K Balachander’s Immortal Love Story Ek Duuje Ke Liye Completes 40 years: 7 Unknown Facts About The Kamal Haasan, Rati Agnihotri Starrer

Ek Duuje Ke Liye introduced Kamal Haasan to Hindi cinema and Rati Agnihotri to films. As the iconic movie completed 40 years of its release on June 5, let's go down memory lane and take a look at some unknown facts about the movie.

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K Balachander’s Immortal Love Story Ek Duuje Ke  Liye Completes 40 years: 7 Unknown Facts About The Kamal Haasan, Rati Agnihotri Starrer
Ek Duuje Ke Liye introduced Kamal Haasan to Hindi cinema and Rati Agnihotri to films. As the iconic movie completed 40 years of its release on June 5, let's go down memory lane and take a look at some unknown facts about the movie. 

1.     This blockbuster  of a  love story  about a Punjabi  girl in love with  a Tamil guy   introduced Kamal  Haasan   to Hindi cinema and Rati Agnihotri  to cinema. In an interview with me   on   K Balachander  here is  how  Rati  recalled  the  experience : “He didn’t only discover me for the Hindi  cinema in Ek Duuje Ke Liye he guided me through the film. I remember how I got this role.My Dad was approached and we immediately agreed because the film was produced  by the great L V Prasadji and directed by the stalwart K Balachanderji.Ek Duuje Ke Liye was a remake of  Balachanderji’s Tamil film Maro Charitra. My dad saw the original before saying yes to the remake. But I was not allowed to see Maro Charitra. Balchanderji didn’t want me to get influenced by the earlier film. So I had no idea what the film was all about. All I knew was I had a great producer, director and co-star Kamal Haasan. I remember when I first came on the sets  I was really scared of Balachanderji. I wondered if he was angry with me. He had these really huge eyes which would look straight at you. But he never  ever shouted at me.Not once.I was so young—just 16—and so raw. I knew none of the emotions that I had to express. Balachanderji would come up to me , whisper comforting things in my ears, and I would do the scene. I’d just follow what he said. I was like a  sponge, absorbing all that I was given. Balachanderji would talk to me in Tamil, then English.Prasadji, Balachanderji and Kamalji would pull up a chair and explain the scenes to me. That’s how I managed.I couldn’t have done it without these three great artistes to guide me through Ek Duuje Ke Liye. Talent is all very well. But what really matters is luck. I was lucky to have Balachanderji  as the director of my first Hindi film.”

2.     Kamal Haasan and  Rati Agnihotri were not on  speaking terms when they shot for their  Hindi debut Ek Duuje  Ke Liye. The pair  were so  much at odds that by the time the  shooting was   halfway through the poor director K Balachander  was at his wit’s end.How to  make Kamal Haasan and Rati Agnihotri look intensely in love when in truth they couldn’t stand one  another?! In  the past Dilip Kumar and Madhubala had stopped talking to one another when they did Mughal-e-Azam. But then, they had shared something really special in the  past. Kamal and Rati hated one  another from the start.Pacing together  the  most notorious star war between onscreen lovers a source close to Ek Duuje Ke Liye tells me, “It was  all to do  with the ego.  You see Kamal Haasan was already a veteran  actor  of many acclaimed  performances when  he  came  to his Hindi debut. Rati was  a raw newcomer.And she was expected to behave like a pupil  at the  Kamal Haasan School. On  top of that  Kamal was  very close  to  Balachander. He had already done the Tamil version  of  Ek Duuje Ke Liye with Balachander . So  perhaps rightfully, Kamal came to the locations of the Hindi remake with a  know-all attitude.”Apparently Rati, never one to  pamper her costars, made it very clear that she would take directorial instructions  from  only the  director  ‘Balachander Sir.’When  Kamal Haasan would  try to  instruct her she would look the other way.It was hell for  Balachander. He somehow completed  Ek Duuje Ke Liye. After the  film became a hit ,Kamal Haasan and Rati were seen  together in  only one other film Dekha  Pyar Tumhara which they had signed  even before  Ek Duuje Ke Liye was  released. Thereafter they never  met.Ironically many  years later Kamal Haasan’s daughter Akshara became very close  to  Rati’s son Tanuj Virmani.

3.     Kamal Haasan knew  almost no Hindi when he  started work on   Ek Duuje Ke Liye.  The toughest scene of my career  was in my first Hindi film Ek Duuje Ke Liye. I was asked to rattle dialogues in Hindi, a language I didn't know. I know I was playing a Tamil guy who wasn't supposed to know Hindi but this was the climax where I had to do a three-and-a-half minute monologue ,because by the end of the story I was supposed to know the language.As luck would have it, we were shooting the scene at the beginning of the film. On the 5th day the director, my guru and mentor K Balachander announced that we would shoot the climax first because we had got permission for the required location.In that scene I had to rattle lines in Hindi, in one take. I froze. Balachander Saab was very encouraging. He said that I could do it and I couldn't let him down.But it was my generous and helpful co-star Satyen Kappoo playing my girlfriend's father, who came to my rescue. He sat down with me and practised the lines. He then taped the lines and I just memorised them. When we shot the sequence I managed till the first-half of my monologue but then I froze. I completely forgot my lines when I reached midway.I just said whatever came to my mind. Later, during the dubbing I repaired the scene but believe me, I went through serious trauma in that scene. Later in my career I did scenes which were far more difficult but at that point of my career rattling a lengthy monologue in shuddh Hindi seemed akin to jumping off a mountain without a parachute.

4.     Kamal  Haasan was  Balachander’s  protégé. They had worked together in  9 films before Ek  Duuje  Ke  Liye including Maro Charitra the Telugu  version  of  Ek Duuje Ke Liye. In an interview with me  Kamal Haasan had said,“The best roles and opportunities in my career  came from Mr Balachander. I’ve done about  35 films with him. If you look carefully  in his  first  Hindi  film Aaina you’ll see me as the pencil-thin moustachioed clapper-boy in a song Jaane kya ho jaaye jab dil se dil takraaye featuring Dharmendra and Neetu Singh playing  themselves.In his 100th film featuring Madhavan I did a guest role. He said I must be in his 100th film. There was no question  of refusing him. For him  I  was ready to break my rule of the last ten years of doing only one film at a time. There were no rules for Balachanderji.”

5.     The  Music  by Laxmikant-Pyarelal played a very big hand in  the  success of Ek Duuje Ke Liye. The Lata Mangeshkar-S P Balasubramanian duets Tere mere beech mein,  Hum bane tum bane,   Hum tum donon jab mil jayenge  cracked  open the charts. Lataji  who  the  soul  of the  love story  recalls, “The songs  were  all original  and not rehashed  from the  Telugu  version of the film. The  producer L V Prasadji insisted on original songs. Laxmikant-Pyarelal  had done many films with Prasadji prior to Ek Duuje  Ke  Liye. Fortunately  I  was a  part  of all of them. The  music  of Prasadji’s production was always  special  But nothing compared with  Ek Duuje Ke Liye. I remember  having recorded and forgotten  the songs when my  closest friend rang me  up excitedly from abroad .She was  babbling about some song ‘Bandhan ajana’that had become  a craze. I told her  I had not sung any song called ‘Bandhan anjana’ at least not recently. Later I realized she was  referring to Tere mere beech mein kaisa hai yeh bandhan anjana.”

6.     The  tragic ending  of  Ek Duuje  Ke Liye  shocked many  .When hotshot  producer  Gulshan  Rai saw  the ending  he  backed  out of  his distribution  deal  with  producer L V Prasad. Finally LV Prasad   had  to distribute the  film himself. It made him richer than he  already was. When Raj Kapoor saw  Ek Duuje Ke Liye at  the premiere he advised  Prasad Saab to change  it  to a  happy ending. After all,  Raj saab had  done  the same in Bobby, which was to romance  in the 1970s  what Ek Duuje Ke Liye  was to the 1980s. Prasadji stuck to his  guns.

7.     The great K Balchander made better Hindi films—Aaina  which came  before Ek Duuje  Ke Liye  and  Zarasi Zindagi which  came  after , were in my opinion better  films—but none so successful.  Ek Duuje  Ke  Liye is one  of  the most successful  romantic Hindi films  of all times.Rati Agnihotri became  a big star. Kamal Haasan could  not capture the cowbelt’s attention.

 

Image source: Youtube/Goldmines
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