37 Years Of Saaransh: Anupam Kher And Mahesh Bhatt Recall Fond Memories To Celebrate The Film

Anupam Kher and Soni Razdan starrer Saaransh completes 37 years today. Anupam Kher and Mahesh Bhatt share fond memories of the film. Read on!

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37 Years Of Saaransh: Anupam Kher And Mahesh Bhatt Recall Fond Memories To Celebrate The Film
On May 25 Mahesh Bhatt’s  masterpiece  on the finality  of  death   Saraansh   completed  37 years.  Anupam Kher  was  only  29 when he  played the 70-year old  protagonist B  V Pradhan whose only son is  killed in a freak  mugging incident in the US. The  role was to be played  Sanjeev Kumar. It was director Mahesh Bhatt who convinced the producers Rajshri Productions that  Anupam was  the right person  for the job.

 Recalls Anupam. “I had  my heart set  on  the role. It never occurred to me  that as a 29-year old I would not be  convincing as a 65-year  old. As  far as I  was concerned, B V Pradhan was mine. I was Pradhan.So when Bhatt Saab informed me that I was in  all likelihood going to lose  the role to the great  Sanjeev Kumar, because the  producers wanted a more commercially viable actor, I packed my  bags and decided to return  to my home town Simla. But something made me decide to  drop in at  Bhatt Saab’s on the way to the station. He convinced me  to stay back. He decided to  try one more time to  get me into  the  project. This is  how dreams come true.”

Mahesh Bhatt had  just directed Arth, the most avant garde hit   of Indian cinema. Everyone wanted him. Saraansh was an old commitment with the Rajshris. Recalling his association with Rajshri and  its scion Tarachand Barjatya Mahesh Bhatt  fondly said, “I have the most amazing memories of the doyen Tarachand Barjatya. I had gone to the NFDC, the body set up to help meaningful cinema. But they had literally shut the door on my face saying. ‘Baad mein aaiye.’ I was heartbroken . I realized the NFDC was no different from the other producers in the industry. No matter who the producer is, priority is given to stars and not to the script.”

Dejected at being rejected, a miracle happened while Mahesh was on his way back from the NFDC office. “I was traveling back by bus when I saw the Rajshri banner in Prabhadevi. I walked into their office .Raj Babu(Tarachand Barjatya’s son, Sooraj Barjatya’s father) was there. I pitched him the story of Saraansh and  he said yes. Much later I asked him what made him say yes to me. He said, ‘I saw a kind of unbridled passion in you. It was palpable in your every pore. We bought your hunger.’

Paying the highest regards to the Barjatyas Mahesh says, “For decades they’ve made films that challenge the mass-consumption Bollywood products. I’ve never seen a producer being more courageous than the Barjatyas .They agreed to produce Saraansh although it debunked the entire theory of reincarnation.I cannot forget that Tarachandji’s son Raj Barjatya took on his father only once in his life ,and that was to convince the doyen to produce my film Saaraansh. “

 Apparently Bhatt’s film was seen to mock the Barjatyas’ tradition of upholding  cultural values . “ You see, Saaraansh attacked the theory of reincarnation. Sethji(Tarachand Barjatya) was closely associated with the Shri Aurobindi Ashram. He strongly believed in reincarnation. Saaraansh dared to question after-life.Sethji wanted the theory of reincarnation not to be questioned. But Bhatt wouldn’t budge. “ I wasn’t willing to make disastrous compromises. It was Raj Babu who convinced Sethji.Raj Babu took a position opposite to his father. Considering I was a nobody then I thought that was exceptional.”

Image source: IMDb
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