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23 Responses to “Balki’s Rajesh Khanna ad!”
Kakaji back for a commercial break
Despite his ongoing battle with ill-health, Rajesh Khanna gets back on his feet to face the camera. This time, to shoot a TV ad directed by R Balki
Mehul S Thakkar
Posted On Monday, April 30, 2012 at 09:17:16 PM
He was the original superstar of the Hindi cinema industry. In the 1970s, it was believed that whatever Khanna did would invariably transform into gold at least at the box office. But of late, the actor had been rather unwell.
The 70-year-old actor’s health had been a matter of concern in the recent past. While reports of Khanna getting admitted to the hospital had been making it to news dailies on and off, when he was spotted at a recent awards ceremony, the star looked like a shadow of his former self. But even then, the star still shines bright. Squashing all rumours of ill-health, the actor recently shot for a television commercial. That too with ad-filmmaker turned film director R Balki.
The commercial shot at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in Bangalore showcases the superstar and his frenzied fan following. Interestingly, the concept of the ad establishes the fact that ‘fans are forever’. And needless to say, Khanna was perhaps the most suited for it.
“I wrote the concept and we decided that the perfect person for the ad will be Mr Rajesh Khanna. We approached him. He recovered and then we shot it. It was a great moment,” explained Balki.
In fact, to understand the superstar’s mannerisms, Balki, as a part of his homework revisited Khanna’s unforgettable films once again. “I watched Amar Prem, Kati Patang, Aradhana. I understood exactly why he was a superstar,” said the filmmaker.
Speaking about the experience, Balki revealed, “We wanted to get all the gestures right. We wanted to get the tilt of his head right. We wanted him to smile the way he used to in his famous films.”
“We had lots of fun. He was extremely sporting. He has so much of cinema left in him. In fact in our first meeting he heard our concept and said that he liked it. He told us, ‘Life is nothing but a sense of humour.’ He is so young at heart. And of course extremely sharp.”
Incidentally, when Rajesh Khanna came for the shoot, he had just recovered from a fracture in his leg. “We thought his leg was broken and so did not want him to strain much. But he just got up and said that he will walk. ‘Nobody will walk with me,’ he joked. He would tease people and play around. He is an extremely simple man,” said Balki.
“I am perhaps the luckiest person in the industry. I have worked with Amitabh Bachchan and now Rajesh Khanna,” he added. When contacted, superstar Rajesh Khanna simply said, “To be approached after so many years is indeed a great honour. I am delighted to reconnect with my fans once again. Shooting after a long gap brought back fond memories. But I don’t feel too much has changed. It’s good to be back.”
This is a very smart ad in very many ways. But it’s extremely sad to see Rajesh Khanna in this physical shape. As that figure walks with his back towards the camera you sense a Shahenshah-like ghost. I was wondering why this resonance was there. And of course with that iconic line from Anand the ‘connection’ was solidifed. As always Balki is extremely sharp in these matters. It’s a rather bitter-sweet ad in many ways but one of the ‘truths’ it attests to is that there’s no way to ‘read’ the Rajesh Khanna phenomenon without also accounting for his dramatic fall and of course ‘demise’ in the angry young man wave. It could be plausibly argued that Rajesh Khanna was in a sense fading in any case at that point but his story just ‘crashed’ into that of ‘Vijay’ and the rest is history.
And of course it’s an ad for Havell’s fans but that last moment is somewhat ambiguous. Rajesh Khanna’s great history but also its very sudden and premature ‘expiry’ is both revealed in that scene. Because you see the machines but not the people (following on the classic vignettes). The legend surrounded by the hall and the machinery but not the actual fans. In many ways this is perhaps not a bad ‘fable’ of all stardom in general. What everyone has to contend with over time. Even the greatest who remain perennially relevant acquire a certain inner sadness. To us it seems that they should be completely thrilled to be stars of all seasons. But they on the other hand have been on those true Olympian heights and they know the difference between the peaks of glory and the interest collected on the same…
Agreed on all counts, Just my thoughts on the Ad. However, felt he was taunting Bachchan a bit here suggesting “babumoshai” my fans will always remain mine, you didn’t take anything away from me. (well that’s what I got out of it). But I am sure it was all done in good fun.
Yeah, I guess. But like I said the man got to live his moment again (even if its just for a commercial). What I foresee after this is a huge bandwagon of Rajesh Khanna fans, especially in the industry. Just like how the hopped on Shammi Kapoor (after his death). Here they get a glimpse of a very frail Khanna and the next years award shows will all be about Khanna. Every director, actor, character actor, music director will swear by Khanna in the next few months. Lately, he was forgotten but this ad will somewhat rejuvinate his stardom a bit by these so called fans from the industry. Watch them crop up soon. Lol.
Yes, it is smart, but also very cruel — these are the sorts of fans no-one can take away from him, the only fans he is permitted! A great ad, very aware, and certainly possessed of great affection for what Rajesh Khanna has meant. But also pitiless.
An amitabh fan that I liked
During the years of his ‘retirement’
Am reasonably sure it is by Rakesh mehra
Pardon the poor sound quality
Suspect that the ‘setting’ is London
But may have been done by ‘computer graphics’ (term used then)
Thanks for creating a new thread for this. Kaka deserved it. Off topic. Came across sailesh kapoors blog, this man believes in collecting survey data and write up an interesting comparison to the current state of the film industry. Be it Genre wise or promotional campaigns. On his last piece (Stars & Genres: Finding The Fit). Note how Jr. has high percentage in the “None” category (as in, he does not have an image). He has the highest percentage of all (You will know what I am talking about when you read the piece. Don’t know if this survey/data is something that we should take it with pinch of salt or have a really good look at this and ponder over it. what are you thoughts?
What is all this nonsense about Kaka’s Fall? He gave hits all the way until 1989- swarg. Then he bwcame OLD to play the leading man and went to work for Rajiv Gandhi.
There was no fall. Some films of his flopped in 1977 and 78 but he came back with Chaillababu,amardeep,Thodisibewafaaii etc etc culminating in Avtaar . He stopped playing Haathimere saathi , sacchha jhoota type roles and did mature rolesafter 78 . Yash Chopra et al worked with him in 1988 so what fall are we talking about?
Every star has to fade. I will see the bright side of a star than worry about how he is fading away. Every star has his or her own history and cant fight future(old age) forever. Clinging to stardom brings frustration as one’s career starts giving diminishing or no returns. This advertisement is an exercise in futility like decorating a dead body with flowers.
Re. Rajesh Khanna’s downfall….his poor attitude was a major factor in his downfall….hence why all the best directors and scripts went to Amitabh……..Bachan took advantage of that opportunity and its fate too……as they say the rest is history
“Did he give you the sense he still missed his stardom deeply? Or has he made peace with its loss?” I asked Balki, the ad film director at the centre of the Havells Fans advertisement storm. In it, Khanna shifts from the superstar at the centre of screaming fans to the gaunt and ghostly celebrity in a bow tie, feted by electronic beasts who cannot know what it was to have celebrated him at all. It is pathos at its most heartrending for anyone who remembers him as the man who died in Anand, leaving the battlefield to Amitabh Bachchan.
“Of course” Balki replies, gently, “Very peaceful. Else why would he do the ad? You need tremendous confidence to do an ad like that… security… humour… to see life’s truth.”
Man With the Enchanting Nod ( OPEN)
LHENDUP G BHUTIA
Rajesh Khanna, Bollywood superstar of the 1960s and 1970s, who has been away from the public glare for a long time and was last seen in the 2008 film Wafa: A Deadly Love Story, is back in front of the camera. This time he makes his debut in a television commercial for Havell’s fans. But what hits you in the commercial is not the product, but Khanna’s poor health. ‘Kaka’ is a shadow of his former upbeat self. Gaunt, frail and bearded, he looks older than his 69 years. He looks worse in a video that shows the making of the TV commercial. People have to help him put on his coat, and when he is interviewed, his voice is so weak it is almost inaudible. R Balki, who directed and conceptualised the advertisement, says Khanna was doing relatively alright. The problem was not the major illness he is reportedly suffering, but a leg fracture that he had after a nasty fall at home. Says Balki, “We had to delay the shoot (which was completed in one day at Koramangala Indoor Stadium, Bangalore) for 10 days after Mr Khanna fractured his leg. We were afraid that because of his leg, he might not be up to much strain. But he walked about and was sporting. On our request, he even tilted his head and smiled like he used to in his films.”