Anand Mara Nahin, Anand Marte Nahin: R.I.P Rajesh Khanna

Note– This happens to the 500th Post on MAM. We at MAM thank all our authors and readers for their support and look forward to your continued patronage.

Rajesh Khanna-1After moving in and out of the hospital in recent weeks Rajesh Khanna aka Kakaji finally passed away earlier today (18 July). Ever since the recent Havells commercial came out there has been a lot of talk about Rajesh Khanna. Everyone had a word or two to talk about the ad and as to whether R.Balki had done the right thing or not in making the commercial. Added to that his failing health of late which also ensured that he remained in the news. At this moment when everyone is more or less bidding farewell to the legend it is but mandatory that I share my thoughts on him as well.

At the very outset let me point out that I have never been a fan of Rajesh Khanna. By the time I was born his era was over and Amitabh Bachchan’s superstardom had already started. For me Amitabh Bachcan was the biggest star and someone I looked up to even when I was a toddler. But I do remember people talking about Rajesh Khanna those days. My earliest memory of Rajesh Khanna was when I saw Anand (on D.D perhaps) and realized that my folks were not only enjoying the movie but also admiring Rajesh Khanna’s presence in the film.

At that point of time I was sort of disappointed with the film as my hero Amitabh Bachchan seemed to have a slightly insignificant role compared to Rajesh Khanna, who clearly seemed to have the more popular role. Of course it was only when I revisited the film a few years later that I realized that Hrishikesh Mukherjee had very wonderfully given roles of substance to both of them. Around the time I watched Anand for the 1st time I guess I had already started taking an interest in Cinema and would keenly look out for Chitrahaar and the weekly film slots on Doordarshan.

Slowly I discovered more and more of Rajesh Khanna’s films as I went on to watch most of his films like Aradhana, Amar Prem, Kati Patang, Namak Haram, Haathi Mere Saathi, Mere Jeevan Saathi etc. Around the same time I realized that both my father and mother were fans of Rajesh Khanna and had their own take on the same. My mother moved to Mumbai only after she married my father as he was already based in Mumbai then. Being the early 1970’s that was the time when girls/women all over the country were madly in love with Kakaji and probably my mother was no exception to the same. Till date she still carries a lovely black and white photograph of the legend in some old notebook/diary :).

Roti-1974Before I was born my father had a reasonably good stint in the aeronautical space as he worked for a leading Helicopter services organization those days as service engineer. It was during this particular phase that he got to work on a movie assignment and yes this was a film with Rajesh Khanna in the lead, Roti. Directed by Manmohan Desai this was a popular hit when it released and the music of the film by Laxmikant-Pyarelal is still popular with songs like ‘Gore Rang Pe Na Itna ‘, ‘Yeh Jo Public Hai’ etc. For the sequence when Rajesh Khanna escapes from jail there was a helicopter used and my father was not only present during the shoot but also featured in the shoot as well (of course the focus was on Kakaji and not anyone else ).

So my dad also looks back upon that experience with fond memories and back then when I was a kid and since the occasion was just a few years old he would narrate stories of the shooting schedule with such enthusiasm that I would always laugh at some point of time. So for me it was one big moment when I finally got to watch Roti (once again thanks to Doordarshan). After that I also noticed that my father would fondly talk about his other favorite Rajesh Khanna films like Kati Patang, Haathi Mere Saathi, Daag etc. And so whenever I would get to watch songs from these and other films on T.V my folks would be quite happy. Ok let me pause for a minute and show you a few of my favorite Rajesh Khanna songs of that period-

To start with here’s ‘Pyar Diwana Hota Hai’ from Kati Patang (sung by Kishore Kumar,composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal )

And here’s ‘Mere Dil Mein Aaj Kya Hai’ from Daag  (sung by Kishore Kumar,composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal )

Here’s ‘Nadiya Se Dariya’ from Namak Haraam (sung by Kishore Kumar, composed by R.D.Burman)

As time went by I also started watching a lot more of his films and then clearly realized that his film of the late 60’s and early 70’s were way better than the films he did later on. Though in the 80’s he did have successful films like Avataar, Souten etc he was a pale shadow of what he was during his days of super stardom. He did cringe worthy remakes like Red Rose (remake of the wonderful Tamil film, Sigappu Rojakkal starring Kamal Haasan ), Dil-E-Nadaan ( remake of Ilamai Oonjal Aadikirathu starring Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth ), Masterji ( remake of K.Bhagyaraj’s Mundhanai Mudichu ) which did him no help. In 1984 something strange happened as both Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna attempted a movie with a political milieu. Amitabh came out with Inquilaab and Rajesh Khanna with Aaj Ka M.L.A Ram Avtar and while the films did arouse some initial interest, they do not rank very highly in their respective filmographies.

Check out the popular ‘Shayad Meri Shaadi Ka Khayal’ from Souten (sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, composed by Usha Khanna)

Mehbooba-1976Unknowingly Rajesh Khanna also played a role in my teens as I was having a playful time in school. During one of the Annual Day events in school some of the girls in my class were supposed to perform to the ‘Chalo Ri’ song from Rajesh Khanna’s Mehbooba. Somehow during the practice sessions a few weeks before the D day the boys led by me took on a bet with the girls that we will sabotage the show. This became an ego issue for both sides. Initially we treated it as a joke but then later on it became so serious that for lack of any better idea some of us went into the green room and smashed some of the pots that were to be used as props 🙂 . Now when I look back I really feel silly about the whole thing but I guess what’s school life if not for some mischief too right?

Here’s the video of the song ‘Chalo Ri’ for those who do not remember it. Its sung by Lata Mangeshkar and composed by R.D.Burman.

After that it was downhill all the way as the films he did were either B grade trash or multistarrers where he played more of a supporting role. Even in this period films like Swarg and Aa Ab Laut Chalein still showed flashes of his early flamboyance. Like many others I had also almost forgotten him when suddenly out of nowhere I was reminded of him a lot during my B.School days. In the party circuit those days along with the current hits a few old hits were quite popular then and this included the playful song ‘Jai Jai Shiv Shankar’ from Aap Ki Kasam and I again started tracking him. Even as a child I had the utmost respect for Aap Ki Kasam, in fact almost as much as I had for an Amar Prem or an Aradhana mainly because of the music by R.D.Burman. It’s only recently that I realized that Aap Ki Kasam is a remake of the Malayalam movie Vazhve Mayam directed by K.S.Sethumadhavan.

Here’s ‘Jai Jai Shiv Shankar’ sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar

In the last decade or so there has been no significant movie which featured the legend and in fact the few films done by him have only gone on to embarrass his fans and well wishers. After all these were not the films they would like to associate their idol with. All of a sudden I feel uneasy writing this as this isn’t’ something one prepares for. So I end my humble tribute with one of my all time favorite Bollywood songs ever, ‘Zindagi Ke Safar Mein’ from Aap Ki Kasam sung by who else but Kishore Kumar of course.

Anand Mara Nahin, Anand Marte Nahin- R.I.P Rajesh Khanna……

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23 thoughts on “Anand Mara Nahin, Anand Marte Nahin: R.I.P Rajesh Khanna

  1.  Wonderful tribute.Though I was not a fan of the actor but loved his performances in films such as Anand, Safar,Bawarchi,Khamoshi, Ittefaq, Dushman etc.The first superstar whose craze and the consecutive box office success still remains unbeaten. Was sad to see him in a pale condition in his last days.Still he will be remembered for the wonderful songs & films he gave with the likes of Kishoreda, RD Burman, Aanand Bakshi, Shakti Samanta amongst others for company.
    As the tributes and song dedications pour in over Kakaji’s death, one cant help but ponder over the lyrics of the title song of Safar which are so true to life “Zindagi ko bahut pyaar humne diyaa, maut se bhi mohabbat nibhayenge hum’ or “Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hai jo makaam woh phir nahin aate’ .

    As you rightly said ‘Anand mara nahin , Anand marte nahin’ R.I.P – Rajesh Khanna

  2. wonderful article,loved the way u have cherished ur childhood memories connected with kaka. A direct dil se tribute to kaka.

  3. Pingback: In Memoriam Rajesh Khanna : ” Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli , Hai ! “ « Vidur's Blog

    • @Smitha- Well I’m very sure that Vazhve Mayam came out before Aap Ki Kasam and that Aap Ki Kasam is a remake of the former. In fact I’m referring to the Malayalam movie – Vazhve Mayam by K.S.Sethumadhavan which released in 1970 ( while Aap Ki Kasam released in 1974 ) and starred Sathyan and Sheela. Hope you’ve not confused it with the Tamil movie- Vazhve Maayam starring Kamal Haasan and Sridevi which released much later ( in 1982 ).

      • There are some differences between the 2 films.

        In the mallu film, the hero suspects his wife & drives her out of his house. She gets married to a widower. He becomes an alocholic & mentally unstable. Many years after, he gets a letter from his wife that she had fixed their daughter’s marriage. He blesses her and goes back home. He dies soon. His wife comes to see his dead body, and dies next to him.

        In the hindi version, kaka suspects his wife & leaves home. He wanders aimlessly & almost becomes a recluse. He accidentally see his wife’s photoigraph & learns about about a wedding. He goes to the marriage. At that point, there is a fire mishap & kaka saves his bride but is badly wounded. He comes to know that the gril he has saved is his daughter, blesses her & dies in his wife’s arms.

      • Yes the climax is slightly different when you compare both the versions but otherwise both the films are nearly similar.In fact I feel its a legitimate remake as well.

  4. You have forgotten (conveniently) to mention how amit worked day & night to finish “inquilaab” & release it ahead of “Aaj ka MLA”.
    He was so jittery even though he was at the height of his superstardom.

    I still remember the procession taken out by the hindi film stars in Mumbai in 1986. Almost all the stars – Amit, dharam, jeetendra, vinod khanna, rishi kapoor, shatrughan sinha, kaka etc., took part in the procession. The crowds had lined up on either side to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars. It was a very hot day & the stars were sweating. When the crowds saw kaka sweating, they showered flowers on him. He was the only star who had this privelege. Amit who was the superstar (supposedly) was left gaping.

    • Well this article is a personal tribute to Kakaji & not to talk about who’s better-Kaka or Amitabh. Also I’ve just made a passion mention of both Inquilab and Aaj Ka MLA Ram Avtar as I don’t really feel these films did any good for either of them.Also I wasn’t there during the procession you are referring to, so will need to check that out.

  5. Your lack of knowledge on Indian cinema history is sad ,but you are not alone. People of Amitabh’ hey days only seem to know action and masala movies. RK was not only a great hearth throbe but a vey good actor. Can you name any Bollywood commercial actor who make such quality cinema which were both commercial and artistic triumph ,Itifaq,Khamushi,Dushman, Avishkar,Anand ,Amar Prem and so many more. Unlike the cheesey style acting of that time RK’ s performances were very subtle and under acted. He was a perfect actor,serious and very charismatic. Unlike let’s Nasurdin shah who frankly is seriously overrated as serious actor whose lack of charm and charisma makes one unable to sit through any hong he is in. RK was always underrated by people like yourself who frankly don’t understand what good commercial cinema is.

    • Well if you feel you know more about the history of Indian Cinema, then so be it.Never in this article have I said anything bad about Rajesh Khanna & neither have I mentioned that AB is a better actor than RK. All that is subjective because if you prefer RK I might prefer AB or anyone else.I do have quite a lot of points to argue but then wouldn’t do so because this is a homage/tribute post to a legend & hence would desist from doing so here…..

      • I don’t find your article a tribute to kaka at all!! In fact it’s quite insulting that u ridicule his later movies! Fact is there weren’t good scripts written in the
        80s! It was all Masaala
        Multistarrers crap that amitabh was a huge part/
        Contributer of !
        Most directors were making a killing churning out this violence filled mindless multistarrer movies!!
        Unfortunately kaka suffered because of this and we as fans have missed out on an opportunity to enjoy more decent movies from him like he delivered in the 70s!!
        Amitabh has made countless idiotic cringe worthy movies as well!!
        It’s not fair that u single out kaka!
        Shame on you!!!

  6. Well if this isn’t a tribute to Kaka then I don’t what it is.I guess most so called ‘loyal fans’ of his are bitter about Amitabh just because once he became a superstar, Rajesh Khanna’s decline started. If he continued to be in demand then why did he get to work on very few good films from the late 70’s onwards?I have never ridiculed him or made fun of him in this article. So please do not put down another actor just because you want to convey that your favorite star is more better.

    • Well ok for u to put your idol lambu in a better light ???
      How dare u write an article on kaka when u know very little about his movies!!!
      Simply put how come u are NOT aware that kaka did many good movies from the late 70s but how would u know because u were happily devouring lambus Masaala crappers !!!!
      FYI kaka did countless great movies later in his career like Avtaar Amrit Avam souten adhikaar agar tum na hote akhir kyu masterji maqsad Dhanvaan shatru Rajput kudrat
      Swarg Amar deep Nazraana etc
      FYI In 1985 he had 8 hit movies!!!!
      Only movie that kaka got lot of negativity for was Wafaa ..
      But that’s indian mentality hard to digest adult themes!!
      I thought it was a great movie!!!
      Far better than Lambus boom
      Or Buddha hoga tera baap and others!!!
      It’s people like u who tarnish a great actor like kaka!!!
      If u haven’t researched his work properly don’t post your crap online !!
      Go and watch Dhanvaan and see the real star what a performance by kaka !!!
      Seriously kills any of lambus movies with his screaming shouting deadpan face acting any day !!!
      Lol his dying scenes are so pathetic !!!
      Maa mai aa Gaya hu teri godh me sar rakh ke dum todhne ke liye!!!! Nautanki saala !!

      • If you really are so upset then pls try to write a true blue tribute to your beloved Kakaji &
        share it with all of us so that we can enlightened too.You are just jealous that someone who came
        after your favorite star into the industry stole your Kakji’s thunder, so you can keep crying like a baby.
        No one is going to be bothered.

        Can you please point out anything in my article where I have ridiculed Kakaji or mentioned anything bad
        about him?I have not even compared him to any actor & so don’t understand the need for this outburst.

      • Also I have clearly mentioned that he did have hits in the 80’s & mentioned a few names as well.But its also a fact that despite that he wasn’t in the best of his form which was in the early-mid 70’s.So if you still chose to feel I have not been objective then,sorry I can’t do much about it.

      • Really Amitabh stole kakas thunder!!!!
        Wow is that what u really think??
        FYI Amitabh doesn’t have a spine to steal any actors thunder !
        He always needed others to boost his image by doing multistarrers and working with glamourous dolls !! Amitabh was always scared of kaka and together with salim/Javed played a big role in trying to destroy kakas career !!
        Lambu was so scared to work with kaka in Rajput that he asked Goldie to replace kaka with Vinod khanna but luckily Goldie gave lambu the flick and did get Vinod for amitabhs role !
        Kaka was a true artist wove his magic with his own talent and charisma!!
        FYI see Amitabh in Anand he looks like a transsexual !! Lol
        Kaka just lights up the screen his charisma is unmatched by anyone before or after !
        An actor like kaka is born once in a lifetime actors like Amitabh are born daily no big deal !
        Amitabh is a pedestrian actor who’s movies are for people with extremely low IQ and u are one of them!!!

      • With your comments it is very clear who is the one with low IQ,I rest my case here.You can go on ranting forever.
        Khud toh kuch likh nahin sakte aur duniya ko samjhane chale,sad state of affairs indeed.Kakaji would cringe if he
        was alive & knew of such fans like you.

      • Kaka came up because of the hype caused by Devyani Chaubal. Aradhana ran due to the wonderful story by Sachin Bhowmik for which Sharmila made a sacrifice indeed by letting herself be deglamourized and luckily the audience took it well. Aradhana is a story of the sufferings of the Vandana character but Devyani Chaubal capitalized on the success of Aradhana and hyped Kaka discrediting all others who were behind the success of Aradhana. If Devyani Chaubal had not capitalized on the success of Aradhana and given backdoor publicity to Kaka he would not have been an actor in demand.

  7. This article rightfully somes up that amitabh is a pedestrian actor!!!!

    The 70s…
    Easily the most “happening” decade in the history of Indian cinema, it was heralded by the coming of a superstar, the likes of whom had never been seen and would not be repeated (at least, until the time of this writing – 2006). The name of Rajesh Khanna became synonymous with Hindi cinema. He became a virtual god. The entire industry appeared to revolve around this “Phenomenon”, as he was called. His style of romance, intense yet fun loving is still the romance seen on the screen, irrespective of the action and sex that is now the excuse for movie making. Some of the best films ever had this Phenomenon as the lead player. In fact, in a movie of Rajesh Khanna, no-one else mattered. Nevertheless, the contribution of – his heroines, especially Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz, Asha Parekh; extremely hummable tunes and soothing lyrics composed by the masters of that era; Kishore Kumar, the voice of Kaka (Rajesh Khanna’s nick name); very intense directors and story writers – was by no means insignificant. In fact, all told, everything was tailor made for success. Amar Prem, Safar, Anand, Aradhana, Do Raaste, Dushman, Daag, Aap Ki Kasam broke every record in the book. Even his lesser films created waves that latter-day distributors would give an arm and a leg for.

    Anyway, political turmoil in the country led to wide-spread frustration. As with most art forms, art is mainly the extension of the sociological temperament of any people. Hindi movies were no exception. And Amitabh Bachhan burst onto the screen with road-side mannerisms, loud, uncouth behaviour, and a celluloid vent to the frustrations of the common man, who always triumphed over evil using his fists. And screen fights became even more unbelievable than the stunt films of Ranjan, Cawas or Dara Singh.

    It must be added that TV and video had made large inroads into the lives of the better-off. As it was, theatre goers from the classes had dwindled considerably by the mid to late seventies. The lower rungs of society dominated the fate of Hindi movies, and what better icon than Amitabh Bachhan? Given the roles that he played, Hindi film music fell to abysmal depths, since the plots and sequences demanded only meaningless lyrics and loud cacophonies. Some of his movies where Jaya Bhaduri or Rajesh Khanna were pivotal were very good, but by and large, his solo movies were pedestrian. The more meaningful films that he dared to do like Jurmaana or Saudagar were flops, and he was a total misfit. He instantly flipped back to doing what he did best – cater to the ‘seetee wallahs’. Since Amitabh could never carry a movie on his own, unlike the previous heroes, he had to resort to having other superstars of the day like Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor or Shatrughan Sinha as props – the multi-starrer was born. The new breed of box-office judges wanted more bang for the buck, and this was the solution.

    Any such endeavour is sure to fizzle out, but surprisingly endured well into the eighties and even the new millennium, when Amitabh was crowned the Big B. So much for quality!!!!!!

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