Happy Birthday, Raaj Kumar!

Funny story. I was watching a Raaj Kumar film tonight and loving it. Have I mentioned my strange fascination? Well, anyway, I looked him up again, thinking I should find out when he was born, in order to do a celebratory post.

Yep. It's his birthday today.

What do I say of his particular brand of awesomeness?

                                           I could talk about how he makes khaki look couture . . .

Pakeezah (1971)

How he wears an Errol Flynn mustache with a surprisingly quiet bravado . . . and knows how make naughty look awfully nice

I shouldn't like him in this film, but I do. (Lal Patthar, 1971)
Or how his face makes me want to spill all my troubles. . . .

Lal Patthar (1971)

But tonight, I'll just say, that among the stars of the 60's and 70's, I have no category for Raaj Kumar-ji. He was completely himself. Not exactly a masala hero, nor a typical romantic lead . . . not really the perfect man, but not exactly suited for proper villainy, either.  He wasn't in as many films as I could hope for, so I cherish each one I see. Later this week I'll be sure to review one OR three of his films, to celebrate his legacy.

Thank you, Raaj-Kumar-ji!

Waqt (1965)


  1. He was a benevolent villain in Kudrat - villain in the usual filmi sense as far as the heroine is concerned but at the same time benevolent to the hero. Kudrat had Rajesh Khanna, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Raj Kumar and that piece of wood called Priya Rajvansh - lovely songs - RD Burman's music, lovely locales of Himachal Pradesh. Do watch and review Kudrat if you get a chance

    1. Filmbuff, thank you much for the recommendation. You had me at the cast list, honestly, but in general, after a little checking into it, I think it's a must see. And benevolent villain is pretty much a perfect role for Raaj Kumar, in my opinion. The villain you kind of root for and secretly hope gets away with the girl. I would put him up with Pran and Vinod Khanna in that respect . . . you never can truly dislike any of them in "bad" roles, which makes their films so much more enjoyable to watch.

  2. chuckling - in this case you will not secretly hope that the villain gets away with the girl - I will wait until u watch and review kudrat. VK was so handsome and dashing - I couldn't help feeling that he should have been the main hero ie Rajesh Khanna's role. I guess Rajesh was a very popular hero at that time, so the producer/director chose him. Rajesh indeed did well in the movie and I have no complaints about his acting in the movie. Hema's Himachal costumes are gorgeous as is her jewellery.

  3. I haven't seen Lal Pathar yet - hence didn't post comments on that blog post. My sister highly recommends Lal Pathar- have to find the DVD some how

  4. Filmbuff,
    It seems like Rajesh K. experienced a resurge in popularity around 1980, and I wonder if part of that was the couple of films he did paired with Hema Malini (like Rajput . . . which I definitely enjoyed). I am a Rajesh fan, and I certainly appreciate him even later in his career. However, I am sure I will be rooting for Vinod like you guessed... because if he's in the film, I WILL pick him over anyone else (bad or good or in between), lol.

    Lal Patthar is currently available on the Ultra Movie Channel on Youtube, with Eng Subs, thanks be to the filmi gods.

  5. In that case give Kudrat a go esp for VK. Also both he and Rajesh Khanna were some awesome velvet jackets which I wanna want one! I read some where that RK had the greatest no of hits with Hema Malini. His mehbooba was also good - esp the 2nd part of the story. Mehbooba had good songs (RD again) and locales - Siliguri in West Bengal. Hema was very good in her 2nd role.

    Another Hema movie I would recommend is Gulzar's Khusboo - a totally different role for her as well as Jeetendra. It is based on Sarat Chandra Chatopadhyay story - an eminent Bengali writer. Again it had fab songs from RD's stable

  6. The velvet jackets . . . I'm with you there. So many of the 70's fashions in Hindi films make me want to start a haute couture revival based on Bombay masala.
    As far as RK and Hema goes . . . I kind of get their pairing, kind of not. They do share a certain unspoken understanding. But I'll have to see a few more before I can decide whether I like that understanding or not, lol. The ones you mentioned will definitely be on my list.


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