I had made a film with the same title on Rajendra Yadav's short story called "Saara Aakash". I had liked the story so immensely that I could not hold myself back from filming it.
This story led to my acquaintance with Rajendra, which subsequently led to close friendship. Later, I made the film "Rajnigandha", based on his wife Mannu Bhandari's short story "Yehi Sach Hai".
We became family friends. I am grieved at his passing away. But am consoling myself with the thought that each one of us has to go one day. Rajendra and I were close in several ways than one.
He had spent his childhood at Agra, while I had spent several years of my life at nearby Mathura. Rajendra and I had undergone similar experiences in life. Therefore, the bond of our friendship was rather special.
I had read several of his short stories. "Saara Aakash" really touched my heart. In those days, Arun Kaul had bought the rights of "Saara Aakash" for a mere Rs20. But when I decided to make a film on it, I bought the story for six thousand rupees.
Rajendra had his own special place at the pinnacle of the literary world. His contribution to literature will be remembered. Leafing through Rajendra's works provides fresh direction to writers of today. His creations are an inspiration to the new generation of writers.
Rajendra had a unique personality. I have had some personal experiences with him. These I cannot make public. Intimate memories of friends like Rajendra can be treasured only in the in heart. Some of his conversations were meant for me alone.
He was a great writer and an extremely efficient editor as well. He brought out the "Hans" monthly - the only literary journal that is available in the market even in these times. I am a life subscriber.
In what form will I receive the "Hans" after Rajendra's passing away - this is difficult to say. But this much is true: With the vehicle of the "Hans", Rajendra kept Premchand's tradition alive.
It is Rajendra's contribution that "Hans" continues to be avidly read both by the new generation of writers and by those who are interested in literature.
(The author is an emminent film maker. As told to Navin Kumar of Hindi Hindustan, Mumbai).