'Sayonara' Pramod Chakravarty

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
12/13/2004 12:00:00 AM
One of Hindi cinema's more prolific and  successful filmmakers is no more. Pramod Chakravarty passed away Saturday leaving behind a legacy of films as diverse as "12 O' Clock", "Love in Tokyo" and "Jugnu".

He had started his career as director in 1958 with "12 O' Clock" featuring Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman.

In 1964, Chakravarty launched his own production company Pramod Films with a film called "Ziddi".

Asha Parekh who starred in "Ziddi" gets misty-eyed. "There's a very interesting story about how Chakkida signed me for 'Ziddi'. I was new to the industry. I was waiting at a bus stop when he passed by. I greeted him cordially. He didn't seem to recognise me. He went ahead and then came back to apologise for not recognising me. There and then he decided I'd star in his first production.

" 'Ziddi' was a big hit. The songs, specially 'Raat ka samaa jhoome chandrama' are hummed to this day. Two years later, Chakkida launched 'Love In Tokyo' with the same lead pair Joy Mukherjee and me. It was the first film to be shot in Japan. I had some lovely songs, like 'O mere shah-a-khuba', 'Koi matwala aaya mere dware' and 'Sayonara'. We had a great time doing both the films."

"He was planning to get rid of his bungalow and have it replaced by a high rise building. All his plans have now gone away with him. It's so sad to see such genuinely decent human beings passing way. I feel so lonely. I wish it would end for me as well," she says sadly.

Chakravarty's oeuvre was cluttered with triumphs. The most fruitful period came in the early 1970s when he made three back-to-back films with the super-hit pair of Dharmendra and Hema Malini.

While the first "Naya Zamana" was a hit, the second "Jugnu" was the biggest success of Chakravarty's career. The third Dharmendra-Hema Malini starrer "Azad" was a cold turkey at the box office. But that didn't deter Hema Malini from signing the director for her home production "Dream Girl", which was a major flop.

In 1976, Chakravarty made "Barood" which launched the career of Shoma Anand. She featured again in Chakravarty's notorious "Patita", the story of a 'fallen woman' which never quite made it at the box office.

By the time the 1980s came along, the filmmaker was way out of touch with the trends. However, he spotted Akshay Kumar and introduced him in 1992 in "Deedar".

An emotional Akshay recalls with tears in his eyes: "He was my guru and mentor. Whatever I know about acting is through him. I was very close to Dada and his family. I even had a little room in their house When he saw me for the first time, he immediately gave me Rs. 5,000 and said I was on. During the making of 'Deedar' both Karisma and I learnt so much.

"Dada was a truly good human being. I'm proud to say I featured in his final film 'Barood' some years ago (which had nothing to do with the 'Barood' he made earlier). People today have forgotten he has nine silver and golden jubilees during his lifetime. His success ratio was amazing."