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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Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan (1968)

JGA -lekh

Lekh Tandon was a director who made some movies that went on to become super succesful. Films like Professor (1962 -Shammi Kapoor), Prince (1969 – Shammi Kapoor), Ek Baar Kaho (1980 – Navin Nsichol, Shabana Azmi and in one of his very first roles -Anila Kapoor) and Agar Tum Na Hote (1983 – Rajesh Khanna, Rekha, Raj Babbar) were some of the movies he made which really worked big time. Lekh Tandon also was an actor who did character roles in movies such as Swades (2004) and Rang De Basanti (2006).

But his swan song as a director came in 1968 when he achieved something that is rarely achieved in the Hindi Film Industry…

JGA03

Its was in this year that his swan song was released “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”. Saira Banu was a beautiful actress who had some hits credited to her at that time already. And the hero of the film -Rajendra Kumar- well his nickname at that time was “Jubilee Kumar” because all of his films went on to become golden and platinum jubilees at the cinemas. A feat which is unthinkable in today’s times when a movie stays in the cinemas for 2 or 3 weeks max.

In 1941 a Hollywood movie was released titled “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” which had Claude Rains in the lead. The movie although a good one was a moderate succes. but succesful enough to warrant a sequel. In 1978 (a good 10 years after “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”!!) this Hollywood movie was remade by Warren Beatty as “Heaven Can Wait” with himself and Julie Christie in the leading roles. And finally in 2011 Chris Rock remade the movie once again with himself in the leading role as “”Down To Earth”. This last film surprisingly had a lot in common with “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”… Does Chris Rock watch Hindi movies…?

So “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan” which released in 1968 was a remake of “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” and with this remake Lekh Tandon achieved something that is rarely achieved by anyone. And that is to make a remake which is actually much and much better then the original! Yes you read it right!! “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan” is the best version of all the films mentioned above.

The cast of the film couldn.t have been better selected. In those days there were no so called “casting directors”, the producer and director did the casting themselves.

Rajendra Kumar as the hero does a fantastic job. You really feel for him, laugh with him and cry with him. Prem Chopra as the evil step brother in the second half of the film does his usual “Prem Chopra” role but he is effective. Rajendra Nath – best known for his “Poppatlal” roles in the Nasir Hussain films is really funny for once. But that is not just because of his antics, it is also because of his role. he is one person whom we can identify with. First as the friend of Rajendra Kumar who cremates his friends body after his death and then when he is called by his friends lookalike in another city who tells him that he IS his friend since his soul is in another body. It is also funny to see the interactions between Rajendra Nath and Prem Chopra when you keep in mind that in real life Prem Chopra is married to Rajendra Nath’s sister.

Saira Banu as the leading lady is good. This role seems to be written especially for her. Though a fan of many actresses of those times (and there were a lot of good actresses those times) I can’t visualise any other actress in this role. Kudos to Saira Banu. Durga Khote as the dadi as very effective. Now I must confess I know her from a film that was released almost 12-13 years later – Karz (the original Rishi Kapoor one that is) and her role in this movie reminded me of her role in Karz. But she did very well. And finally I must mention the name of an actor whom I like very much (mostly thanks to the Hrishikesh Mukherjee films) but whose name mostly doesn;t ring any bells for most viewers – David Abraham. David as he was billed in the movies portrays the role of Clause Rains in this movie and is fun in his short role. The entire cast was well chosen and each and every member did their best. No complaints here.

Now since this is a movie released in the times when the soundtrack of a hindi movie produced gems of songs, let’s have a look at the music of this film.

Shankar Jaikishan compsed 8 songs for this film which were sung by Mohd. Rafi (this was before Kishore Kumar took over the nation), Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. All the composed songs are well placed in the film and enhance the story (an aspect that is missing in today’s times and movies in general).

According to me 4 to 5 songs that were composed for this movie became immortal. The songs I mean are Sachha Hai Gar Pyaar (part 1 and 2), Kaun Hai Joh Sapnon Mein Aaya (inspired by the Elivs Presley song “Margarita”), Kahan Chal Diye Idhar Toh Aao and my personal favourite from the movie “Unse Milli Nazar ke Mere Hosh Udh Gaye”.

There is one thing however which I would like to mention for the people who have only seen this movie on dvd: When i watched the movie as a kid on VHS I remember seeing the song “Sachha Hai Gar Pyaar Mera Sanam” part 2 in the movie. But for some reason -and I really can’t fathom why- this song was deleted from all dvd versions. I remember the song was picturised when Rajendra Kumar goes to heaven after his car crash right before the interval point this song was picturised on him and David. But like I mentioned this song is deleted from all DVD’s. If anyone has a VHS copy of this movie just check out the song – it’s really a very beautiful song. And if you have the VHS please let me know.

“Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan” (1968)

directed by Lekh Tandon

music by Shankar – Jaikishan

singers Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle

cast Rajendra Kumar, Saira Banu, Durga Khote, Prem Chopra and Rajendra Nath

Jeet (1996)

 

Sajid Jeet

Producer Sajid Nadiadwala  (who also is a director now) had started his career as an associate producer with the classic “Patthar Ke Sanam” which featured Manoj Kumar, Waheeda Rehman and Mumtaz in the leading roles. When he branched out on his own and started his own productionhouse Nadiadwala Grandson -one of the most respectable production houses today – he wasn’t that lucky at first.                                                             He started with the “The Godfather” inspired  “Zulm Ki Hukumat” which had Dharmendra in the Marlon Brando role and Govinda in the  Al Pacino role. The film did not do too well though I liked it (maybe because I am one of the biggest Govinda fans). After that movie came  “Waqt Humaara Hai” which did okay business. This movie will be remembered as the first movie which had the Akshay Kumar – Sunil Shetty combination. The film also featured Mamta Kulkarni, Anupam Kher, Jhonny Lever and one of my favourite ’90s actresses -Ayesha Jhulka.  Andolan which followed wasn’t that a big hit either, The movie had Govinda and Sanjay Dutt in the leading roles but was not your usual Govinda – Sanjay Dutt kind of film they made with David Dhawan during the ’90s. Then came 1996 and this would become the year that would change everything for Sajid and his productionhouse.                                                                                                              This would be the year that he would produce his first film with someone who would become a friend for life…

sallu

Raj Kanwar was a director who made 16 films in a span of 18 years. The thing with Raj Kanwar was that when he made a good film the film was really really good and had much repeat value. But when he made a bad film it was really cringe worthy.

Raj Kanwar Jeet

Like Yash Chopra had his heroines named “Chandni” Raj Kanwar had quite a few leading ladies named “Kaajal”.  Another thing common in quite a few Raj Kanwar movies was that through whatever circumstances the hero of the movie loved a girl in the movie that he would not get in the movie. According to me the best Raj Kanwar movies were the Rishi Kapoor- Divya Bharti film  “Deewana” which was Shah Rukh Khan’s debut movie, Laadla which had Anil Kapoor and Raveena Tandon in the lead along with Sridevi who took over the role when the heroine of the movie Divya Bharti died. “Dhai Aksar prem Ke” was another movie of his which I liked which was based on the Keanu reeves movie  “A Walk In the Clouds” and had Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwariya Rai in the lead roles. Fun aspect of this movie is that the movie also had Salman Khan in a cameo. And finally his best movie according to me is the 1996 released  “Jeet”.

“Jeet” is kind of a remake of the 1988 film  “Rukhsat” which was directed by actress Simi Garewal. “Jeet” had Sunny Deol, Salman Khan, karishma Kapoor and Amrish Puri in the leading roles and a guest appearance by Tabu.

This movie was quite an intense love story in which it was hard for me to root for one hero because both Sunny Deol and Salman Khan were two of my favourites then and both still are. I have read quite a few posts which say that “Sunny Deol ne Salman Khan ke chhuti kar di is film mein” with which I dont agree. I can see why some people might say this but one should not forget that Sunny Deol was THE main lead of the movie and had the author backed role in the movie. You might say that Sunny Deol was the Amitabh Bachchan of this movie and Salman Khan was the Vinod Khanna/ Shatrughan Sinha / Shashi Kapoor of the movie. The real movie buffs will understand exactly what I mean with this. But all of the actors be it Salman, Sunny or Karishma performed very well in this movie. For me the performance by Sunny in this movie is up there with Ghayal and Damini. Tabu in a guest appearance leaves a lasting impression and the only regret I have is that Tabu her role is too short. Though Karishma Kapoor gave one of her best performances in this movie according to me I would have loved it if her and Tabu’s role would have been reversed : Tabu in the Karishma role and vive versa.

NS Jeet

 

Nadeem- Shravan who were the undisputed musical kings of the ’90s gave a wonderful soundtrack for this movie with songs which are hummed and remembered even today. This was the movie in which Sunny Deol did his famous  “ant-killing dance” for the first time during the song  “Yaara O Yaara”.

Nowadays a movie might have 1 good song in it or maybe 2 at the most. But during those ’90s – especially when the music was composed by Nadeem-Shravan-  the entire soundtrack of the movie used to have hummable and good songs. So does  “Jeet”                 Written by Sameer the songs were sung by the usual suspects : Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Kavita Krishnamurthy and Sadhana Sargam. In a rare move Shravan made his brother Vinod Rathod sing perhaps one of the most famous songs of his singing career. And the best song – according to me that is-  in the movie was picturised on Salman Khan and Karishma Kapoor and was sung by Alka Yagnik and a singer who wasn’t at the top of his game yet but had a great hit in that song – Sonu Nigam.  I should not forget to mention that this song was deleted from some dvd’s when the movie was first released.

JEET (1996)

produced by  Sajid Nadiadwala

directed by  Raj Kanwar

music by  Nadeem-Shravan

singers  Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Vinod Rathod, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sadhana Sargam and Sonu Nigam

cast   Sunny Deol, Salman Khan, Tabu, Karishma Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Alok Nath and Dalip Tahil.