Happy Birthday Raaj Kumar: “Aap ke paon dekhe, bahut haseen hain. Inhe zameen pe mat utariyega. Maile ho jaayenge” ( I saw your feet, they are beautiful, please do not put them on the ground, they will become dirty). This iconic dialogue of the great Raaj Kumar in the form of a note to a sleeping Meena Kumari as a co-passenger in a train journey is from the film Pakeezah.
It is unanimously accepted as one of the most romantic dialogues ever.
Today on 8th October, on his birthday, let us discover some relatively lesser known trivia about this unconventional hero of yesteryear.
Born as Kulbhushan Pandit in Balochistan, Pakistan, Raaj Kumar was a sub-inspector with the Mumbai police at Mahim Police station before joining films full time at just 26. His 1st film was Rangeeli which did not do well. His 1st well known movie was the iconic Mother India.
Success also came with movies like Dil Ek Mandir and Waqt for which he got the Filmfare award for best supporting actor. Pakeezah made him famous throughout the country. Surprisingly he never received a best actor award and had only one nomination for best actor for the movie Kaajal also starring Dharmendra and Meena Kumari. This movie had the haunting Rafi Saab’s song “Chhoo Lene Do Naazuk Hothon Ko”.
Raaj Kumar’s trademark was using the term Jaani, which he used to do not just in real life but in movies as well. One such famous dialogue of his with Jaani was in Saudagar where he said “Jaani, hum tumhein maarenge, zaroor maarenge, par bandook bhi hamaari hogi, goli bhi hamaara hogi aur waqt bhi hamaara hoga” ( Darling, I will certainly kill you, but the gun will be mine, the bullet will be mine and I will decide the time too”).
There are two interesting trivia about his eccentricity. Supposedly he refused to act in Zanjeer as he did not like Prakash Mehra’s face. This seems hard to believe but his refusal is a fact and helped Amitabh Bachchan step on the escalator to super stardom. For the movie Sharara, based on Irwing Wallace book The second lady, he learnt to play the violin and dance the waltz.
Raaj Kumar was a loner and a recluse. He was a family man and loved driving his son to school at Green Lawns, Worli or driving down to Peddar Road with his wife to have paan. He preferred continuity and had the same Plymouth car for 40 years. He also retained the same driver, hair stylist and tailor for 40 years as well. At the same time he loved cars and had various cars like Chevrolet, Mercedes, Willy’s Jeep and Volkswagen as well. He loved to play golf and enjoyed horse riding. He liked to visit Switzerland and London but year after year he also had a two and half month vacation at Kashmir with family.
That’s Raaj Kumar for you. Happy birthday Sir!