Jeetendra – The Jack Of All Trades
From becoming Sandhya’s body double in Navrang (1959) at the age of 17 to doing a lead role in Mother (1999) at the age of 57, Jeetendra has come a long way. In between he travelled a distance of almost 200 films. With his white shoes, tight t-shirts and figure hugging trousers, Jeetendra brought a self confident, unabashed and sort of noisy hero on screen. Singing, dancing, fighting in a brazen way, he was tad away from the appreciation of the critics or for that matter never got any appreciation in form of awards from the commercial cinema. Yet he kept on churning film after film with all the top directors, producers, actors and not to forget all the famous leading ladies of his times. His vigorous, aerobics-like dance steps gave him the name of Jumping Jack and he never let his audience down in that aspect. His films consisted of a normal story line, that of middle class values, melodramas and music which accompanied all those acrobatic steps. He must be the only actor in Hindi cinema whose maximum movies were remakes of South Indian movies. Specially post 1980, it was only him and South Indian movies churned into Hindi. But before that he played some really substantial roles. Sensitive, vibrant, typically commercial, middle stream, making him the jack of all trades.
A look at few such songs from his movies before the masala 80s –
1. Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne (1964) – His debut as a lead actor.
2. Farz (1967) – He was nicknamed as Jumping Jack after this film.
3. Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti (1967) – But in the same year this jumping jack plays a humble role of a school master.
4. Humjoli (1970) – Back to his image playing badminton, this song was a chartbuster.
5. Mere Humsafar (1970) – And he changes his image to an innocent, rustic villager.
6. Caravan (1971) – A musical hit with his thorough jumping jack image!!
7. Parichay (1972) – Jumping jack sans his glamorous avtar, playing simple teacher yet another time.
8. Priytama (1977) – Playing a middle class newly married man, shedding his jumping jack image.
9. Jaani Dushman (1979) – A complete masala entertainer with distinguished stars of Hindi cinema but Jeetendra made his own identity in the film.
10. Khandaan (1979) – Yet another time Jeetendra plays a middle class man with ease.