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Unique! The late Sawaan Kumar Tak’s final interview as he talks about Souten and Rajesh Khanna


“Kakaji was a heartbroken man however by no means revealed his disappointment to anybody”


Sawan Kumar Tak remembers recollections of his Souten celebrity Rajesh Khanna

Filmmaker Sawan Kumar Tak’s Souten (1983) stays memorable for extra causes than one…

Shot in sea-silhouetted Mauritius, it handled audiences to virginal shores and pristine skylines, throwing open the floodgates to a postcard good world. Until date, it’s touted as Sawan Kumar’s greatest hit, spawning a sequence of Souten outings later.

The peppy Shayad meri shaadi ka khayal duet, by Sawan Kumar and composed by Usha Khanna, not solely turned a wedding pitch however a long time later, continues to encourage spoofs and memes. Simply as Zindagi pyaar ka geet hai, additionally written by the director, stays timeless for its truths.  

Rajesh Khanna, taking part in the aggrieved Shyam, disillusioned by spouse Radha (Tina Munim) however held collectively by Radha (Padmini Kolhapure), discovered cheerleaders amongst suckers of his model of romance in an age of actioners. Souten, someplace, pumped up Rajesh Khanna’s sagging stardom.

Apparently, it additionally marked a ‘dissolve’ between the 2 essential scenes in his private life – the top of his relationship with spouse Dimple Kapadia and the start of his alleged romance with co-star Tina Munim.

Sawan Kumar knew he was treading on skinny ice when he signed Rajesh Khanna for his movie. However belying all apprehensions, ‘Kakaji’ and he not solely went on to provide a blockbuster however the lonely two additionally cast a bond of empathy… a one-off within the shifting sands of showbiz.

Sawan Kumar Tak seems to be again at Souten hero Rajesh Khanna …


Sawan Kumar Tak



After I wrote Souten, folks had been cautious of the story. Many heroes had already rejected the script fearing it to be a woman-oriented topic. After I considered approaching Kakaji (Rajesh Khanna), they mentioned he wouldn’t prefer it both. However I used to be eager that Kakaji hear the story first.

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After I narrated it to him, Kakaji turned quiet. Questioning whether or not it was the title that had not gone down effectively with him, I urged that we may change it if required. Kakaji mentioned, “No! The title ought to be Souten solely. It’s good for the script.” A lot to my pleasure, he agreed to do the movie. A heroine, whom we approached to pair up with him, was not eager to work with me as a director. However Kakaji was clear that solely I’d direct the movie.


Earlier than I made a decision to shoot in Mauritius, it was largely an unexplored territory. I met the then Honourable Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, and sought his sort permission. He graciously mentioned, “It’s your nation. You’re welcome!” The crew was fascinated by the places. It appeared like heaven on earth. The love triangle featured Tina Munim and Padmini Kolhapure, whom we affectionately referred to as Pandi. I had outdated ties together with her. Padmini had additionally featured in my movie Sajaan Bina Suhagan (1978).


Kakaji was alleged to be temperamental and tough. Individuals had warned me saying, “Adibaaz (arduous to take care of) hai, rooth (sulk) jaata hai, units choddh kar chala jaata hai!” However I by no means witnessed that facet of him. He was a foodie however had no nakhras about what was served. He wasn’t keen on train although.

However sure, he was extraordinarily keen on liquor. He couldn’t sleep early. So, he’d preserve ingesting and chatting until late within the night time. Naturally, he’d arrive late on the set the subsequent morning. Thodi bahut toh adaayein (idiosyncrasies) stars mein hoti hai. Unmein bhi thi. Stars immediately even have quirks.

However as soon as on the set, Kakaji would compensate for the misplaced time. After all he was moody. He couldn’t undergo fools and misconduct. An actor is sort of a doll. You need to deal with him gently with love. You pour power into your actors. You need to create them. You need to assist them really feel the character. As a director, I may really feel all the movie and conveyed it precisely to him. He felt relaxed with me.

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If folks had been respectful in direction of him, Kakaji went out of his option to co-operate. But when anybody threw his weight round, then it will be one other story. I by no means heard about him leaving a movie incomplete. What can an actor do if producers don’t pay him schedule after schedule? Kakaji might have come throughout such defaulters.


Coming again to Souten, earlier than the discharge of the movie, there have been murmurs as to who would watch a movie so titled. Kakaji reassured me saying, “Don’t hearken to them. Mark my phrases; there will likely be many extra ‘Soutens’ sooner or later.” He was all the time assured concerning the movie. Once we processed the prints within the lab and other people noticed the rushes they had been left amazed on the scenic frames.

After the premiere was held at Apsara theatre in Mumbai and other people appreciated the movie, an ecstatic Kakaji hugged me and mentioned, “Now, let’s open a bottle!” We had events after events to have a good time the success of the movie with bouquets flooding my home for days.


As an individual, Kakaji was extraordinarily emotional. If he discovered you to be real, he may give his life for you. On the similar time, he may simply see if somebody was attempting to take advantage of him. He understood I used to be not taking any benefit of him. He’d say, “Sawan you’re the solely gentleman I’ve met. He even advised folks, ‘Yeh producer hai dilwala!”

I noticed him upset a couple of occasions. As soon as he broke down in my home, when a specific relationship didn’t work out. Kakaji additionally had some flaws, which girls couldn’t bear. The ladies in his life can’t be blamed. Kakaji would neglect who he was after drinks. He’d lose his mood and find yourself saying issues, which weren’t very nice. However on the entire he was man. After an evening of ingesting, he’d ask me the subsequent morning, “Maine kuch bol diya aapko? I’m sorry. Sham ko aa raha hoon. We are going to type out our gile shikve (grievances).”

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Sawan Kumar Tak

Undeniably, he was extraordinarily lonely. Truly, Kakaji was not meant for marriage. Some persons are not destined to take pleasure in marital happiness identical to me. Kakaji was possessive about his girls. It’s good to be possessive in love. However not past a sure level.  Whereas he, being a star, was public property. Girls had been loopy about him. They’d clamor for images and autographs wherever he went.

He was a romantic and ladies fell for him. But it surely wouldn’t work out for some purpose and he was all the time left depressed. He was a heartbroken man. But he by no means revealed his disappointment to folks. He lived with it. Having mentioned that, Dimple is a good woman. She sorted him so devotedly after he was recognized with most cancers in 2011. I visited Kakaji at his bungalow Aashirwad throughout that point. Sadly, he handed away in 2012. Apna dard chupaya, khushiyaan baati that was his greatness. At his funeral, each eye was moist. I used to be reminded of the traces that I’d written for Meenaji (Kumari) when she handed away:

Chandni mar gayee, roshni mar gayee,

(The moonlight died, the brightness died)

Saari shamme bujha kar chale aaye log

(Individuals extinguished all lamps and got here away),

Chaadar-e-gul se chhilta tha jiska badan

(Somebody whose pores and skin would harm even with a coverlet of flowers…)

Ussko mitti udhakar chale aaye log

(Individuals lined him/her with mud and got here away).”



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