Archive for July, 2013

Kaka was a big superstar : Asha Parekh

Posted in Super Star Rajesh Khanna on July 14, 2013 by manoharv2009






Kaka was a big superstar: Asha Parekh

India Blooms News Service

Mumbai, July 18 (IBNS): Yesteryear actor Asha Parekh said Bollywood’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna, who died in Mumbai on Wednesday, was a ‘big’ superstar of the Indian film industry.

Khanna on Wednesday passed away in his Mumbai residence after battling with cancer. He was 69.

“He was a big, big superstar,” said Asha Parekh, who was Khanna’s co-actor in many films.

Remembering Khanna, Hema Malini said: “He was the best at his time.”

Actor Shabana Azmi called Khanna the ‘darling’ of Bollywood.

“He was the darling of Indian cinema. It was an amazing phenomenon that Rajesh Khanna had created,” said Shabana.

Actor Moushumi Chatterjee said: “I am so shocked hearing the news.i do not know how to react.”

Filmmaker Subhash Ghai said Khanna was an ‘inspiring’ person and had exceptional energy.

“I know Kaka (Rajesh Khanna) for a long time. He was very inspiring. He had an exceptional energy,” Ghai said.

“I don’t think anybody has enjoyed superstardom as Rajesh Khanna did in his prime days,” he said.

Actor Prem Chopra said: “Rajesh Khanna was a very dear friend of mine. He was a great guy to work with. He was the real superstar of that era.”

Actor Om Puri said: “He has made amazing contribution to the film industry. He has inspired many many actors.”

Actor turned politician Raj Babbar said: “He is the superstar and will remain the superstar forever. His films will continue to inspire generations to come.”

Veteran actor Manoj Kumar said: “Rajesh Khanna was one of his own kind. I remember youngsters going hysterical seeing him on the screen. He will never be forgotten.”

Actor Satish Shah said Khanna was an ‘icon’ to him.

“He has been a super icon for me,” Shah said.

According to reports, the superstar’s last rites will be performed at 11 am on Thursday.

Khanna gave India several memorable films that included ‘Kati Patang’, ‘Amar Prem’, ‘Shehzada’, ‘Apna Desh’, ‘Mere Jeevan Saathi’, ‘Aap Ki Kasam’, ‘Ajnabee’, ‘Namak Haraam’, ‘Maha Chor’, ‘Karm’, ‘Phir Wohi Raat’, ‘Aanchal’, ‘Kudrat’, ‘Ashanti’, ‘Agar Tum Na Hote’, ‘Awaaz, Hum Dono’ , ‘Anand’ and ‘Alag Alag’.

Pertinently, he had 15 consecutive solo superhits between 1969 to 1971, which is still an unbroken record in Indian film history.





Super Star Rajesh Khanna: The Death of Romance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 3, 2013 by manoharv2009

Rajesh Khanna: The Death of RomanceImage

Last updated on: July 19, 2012 10:54 IST
Rajesh Khanna’s demise marks the passing of a gentler, more romantic era. For today’s generation, bred on cinematic blood, gore and violence, it sounds a warning bell, says Sheela Bhatt.It was not just the prince of romance who died yesterday.Many of us who are in their late forties and fifties today mourn the passing of an iconic superstar, but we are not prepared to write his obituary. You don’t put a full-stop to your romantic past.

Those of you who flock to see Singham may not appreciate the beautiful emotions that flooded our hearts when we saw a blushing Sharmila Tagore at the window of a moving train, stealing coy glances at a debonair Rajesh Khanna, driving alongside leisurely in a jeep. The fact that he was singing Mere sapno ki rani kab aayegi tu, with an irresistible smile and that unforgettable twinkle in his eye, only made our hearts beat faster.

If you who were in college in the seventies, and had happily bunked class to watch, or re-watch, the latest Rajesh Khanna blockbuster, you will know exactly what I mean.

To enter the theatre to watch a Rajesh Khanna film was to enter an incredibly romantic world. As we sat in the dark and saw him tell Sharmila in Amar Prem, “Pushpa, mujhse yeh aansu nahin dekhe jate hai. I hate tears,” our eyes would moisten, and our heartbeats would quicken.

So many of us wanted to marry him.

There were frequent reports in the newspapers of teenagers writing letters to Rajesh Khanna with their blood and not knowing how to send it across.

That hero, who walked in so easily into our tender young hearts from the large screen of the movie theatre was so romantic, so fulsome and so ‘dreamy’ that leaving that illusory world to return to reality was invariably depressing.

Millions of lovelorn hearts shattered across India when the superstar married Dimple Kapadia but, in a strange way, it reinforced our impression of Rajesh Khanna as the ultimate romantic. We continued to hide his photograph from Andaz in our text books.

That one picture carried such magic that our youthful lives got a well-deserved break from the problems that were part and parcel of becoming an adult. Three cheers to that photo, where Rajesh Khanna peeped over his sunglasses with a mischievous smile on his lips and romance in his eyes. None of us were able to resist him.

Rajesh Khanna was born to woo women!

In today’s world, where films like Shanghai rule, it is difficult to explain the innocence that was woven into the romance of Hindi films then. Tragically, innocence has become an abuse now.

For those of us who lived through the Rajesh Khanna era, it is astounding to see teenagers drooling over the bloody, gory violence displayed in the new genre of Hindi films. At their age, we were thrilled to see Rajesh Khanna flirt with Sharmila Tagore or Hema Malini or Mumtaz.

I recently saw the movie Gangs of Wasseypur at the PVR cinema in Saket, New Delhi. The audience, which was overwhelmingly young, was cheering and applauding the dialogues, which were outright anti-women and full of ethnic abuses.

In the early part of the film, a powerful politician ridicules a weaker character and the watching public applauds his abusive statements. The humiliation of the weak did not seem to touch a discordant chord in the viewer.

My generation is a product of the Rajesh Khanna era. We don’t applaud the ‘jungle raj‘ even though it exists around us.

Violence is, admittedly a part of human nature, but how can it be cool or sexy or normal in the way that is depicted in recent Hindi films that have grossed Rs 100 crore and more?

How can you appreciate abuses that demean your mother and sister?

Our heart and souls ached when, as youngsters, we saw Rajesh Khanna’s heart-breaking dependence on Waheeda Rahman in Khamoshi or Sharmila Tagore’s silent agony, caused by her love for Rajesh Khanna, in Safar.

For someone used to that kind of cinema, it was stunning to see Gangs of Wasseypur. The intelligent but cunning use of violence in the film is frightening. How can you package violence for mass exhibition and make it appealing enough to earn applause in darkened theatres?

I do agree that the excess of sweet nothings that personified the romantic era of Hindi films needed a strong dose of realism. That is why it did not come as a surprise when the angry young man, in the form of Amitabh Bachchan, arose to combat the excessive romanticism that Rajesh Khanna excelled in.

In some corner of Mumbai, the writer duo of Javed Akhtar and Salim Khan must have hated Hindi cinema’s unreal world of romance; they plotted their revenge by creating Inspector Vijay.

As India changed, corruption increased; the black money-backed economy flourished and the chasm between the poor and rich became deeper and wider than ever before. Injustice and suffering increased as wealth was increasingly concentrated in a few hands.

Sooner or later, this angst was going to be reflected in the movies.

But today’s genre of Hindi films package violence, cynicism and unreal depiction of realism under the garb of realism. A very dabbang ploy to make money; a bilkul rowdy act, I’d say!

The overtly sexy, earthy and tight scripts of the new Gangs of Bollywood are nothing but a ploy to mint crores through excellent marketing of violence.

If you watch Shanghai, Gangs of Wasseypur and other films in this genre, you will become insensitive to violence. You will stop feeling stunned at the emotions, or greed, that leads us to kill fellow humans. Instead, when someone is killed, you will clap.

In the Rajesh Khanna era, you saw films for the sheer joy of romance. If you wanted a dose of reality, you saw films by Shyam Benegal or regional films made by regional geniuses in a similar genre. That is how you understood violence and understood how to hate it.

But in Delhi’s popular PVR theatre, the young crowd was applauding the blood and the violent language that assaulted them from the screen.

In a land that boasts of an epic romance like Kalidas’s Meghdoot, sensual, subtle romance does not come as a surprise.

When you are young, when your heart and mind are tender and you look forward to the beautiful unfolding of your life, why would you want to see a gruesome scene where a havaldar (policeman) goes to the town dumpyard to find the fingers of a murdered man?

The havaldar lifts the human fingers but is not allowed to collect it as evidence by the local mafia leader. When your bones are yet to acquire critical mass, why see so much blood, folks?

Nobody is arguing that realism, and the depiction of India’s unsavoury underbelly, should not be recorded in the movies at a time when the country is proving itself insensitive to injustice, poverty and exploitation of all kinds of minorities. But don’t let this new breed of marketeers make a fool of you by selling violence of the mafia and the buffoonery of dabbangs in exchange for a ticket that costs anywhere between Rs 300-Rs 500!

Who doesn’t need the romance of Amar Prem, or the celebration of eternal life seen in Anand?

Let’s bring back the Rajesh Khanna era; please, don’t write his obituary just yet!

Sheela Bhatt

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The Kaka (Super Star Rajesh Khanna) – Pheeko connection

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3, 2013 by manoharv2009

The Kaka – Pheeko connection


By Achal Rangaswamy




Mohd Rafi Sahab and Rakesh Khanna

Mohd Rafi Sahab and Rakesh Khanna


A slim, almost impoverished looking young man, albeit with a twinkle in his eye and a charming smile, wooed his lesser known heroine in a low-budget film. The film would go on to be sent to various film festivals, become known as the first film in which Bhupendra sang a solo, but most people would not remember it as the first film in which the winner of a major talent hunt would be playing the hero.


Jatin Khanna, now rechristened as Rajesh Khanna wooed Chand Usmani, who would later go on to play either sister to heroes in B grade films or maybe the mujre wali in B- grade films. But the song that was chosen for this occasion was hauntingly beautiful.  The hero urges the lady to stay on, by singing “ aur kuchh der thaher aur kuchh der na ja….”. The song was rendered flawlessly.


The film was Aakhri Khat. And thus began the less talked about but rather interesting relationship between someone who was to go on to become The Phenomenon and someone who was already being worshipped as the greatest male playback singer in Hindi Film Music history.

Rajesh Khanna, the man who went on to deliver 15 super duper hits in a row in a span of 3 years, would most certainly have attributed his meteoric success to  his own acting prowess, his own style of dancing, his innovative dialogue delivery and those mannerisms that only he could carry off with aplomb. But he definitely knew as did music director Rahul Dev Burman that there was another person responsible for this huge success- the mercurial Kishore Kumar. The two struck up such a chord that the whole country hummed their successful song after successful song.


Whether it was Amar Prem, or Kati Patang, or Mere Jeevan Saathi, it was Kishore Kumar singing for  Rajesh Khanna, all the way. Well, almost.  Because the more discerning and more impartial observer would have something else to say.


That there was a voice that also suited this new hero very well. And that voice was Mohammed Rafi’s.  And that this great singer also most definitely enhanced the superstar’s career and popularity with his great rendering of solos and duets for the actor who had taken the film world by storm.


Aakhri Khat was followed by Raaz and the melodiously haunting Akele Hain Chaley Aao had Rajesh Khanna year for Babita’s company. The song used to play late at nights on transistors across the barsaatis in New Delhi where I was growing up. I used to go to sleep listening to this song on so many nights.


Aaradhana was the watershed moment in Hindi film song history. Everybody knows that R D Burman had his way when an ailing father Sachin Dev asked him to step in and complete the musical score for the film. The fact that two songs- Gunguna rahein hain bhanvre and Baaghon mein bahaar hai had already been recorded in Rafi Saab’s voice meant nothing to RDB who went on to record the chartbusting Roop Tera Mastana and the almost equally successful  Kora kaagaz thaa yeh man mera.  But music lovers will always maintain that each song was worth its weight in gold, and no song was less than the other, since the mood was different in each one of them.


RDB continued to sideline Rafi Saab, who only a few years back had delivered thundering and thundering hit in the Shammi Kapoor  grosser Teesri  Manzil  and the musical Pyaar Ka Mausam for Shashi Kapoor.


But coming back to Rajesh Khanna. He almost made sure there was no trace of Rafi in Kati Patang or Amar Prem, both  films made famous by their  very popular  songs.  But Rajesh Khanna couldn’t have ignored the strong presence of  Rafi Saab and his powerful voice in the romantic musical Mehbood Ki Mehndi.  Whether rendering Yeh Jo Chilman Hai or playing the male voice in the duet Itna toh yaad hai mujhe, Rafi Saab made a great impact and Rajesh Khanna would definitely have agreed that the male voice added to make the film a bit more memorable.  The song Pasand aa gayi hai ek kafir haseena was perfectly designed for this actor.


Haathi mere Saathi had quite a few Kishore numbers , but listeners would always root for Nafrat ki duniya ko chhodke pyaar ki duniya mein as the true heart stopper in the film. Pathos laden and sung truly from the heart, the song left many viewers of the film in tears as they trooped out after the last scene where the loyal elephant gives its life to protect its owner’s child.


Chhoti Bahu had Kishore draw applause for He Re Kanhaiya, but Rafi Saab stole the show with Yeh Raat hai pyaasi pyaasi. One of the most romantic songs composed for him by the Kalyanji-Anandji duo.


Only a few months before this had Rafi Saab team up with Lata Mangeshkar to deliver the foot tapping Yun hi tum mujhse baat karti ho in the film Sachha Jhoota where Kishore had already got the masses and bands belting out Meri Pyaari Behaniya.


Do Raaste was perhaps Lata Mangeshkar’s playground thanks to Bindiya Chamkegi, but the endearing and awesomely song of praise Yeh Reshmi Zulfein Yeh sharbati Aankhen was to prove once again that Rafi Saab’s voice was no less suitable for the fast rising star on the Indian Film Screen horizon. He teamed up again with Lata to give a song that youngsters those days, and I remember those days very clearly, would sing at every Antaakshari–  Chhup Gaye Saare Nazaare Oye kya baat ho gayi. I always used to admire the way the lines teri chunari leharaai barsaat ho gayi, with special emphasis on the word Barsaat !


In between a mock drunken scene by Rajesh Khanna to tease Babita in Doli had the Asha-Rafi duet Sajna Saath Nibhaana where Rafi Saab beautifully rendered the lines Kisne Saath Nibhaaya, dil ko ek khilona samjha , khela aur thukraaya.


The songs he sang for Rajesh Khanna were not few and far between. It was just that the hero was doing a large number of films, practically spending his entire day on one set or the other. And most of his films were full of great music and tuneful melodies.  And there was no doubt that he always had a soft corner for Kishore Kumar. Maybe he was superstitious and thought that the singer brought him luck.


I wouldn’t be surprised that the singer himself may not have been thinking the same way, that the actor had brought him luck and had actually revived his temporarily sagging career.


Kishore Kumar may have sought Lata’s permission to meet again in Aan Milo Sajna with Accha toh Hum Chalte Hain, but the birthday song and the ultimate gift was brought by Rafi Saab in the form of Koi Nazarana lekar aaya hoon man deewana tere liye. A truly gifted song. Not to be left behind with just one solo, Rafi Saab sang the title song, Ab Aan milo sajna with Lataji, a terrific dance number in true J Om Prakash style and size.


And who can forget the  way The Train starts- with Gulaabi Aankhen with Rajesh wooing Nanda right from the first frame of the film. Incidentally another RDB hit. I always wondered why RDB never thought much of Rafi Saab. Strange when you listen to the truly romantic Mujhse bhala yeh kaajal tera….nee soniye.


By the time we complete the list of songs Rafi Saab sang for the superstar it becomes evident. The quantity factor may have weighed heavily in favour of KK, but there was no dearth of quality in the numbers Rafi Saab rendered.


Even the Churiyan chal teir matwali chal pe from Dharam Kanta or the songs he sang in Shehzada  or  Humshakal were hummable.  KK may have got the more musical hum tum gumsum raat Milan ki, but Rafi Saab did great justice to Kahe ko bulaaya, where he playfully handles the lines Radha ne yehi poocha thaa ek din roothkar shyam se, marvelous rendering.


Anand babu, Avinash, Flt lt Arun, Anand Sehgal the cancer patient, Raju the circus owner, all these characters charmed us to tears and laughter and appreciation. But the man who was the heartthrob of millions is no more.


He must be sitting upstairs there with his two voices.  And they must be laughing together saying- wahaan neeche log ladte rahenge ke kisne zyaada achha gaaya. Humne toh khoob mazaa liya.


And I am sure that RK and KK would have coaxed and cajoled Rafi Saab to sing another romantic song, even if it was from a forgettable film- and  Rafi Saab would have smiled and obliged with Ek Khoobsurat Ladki mujhe raat ko mili thi……….ending the song with the soft soft lines Woh so rahi thi….Hai !!!!!


RIP Mr Khanna. You were truly the phenomenon.


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The Kaka – Pheeko connection