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Waqt : Yash Chopra’s Magnum Opus

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
John Lennon

Lala Kedarnath was a joyous man, celebrating his success and singing to his lady love Aye Meri Zohrajabeen. He was a self-made man who never believed in astrologers or predictions; and making it on his own was one of the reasons for his pompous party. But little did he know that destiny had other plans for him.

Soon after the song and dance, a massive earthquake shook Lala Kedarnath off his feet. The entire town was in chaos, and a stampede took place. With people running helter-skelter in search of safety, his entire family was separated from each other. This was the grand premise of the movie Waqt. A premise that soon became a formula for many a lost-and-found movies. Not just that, Waqt was also one of the first multi-starrers. Manmohan Desai mastered this genre and made a name for himself, but much before him, it was Yash Chopra who provided the template for Naseeb, Amar-Akbar-Anthony, Suhaag etc.

The movie had a vast scale at the production level itself. Yashraj’s elder brother Balraj Chopra, wanted to cast Prithviraj Kapoor and his 3 sons in the movie. But Yash was quick to point out that the audience would easily recognize the three brothers and then the movie would just be a matter of ‘when’ , rather than ‘how’ the entire family comes together. After much thought, Balraj Sahni was cast as Lalaji. And only Shashi Kapoor stayed on from the original casting, owing to his previous performance in Dharamputra which was also directed by Yash Chopra. He played the role of the youngest brother Munna who grows up to become Vijay. Rajkumar entered the scene and was cast as the eldest of the 3 brothers, Raju who becomes Raja. Sunil Dutt was cast in the movie due to his previous association with BR Films, and of course his acting skills. He played the middle brother, Bablu who becomes Ravi, who is older than Vijay but younger than Raja.

Although the movie was already getting bigger in grandeur, the Chopras went ahead and signed the biggest actresses and the most beautiful faces for the female leads. There was Sharmila[as Renu] opposite Shashi, earlier she had starred opposite Shammi in An Evening In Paris; Sadhna [as Meena] was cast opposite Sunil Dutt.

Back to the story, when the 3 brothers were separated, Munna being a toddler was in his mother’s arms. So, he grew up with his mother, in abject poverty. Munna wasn’t able to pay for his education while Bablu went to vilayat to study law. Blame it on luck! Munna even takes up driving to eke out a living.

Ravi was adopted by a rich family while Raja ends up with the anti-social elements. While Vijay lives an impoverished life, his brother Ravi and Raja have a lavish lifestyle. This was one of the first movies which celebrated opulence. Chopras did not shy away from showing people from higher strata of society indulging themselves. Ravi’s family while away their time in clubs and holiday spots, they swim and play badminton. All this was being picturised when socialism was at its peak and film makers shied away from showing richness.

But Chopras were always liberal, traditional but liberal. And here in this movie, we see the prototype of Rahul/Raj’s character in Ravi. He was the kind of guy who could sweep women off their feet with his smooth talk and suave style. His ‘gul-e-gulzar, jaan-e-bahaar, toofan-e-humdum‘ was an oft repeated phrase for addressing his lady love. Ravi is a nonchalant guy with no hang-ups, and he handles life with ease. He forgets about the party that his family has hosted to celebrate his becoming a barrister and is instead found fishing in the blue waters and under the blue sky soaking some sun; there was a similar scene in DDLJ where SRK forgets about the valedictory function. Ravi also indulges in a car race with Raja to woo the woman with speed and machismo. He loses the race and still walks off with the heroine, very graciously. Ravi was the ‘cool dude Rahul’ of those times.

Interestingly, the sript-writers also managed to squeeze in a love triangle here, in an already formulaic setting. Raja’s affection for Meena is more than obvious by his overtures. And in a classic sequence, to showcase that his love will not bloom, Raja gives a buoquet to Meena at the airport, Meena gives that buoquet to Ravi as she welcomes him back home, Meena introduces Ravi to Raja and in a flash Ravi gifts that buoquet back to Raja to mark the start of their friendship.

The movie had some really romantic moments, again a first for the silver-screen was the locker room conversation after a swim, and the sweet-nothings exchanged between Ravi and Meena which were brow raising for those days. Sadhna was so sexy and comfortable in the bikini, and Sunil Dutt in his boxers was a hunk; both singing Hum Jab Simat Ke Aap Ki Baahon Mei Aa Gaye. The two get so cosy that we become uncomfortable after a point. But that’s how Yash Chopra shoots lovey-dovey scenes, he gets into the moment and captures it so well. Its never vulgar, just sensual; this is one of his trademarks.

Fantastic composition by Ravi and lovely lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi to express the closeness of the couple. The movie had good hummable music. There was another beautiful song Din Hain Bahar Ke that was filmed on Shashi and Sharmila. Both songs were sung by the duo Asha Bhonsle and Mahendra Kapoor. The album is an Asha Bhonsle special, as she has leant her voice to 4 of the 6 songs. Kaun Aaya Ki Nigaahon Mei Chamak Jaag Uthhi sung by Asha and the title song still rings in our ears, Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu. Manna Dey has of course, immortalised the song Aye Meri Zohrajabeen. Yashji’s keen sense of music is another notable feature. All his movies had great music and meaningful lyrics.

Great directors etch memorable characters and Raja was one of them, created so well by Yashji. He gave the character an edge and made him stand out. Rajkumar walked away with the meatiest role and all the accolades. Who can forget the ‘Chinoy Seth, jinke apne ghar sheeshe ke hon woh doosron par pathar nahi phenka karte‘ or even the line ‘yeh bachchon ke khelne ki cheez nahin, haath kat jaye to khoon nikal aata hai‘. He had a heart of gold but his hands were blackened with illegal deeds, his suit was clean but his job was dirty, his words were harsh but his mannerisms were soft, Raja was a character immersed in gray.

In a scene of passion and desperation, Raja is shown trying to murder Ravi and thereby remove the thorn and pluck the rosebud Meena. Many years later, this particular love triangle gave rise to Darr where SRK played out Raja’s character of an obsessive person wallowed in one-sided love.

In comparison, Vijay’s life was much more simpler than Ravi and Raja’s. He was poor and so he had very limited choices in life. Renu loved him, but then love is the propriety of the rich who can indulge in such luxuries. Vijay always took it that, he was born to serve and work his way up in life. His priorities were clear, his ailing mother and his incomplete education was to be taken care of.

How the trio’s life shapes-up and what kind of situations they face as they cross paths many a times, unbeknownst to themselves of their kinship, is interesting. Multi-starrer, lost-and-found, love triangle, and if all this was not enough, they even added a murder mystery and a court-room drama in this magnum-opus. In a twist of fate, Raja is prime accused in a murder and Lalaji gets him arrested while he was trying to flee from the scene of crime, Vijay became the key witness and implicated Raja and Ravi defends Raja in the court. Such was the whirlwind story and screenplay, that inspite of being long it keeps you hooked.

The court-room proceedings flouted all norms of legal procedure, but it did make for a thrilling watch. The manner in which Ravi tries to sway the jury and the strange ways that he adopts to establish Raja’s innocence was fresh and filmy. What Yashji did in Waqt, inspired Subhash Ghai to do the same in Meri Jung.

Be it the love sequences or the brotherly affection or the scene of the murder or the court-room setup, everything was perfect. The setting was great, music was good and acting was awesome. The movie won 5 Filmfare awards – Best Director, Best Story, Best Dialogue [Akhtar Ul Iman], Best Supporting Actor [Rajkumar] and Best Cinematographer [Dharam Chopra]. Only Sadhna lost out on the Best Actress award which went to Meena Kumari for Kaajal; and rightly so.

Yashi ji took the story written by Akhtar Mirza to a different level with the casting and direction. It isn’t an easy job to handle so many stars and give them all meaningful roles to play. But Yashji was excellent at that. He managed to give justified screen time to all characters, big or small. This is reflected even in his later works. And he always believed in casting mature and good actors, one of the reasons being that, with mature actors even a simple scene looks great. Actors like Sunil Dutt, Rajkumar, Balraj Sahni etc lent credibility to the character, they made it look believable. After 180 + mins of laughing, crying, romancing, singing and dancing, the entire family finally re-unites and the film ends on a happy note.

“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”
John Lennon

This post was also published on MadAboutMoviez

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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in bollywood, movies

 

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ajab sanju ki gajab kahani

Today is Sanjay Dutt’s 50th birthday. Wish him a very happy birthday.

The day I learnt that Sanjay Dutt is stepping into politics I was a little confused; I was wondering if it is his cup of tea or will he be just tasting it to add yet another experience in his already mired life. From what I have seen and heard about him, he is supposed to be a very emotional person who does things for friends, who takes decisions on the spur, and who can be frivolous at times. But, on the other hand he seems to be the ideal political candidate or guinea pig.

If we observe Sanju’s life and career graph and put it in a book or a movie, it will be an instant best-seller. The tough times that he has gone through and the happy days that he has seen have almost always been like a zebra-crossing, starting with his debut movie Rocky to joining Samajwadi Party.

With a successful father and a great dad-mom duo at home he was a much pampered child and he did get his dream debut in the movie industry with ‘Rocky’ which released in 1981. But he started off on wrong note, the movie bombed. His next movie Vidhata fared much better, more so because it had Dilip Kumar being directed by Subhash Ghai. After the success of ‘Vidhata’ he did a whole lot of forgettable movies like Mera Faisla, Jaan Ki Baazi, Jeeva etc.

Sanju shot to fame for his depiction of a guy who goes to Dubai to earn quick bucks and ends up becoming a drug peddler in ‘Naam’. I really loved this movie and this is one of the finest performances that he has given. It may have come naturally to him since he had been through a similar struggle in his personal life. His drug addiction and rehab stories are legendary and then his mother was fighting cancer and finally succumbed to it. All this may have added to his performance. He went on to act in a few more movies which fared in the box-office like Kabzaa, Mohabbat Ke Dushman, Imaandar, Kanoon Apna Apna etc.

Just when he was peaking in his career with hit movies like Sadak, Yodha, Krodh and Thaanedar; and just when he was in the league of Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol and Jackie Shorff, he got arrested under TADA for illegal possession of arms and ammunitions[AK-56 was recovered from his house] and he was also charged in connection with the Bombay bomb-blasts of 1993. Soon after his arrest, Khalnayak released. The movie was about a boy Ballu who had lost his path and ends up on the wrong side of the law. The movie was surrounded with controversy, firstly because of the movie title and secondly because of the content and of course the infamous song choli ke peeche. The movie portrayed an ideal father who wants his son to come up on his own and live with honesty, whereas the son wants instant success and luxuries of life which lead him to wrong company. People equated this portrayal to his real life scenario, thereby creating a wrong perception of Sanju.

Sanju spent 1.5 yrs in Arthur Road jail. He did confess to the fact that he possessed the arms and his companionship with the other co-accused but he denied any knowledge of the bigger conspiracy. He was finally granted bail, and so started his tryst with jail visits on and off. After getting released from jail, he made a great comeback with movies like Daag, Dushman, Vaastav, Mission Kashmir. He also tried his hands in the comedy genre with movies like Haseena Maan Jayegi, Khoobsurat, Jodi No.1 etc.

Finally, he had his best-time ever in movie industry with success of movies like Kaante, Munnabhai MBBS, Parineeta, Dus, Zinda, Lage Raho Munnabhai. It took him a lot of time to change the image from Baba to Munnabhai, from a guy who had been through rehab to a guy who rediscovered Gandhi; from being careless and ruthless to being sensitive and caring; from being a vagabond to finally settling down.

Sanju’s personal life is also zig-zagged with lots of happy and sad moments. He lost his mother and first wife, Richa Sharma to cancer. His daughter Trishala, from his first marriage, lives far away in US and he does not get to meet her often. While he was in jail, his fiance Rhea Pillai stood by him and she even led quite a few movements asking fellow actors to come in support of him. Once Sanju was out of jail, he married Rhea but that marriage did not last long. They finally called it quits and she is happily married to Leander Paes, the tennis star. Now, Sanju has involved himself in another controversy – marrying Manyata Dilnawaz Sheikh. Manyata’s previous marriage has not yet been declared null and void and she has hopped onto another one, thereby attracting media attention.

He has also estranged his sister Priya Dutt in the process. Firstly he did not inform her about his marriage with Manyata and she got to know of it through a media scoop. And now he has declared that he will stand for election on a Samajwadi party ticket because of his newfound love for Amar Singh whom he calls his elder brother.

People get involved in controversy, but in Sanju’s case he has invited controversy, befriended it and thrived on it. But what is admirable about him is the fighting spirit, never-say-die, never give-up or give-in. He has been through the toughest of situations and come out unscathed; be it his drug abuse and rehab, loss of mom and first wife, jailed under TADA … he has seen it all.

Here is a short summary of events which has finally culminated into him joining politics:

    1. a bollywood superstar
    2. son of an illustrious and well respected actor-cum-politician[Sunil
    Dutt was staunch congressman and a great example of man with Gandhian
    principles and of course a brilliant actor]
    3. a drug addict who has been through rehab
    4. twin tragedies like losing his mother and wife to cancer
    5. languished in jail under TADA on charges of abetting terrorism
    6. second innings of film career as Munnabhai, thereby making a new
    place for himself in people’s heart
    7. marrying somebody else’s wife in a controversial manner
    8. estranged relationship with sisters and daughter
    9. finally taking a plunge into politics

The first 8 points don’t necessarily lead to the 9th point, but he probably is destiny’s child.

This post was first published on PFC

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2009 in bollywood, general, lifestyle, movies

 

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Actress Of Yesteryear, Leela Naidu, Breathes Her Last

News has just come in that Leela Naidu is no more. It came as quite a surprise as she was not in her seventies yet; but her struggle with flu got the better of her this morning.

She was one of the first Femina Miss India’s to turn into an actress, she was crowned the title in 1954. She acted in very few movies as she was quite selective about her work. I had been planning on watching her movie Ye Raaste Hain Pyar Ke starring Sunil Dutt, but was unable to do so. I have not seen any movies of hers yet. Now that she has passed away, will catch up with the movie this weekend itself. May her soul rest in peace.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2009 in bollywood, movies

 

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Shakti Samanta – A Musical Tribute

ye kyaa huaa, kaise huaa, kab huaa
kyon huaa, jab huaa, tab huaa
chhodo, ye naa socho

humne jo dekhaa thaa, sunaa thaa
kyaa bataaye wo kyaa thaa
sapnaa salonaa thaa
khatam to honaa thaa, huaa

When the end came, it was really sorrowful. But as all good things come to and end, so did the life of Shakti Samanta. The above lines are from his movie Amar Prem and they are so true. Shakti Samanta made a humble start in the movie industry. He came to Bombay with dreams of becoming a hero, but he ended up becoming a producer/director; and he excelled at it.

The music in his movie was always great, he had a fantastic sense of music. These songs continue to be played by radio stations and people hum the songs to this day. But music was not his only strong point. Shakti da’s films had a very strong emotional quotient, sometimes they would turn out to be tear-jerkers as in Amar Prem. But in most cases, the emotional content was well-balanced with the romantic sequences that would leave a lump in our throats, as in Kati Patang, Amanush, Aradhana etc.

After the success of his initial movies like Bahu, Hill Station and Inspector, Shakti da launched his own production house in 1957 called Shakti Films. The first film under this banner was Howrah Bridge made in 1958, a nice suspense thriller starring Ashok Kumar and Madhubala. The song Aaiye Meherbaan of the movie is one of the most seductive numbers sung by Asha Bhosle.

Howrah Bridge had another hit song to its credit, Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu. The movie was a run-away hit and gave more muscle and money to Shakti da to continue producing and directing movies. His next big movie was in 1962 called Chinatown starring Shammi Kapoor, Shakila, Madan Puri and Helen. This movie was written by Ranjan Bose who had earlier written the thriller Howrah Bridge. Chinatown was again a thriller about look-alikes where one Shammi replaces another. This was among the first movies to come-up with that concept which was later copied in so many other movies like Don. Chinatown had a fantastic Rafi number Baar Baar Dekho which is counted among the best Rafi and Shammi songs.

Between Howrah Bridge and Chinatown, Shakti da had directed two other movies; Insaan Jaag Utha with Sunil Dutt which was a rare Shakti da movie about rural India and plight of farmers; and the other was a Dev Anand and Madhubala starrer Jaali Note.

Then came the era of Eastman colour and Shakti da came out with Kashmir Ki Kali in 1964. This time again, Ranjan Bose wrote this nice romantic movie which had a twist towards the end. The movie starred Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore in an unforgettable romantic journey. The movie had a beautiful soundtrack by OP Nayyar and the songs are evergreen with such richness and depth, they are such a pleasure to the ears.

Apart from Ye Chand Sa Roshan Chehra, there were other great songs like Isharon Isharon Mei, Subhanallah Haseen Chehra and Hai Duniya Usi Ki. The lyrics were penned by SH Behari, now totally forgotten. This movie established Shammi Kapoor as a romantic hero of this new era of color movies, especially because he could carry-off comedy scenes so well. A proof of that romanticism is evident in this song as well, Deewana Hua Badal.

This was one of the first hits of Sharmila Tagore and it entrenched her in the Hindi movie industry. And sparked-off a long movie making relationship with Shakti da. After the success of Kasmir Ki Kali, he worked with Sharmila again in his next movie Sawan Ki Ghata, co-starring Manoj Kumar. The movie was quite an indifferent work by Shakti da, who came back to his own self in 1967 with An Evening In Paris. This movie was again among the first few movies to be shot totally outside India. Sharmila was seen again with Shammi Kapoor, and this movie too had a marvellous musical score by Shankar Jaikishan and some great singing by Rafi. He had become the voice of Shammi by then, and he sang four solo songs for Shammi in this movie.

The title song saw Shammi going bonkers on the streets of Paris and infront of Eiffel Tower, but he carried it off very well. The movie had Sharmila playing double role Roopa and Deepa, a bad girl replacing the good one. Raat Ke Humsafar was a beautifully picturised song with slow and romantic moves, then there was the Deewane Ka Naam To Poocho where Shammi continues to prance around. But Asmaan Se Aya Farishta takes the cake in terms of song picturisation and the story of the song recording is legendary.
Shammi was not around when Rafi was in the recording studio. Shammi was unable to reach Rafi and was not sure what kind of nuances Rafi would add to the song. Shammi had that quirkiness which was so well captured by Rafi, but for that Shammi had to be around; that was the reason why Shammi was worked-up. But when he heard the track, Rafi had sung it just as Shammi would have liked him to. The way Rafi matched up Shammi’s madness was like two-body-one-soul.

Again, when the song was being picturised Shammi just could not hear the song because of the helicopter noises and yet his lip-sync is perfect. The song would start and Shmmi would immediately get the rhythm and keep the rhythm going in his mind till the time  the helicopter was lowered. This madcap genius was so fantastically captured by Shakti da.

That was the golden period for Shakti da, whatever he touched turned to gold. After the super success of An Evening In Paris, his next movie was Aradhana in 1969. He continued with Sharmila, their fourth movie together, and Rajesh Khanna was signed. He was barely new to the industry and still struggling, but this movie and a few others following this catapulted him to superstardom. Aradhana was a remake of To Each His Own which was made in 1946.

As with other Shakti da’s movies, this movie too had soul stirring music by SD Burman. The songs have become immortal and will be sung for eons to come. This movie was in a way the much needed boost that Kishore Kumar was looking for. Rajesh Khanna and Kishore Kumar together went on to write history with their face-voice combination. Rajesh Khanna breathed and Kishore sighed, Rajesh Khanna smiled and Kishore romanticized it, it was a rapturous collaboration. On hindsight, Shakti da was responsible for this historical feat which enthralled the nation. Songs like Baaghon Mei Bahaar Hai, Gunguna Rahe Hain Bhawre, Roop Tera Mastana and Kora Kagaz Tha Ye Mann Mera were on everyones lips. These songs continued to be sung despite the absence of any publicity from FM radio, internet, tv channels only because of its merit and melody.

The movie Aradhana again was a double role stuff, wherein Rajesh Khanna played father and son as the movie panned two generations. Sharmila as the mother with greying hairs was as adorable as she was when she danced around in her youth, in the movie. The critics had written off the movie, but against all odds the movie became a huge hit. This was the biggest hit of  Shakti Films and one of the best movies of Shakti da. The way the story unfolded and the way he handled Rajesh and Sharmila was wonderful, and his contribution in music sessions with SDB and RDB is commendable.

After the super success of Aradhana, Shakti da made Pagla Kahin Ka in 1970 with Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh. I felt the movie had some traces of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, but was quite different. The title song of the movie became popular, Ashiq Hoon Ek Mehejabeen Ka, Log Kahe Mujhe Pagla Kahin Ka and Tum Mujhe Yu Bhula Na Paoge. The movie was quite forgettable though, coming from Shakti da. But his next movie, also in the same year, Kati Patang was a huge hit.

Shakti da worked again with Rajesh Khanna but this time the actress was Asha Parekh. It was made on a short story called I Married A Deadman by Cornell Woolrich. The movie was made in Hollywood not once but twice, first as No Man Of Her Own and then as Mrs.Winterbourne. Anyways, this fact notwithstanding, the movie was a good entertainer. Asha Parekh plays a widow and Rajesh Khanna plays a misogynist because his wife turned out to be a runaway bride. But Asha sparks love in his barren life and he falls for her. The songs of the movie are sweet and there is a song on every conceivable mood. A sad song Na Koi Umang Hai, a Holi song Aaj Na Chhodenge Bas Humjoli, a picnic song Ye Shaam Mastani, a cabaret number Mera Naam Shabnam, a romantic song Pyar Deewana Hota Hai.

The movie had its own sad moments and Shakti da captured sorrowness with as much expertise as he captured happiness and romantic moments. His next movie turned out to be more of a tear-jerker than romantic. In 1971, Shakti da made Amar Prem whuch had Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore. The movie was a remake of a Bengali movie Nishipadma which starred the superstar of Bengali movie industry, Uttam Kumar.

Amar Prem had a bold theme about society and people’s insensitive and apathetic attitude towards prostitutes. It highlighted how people abhor such acts and call it immoral by day, but revel in their pleasure by nights. Rajesh Khanna as Anand Babu finds peace, love and comfort in the company of Pushpa, played by Sharmila. And Rajesh Khanna’s dialogue ‘Pushpa…I hate tears‘ has become legendary. The movie boasted of really good songs like Raina Beeti Jaye, Bada Natkhat Hai Re Krishna Kanhaiya, Chingari Koi Bhadke, Ye Kya Hua and Kuchh To Log Kahenge.

All the songs were soulful and beautifully written by Anand Bakshi. Once Javed Akhtar had said that he would like to have the pen with which Anand Bakshi had penned the song Kuchh To Log Kahenge.

Shakti da’s next few movies were social dramas like Jaane Anjane, Anuraag and Charitraheen. While Jaane Anjane was a story about reforming a petty thief to live a respectful life, Charitraheen was about how a woman scorned in loved ends up becoming a victim of circumstance and takes to prostitution. The starcast of the movies were topnotch. Jaane Anjane had Shammi Kapoor and Vinod Khanna, Anuraag had Rajesh Khanna, Nutan and Ashok Kumar while Charitraheen had Sharmila Tagore and Sanjeev Kumar.

In 1974, Shakti da came up with Ajnabee where Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman were paired. The movie dealt with marital discord and the re-union of two hearts that love, but not without some suspense and a murder mystery.

Ajnabee had some really good songs like Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mei, Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se and Hum Dono Do Premi, the music was by RD Burman. The Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mei song was remixed by Leslie Lewis and Anupama Verma featured in the video, thereby giving it a new lease of life, people had forgotten about it.

The next year, 1975, saw the release of Amanush starring Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore. The movie was bilingual, in Hindi and Bengali and Uttam Kumar with the help of Sharmila and Shakti da did total justice to the character. The Bengali version was a mega success in WB, but the Hindi version did not do all that well. Kishore’s vocals, though, gave us a very haunting sad song which is sung time and again by us.

Utpal Dutt was seen in a rare negative role, but he was awesome in the movie as the conniving merchant.

Shakti da’s next movie in 1976 was a reincarnation story called Mehbooba. The movie starred Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini who play a singer and a courtesan in a palace. A tragic accident sends them down a valley, and how they are reincarnated years later. Since it was based on singer/courtesan it had to have good music by RD Burman with songs like Gori Tori Paijaniya sung by Manna Dey, Jamuna Kinare sung by Lata Mangeshkar and of course Mere Naina Saawan Bhadon sung by Kishore and Lata, in their own versions and not as a duet. This song formed the recurring theme of the movie as Rajesh was trying his hardest to help Hema recall their past birth.

After the success of Mehbooba, Shakti da made the movie Anurodh in 1977, continuing with the singing character of Rajesh Khanna where he sings for AIR and works as auto-mechanic as well. The movie also starred Vinod Mehra, Ashok Kumar and Simple Kapadia. The movie did not fare well at the box-office and interestingly enough, the reason given out was that Rajesh Khanna was married to Dimple in real life and in the movie he romanced Simple, this did not go down well with the audience. Anyways, the music was just about ok but lacked the punch of previous Shakti da’s movies. This time the music director were Laxmikant-Pyarelal, and two of their memorable songs were Aate Jaate Khoobsurat Awara Sadkon Pe and Aapke Anurodh Pe.

Anand Ashram was Shakti da’s next movie but was a disaster. It spoke of spiritual healing and starred Uttam Kumar. This disaster pushed him to come back with a blockbuster and so came The Great Gambler in 1979. Shakti da was back with another movie about double-role and look-alikes changing camps to get the roller-coaster going. Amitabh Bachchan played Jai and Vijay, one a cop and other a gambler; and the co-stars were Zeenat Aman and Neetu Singh. The movie was extensively shot outside India. Although the music was by RD Burman, just one song registered in the minds of everybody Do Lafzon Ki Hai.

Shakti da worked with Amitabh Bachchan again in Barsaat Ki Ek Raat in 1981. It was a simple story of a forest officer who marries a blind girl played by Rakhi, and how their life is shattered by Amjad Khan who harms his wife. Though the movie was very predictable, it mad e for a good watch. The movie was a bilingual, it was made in Bengali too.

The last time that Shakti da collaborated with Rajesh Khanna was in 1985, their 9th movie together was ironically titled Alag-Alag. The movie co-starred Tina Munim and had Bindu in a vamp role. RD Burman was back as the music director and Kishore sang some very good songs for the movie. Rajesh again played a singer, a street talent whom Bindu finds and wants to groom him for the movie industry.

Shakti da also went on to make some Bengali movies like Anyay Abichar, Debdas and Geetanjali. But he did not enjoy the great success that he had enjoyed through the 1970′s. Although his directorial capability was never in question, nor was his production of movies but the overall quality of movie writing had led to his downfall. Also, age was not on his side. So, he was unable to act with the same energy and vigour.

All these musicals point to the fact that he had a deep sense of music and understood it so well. Shakti da being the producer and director always must have had tough choices, whether to be honest to the movie as a director or become saleable because he was the producer as well. Its to his credit that he has handled movies of such varying themes. It really saddens to see such a poor response to the loss of such an eminent movie-maker. In fact, the last video-song Kabhi Bekasi Ne Maara is quite apt here, especially the second stanza. But let me also add that, whenever anyone sings a song from Shakti da’s movie they will be paying a tribute to him, his works.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2009 in bollywood, movies

 

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