Aakhri Khat would have been as intriguing today as it was 50 years ago. Although this was Chetan Anand’s immediate release after Haqeeqat (1964), there weren’t any great expectations from the film since it was the polar opposite of the star-studded war opus in terms of scope and execution. What truly got people interested was the presence of a certain Rajesh Khanna, the winner of the Filmfare-United Producers’ Combine talent contest. Considered the biggest discovery in popular Hindi cinema at the time, Khanna was to have been launched by heavyweights such as GP Sippy, Nasir Husain and Shakti Samanta, but his first release turned out to be a black-and-white experimental film in which he shared the screen with an unlikely co-star.
Madeby a filmmaker who was an anomaly in the Hindi film industry, the movie featured a hero who played second fiddle to a toddler and contained a climax that was virtually silent for over 600 feet of film. Thestory is about Govind (Rajesh Khanna), a young sculptor from Mumbai who falls for village woman Lajjo (Indrani Mukherjee) during a vacation. He leaves her and returns to the city, and when she shows up at his house with a child in tow, he doubts her intentions. The plot was unexceptional for Hindi films of that period. But Anand’s screenplay and the narrative structure infused something extra into Aakhri Khat. Unable to take Govind’s rejection, Lajjo leaves behind a final letter, or “aakhri khat,” and walks away with her son. She ends up dying a few moments later, leaving behind the infant (Master Bunty) all alone in the big bad world.
A significant portion of the film is intercut between the guilt-ridden Govind frantically searching the city for his son and the toddler ambling along the bustling streets of Mumbai. Anand’s cinematic experiments includes numerous sequences of Govind reacting to Lajjo reading out her letters as well as lengthy non-choreographed shots in which the camera follows the child’s natural actions. Shot by Jal Mistry on actual locations, including overhead bridges and traffic intersections, across mid-1960s Mumbai, the experimental streak overpowers the narrative to such an extent that the proceedings seem boring after a point.
One of the doyens of the Indian People’s Theatre Association, Anand found it liberating to work outside the star system. He inspired Mistry’s camera as an active participant in the proceedings as well as pushed his lead actor. Anand got a complete greenhorn such as Khanna to delve into his own stage background by giving him scenes in which the debutant could express a range of emotions in a single take. Among the standout sequences is the one in which the “aakhri khat” is read out, leaving Khanna alone on the screen for over two minutes to relive the entire relationship. The other is the climax in which Govind hasn’t slept for three days and is almost about to give up when his fifteen-month son miraculously saunters into his studio. For the climax, Anand kept Khanna awake for three days, calling him in the middle of the night to break his sleep and even getting his assistants to keep the actor up.
The director’s son, Ketan, was in college when his father was shooting Aakhri Khat. In an interview to the writer for his book on Rajesh Khanna, titled Dark Star, Ketan Anand recalled how the crew was instructed to debar Khanna from eating or meeting anyone. When Khanna arrived on the sets three days later, his nerves were shot through. During the nearly five-minute long climax in which the infant totters into Govind’s studio and stands before a statue that looks like his mother, Anand was constantly instructing Khanna. The actor does waver every now and then and give hints of the king of melodrama that he would later become, but he still delivers a restrained performance.
The film barely made a mark commercially and critically, but apart from Khanna and Mistry’s cinematography, Aakhri Khat has another silver lining in the form of a lilting Khayyam tune, “Aur Kuchh Der Thahar.” Written by Kaifi Azmi and sung by Mohammed Rafi, the song is one of the few instances in Hindi cinema in which the hero displays as much sensuality as the heroine. Looking back, it’s hardly surprising that Khanna went on to wreck havoc among female fans.
Gautam Chintamani is the author of Dark Star: The Loneliness of Being Rajesh Khanna.
Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival
We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.
The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:
Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app
Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.
Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.
Plan your shopping
The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.
Track the deals
There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.
Big discounts and top picks
The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.
Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.
There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.
There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are LenovoTab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch. For those of you just looking for a high quality fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge has Rs. 4500 off on 22nd September.
If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.
Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.
The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.
For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.
Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.
For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.
The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.
While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!
If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.
Check-out process and payment options
Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.
Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.