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‘King of romance, master of tragedy’

Friday, December 28, 2012
By Chaitanya Padukone

Showman director B. Subhash, who cast superstar Rajesh Khanna in his mega musical ‘Disco Dancer’ fondly recalls Kakaji’s   ‘emotionally possessive love’ in an exclusive to ADC

“Superstar Rajesh Khanna (Kaka-ji) was a royal Prince of Bollywood, who lived life king-size, on his own terms, whims and fancies,” asserts showman director B.Subhash (Subhash Babbar), who has to his credit several superhit yesteryear movies, including the iconic ‘Disco Dancer’ (1982), which has Rajesh Khanna in an extended guest appearance.

Incidentally, Subhash, who also made  the landmark musical movie ‘Tarzan’ (1985), now has plans to remake it, this time in ‘3-D’ with a fresh cast. Recalls the flamboyant director, “Gradually, as we became close buddies, I realized that the wonderful Kakaji seemed to be an emotionally possessive friend.”

How did Subhash decide to approach the moody Khanna to act in his retro-movie, which even today is a benchmark for disco-centric music? Jogging into a flashback, he recounts, “Contrary to presumptions that I cast Rajesh Khanna in ‘Disco Dancer’ to cash in on his superstar status, he was actually not reigning at that time. We had become friends, especially since I was instrumental in getting him ‘Thodi Si Bewafaai’, which was highly appreciated. This came at a crucial time, when most of his close friends had distanced themselves. As a reciprocal gesture, he said that if there was anything he could do for me, he would gladly oblige.”

“So, when I needed a senior star-actor in a guest appearance in ‘Disco Dancer’ I felt Rajesh would be the right choice. Besides the naach-gaana, he performed a soul-stirring death scene in the pre-climax, when he bravely faces a spray of bullets and dies in the arms of Mithun’s screen-character. So awesome was Kaka-ji in that scene that I okayed it in the ‘first take’ itself.”

 Not only was Rajesh Khanna the undisputed ‘King of Romance, but he was also the ‘Master of Tragedy’. Check out his heart-rending tragic exits in  ‘Anand’, ‘Aradhana’, Namak Haraam’, ‘Aap Ki Kasam’, ‘Safar’ and of course ‘Disco Dancer’ and you will realize why I am saying this. My humble salute to this immortal superstar—-he will always ‘remain alive’ thru his evergreen songs and endearing scenes,” signs off B. Subhash.  

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