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Veteran Raza Murad, who had essayed the role of a drunkard shaayar in the Rajesh Khanna-Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Namak Haraam, recently rubbed shoulders with Rajesh Khanna again while shooting for Ashok Tyagi’s upcoming film Riyasat.
We spoke to Murad on the sidelines of the film’s dubbing.
What has been your experience of acting with Rajesh Khanna? “I think I was an exception among many. Kaka was very friendly, warm and extremely cooperative with me. Though he was a man of many moods, he was very good to me. In fact, I recount the days when he used to recommend my name to producers though I never asked him to do so,” averred Murad. “I never mixed around with him, never partied with him. Ours was a professional relationship,” he added.
Talking of a memorable moment, Murad said when Kaka had to follow the former’s famous shayari “Jeene ki aarzoo mein marey jaa rahe hain log, Marne ki aarzoo mein jiye jaa raha hoon main in Namak Haram, he asked me to teach him how to recite a shayaari. “ God,” I said to myself. “Look who’s asking whom to teach how to recite a verse,” I wondered.
As a person, according to Raza, he was a reserved human being; not only with his co-stars but also with his heroines. “He was very moody kind of a person and his attitude towards his fellow workers was never consistent. But on the other hand, he was also very generous. This quality of his came out first time when he gifted music director Khayaam with a brand new car after the music of his and Shabana Azmi-starrer Thodi Si Bewafai became a runaway hit. Otherwise too, he must have remembered that the music director had also provided music to his first film Aakhri Khat that also featured Indrani Mukherjee and master Bunty. I feel that as a human, Jatin Khanna (his real name) stood out while in the acting arena, it was Rajesh Khanna.”
Murad went on, “While he did emotional scenes to perfection on camera, but off it, he had a stiff persona. I can tell you of one major instance. No one knew that he had a sister. Some internal tiff had him alienated from her. So enraged was he about her that he never attended her marriage. That cut off his relationship with her.”
“After a lot of pondering, I have come to the conclusion that may be his lonely childhood (he was an adopted child) played a lot of impact on his character. This can be exemplified by the fact that he hated to be alone. And, when he was left alone to face the wilderness of the world, hell broke over him. He started drinking a lot; so much so that he used to have his dinner at 5 am in the morning having started on his drinks post seven in the evening. He used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day. But one thing has to be admitted. In his last days, he never asked anyone a favour. That was his greatness. A superstar ended his life as a
He will always be in our hearts…