“Kakaji was a heartbroken man however by no means revealed his disappointment to anybody”
Sawan Kumar Tak remembers recollections of his Souten celebrity Rajesh Khanna
Filmmaker Sawan Kumar Tak’s Souten (1983) stays memorable for extra causes than one…
Shot in sea-silhouetted Mauritius, it handled audiences to virginal shores and pristine skylines, throwing open the floodgates to a postcard excellent world. Until date, it’s touted as Sawan Kumar’s largest hit, spawning a sequence of Souten outings later.
The peppy Shayad meri shaadi ka khayal duet, by Sawan Kumar and composed by Usha Khanna, not solely turned a wedding pitch however a long time later, continues to encourage spoofs and memes. Simply as Zindagi pyaar ka geet hai, additionally written by the director, stays timeless for its truths.
Rajesh Khanna, enjoying the aggrieved Shyam, disillusioned by spouse Radha (Tina Munim) however held collectively by Radha (Padmini Kolhapure), discovered cheerleaders amongst suckers of his model of romance in an age of actioners. Souten, someplace, pumped up Rajesh Khanna’s sagging stardom.
Apparently, it additionally marked a ‘dissolve’ between the 2 essential scenes in his private life – the top of his relationship with spouse Dimple Kapadia and the start of his alleged romance with co-star Tina Munim.
Sawan Kumar knew he was treading on skinny ice when he signed Rajesh Khanna for his movie. However belying all apprehensions, ‘Kakaji’ and he not solely went on to present a blockbuster however the lonely two additionally solid a bond of empathy… a one-off within the shifting sands of showbiz.
Sawan Kumar Tak seems to be again at Souten hero Rajesh Khanna …
IN SAWAN KUMAR TAK’S OWN WORDS:
Once I wrote Souten, individuals had been cautious of the story. Many heroes had already rejected the script fearing it to be a woman-oriented topic. Once I considered approaching Kakaji (Rajesh Khanna), they stated he wouldn’t prefer it both. However I used to be eager that Kakaji hear the story first.
Once I narrated it to him, Kakaji turned quiet. Questioning whether or not it was the title that had not gone down properly with him, I recommended that we might change it if required. Kakaji stated, “No! The title must be Souten solely. It’s excellent for the script.” A lot to my pleasure, he agreed to do the movie. A heroine, whom we approached to pair up with him, was not eager to work with me as a director. However Kakaji was clear that solely I’d direct the movie.
Earlier than I made a decision to shoot in Mauritius, it was largely an unexplored territory. I met the then Honourable Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, and sought his form permission. He graciously stated, “It’s your nation. You’re welcome!” The crew was fascinated by the places. It appeared like heaven on earth. The love triangle featured Tina Munim and Padmini Kolhapure, whom we affectionately known as Pandi. I had previous ties together with her. Padmini had additionally featured in my movie Sajaan Bina Suhagan (1978).
Kakaji was alleged to be temperamental and troublesome. Individuals had warned me saying, “Adibaaz (arduous to cope with) hai, rooth (sulk) jaata hai, units choddh kar chala jaata hai!” However I by no means witnessed that aspect of him. He was a foodie however had no nakhras about what was served. He wasn’t keen on train although.
However sure, he was extraordinarily keen on liquor. He couldn’t sleep early. So, he’d maintain consuming and chatting until late within the evening. Naturally, he’d arrive late on the set the following morning. Thodi bahut toh adaayein (idiosyncrasies) stars mein hoti hai. Unmein bhi thi. Stars right this moment even have quirks.
However as soon as on the set, Kakaji would compensate for the misplaced time. In fact he was moody. He couldn’t undergo fools and misconduct. An actor is sort of a doll. It’s a must to deal with him gently with love. You pour power into your actors. It’s a must to create them. It’s a must to assist them really feel the character. As a director, I might really feel your complete movie and conveyed it precisely to him. He felt relaxed with me.
If individuals had been respectful in the direction of him, Kakaji went out of his approach to co-operate. But when anybody threw his weight round, then it will be one other story. I by no means heard about him leaving a movie incomplete. What can an actor do if producers don’t pay him schedule after schedule? Kakaji might have come throughout such defaulters.
Coming again to Souten, earlier than the discharge of the movie, there have been murmurs as to who would watch a movie so titled. Kakaji reassured me saying, “Don’t take heed to them. Mark my phrases; there will likely be many extra ‘Soutens’ sooner or later.” He was at all times assured in regards to the movie. Once we processed the prints within the lab and other people noticed the rushes they had been left amazed on the scenic frames.
After the premiere was held at Apsara theatre in Mumbai and other people appreciated the movie, an ecstatic Kakaji hugged me and stated, “Now, let’s open a bottle!” We had events after events to have fun the success of the movie with bouquets flooding my home for days.
As an individual, Kakaji was extraordinarily emotional. If he discovered you to be real, he might give his life for you. On the similar time, he might simply see if somebody was making an attempt to take advantage of him. He understood I used to be not taking any benefit of him. He’d say, “Sawan you’re the solely gentleman I’ve met. He even advised individuals, ‘Yeh producer hai dilwala!”
I noticed him upset just a few instances. As soon as he broke down in my home, when a specific relationship didn’t work out. Kakaji additionally had some flaws, which girls couldn’t bear. The ladies in his life can’t be blamed. Kakaji would overlook who he was after drinks. He’d lose his mood and find yourself saying issues, which weren’t very nice. However on the entire he was an excellent man. After an evening of consuming, he’d ask me the following morning, “Maine kuch bol diya aapko? I’m sorry. Sham ko aa raha hoon. We’ll kind out our gile shikve (grievances).”
Undeniably, he was extraordinarily lonely. Really, Kakaji was not meant for marriage. Some persons are not destined to get pleasure from marital happiness similar to me. Kakaji was possessive about his girls. It’s good to be possessive in love. However not past a sure level. Whereas he, being a star, was public property. Ladies had been loopy about him. They’d clamor for images and autographs wherever he went.
He was a romantic and ladies fell for him. However it wouldn’t work out for some purpose and he was at all times left depressed. He was a heartbroken man. But he by no means revealed his disappointment to individuals. He lived with it. Having stated that, Dimple is a superb woman. She taken care of him so devotedly after he was identified with most cancers in 2011. I visited Kakaji at his bungalow Aashirwad throughout that point. Sadly, he handed away in 2012. Apna dard chupaya, khushiyaan baati that was his greatness. At his funeral, each eye was moist. I used to be reminded of the strains that I’d written for Meenaji (Kumari) when she handed away:
Chandni mar gayee, roshni mar gayee,
(The moonlight died, the brightness died)
Saari shamme bujha kar chale aaye log
(Individuals extinguished all lamps and got here away),
Chaadar-e-gul se chhilta tha jiska badan
(Somebody whose pores and skin would damage even with a coverlet of flowers…)
Ussko mitti udhakar chale aaye log
(Individuals lined him/her with mud and got here away).”