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Rajendra Nath: last of the clean comedians
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
When he left the world last week to regale and entertain God almighty with his antics, Rajendra Nath brought closure of an era in Indian comedy that was characterized by being slap-stick and thrived on verbal skills and facial contortions to tickle the funny bone of the audience.
His was a career that started from the Black & White era and continued up to the advent of the idiot box. His rendition of the character of Popat Lall in JAB PYAAR KISSI SE HOTA HAI became so popular that it became his alter ego and he was identified more as a Popat Lall than as Rajendra Nath. Sadly enough, the image of being a Popat Lall or a simpleton stuck on him and he had to generate his comedy within the confines of this image, but he thrived on it.
Incidentally, along with Shammi Kapoor he started the era of side kick of a hero with a flourish and he was there in nearly all the films that Shammi Kapoor acted as a hero be it JAB PYAAR KISSI SE HOTA HAI or JUNGLEE or JAANWAR. This could probably had to do with the debut that he made in the I.S. Johar starrer film HUM SAB CHOR HAIN where he partnered with Shammi Kapoor and the flair of comedy that he executed in HUM SAB CHOR HAIN must have the deciding factor in creation of this comedy pair. He never overshadowed the hero whose sidekick character he portrayed, but his antics complemented the persona of hero in the film. He was the first comedian who could adorn a ladies nightgown with finesse without being vulgar as he did in JAB PYAAR KISSI SE HOTA HAI and score of other films.
It was the innocence on his face that he used as his USP in executing a role be it playing with a donkey as he did in DIL DEKE DEKHO or his ability to sit on the top of cake in a dead pan manner or executing the comic scenes while jumping like a mad man is what made him carve a niche for himself.
With passing away of Rajendra Nath one more relic of the past of Indian cinema has walked into the annals of history and for a generation, whose exposure to comedy has been relegated to situations having vulgar connotations and double meaning dialogues, if one wants to have a real enjoyment should watch one of the movies of Rajendra Nath from the Black & White era.