This week on Flashback, we take a look at the journey of an incredible actor, TV and film producer Jeetendra, born Ravi Kapoor on 7 April 1942, in Amritsar, Punjab, to Amarnath and Krishna Kapoor, whose business dealt with imitation jewellery. He attended St. Sebastian’s Goan High School in Girgaum, with his friend Rajesh Khanna and then studied at Siddharth College. While supplying jewellery to V. Shantaram, he was cast as Sandhya’s character’s double in the 1959 movie Navrang. Jeetendra got his first major break of his life with V. Shantaram’s Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne (1964). However, it was the film Farz (1967) that served as his stepping stone to success. Rajshree Shantaram was paired opposite Jeetendra in 3 films – Geet Gaaya Pattharonne, Suhaag Raat, Gunahon Ka Devta and except for Gunahon Ka Devta the other two were box office hits.
The tee shirt and white shoes he picked up from a retail store for the Mast Baharon Ka Main Aashiq number in Farz, became his trademark. Farz was followed by films such as Caravan and Humjoli, in which Jeetendra had more dance numbers. His vigorous dancing in the films won him the epithet; “Jumping Jack of Bollywood. Jeetendra was frequently paired with Sridevi or Jaya Prada for remakes of Telugu films by Rama Rao Tatineni, K. Bapayya and K. Raghavendra Rao; these included Sanjog, Aulad, Majaal, Justice Chaudhry, Mawaali, Himmatwala, Jaani Dushman and Tohfa. He also did many remakes in Hindi of Krishna’s Telugu movies and had very close association with him. Besides these south Indian remakes, there was a subdued side of Jeetendra whenever he’d worked with the writer/lyricist Gulzar in films such as Parichay, Kinara and Khushboo that had several beautifully penned songs such as “O Majhi Re”, “Musafir Hoon Yaaron” and “Naam Gum Jaayega”, composed by Rahul Dev Burman and sung by Kishore Kumar. Jeetendra regards Rajaram Vankudre Shantaram, Ramanna and L.V.Prasad as his mentors in the film industry.
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