Rajesh Khanna’s dinner was never over without Mithai & Paan

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 5, 2014 by manoharv2009

Bharati Dubey, TNN Jul 24, 2012, 02.10AM IST

MUMBAI: Rajesh Khanna always ended his dinner with a paan, which he would himself buy from his two favourite shops, either Mishra Paan Bhandar at Juhu or Paagal Paanwala on Turner Road.

The superstar’s friend for 11 years, Prakash Rohra, said, “He wanted paan after dinner and preferred to go and buy them himself. There were times when I would buy his paan from the Mishra shop in Juhu or we would drive to Turner Road where Paagal Paanwala is situated.”

Khanna’s usual was a Calcutta sada or sometimes, a magai paan. Manoj Yadav of Paagal Paanwala, where the actor would visit at least thrice a week at one point of time, said, “He stopped coming since last year. He usually came with friends in a red Zen and there used to be a lady with him. He would step out of the car and buy two paans, one he would eat there and the other he would get packed to take away. He would praise my paan.”

Like paan, Khanna had another favourite, without which his dinner would never be complete: sweets. Echoing Khanna’s co-actress Asha Parekh, Rohra said, “Khanna loved caramel custard and moong daal halwa. But he had stopped eating most sweets in the past year, he would have only the sugar-free ones. Once when I called him to say I was going to Allahabad, he asked me to bring back maathi (a sweet samosa) from there. I got specially made sugar-free samosas for him.”

His array of desserts was not restricted to the Indian varieties, ice creams occupying a top slot on his “cherish” list. He would often visit Natural Ice Creams on Hill Road. An attendant at the shop said the star liked the seasonal flavoured ones but Khanna’s alleged live-in partner, Anita Advani, maintained chocolate was his personal favourite. “We used to stand outside the shop and have ice creams,” she said.

And when it came to food, he would not stop at travelling all the way to Malshej Ghat near Pune, where he would Sushant Dhaba. “If we travelled to places like Shirdi, Kakaji liked to visit Sushant Dhaba for his food.” Another getaway that was popular with Khanna was Shangrila Resort in Kalyan. The resort marketing manager, Lenin Fernandes, said, “He liked staying in our Maharaja suite, which has a pool attached to it. He preferred staying indoors.” Rohra, who often booked the room for him, said, “When he would feel low and wanted to go out of the city, we would drive to this place and spend a couple of days there. We would drink and order a huge platter of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. But his day ended with a glass of cold milk. He would tell me, ‘Prakash, we drink, which causes acidity and milk is an antidote’.”

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Rajesh Khanna. Cloning. Confusion in Kazhak.

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna with tags on December 29, 2013 by manoharv2009

Rajesh Khanna in Kati Patang (1970)Image

Little did I know till recently that it was  Aradhana (1969) that changed our lives – though we were born 2 years after.We joined school in 1982 and most of us were late 1970 – early 72 born. Aradhana was released in 1969, and was reportedly an instant hit of Shri Khanna, and he was the first superstar. In what could be termed Aradhana effect, there was 6 namesakes of Shri Khanna in our batch. It was as if some one ordered half a dozen of us.

Rajesh Bhanu, MH Rajesh, Rajesh R, Rajesh M Menon and  Rajesh R Nath were the initial five and just as we heaved a breath, in darts Rajesh Nair from Kapurthala on transfer in 8th standard. To add confusion to our lives as Rajeshs, the first three went to same selection centre in 1989. The second two went to same institution/service/squadron/arm/course and even commanded the same units and the first two were together in staff course that too in the same class. Life was indeed fun and it got exponentially confusing. If the Persian poet knew of this today-he would say if there was a confusion on earth-it is this( three times sir! )

One can narrate a series of confusions and comparisons that ensued and that plague us till date. They came in myriad forms! It took an interesting crescendo when conduct and character report of one was rendered to the other prospective -in laws when we were of a marriageable age. Imagine a ride on someone else’s  reputation for life – I bet it isn’t easy! We continue to get erroneously debited and credited on each others accounts, thanks to Shri Khanna.1982 also wasn’t exactly information age at Kazhakootam. We took a lot of time to gather how many Rajeshs actually existed. Quickly we grasped how many were in our House. Just as one thought that was final, came a surprise from another division or house at the other end of the campus.

Gunguna Rahe Hain from Aradhana(1969)

It was also a bit like science we now know . Just when we thought we accounted every Rajesh, like Mr Higg’s Boson, a new Rajesh was suddenly discovered. Some left the orbit gathering escape velocity. However always a floating populace of Rajeshs that remained in the batch. I still can’t put a figure on how many finally remained in the batch and graduated without facing wrath of an affected Rajesh-let.

The collective wisdom of the class quickly figured out a simple way to deal with such confusions. They just ignored the first name. In our entire duration at school none of us were ever, ever addressed as ‘Rajesh’. What a waste of a charming name! We were instead addressed only by surnames and initials. Not a great idea when the surname is your fathers name, you are with your father and a bunch of twelve-year olds go screaming your father’s name devoid of traditional niceties. One had a lot of explaining to do back home.

As a secondary effect, seeing the wave of Rajeshs, our beloved Housemaster, obviously the one with with the largest number of Rajeshs in his kitty, sensed the good karma in the name and followed suit. He promptly named his son Rajesh. Thus yet another Rajesh blossomed in the campus.The man was wise. This Rajesh-of- the- secondary- effect went to win several medals and a sword of honor in his service, graduated from the IIT and is today a star amongst the flock. The name indeed possessed the requisite charm.

I heaved a sigh of relief when some time back I encountered a Rajesh Khanna in-the-full. Was even more relieved later when I came across an Amitabh Bachhan, Saddam Hussein and Kanu Sanyal – all from gods own Kerala! I also learned from TV that there were even triplets named Proton, Electron and Neutron too. I liked art over science. My parents were indeed kind to me. Growing up in the intellectual Kerala of the 80′s, I was also a trifle embarrassed with the filmy origins of my name. An Adoor Gopalakrishnan, a Mani Kaul or a John Abraham (not the current one with that swagger, please !) would’ve been okay. Even a more serious actor such as Satyan would’ve passed muster. Men in floral prints, large collars and bell bottoms who ran around trees or rode Yezdis tied up on flatbed trucks on the Mumbai-Pune highway was a little infra dig to me then. At least that’s what I thought Shri Khanna and his ilk did. Probably, I may be wrong.

Yezdi Classic

The Yezdi Classic

Much later I also went through an intense emotional turmoil whilst writing my daughter’s name in the application for her birth certificate. The dilemma was whether to add my original surname which my father had ceremonially dumped or add ‘Rajesh’ as a surname to her name. Not adept to taking decisions quickly I added Rajesh as her surname with a caveat that I will pass the buck for her to choose some day. True to my word, I recently asked the teenager if that was okay her. Genes indeed skip a generation,she quipped that ‘Menon’ as a surname sounds quite out of fashion and she would stick to her birth certificate.So Rajesh- the -first-name just got promoted instantly as Rajesh- the- surname, thanks to my twelve year old! Even Shri Jatin Arora’s uncle responsible for his change of name wouldn’t ever have imagined such a deal.

The family that I belonged to usually reserved names like Achuthan Kutty or ventured as far as a fashionable ‘Padmanabhan‘ or ‘Unnikrishnanan‘ for boys. For years I kept wondering why I was chosen for that first etymological adventure in the family. That was the easier one to solve with a Hindi movie buff uncle squarely to blame. However the reason for the flood of name sakes in ‘that’ year at school got resolved only recently.The death of our illustrious ‘namesake’ reinforced what I had guessed- It was indeed ‘Aradhana’.

Recently I was asked if the name charmed girls of my time. I wish it did. The fact is that, by then late Shri Khanna was past the prime time of Bollywood and his movies were relegated to prime time Doordarshan. In the era of the Khans it simply couldn’t match up. So the name alone never worked in that department. One had to work hard and add value to the brand! One thing is certain. I knew very little of my namesake and he was indeed a superstar – so super that six children – 10% of our initial batch size were named after him! I observed a similar percentage in the subsequent course I did. 3 out of 30 who graduated from the academy bore that name – 10% again. Now take a minute and imagine the elevation from name to surname- you can see a geometric progression ahead. That’s the power of that stardom.

Roop Tera Mastana from Aradhana (1969)

Any one who was named ‘Rajesh’ before us was done so by a visionary and after us was a tad too late. We remain the ‘asli namesakes‘. The ones who took the tide right ! May Shri Jatin Arora’s soul rest in peace. Our sincere condolences to the family. His name would continue to live on for ever. I wish I saw more of his movies and learned more of him when he was alive.

RIP Kaka.



The Original Superstar : Rajesh Khanna

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 22, 2013 by manoharv2009

rajesh-khanna-2-in-aradhana-sr335-small-400x400-imadhzcqgcy9mntg - Copy - Copy (8) - Copy - Copy

The Original Superstar: Rajesh Khanna
Rachel Dwyer  July 21, 2012 | UPDATED 15:43 IST
Rajesh Khanna
Rajesh Khanna in Aradhana (1969)

Rajesh Khanna, India’s first superstar, was adored by his fans for decades, but has never been given any academic recognition. Although he was the major star of the early 1970s, he was so eclipsed by Amitabh Bachchan’s hip and brooding persona that his role in the film industry has been neglected.

Rajesh Khanna was not cool. He was the nice middle-class boy who really did look as though he lived next door. He was good-looking rather than classically handsome, always slightly awkward in his tight safari suits, his hair a little stiff. But when Rajesh Khanna tilted his head, smiled and winked directly to the camera, his charm was overwhelming and women swooned. These well-rehearsed gestures seemed private rather than part of the public, nice boy persona, and seemed to speak directly and intimately to his fans. The combination of ordinariness and innocence with this knowing charm, was absolutely lethal. Who else could have made the audience convinced it was perfectly normal to live happily ever after with two wives, as he did at the end of Daag (Director: Yash Chopra, 1973)?

His characters were usually middle- or upper-middle class, but he often lacked the support of his family and seemed hurt and lost, in need of mothering. His despair was often angry, sometimes expressed through drunkenness and wonderful songs like ‘Yeh jo mohabbat’ in Kati Patang (Director: Shakti Samanta, 1970). Rajesh Khanna had some of the best songs of all time picturised on him, especially those of R.D. Burman sung by Kishore Kumar. Yet one of his finest performances as an actor was in Ittefaq (Director: Yash Chopra, 1969), a rare songless film where he plays a suspected murderer on the loose.

Aradhana (Director: Shakti Samanta, 1969), his first big Hindi film, had Rajesh Khanna in a double role with Sharmila Tagore as the heroine. It had one of the sexiest songs in Hindi cinema, ‘Roop tera mastana’ where the ‘bhool’ was inevitable, the song and the camera building up the tension as the couple looked at each other with boundless desire.

In the same movie, they played mother and son when Rajesh Khanna came back with his second role in the film. The tensions during the making of this classic must have been noteworthy, as Tagore went off to work with her mentor Satyajit Ray, while her scenes in ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’ were shot on another occasion to Rajesh Khanna’s, though none of it shows in the finished product.



The actor in his best lines

Main marne se pehle marna nahin chahta. Safar, 1970

Babumoshai, hum toh rangmanch ki kathputliyan hain jiski dor uss uparwale ke haathon mein hai. Kab, kaun, kaise uthega ye koi nahin jaanta. Anand, 1971

Pushpa, mujhse ye aansu nahi dekhe jaate, I hate tears. Amar Prem, 1972

Kisi badi khushi ke intezaar mein hum yeh chhote chhote khushiyoon ke mauke kho detey hain. Bawarchi, 1972

Iss ek glass mein ek majdoor ki ek mahiney ki roti hai aur parivar ki saans. Kabhi socha hai ki iss ek glass ko peetay hi hum ek parivar ko bhooka maar dete hai. Namak Haraam, 1973

Insaan ko dil de, jism de, dimaage de, lekin yeh kambakhht pet mat de, jab pet deta hai, toh usse bhookh mat de… Roti, 1974

Anand (Director: Hrishikesh Muk-herjee, 1971), in which he plays a cancer patient, is more a celebration of life than death, with its great songs and its motto: ‘Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahin’ (Life should be big, not long). This was the first ever pairing of Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bach-chan, which was followed by Namak Haraam, another Hrishikesh Muk-herjee film that was released in 1973.

Amar Prem (Director: Shakti Samanta, 1972) was based on the Bengali story Nishipadma by Bibhuti-bhushan Bandyopadhyay, whose Pather Panchali was adapted by Satyajit Ray. A girl sold to a brothel by her family finds love and family , with those whose own family lives are unhappy. Along with the song ‘Chingari koi bhadke’, Rajesh Khanna’s line: ‘Pushpa, I hate tears’, before he cries himself, is one of its best moments.

In many of his greatest roles, Rajesh Khanna is more than a romantic hero, as the films often focus on love in the context of wider family relationships while raising issues such as illness, trade unionism, prostitution, insanity, animal welfare, etc. Perhaps it is part of the lack of a serious critical assessment of his work and a vague recollection of his eclipse by Amitabh Bachchan that he is remembered almost exclusively as a romantic hero. His songs are some of the most romantic in Hindi film history but need to be contextualised within his wider work.

I first recall coming across Rajesh Khanna in the Man Alive documentary made in 1973. Jack Pizzey, in this relatively early documentary on the Hindi film industry, wants to interview Rajesh Khanna. Endless deferrals are followed by meaningless interviews, then clips of the numerous retakes of ‘Suno kaho kaha suna’ from Aap Ki Kasam (Director: Kamal Bhatnagar, 1974). The gossip queen, Devyani Chaubal, tries to interpret Rajesh Khanna to the baffled Pizzey.

Then, suddenly, the wedding of Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia is announced and Pizzey is invited and allowed to film, transforming his documentary, which begins somewhat patronisingly, into a gem for screen fans.

I often walked past Rajesh Khanna’s bungalow Aashirwad on Carter Road in Bandra, noting that it looked quite neglected, and wondered about him and the nature of Hindi film stardom. I admire him and his family for their dignified silence about personal matters, though was glad to learn they all came together at the end.

Rajesh Khanna deserves critical assessment in the context of the late 1960s and early 1970s, especially with regard to the image of the non-metropolitan male and the creation of stardom. No one who writes about Hindi films can ignore him.

Just recently, I presented a paper at Stanford University which contained much about my favourite film of his, Haathi Mere Saathi (Director: M.A. Thirumugham, 1971). The film queries boundaries between humans and animals, as Rajesh Khanna is the only person who respects and understands the devotion and love of animals.

Raju and his elephants are touched by the divine, as Ganesh himself guides them, responds to them and finally the loyal Ramu is worshipped by the family. Rajesh Khanna plays a victim of human cruelty and mistrust wonderfully in this film, which is not really a children’s movie but one which continues to inspire government action for the endangered animal. Yet another part of the legacy of this superstar.

RIP Rajesh Khanna: Pyaar ki duniya mein, khush rehna mere yaar.

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Aurat – 1967

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 18, 2013 by manoharv2009

Author Archives: padminifan
Aurat (1967)
November 4, 2012

Aurat is the remake of the successful tamil film Chitti (1966), played by Padmini. It was a female oriented film and the central character was played by Padmini, along with Pran, Rajesh khanna, Nazeema, Firoz Khan and Lalitha Pawar
The film tells about the suffering of a woman, Parvathi (Padmini) who was in charge of caring her mother and 7 siblings. She is the only earner of the house having 9 members. She wants her brother Suresh (Rajesh Khanna) to be a doctor. She also dreams of getting her mute sister (Revathi) married.

Parvathi was in love with a man (Firoz Khan). She agreed to marry him only after her brother’s studies were over.

Manoharilal (Pran), a widower and a rich man has 6 children and two siblings. He is a womanizer and he wants to marry a young lady, not for caring him and his family, but only for physical relationship. He is now in search for a woman and he arranges a broker for this purpose. The lady whom he wants to marry should have the following features:

“Her face should be as beautiful as Saira Banu,

From neck to hip, her figure should be like Helen,

Hip and walks like Vyjayanthimala

In Total effect she should be like PADMINI.”

Suresh is studying his final year. He needs to remit his fees. Parvathi seeked help from many people including her lover, but no one could help her.

While she returns home, she heard conversation between her brother and a marriage broker speaking about Manoharilal’s proposal to Parvathi. Even though the man is rich, Suresh and mother did not accept the proposal. But Parvathi agreed the proposal and asked the broker to bring him to a temple nearby on next day evening 5 pm. Suresh became very sad and told, “I know why you are marrying that old man. It is for us, for my studies, right? But there are many ways to get money to remit my fee. Sister you please stay back from the proposal. After I become a doctor, I will care my siblings”. But Parvathi don’t agree. She was worried that after he becomes a doctor and marries a girl, he could not care his siblings. But he promised that he will not marry or even fall in love till his siblings were all married.


Padmini and Rajesh Khanna

However Parvathi sacrificed her life and love. Next day she met Manoharilal at temple and made a condition that he should take care of her family and Suresh till he becomes a doctor. He promised to do so and thus Parvathi agreed to marry him.

When Manoharilal’s family heard the news, they were all worried and they were afraid about step mother’s war. Parvathi along with her brother relocated to Manoharilal’s house. Initially the family did not liked her, But later on when they came to know about Parvathi’s character, she was well accepted and became the part of the family. Now she is a caring mother all children of Manoharilal and a loving daughter in law for his mother (Lalitha Pawar).

Days passed, Love blossomed between Suresh and Asha (Nazeema), sister of Manoharilal. When Manoharilal comes to know about their relation, he threw Suresh from his house and stops the financial aid he provided to Parvathi’s family and Suresh’s education.

Suresh started working with brother of Manoharilal, who hates him, to earn money for his studies. Later on he gets financial support from Parvathi’s ex-lover who is now a rich man. It was Asha who managed to go to his hotel to buy money for her lover’s studies. People thought Asha as a prostitute, who earns money through dirty way as she frequently visits hotel and returns with hand full of money.


Pran and Padmini

Manoharilal arranges marriage for Asha. Bride groom visits her; He was shocked as he saw this girl in the hotel who makes money through dirty work. Immediately he told her family that she is a dirty girl. This shocks Parvathi. She beats Asha. But later she comes to know that Asha went hotel for borrowing money from Firoz Khan for Suresh. Suresh passed the final exam. Manoharilal realizes his mistake and gives Asha’s hand to Suresh. Parvathi was given a surprise by Firoz Khan as he married the mute sister. Everything ended successfully. Parvathi’s dream came true. She is now very happy.
One of the main attraction of the film is “dancing queen padmini learns to dance”.
Film was directed by S S Vasan and S S Balan. There were 4 songs in the film penned by Shakeel Badayuni and music by Ravi.

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Kudrat – 1981

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna with tags on December 15, 2013 by manoharv2009

Saturday, January 21, 2012





There are many different views regarding the number of basic plots possible in storytelling. Some say that there seven; a few argue that there could be twenty. An argument also claims that all kind of plots center on conflict (either internal or external), and in that sense there is only one basic plot in all stories. Whatever be the case, it leaves very little room for storytellers and film-makers to experiment. Or does it? The finest film-makers have, at times, taken the most mundane of stories and have presented them in such a novel manner that they have left the audiences spellbound. They have proven that though the plots may be limited, the possibilities are endless. And this is what essentially Chetan Anand did in his 1981 feature Kudrat starring Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini, Vinod Khanna, Raajkumar, and Priya Rajvansh in principal roles.


Kudrat is Chetan Anand’s intricate version of Madhumati set entirely in the serene locales of Shimla. It begins with Chandramukhi (Hema Malini) and her family returning to the place of her birth, Shimla, after twenty years. Even though the twenty years haven’t seen the twenty something Chandramukhi return to Shimla, she starts finding a lot of things about the city very familiar. Just two days into their stay, she meets Dr. Naresh Gupta (Vinod Khanna), a family friend, and they start dating all over the city. Just when things look like they couldn’t go any better, Chandramukhi runs into Mohan Kapoor, a city advocate who has the city’s richest man Choudhary Janak Singh (Rajkumar) for his guardian. Although Mohan Kapoor is a stranger to her, she feels a quaint pull towards him, as if they had been romantically involved at some point in their lives. For his part, even Mohan seems a bit perturbed when Chandramukhi is around him, despite having Choudhary Janak Singh’s daughter and his fiancée Karuna (Priya Rajvansh) with him. 

Over the next few days, Chandramukhi starts getting flashes of her past life triggered by her visiting the places she used to visit with Madho (Super Star Rajesh Khanna) in her previous birth. Not only this, she starts getting nightmares that leave her feeling utterly depressed and scared. To help her, Naresh, also a psychiatrist, decides to do a past life regression on her and through it he discovers that what Chandramukhi was claiming was absolutely the truth. She and Mohan Kapoor had been lovers in their past lives and had lived in the very city in which they were present at that point of time. He relays all this to Mohan Kapoor who refuses to believe the story. But soon, even he starts getting convinced about Chandramukhi’s claim. In fact, she makes him recall something more sinister. He and Paro (Chandramukhi in her previous birth) had been separated in their past lives because of a terrible crime. Paro had been raped and killed by an otherwise honorable man who turns out to be none other than Choudhary Janak Singh. What follows next is a riveting courtroom drama in which Mohan Kapoor accuses the most reputable man in Shimla (and also his beloved guardian) of a crime that he had committed twenty years ago. What adds more drama to the proceedings is that the man is defended by none other than his own daughter Karuna, who refuses to believe that her father could commit such a ghastly act.

Chetan Anand laces the screenplay with some brilliant sequences that are truly one of their kinds in Hindi cinema. The past life of the two actors is set in the pre-independence era when Shimla was the summer capital for the Britishers. The past-life regression is done very authentically and the way it has been shot is way ahead of its times. The entire court-room battle and the superb culmination are captivating, and in fact haunt you till much later after finishing the movie. Also, the scene of the crime and the subsequent few minutes, are shot in a style that is not usual for the Hindi cinema. The inherent drama in the script is accentuated by superbly designed situations and some wonderful dialogues. The performances by all the actors complement the brilliantly written screenplay. Hema Malini has the most complex role of all and she does well while looking absolutely gorgeous throughout the movie. Vinod Khanna and Rajesh Khanna are able, while Rajkumar is his usual flair and glory. Priya Rajvansh looks a misfit in the cast as despite the tons of make-up she looks far from the young lady she plays (But then she and Chetan Anand were romantically linked and he used to cast her in all his movies). Even Aruna Irani has a critical role which she performs well.

The entire feel of the movie is of melancholy and suspense. The setting is akin to an old English mystery drama- and rightly so for Shimla is indeed a Victorian town in many ways. What adds to the whole atmospherics is a wonderful tune by RD Burman, who is at his best in the movie. The tune which forms the song ‘Humein Tumse Pyaar Kitna’ comes more than once in the film and complements the soul of the story wonderfully well. The other memorable song in the enterprise is ‘Tune O Rangeele’ which is like a beautiful show-reel of both Shimla’s beauty and Paro and Madho’s romance. The other songs too are good, though not as fondly recalled.

Parting Note: Kudrat is an excellent suspense-mystery-reincarnation-drama movie that boasts of some remarkable sequences and some memorable songs. Although its story seems to be a homage to Madhumati, it has its own uniqueness and own charm which is a result of the brilliant screenplay and direction by Chetan Anand.
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Safar – 1970

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna with tags on December 15, 2013 by manoharv2009

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Safar (1970)

Safar is one of the famous Rajesh Khanna movies from his super-stardom phase. A musical drama that has philosophical undertones, it is one of those ‘it was good while it lasted’ kind of movies. The plot of the movie, directed by Asit Sen, is slightly reminiscent of another Rajesh Khanna classic Anand, with him playing the role of a man who remains jovial and level-headed despite being terminally ill. The major difference between Anand and this movie is that while the former focused on the idea of living your life to the fullest, this movie has romance at its forefront.
Avinash (Rajesh Khanna) is a college student who is more interested in bringing blank canvasses to life using his skill with the brush. There is a face that comes repeatedly in most of his paintings, and he soon discovers Neela (Sharmila Tagore) who shares a striking resemblance with that face. Neela is a diligent college student who aspires to become a successful surgeon. After an initial misunderstanding she treats Avinash to good health after he falls ill. They strike a delightful friendship that extends to Neela’s family comprising of her elder brother and his wife. This results in some of the most sparkling moments in the film, with a candid Avinash joyfully pulling the leg of Neela’s wannabe playwright brother. Soon this friendship translates into love, but fate has something else in store with Avinash soon realizing that he suffers from disease that cannot be cured. At the same time a rich businessman Kailash (Feroz Khanna) too falls in love with Neela, who is also the tuition teacher for his younger brother. When Avinash gets to know of this, he asks Neela to sacrifice their love and marry Kailash who promises a more secure future for her.

This entire premise is very similar to Shah Rukh Khan’s 2004 super-hit ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’. In fact it is hard to ignore the possibility that Karan Johar/ Nikhil Advani would have been inspired by Safar while writing their movie. And this is not it; the second half of the movie is structured in a way that is very reminiscent of another Shah Rukh Khan starrer from about the same period ‘Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam’, in which he had Salman Khan for company. After Neela gives in to Avinash’s plead and marries Kailash, there begins a family drama with Kailash suspecting his wife of infidelity with Avinash. He finds it very hard to accept their friendship (much like how SRK finds it tough to accept his wife’s companionship with Salman in HTHS).

In fact with such turn of events, the movie changes color dramatically and becomes more melodramatic with the earlier focus being relegated to the background. In fact the culmination of the movie is the most confused part of the movie. It ends on a philosophical note with Neela’s sacrifice coming to prominence. In fact this is one movie where the central focus shifts between three characters- from Avinash in the first half, to Kailash in the post intermission portion, and to Neela in the culmination. When I come to think of it, I find it difficult to remember any other such movie. To the credit of all the three actors playing these characters, they don’t let this aberration become too obvious through the strength of their performances.
Now for the point that I was waiting to make- the songs of this movie are simply delightful. Each and every song is a classic and is truly memorable. In fact, this movie can deserve the tag of a classic just on the strength of its musical score by Kalyanji-Anandji.

Parting with my favorite song from the movie.

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Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein – 1977

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna with tags on December 15, 2013 by manoharv2009

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein (1977)

A completely misleading poster of the movie- playing up the drunkard jilted-lover image of Rajesh Khanna, and glorying a five minute Jeetendra appearance. The movie is nothing like what this poster indicates. 
Five minutes into the movie, and you can make out it is a Gulzar film. This Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini film is though not directed by the maestro himself, but by Meraj, who was an assistant to the man in most his earlier directorial ventures. But everything- be it the dialogues or the treatment, or even the look given to the lead actors- looks straight out of the Gulzar school of film-making. That he has written the screenplay is just a part of this happy occurrence.

The story is set in a village, very much like the Jeetendra- Hema Malini starrer Khushboo that came just two years or so before this movie. But this time, instead of Jeetendra, the moustache is donned by (the then on the wane) superstar, who gets to play a meaty author (read Gulzar)-backed role. Ravi (Rajesh Khanna) is a city bred educated but unemployed youngster, who doesn’t lose his sense of humor and wit despite his many failures to secure a decent employment. A chance encounter leads him to the job of a dakiya (postman) in a nearby village, which he gladly accepts. In the village he soon gets around to doing his job with much sincerity and dedication. Within no time gets acquainted with most of the village folk- each of who have their own story to tell. These include a senile old lady who awaits the return of her son, a young widow who has lost her husband in the war- but has not lost the zest for living, and a young lady named Mohini (Hema Malini) who to Ravi’s pleasant surprise appears more than willing to strike a companionship. Soon Ravi and Mohini start meeting everyday and Ravi falls in love with her, completely oblivious to the fact that she has very little interest in him- the person, and most of her attention is reserved for Ravi- the postman. This is because Mohini expects a letter from her lover, an army-man, to reach her. Ravi’s pleasing ways and respectful manners lead her to confide in him her relationship with this soldier (Jeetendra in a guest appearance). This love story of hers completely shatters Ravi’s heart, who had genuinely felt that Mohini’s affections were a result of them drawing closer to one another with each passing day. But consoling himself, Ravi decides to go the city and look for this soldier who had not written to Mohini despite his many promises. When he returns, the news arrives that Mohini’s beloved is no more and has lost his life in the war. It then becomes his responsibility, being a postman, to break this news to Mohini…

Not unlike Khushboo, this story too looks like a chapter out of Malgudi Days with all its simple and unhurried appeal. The drama in the story is somewhat based on the fact that in those days very few village people could read and write their own letters- and the responsibility of the same then rested upon the village postman- who thus became an essential part of their lives. In that sense the village postman acted like a ‘social glue’, being a common element in all the villagers’ lives. Here the song ‘Dakiya Daak Laya’ reflects on pretty much the same sentiment. While the postman drama is the backdrop, the innocent love-story with all its uncertainty and apprehensions, is the motif in the movie. Ravi’s one sided love, and his expression of the same through his sketches (that are revealed at the end), is quite endearing. The most unique thing about the movie however, is that despite all its underlying tension; it retains a light-hearted spirit on the surface. There are many instances of humor, though like in all other Gulzar movies, they are quite understated. But quite unlike most of his films, the music score here is not too memorable with two of the songs being quite situational, and a forced nautanki dance number (picturised on Rekha) not being as fun as it should have.

Rajesh Khanna puts in an earnest act, and quite underplays his character for most parts. It is easy to make out that he was a very fine actor, and thus his fall from fame appears more baffling (though perhaps that had more to do with his off-screen issues). Hema Malini is effective, though it looks like she walked down straight from the sets to Khushboo to this movie. The supporting cast doesn’t have much to do here with Farida Jalal (another Khushboo connection), Asrani, Amjad Khan, and Master Raju being the most popular ones from the ensemble.

Parting Note: This movie is a sweet love-story that deserves a watch by all those who like such village themes. And when you add the fact that it is almost a lost Gulzar film, it becomes a must watch for his fans.

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