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Rajkumar, Kamal Kumar Barjatya recall the love story Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se

The Rajshri head honchos get nostalgic about the romantic saga starring Sachin and Ranjeeta that was released 40 years ago to the day.

Keyur Seta

The mid- to late-1970s was an era of masala Hindi films and commercial capers. But in the midst of these potboilers, Rajshri Productions’ romantic saga Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se (1978) succeeded in making its mark.

The emotional journey of two lovers melted the hearts of audiences to such an extent that the film is remembered even today, 40 years after its release.

As the film starring Sachin Pilgaonkar and Ranjeeta Kaur completes four decades (it was released on 7 April 2018), brothers Rajkumar and Kamal Kumar Barjatya, directors of Rajshri Productions, took a trip down memory lane with Cinestaan.com.

“It turned out to be a very good film and a big hit," said Rajkumar Barjatya. "Everybody worked hard for it. There were quite a few touching moments in the film.”

Rajkumar Barjatya

Asked if the production house had expected the film to click in such a big way, Kamal Kumar Barjatya said, “It’s a classic film and a treasure for us. We were very confident as it was high on emotions.”

Rajkumar Barjatya believes that along with the content and the performances, music played an important role in the film's success. “The songs were highly appreciated, especially the title song," he said. "My favourite parts in the song are the fourth and fifth verse. He [Sachin] is eager to meet her [Ranjeeta], but she isn’t willing. She closes the door and he asks from the other side why she doesn’t wish to meet him. Then when she is in the hospital and he comes with flowers, the fourth verse is played,” he said.

Recalling the next verse, he continued, “Later, when she is lying and he is crying, she asks him to promise her that he wouldn’t do anything which might trouble him in the other world. He promises her and she dies in his arms. The film then comes out of the flashback and as Sachin walks down Worli Sea Face [in Mumbai], the fifth verse is played. We also show her image in the sky. Actually the song gave us the title.”

Ravindra Jain, the lyricist and composer, did several films with the Rajshri banner, and many of his compositions became hits. “Only Raviji could write such songs," said Rajkumar Barjatya. "He couldn’t see from his ankhiyon ke jharokhon se [Jain was blind]. He used to see only through closed eyes. He did 19 films with us. His song ‘Sajana Hai Mujhe Sajana Ke Liye’ from Saudagar (1973) is so beautiful!”

Ranjeeta Kaur and Sachin

Continuing his brother’s reminiscences about the music composer, Kamal Kumar added, “Ravindra Jain was like a family member. Lyrics were his strongest point. He could write lyrics on the spot. Rajbabu says he was a better lyricist than composer (laughs).”

He continued, “There was a competition song ['Bade Badai Na Kare'] between the hero and the heroine. This was something new for that era. It featured popular poets from our history.”

Director Hiren Nag too shared a healthy relationship with the production and distribution house. “Hirenda directed six films for us — Honeymoon (1973), Geet Gata Chal (1975), Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se, Sunaina (1979), Maan Abhimaan (1980) and Abodh (1984),” said Kamal Kumar Barjatya. 

Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se was also a successful Rajshri film starring Sachin. “He was working with us since he was 15 or 16, from Geet Gata Chal onwards," said Rajkumar Barjatya. "Our film with him, Nadiya Ke Paar (1982), was a superhit.”

“Sachin got his first adult role in Geet Gata Chal, which became a big hit and he became popular," added Kamal Kumar. "Same was the case with Hiren Nag. Both of them then joined hands again with Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se.”

Kamal Kumar Barjatya

Not many may remember, however, that a sequel to Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se, called Jaana Pehchana, was released in 2011. It was directed by Sachin and starred him and Ranjeeta.

“It was released 33 years after Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se," said Rajkumar Barjatya. "We had a feeling [of a sequel] since the character had promised Lily (Ranjeeta) that he will be a good person and perform noble deeds. Then Aarti Bagdi, who was our assistant, came up with this story about a lady coming into his life to write his biography and being a lookalike of Lily. Sachin was more than willing to direct it.”

Unfortunately, the film didn’t click at the box office. “It was liked by a select audience," said Kamal Kumar. "I met so many people who were willing to watch the film, which we released in Liberty cinema [a grand old theatre in South Mumbai]. That was a mistake. We should have released it in multiplexes. A small multiplex hall would have got better response.

"Sachin was confident. He wanted some modifications, but we restrained him, mostly because of the length."

Sachin and Ranjeeta in Jaana Pehchana

While talking about the sequel, Kamal Kumar also recalled the banner’s tryst with remakes of its own films. “Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! (1994) was a remake of our film Nadiya Ke Paar (1982). That film hadn't done well in metros like Mumbai, where it was removed in a couple of weeks. But it did very well in smaller towns with a Bihari audience and in areas like Bhiwandi where there was a Bihari population. So, we decided to do a modern-day adaptation,” he said. 

“Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi (2007) was a remake of our film Tapasya (1975). Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon was a remake of our Chitchor (1976). The basic ideas were the same.”