Saturday, February 6, 2010

सुजीत कुमार नहीं रहे

(नई दुनिया,दिल्ली,6.2.10)
Hardcore Hindi film fans of 1960s might still remember him as the smart hero of low budget suspense flicks like ‘Lal Bangla’ (1966) and ‘Ek Saal Pehle’ (1965), but perhaps Sujit Kumar’s indelible screen image remains of the guy playing the mouth organ while driving a jeep as Rajesh Khanna serenaded Sharmila Tagore in the 1969 superhit, ‘Aradhana’.
The 75-year-old actor, who was suffering from cancer, passed away in Mumbai on Friday. Indeed, right through the 1960s to the 1990s, Kumar was one of the most visible and reliable character actors in Bollywood.
He was a regular in many films starring Rajesh Khanna (‘Haathi Mere Saathi’, ‘Amar Prem’, ‘Mehbooba’ and ‘Roti’), Amitabh Bachchan (‘The Great Gambler’, ‘Adalat’) and Dharmendra (‘Jugnu’, ‘Dharamveer’, ‘Charas’, ‘Dream Girl’) playing roles that ranged from the comic to the villainish, and sometimes, both.
He was also one of the biggest stars that Bhojpuri cinema ever produced. Kumar made his Bhojpuri debut in ‘Bidesiya’ (1963). In the role of Bidesi Thakur, he brought a gravitas to the part that instantly endeared him to millions in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. The inter-caste love story was considered a radical film in its time; the song, ‘‘Na darbe, na darbe, na darbe ram’’ (Won’t fear anything) sung by the two lovers — heroine Naaz playing his celluloid sweetheart — announcing their statement of intent. Kumar’s superhit ‘Dangal’ (1977), the first Bhojpuri film in colour, was also responsible for the regional genre’s revival after it had undergone a slump in the late 1960s and early 1970s. And the hit number, ‘‘Kashi hile, Patna hile, Kalkatta hilela’’ (Kashi shakes, Patna shakes and Kolkata shaken) is popular to this day. When he directed ‘Pan Khaye Saiyan Hamaar’ (1984), Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha played small parts in the movie. In the latter part of his career, Kumar also produced films like ‘Champion’ (Sunny Deol, Manisha Koirala) and ‘Aetbaar’ (Amitabh Bachchan, John Abraham).
In all, Sujit Kumar, who originally belonged to a village near Varanasi, acted in at least 150 Hindi films and over 20 Bhojpuri films. Among his more well-known role was that of a spy in Ramanand Sagar’s ‘Aankein’. He also left a positive impression in a small role in Dev Anand’s ‘Des Pardes’.
(अविजीत घोष,टाइम्स ऑफ इंडिया,दिल्ली,6.2.10)

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