Subhash Ghai says `Awara` drew him into Bollywood

Toronto: Subhash Ghai credits Raj Kapoor`s film `Awara` for his entry into Bollywood.

"In my childhood, I saw `Awara` and I bunked from school. After that when I came home, my mom said: you were not at school? I told a lie and said: yeah, I was in school. After seeing that film I didn`t go to school for three days... I wanted to be nothing but a filmmaker,`` Ghai said at a tribute to the legendary Raj Kapoor here organized by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

TIFF, which will hold a retrospective series called Raj Kapoor and the Golden Age of Indian Cinema from July 1 to August 7, honoured the Kapoor family at its headquarters here Sunday.

Ghai said he bunked classes to watch every Raj Kapoor film.

"Whenever a Raj Kapoor film came, I saw it... I wanted to be nothing but a filmmaker. So my hearty thanks to Raj Kapoor - a genius and great inspiration for many filmmakers like me,`` Ghai said.

Ramesh Sippy, director of Sholay, said Raj Kapoor had a tremendous influence on him.

Asked to describe him in one word, Sippy said, "Love. Love thy name is Raj Kapoor.``

Sippy said, "When Raj Kapoor saw Sholay, he said: I love your film, but you should have put a little more romance in it. I loved him for that.``

The Sholay director said Raj Kapoor`s Shree 420 is his most favourite film.

"The film had everything. Its song `Pyar hua, ikrar hua..` was absolutely brilliant... it (song) was done in the rain under an umbrella. My God, I have never felt love so strongly (after seeing that song scene),`` Sippy said.

Zeenat Aman, the leading lady of Raj Kapoor`s many films, recalled how she landed the role of Rupa in his film "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" opposite Shashi Kapoor.

"Raj Kapoor used to talk a great deal about Rupa on various days of shootings and I was totally mesmerized by what he told. It was my great desire and fervour to work (on that film) with the most brilliant showman of our industry,`` she said.

Since Rupa had a burnt face, Zeenat said she created a similar face by make-up and reached the RK Studios. "When I knocked on the door, Raj Kapoor said: `yes?` I said: Rupa. I am very happy to say that he was very impressed by my desire and passion for the project.``

She said she got not only the role of Rupa in "Satyam Shivam Sundaram", but also a gold coin from the legend. "I have that coin still with me. It was a memorable moment of my life,`` Zeenat recalled.


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