Saajan (1991)

Saajan was a love story released in 1991 that went on to become the biggest hit of that year. The music sales of the soundtrack of this movie broke all records and after “Aashiqui” Nadeem-Shravan established themselves as THE music directors if the new era with this movie.

In anticipation of the 90s special “YAADEIN -90S EDITION” that will be broadcast on SunriseFM on February 4th 2018 let’s go down memory lane to 1991…

 

Sudhakar Bokade was a producer who made his debut as a producer in 1990 with the movies  “Nyay Anyay” ( Jeetendra, Jaya Pradha, Shilpa Shirodkar and Sumeet Saigal) and “Izzatdaar” (Govinda, Madhuri Dixit, Dilip Kumar and Swapna). Though “Nyay Anyay” had a nice soundtrack the film did not do too well. Izzatdaar which was nothing special did fairly okay business. In 1991 Sudhakar Bokade hit the jackpot with the movie  “Saajan” which went on to become the biggest hit of the year and went on to inspire quite a few love triangles again and also about a dozen movies which had the word  “Saajan” in the title. The subsequent movies Sudhakar Bokade produced almost all flopped at the box office. Some where good movies like  “Prahaar” (1991 – nana Patekar, Madhuri Dixit and Dimple Kapadia)  which was directed by Nana Patekar himself. Other movies were crap like  “Sapne Saajan Ke” (1992 – Jackie Scroff, Dimple Kapadia, Karishma Kapoor and Rahul Roy). The final nail in his professional coffin was the film “Kalinga” ( Dilip Kumar, Sunny Deol, Meenakshi Shehshadri, Raj Kiran, Shilpa Shirodkar and others) which got shelved after being in the making for over 7 years and got stuck at 70%. This film was to be directed and scripted by Dilip Kumar who did start the film but never finished it. A story that happened before with the film “Master” which was to be produced and directed by Chandra Barot  (the director of the Bachchan classic  “Don”).

Lawrence D’Souza was a cinematographer and had shot movies like Tajurba (1981 – Smita Patil, Nasseerudin Shah, Raj Babbar), Hatya (1988 – Govinda, Neelam) and Gair Kanooni (1989 – Govinda, Sridevi, Rajnikant, Kimmi Katkar and Shashi Kapoor). He made his directing debut in 1990 with the film  “Nyay Anyay” and would go on to make 16 films in a span of 13 years. Most of his films would eventually flop though some of his movies weren’t that bad. My personal movie directed by Lawrence is the 1993 love story Sangram which had Ajay Devgan, Karishma Kapoor, Danny Denzonpa and Amrish Puri in the leading roles. This would also be the film that would finally bring director D’Souza and 90s actress Ayesha Jhulka together. But more on that later…

Lawrence claim to fame and his biggest hit in his entire career would be this 1991 love story from whom nobody expected anything. This film titled  “Saajan”.

Due to some circumstances which we will talk about later “Saajan” would star Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt in their first movie as co-stars. Madhuri Dixit would become the heroine of the movie. The supporting cast would compromise of Ektaa (who would go on to marry Nutan’s son Mohnish Behl), Kadar Khan and Reema Lagoo.

Sanjay Dutt at that time was known for his action roles and it would be with this film that Sanju would be stepping in the “love story” territory. For Salman Khan “Saajan” would continue his initial golden run at the box office after “Maine Pyaar Kiya” (1989 – Bhagyashree, Mohnish Behl, Alok Nath), Baaghi (1990 – Naghma, Mohnish Behl) and  “Sanam Bewaffa” (1991 – Chandni, Danny Denzonpa and Pran). This movie would consolidate Bhai as the next superstar of the Indian Cinema. Madhuri Dixit was at a high already at the time of the release of the movie.

The Reema Rakeshnath written movie (daughter of yesteryear character actor Sapru and wife of Rikku Rakeshnath -the secretary of Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Shilpa Shirodkar and Ranjeeta Kaur) was loosely based on the yesteryear classic “Aarzoo” (1965- Sadhana, Rajendra Kumar, Feroz Khan, Mahmood and Naaz).

The ’90s were still the times when it took 2 years at the least to complete a film and get it released. In such an environment  “Saajan” was shot in a mere 36 Days!

The star cast of the movie which we eventually saw was not the original intended cast of the movie.

The role eventually played by Sanju in the movie was first offered to Aamir Khan. In true Aamir fashion he turned the role down. And to be quite honest I agree with Aamir’s reasoning. It is said that Aamir turned the role down because he did not understand the reasoning of Madhuri Dixit’s character. So okay, she is in love with the poet she has never seen. then she meets Salman Khan en thinking that he is that poet she falls in love with him. But when she finds out that Salman in an imposter and Sanju -whom she met on several occasions and whom she considers to be her friend is the real poet, she without batting an eyelid dumps our Bhai and is in love with Sanju for whom she had no romantic feelings before that whatsoever. So I do get Aamir’s point of view.

The role done in the film by Ektaa (Behl) was initially offered to Neeta Puri ( Khuli Khidki, Awwal Number, Lashkar and Satyamev jayete)  who was one of the so called  “hottest” actresses of those times. For reasons unknown she turned down the role and the role went to Ektaa.

Okay that was a small role which only had a limited screen time. But the role that was done by Madhuri Dixit was bot offered to her at the beginning. The producer and the director of the movie wanted to cast one of the most beautiful and talented leading ladies of the ’90s _ Ayesha Jhulka- in the leading role opposite Bhai and Sanju. Ayesha was even signed and had started shooting.But on the first day of shooting she had a very high fever and the producer decided he could not wait for Ayesha, signed Madhuri and continued shooting. Now everyone knows what Madhuri Dixit ended up doing with the role and she did do a fantastc job. But I -being a die hard Ayesha Jhulka fan- keep wondering how the movie would have been if Ayesha had done the role of the leading lady in this movie.

Saajan- mera dil bhi

Another aspect that helped make the movie the blockbuster it became were the rumours about the Sanju – Madhuri Dixit affair at that time. It was said that the two fell in love during the making of this movie and that eventually Madhuri Dixit dumped Sanju when his court troubles started. In an interview published in 2017, Madhuri Dixit her former secretary Rikku Rakeshnath said that the entire affair was just a publicity stunt to make the people want to watch them together on-screen as they had signed a couple of films together.

When we think about “Saajan” today more than the movie, more then Bhai, sanju or even Madhuri Dixit what comes to mind is the soundtrack of the movie. initially the producer and director wanted to sign Laxmikant-Pyarelal for the movie. According to an interview with director Lawrence D’Souza since neither the producer nor he, the director,  were known or succesful at the time Laxmikamt-Pyarelal even refused to meet them. In a fix since shooting of the movie had to commence they approached Nadeem-Shravan and the rest is -as they say- history.  History was created by Nadeem-Shravan with a great contribution of the lyricist Sameer (son of the legendary lyricist Anjaan).

This was still the time when after  “Maine Pyaar Kiya” and most of the subsequent movies featuring Bhai, S.P. Balasubrahmanium was his screenvoice. Kumar Sanu was the voice of Sanju inthis movie and would go on to win his second Filmfare Award for Best Playback Singer male for his part in the song “Mera Dil Bhi Kitna Paagal Hai” which would become a solution for many youngsters in those days to try to express their feelings. And since the music of  “Saajan” was released by Venus and not by Gulshan Kumar’s T-Series there was no pressure to let all female songs be sung by only Anuradha Paudwal. Thank God for small blessings because this enabled Nadeem-Shravan to rope in Alka Yagnik as well as the voice of Madhuri Dixit besides having two songs sung bt Anuraha Paudwal.

And what can be considered as a masterstroke Nadeem Shravan roped in famous ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas -who by that time had started singing for a select few films as well- to render the second edition of the song that would be remembered for ages…

If you grew up in the ’90s you must have some memories attached to at least one of the songs of this film. Or maybe to the movie itself.

If you love those ’90s movies and/or songs from those ’90s movies do not forget to tune in on SunriseFM Sunday February 4th 2018 for a “YAADEIN-’90s EDITION”

The show will be broadcast at 10PM (Netherlands), 5PM  (Surinam), 4PM (New York), 9PM (London) and Monday 2.30AM (IST).  The show can be followed through Tunein, The SunriseFM app and also online : http://www.sunrisefm.nl

And ofcourse you can participate in the show LIVE by becoming a member of the facebookgroup GEET SANGEET

Saajan  (1991)

produced by Sudhakar Bokade

directed by Lawrence D’Souza

lyrics by Sameer

singers Alka yagnik, Kumar Sanu, S.P. Balasubrahmanium, Pankaj Udhas and Anuradha Paudwal

cast Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, Kadar Khan, Reema Lagoo and Ektaa

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