Subhash K Jha travels back in time

When Raakhee Gulzar Chose Yash Chopra Over Gulzar

When the ‘confirmed bachelor’ Gulzar decided to marry the very beautiful actress Raakhee, he laid down only one pre-condition. That she wouldn’t return to acting. Ever.

This was a time when Raakhee’s career was at its prime. However, love and marriage seemed paramount at that moment and Raakhee happily wrapped up her work in Vijay Anand’s Blackmail as her farewell appearance. In fact, she was pregnant with her daughter Meghna when she filmed the romantic song Pal pal dil ke paas with Dharmendra. That explains the radiance she exudes in the song.

After Meghna’s birth. Raakhee got restless. This is when Yash Chopra struck. He made his leading from Daag (Yash Chopra’s first film as an independent producer) an offer she couldn’t resist.

In an interview, I did with Raakheedi (that’s what I call her) after Yash Chopra’s death as blunt as ever she revealed, “When I married Gulzar, Yash became our neighbour. He then offered me Kabhi Kabhie after my marriage. I think Kabhi Kabhie was conceived keeping me in mind. Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, I think, wrote the songs keeping me in mind. Gulzar and I used to regularly visit Yash’s home. This was during those times when I was pregnant with my daughter Meghna and Yash’s son Adi was a child. One day in the presence Amitabh Bachchan they played a song and Pam said, ‘This song is for Raakhee’.That’s how Kabhi Kabhie was offered to me. Yash Chopra said, ‘I’d drop the film. But I won’t make it with any other heroine.’ Since acting was the only thing I enjoyed , I agreed to do the film even after marriage.”

When Gulzar Saab heard about his wife’s revived career plans he reminded her of the promise she had made. And if she still agreed to do Kabhi Kabhie it would be the end of their marriage.

Rakheedi made her choice. She walked out on their home, though Gulzar and she remain cordial and legally married to this day. Some of her most successful films including Kabhi Kabhie, Tapasya, Trishul, Kala Patthar, Shradhanjali , Doosra Aadmi, Kasme Waade and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar occurred after her marriage was over.

It is no coincidence that Amitabh Bachchan was her co-star in a majority of post-marriage films. And Mr Bachchan never worked in a film directed by Gulzar.

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