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Friday, July 27, 2012

Dehradun connections with Rajesh Khanna

Dehradun -As the nation mourns the demise of India’s first superstar, city residents remember his Dehradun connection with a feeling of nostalgia. Rajesh Khanna had come to Dehradun in 1976 for the shooting of the film, Karm, which was produced and directed by BR Chopra. He stayed at Hotel Madhuban and the film was largely shot at a bungalow on Rajpur Road.
“Contrary to what is being reported, Rajesh Khanna’s first ever film was not Aakhri Khat but Raaz, in which he and Babita were introduced to the viewers,” says Doon Library and Research Centre research scholar and a film buff, Manoj Panjani. “Though Karm had an unconventional storyline, it happened to be a very weakly executed film of BR Chopra and one of the very rare films from the BR banner to have failed.”
Recalling Khanna’s humble beginnings Panjani said, “He got his big break when he won a talent contest held by Filmfare and a body of producers called the United Producers which included Shakti Samant, GP Sippy and BR Chopra.”
Rajesh Khanna has featured in a lot of quality commercial Hindi films like Aradhana (1969), Do Raaste (1969), Anand (1971), Ittefaq (1969), Safar (1970) and Aap Ki Kasam (1974) among others. The seventies was a decade when commercial Hindi cinema was experimenting with unconventional story ideas and techniques. Rajesh Khanna was a part of this phenomenon. “He became famous as a romantic hero though, several of his films like Aanand, Bawarchi, and Ittefaq didn’t have a romantic lead. Interestingly, films like Safar and Aradhana were centered around the female lead Sharmila Tagore in both cases but through his rendition of songs and his on-screen charm he was able to make his presence felt,” says Panjani.
“In Ramesh Sippy’s Andaaz, Khanna had made a special appearance for duration of only 15 minutes. Such was his persona and screen presence that the film is still remembered for the song zindagi ek safar hai suhana which was picturised on him,” he adds.
When Aradhana was offered to him, he was a little uncomfortable about playing Sharmila Tagore’s love interest in the first half and her son in the second half. Aradhana, however proved to be a blockbuster, highest grosser of that time, turning him into a superstar.

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