Original release date: June 9th, 1972
Running time: 141 minutes
Country of origin: India
Original language: Hindi
Director: Ravikant Nagaich
Writers: Ramesh Pant, Ramesh Pant
Composer: R.D. Burman
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Tanuja, Helen, Sujit Kumar
What can we say about these old time Indian stars that hasn’t been said before? In the case of one like Rajesh Khanna the answer would be a resounding “nothing”. It’s all been said before, but still that doesn’t stop us from continuing to talk about and remember those great films he made. With his handsome looks and immense screen presence he really was a superstar – the first in Indian cinema. With 15 consecutive hit films in the 1970s, a record that still remains unbroken, he was the one guys wanted to be like and girls wanted to be with. When watch him at work, it’s easy to see why.
Mere Jeevan Saathi, released during his meteoric rise to fame in the early 70s, is a film where he plays Prakash who’s a real Casanova. Looking very much like he’s relishing playing the role, Rajesh struts around in some of the most garishly coloured clothes that were around at the time. He sports everything from the neck kerchief and shades to the buttoned down shirt and chain resting in that mass of chest hair we see protruding from beneath. He plays the character oozing with so much self confidence that it’s verging on being arrogant.
Prakash is also a painter and he’s in love with Jyoti Verma (Tanujaa), a shy and homely doctor who resists his charms at first. Meanwhile, Kamini (Helen), a spoilt princess is busy chasing him but he’s not interested despite the pair looking very much like a perfect match with their self-obsessed ways. However, fate always has a way of intervening, especially with Indian films like this one.
After an accident – involving driving while singing – leaves him blind his fortunes change drastically and so too does his personality and we start to see more of the Rajesh Khanna we know and love from this time when he usually played the tragic romantic hero.
Now the tables have turned, Kamini decides it’s time to start getting even with Prakash for all the times he rejected and humiliated her. She keeps him imprisoned in her palace and all to herself as a slave, beating him repeatedly, while he continues to long for Jyoti. The doctor, not knowing what’s really happened to the man she was engaged to marry, moves on with her life and eventually marries someone else.
Seeing an opportunity to escape, Prakash does just that and meets Captain Vinod (Sujit Kumar), a man who helps him recover from all that he’s been suffering from since his accident – but then he finds out who he’s married to.
Mere Jeevan Saathi is one of those films that helped define an era that’s now long lost. While it does present us with some bad editing and atrocious hairstyles – a different one sported by Helen in each scene she’s in – it’s also got Rajesh, playing a role that’s perhaps not as memorable as in my personal favourite Anand (1971) but it’s still enjoyable. This together with a collection of songs by RD Burman sung by Kishore Kumar makes it a film we can lovingly look back on as it also includes the timeless classics O Mere Dil Ke Chain, Kitne Sapne Kitne Armaan and Diwana Leke Aaya Hai.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .