His trademark white pants and white shoes, his vigorous dance steps, and youthful vibe earned him the moniker ‘Jumping Jack’. Yes, we’re talking about the one and only Jeetendra, who was a trendsetter back in the day. Why, the hype around his films even led cinema owners to decorate movie halls around the theme of his songs while tickets were sold in black at the price of gold. As the actor turns 75, we ask cinema owners and exhibitors to rewind and recall the frenzy they witnessed at their properties during Jeetendra’s film releases, and here’s what they had to say
MANOJ DESAI EXHIBITOR, G7/MARATHA MANDIR, MUMBAI
I recently met Jeetuji at an event and, I must say, he was just as charming as he was years ago. His aura and presence still speak loud and clear for his persona. Geet Gaaya Pattharonne was his first hit but it was Farz, which released in 1967, that established him as a known face. Whether it was romancing the heroine or playing serious characters, Jeetuji has always proved himself as an excellent actor. Dharam Veer, Jaani Dost, Insaaf Ki Pukar, Nafrat Ki Andhi, Dharam Kanta, Nishaan and Maqsad were some of his films that ran for weeks at our property.
AKSHAYE RATHI EXHIBITOR, RATHI GROUP OF CINEMAS, AMARVATI, MAHARASHTRA
Jeetendra sir is a superstar in the truest sense of the word. He is the epitome of refined stardom, not just in Hindi films but he has starred in a range of films and has managed to connect with the audience every time he appeared on the big screen. Dil Ki Baatein, Tohfa, Himmatwala, Humjoli, Mere Humsafar, Waris, Dharam Veer, Jaani Dost and Samraat were some of his films which did fabulous business at our properties. From his style of dancing to his dress sense, he was one of the most-loved actors in our industry in his time.
PRAKASH DUBEY EXHIBITOR, SHEILA CINEMA, NEW DELHI
Films that drew a phenomenal response at our property were Insaaf Ki Pukar, Tohfa and Himmatwala in the 80’s. Back then, the only source of entertainment was cinema and people would go to great lengths to watch their favourite actors. Films that worked wonders here were Swarg Narak, Umar Qaid, Humjoli, Mere Humsafar and many more, which had six to seven shows per day, and every show was houseful. We had prior commitments and had to change the film after four weeks but those four weeks were spectacular. Even re-runs of Jeetendra’s films used to generate good revenue. He was a star on the big screen and now his daughter is the star of television.
RAJESH CHANDAN EXHIBITOR, NOVELTY, LUCKNOW
His pairing with Rekha, Jaya Prada and Sridevi delivered many super hits. Jeetendra did more than 25 films with Rekha; more than 15 films with Sridevi; and more than 20 with Jaya Prada. In a career spanning over three decades, he delivered more than 150 hit films. His best years were the 80’s, where he was one of the highest-paid actors, and rightly so. His success rate during those years was extraordinary. Films like Himmatwala and Tohfa were massive hits at our property.
BHARAT CHANDRA HANJDEO EXHIBITOR, KESHARI TALKIES, BHUBANESWAR
Films like Himmatwala ran for 25 weeks in our cinema hall. Tohfa ran for 25 weeks and was a blockbuster. Jeetendra was the ‘remake king’ as he starred in most of the Telugu films which were remade in Hindi. He was part of hit songs like Musafir hoon yaaron and Naam gum jaayega, which are still super hit songs. His dance steps were outstanding and that’s why he was called the Jumping Jack of Bollywood. His white pants and moves made him a sensation among the youth. Films like Caravan and Humjoli did good business even during re-runs here. Himmatwala and Tohfa were the obvious hits.
KARAN MENGI EXHIBITOR, RAJ TALKIES, UDHAMPUR, JAMMU
Humjoli was a film that created box office frenzy at our cinemas. Jeetu sir churned out hits one after another and his style was copied by the youth – from his dancing style to his white pants, not to mention the hit songs from his films. I remember his films from the 80’s, Himmatwala, Dharam Kanta, Tohfa, Jaani Dost and many others which ran houseful even during re-runs.
ARUN DUBEY CHITRA, MANAGER, AMARATVATI, MAHARASHTRA
Jeetendraji was a star and his singing and dancing style is unforgettable. Films like Maang Bharo Sajana and Jyoti Bane Jwala were some of his movies that ran successfully in our cinemas. But I believe all his movies were very good.
SANJAY DUMBANI THEATER OWNER, BHARAT, BURHANPUR
Waris, Jeene Ki Raah and Jyoti Bane Jwala were all golden jubilee films. Dharam Veer and Jaani Dushman were on the hit list and the crowd used to dance in the cinemas and repeat the dialogue loudly. Among Jeetendra’s famous songs were Hum toh tere aashiq hain sadiyo purane and Mast baharon ka main aashiq from Farz. When his films ran, there was literally not enough space in the cinemas to accommodate the audience.
PRADEEP DAMDALE THEATER OWNER, UDAY TALKIES, AKOLA, MAHARASHTRA
Jaani Dushman, Himmatwala and Jyoti Bane Jwala were films that ran successfully in my cinemas. The song, Ta thaiya ta thaiya ho from Himmatwala, was a favorite. The song kept playing on the radio, on television and people used to watch Himmatwala especially for that song.
UMESH UPADHYAY THEATER OWNER, SRI GANESH TALKIES, WARDHA, MAHARASHTRA
From Geet Gaaya Pattharonne, people were crazy about watching Jeetuji’s films and they wouldn’t miss a single release of his. Even the songs from Himmatwala and Tohfa were trendsetters. People used to copy Jeetendra’s style, his style of dressing and even his hairstyle. Also, his songs were famous for including special elements, like Naino mein sapna, where Jeentendra and Sridevi danced on matkis (earthen pots). As a result, for that film, cinema owners decorated the entrance to their properties with matkis. And for the Tohfa song, some theaters were decorated with saris. That’s how crazy people were about Jeetendra. His films like Meri Awaz Suno were hits and the ticket queues were endless. Tickets were sold in black back then and people used to buy them at any cost.
CHANDRA SHEKHAR THEATER OWNER, PALI PLAZA, BOKARO STEEL CITY, JHARKHAND
Farz and Jeene Ki Raah were hit films and brought in pretty good collections. These films ran in cinemas for a long time. The audience used to go crazy while watching his films and we had to hire security guards to control the crowds. Such was the frenzy Jeetendra used to whip up. Tickets of his films were sold in black at three times the cost.
AJAY AGRAWAL THEATER OWNER, DESH BAHDHU CINEMA, DHANBAD, JHARKHAND
He has so many hit films and all his films, like Judaai, did tremendous business at the box office. The audience used to dance in cinemas while watching his songs.
SANDIP TEKRIWAL THEATRE OWNER, GORAKHPUR, UP
Without a doubt, I would say that Tohfa and Himmatwala were Jeetendra’s best films. Even the songs of these two films were hits. The songs of Caravan also gained a lot of appreciation. Not surprisingly, his films always ran houseful. People used to follow his fashion style every time they came to watch his films.
PUSHPA SUCHANTI THEATRE OWNER, PUSHPANJALI, JHAKHAND
Caravan was a very nice film, which did fabulously well at the box office. Even Ghar Ek Mandir worked really well. I cannot name one great song of Jeetendra’s; all his songs were hits and people loved dancing to those numbers in the cinemas.
ARUN MULLA THEATRE OWNER, ROYAL TOLKIES, KOLHAPUR
According to me, Himmatwala was a box-office hit. The songs of that movie were quite impressive. In fact, all Jeetendra’s songs were well-received and people thronged cinemas just to watch them. He was a dancing sensation.
M K PATNI MEJESTIK TOLKIES, KOLHAPUR
Jeene Ki Raah was a super-duper hit. People loved that film and it ran for 12- 13 weeks in my theatre. Mast baharon ka main ashiq is a very nice song and was loved by the masses. Apart from this, Himmatwala was a major hit. At that time, all Jeetendra’s films ran houseful and mostly women used to come to watch his films. Most of his films took openings that were almost houseful at our property since people were crazy about his songs.
RAMESH PURI CHANDRALOK HALL, CHITTOURGARH, RAJASTHAN
Himmatwala was a smash hit in my theatre and most of the shows ran houseful. Caravan was also a big hit, apart from two other films of Jeetendra’s that worked well – Jeene Ki Raah and Ek Banjara. His films never disappointed and always earned a good opening.
JITU KAPDI NEW SUPER CINEMA, GUJARAT
Himmatwala and Judaai were very big hits at the box office and people came to cinemas just to watch his songs. Jeentendra’s films usually ran house full.
RAJBIR MALLIK EXHIBITOR, PAYAL CINEMA, DEHRADUN
Undoubtedly Jeetuji ruled the box office in 80’s but before that his films always catered to all kind of audience. His films in 60’s and 70’s were trendsetters. there were very few actors back in the day who had the kind of charisma that Jeetuji had. His film Farz was a massive hit at our property. Since then, many of his films have gone on to become blockbusters and the most popular ones are Himmatwala, Tohfa, Waris, Humjoli, Nagin and Dharam Veer among them. His films used to run for 50 weeks and also fared spectacular with the reruns. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, when cinema was the only mode of entertainment, fans used to go mad about him. Queues for tickets to his movies would extend upto 2 to 3 kms at our cinema. His fans used to copy his style from his clothes to his dance. He is also one of the very few actors who had hit jodis with many actresses. Out of more than 200 films he did, many ran successfully at our cinema.
NOSHIR K MARFATIA EXHIBITOR, MAJESTIC CINEMA, AJMER
We have seen many actors rise to success and then fall down. Jeetendra is one actor jiska time nahi daur chala tha. His success story is something right out of the books. He has done every kind of film and proven his mettle. His film Himmatwala became one of the highest grossing films at our property by garnering almost Rs 2 lakh at that time. Other film which did well was Mehandi Rang LayegI and Locket. People from each walk of life could connect to him and his persona on the big screen. Other films which ran for more than 25 weeks were Farz, Dharam Kanta, Justice Chaudhary, Takkar, Nishana, Karamyogi and Tohfa at our property. His films have done humongous business at our property. he is one actor whose style still remains untamable.