Subhash Ghai says 'Awara' drew him into Bollywood

Jun 29, 2011 Gurmukh Singh

Toronto, June 29 (IANS) Subhash Ghai credits Raj Kapoor's film "Awara" for his entry into Bollywood.

"In my childhood, I saw 'Awara' and I bunked from school. After that when I came home, my mom said: you were not at school? I told a lie and said: yeah, I was in school. After seeing that film I didn't go to school for three days... I wanted to be nothing but a filmmaker,'' Ghai said at a tribute to the legendary Raj Kapoor here organized by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

TIFF, which will hold a retrospective series called Raj Kapoor and the Golden Age of Indian Cinema from July 1 to August 7, honoured the Kapoor family at its headquarters here Sunday.

Ghai said he bunked classes to watch every Raj Kapoor film.

"Whenever a Raj Kapoor film came, I saw it... I wanted to be nothing but a filmmaker. So my hearty thanks to Raj Kapoor - a genius and great inspiration for many filmmakers like me,'' Ghai said.

Ramesh Sippy, director of Sholay, said Raj Kapoor had a tremendous influence on him.

Asked to describe him in one word, Sippy said, "Love. Love thy name is Raj Kapoor.''

Sippy said, "When Raj Kapoor saw Sholay, he said: I love your film, but you should have put a little more romance in it. I loved him for that.''

The Sholay director said Raj Kapoor's Shree 420 is his most favourite film.

"The film had everything. Its song 'Pyar hua, ikrar hua..' was absolutely brilliant... it (song) was done in the rain under an umbrella. My God, I have never felt love so strongly (after seeing that song scene),'' Sippy said.

Zeenat Aman, the leading lady of Raj Kapoor's many films, recalled how she landed the role of Rupa in his film "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" opposite Shashi Kapoor.

"Raj Kapoor used to talk a great deal about Rupa on various days of shootings and I was totally mesmerized by what he told. It was my great desire and fervour to work (on that film) with the most brilliant showman of our industry,'' she said.

Since Rupa had a burnt face, Zeenat said she created a similar face by make-up and reached the RK Studios. "When I knocked on the door, Raj Kapoor said: 'yes?' I said: Rupa. I am very happy to say that he was very impressed by my desire and passion for the project.''

She said she got not only the role of Rupa in "Satyam Shivam Sundaram", but also a gold coin from the legend. "I have that coin still with me. It was a memorable moment of my life,'' Zeenat recalled.

Subhash Ghai Pictures


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