Sunday, December 14, 2008

Remembering Raj Kapoor

Remembering Raj Kapoor.

Raj Kapoor, the greatest showman of last millennium would have celebrated his 85th birthday had he been alive. He had created the larger than life image of bollywood stars to perfection over a period of 50 years. He started his career as a producer, director with the film Aag, in 1947, where his faced was burnt due to the outbreak of fire.

In Awara, in 1951, he worked with the theme that human beings are the products of the society where they are brought up, genetic background does not determine the only characteristic of human beings. He was born out of the wedlock of Prithviraj Kapoor and Lila Chiknis and yet was born and brought up in a slum. Prithviraj Kapoor was an advocate of repute whose wife was kidnapped by a dacoit played by KN Singh. As he thought the dacoit had touched his wife he threw his wife and child out of his house. So the unlawful surroundings of Raj Kapoor compelled him to be a thief who was ultimately defended by his girlfriend and advocate played by Nargis. The music of Shankar Jaikishan became trend-setter with Lata’ s songs “ghar aya mera pardesi”, Mukesh’s songs “awara hoon” creating an impact on Indian and Russian audience.

Raj Kapoor’s message to the society continued in the film Shree 420. When he tried to get a job with his honesty, he was refused by the employers. When he got involved in unlawful activities by showing his skills in the game of cards, he became rich. Nadira and others got impressed and he got prestige in the society. Again the music of Shankar Jaikishan became superhit with all the songs of Manna Dey, Mukesh, Rafi, Lata, Asha becoming super hits. The hit songs include “ramaiya vasta maiyya”, “ichaakdana”, “pyar hua ikraar hua hai”, “dil ka haal sune dilwala”, “mur murke na dekh mur murke”, “mera jota hai japani”, to name a few.

His films Anari and Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hai again carried the social message like his earlier films. Anari was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hai was directed by Radhu Karmakar. Raj Kapoor received the filmfare award for the best actor for his performance in both these films. He also contributed with other realistic films in the 50s like Boot Polish and Jagte Raho where his social message had enlightened the viewers.

With the advent of coloured films Raj Kapoor gave one of the biggest blockbusters of his career with the film Sangam in 1964. It was based on triangular love story between himself, Rajender Kumar and Vaijayantimala. The exotic locations of Switzerland, London and other places of Europe created a landmark in the history of bollywood films. The music of Shankar Jaikishan again stormed bollywood films with hit songs of Rafi, Lata and Mukesh including “yeh mera prem patra par kar”, “dost dost na raha”, “har dil jo pyar karega”, “o mehbooba”, to name a few.

The other notable films of Raj Kapoor as a hero included Sharda with Meena Kumari, Ek Dil Sau Afsana and Teesri Kasam with Wahida Rehman, Nazrana with Vaijayantimala, Diwana with Saira Banu, Around the World with Rajashree, Sapno Ka Saudagar with Hema Malini, Mera Naam Joker with Padmini, to name a few. Shankar Jaikishan’s powerful music contributed a lot in almost all these films. Raj Kapoor’s music always touched the souls of numerous Indians during the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s.

After Mera Naam Joker, Raj Kapoor promoted his sons Rishi Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor. His film Bobby was related to teenage romance, Satyam Shivam Sundaram was related to social barriers related to the life a girl with a burnt face, Prem Rog was related to miseries of a widow in Indian society, Ram Teri Ganga Maili was related to the pollution in the minds of Indians across the country which more severe than the pollution of Holy river Ganges.

Raj Kapoor died in 1988, after receiving the highest award of Indian films, Dada Saheb Phalke. He could not complete his film Henna, which was completed by Randhir Kapoor. If Dilip Kumar had glorified bollywood films with his immortal performances over 60 years, then Raj Kapoor had shown the viewers how to dream and what does showmanship mean. His legacy had been carried forward by Rishi Kapoor for the next 20 years.

The viewers remember the greatest showman of bollywood on 14th December, the birthday of Raj Kapoor.

No comments: