When Shakti Samantha persuaded Amitabh Bachchan to make a Bengali film: ‘Show your sasural …’

Filmmaker Shakti Samantha has made her mark Bollywood movie With many films like Amar Prem, Howrah Bridge, Kashmir Ki Kali and Kati Patang. His filmmaking and stories are considered to be from the 60s and 70s The golden age of Bollywood. There are many stories associated with him, especially his belief that the stars of that period should be cast in his film. He had a lively sense of humor and it resonated in his interviews. During the shooting of Ek Raat for the Bengali film Barsaat, he said to Amitabh Bachchan, “You have never worked in a Bengali film. And your wife Bengali. Show your sasura that you can speak Bengali and he agreed.

However, Worship starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore is one of his most memorable films. The film took Khanna to superstardom and Rani loved its songs, especially Mere Sapnon sung by Kishore Kumar.

In an old interview, Samantha recalled how she came to playback Kishore Kumar for the movie. He and SD Burman initially wanted to sing Mohammed Rafi playback songs, but unfortunately he was on a foreign tour at the time. “He did not come back for two months. That is why I requested Dada that Kishore Kumar Dev Anand sang a lot of songs in the movies. It was Rajesh Khanna, the new artist and his voice had not been established yet. So Dada agreed. Kishore came and sang two or three songs and sang very well. What I said was true. Dada told me and we realized that Kishore Kumar was right as a playback singer for Rajesh Khanna.

Kati Patang starring Asha Parekh is another classic film. Sharmila initially wanted Tagore again for the film, but at the time she was pregnant. He recalled how everyone knew her as a glamor girl, so he decided to make her ‘Something Different’. He told Asha Parekh and she immediately agreed. When asked how he persuaded his famous women to play their roles, he said, “I think I was lucky. I thought and got pregnant, I got it. You know Madhubala did not go out of Bombay for the shooting. But I took her to Nagarjuna Sagar in Andhra Pradesh. She played coolie, and I told her she had to take off her sandals. And she did it willingly — in that hot rocky place. He also recalled how Madhubala reminded the film unit that the cast and crew were like a family.

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