Who gave Rajesh Khanna a new lease of life?

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Kar Chale Hum Fida Jaan-o-tann Sathiyon

 
Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyon

This patriotic song from Dharmendra starrer HAQEEQAT has literally become a national anthem during the national holidays in India. Ironically, while the nation remembers the song, Chetan Anand, the brilliant filmmaker, who made this marvelous film remains unsung.

CHETAN ANAND AND RAJESH KHANNA
CHETAN ANAND AND RAJESH KHANNA
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Readers would be surprised to know that Chetan Anand holds the distinction of being India’s first film director to win the prestigious Palme d’Or (Best Film) award, at the first ever Cannes Film Festival for his movie NEECHA NAGAR (1946). It was Chetan Anand who laid the foundation of Art Cinema in India that was later patronized by eminent filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal and others.

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Besides being a wonder film director, Chetan Anand’s other biggest contribution to Hindi cinema is the discovery of India’s first super star Rajesh Khanna. Acknowledging Chetan Anand’s role in his career Rajesh Khanna in an interview had said, ”I shall ever remain grateful to Chetan sahab because though the ‘Talent Hunt Contest’ promised me a role in Bollywood, I had to run helter and shelter seeking role.”

”G. P. Sippy, a judge in the contest did sign me for a movie, but the movie kept on delaying and I was left frustrated. Then Chetan ji spotted me and recognized my talent by offering me my first role in AAKHRI KHAT,” recalls Khanna.

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That’s not all, readers would be amazed to know that Chetan Anand not only helped Rajesh Khanna in giving him a break in Bollywood, but he also played a lion’s share in reviving Rajesh Khanna’s flop career by giving a super hit film KUDRAT opposite Hema Malani that had the super hit song ‘Hamen Tumase Pyar Kitna…’ After this film Rajesh Khanna had a second innings in Bollywood with hit films like SOUTEN, AVTAAR, AGAR TUM NA HOTE etc.  

Chetan Anand was the eldest brother of evergreen actor Dev Anand and film director Vijay Anand. He died on 6 July 1997.

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