While the film industry remembers legendary filmmakers like Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor of the 60’s and Manmohan Desai, Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Mahesh Bhatt of the 70 and 80’s, it forget some really talented filmmakers. One among these umpteen unsung filmmakers is Shakti Samanta. Raaga. Com remembers him on his birthday and reveals that Shakti Samanta, who made ARADHANA, which made Rajesh Khanna a superstar, was to be shelved. Read on….
The younger generation may not know about this genius filmmaker, Shakti Samanta, who in his career spanning over four decades made a variety of films. Beginning with action thrillers like HOWRAH BRIDGE (1958); JAALI NOTE (1960); CHINA TOWN (1962) etc. He later switched to romantic movies like KASHMIR KI KALI (1964); SAWAN KI GHATA (1966); AN EVENING IN PARIS (1967).
However from the late 60’s he began experimenting with social subjects. The first film was ARADHANA (1969), which gave Indian Cinema Rajesh Khanna, the first Superstar.
However it may come as a surprise to readers that Shakti Samanta was about to shelve his movie ARADHANA, because just a few days before the shooting of ARADHANA he happened to watch the premier of Shashi Kapoor starrer EK SHRIMAAN EK SHRIMATI and was left stunned to find a similar climax that he had planned for ARADHANA.
He was in a dizzy and after lot of pondering he decided to abandon the film. But when his writer Gulshan Nanda came to know about Shaktida’s decision he suggested him to alter the climax and gave the brilliant idea of giving double role to Rajesh Khanna. In the original script Khanna’s role was restricted to interval. Thus the double role helped Khanna in a big way and the movie proved super hit.
The movie won Shakti Samanta the Best Film Filmfare award and Sharmila Tagore the Best Actress award. The super song sensuous number Roop Tera Mastana…. To fetched playback singer Kishore Kumar the Best Male Playback Singer award.
After this the Rajesh Khanna and Shakti Samanta Jodi gave many hits like AMAR PREM, ANURAAG, KATI PATANG etc.
ARADHANA was such a huge hit that it was remade down South in Tamil as SIVAKAMIYIN SELVAN (1974) and in Telugu as KANNAVARI KALALU (1974). Interestingly in both the version the central character of Sharmila Tagore was portrayed by South’s versatile actress Vanisri.
ARADHANA was dubbed in Bengali and released in West Bengal.
Shakti Samanta received three Filmfare Awards for Best Film for ARADHANA (1969), ANURAAG (1973) and AMANUSH (1975). Samanta was President of the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association for 5 years. He was Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for 7 years and was Chairman of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata for 2 years.
He died on April, 9, 2009 at the age of 83.