No power of the world can stop an idea or talent whose time has arrived. In 1969, Bollywood realised the true power of the very fact. A newcomer made his presence felt and announced to the world that he had arrived in the Bollywood fraternity. The newcomer was none other than ‘Kaka’ Rajesh Khanna. But it wouldn’t have been possible without the effective push, trust and the timeless acts of Kishore Da.
The destiny that was scripting itself
There is a chaos theory called the ‘Butterfly effect’ where several minor events lead to a larger ramification. Apparently, in the 1960s, the established actors and directors were carrying on with their regular affair. They had no idea what was about to happen as destiny had other things planned for the Hindi Film Industry.
Evidently, the acclaimed director Shakti Samanta was working on the film ‘Jaane-Anjaane’ with the charismatic hero Shammi Kapoor. The work was going as per schedule and a lot of money was invested for the same. Unfortunately, Geeta Bali, the wife of Shammi Kapoor, suffered an untimely death. Grief-stricken, Shammi Kapoor went into a state of shock and depression. He was emotionally and mentally in no shape to continue shooting. After which, he announced a short break from acting.
Left with no choice and resources, director Shakti Samanta decided to keep things going and started working on a side project. The team had spent generously for making the Shammi Kapoor-starrer film ‘Jaane-Anjaane’. Resource wise, this tied their hands and director Shakti Samanta didn’t have the luxury to cast superstars of those times.
Additionally, he suffered a massive setback through an accidental encounter with the director of ‘Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati’. He got to know that Sachin Bhowmick was the writer for both ‘Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati’ and the upcoming side project. Funny thing was that he scripted similar endings for both movies.
Shakti Samanta was deeply disturbed by this new revelation and was strongly mulling on the idea to shelve the project altogether. But as they say, talent has a way of coming out and destiny was laying favourable ground for Rajesh Khanna.
Director Shakti Samanta and his team decided to give the side project another try. They changed the script writer and the new writer duo, Gulshan Nanda and Madhusudan Kalelkar made major amendments to the previous script. For example, they decided to have a double role for the main protagonist.
Then came the time for casting for the movie. Director Shakti Samanta was mulling to cast promising actor Rajesh Khanna as the main lead. But unfortunately, he was a risky bet. Rajesh Khanna’s three previous outings – Aakhri Khat (1966), Razz (1967) and Baharon Ke Sapne (1967) – were a complete disaster at the box office.
Once in a lifetime opportunity
The team advised the director to look the other way. But it was Kishore Da who showed complete trust in the capabilities of the newcomer Rajesh Khanna. He managed to persuade the director to cast Rajesh Khanna. Later, Shakti approached Sharmila Tagore to be the lead actress for his movie. She too had her reservations about Rajesh Khanna but director Shakti convinced her to act in the movie. Kishore da himself gave his blessed voice to all the songs of the movie.
Now you may ask what was the name of that small project we have been talking about in detail? The movie was Aradhana. Rajesh Khanna didn’t disappoint the trust Kishore Da and director Shakti Samanta had placed in him. His three earlier films may have flopped but after ‘Aradhana’, there was no looking back for him. Between 1969 and 1971, he gave 17 consecutive hit films with 15 out of them being solo hits (one actor driven films).
After the release, the songs in the melodious voice of Kishore Kumar were a smashing hit. The entire song album skyrocketed Kishore Kumar’s legacy to new heights. Interestingly, songs like Roop Tera Mastana, Mere Sapnon Ki Rani and Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera are iconic hits till date and you can encounter people humming them.
Nobody would have thought that a project that had so many odds stacked against it, will go on to shake Bollywood to the core. With Aradhana, Rajesh Khanna had announced to the world that the beloved ‘Babumoshai’ is here to showcase his flawless acting skills. But all of this would not have been possible without the support and melodious voice of Kishore Kumar that made all the success of Aradhana possible.
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