On the banks of the river Mula-Mutha, about 25 km from Pune on the Pune-Solapur Road, lies a pristine stretch of land called 'Rajbaug – the garden of the King'! The king in question is none other than the legend of the Indian film industry, perhaps the greatest showman of Indian cinema, the one and only, Raj Kapoor.
It is a haven of greenery and tranquility that inspires one's creativity to its fullest. It was no wonder then that one of the most creative filmmakers of India fell in love with it the moment he saw it. It is here, sitting in the majestic balcony of his magnificent bungalow, watching the gentle river Mula-Mutha flow by, that Raj Kapoor contemplated, conceptualized, wrote, planned and shot many of his epoch-making films. It is here, perhaps in the company of Shankar, Jaikishan, Shailendra, Mukesh and other extremely creative people that he discussed the music, the songs, the shot composition and all the other different aspects of film making.
Every square inch of this 125-acre land speaks to us in the language of art, films, music and creativity! Mera Naam Joker, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Bobby and many other films of Raj Kapoor were shot on this location of Rajbaug. Rajbaug is located just off the Pune-Solapur highway, adjacent to the Loni railway station. Raj Kapoor's fascination for trains was legendary. There was hardly a movie made by Raj Kapoor which did not feature a train!
Rajbaug means experiencing divinity in utter tranquility. The quietly flowing Mula-Mutha river with trees of different shades of green flanking its banks is an idyllic setting for creation, for learning.
The great Raj Kapoor, recipient of many awards including the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest award for an individual in films, passed away on 2 June 1989. It was his heartfelt wish that after him, this magnificent stretch of land should not be used for any commercial activity, but should be utilized for educational purposes. It was as if he had realized the potential of this magnificent place as a centre for learning. So, in 2003, his legal successors, his wife Smt. Krishna Kapoor and children Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Rajeev Kapoor, Ritu Nanda and Rima Kapoor transferred it to the reputed MAEER's MIT Group of Institutions, Pune, a trusted name in education since 1983.
Since then, MAEER's MIT Group of Institutions, Pune has nurtured Rajbaug as a centre for excellence in learning, with world class educational institutes for different disciplines being established over there. Prof. Dr. Vishwanath D. Karad, the visionary educationist of India, a conceptualizer, designer and self-taught architect par excellence, has based the various educational institutes on the ancient Indian matrix of Sapta-Rang (seven colours), Sapta-Rishi (seven sages) and Sapta-Swar (seven musical notes).
Rajbaug today boasts of some of the finest educational institutes, which include:
Rajbaug also houses the unique 'Raj Kapoor Memorial – The Golden Era of Indian Cinema', a memorial created to pay tribute to the great showman and also to the golden era of Indian cinema, of which he was one of the main contributors. The memorial has a very special design, housed in seven beautifully designed pagodas which has life size statues of Raj Kapoor and many of his contemporaries who made Indian cinema such so rich and special. One of the pagodas of the Raj Kapoor Memorial also has a specially erected Samadhi where the ashes of Raj Kapoor, his father, the legendary Prithviraj Kapoor and his mother Smt. Ramsarani Devi are kept.
Coming up on this precious land seeped with knowledge, learning and creativity is MIT School of Film and Television, which is committed to creating and nurturing the finest film professionals in the country… Professionals who will contribute to creating a niche space for Indian cinema not just in quantity but also in quality…
How does one describe this legendary showman of the Indian film industry? Raj Kapoor was amongst the few filmmakers in the history ofIndian cinema who had found the actual pulse of the audience.
He was an amazing storyteller who knew exactly what he wanted to tell the audience. Although apolitical, his films spoke about the socialistic way of life, beyond religion, caste and creed, beyond class, beyond good and evil. He raised some very pertinent questions through his films in a manner in which the audience understood.
He was a great director who had a keen photographic vision. The visuals in his films would be pleasant and uncomplicated. Even the style in which he narrated the events in his movies was simple and uncomplicated. His use of various filmmaking techniques were more to put the audiences at ease rather than making them wonder what the shot was all about. The locations where he shot the movies and even the sets created in the studio were so soothing to the eye that one would immediately get involved in the scene.
Raj Kapoor inherited his histrionic talents from yet another legendary figure of the film and theatre industry in India – his father Prithviraj Kapoor. Prithviraj Kapoor, with his towering height, handsome features and booming voice, dominated both theatre and films for a long time. Undoubtedly, he remains one of the most admired actors of all times. As an actor, one could rarely find faults with Raj Kapoor. The Creator had gifted him with a handsome personality which he put to wonderful use as an actor. His piercing and expressive blue eyes spoke much more than a page full of dialogues!
At the very young age of 23 years, Raj Kapoor produced and directed his first full length feature film 'Aag' under the RK Films banner. Aag met with moderate success, but his following film 'Barsaat' broke all records of popularity. Raj Kapoor did not look back from there and kept on giving top quality, meaningful and yet highly entertaining films one after the other. His resilience and self belief became apparent when, after the crippling failure of 'Mera Naam Joker', instead of being bogged down, he changed his style and made 'Bobby', an all-time hit of the film industry.
His ear for music was legendary. The most melodious era of the Indian film industry is unmistakably related to Raj Kapoor and his movies. The magic created by Shankar-Jaikishan as they composed songs for his movies arguably remains unmatched even today.
Practically each film of Raj Kapoor is a lesson for film students. At Rajbaug, where he conceptualized, planned, wrote and shot many of his movies, and wherein lies his Samadhi, his spirit lingers on, to guide and direct the students of MITSFT as they embark upon the task of learning movie-making.
MIT School of Film and Television is perhaps the most befitting tribute to the legend that was Raj Kapoor!