Ek Mulakat with Rahul Rawail was bubbly and effervescent just like his blockbuster movies – Love Story and Betaab. It was indeed a love story of Rawail – on an iconic man of the Indian cinema – Raj Kapoor Saab and his genuine passion for the craft of filmmaking. The rendezvous brought a smile as Rawail took the Kolkata audience back to his days in R.K.Studios, the valuable lessons he imbibed from the great master at work, and the success mantra of his movies. The director was in conversation with Ehsaas woman of Kolkata, Shefali Rawat Agarwal.
The event was organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with Ehsaas women of Kolkata at The Salt House in the City of Joy, Kolkata on January 20th, 2023.
Welcome address and Vote of Thanks were given by Esha Dutta, Ehsaas woman of Kolkata. Rahul Rawail was felicitated by Rupa Halim with a Ponnaddai shawl from South India.
The conversations between Rawail and Rawat-Agarwal were spontaneous and enjoyable as Rawail shared his foray into Indian cinema, his association with legendary Raj Kapoor Saab, and how he picked up the nitty-gritty of cinema direction under the icon’s tutelage.
Right at the beginning, it was quite a surprise for the Kolkata audience to hear that Rawail was interested to pursue nuclear physics. But destiny had some other plans for him. He followed the footsteps of his father H.S. Rawail who was a notable Indian film director. When he could have learned the ropes of the trade from his father, Rawail chose to start his cinematic journey as an assistant to Raj Kapoor at the R.K. Studios.
Rawail shared that it was the visit to the sets of Mera Naam Joker with his friend Rishi Kapoor that sealed the deal. It was here that Rawail witnessed the master at work. The calibre of the man who handled the huge cast and crew of the film with the precision of a conductor of a musical symphony nurtured his interest in filmmaking. Rawail admitted whatever films he had made were an effort to shadow the craftsmanship of the greatest man of the film industry.
The conversations also focused on his blockbuster movies – Love Story, Betaab, and some other films and how his films were launch vehicles for many actors in the industry like Kumar Gaurav, Vijayata Pandit, Sunny Deol, Amrita Singh, Kajol, and Aishwarya Rai. Rawail also appreciated how the symphony of Anand Bakshi and R.D. Burman worked magic for his films.
Rawail also spoke about his book Raj Kapoor: The Master at Work. He said that it is a book about a young boy who discovered Raj Kapoor and understood how he conceived the stories, songs, and colour palette he used in his films. The book also contains some personal anecdotes of Raj Saab. In this regard, Rahul Rawail shared how Raj Kapoor met Ravindra Jain, who was a wedding singer, at a marriage ceremony. Raj Saab heard Jain singing Ek Radha Ek Meera; he was so impressed that he handed over a thousand rupee note and said to Jain that he wishes to make a film on this song. This was the genesis of the movie ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ also inspired by the episode in Ramcharitamanas where Lord Ram is on a boat in the Ganges of Allahabad. When He asked the boatman, why the Ganges is polluted, the boatman replied ‘Ram teri ganga mailihogayi, paapiokepaapdhotehogayi’.
The session ended with audience questions to which Rawail gave interesting answers that delighted each and everyone. The session wrapped up with Rawail putting his signature on the Ek Mulakat imprinted cup.