Haathi Mere Saathi starring Rajesh Khanna remains to be one of the most iconic films ever made. From its storyline to songs, everything was a hit. It did not just minted money at the box office, the film also carved a place for itself in the hearts of all the animal lovers out there. As the film completes 40 years of its release, here are some interesting facts about the film that one must know. Read on.
Released on May 1, 1971 Haathi Mere Saathi was the biggest hit of Rajesh Khanna’s blockbuster career, out-numbering his other superhits like Do Raaste Aradhana, Kati Patang and Bandhan at the box office.
It was the remake of the 1967 Tamil film Deiva Cheyal. The story, about the friendship between a man and four elephants has a deep resonance even today when ecological imbalance has hit an all-time low and environmental concerns are at an all-time high.
This was the first of the many successive blockbusters written by Salim-Javed. Rajesh Khanna personally went to them and requested them to re-write the original Tamil screenplay. Salim-Javed re-wrote the story, gave it a more rounded shape and contoured the hero’s characters in shades that suited Superstar Khanna’s personality.
The film’s popularity with the children was a major factor in its diamond-jubilee success (it ran for 75-100 weeks in several centres). The kids fell in love with their Khanna uncle. The song Chal chal mere haathi oh mere saathi sung in Kishore Kumar’s voice was a big favourite among kids.
The producer "Sandow" Marudur Marudachalamurthy Ayyavoo Chinnappa Devar made many films in Tamil with animals in a pivotal part. Haathi Mere Saathi was his first Hindi film and the biggest hit of Devar’s career. A year after Haathi Mere Saathi he made Jaanwar Aur Insaan with Shashi Kapoor and Raakhee replacing the friendly elephants in Haathi Mere Saathi with a hostile tiger . Jaanwar Aur Insaan didn’t work at the box office.
The original choice for the leading lady’s role was Sharmila Tagore. But she couldn’t do the film. That’s when Tanuja stepped into the picture. Her character’s name was changed to Tanu. Later on ‘Tanu’ and ‘Kaka’ did another film together Mere Jeevan Saathi which flopped miserably. The haathi, you see, was missing.
Image source: IMBD
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