Filmmaker Shakti Samanta is renowned for his long association with Rajesh Khanna. In fact, it was Shakti Samanta who gave a new lease of life to the struggling Rajesh Khanna and made him a Superstar overnight with his hit film ARADHANA. Later the duo dared to experiment with novel scripts and ended triumphant. They made many pioneering movies like KATI PATANG (1970); AMAR PREM (1971) and ANURAAG (1972).
|RAJESH KHANNA in ANURAAG|
In fact, when Shakti Samanta wrote the script of ANURAAG, his family and distributors rejected the script and advised him to drop the idea of making the film. The movie told the story of a young boy who donates his eyes to a blind girl before dying. The movie was the first time to speak about the medical revolution in eye transplant in the early 70s.
In an interview Shakti Samanta said, “I was dejected when everybody discouraged me to abandon the script of ANURAAG as it was too poignant. But within my heart I had a strong urge to make this film. One day I narrated the script to Kaka (Rajesh Khanna, lovingly called in film industry). He had an ear for brilliant scripts and immediately told me to start the movie.”
“But I told him that the script does not have a role for him as it is based on the emotional bond of brother and sister. But he insisted to be part of the film hence I wrote a cameo exclusively for him,” informed Shakti Samanta.
Readers would be surprised to know that what was termed as a failure turned out to be a gold mine for Shakti Samanta.
The movie was not only a hit at the box-office but won Filmfare Best Movie award out beating super hit films in the category like Raj Kapoor’s BOBBY, Prakash Mehra’s ZANJEER and Gulzaar’s KOSHISH.
Shakti Samanta was also nominated in the Best Story Award category for his far-fetched story but unfortunately writer duo Salim-Javed won the award for their excellent script in ZANJEER!