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Tarachand Barjatya tribute: Rajshri Films and its families


There was a time when the families in Barjatyas' films were anything but rich. 

Keyur Seta

If you were born in the 1990s or after, the very mention of ‘Rajshri Films’ or ‘Barjatyas’ will instantly bring scenes of palatial homes, lavish family functions and heavy, expensive clothes in front of your eyes. But this surely wasn’t the case when the banner started off making films under the leadership of Tarachand Barjatya in the 1960s. 

On Tarachand's 24th death anniversary today (21 September), we take a look at how the social class in Rajshri Films evolved from middle-class to super-rich.

Tarachand started off with Aarti in 1962. The central character, (Meena Kumari), a doctor, came from the middle-class. But with Dosti (1964), he explored rank poverty, something people of today’s era will never associate Rajshri with. The story of the friendship between physically-challenged and visually impaired boys won many a hearts and box-office acclaim. 

In the years that followed, the family in Rajshri’s films was more or less from the middle or lower middle class in films like Taqdeer (1967), Jeevan Mrityu (1970), Uphaar (1971), Piya Ka Ghar (1972), Mere Bhaiya (1972), Chitchor (1976), etc. But the 70s also showed a glimpse of wealth. This was seen in Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye (1977) and Radha Aur Seeta (1979).

It was in the 1980s that one saw the banner showcasing the lifestyle of the rich frequently. Films like Maan Abhimaan (1980), Abodh (1984), Sun Meri Laila (1983) and Phulwari (1984) had rich families. From being wage workers or professionals, the characters of their films went onto become industrialists. But they didn’t give up on the middle-class entirely. Saaransh (1984) is an example of this.

Circa 1989. The year saw the biggest turnaround for the banner in terms of the change in the social structure of protagonists. Sooraj Barjatya, grandson of Taranchand Barjatya, made his directorial debut with Maine Pyar Kiya. This was the richest family ever shown in their films at the time. The film worked wonders. It became a blockbuster and Sooraj and Salman Khan, the lead actor, became overnight stars. 

Maine Pyar Kiya was the last film Tarachand associated with. He passed away in 1992. But the legacy of content he started with his last film has continued till date. Following Maine Pyar Kiya, all of Sooraj's films — Hum Aapke Hai Koun? (1994), Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999), Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon (2003), Vivaah (2006) and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015) — have tackled issues faced by the super-rich class.