Filmmaker Shakti Samanta scored bollywood cinema with several films, including Amar Prem, Howrah Bridge, Kashmir Ki Kali and Kati Patang. His cinema and storytelling belonged to the 60s and 70s, considered the golden age of Bollywood. Many anecdotes are associated with him, in particular his conviction to cast the stars of this era in his film. He had a jolly sense of humor and it reflected in his interviews. During the shooting of the Bengali film Barsaat Ki Ek Raat, he said to Amitabh Bachchan: “You have never worked in a Bengali film. And your wife is Bengali. Show your sasural that you speak Bengali, and he agreed.
However, one of his most remembered films is Aradhana, which starred Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore. The film propelled Khanna to superstardom and was appreciated for his songs, especially Mere Sapnon Ki Rani which was a song by Kishore Kumar.
In an old interview, Samanta recalled how he asked Kishore Kumar to do the reading for the film. He and SD Burman originally planned for Mohammed Rafi to sing the playback songs, who was unfortunately touring overseas at the time. “He wasn’t going to come back for two months. So I asked Dada that Kishore Kumar sang so many songs in Dev Anand movies. This is Rajesh Khanna, a new artist, and his voice has not been established. So Dada accepted. Kishore came and sang two or three songs, and those were very well sung. Dada told me I was right, and we realized that Kishore Kumar was perfect for Rajesh Khanna as a playback singer.
Another movie that became a classic was Kati Patang, starring Asha Parekh. He wanted Sharmila Tagore again for the film at first, but she was pregnant at the time. He remembered that everyone knew her as a glamorous girl, so he decided to make her “something different”. So he told Asha Parekh about it and she immediately agreed. When asked how he convinced his leading ladies to play their roles, “I think I was lucky. What I thought and designed, I got it. You know Madhubala n never came out of Bombay to shoot. But I took her to Nagarjun Sagar, which is in Andhra Pradesh. She was playing coolie, and I told her she had to take off her slippers. And she did. did, of his own free will, in that hot and rocky place.He also recalled how Madhubala remembered for the film unit and said that the cast and crew were like family.