Kamal Kumar Barjatya, son of Tarachand Barjatya and MD of Rajshri Productions, reveals interesting details about his father's triumph of forming one of the oldest production houses of India.
Interview: Son Kamal Kumar on how Rajshri's Tarachand Barjatya saved a distribution company
Mumbai - 10 May 2017 8:00 IST
Updated : 11 May 2017 12:39 IST
Tarachand Barjatya was the one who founded Rajshri Productions. One of the biggest and oldest production houses in India, the banner is known for producing family-oriented entertainers like Dosti (1964), Piya Ka Ghar (1972), Chitchor (1976), Nadiya Ke Paar (1982), Saaransh (1984), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Hum Aapke Hai Koun...! (1994), Hum Saath-Saath Hain (1999), Vivaah (2006) and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015).
Not many would know that much before starting Rajshri Productions, Tarachand had helped a film distribution company come out of a severe financial crisis. This and other interesting bits about him were revealed to Cinestaan.com exclusively by his son and MD of Rajshri Films, Kamal Kumar Barjatya on his father’s 103rd birth anniversary.
Tarachand stood true to a stereotype that film lovers have little interest in studies. “My grandfather wanted him to study law after doing his Bachelor of Arts (BA). But he wasn’t interested in law. He would sit on the back bench and go through film magazines. When my grandfather came to know this, he made my father join Moti Mahal theatre as an apprentice. They had theatres at many places in north India. And they had a film distribution business in south India called Chamaria Talkie Distributors. My father was ultimately deputed to the south to look after their distribution business," said Kamal Kumar.
He also shared that Tarachand took their business from rags to riches. “The financial situation was so bad that they even had to buy postal stamps on credit from the paan wala. He brought their business to the top from such a situation. He ultimately developed good relations with all top producers like SS Vasan, Gemini Studios, AVM Productions, Nagi Reddy’s Vijaya Productions, etc.”
Kamal Kumar went on to speak about the interesting events that led up to the formation of Rajshri. SS Vasan had produced the Tamil film Chandralekha (1948), which was a costly production. "Just like today’s Baahubali," he mentioned. However, despite being a huge success, it couldn’t even recover its cost. "My father suggested that Vasan dub the film in Hindi. Vasan said he didn't even know the A, B, C, D of Hindi. My father asked him not to worry and promised to look after everything. The dubbed version was made and Vasan asked my father to distribute it all over India. For this, my father had to open offices all over the country. This is how Rajshri Productions started," he added.
Kamal Kumar narrated an anecdote involving late actor Sohrab Modi while mentioning about Tarachand's sense of predicting a film's box office prospects. "Some of Sohrab Modi’s films had flopped. Despite this when father came to know that he is making Sheesh Mahal (1950), he immediately showed interest in distributing it. He knew the potential of the subject. The same happened with Baiju Bawara (1952) when people weren’t willing to spend for its promotions.”
Kamal Kumar also recalled the lesser known fact about Rajshri once collaborating with the great Satyajit Ray. “He (Tarachand Barjatya) had good relations with Satyajit Ray. In fact, Ray’s film Kapurush Mahapurush (1965) was dubbed in Hindi by us. It was well appreciated although it wasn’t a success. It didn’t get international recognition, but the Hindi version was liked.”
As the production house has churned out a number of successful movies, Tarachand Barjatya held each film in high regard. But there was one film that was too close to him. “Dosti was his favourite,” informed his son.
Salman Khan has had a long standing relationship with Rajshri. The actor owes his stardom to the banner as he became a known name after Maine Pyar Kiya (1989). Kamal Kumar Barjatya revealed that they have had a cordial relationship with Salman’s family even before the actor entered films. “We have distributed films written by Salman’s father Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar (as Salim-Javed). Sholay was our major distribution practically in all the territories of India.”
Rajshri has always catered to the family audiences, with most of the films being about family values. Kamal Kumar revealed the reason behind this. “He (Tarachand Barjatya) was an ardent devotee of Aurobindo Ashram. He always used to take blessings of his mother. This is how he got inspiration and he said that as far as our own production is concerned, we will make movies only for family entertainment.” Sri Aurobindo is an Indian philosopher and yogi.
There were times when the banner tried producing films in other genres. One such occasion was Agent Vinod (1977). Kamal Kumar disclosed that the film was named such as it was first offered to Vinod Khanna, who recently passed away. “Vinod Khanna also accepted the film. But for some reason it couldn’t materialize. But we retained the title.”
Rajshri Productions tried a crime thriller last in 2014 in the form of Samrat & Co. But Kamal Kumar revealed that the banner would largely look at the family genre only. “Our brand is known for family oriented films. So, basically we will stick to that genre. Even the audience associates our banner with such films."
Lastly, Kamal Kumar remembered father Tarachand as their whole and soul. “We all owe our existence to him. Whatever our organisation is, it’s because of him,” he signed off.