Connect with us

Bollywood News

Happy Birthday, Rakesh Roshan



Rakesh Roshan

I have known Rakesh Roshan  longer than perhaps  anyone  in  the  film industry. During the  days  of  landline phones  we  would speak regularly.

Even when  I was starting out Rakeshji was  always kind thoughtful and   considerate towards me. In fact  we get along far better than his son Hrithik who for some strange reason always  avoided meeting me although  we got along just fine on  the phone.While the junior’s  relationships are completely need-driven(and no  harm in that)  Rakeshji and I have known and respected one  another  for decades now. Even when he is not directing  a film –which happens  quite often—he’s still the same  person. Warm,polite  and always  ready with a  welcoming smile.It is  truly distressful  to see  that generation growing progressively  distant  in  the  film industry. There  are  no more personal relationships,at least none that I can  even remotely describe as  valuable. Rakesh Roshan belongs to a precious breed of professionals  who  believed work could be done within the periphery  a lasting friendship. I can’t claim to be a buddy.(Rishi Kapoor who can rightfully claim to be that, is  also  undergoing  a health treatment). But we are friends. We  share a mutual respect. It shook me to know that this  strong tenacious  man is , after all, human.I remember when  in 2000 Rakeshji was  shot at  by gangsters for refusing extortion money, Rakeshji drove himself to the  nearest hospital with a bullet in  his abdomen. His mantra for a good life? “Make every day your birthday and celebrate. Spread happiness as much as  you can and stay away  from negativity.I’ve always believed in thinking and being positive.”

 Rakesh Roshan’s  5 finest  films:

1.     Khudgarz (1987)—The unlikely friendship between a Punjabi urban businessman and a rural Bihari babu(Shatrughan Sinha) was actually Rakesh Roshan’s take on a life-long friendship gone sour in Jeffrey Archer’s novel Kane & Abel. Rakesh earlier wanted to cast Jeetendra and Rajnikanth in a Punjabi-Tamilian dosti. He changed the cultural backdrop of one of the friends’ characters to cash on Shatrughan Sinha’s real-life friendship with  Jeetendra.

2.          Jaag Utha Insaan(1984):  Though it was “Himmatwala” that launched her into stardom in Bollywood, it was this unsuccessful nugget of a film produced by Rakesh Roshan and directed by the inimitable K. Vishwanath, where Sridevi shone as a temple dancer wooed by a Brahmin boy (Rakesh Roshan) and a socio-economically challenged underdog (Mithun Chakraborty). Sridevi danced and emoted as though there was no tomorrow. And as long as she did, we didn’t care if there wasn’t a tomorrow.This , according to me, is  the  most neglected  film of Sridevi’s vast and  far-ranging  oeuvre. She  played a Brahmin girl in love with a  Dalit boy(Mithun Chakraborty). Her dancing  with the  South Indian temples as  the backdrop is to die for.  Director K Vishwanath  who normally  preferred to work with Sridevi’s rival Jaya Prada here made an exception that made us Sridevi fans  drool in delight.Very few  films have captured this  classcal  side of Sri’s personality.This one  is  soup  for  the  eyes and  the soul.

3.         Bhagwan Dada(1986) :In this  Rakesh Roshan-produced  film  Sridevi was cast as a con-woman who pretends  to be  a hooker, takes moneyed men into hotel rooms, gets them drunk and runs  off with  their  money.The  role was  great fun to  play  and we can easily see Sridevi  having the  time  of her  life in the company of Rajinikanth and  the  12-year old Hrithik Roshan. “Hrithik was just 9 when he did my father-in-law’s film BhagwanDada.Hrithik was not supposed to do the film. But the child actor whohad a pivotal role with Rajnikanth fell ill. My father-in-law directorJ OmPrakash insisted, ‘Let’s take Duggu.’. I was against the idea.‘Daddy, Duggu can’t act!’ I protested. I wanted Hrithik to focus onhis studies. We’d have never known there was  a brilliant actorlurking in him if my father-in-law had not insisted.Rakesh Roshan vividly recalls 9-year old Hrithik’s first shot. “Sincealong with Rajnikanth and Sridevi I also played the lead in BhagwanDada I was there on the first day of shooting when Hrithik had to givehis first shot.It was with Sridevi. I  was so nervous and embarrassed that I hid behind a pillar on the sets, just watching  my son quietly.I could see him very quiet , not communicating with anybody. I thoughthe was just not interested. But when he gave his first shot he wasperfect!!  Like Sridevi, my son transformed when the  camera was on.That was the moment I realized my son had it in him to be an actor.Wealready knew he was a natural-born dancer.Before that I thought of himas quiet boy lost in his own world of  studies and school.But the wayhe did his death scene in Bhagwan Dada left me stumped. How could a 9-year old boy who doesn’t even know about death, play dead soconvincingly?! That’s when we knew.”

4.     Kaam Chor(1982):  Rakesh Roshan  produced this  quaint  goodhearted  film about  a beautiful kind woman who reforms her indolent  work-shirking husband. Rakesh Roshan took the backseat as  Jaya Prada  fronted this mellow drama  directed by one of   Rakesh’s favourite director K Vishwanath who  saw  the sparks in Jaya Prada long before any other  director. Be it Kaam Chor  or Hrishikesh  Mukherjee’s Khubsoorat, Rakesh Roshan was always  game for doing  heroine-centric  films.

5.     Krissh(2006) : Is it a bird, it is a plane?No it’s Hrithik Roshan!!! Fascinating is the word for the measured manner in which he glides through the air to the beat of Rajesh Roshan’s  songs… or cuts through the breeze to the stunning special effects created with a verve so-far unknown to Indian cinema.”Krrish” takes us into the world of masked fantasy where the stakes are incredibly high… as high as the computer-generated leaps that the super-hero takes as he tries to save the world from the clutches of a megalomaniacal villain with a glint in his eyes that can only belong to Naseeruddin Shah. Speaking  to me about the film in an old interview Rakesh Roshan had said, “To make a niche film is relatively easy. Sanjay Bhansali’s Black was a fantastic film. And the business it did was surprising. But I make fully commercial films. People expect me to surpass my previous collections. Krrish has done so in the first three days. Krrish belongs to the same genre as Superman or King Kong, so it had to go by the genre. In every film of that genre the heroine wonders about the superhero’s identity.”

Continue Reading