Raaj Kumar Death Anniversary: Remembering Jaani For His Stylized Acting And Dialogue Rendition

Raaj Kumar Death Anniversary: Remembering Jaani For His Stylized Acting And Dialogue Rendition

Raaj Kumar was famous for two things – his dialogue delivery and eccentric behaviour on and off sets.

Shruti PanditUpdated: Wednesday, July 03, 2024, 01:46 PM IST
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Actor Raaj Kumar | YouTube

When the legendary actor Raaj Kumar died on July 3, 1996, most thought it was a prank by his friends or himself. There were continuous calls to Puru, his son. Every caller asked only two questions – Is it true that your father is no more? Or is it just another rumour? It is only after he confirmed the news that they offered condolences.

Puru recalls, “People were not willing to leave his whimsicalness alone even during that moment.”

Raaj Kumar was famous for two things – his dialogue delivery and eccentric behaviour on and off sets. He rarely met his match in someone like Shammi, the veteran character actress who did quite a few films with him as a supporting cast.

One of the more known anecdotes is when Raaj Kumar insulted Shammi with sharp sarcasm during lunch break. The intelligent actress remained calm and laughed it off at that time. When they were called for the shot she went with a smile. As luck would have it, it was a shot where she hugged him.

After hugging, she quietly engaged her fingers in his hair and whispered, “Sorry bolte ho, ke baal khinchu?” Raaj Kumar wore a wig and Shammiji was aware about it. To save himself from public embarrassment, the actor apologised to his female friend and vowed never to insult her publicly. Shammiji had a hearty laugh reminiscing about this even in her late 70s.

Puru, however, says that while his father was known for his eccentric behaviour and sarcasm, quite a few anecdotes were made up by the industry and floated on his name. “And he never went out of his way to deny them despite knowing that they were false.”

Dialogue Punch

Jaani ye bacho ke khelne ki cheez nahin, chaaku hai, lag jaaye toh khoon nikal aataa hai.

Jinke khud ke ghar sheesha ke ho, wo dusron pe pathar nahin mara karte Chinoy seth

Genda swamy ye to sirf hamari ek rumal ka kamal tha, socho agar hum puri asteen jhatka den to kya hoga

Aapke paaon bahot haseen hai, inhen jameen par mat rakhiyega, maile ho jaayenge

Hum shikar pe lomdiyon ko nahin bhejte…

While Raaj Kumar is remembered for these dialogues, his stylized acting, and dialogue rendition, he imbibed this at a much later stage in late 1960s. He made the lines of Iqbal De – Khud hi ko kar buland itna ke har taqdeer se pehle khuda bande se khud pucche ke bata teri razaa kya hai – sound like they were his own.

Another thing he insisted on was his entry to be in white shoes and the camera to pan from his shoes to face on his entry. Again, this too came after Waqt, which was released in 1965. But stayed on till his last film released in 1992, God and Gun, which flopped at the box office.

In his earlier days, Raaj Kumar did sensitive roles that demanded, sometimes, method acting or at least sensible, non-stylised persona. His directors of that time like Mehboob Khan (Mother India), Sohrab Modi (Nausherwan-E-Adil), Kishore Sahu (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee) too kept him on a tight leash and got the best of histrionics from him.

Being paired with queens of histrionics like Nargis, Mala Sinha, and Meena Kumari, probably, made him work harder on his act. His pairing with Meena Kumari was a hit and they went on to do four movies together. Lal Patthar with Rakhee proved to be his last film as a hero. 

Even when he moved on in his later years to do character roles, he most often overshadowed the lead actors. Be it Tirangaa with Nana Patekar, Police Aur Mujrim with Vinod Khanna, Neel Kamal with Manoj Kumar, Marte Dam Tak with Govinda to name a few.  

Songs

Though the overall image of the police inspector turned filmstar, Raaj Kumar, was rough and tough, he has quite a few superhit and melodious songs to his credit as a hero. Some filmed on him, some sung by him.

Neele gagan ke tale, dharti ka pyar pale… (Hamraaz)

Aage bhi jaane na tu… (Waqt)

Ajeeb dastan hai ye… (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee)

Choo lene do najuk hoton ko… (Kaajal)

Geet gata hoon main… (Lal Patthar)

Dukh bhare din beete re bhaiya…(Mother India)

Jhanak jhanak tori baje payaliya… (Mere Huzoor)

His other notable songs included Ye duniya, ye mehfil, Aaja tujhko pukare mera pyar, Hum tere pyar mein saara aalam among others.

Raaj Kumar was so obsessed with himself and the image that he had created of self, that when Subhash Ghai went to meet him when he was bed ridden due to throat cancer, he said, “Jaani… Raaj Kumar ko cancer hi hoga… hum thodi na koi aam bukhar ya jukam se marenge…”

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