‘Showman’ Raj Kapoor’s 95th Birth Anniversary-Par Hum Tumhare Rahenge Sadaa
Revered film-maker-actor Raj Kapoor’s 95th birth anniversary is being observed today (14th Dec) in India as well as various parts of the world including Russia and East European countries, South Africa, the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia, where he was and is still hailed as the ‘ambassador of Indian film culture’. Thousands of Russians & East Europeans fluently sing the iconic Hindi retro-RK song track ‘Awara Hoon’ . Blessed with a natural genius-ear for good melodies and rhythm, Raj-ji had his final say in the selection of all his film-song tunes. Not for nothing, was he called the original ‘showman’ . Because besides innovative mounting and classy production values he ensured authenticity especially the ‘common-man connect’ in most of his trend-setting musical films. At times, the senior Kapoor’s on-screen antics would remind the audiences of the legendary Hollywood Charlie Chaplin, especially the bumbling, rapid tramp-walk and doffing his hat. Most of the foreign audiences presumed that modest Raj Kapoor was an excellent ‘on-screen-singer’ as well and would request him to hum some of their favourite retro- tracks.
So much so that the affable Raj-ji himself shared with me, on the sets of ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ at a Durga pandal, at Shivaji Park ( Mumbai). That he was compelled to take iconic playback singer Mukesh-ji along with him to foreign cities and make him sing ‘live’ to clear the ‘galat faimi’ of his vilaayti fans. Almost all the R K repertoire songs not only had catchy tunes, but also philosophical, inspiring lyrics like for instance in ‘Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai’ and patriotic undercurrent as in ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’. The RK legacy luminous flame-torch is being gloriously carried forward by his enterprising cinema-savvy celeb-sons Randhir, Rishi and Rajiv Kapoor and the gen-next comprising Karisma, Kareena and Ranbir Kapoor. Illustrious director Sooraj (Rajshri) Barjatya once told me, that it was only by diligently watching R.K.
movies, that he grasped the rudiments of the film-making craft. Coincidentally, today it’s also the 85th birthday of ( seven-times National Film Award-Winner) path-breaking ‘showman’ director Shyam Benegal who spotted over a dozen iconic talents and cast them as debuting actors in his maverick movies. Star-maker Benegal’s discoveries include Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri , Anant Nag, Urmila Matondkar and many more. Yet another legendary debonair matinee-idol who celebrates his 83rd birthday today is (‘Bemisaal’) Biswajeet-da known for his string of evergreen retro-songs from various milestone movies.
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