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Raj Kumar Barjatya: the man who led Rajshri from the shadows

Family man: Producer Raj Kumar Barjatya (75) passed away on Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Family man: Producer Raj Kumar Barjatya (75) passed away on Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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In an unassuming manner, from behind the scenes, he helped build the film production company further along with his brothers

It was in 1947 that Tarachand Barjatya founded the film distribution company Rajshri Pictures (P) Limited and went on to launch its film production division, Rajshri Productions (P) Limited in 1962 with Phani Majumdar’s Meena Kumari-Ashok Kumar-Pradeep Kumar starrer Aarti.

Winning run

Several hits followed thereafter — Dosti, Jeevan Mrityu, Uphaar, Piya Ka Ghar, Saudagar, Geet Gaata Chal, Tapasya, Chitchor, Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye, Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se, Sawan Ko Aane Do, Taraana, Nadiya Ke Paar, Saaransh — establishing it as one of the leading Bollywood studios. In 1989, with Maine Pyaar Kiya, Tarachand’s grandson, Sooraj Barjatya, pumped fresh energy and youthfulness into the banner, while working squarely within its core “wholesome family musicals” mandate. The gargantuan success of Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! (1994) cemented the hold further.

While the first and the third generation — Tarachand and Sooraj Barjatya — have come to be identified closely with the brand, it’s the generation in the middle — Tarachand’s son and Sooraj’s father, Raj Kumar, along with his brothers Ajit Kumar and Kamal Kumar Barjatya — who helped build the empire further after their father’s death. In an unassuming manner, from behind the scenes.

Working as associate producers in their father’s productions, from Piya Ka Ghar till Maine Pyaar Kiya, the brothers took over the reins as producers with HAHK. Films such as Hum Saath Saath Hain, Vivaah, Main Prem Ki Dewwani Hoon, Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo followed all the way till Hum Chaar that released last week, in which Sooraj joined them as a producer. It was under their guidance that the banner also grew into the television and digital space.

Raj Kumar, fondly known as Raj Babu, may not have been in public eye (the larger family itself is known to be extremely self-effacing, avoiding media attention) but is remembered as an extremely energetic and positive presence; deeply involved in all the projects; sitting for the meetings, listening to everyone, never dismissing anyone’s thoughts, offering advice and perspective and also candidly sharing where they may have gone wrong with certain projects in the past. He is known to have been taking a keen interest in the directorial debut of Avnish Barjatya — his grandson, Sooraj’s son and the fourth generation of Barjatyas to take to the family enterprise.

Full of goodwill

Like his larger family, he is remembered as a genuinely nice person, a likeable character straight out of his own films. He held on to the simple ways and old school Barjatya culture of not just making the signature sanskari films but also treating the production house and its employees as a large, united family, standing by them in their hour of need. For him, life has been as much about profits, growth and expansion as about showing grace and earning goodwill.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 5:11:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/raj-kumar-barjatya-the-man-who-led-rajshri-from-the-shadows/article26334175.ece

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