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Memorable films

Raj Khosla


Raj Khosla initially entered the Film Industry with hopes of making it as a playback singer. He however went on to become one of the great directors of Hindi Cinema.

He assisted Guru Dutt and in 1954 got a break with Milap, starring Dev Anand and Geeta Bali. The film failed to create waves but Khosla's second film produced for him by mentor Guru Dutt, C.I.D. (1956) propelled him into the big league.

C.I.D. was a slick crime thriller that highlighted Khosla's stylish shot taking and innovative song picturisations, something passed down from Guru Dutt.

From here onwards even as he continued to make films, Khosla ricocheted from style to style while adding his own touch to each genre. Never wanting to play safe Khosla made some films, which were startlingly different in those times. Solva Saal (1958) was a story of a single night wherein a girl elopes with her lover who dupes her and is helped back home by a journalist before her father wakes up and realizes what the girl has done. Bombay ka Babu (1960) had the hero, a killer, entering the family of the man he has killed as their long lost son and falling in love with his 'sister.'

Khosla explored a variety of styles be it crime thrillers (C.I.D., Kala Pani (1958)), musicals (Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962) - whose starting point was seven songs composed by O.P. Nayyar), suspense thrillers (Woh Kaun Thi (1964), Mera Saaya (1966), Anita (1967) - his mystery trilogy with actress Sadhana), melodramas (Do Badan (1966), Do Raaste (1969)) dacoit dramas (Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971) - which inspired Sholay (1975)) etc.

Though he made films after Mera Gaon Mera Desh and had hits like Nehle Pe Dehla (1976), the mid 70s was not too good a period for Khosla. Films like Prem Kahani (1975) starring the then hottest pair of the day Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz sank and it was with Main Tulsi Tere Aangan ki (1978) that Khosla was right back on track.

In Main Tulsi Tere Aangan ki, he evoked sympathy for the mistress even as he told the story from the wife's point of view. Khosla was a director who understood women and was known as a women's director much like George Cukor in Hollywood.

However Khosla ran into rough weather as most of his films after Main Tulsi Tere Aangan ki barring Dostana (1982) with Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman and Shatrughan Sinha started flopping.

A dispirited Khosla took refuge in drink and passed away in 1991, totally disillusioned with the Film industry. As he said...

" It's a losing game. There are no winners here."

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