How Aradhana, Kati Patang were made
Legendary director Shakti Samanta's son Ashim takes Shaikh Ayaz through his best-loved movies, and shares some interesting behind-the-scenes nuggets.
Image: Shakti Samanta
'Dad used to create scenes just to incorporate music'
There would be music sittings at Samanta household and his father would find himself lost in rhythms and melodies. For the same reason, R D Burman, O P Nayyar and Anand Bakshi became his close friends.
"In fact, he used to create scenes just to incorporate music. He felt films are nothing without music."
Image: R D Burman, Shakti Samanta, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
'Originally, Aradhana and Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati had the same climax'
"Dad was shocked to see that the climax was the same as Aradhana's. It was possible because both films were written by the same writer -- Sachin Bhowmick. The next day, Samanta had made up his mind to scrap Aradhana."
It so happened that writers Gulshan Nanda and Madhusudan Kalelkar dropped into his office that day and they noticed that he was tense.
"Originally, Aradhana was to have Rajesh Khanna die at the interval point and a new hero would come in. Instead, Gulshan Nanda suggested why not have a double role of father and son. Dad loved the idea and went on to make the film."
Image: Shakti Samanta, along with Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna in Aradhana
'Two of his finest films were created in one evening'
"Dad jumped at it. First, they reworked the second half of Aradhana in the next few hours and then, they discussed Kati Patang at length. Two of his finest films were created in that evening, within a gap of few hours," says Ashim.
Image: Shakti Samanta, Rajesh Khanna, Asha Parekh in Kati Patang
'He wanted Amar Prem to be Rajesh Khanna's best performance'
"Dad made quite a few changes in the new script but he wanted it to be Rajesh Khanna's best performance yet."
The line, 'Pushpa, I hate tears, re' uttered by Khanna in his trademark style has become one of Hindi cinema's most memorable screen moments. "That line was there in the original. We merely used it as a piece of dialogue. We had no idea it would become so iconic."
Image: Rajesh Khanna and Om Prakash in Amar Prem
'Shankar-Jaikishan were the original choice for Kashmir Ki Kali'
"When the rain stopped, there was suddenly sunlight and it didn't rain for the next 25 days or so and dad finally finished the Kashmir schedule.
"When Nayyar called my father to hear some tunes, he couldn't refuse. In the course of their session, Nayyar played 30-40 tunes and dad was quite excited to use it all," says Ashim.
Image: Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore in Kashmir Ki Kali
'Madhubala was paid one rupee as signing amount for Howrah Bridge'
"Dad started the narration with her character, that of a Christian girl who speaks like, 'Humko tumse pyaar maangta hai.' When Madhubala heard that, she burst out laughing and agreed to do the film without actually hearing the story."
She even refused to accept any payment before the film's shooting. "She asked dad for one rupee as a signing amount and said the rest he can pay after the film is complete."
Image: Madhubala in Howrah Bridge