What drove Raj Kapoor to ring up Lata Mangeshkar at 1 am… | Hindi Movie News


Come December 14 and a book, encapsulating the way Raj Kapoor worked behind the scenes will be on the book shelves across the country. Written by filmmaker Rahul Rawail, who started his career as an assistant director to the maverick filmmaker-actor, the book is titled The Master At Work. Rawail, during his session at the on-going 52nd edition of the International Film Festival of India, had revealed that the 10-chapter book contains plenty of anecdotes about Raj Kapoor’s quirkiness and eccentricities.

Rawail reveals, “Raj saab was a visionary and someone who dreamt big. The canvas in his mind was always large and yet, very real. He had bankrolled Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, revolving around the situation with dacoits at that time in our country. It was a non-violent, music-heavy film where even redemption came in the form of the song, Aa ab laut chalein. For this song, he needed a large chorus and musicians and so on. The technology at that time didn’t allow such a multi-track recording inside the studio. He recorded Aa ab laut chalein with more than half the chorus singers and technicians on the streets near Tardeo at 3 am. There was no traffic on the road at that time. He called Lata Mangeshkar at 1 am, saying that his climax song would not feel complete without the heroine’s participation in it. He needed an aalaap from her which would be played out on Padmini in the film. Latabai agreed. Raj saab was quirky and eccentric, like most geniuses are.”

Raj Kapoor also had a unique way of presenting the leading ladies in his film. They were bold, strong and had a voice of their own. Mandakini in Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Zeenat Aman in Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Dimple Kapadia in Bobby, Vyajayanthimala in Sangam, and Padmini Kolhapuri in Prem Rog top the list. When we brought this up and asked if a chapter about the portrayal of women had made it to the book, Rawail said, “Raj saab had so much in his mind. He could do anything and sometimes, he would not even take credit for what he did for a film. To be honest, I have not been able to imbibe his style of depicting women in my films because most of them were not in that space barring Anjaam. Anjaam was from a woman’s point of view. Raj saab had a way of depicting women which finds its way into the book though not specifically in any one chapter. He thought and acted on the idea of empowerment of women way back in the day, which seems to have now picked up momentum in our business. The women were very strong, individualistic and real in so many ways. I remember when he made Prem Rog, he promised us a love story. When we heard it first, it was a story about a young widow and her fight against patriarchy and social discrimination. He had promised us that there would be a hero and it would become a love story, and it did.”

Rawail adds, “Today, I voice this everywhere that we must stop having gender-based bifurcations in our awards. There should be one Best Actor award and both – men and women – should compete for it. And trust me if we did that, a lot of women would beat the men to get those awards in our business. Women will love what I am saying but it’s also the truth now.”



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