Friday, April 10, 2009

Demise of Shakti Samanta.

Demise of Shakti Samanta.
Shakti Samanta, the veteran director and producer of successful bollywood films during the 60s and 70s died on 9th April, 2009. He is remembered for the evergreen romantic films he made in the 60s which had entertained the viewers to a great extent.

In the 50s, his film Howrah Bridge with Ashok Kumar and Madhubala did great business in the box-office. The music composed by OP Nayyar with songs like “aiye meherban”, “mera naam chin chin chu” entertained the viewers. The other black and white film included China Town with Shammi Kapoor and Shakila.

In China Town, Shakti Samanta did cast Shammi Kapoor in a double role, with one of the brothers being involved in smuggling activities in China Town. The other brother was used by the police to know the whereabouts of the other members of the gang. Ravi’s music was impressive with Rafi’s song “baar baar dekho” becoming super hit.

In the 60s Shakti Samanta came up with blockbusters like Kashmir Ki Kali and An Evening in Paris. From that time onwards Sharmila Tagore featured in nearly all his films. Shammi Kapoor’s rock and roll andaz was well balanced by westernized tunes composed by OP Nayyar and Shankar Jaikishan in the two films. The hit songs in the films include “diwana hua badal”, “kisi na kisi se”, “tareef karun kya uski”, “isharon isharon”, “aji aisa mouka”, “aasman se aya farishta”, “akele akele kahan ja rahe ho”, “raat ke humsafar”, etc., sung by Rafi and Asha.

In the 70s, all the films of Shakti Samanta were big hits include Rajesh Khanna’s films Aradhana, Amar Prem and Kati Patang. Again romantic stories, picturesque shooting and melodious music entertained the viewers and films became extremely successful.

Shakti Samanta also experiments with films made in both Bengali and Hindi with Bengal’s superstar Uttam Kumar. The films included Amanush and Anand Ashram which were made both in Bengali and hindi. Sharmila Tagore acted well in both these films opposite Uttam Kumar. Shaymal Mitra’s music was also very impressive along with landscapes of Sunderban where most of the films were shot.

The experiment of making Bengali and hindi film on the same subject continued with Shakti Samanta’ use of Big B in the early 80s. The film Anu Sandhan and Barsaat Ki Ek Raat did fantastic business with the action sequences and powerful performance of Big B and Rakhee. Rakhee played the role of blind girl in those films.

Although Shakti Samanta was not known for perfection that was achieved by stalwart directors like Bimal Roy, he is remembered by film historians as one of the grand entertainers who had used soft romantic stories and picturised them with his own dreams. His films should be restored and preserved.

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