About RK in Salaam Bollywood

About RK in Salaam Bollywood

Posted in the Rajesh Khanna Forum

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Suhan

Springfield, VA

#1 Sep 27, 2008
Friends:

Found Bhawana Somaaya's "Salaam Bollywood: The Pain and the Passion" online on the Screen site. It was published in 1999. I am including those sections that talk about RK here.

http://www.screenindia.com/old/20010720/tvsal...

"Will Rajesh Khanna make it to the top again?

Directors Shakti Samanta, Hrishikesh Mukherji, Asit Sen and Basu Chatterji analyse Rajesh Khanna’s chances of a comeback....

Rajesh Khanna has the uncanny knack of being constantly in the news. If it’s not by being ‘in,’ it’s by being ‘out.’ The question uppermost in the minds of Rajesh-watchers at the moment is: Will he or will he not survive the current bad patch? It’s interesting how four of our leading directors, Shakti Samanta (who skyrocketed Rajesh to fame in Aradhana), Hrishikesh Mukherji (who took Rajesh to the heart of millions in Anand), Asit Sen (who gave him a serious style in Safar) and Basu Chatterji (Rajesh’s latest director) feel about his present box-office position....

Shakti samanta: After working with Shammi Kapoor, a total extrovert, working with Rajesh Khanna was a change for me. Rajesh’s strongest point is his ability to do emotional scenes. He is excellent when you make him underplay a role. His minus point is his ‘good man’ face. He is too goody goody. Rough and tough roles don’t suit him. If you ask me, he should not do crime films. His personality is not cut out for action. The rising popularity of action films is the cause of Rajesh’s low phase. It is fallacious to say that Rajesh Khanna is finished. It is just that he’s going through a bad time. When he became a superstar, he was still immature. Success came to him too early and too easily. Success like this is momentary. His current low phase doesn’t mean the end. Rajesh Khanna’s problem is that he’s too much of an enigma. He is too reserved. This reserve often becomes a negative point in a man’s personality as it leads to a lot of misunderstanding. Mehbooba did belie people’s expectations. Yes, it did let Rajesh down very badly. But then, this business is so unpredictable. Maybe Anurodh will do for Rajesh what nobody expects it to."
Suhan

Springfield, VA

#2 Sep 27, 2008
http://www.screenindia.com/old/20010727/tvsal...

"Hrishikesh Mukherji: When Rajesh Khanna came to me he was a very big star. Before agreeing to work with him, I asked him a simple question,‘When was the last time you saw a sunset?’ He was dumbfounded.‘I cannot remember,’ he replied.‘Go and watch it someday. Try to be a normal man, do not work like a machine. And maybe then we will work together.’ Of the four films (Anand, Namak Haram, Bawarchi and Naukri) we did together, Naukri was the only one to run into trouble. There was a lot of friction and undue delay. Unlike Anand, which got every free moment of Rajesh Khanna’s, Naukri had to constantly put up with his latecoming. All the same, I maintain that whatever strain there was, was merely professional. If he had any problems, it was with the producer not with me. On a personal level, Rajesh and I are still good friends.

Personally, I have always been a little sceptical of youngsters achieving instant success and becoming over-ambitious. I wish success had waited for Rajesh instead of chasing him. It is terribly humiliating to fall after a resounding rise. According to me, success should come steadily and failure gracefully. I have no doubts that Rajesh will come back. An artiste is never over. Like everything that goes up must come down, everything that goes down must come up. That’s the rule of the game. Remember Amitabh? They called him a flash in the pan and said Anand was a big fluke. Remember Sunil Dutt? They used to refer to him as ‘a has-been.’

Asit Sen: When I first met Rajesh he was a thoroughly frustrated man. He was so unhappy about his career that he used to say,‘Dada, I think I will never make it.’ When I started Khamoshi he was under contract with the United Producers and so our first choice for the role. Of course, he suited the role. As an artiste, he is okay, just theek hai. As a person, he is moody and very unpredictable, but not bad at heart. I am no authority on the causes of his setback but I don’t like the way some people say that his directors are responsible for his failure. When he was a superstar nobody gave credit to his directors. Nobody said that we made him. So now that he is fading, why blame us? In a nutshell, I was surprised at his success and shocked at his failure. Will he come back? Well, I am not his horoscope.

Basu Chatterjee: It is true that Rajesh tends to come late for shootings and leave early. But I do not hold it against him, because the amount of work I get out of the others (Vidya Sinha, Zarina Wahab, Amol Palekar) in eight hours, Kaka (Khanna) does in only two. In fact, for Chakravyuh he has been so co-operative that we will finish the film in eight months. Before I start work on the script, I have an image of the character. If the artiste lives up to that image, I’m satisfied. In Chakravyuh, Kaka has interpreted his role beautifully. I will say this much. If the film flops, the blame will be solely mine. And vice versa! I have heard that he tampers with scripts and interferes with the director’s work, but he has not tried it with me — nor would I allow it. I can’t comment on why his films have begun to flop suddenly. He is bound to come back again because talent can never die. I cannot comment on his earlier success because I have not seen most of his films. But I have seen Aavishkar which didn’t run, while Premnagar, a mediocre performance, was a super hit. Super, March 1977."
Suhan

Springfield, VA

#3 Sep 27, 2008
http://www.screenindia.com/old/20010817/tvsal...
http://www.screenindia.com/old/20010824/tvsal...

"One of the popular features in the magazine was called ‘Diary’. The ‘Diary’ required the journalist to spend a couple of days with the star and write her impressions. The aim was to get a peep into the man behind the mask. It was a terrific idea. Every day spent with the star was a revelation. I spent nine days with Shashi Kapoor, seven days with Shabana Azmi, six days with Rishi Kapoor, five days with Reena Roy and eight days with Rajesh Khanna. I discovered that I was infatuated with Shashi, cemented a friendship with Shabana and reported on Reena to a colleague who was madly in love with Shatrughan Sinha. I was confused by Rajesh Khanna, amused by Rishi Kapoor. I have sweet and sour memories because the stars blew hot and cold. My own self-image changed according to the swings in star moods but looking back, it was all worth it. I’m not saying one was always accurate in one’s assessment. There were times one judged them harshly. But this was also because the stars played games and tried to live up to an image.

I did Rajesh Khanna’s ‘Diary’ when he was at his lowest ebb, the beginning of the end. Amitabh Bachchan had overtaken him in the race but the finality hadn’t yet hit Khanna. The hurt and humiliation had turned Rajesh Khanna rebellious. For a 9 a.m. shift, he would arrive at 3 p.m. and then disappear into his make-up room and not emerge on the sets till 5 p.m. by which time the producer had been reduced to jelly. On the sets he would be accompanied by a bunch of chamchas. There would be endless rounds of tea and cigarettes. A few jokes, a few discussions and by the time the first shot was panned it was 6 p.m. I went through this crazy routine for the first few days, then smartened up. Before leaving home, I would phone the studios to find out if the star had arrived. After the first few phone calls, the operator got fed up.‘Kya roj roj, Kaka saab aaye? Kaka saab aaye, puchte rehte ho? Nau baje ki shift ke liya saab kabhi dopaher ke pahle aaye hain...?’’

Gradually, Rajesh Khanna’s late arrival became a standing joke in the industry. Film-makers maintained that by the time you completed one film with Khanna, you could complete five films with Shashi Kapoor. The accusations didn’t bother Kaka.

The only thing he was sensitive about was when journalists praised Amitabh Bachchan’s professionalism. During one such conversation when a reporter cited the example of how for a 7 a.m. shift, Amitabh reached Manmohan Desai’s sets at 6.45, Khanna was vicious.‘Clerks are punctual. I’m not a clerk... I’m an artiste. I’m not a slave of my moods. My moods are my slaves,’ he said condescendingly.

It was only when one got to know Khanna better that one saw the good side to him. There was a side to him that was difficult to dislike. Deeply bruised by the sudden betrayal of the box-office, he was hopelessly lonely and unable to contain his sorrow. Surrounded by bad company, he said and did things he regretted later but was too proud to admit his mistakes. My ‘Diary’ with Rajesh Khanna was more about waiting for him, than spending time with him. Even though it was more than a year now, my family’s deadline of 7 p.m. for me continued. As a result, I filed my copy from whatever information I gathered from hanging around his sets — a combination of moments spent with the star, his staff and film-makers.

On the last day of my assignment, I was so saturated with the actor that I presented Khanna with a footruler inscribed with,‘For the naughty boy who needs a good spanking.’ He took it in good spirit. He preserved the footruler in his make-up tray for a long time and whenever I bumped into him at a studio, summoned his make-up man, Rajaram to show me the footruler.‘I like it...’ he would say, narrowing his eyes the way he did on screen and after that always cooperated whenever I approached him for an interview."
Suhan

Springfield, VA

#4 Sep 27, 2008
http://www.screenindia.com/old/20011012/fsala... #

"We were keen on featuring Rajesh Khanna in our early issues, but the superstar had been evading us. Then, one fine day, I bumped into him at Natraj studio and he promised me an exclusive interview. Khanna invariably bumped into me when he was going through a turbulent time. Mohan Kumar was shooting Avtaar with Rajesh Khanna and Shabana Azmi at Vaishnodevi and I accompanied them on the outdoor. This was a particularly low phase for Rajesh Khanna. He was frequently depressed concerning his personal life and rumours were rife about his rift with Dimple Kapadia. Their recurring problems in marriage had become a standing joke in the film industry. Every alternate month Dimple would walk out of Aashirwad, Khanna’s plush bungalow at Carter Road and come to her parents’ home. The press would write about their divorce and about Khanna’s ill-treatment of his wife.

Every time Dimple came to her parents’ home, she swore that she would never return to Aashirwad yet, a few hours later, when Khanna stood before her, she meekly got into his car. This time, however, it was different. Dimple had sworn that she would leave Khanna forever. She had also decided on a date for her departure. She had warned Khanna that this time there would be no emotional drama. She was going for good. It is said that she had consulted an astrologer who had predicted that only if she quit her husband’s house on that date, would she be able to live independently. Otherwise it would be difficult for her to break her ties with the past. Unaware of all this, Khanna pleaded with his wife to stay for one more month.‘Complete this year, let us part on our tenth wedding anniversary.’ But Dimple was adamant. Preoccupied with all these problems, Khanna would obsessively discuss his marriage at the oddest moments. We were on the flight, eating curry rice, when without warning, Khanna began talking about Dimple. It was awkward. Perhaps, he realised it too but was weighed down with his grief that he could not be concerned with formalities. There was an intense desire in him to talk. To be heard. And somewhere along the way, came the soulful interview.

The Rajesh - Dimple break-up

It’s the fourth day of shooting and it’s a night shift. They are shooting inside the temple and by the time the unit packs up, it’s 2 a.m. Rajesh Khanna comes out of the narrow tunnel of the Vaishnodevi temple, completely drenched. Immediately, his spotboy Raju runs to cover him up with a blanket, but Khanna brushes him away.‘Leave me alone,’ he says and sits quietly by himself on the steps. Watching the snowflakes in the dark night while waiting for the rest of the unit to return from their darshan, Khanna appears disoriented. After a long silence, without provocation, he starts talking...‘Vaishnodevi is a very powerful Goddess. This is my third trip to this temple. And each time I have returned with greater faith.’

‘What did you ask for this time?’ I question him. He lowers his eyes. Then, after a while, surprises me with a counter question.‘Tell me, what are the rumours you have heard?’ I tell him all that I know about his split with his wife. He lets out a deep sigh,‘I don’t know what my life is coming to... Whatever has to happen will happen... It’s all destiny.’ By now the rest of the unit has arrived and everyone gets ready to leave. It’s a long journey back to the hotel at Katra. The following interview is the result of an impromptu conversation conducted on our drive back home."
Suhan

Springfield, VA

#5 Sep 27, 2008
http://www.screenindia.com/old/20011012/fsala... #

"Your marriage is the biggest joke in town. Aren’t you embarrassed when people call your fights with Dimple a publicity stunt?
When everyone casts stones, the temptation to come out with the truth in all its gory detail is great. But ultimately, it serves no purpose because your greatest pain becomes a source of ridicule. So I would rather be crucified than speak.

What do you mean when you say that you would rather be crucified? Aren’t you being dramatic?
No. I’m a reincarnation of Jesus Christ. I’m being crucified again and again and again.

Sources close to both the families have it that you have signed the divorce papers. Is it true?
No comments.

Insiders say that this time the break-up is final, and yet you look deceptively calm...
I’m tired. I’m exhausted. My cup is already full to the brim.

Who will keep the kids?
I want to keep them but ultimately it should be whatever is best for them. Let us see what happens.

Do you hate Dimple?
No. Even on the day she left, I told her,‘Rishta toda hai dosti na todna.’ She is the mother of my two kids and we have shared so many beautiful moments. If, despite this, she desires a career, something must be missing somewhere. It means I have failed. The fault is mine.

Do you think you are unlucky in love?
Yes. There have been too many heartbreaks.

Would you come in the way of her career?
Never. I wish her all the best.

If it is such an obsession with her, why did not you let her work earlier?
I cannot. Period.

Do you blame her parents?
No.

If a good project comes your way, would you do a film with her? Can you imagine both of you as co-stars?
Isn’t that too much to expect from me? After all I’m human.

Do you agree that you and Dimple are a mismatched couple?
When we got married, she was very young and looking for a father figure. I was very successful and seeking a mother figure. Probably, it was bad timing.

On my flight to Bombay, I think about Rajesh Khanna, Dimple Kapadia and their marriage. Nine years ago, a 16-year-old dropped out of 10 films because she wanted to marry a superstar. Nine years ago, she could not contain her joy. Today, the same woman is ready to drop her nine-year-old marriage to make a career in films."
Suhan

Springfield, VA

#6 Sep 27, 2008
http://www.screenindia.com/old/20020215/fsala...

"Rajesh Khanna and Anju Mahendroo had broken off almost 15 years ago, when Khanna, on the rebound, got married to friend Chunibhai Kapadia’s beautiful daughter, Dimple. It was said that Khanna deliberately led his baraat on the 7th road of JVPD Scheme to embarrass Anju. One wasn’t surprised. When scorned, Khanna was capable of turning venomous. The two didn’t meet despite being in the same city for over a decade. And when they did, my co-editor Pammi Bakshi was instrumental in bringing the two together. A common friend of both she would often talk about one to the other. Apparently one fine day, Rajesh Khanna just picked up his phone and broke the ice. Next, Anju invited him over for a drink. He agreed, then dropped by one evening, just like that. The old bungalow on Juhu road, his parting gift to his girlfriend, was not an unfamiliar address to him. When he parked his car outside the gate, it was as if time stood still. The Mahendroos recognised the honk and the old dog rushed to greet his master. Kaka entered the room like old times, a cigarette in his hand and settled down in his favourite chair and ordered his favourite drink.

Emotions have a way of adjusting to the impossible. A nervous Anju taking large puffs on the cigarette came out to greet her special guest. Contrary to expectations the evening went off very smoothly. Over the months, both of them made a special effort to rejuvenate the old ties. From ex-girlfriend to best friend, slowly Anju slipped into the role of his confidante and soon began assisting him at his office. This was the time he was launching himself as a producer with Jai Shiv Shankar and consequently changing as a person. He had even come to terms with wife Dimple’s comeback to films. Dimple had come to terms with her separation.‘He should have married Mumtaz. They would have been perfect for each other,’ she said. Dimple believed that Rajesh and she were mismatched. They had married each other for all the wrong reasons. Dimple was too young to handle Khanna’s complexities. She looked upon him as a priceless gift that everyone admired but only she possessed. He looked upon her as a beautiful statue everyone desired but only he owned. Romance flew out of the window after just a few flops. The deeply disturbed man sat sulking on his terrace, drinking till the wee hours of the morning, mourning the shadows of his slipping stardom. Confused and anxious, the wife sat beside him, too frightened to trespass into his private thoughts. Young and restless, she suffered and endured until she could take it no longer. And that’s when she decided to walk out."
alok

Vijayawada, India

#7 Jan 4, 2009
great finding suhan
Suhan

Annandale, VA

#8 Jun 19, 2009
Thanks Alok. No comments on the above from anyone else? I thought some of the stuff was pretty rare.
alok

Hyderabad, India

#9 Jun 19, 2009
I agree - very uncommon and informative
Heyman

Andheri, India

#10 Jun 19, 2009
As i said before, we need to dig this goldmine...thanks for this one....let me read it compeltely before commenting....thanks in advance Suhanji...
abhijit

Varanasi, India

#12 Jun 19, 2009
It reflects my view point that Rajesh Khanna means not only hit and flops of his films; he is much more than this aspect. Behind box office success/failure THERE IS ALWAYS A SUPERFINE ACTOR IN RAJESH KHANNA.
alok

Surat, India

#14 Jun 20, 2009
The punch line

I’m not a clerk... I’m an artiste. I’m not a slave of my moods. My moods are my slaves,’
abhijit

Varanasi, India

#15 Jun 20, 2009
alok wrote:
The punch line
I’m not a clerk... I’m an artiste. I’m not a slave of my moods. My moods are my slaves,’
This reflects his self confidence with a little bit arrogance similar to his Dhanwaar and Red Rose characters.
abhijit

Varanasi, India

#16 Jun 20, 2009
It should be read as 'Dhanwaan' not Dhanwaar, Thanks
Atul Maini

Stockbridge, GA

#17 Jun 21, 2009
Suhan wrote:
Thanks Alok. No comments on the above from anyone else? I thought some of the stuff was pretty rare.
Suhan,
Its very informative and if everything is to be believed as such, it tells a lot of things about his inner self.
"Simple yet complicated for many."
Atul Maini

Stockbridge, GA

#18 Jun 21, 2009
alok wrote:
The punch line
I’m not a clerk... I’m an artiste. I’m not a slave of my moods. My moods are my slaves,’
But media kept on projected differently.
radzi

Kuching, Malaysia

#19 Jun 22, 2009
This is Bhuahuana Sumaaya diary....not Rajesh Khanna.

She should just had stuck to licking AB jocks....
Heyman

Mumbai, India

#20 Jun 22, 2009
"The following interview is the result of an impromptu conversation conducted on our drive back home."

Questions appear so rude.....
I doubt if Bhavana actually put those questions across to Kaka...it looks like superimposed....just like a fake picture......

And this one to me is a give away....

Do you agree that you and Dimple are a mismatched couple?

When we got married, she was very young and looking for a father figure. I was very successful and seeking a mother figure. Probably, it was bad timing
Devanandfan

Philadelphia, PA

#21 Jun 22, 2009
Suhan wrote:
http://www.screenindia.com/old /20010817/tvsalaam.html
http://www.screenindia.com/old/20010824/tvsal...
journalists praised Amitabh Bachchan’s professionalism. During one such conversation when a reporter cited the example of how for a 7 a.m. shift, Amitabh reached Manmohan Desai’s sets at 6.45, "
His producers were able to make and market his movies on time but what legacy did this professionalism get AB?

There was a restaurant I used to frequent 20 years ago. Lousy customer service. Once you got a table, had to wait 45 minutes before someone would take your order. And then wait for 1 hour for your food to arrive. But what food! I tolerated the wait because the chef was an artiste. As they say "Good things come to those who wait".

What legacy did Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra and AB leave?
Hera Pheri? Khoon Pasina? Mard? Coolie?

Cinema is not a production line in a factory.
Suhan

Annandale, VA

#22 Jun 22, 2009
V. nicely said Dev Fan. It's interesting that in any retrospective of AB, Anand (where he wasn't the hero) and Namak Haraam (conventionally is RK the hero, though screen time was divided between both?) always feature. At the end of the day, apart from these two and 3 others perhaps (Zanjeer, Deewar, Sholay) and Kaala Patthar which I liked, I think AB himself finds it hard to come up with films that stand the test of time despite the humungous hits that they were when they released. Repeat watch value of almost all the Man Desai and Prakash Mehra masalas are zero, at least as far as I am concerned.

And the less said about the atrocity that was "Black", the better. And they accuse RK of hamming--the baap of all hams this was. Now I hope AB fans don't flood this thread with all that's choicest :-)

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