom I would play, "Dr. O" in Ljubljana, "Mon Plizir" in Umag, Hotel "Agava" in Bar, Hotel "Morača" in Podgorica. I take my brother Dragan to the first counter after leaving the army at "Kosovki Božur" in Pristina. But I'm dreaming of the West, there's big money there - says Zoran.

From there he goes to Berlin...

In Berlin we played at Lenka and Ivica's place, after accordionist Mica Urošević and his wife Sajka. In the beginning it was nice, money, spending time, girls, the big city of West Berlin. Then at one point there is saturation in work. Business is falling, markets are falling, tips are falling... The owner of the Lenka restaurant says, let's change something... She claims to have the best singer, the best accordion player, the best drummer, that Man show! Mission Impossible. There is no man who is so talented. Ivica Brbljić, the supposedly best in everything, filled restaurants with Ivica Brbljić in West Berlin, it was impossible to get in. We agreed to cut our earnings just to see that miracle. Honestly, the man blew me away. He played the drums like a solid drummer, the guitar like a solid guitarist, the accordion like a solid accordionist but... he literally sang like Safet Isović. The man kills. Croatian. And he sang everything: Serbian, Turkish, Macedonian... Great guy. There is no room in the bar, full of women, a guy as handsome as Apollo and an excellent musician. I couldn't believe it - recalls Zoran.

With Ivica Brljić in West Berlin

He and his brother loved Ivica "literally like a brother". A new adventure starts with him.

When we all get bored, Ivica says, people, we're going to Frankfurt to Omer in Hext, better conditions and a bigger restaurant, this is no longer interesting. Said - done. The problem was that we had to return to Belgrade on a certain day, to sort out the papers. Of course we didn't. We go straight to Frankfurt and there a new chapter begins. In Frankfurt, Ljuba Magaš (Ljuba Zemunac) was in charge. We never hung out, but we had his protection. We played for him and were like polar bears. Ćenta and some other tough guys from that team were often with him. They gave fabulous tips. It is an unrepeatable time. We lived like stars and only the three of us played, my brother Dragan, Ivica and I - Zoran tells us. Life was high back then. Everyone had their own room in the hotel, and the price of the song doubled.

SPAN]Instead of five, here we have a song of ten marks. General madness. On Saturdays, stars from the then South came - Lepa Lukić, Nedeljko Bilkić, Meho Puzić... So one night, Marinko Rokvić took the stage for the first time. That was his baptism of fire across the border. I remember that Lepa brought him and announced him as an extra talented singer. By the way, one of the greatest accordionists of Yugoslavia, Ljubomir Aranđelović Kemiš, lived in Frankfurt at that time. He grew up there. He was a child prodigy, we knew then that he would succeed. Absolute hearing. Genius - emphasizes Zoran about the legendary accordion player.

In Paris at the age of 17

He loved life in Germany. It took him, as the people say. Young, handsome man, lots of money. But as it was written by an invisible hand in one night, his life changes.

Fuck it, I'm a gambler at heart. I saw a man who plays billiards phenomenally, he was called Avion, he got me hooked on playing in pairs. The man played with one hand. He plays one, holds the other behind his back. He stripped me. That's where my madness begins, Serbian spite, call it what you want... I spent every free moment at the pool table. No rest, no parties, just billiards. I've been working out as long as I can stand. The next game I took 200 marks from him. He didn't know I was practicing and he continued his story with one hand. He messed up, what else can I say - Zoran says with a laugh.

Ljuba Zemunac

During those days, one of Anja's ex-girlfriends from Berlin appears in Frankfurt, whom he still remembers today.. He never found out how she found him.

She brought me some gifts, expensive clothes, shoes, jackets... I ran away from her a bit. She was average, she had children, she was older than me, what does that matter to me... She actually worked for some Turkish mafia, organized gangs, etc. The problem arises the moment she comes uninvited. I'm always out, exploring the city, chasing girls, gambling, and she's sitting in the Zoran and Tozovac hotel waiting for me. One of the following nights, a fateful turning point occurs. I came to the hotel late, she was sitting with my brother Dragan. He starts lecturing me on how to treat her and stuff like that. In that discussion, I accidentally, really accidentally stepped on her foot with my shoe. The girl screams normally, the brother jumps on me and I, instead of dropping the ball, curse my brother in the style of "what hurts you, what am I doing with my girlfriend". He punched me in the head, and he was a talented boxer. He threw me to the floor from the impact. As it goes on, the brothers fight. But seriously - without a hair on his tongue, Zoran tells us his life story.

In that fight, he also knew about his brother's weak point.

I knew his hair was the weakest link in the chain. He was losing his hair and the only thing he was afraid of was buying various medicines against hair loss. I grabbed him by the hair and knocked him to the ground. Anďa jumps up and somehow separates us. He was stronger than me. I had no choice. Angry and hurt, I started to go out and, I remember it like today, while I was putting on my boots, I said to him... "Brother, if you don't have a girlfriend, find a whore, don't take it out on me. That's where Zoran was today.. broke. The next thing I remember is that I'm in a pool of blood and blood is coming out of my mouth. He disfigured me. I guess that's where the killer thing that I inherited from my father worked in me. It took me a few seconds to pull myself together and reach for the knife. Ready to kill. It is a completely narrowed consciousness. He was running around the hotel, I was chasing him with the clear intention of stabbing him. Somehow he hid somewhere and waited for me like a crazy, careless, provoked person... And then he disfigured me. He beat me with his fists, knees, feet... He killed the God in me - says Zoran.

He lied to the girls that he was 19, but he was 15

He remembers well that it was Monday and that we are playing in a restaurant on Thursday.

When Omer, the owner of the bar, saw how I looked, he asked me if Dragan and I were really brothers. The owner is a Muslim and I remember well what he said then... He said "I can't believe that he is your brother, even a Croat wouldn't do this to you". He beat me up so much. On the day of the concert, I was on one side and he was on the other side of the stage. I have a knife in my belt. Fear, mistrust, desire for revenge, I don't know what - our interlocutor cannot define his feelings in that moment.

Zoran and Tozovac

And in the meantime, he says "suffering never goes away alone".

Lenka, where we played in Berlin, applied for emigration, because we left it practically unannounced. Until she checked us out, she couldn't bring in other music. This automatically means that we have a very short deadline to leave Germany. Such are the rules of the game, cruel and precise. Pop-ups are undesirable. I am returning to Belgrade, but in the firm belief that I will never have anything to do with my brother again. I played without him. It made my parents very angry, they were furious, unhappy... I never told them how my brother beat me. I'm not a snitch, it was beneath my honor. The father was already quite old, aware that he was not an excessively good father, especially not a good husband, but... I wanted to somehow protect him from learning about what happened between me and my brother - says Zoran.

And then, as it usually happens in life, the doors begin to open on their own. Great deals for intro gigs are coming in from all over.

One is that I go to Kuwait with Vlasta Jelic, the second is Canada, I remember with whom, the third is Chicago with Saban and an offer from Đurović for New York. New York turned out to be a winning combination. My ticket will arrive in two months. Of course, I arrange the papers and leave for America without my brother. I wanted to take Zoran Ćirkovic as the accordionist and Alija Dalipović, who was on the rise, as the singer. By the way, he is a good singer about whom I made a mistake and I fired him by taking someone else instead of him. However, he later came with another combination, today he runs the radio station "Romski Dukat" in Chicago. All Serbs here know him, from New York to Los Angeles - recalls Zoran.

Zoran today

His father, on the other hand, curses him for not taking his brother on the trip to America. He couldn't tell his father the truth.

In the end, my father insisted so much that he simply stole my passport, hid it. Either I take my brother Dragan or I don't go either. Difficult decisions, vital and there is no time. In the end I agree. I call New York and say I'm coming with another man. Everything is suddenly the opposite of what I wanted. I'm leaving for America with a man I can't see with my eyes, my brother. My plan was somewhere that when we arrive in America, I will continue alone, without him - continues our interlocutor about his incredible life story.

But in America at that time, nothing was in short supply - like accordion players.

I realize I need it. Very necessary. As soon as we arrived in New York, after a few hours, I slept with the landlady's daughter Aida. The point is that she was about to divorce. She was 16 years old, capricious, and literally got me. She immediately told her family that she would marry me. I get a car, some money every day, they call me "son-in-law"... I stay in the house with them, my brothers move to a small apartment and my position immediately improves. I'm not with my brother, which is kind of a priority, and I have everything I need for a fresh start. The conquest of America can begin - Zoran tells us without a hair on his tongue.

Continuation of the incredible life story of Zoran Pavlović, a Serb from America. Ever since he left his parents' home at the age of 14, running away from his abusive father, playing in Belgrade bars and the former Yugoslavia - he has been living in Europe. Due to heart surgery, the road also takes him to America...

I am currently in New York because of Novak Djokovic, which was my first stop in America many years ago. It's a nice city, but I couldn't stay here much longer. It's too crowded, I don't like the climate... California, where I normally live, is the ideal place for me. When I first came here in the 1970s, I was fascinated. It's a really amazing feeling, a really magnificent picture. Admittedly, when I first arrived in the Big Apple and now, the problem is the same, somewhat bizarre, but... There is simply never any parking here. That can't happen in Los Angeles. All in all, I come to New York once a year to watch Novak Djokovic - says Pavlovic under his breath.

But let's go back to the memories and the first arrival...

I can say that I conquered Europe by then. I played in the biggest European cities. Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London... America was the logical destination. It's a bit funny and unexpected but... I arrived in New York at four o'clock, at eight I went on an adventure with the landlady's daughter. I was twenty years old, she was between 16 and 17 and she was already in the process of divorcing her husband. Some friends told me not to "mess" with her but... She was young, beautiful... By the way, her name is Aida, she was born in a mixed marriage between a Hungarian and a Serbian woman. They accepted me, gave me a house, a car, called me son-in-law. Everything happened at lightning speed. Either way, I immediately wanted to get out of there, out of New York and all that. I persuaded her to visit America a little. We went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, Chicago... I used those trips of ours to explore America and evaluate where I could go next. Chicago was particularly interesting to me because at that time around 200,000 Serbs lived there, which is good for my job as a musician.

In New York itself, the bar where my brother and I played began to take precedence among our bars. In a couple of weeks, practically no one but us worked well - Zoran tells us. But in the world of catering there were some unwritten rules. They started threatening to leave New York because they were seriously ruining the business of other restaurateurs.

Aida and Zoran in New York...

Someone was pulling a gun on me. Nasty situation. I don't know if Duja was behind it. He was Albanian, he ran a serious tavern and was a dangerous man. He was later killed. At that time, I met the femme fatale Mirjana Antonović. The song "Because of a wonderful black woman" is dedicated to her. She was ten years older than me and fantastically beautiful. She was married to Deni Antonović, who was a representative of the Gucci fashion house in New York. Mirjana was on New York billboards in advertisements for Gucci fur coats. At the time when I got into a relationship with her, the problems with the Albanians culminated. At some point, the bar owner hired agents to guard me. I play with my brother, and they sit or stand at the entrance and watch the situation - Zoran recalls his young days in New York bars.

Mirjana Antonović and Zoran

Big changes are coming, he says.

Mirjana takes me to the stylist, changes my hair, buys a wardrobe... She was having fun with me. Beautiful, rich, powerful, and I'm a kid. I remember we bathed in her jacuzzi but without sex. It was like a game of cat and mouse, but I knew that in the end I would not be the mouse from that story. I waited a moment. It was funny when I was sitting with Aida on a TV commercial in which Mirjana was showing fur coats. Later she caught me with her. All she said was "honoured". In the meantime, the Albanians press on, grab for the music. I have nothing against moving to play at Duja's place, but the first landlady made the papers for me, the work permit is for her building. The matter is resolved by Mirjana, who finds me an apartment and I practically start living with her. My brother married an Armenian woman and thus secured his papers. I didn't like that subordinate position in which I depend on a "wonderful black woman" and I'm leaving for Chicago where I can play and live as I want. I immediately got a job at the "Kosovo" restaurant, but the accommodation was desperate. I literally spent one night in the garage and immediately announced that it was out of the question. I take the hotel and that's when I meet Nada Kapetanini.

Mirjana Antonović

Everything went quickly and smoothly. We immediately got into a relationship. She bought me a new car, a Mercury Cougar. Dressed me from head to toe spent over $150,000 at the time. She also prepared 50,000 for me to open a restaurant. She was a beautiful but unhappy woman married to some weirdo Ray. On one occasion, he told me that I could be with his wife, that we could go anywhere, but if he saw me with her in the city center, he would cut my head off. Capitanini was a mobster and a homosexual. he ran the oldest restaurant in Chicago where Al Capone was a favorite. Of course, I don't like her now because she gave me a lot of money. I'm getting to the point that now I'm throwing thousands of dollars at music like they were throwing at me. At that moment it is a dream life. Nada then suggests that we go to California to her friend Sava Radusinović. The flight lasts three and a half hours, and she made sure that I remember that flight as long as I live. I don't have to say anything further, a little imagination and it will be clear - says Zoran with a laugh.

Nada Kapitanini

They were the best hotels in Beverly Hills then, and they are still one of the best hotels today. No nights under $500. Next comes shopping on Rodeo Drive, the best boutiques, branded clothing, life has literally turned into a party.

Savo Radusinović

However, getting to know Savo Radusinović turned into my life mistake. Later he became a famous singer in Yugoslavia. Thanks to me. When we arrived at his place, he was poor, they slept on some kind of mattresses. His brothers, sisters, he, mother and father didn't even have beds. I remember we gave them all a few hundred dollars each. From there, Nada Kapetanini and I go to Palm Springs, a fashionable place full of millionaires. I get a bad sore throat there and we decide to go back early. However, I stop by New York to get some papers and... Mirjana again. She begged me to come back, to stay. And she was really beautiful. No one escaped from her clutches. Kićo Slabinac, Toma Zdravković and Miroslav Ilić suffered for years. God looked at me, I found the strength to finally resist her. She wrote a lot in the book "This Little Truth", but realistically, there is not much truth in it.

fatal: Mirjana Antonović

At that time, she met Saša Bjelanović, an excellent singer who looked like a movie actor. He was so successful that in the mid-seventies he drove a Chrysler on the Belgrade license plates. On one occasion, he stole cards from my friend Zdenka and went to Switzerland together with Mirjana. There they squandered other people's money and ended up in prison. Mirjana was rescued by her husband, to whom she explained that she had made a mistake, and Saša was imprisoned for several years. She doesn't write about it in the book, but it doesn't matter, it's not our topic. When she came back to New York she called me to come from Chicago because she needed help. Of course, I couldn't resist. New York again, Mirjana again, Duja again, where finally I start playing again.

Boba and Zoran

There I met a beautiful waitress, Boba, whose life story explains the thesis that the world is small. She was the wife of Saša Milanović Saša Milanović, whom he divorced by mutual consent in Belgrade so that he could marry for papers in America. She came to America unannounced, appeared at his door and found him with the fatal Mirjana. That marriage broke up, and she, penniless and with a modest knowledge of English, ended up as a waitress at Duja's. She earned 200-300 dollars a day. She was so beautiful that people came to see her. Mirjana had a hysterical attack of jealousy when she saw that I was talking to her. There was nothing between us, but that could not be explained to her. We had a fight and that was definitely the end of it. Returning to Chicago, I had no idea that real hell was waiting for me there - Zoran tells us about this part of his life.

The path of this musician, adventurer and businessman leads from Marinko Bara, through the largest European metropolises, then New York and Chicago to Los Angeles, where he lives and works today. The dramatic twists and dynamics of a thriller make his confession reminiscent of Hollywood scenarios...
Zoran and Nada

Meanwhile, singer Savo Radusinović told notorious lies to Nada Kapetanina. Allegedly, that I told him that I was only with her for money, that I had the intention of collecting her money and running away with Mirjana Antonović. The crook ruined me, because I trusted him and I trusted him with all my secrets, he set up a serious game for me. I tried to hear Nada for days, but she didn't want to answer me. Whether out of revenge or whatever, but she got into a relationship with Radusinović. I understand her to some extent because he told her all kinds of things. Among other things, that I am Roma, that I have two children in Germany and similar nonsense, especially that we made love on the plane. No one knew that except her and me, and that may have made her believe everything. I didn't know that he was in a relationship with Sava and I didn't know what was going on, I was naive - Zoran continues about his adventures. He finally somehow manages to see Nada.

Mercury Cougar and wardrobe from Nada - gifts

I was wearing an expensive ROLEX, a thick chain, a gold bracelet and a winter coat from Pierre Cardin that she gave me. I couldn't break that relationship and I had to try to secure it. It was a life one could only wish for. Fully financially secure, in a relationship with an attractive woman with a bright spirit and high intelligence, there was no reason for me to change anything. After all, it's human nature to try to organize life so that with as little work as possible, you can have everything you want. So I decided to apply the poker bluff. I tell her if you believe in that nonsense, if you think I'm like that, here's everything you gave me, I don't need anything from you. I take off the watch, chain, coat and other jewelry she gave me, put it on the table and wait for her to break down and say sorry, I don't know how I could have thought such a thing and she simply reacted positively to my melodramatic performance. However, it was a completely wrong card. She picked up everything I put in front of her and just walked away. I was shocked, left without a coat in the bitter winter. Suddenly everything turned upside down. In an instant, all the advantages of the life that Nada, the rich and beautiful wife of an Italian homosexual mobster brings, disappear - says Zoran under his breath.

Zoran at the Golden Globe Awards

He will experience an even greater shock when he later heard on a Chetnik radio that a new Serbian restaurant was opening. Owners Savo Radusinović and Nada Kapitanini.

Nada Capitanini

I thought I was going to die. Literally. But there is no place for crying, America does not believe in tears. - says Zoran who today, after all the ups and downs, runs a serious business in California.

The fight continues regardless of the circumstances.

The reception calls and says I have to leave the hotel. Immediately. She canceled on me and the hotel was prepaid for a year. January of that year 1977 was the coldest month ever. It seems to me since when is the temperature measured in Illinois. Lucky for me I didn't give her back a new car, I slept in the car which was all I had at the time. Every night I prayed to God that I would wake up alive and well in the morning, because it was minus 22 degrees outside. I waited one morning for Sava. I had to break it and… I broke it. After that, he ran away from me all his life. Later he became famous in Yugoslavia. He recorded the first album with money that he practically stole from me - says our interlocutor. He emphasizes that it was an extremely difficult time. He had no job, no money to live on.

Nada and her husband Rey Capitanini

I somehow managed to get in touch with a certain Damjan who had a large metal processing workshop. The minimum hourly wage is ten hours, and you can't earn more than $400 a month. Our people there are often inclined to blackmail, like the folk saying about a donkey when its feet are stuck in the mud. I worked at the lathe. It's a machine I've never seen before. There is no connection between a guitar and a lathe?! However, in a few days I mastered that technique and made some progress with money. Admittedly, due to my inexperience, I put myself in a situation where something from that machine came loose and was buried in the wall with incredible force. It could have literally ripped my head off. That event only confirmed what I knew immediately. That job is not for me. After a couple of weeks I was able to return to music. I started playing with Pera Krkalovic in a tavern 50 miles away from Chicago. Poor, working-class area, but I managed to earn about $100 a night. Even so, it was nowhere near how I lived and how I wanted to live. Essentially, I was in bad shape, a broken man, unaccustomed to the modest conditions in which I found myself. Simply, I felt bad - says Zoran.

Nada and Savo Radusinović

As a consequence of everything that happened to him, he had a massive heart attack.

At the end of February or the beginning of March, I am going to have an urgent and very difficult heart operation. The odds were 50/50 that I would survive. The tip of the scales could tip to one side or the other with equal probability. Life and death were obscenely close, like two completely opposite sides of the same coin. In the meantime, the American doctors somehow managed to injure my hand while preparing for the operation - says Zoran.

one month after surgery...

And in New York in those days Šaban Šaulić sang with his orchestra. He found out that Zoran was in the hospital and came to Chicago to visit him.

We played together countless times, traveled the whole of Yugoslavia at the time and a large part of Europe. He found a bad picture. The hand is in a desperate state, the heart is working at a capacity that is not even sufficient to support basic life functions. I think I weighed less than 50 kilos. When he returned to New York, he told the people in the bar near Duja that I was probably dying. The beautiful Boba the waitress, with whom I used to talk regularly on the phone, also heard it. The day before the surgery, Boba managed to find my phone number from the hospital I was in. She called me and I performed a salto mortale. I told her that I don't regret dying young, but I can't regret not being with her. A strange and important moment. From this distance, everything sounds like a well-directed film [ - Zoran Pavlović is honest in his memories of the dramatic moments of life in America at the end of the seventies of the last century. From this point of view, says Zoran, everything seems as if it happened in some crazy dreams.

With Lisinec, co-writer of the film TOMA

The operation lasted eight hours, and I woke up a few hours after the operation. The first thing I saw were the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen - a nurse from Colombo Hospital. I took this observation as a good sign. A man who is so in love with life, a man who even with a fresh wound from throat to navel thinks of women, will definitely survive. After a few days of intensive care, they transferred me to the ward. I immediately called Bob on the phone. They kept me in the hospital for many more days and I decided to escape. I'm just not someone who can lie around and wait. I was trying to come up with some kind of plan, but I quickly realized that I couldn't do anything special. If a person wants to escape from somewhere, then he should simply do so. There is not much room for maneuver. Simply, I took my wardrobe from the closet, ripped the huge cables from the devices that were attached to me and started…

Musician, adventurer, world traveler, enigma, author of more than 80 books, today a successful businessman in Los Angeles, Zoran continues his extraordinary confession about the stormy period of his life when he barely kept his head on his shoulders.
time of love... Boba and Zoran

But let's go in order. After two local police officers in Pennsylvania told him to keep going with an unhealed wound from bleeding heart surgery, they followed him to the New Jersey border. "Go now and rest there" were the words of greeting that briefly describe the splendor and misery of America. Zoran continues to recall events from the first half of the seventies of the last century...

Entering Jersey gave me new strength. I knew that I was close and that it only took a small amount of effort to reach New York and the beautiful Boba. Practically from the moment I entered her apartment, radical changes in my life began. A man of twenty-odd years is often still not a fully developed man. She, with her methods, completed the process in which my personality became stronger, more stable, at times I was not even aware that I was becoming tough guy. Life was quite simple then, we lived in her apartment, she earned enough to make that life decent and for me to slowly recover from the operation.

Little Peca and Zoran

SPAN]While Boba was at work, I looked after her son, Peca, and our relationship became like a father-son relationship. We formed a close bond and got along well. On the other hand, Boba really took care of me, we had a good time, walked on the beach, talked... All in all, it was a peaceful period of convalescence. I was recovering both from the operation and from the wounds that life inflicted on me abundantly in the past - preaches Zoran.

Of course, as is usually the case, another storm was on the way…

Saša Milanović and Boba at the wedding...

One day I went to the Skadarlija restaurant in New York, by the famous Duja at the time. There I meet Sasha, Boba's husband, Peca's father... He was a playboy, handsome with a thick criminal record. Our acquaintance was polite. He bought me a drink and said he had heard a lot of good things about me. He even said that he was glad that I was taking care of his and Bob's son and not some of the scum like there was a lot of New York back then. A simply overzealous criminal like Sasha managed to relax me with his charm and skillful manipulations, lower my defense line and somehow draw me into a circle of trust. Boba went crazy when I told her about our meeting, she knew him well and thus knew that behind the tame mask was a dangerous man" - describes his acquaintance with the ex-husband of the girl he lives with, Zoran Pavlović. Then he learns that Saša, a New York playboy and criminal, spent a year and a half in a Swiss prison for theft and fraud he committed with another heroine of our story, the "wonderful black woman", the fatal seductress Mirjana Antonović.

SPAN]Honestly, it was a bit convenient for me to establish a proper relationship with Sasha. That would give me and Boba space to travel a little, to have fun, and at the same time there would be someone to take care of Peca, who was four years old at the time. I convinced Boba and organized a meeting between Peca and his father. We met in Astoria, New York. It didn't go well because the boy didn't know his father. The relationship was established slowly, which is not unusual considering that Boba never told her son about Sasha. As time went on, they saw each other more often, so Peca began to spend more time with his father. On one occasion, when he spent the night at his father's, I went to pick him up at the agreed place. In the meantime, I also recovered from the surgery, got stronger and got in shape, which proved to be very important that day. Otherwise, the meeting place was a gathering place for suspicious types. At the time, I could not have known that Sasha was being laughed at because of the fact that I was living with his ex-wife - a beauty and their son. And a couple of other girls he was interested in were with me, including Mira Antonović, who was crazy about New York and half of Yugoslavia. Anyway, we met and Peca literally flew towards me, jumped into my arms. Was it because of that, or was it because he had planned it for a long time, that only Saša hit me with all his might, even though I was holding his son in my arms, punched me in the face. A terrible blow but somehow I stayed on my feet. I knew I needed a rest, to collect myself. I asked him why he hit me, did I deserve it. He replied that he has been waiting for me for two years. Fortunately, he didn't realize that I was gathering strength, he didn't hit me anymore. I collected myself and uppercut him from close range. He immediately fell. Since he was an extremely strong and experienced fighter, I knew I had to knock him out. I kicked him as hard as I could. I beat him to pieces. Mira Antonović got involved in everything, trying to save him. She pulled my hair, scratched me, bit me... The police were formed very quickly. I tried the maneuver showing the wound from the operation. I called Peca to come out from behind a corner where he hid and watched everything. Suddenly, the child who was so attached to me, the child who barely knew Sasha who was lying in a pool of blood, says that he will not come because I "beat his dad". My world turned upside down. That's when I realized, and I stick to it and advise younger people that you should never marry women who have children from a previous marriage. Things can never be completely clean there. That's my opinion" - Zoran, who was arrested in New York because of this fight, is honest in presenting details from his life.

Fatal Mira Antonović as a model

Sasha could not forget this beating. The whole of New York was making fun of him, although they had a reason too... I lived with his ex-wife, before him I was with the famous beauty about whom songs were written, Mirjana Antonović, and in the end I beat him. Realistically, there is material to joke about, especially in the circles in which Saša moved. Then I learned from the now deceased Zvonko and his brother Miroslav (the famous Zemun brothers PERVAN), who is alive and can testify about these events, that Saša had a gun and that he was determined to kill me. That fall in New York had already become quite fraught with threats. The quiet life was clearly behind me. It was necessary to be vigilant every day. In such an atmosphere, New Year's Eve was approaching, says Zoran. At that time, the well-known restaurateur Duja rented a restaurant that could accommodate 800 people. - With a consumption of 30 dollars and for that number of people, he expected to make a lot of money for New Year's Eve. Šaban Šaulić and Rade Vučković sang. I knew from the beginning that we shouldn't go there because Sasha would definitely show up. But, hell, I wanted to see Saban and thank him for visiting me in the hospital. A little after midnight, Saša enters that huge hall with Mira Antonović and another girl, Aida, with whom I was previously in a relationship. Saša still had a small patch above his eye. I remember drinking a couple of cognacs. I needed a drink to calm the discomfort a little. Honestly, I wasn't comfortable because I didn't know what he was up to. It was certain that something would happen, but I couldn't know what. At one point I go to the toilet. Like in a bad movie, he appeared behind me from somewhere. He drew the gun slowly, theatrically. It was a fortunate circumstance that he was already seriously drunk. I knew what I had to do. Childhood lessons from Marinkova Bara, boyish fights in Dušanovac, the memory of the steel fists of the Belgrade mangups... All of that suddenly swirled in front of my eyes. I no longer knew where I was hitting him. It was a spectacular series... Crochet, uppercut, straight and then again. The most important thing is that his gun flew far enough that he can't reach it anymore.

At that moment, a very large Albanian who worked as a security guard in the restaurant appears. Of course he couldn't know what it was about. From his point of view, he should have been saving the one who was being beaten. He pounced on me. Somehow I got out of that clinch and started to run. The Albanian took out a huge knife, at that moment I thought it was a machete. I save my life by jumping out the window. In the hall there are screams, people panic, the music stops, glass breaks, general chaos ensues. Cut, bloody, but determined to survive, I manage to drag myself to a building. I see that they are looking for me but they cannot see me. I saved my life, but if it is known that in America the dollar is sacred and that New Year's Eve ended at 1 a.m. because of what I did, it is clear that Duja and Šaban Šaulić and Rade Vučković were left without much money. Someone has to compensate for that. A new enemy enters the scene who will work on my head - Duja. He didn't hide that he wanted to take revenge on me. He was talking around New York looking for me. The only hope was my old acquaintance, a man who loved me very much, an Albanian, Vuksan Vulaj BATA. He was actually half Montenegrin and half Albanian, but for some reason the Albanian blood was dominant - Zoran says under his breath.

Fatal New Year's Eve and the night of reckoning

And Vulaj came to America as a very young man with the task of killing his cousin's murderer for blood revenge. He was thoroughly prepared from childhood

That's how they do it. He completed the task somewhere on 57th Street. He approached the target and told him to greet his deceased relative. He saved him by putting a bullet in his stomach and serving about five years for it. Everyone was afraid of him, he was capable, agile, intelligent, a killer, in a word, a dangerous man always ready for anything. Fortunately, he liked me because I knew how to play a few Albanian songs and I let him drive my new car that Nada gave me. That was enough for him to love me, and when they love someone they are ready to help and do anything to protect them" - Zoran remembers the difficult time in New York when every day was literally a bare fight for life. Then he gets Besa from Vuljaj. "Let's go to Duja together to solve this matter".

Honestly, I was trembling with fear, but I also trusted Vuljaj, whom we used to call Bato. Things are changing fast in America. Duja had nowhere to go, Bato Vulaj did not refuse. By the way, later Bata killed Duja. We reached out and the matter was somehow resolved. The problem with Sasha, however, remained hanging over his head. The pressure became so great that Boba and I decided to drop anchor and leave New York. Chicago was familiar to me, I knew the places, the rules, the possibilities. So, Illinois again. I quickly found a job for the beautiful Boba, and she started earning $200 a night. It was a big hunt back then. For the next year, we lived relatively peacefully, and I had already fully recovered both physically and mentally, so I slowly started playing in bars. Here and there I had some excursions into illegal check business, which was very popular in America in those years. I learned various tricks and came up with a big cache, but I don't like to remember those details. Anyway, with those illegal jobs, music and Boba's earnings, we lived quite well. But, I guess God gave me that way, when there is a period of peace it lasts only a short time and is only an introduction to a new life drama. Boba started to press me. She understood that we were doing well, we were living well, things were settled and she wanted a classic marriage, children, buying a house in Chicago. That struggle lasted a long time and in the end she realized that I am still only twenty-three years old and that this way of life is still not for me. I will never know if she made the plan earlier or broke it in one day... She told me that she would go to Zemun to visit her parents for two weeks. She took Peca with her, logically. She packed very few things and left. That was the last time I saw Bob. We never heard from each other again. She disappeared as she appeared, out of nowhere, followed by looks, ravishing and already a bit tired of everything. He still lives in New York" - describes his Chicago days and the end of one love, Zoran Pavlović. Time passed, and new trials loomed over the Serbian, then still Yugoslav community. New rules imposed by events in the old region were beginning.

The Martinović case, which horrified socialist Yugoslavia at the time, was felt in Chicago in all its force and tragedy. The Serbs were outraged, the mutual animosity between us and the Albanians turned into open hatred. I played in a bar that, ironically, was called Kosovo. I tried to stay out of the way trying to organize a life without a lot of friction and problems. Our people say "don't lie down devils..." From somewhere in Chicago, Soko Sokoli, an Albanian whose brother was killed while he was recovering in the hospital from a serious traffic accident, appeared. Sokoli was a dangerous and strong man who began to drown his sorrow for his brother in alcohol. He caused trouble in Chicago bars, got drunk, cut hands with glass, looked like a dangerous walking evil. At that time, Mile Kitić was singing in the Kragujevac Tavern. Sokoli ordered him a song, Mile didn't know or want to sing Albanian songs and thus earned a slap. Unbelievable, but in the Serbian bar in Chicago, in the bar called Kragujevac, no one was ready to protect Milet. The owner where I played at the time, Rade Šakić, a Montenegrin, clearly ordered that there should be no more Albanian songs. The trouble light suddenly came on. As if on order, one evening Sokoli comes to the tavern. He goes straight to me and says: "Zoran, can that song of mine"? Of course, I can't tell him that I can't and somehow get out diplomatically, but I don't sing the song. It was a stormy time and for several reasons I was carrying a pistol on Fender Polamalu. When we finish the gig, I pack the gun case from the guitar. Evil didn't need it. It was played until 5-6 in the morning. I pack my things, go home when, on the way out, Sokoli told me why I didn't play him his Shiptar song, I tried to be friendly, but he hit me with his head. Two more shippers run up and the real massacre begins. I understand that they are killing me, but I also decide to sell the skin at a high price. I had a knife hidden in my belt. I stabbed him four times in the stomach. The fifth time I pulled the knife up. They were terrible injuries, so deep that he had little chance of survival. It's a strange feeling when you become a killer. Knowingly, with the clear intention to kill someone in a brutal, cruel way. However, Sokoli survived and I was arrested again. Long and painful trials follow. At one of those trials, I could not recognize Sokoli. From the injuries I inflicted on him, he was only half human. Not much left of my reputation either. No one in the orchestra wants a man who half of New York and Chicago is chasing to kill, and who beats up and stabs enemies himself. They started to think that I am a conflicted and dangerous man, which is absolutely not true. Circumstances were simply like that. Anyway, no work - no money. Everything indicated that Chicago's days were coming to an end. However, not as fast as I thought" - remembers his ups and downs Zoran Pavlović, a Serb from America, today a successful businessman and a guest of red carpets and the biggest sporting events on the planet...

The life streams are getting so fast again I can't catch them. Quite simply, peace and some kind of stable situation keep slipping out of my hands. In the light of recent events, I have Albanian criminals and murderers behind me, it is difficult for me to find a permanent job in restaurants and bars because the owners are also afraid that something will happen that could ruin their business. I became a kind of "bad luck" for the Yugoslav coffee shop owners in Chicago, nobody likes bad luck, especially in business and where there is quite a lot of money involved. Of course my expenses stay the same, the bills pile up…. The only thing I could do was the occasional gig, and that didn't even come close to making a living. At least not the kind of life I'm used to - continues his life story Zoran Pavlović, musician, adventurer, author of more than 80 books of top arithmetic and logical problems, today a successful businessman in America.


It is interesting, Zoran Pavlović recalls the harsh Chicago winter in the mid-seventies, that in those days I happened to meet an old acquaintance, a man I hated with all my being - Sava Radusinović. My eyes went dark when I saw him on the street. I didn't think for a second, I crashed my car into him. Honestly, I wouldn't regret killing him. After all, this is the man who destroyed my life, so I considered revenge quite natural. Admittedly, I was still very young, so I could not see the situation from all aspects. Luckily, I missed him and all that was left was a lot of damage to the car, and he, like any slob, managed to squirm and get away. I hurt him only slightly. It was a period when events alternated as if on a tape, and the women in my life overtook each other, each leaving a trace, a scar, a memory... After the "wonderful black woman", Mirjana Antonović, who was dreamed about by half of America and the male part of the Yugoslav stage wrote her heartbreaking songs and Nada Capitanini, the wife of the head of the Chicago mafia, another fatal temptress entered my life - Brigitte. German model, owner of several boutiques in exclusive shopping centers in Chicago. Basically, when I look at the fragments of my past life, I can say that I actually lived at the expense of beautiful women. It was the same with Brigitte. She was beautiful, rich, famous... since I crashed my mercury, I was left without a car... Brigitte gave me a 5-year-old car, a Mercedes, which was a striking status symbol at the time. However, that love did not last, although I became friends with her mother, who accepted me well. Simply, those dice did not fit together in the best way, and I, by the nature of my character and unbridled spirit, was looking for something more, more dynamic, one could say more dangerous.

Bridget and Zoran

I have such a spirit, temperament... Optimism could be my nickname in a way. On that note, things continue to happen so we meet some Chicago gypsies with whom I quickly develop a good rapport. This is a group of people who left Russia many years ago and found a new home in Serbia. Life later leads the next generation from Serbia to Mexico, from where they arrive in Chicago on a chartered plane. They offered me a "job". I was supposed to drive their wives shopping for $200. Shopping was, of course, camouflage for a series of very bold, brazen thefts at which they were consummate professionals. The whole thing consisted of me waiting in the car. They go to shopping centers and do their work. There are no guns, no violence. Everything is simple and coordinated. If they are caught in the act, I will calmly drive the car away. That's where all my work ends, and $200 stays in my pocket. They were real mahers. They managed to steal anything they liked or that someone pre-ordered. From guitars to gold, wardrobe, cash... Unprecedented dexterous girls. But let's get back to the gypsy rides that haunt Chicago malls.

Mercedes as a gift

One evening, I drove the gypsy women home from the action, the last one I drove was a girl who was underage. She was beautiful. I remember her provocatively asking me why I was looking at her. I say, because you are very beautiful. "You can look at me but you can't have me," she said in good English. In my world it was a challenge light. I immediately decided to befriend her father, I decided that was the right way to go. There was also additional income because he ordered so-called "wild records"... I recorded songs by Duško Petrović, Vida Pavlović and others and received nice gifts there. The plan was good because my new love target also relaxed so we spent more and more time together. One evening, after the action, I did not drive her to her house, but to mine. I calmly told her that I intend to live with her. She immediately said that she agreed and that she no longer wanted to return to her parents' home. She wanted to stop stealing and go to school and get away from Chicago. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that the road to hell was paved with the best of intentions, but I didn't care too much about that. Simply, I fell in love - Zoran Pavlović, a Serbian businessman in Los Angeles who today, after many incredible ups and downs, is friends with Hollywood stars and people from the top of world business, sports, politics...


The same evening, when we thought about everything, we decided that the girl should return to her home for the time being. She was still a minor. It took so much to prepare things, and the problems were over my head. I wasn't ready to have the Chicago gypsies hanging around my neck. After all, I knew their mentality very well because we grew up together in Marinkova Bara. They could be wonderful friends but also very dangerous enemies. I made the decision to ask her father directly so that I wouldn't get Gypsy and the FBI down my neck. After a certain amount of time, I brought some shots of Pelivan to her father and it went off like a gun… I fell in love! He asks whom, and I again, this time as if from a cannon, "to your daughter Buba"! There was silence. The silence lasted what seemed like an eternity, and then the shock. This time, I was shocked. He was only a few years older than me, but from his words it seemed to me that he was a man with a lot of experience. "How are you not ashamed? You're a nice guy, you know how to get around, you're a good musician and you want to marry a gypsy woman"?! Actually, it was a well thought out game of good cop and bad cop. He perfectly calmly conveyed my intention to his wife Ćurma in the Čergar language. At that moment, all hell breaks loose. She started to howl, a little in Gypsy, a little in Serbian. They were volleys of the most outrageous curses and curses. Insults rained down that I don't remember and that I had never heard before. She probably also awakened in her the spirit of her great-grandmother from the Russian steppes. The entire Roma community was immediately divided into those who support me and those who are ready to drink my blood. My chosen one's mother hit her on the head with a hammer and immediately broke her jaw. General chaos, screaming, squealing, cursing and whining. Mala ended up in the hospital, and I had to save my head on my shoulders again. A short summary would look like this... I'm being chased by the Shipta mafia, Chicago gypsies are chasing me, the parents of a beautiful model are looking for me to return the car, the Immigration Service wants to deport me, the law is on my heels because of the checks, as well as the hospital where I was operated on, and where I managed to collect some money for them on the forum. Admittedly, I enjoyed the protection of the famous Vujisic brothers, who were feared and feared in Chicago in the seventies, but even that was not enough. By the way, the Vujsić brothers were dangerous people in the true sense of the word. In the pub where I played on one occasion, 50 policemen were hired to take them out and arrest them. It was a movie fight, and I don't remember ever seeing so much blood before or since. Awesome guys but not enough for my problems. Regardless, I like to solve my problems myself. Chicago suddenly becomes a small town for my troubles and can no longer hide me" - Zoran Pavlović, a Serbian businessman from LA, recalls his last days in Chicago, about whose adventures a film should soon be made in top American production.

Buba's father and Zoran

California was the promised land, it seemed to me, a logical choice, continues Zoran. Everyone praised California, but still no one had the guts to go there.

I talked with two of my brothers (Slav and Dragan) and the decision was made. The idea was to open a restaurant in California where we could also perform as an orchestra. How lucky that I came to America without them, but... Washing is here. They had a hard time accepting the fact that I, as the youngest, lead them through life, so they often tripped me up and made the situation difficult in various ways. Of course, they would not be brothers, especially not Serbs, if the agreement was reached without problems. We are such people, we are such a nation. Before the last events, I was in a situation to buy a guitar from a well-known seller. It was the first electronic guitar - the GR 500, an excellent, very modern instrument with unprecedented possibilities. The salesman got me hooked and allegedly "at a special price just for me" sold me the instrument for a whopping $3,600.

Tozovac and Zoki

While I was trying to work out a plan to leave for California, I happened to see the same guitar in a store. The devil of course never sleeps. I went in to inquire about the price. After a short conversation, the man suggested a price of 1,600 dollars. In a moment I realize that I have been deceived. I thought I was going to have another heart attack. I was offended, angry, faced with the fact that I was simply deceived. Although these were the last days of Chicago, I could not let the matter be forgotten. I had to show that Zoran Pavlović is not a sheep for shearing. I go to the place where I was cheated on and pretend everything is fine. I knew that a complicated plan would take a lot of time, so I decided to take advantage of the existing circumstances. Everything somehow reminded of the movie Žaoka. In those days I was supposed to play with the legendary Predrag Živković Tozovac.

Zoki and GR 500..

It was a big concert, several thousand people. I asked him for extremely high-quality equipment, brought him to my home beforehand, treated him well to establish complete trust. I decided that my revenge would take a couple of well-planned steps, only after our relationship became close, intimate... He gave me all the equipment, I paid for everything properly, we did a great concert. I announced that we will repeat the rental of modern and expensive equipment in a few days when another star from the former Yugoslavia, Nedeljko Bilkić and his wife Dušica, will arrive. For that concert, I was looking for literally the most modern devices that could be found in Chicago at the time. Confidence is stable, business is booming. It was the right moment. I go to get instruments and equipment, but the situation is going in a different direction than planned. The man tells me that he issued everything I asked for for the BB King concert but that we will solve the problem. Then he takes me out of town to a huge music store that his uncle owned. It was a paradise for lovers of high-end sound. Everything the most modern that existed in the world at that moment was there. The opportunity was ideal, the revenge fiercer than I could have imagined. The man vouched for my uncle and that's how I get the equipment that the world's biggest stars play on. Nedeljko Bilkić's concert was memorable, but no one remembered it as well as Donnie, the man who dared to deceive me. Apart from me and one brother, no one knew that we were leaving for California the night after the concert. Forever and as far away from Chicago as possible with the instruments loaded and ready for the long trip that I got on the unsigned version.

At dinner at Schwarzenegger's

Two weeks after meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger, the first man of California, Zoran Pavlović Zoki, a Belgrade native from Dušanovac, came to his hometown. The reason for coming is - "Zoki cards".

At dinner at Schwarzenegger's

We ask him where he came from with the governor of California, as well as whether he intends to finally start the production of those cards in his homeland.

Here, in Stara Pazova, a few years ago I started making "Zoki cards", but unfortunately, due to the "obscene duties" here, I was forced to move everything to China. However, the Chinese are not as cheap as our government is complicated - says Pavlović. And he explains: In order to open a company here, hire people, invest capital, they ask me for a million papers... And upon entering the country, they also asked me to pay customs duties on my birth cards, which I wanted to give to children in schools and hospitals present. I invested half a million euros in production in Pazova, but then a lot of paperwork was needed to transport the goods to Bar, then to Greece and then to the whole world. I was also on "Slagalica" for a year. However, the local television couldn't sustain it financially, so I gave them everything for free. But for how long? I was thinking of starting production here only for the European market. However, since Serbia is not yet a member of the EU, everything is quite complicated and painful, so I will most likely make the cards for Europe - in Poland.

There were twelve businessmen at the California governor's dinner and, as Pavlović notes, they waited for him for an hour and a half until he finally landed in the courtyard of his villa by helicopter.

I started, somewhat naively, with the marketing of my game to the schools of California and Texas. However, when the professors saw how they differed from all the games invented so far, they started inviting me to give them presentations. All of this soon reached Schwarzenegger, who also saw that, on the one hand, their children are fat because they eat unhealthy food, and, on the other hand, they are alienated and violent because computers serve them games full of violence - you're a winner if you cut a hundred heads and the like. Schwarzenegger wants to improve nutrition, putting milk and water in schools, but also education, encouraging children to socialize with fun and educational games. Soon we will reach an agreement that the cards will be sold in all schools, and since it is a puzzle game, it is also very suitable for playing in hospitals, the army, in parks and prisons. That's why our interlocutor wonders - why should the Americans reeducate and motivate their children differently with Serbian cards and not us. At the same time, he emphasizes that money is not his primary goal and that, moreover, he is ready to present his "Zoki cards" to first-year students and schools, if local education accepts them and introduces them into the program.

At dinner at Schwarzenegger's

Pavlović notes that Oprah Winfrey was also interested in him, inviting him to her TV show, and that he also had a half-hour show on the Australian TV station ESN (the signatory of these lines watched a recorded show in which, in addition to Pavlović and of the program host, in stacking the cards of the competition and children) after which he managed to sell a thousand games at 40 Australian dollars apiece. Even the Japanese, who have their own game, the popular "kakuro", decided at a fair in Asaka to buy 10,000 games from Pavlović and sell them in a Tokyo store at a price of 50 dollars.

Four and a half years ago, "Politika" wrote about "Zoki cards"... In the meantime, they became more aesthetically interesting, and Pavlović invented about twenty other games. Grieving for his mother who passed away in the meantime and for the country that fell apart, he gave those games the very recognizable names "Mira", "Jugo", etc., but now he invents more modern versions of our "tables", "mica", "do not be angry man"...

I do this for our people who live in the USA, so that they can come to my site (, meet, socialize and have fun. In a month, when I followed it carefully, 3,000 new members "joined" the site - says Pavlović. And he reveals two more interesting business facts and one business secret: I intend to soon organize a world championship in stacking "Zoki cards", to make new "Tesla cards" in memory of that great man, but also new cards that will completely destroy the popular "Sudoku" . The game is called "aritmo", and it is something between sudoku, arithmetic and Japanese kakuro. I promise to give a million dollars to any nut who can solve 24 levels in an hour before me!

Pavlovic is reluctant to talk about earnings, but says that in the US alone last year he sold 50,000 boxes of his games at $30 each. "Now you count," he adds.

By the way, only in the USA our interlocutor received two significant awards: the first, "Dr. Toy" is awarded every year for the best children's book, entertainment, educational tool. Pavlović received this award in 1999 for the best children's game. And in 2001, the National Center of Parents awarded it another significant recognition, the "Seal of approval" award for a game that gives a special stamp to the world of good children's entertainment.