Jeetendra and his heroines
In India most of us are addicted to either movies or cricket. While cricket became a passion in India after that famous World Cup triumph in 1983, almost every Indian at one point of time ever were passionate about movies and actors. Actors like Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachan are always remembered because they were number one in their times, but there were actors as good as them and much more popular but have been forgotten by successive generations. One such actor was Jeetendra who dominated Bollywood in 1980s.
Jeetendra has a unqiue track record of heroines of various generations:- Jeetendra was born on 7th Apri1942 and his original name was Ravi Kappor. Jeetendra started his career as a hero in 1964 and acted in over 200 films as a hero. Jeetendra had one of the longest careers as hero costarring from heroines of various generations from Mala Sinha born in 1936 to South Indian beauties like Jayaprada, Sridevi and Bhanupriya who were 20 to 25 years younger than him . Jeetendra played the role of a romantic hero to perfection for almost 25 years and that is one record not many Indian actors can boast of. Jeetendra was the most popular hero in India behind Amitabh Bachan in the mid 80s. A list of 10 popular Indian actors was published in mid 80s in which Jeetendra was ranked number two. Apart from Jeetendra who was ranked number two others who made the top 10 included South Indian beauties Jayaprada, Sridevi and India's first dancer Mithun Chakraborty. These days rankings do not have much value because different sources rank different actors as number one, but rankings in those days were genuine. The rankings conducted those days was a real reflection of the popularity a actor enjoyed in the country.
Jeetendra consistently gave hits:- While every actor is remembered for a particular hit like Sholay or Baazigar because of its commercial success or performance as a actor, Jeetendra's name is not associated with a particular movie because he consistently delivered hits. Picking out a particular hit of Jeetendra is like picking one best knock played by a Sachin Tendulkar or a Adam Gilchrist. Jeetendra was accustomed to delivering a sequence a hits it was very difficult to pick out which was the best one. Jeetendra was the most popular actor in the 80s delivering one hit after another like Tohfa, Swarag Se Sunder, Kaamyaab, Dharam Adhikhari to name a few. Jeetendra was the hero preferred by the audience to pair with the biggest beauties ever of Indian cinema like Jayapradha and Sridevi.
Songs of Jeetendra movies played on loudspeakers during festivals:- In an era when movie songs were played on loud spears during festivals and functions the songs of movies in which Jeetendra acted were most preferred. Jeetendra's dancing with Sridevi and Jayaprada made songs of movies like Tohfa and Mawali very popular. Even today the songs most viewed on sites like Youtube are that of Jeetendra's with Jayaprada and Sridevi as co stars. During the height of his popularity in the 80s Jeetendra had the most releases and it was common to see him on every wall poster.
Jeetendra was an all round actor:- If at all one actor qualifies to be called an all rounder it is Jeetendra because he was a lot flexible as an actor and gave lot of options as an actor. When he started his career he started of as a serious actor and met with huge success. Jeetendra was equally proficient in action roles in lead roles, and when it came to playing where he was required to play second fiddle to heroines like Jayapradha and Rekha, Jeetendra was exceptional. When it came to typical family oriented stories Jeetendra was at ease forming a perfect couple with heroines like Jayapradha and Sridevi who were almost 20 years younger to him. In fact even today it is difficult to find a better onscreen husband and wife combination than Jeetedra and Jayapradha or find a passionate song than ones picturized on Jeetendra and Sridevi.
Sridevi and Jayaprada were the biggest beneficiaries:-Sridevi owes her success in Bollywood to Jeetendra. The pair delivered one of the biggest block busters of all time with Himmatwala and that hit paved Sridevis entry to Bollywood. The pair never looked back delivering one hit after another. Infact Sridevi never enjoyed the same type of successes later in her career when she stopped pairing with Jeetendra. The same was the case with Jayaprada. The trio gave some unforgettable hits like Tohfa as Jeetendra was completely at ease playing the hubby to Jayapradha while in a passionate relationship with Sridevi in a love triangle. A love triangle involving the threesome of Jeetendra, Jayapradaha and Sridevi was the best formula to ensure that the film goes on to become a block buster hit.
South Indian beauties preferred to act with Jeetendra:- A discussion on films is incomplete without a mention of heroines from the South. The most beautiful heroines come from the South and these South Indian beauties always preferred to be paired with Jeetendra. The most gorgeous heroine of all time Jayaprada acted in 27 movies with Jeetendra and the beautiful Sridevi was not far behind with 17. Rekha acted in as many as 24 films with Jeetendra. In fact almost all the popular heroines from the South like Hema Malini, Bhanupriya, Radha and Radhika just to name a few acted with Jeetendra. Vijayashanthi was one of the rare heroines who did not co star with Jeetendra. The reason was that Vijayashanthi dominated Telugu movies to such an extent that she did not have time to act in Hindi Movies and that is the reason why she hardly ever acted in Hindi movies.
Jeetendra will forever be remembered as one of the all time greats of Bollywood and the greatest ever romantic hero.
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