In Memoriam Rajesh Khanna : Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli , Hai!


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 24 , 2012           01.15 A.M.

Dara Singh died on July 12 , 2012 . Within a week another luminary of the Hindi film industry bid adieu to this world . Rajesh Khanna died on July 18 , 2012 .

In Glass Casket

In Glass Casket

Akshay Kumar with the Dead Body In Glass Casket

Akshay Kumar with the Dead Body In Glass Casket

Let me state honestly . I am not his fan . In fact I was never ever a fan or admirer of Rajesh Khanna , the actor or the man . Though I have watched many of his films . I do admire some of his cult films . I definitely remember and hummed many of his iconic songs . I am very much aware of his stupendous super stardom , which , once upon a time , engulfed the film industry like a hurricane or tornado or tsunami . I am witness to those years when every star  was dwarfed in front of him . I am well aware of  those momentous days when everyone or everything became insignificant in his presence . His blitzkrieg darkened all the other objects . His tumultuous rise momentarily eclipsed all the other stars and consigned some of the mightiest stars into the trash bin of history . I am witness to those days . I was living in that era . I am privy to those happenings . In 1972 I was here in Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . I have seen the crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad . I have witnessed the fan adulation . But still , I was not his fan or admirer .

But I was saddened beyond words when I heard the news of his demise . My wife , again not his fan , cried profusely when she watched his funeral procession . So the question arises , what happened to us ? Why we felt for Rajesh Khanna so deeply ? Is it not enigmatic ? Is it not ironical ? No , it is not . Just watch these pictures posted below and notice the horrific changes in his personality down the years and you will fully understand the reason of our empathy .

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From a dashing , charming young superstar to a pale shadow of his own self , these photos tell us a very tragic and pathetic story . For present day generation of movie – goers , his popularity during his heydays is unknown and unimaginable . I am presenting some of the milestones of his life’s journey one by one .

Aakhri Khat

Aakhri Khat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1966 : Made debut with ” Aakhri Khat ” .

1967 : Made his mark with ” Raaz ” .

1969 : Attained Super stardom with ” Aaradhana ”

1969 : ” Bandhan ”

1969 : ” Do Raste ”

1969 : ” Doli ”

1969 : ” Khamoshi ”

1969 : ” Ittefaq ”

[ 6 super hits in 1969 ]

1970 : ” Aan Milo Sajna

1970 : ” Safar ”

1970 : ” Kati Patang ”

1970 : ” The Train ”

1970 : ” Sachcha Jhootha ”

[ 5 super hits in 1970 ]

1971 : ” Anand ”

1971 : ” Haathi Mere Saathi

1971 : ” Dushman ”

1971 : ” Mehboob Ki Mehndi

[ 4 super hits in 1971 ]

1972 : ” Amar Prem ”

1972 : ” Apna Desh ”

[ 2 super hits in 1972 ]

Within 3 years of making his debut , he attained unimaginable , unheard of and unprecedented super stardom in 1969 with ” Aradhana “ and gave 15 consecutive super hits till 1972 , a record still unbroken . ” Daag ” [ 1973 ] and  ” Namak Haraam ” [ 1973 ] were also big hits . But 1973 was a watershed moment in his career . He was eclipsed by Amitabh Bachchan in ” Namak Haraam “ . Amitabh Bachchan’s career defining film ” Zanjeer “ also came in 1973 . And thus began the well – known downward slide of mighty Super Star Rajesh Khanna .

Alarmed by his waning popularity , he married much younger Dimple Kapadia and made headlines temporarily.

Though in 1974 he gave 2 super hits like ;Aap Ki Kasamand ” Roti “ but the slide was visible and evident . The era now clearly belonged to Amitabh Bachchan , who once played second fiddle to him in super hit , iconic cult films like ; ” Anand ” and ” Namak Haraam ” .

Poster of Anand

Poster of Anand

Poster of Namak Haraam

Poster of Namak Haraam

Poster of these two films can give you Amitabh Bachchan’s position in the industry in those days vis-a-vis Rajesh Khanna . But alas , the cruel hands of fate had started writing some unknown and inglorious chapters of his life with indelible ink .

In 1975 Amitabh Bachchan gave ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay ” . Rajesh Khanna’s mentor and lucky mascot Shakti Samanta made ” Mehbooba ” [ 1975 ] . ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay “ were super hits and became ageless cult classics . While ” Mehbooba “ was a resounding flop and sealed Rajesh Khanna’s fate finally. After 8 years gap and some insignificant films in between , in 1983 , he again came with 2 mega hits like ; ” Avatar ” and ” Soutan “ but the magic was missing . Even these massive hits could not salvage his lost position in the industry . His turbulent career affected his personal life also . In 1984 came the tragic separation from Dimple Kapadia .

From 1983 [ his last hits ] to 2012 [ his death ] ,  29 years of his eventless , colourless career and lonely personal life proved fatal for him . It is regrettable and cruel irony that a c-grade movie ” Wafaa ” [ 2010 ] is his last film .

In between he dabbled in TV also . In total he worked in 4 TV serials . ” Apne Paraye [ B4U TV – 2001 ] , ” Ittefaq ” [ Zee TV – 2002 ] , ” Bhabhima ” [ 2008 ] andRaghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi ” [ DD 1 – 2008 ] . But none could touch the popularity of Amitabh Bachchan’s ” Kaun Banega Crorepati ” [ Star Plus – 2000] .

It is a well-known secret that the title superstar was coined for him by his publicists ; Devyani Chaubal and K. Razdan . But the mass hysteria which he generated in those days and that too without the help of internet , twitter and facebook , is unimaginable , unfathomable and still unattainable . It is regrettable that his stardom or superstardom lasted just for 4 years . 15 successive super hits in a row and then 7 consecutive super flops in a row defines Rajesh Khanna’s strange film career . Compare his 4 year tenure with other stars :

DEV ANAND : 65 Years [ 1946 Hum Ek Hain – 2011 Chargesheet ]

ASHOK KUMAR : 61 Years [ 1936 Jeevan Naiya – 1997 Aankhon Me Tum Ho ]

DILIP KUMAR : 54 Years [ 1944 Jwar Bhata – 1998 Qila ]

AMITABH BACHCHAN : 40 Years [ 1973 Zanjeer – 2012 Bol Bachchan ]

Stars of this generation SHAH RUKH KHAN , SALMAN KHAN and AAMIR KHAN are reigning kings even after almost 20 years . HRITIK ROSHAN has 12 years of stardom behind him . Even DARA SINGH survived for 45 years [ 1962 King Kong – 2007 Jab We Met ] . But alas ! Rajesh Khanna vanished from the stardom and was banished from the film industry just after 4 years . Though he did 165 films and played solo lead in 107 films but was forgotten by the masses and ignored by the friends and the same film industry , which once said , ” Upar aaqa ; neeche Kaka .”

It is sad . It is heart – wrenching . People say many things about him . I , myself know many stories about him , which are said to be the cause of his downfall . But I don’t want to write those stories after his death . After all he was human and to err is human . Just re – think about some facts of his life . He debuted when he was 24 . He attained superstardom when he was 27 and lost his empire when he was just 31 . After that , till his death , it was 38 year – long wait for regaining his lost empire . It was 38 year – long wait for The Knock at his door by any producer or director . It was 38 year – long wait for the crowd to assemble again at his doorstep . It was 38 year – long wait for the same mass – hysteria , same mass adulation which was once his right and he thought it was his birth right  .

Mass hysteria , mass adulation did happen again but alas , it happened only after his death . See these pictures of his funeral procession and then watch the  crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad and you will be able to feel the irony of fate . I wish , this attention should have happened a year before ……….. or a week before ……… or even a day before ………… he would have died a happy and contented man . But strange are the ways of destiny.

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

I agree , he did make some mistakes . He did err like a human and for that mistake , for that error destiny punished him with all its might , with all its ferocity , with all its lethal cruelty . He , for his mistakes , never got same benevolence by destiny , which others easily got for their sins . Fate was condescending to others , not to him .

He was like quintessential Greek tragic hero . You can only feel sorry for him . You can empathise with him . And you could hum his memorable song …. zindagi kaisi hai paheli , hai ; kabhi ye hasaye , kabhi ye rulaye ……. Ek din sapno ka rahi , chala jaye sapno se aage kahan ………..

Phenomenon , known as Rajesh Khanna , regained some of his glory once again but alas , only after his death . He had gone forever and had gone even beyond his dreams .

As I finish my blog , I feel , I must express my admiration and gratitude to his son in  law Akshay Kumar and his long – time friend Anju Mahendru , who took every care to give him comfort during his last days . Though it seems futile , but still , it was because of them that a befitting funeral could be arranged for this forgotten phenomenon , fallen Super Star and a lonely icon , who once ruled supreme . Thank you Mr. Akshay Kumar , thank you Madam Anju Mahendru , I bow my head in gratitude ! May God bless you two !

My heart also goes for Rinke Khanna , my student , who was very close and was very much attached to her father .

If I could feel so much without being his fan or admirer , then you can imagine the pain and pathos of his fans and near and dear ones .

Rest In Peace Sir ! Destiny was cruel to you . Better luck in next life .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

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60 Years of Screen : A News Paper of Indian Cinema


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           January  01 , 2012           01.20 A.M.

Screen weekly completed 60 years in 2011 . I share my birth year with this film weekly . In fact ” Screen “ is few months senior .

Hindi film industry fascinates and lures numerous people from every walk of life . The pull and attraction are so strong that you have to be the Indian or Indian diaspora to believe this .

This syndrome was not different for me also . I was attracted to the film world since my early childhood . I still remember my fascination and that too very vividly .

 

Location of Deoria district in Uttar Pradesh

Location of Deoria in Uttar Pradesh

I started watching films regularly after completing High School . It was in 1967 . Deoria , my home town in Uttar Pradesh had 2 cinema halls ; Amarjyoti and Vijay . After examination , I watched ” Ganga Jumna “ , a Dilip Kumar Film , in the Amarjyoti Talkies and I was hooked . Before that I had watched some films but that was a sporadic , spur of the moment kind of behaviour . I had watched Dev Anand‘s ” Dushman “ , Ashok Kumar’s ” Bahu Beti “ and Rajendra Kumar‘s ” Sasural “ . V. Shantaram‘s ” Mausi “ was also a favourite . In those days of my infancy , every film was my favourite and I became curious and wanted to know more and more about the stars .

I started subscribing various film magazines and one day , while I was searching for a magazine at the news paper stand of Deoria Railway Station , I saw ” Screen “ . It was broad – sheet paper and had several photographs . Its price was 4 annas [ 25 Paise ] . It was published from Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . Though it was in black & white still photographs mesmerized me . I bought the paper , brought it home and read it at one go from top to bottom and from first page to the last page . And thus began a life long association , which still continues . Ali’s Notes , column of Mr. Ali Peter John , was my favourite .

During all these long years ” Screen “ had changed its format several times . From 25 paise in 1967 to INR 10.00 in 2011 , it is now a bit costly . Later on it became partly coloured along with black & white avatar . Then it became fully coloured . From broad – sheet to tabloid , then back to broad – sheet and now again in the form of tabloid , coloured ” Screen “ also changed many times . Style and font of mast – head ” Screen “ also changed couple of times . Though Hindi ” Screen ” was also started , but it was a non – starter from day one .

I think now it has taken final shape in its tabloid avatar .

I used to love its front page photos . Front page photo in ” Screen “ was like a barometer of popularity of a star . They used to feel as if they have arrived if they appeared on the cover of the latest ” Screen ” . It is still the same .The euphoria of being on the cover page of ” Screen “ is undiminished even after 60 long years .

As I have stated that I used to read ” Screen “ when it was a broad – sheet paper and used to be black & white . I know its reputation , which is untarnished even today . Naturally I was very happy when a small news came in ” Screen “ about me . It was about myself and Katrina Kaif , whom I was training at that time  . I am giving the link :

! – First article about me in ” Screen ”  was published in the May 21 , 2010 issue : http://bit.ly/dmi5FN

2 – Second article about me in ” Screen “ was published in the  December 02 – 08 , 2011 issue . http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Actors–Laboratory/875287/

[ This link is about the article in Indian Express . Same was re – printed in Screen .  Screen and Indian Express are sister publications .]

 

The Indian Express

Indian Express

I was so happy that finally , when I am 60 and ” Screen “ is also 60 , a big article about me was published this year . It’s like a culmination of my 44 year-long association with the paper , which started in 1967 .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

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Incredible DEV ANAND SAHAB : The Immortal Mortal


With Dev Anand in His Office

With DEV ANAND SAHAB in HIS Office

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA            DECEMBER 07 , 2011           10.30 P.M.

On December 04 , 2011 , I woke up as usual in the morning imagining a lazy Sunday and as per my habit picked up my BlackBerry to check BBM messages . I opened the page and got a shock of my life , which I won’t be able to forget ever . There was a posting by Mr. Arsh Jaikrishan :

” THE EVERGREEN HERO OF THE FILM INDUSTRY PASSES AWAY , WE LOSE DEV ANAND JI TO A HEART ATTACK IN LONDON , IN THE EARLY HOURS , RIP DEV SAAB , THANK YOU FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL CINEMA , ZEST & ENTHUSIASM , GOD BLESS ! “

I was shocked beyond belief . I conveyed this message to my wife and she almost shrieked in dismay . I rushed to my TV set and saw the news . I kept on changing channels in hope that may be some will say that the news of the sad demise of  DEV ANAND SAHAB is not true . But ……… alas !

For me DEV ANAND SAHAB was immortal . I thought that he will always be there in this world . At least I will be watching HIM throughout my life . Anyhow HE will outlive me . It was a belief . I won’t be able to give any reason for my belief but the thought of the immortality of DEV ANAND SAHAB was ingrained in my psyche .

So when I knew that HE was in London for medical check up , it was beyond comprehension .

DEV ANAND and hospitals , don’t sink in the psyche .

DEV ANAND and doctors , don’t go together in mind .

DEV ANAND and illness , don’t go together .

DEV ANAND and death , don’t and can’t co – exist .

Even incapacitated and bed – ridden DEV ANAND is beyond imagination . This image doesn’t exist in the galaxy .

So news of his demise is still not sinking in . I am feeling , even today , that HE just vanished from this earth and may be making motion pictures in some far away galaxy .

I met HIM in his office last year on December 20 , 2010 . I was planning to launch my son in a Bhojpuri Movie ” Aber ” , and I wanted DEV ANAND SAHAB to give clap for the Muhurat shot . I requested Mr. Ali Peter John to introduce me to DEV SAHAB .It is honour that HE agreed to meet me .

Watching television coverage all day long , I was ushered to the world of DEV ANAND SAHAB and some sepia toned memories of my childhood rushed to the firmament of my being . ” Dushman ” [ 1957 ] was the first film , which I saw in the Vijay Talkies of Deoria , my home town . After that I watched almost all his films till ” Hum Naujawan ” [ 1986 ] . And after that I lost track of His films but certainly not HIS personality or life .

It has become a habit among some section of movie going public to make fun of his later – year movies . I would like to give few facts :

1 – AS AN ACTOR : [ 65 years – 113 Films  = ” Hum Ek Hain ” [ 1946 ] to ” Chargesheet ” [ 2011 ]   Survive / Exist in the world of cinema for 65 years  and then talk .

2 – AS A PRODUCER : [ 61 years – 31 Films = ” Afsar ” [ 1950 ] to ” Chargesheet ” [ 2011 ]  Survive Exist in the world of cinema for 61 years  and then talk .

3 – AS A DIRECTOR : [ 41 years – 19 Films  = ” Prem Pujari ” [ 1970 ] to ” Chargesheet ” [ 2011 ] Survive / Exist in the world of cinema for 41 years   and then talk .

4 – AS A WRITER : Write your autobiography at the age of  84 years , and that too with pen and paper ; neither dictating it to your secretary , nor typing on the computer , and then talk . AndRomancing With Life is a voluminous book , and it got released by the Prime Minister of India Dr . Manmohan Singh .

5 – AS AN AGING STAR : [ 22 years – 10 Flop Films ]  Survive / Exist in the slippery world of films without a single hit and that too without fading into oblivion for 22 years .  ” Lashkar ” [ 1989 ] was his last hit , and then talk .

If you can equal even one of the above mentioned startling data , only then you have the right to talk about DEV ANAND SAHAB . And if you can’t achieve any one of the above mentioned facts or even dream of doing anything similar , then keep your mouth shut , bow your head and pay obeisance .

It is not for nothing that within 3 days of HIS death , there are 13,894 articles about HIM in the media . It is a record and shows his relevance and importance .

I will always cherish the memory of meeting HIM .I am sharing few facts , which I never said before :

I wanted to touch HIS feet and sought his permission . HE said looking direct into my eyes , ” There is no need . You want to give me respect by touching my feet but I can see that respect in your eyes .”

I gave him brochure of the institute and the booklet , which I have written about diction . HE browsed through and said , ” You are doing great work sir . Keep on doing it . God bless ! ”

When I sought his blessings for my project , he said , ” Keep on working and remember , your dreams should be longer than your memories . Never let your memories be longer than your dreams .”

I will never ever forget his parting words , ” If ever I meet God , I will ask him why didn’t you make man an immortal being ? Were you afraid that immortal human beings can take your place ?  I long for immortality . ”

I left his office with Mr. Ali Peter John , who took me there , hoping that I might meet him soon . But my film project got delayed and I couldn’t meet HIM .

And now I won’t be able to meet him ever .

Evergreen Romantic Star , indefatigable , indomitable , inimitable , Padma Bhushan DEV ANAND SAHAB passed away in his sleep at the young age of 88 in London .

It is customary to say REST IN PEACE . But ……..

DEV ANAND and rest are antonyms .

So I end up saying – keep on making motion pictures in another world SIR . I will definitely meet you there .

With DEV ANAND SAHAB in HIS Office

In my formative years ,  my family was my epicentre . Apart from family , world of motion pictures was my second universe . That world was adorned by a beautiful canopy . For me that canopy is Ashok Kumar . That beautiful , magnificent canopy was supported by four enormously magnificent and gigantic pillars . Name of those pillars are ; tragedy king Dilip Kumar , evergreen romantic DEV ANAND , show – man Raj Kapoor and rebel star Shammi Kapoor . Once upon a time , not very long ago this canopy stood graciously with the support of these gigantic pillars . Sitting under the canopy , in the vicinity of four gigantic pillars , I was serenaded by the soothing voice of a nightingale , known as Lata Mangeshkar .

Apart from my family , this was my another world . The canopy is long gone . Two pillars ; Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor have also crumbled . With the death of DEV ANAND SAHAB , one more pillar succumbed to the vagaries of nature . Now the solitary pillar remains in the form of Dilip Kumar . And yes , the soothing voice of Lata Mangeshkar still serenades me .

But alas , like my family , my other world has also shrunk beyond recognition . I am shattered . I am numb . I am disheartened .

But if you are a fan of DEV ANAND , you have to move on .

Without you there is no light in my life DEV SAHAB .

But I promise to carry on , just like you .

Thanks a lot DEV SAHAB , thanks for teaching me life .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

I had written two blogs about DEV ANAND SAHAB earlier . Re – posting them here from my archives :

1 – My First blog about DEV SAHAB :

60 Years Of Navketan & Some More Years Of Mr. Dev Anand wp.me/ptyXI-6v via@wordpressdotcom
2 – My second blog about DEV SAHAB :
Meeting Mr. Dev Anandwp.me/ptyXI-AS via @wordpressdotcom
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