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Rajkumar Barjatya: The man who silently and selflessly built Rajshri Productions

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Rajbabu, as he was fondly known in the industry, was instrumental in laying a solid foundation for the banner.

Keyur Seta

Veteran film producer Rajkumar Barjatya, 77, passed away this morning in Mumbai following a brief admission in hospital.

Rajkumar Barjatya was one of the managing directors of one of India’s top film production houses, Rajshri Productions. He was born on 14 May 1941.

Rajbabu, as he was fondly addressed in the industry, was instrumental in laying a solid foundation for the banner.

During an earlier conversation with Cinestaan.com, Kamal Kumar Barjatya, Rajkumar’s brother and fellow MD at Rajshri Productions, had narrated how the banner was started by their father Tarachand.

Their father was once employed with Chamaria Talkie Distributors, a distribution company in South India. The company had run into financial losses, but Tarachand Barjatya brought it back on its feet.

It so happened that producer SS Vasan’s Tamil film Chandralekha (1948), one of the most expensive films of that era, did not succeed at the box office. Vasan was advised by Tarachand Barjatya to dub the film in Hindi and release it all over India.

“My father asked him not to worry and promised to look after everything," Kamal Kumar recalled during the interaction. "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.”

Tarachand Barjatya received able support from son Rajkumar back in the 1970s. Rajbabu started off as associate producer for Piya Ka Ghar (1972). As revealed by Kamal Kumar, Rajkumar took care of the production while being on the sets or the field continuously. He hardly ever gave any interviews and continued to maintain a low profile.

After continuing to be associate producer on quite a few films from here on, including the iconic Chitchor (1976), Saaransh (1983) and Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Rajkumar Barjatya acquired the status of producer with son Sooraj's film Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994). The Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit-starrer became a superhit.

Rajkumar's last film as producer was released just a week ago — Abhishek Dixit’s Hum Chaar.

The level of Rajbabu’s commitment to work was once revealed by Salman Khan during an interaction for his last film with the banner, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015).

The superstar shared how Rajbabu's wife Sudha Barjatya was unhappy with her husband when he went to work even on the day their son Sooraj was born.

“When he [Sooraj] was born, Rajbabu had to work and see to the premiere of Dosti (1964). So, she was slightly upset with Rajbabu,” said Khan.