Rituraj Singh and SRK’s debut film ‘In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones’

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Mumbai, Feb 20 (IANS) Rituraj Singh, who passed away at the age of 59 in the wee hours of Tuesday, was a member of TAG, the same Delhi theatre group as Bollywood Badshah Shah Rukh Khan.

The two used to rehearse together and play football. And they acted together in SRK’s debut film ‘In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones’.

Aired in 1989, it was made for Doordarshan by filmmaker-environmentalist Pradip Kishen based on Booker Prize-winning novelist Arundhati Roy’s script drawing heavily on her days as a student at Delhi’s School of Planning and Architecture.

Those days, SRK, despite being well-known for his pivotal role in the TV serial ‘Fauji’, was nowhere near being the super star that he was to become, so the role that he was so keen to essay went to Rituraj.

In the film, which won two National Awards (Best Feature Film in English and Best Screenplay), Rituraj played the role of Arjun Kamat, who along with his girlfriend, Radha (portrayed by Arundhati Roy), hatches a plan to turn the hostile thesis panel in favour of the titular character and their friend Anand, known as Annie, during the submission process.

Anand was played by Arjun Raina, a local actor who also acted in Kishen’s next film, ‘Electric Moon’, and is today better known as a Kathakali dancer and National School of Drama teacher whose students include Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Adil Hussain and Ashutosh Rana.

Arjun’s role, which he so badly wanted, slipped from SRK’s hands and he had to satisfy himself with a supporting part. SRK played a fellow student known as simply ‘Senior’. SRK, it is said, never really forgave Arundhati Roy for her casting call!

The central character in the film, Anand, is idealistic student who would study less and instead dream up utopian solutions to India’s problems (like planting trees alongside railway tracks where underprivileged Indians defecate — the faecal matter acting as compost and the water from sprinklers attached to trains doing the rest).

Set in the 1970s, the film was high on comedy and got praised for its realistic portrayal of contemporary college life. It also featured Roshan Seth, best known for playing Pandit Nehru in Sir Richard Attenborough”s ‘Gandhi’ (in ‘Annie’, he played the comical co.lege principal Y.S. Billimoria, a.k.a. Yamdoot), Manoj Bajpayee and Raghubir Yadav.

‘In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones’ was never released in theatres but has over the years gained a cult status.

Rituraj Singh, who passed away in the wee hours of Tuesday, was discharged from hospital after he was admitted following a stomach infection. His health condition, however, deteriorated and he suffered a heart attack to which he succumbed.



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