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Shakti Samant: One more legend walks into the cloud to join his contemporaries

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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In passing away of Shakti Samant a glorious chapter of Indian cinema has been brought to an end, an era when romance was the king, and it was bliss to soak in its ambience. Shakti Samant was one of the icons who single handedly was able to write new idioms for making of cinema whose core motif was romance.

A man who started his career with the cinema from the black and white era with HOWRAH BRIDGE at the fag end of the innings also came out with a movie like DON MUTHUSWAMY which was anti-thesis to the image that he had created for himself.

One of the singular features of nearly all the films that Shakti Samant made was the integral presence the grand patriarch of Hindi cinema Dada Muni aka Ashok Kumar. It had become more so pronounced in the early seventies when Shakti Samant was on a roll with his romantic films. Films like ARADHANA, KATI PATANG, AMAR PREM, ANURAAG, AMANUSH, etc., bear an ample testimony to the same. Dada Muni and Shakti Samant seemed to grow together in film after film, and the image of grand patriarch sort of got solidification with Dada Muniís association with Shakti Samant.

It is also ironic that the first romantic hero of the country Rajesh Khanna was the creation of Shakti Samanta through his series of films, however he does not find any reference in the tributes being offered to this legend of the Indian cinema. Where would Rajesh Khanna have been where not Shakti Samant had made films like ARADHANA, KATI PATANG, AMAR PREM, ANURAAG, which in fact are the most successful films that Rajesh Khanna has in his film career.

For Sharmila Tagore as well, it was Shakti Samant who was her most successful director. She also had one of the most successful relationships with Shakti Samant. It was a relationship that started with KASHMIR KI KALI, AN EVENING IN PARIS, following into AMAR PREM, ARADHANA, etc. He would be rare few directors who won three Filmfare awards for ARADHANA, AMR PREM and AMANUSH.

As a matter of fact till he lost his touch after BARSAAT KE EK RAAT, Shakti Samant showed that he had keen sense of music which was manifest from his HOWRAH BRIDGE days. Where it not for Shakti Samant, the yahoo image that Shammi Kapoor acquired could not have been as, the first definite direction to it was given by Shakti Samant in CHINA TOWN, and he took it to a new status with KASHMIR KI KALI.

Shakti Samant therefore would be one of the giants of the Hindi cinema as he gave to the industry few of the all time greats that the industry has including Dada Muni, Shammi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna, Uttam Kumar and in the realm of music the iconic success that R D Burman enjoyed along with Kishore Kumar could not have been possible had Shakti Samant not made films like ARADHANA, AMAR PREM, KATI PATANG etc.

He was also the first man who began the era of making bilingual films i.e. both in Hindi and Bengali and opened a new genre of film making, which was not followed up subsequently. He was one man who single handedly was instrumental in bringing the traditions and practices of Bengali culture on a country wide platform and his characters most of the time used to sport traditional Indian dresses, a sort of fashion statement about the Indian sartorial preferences. It would be difficult to find another instance where the lead character could only sport a dhoti and a kurta through out the film as he did in AMAR PREM. For the sheer fact of promoting the Indian dresses and the Indian culture in its finesse Shakti Samantís name would be written in gold in the annals of Indian film history.

In his passing away Hindi cinema has lost one of the biggest legends that it ever produced. God must be happy that in heaven now his direction team is ready and may be he would unspool new era of romance through his cinematographic lens.

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