Prolific Hindi film writer-director-producer Raj Kanwar passed away recently ( 3rd February, 2012 ) in Singapore even before he could undergo a kidney transplant. He was just 53 and is survived by his wife and 2 sons. Raj Kanwar had started his career by assisting filmmakers like Shekhar Kapur and Rajkumar Santoshi. His first film as director was Deewana which was a resounding success and from thereon it was a successful journey for Raj Kanwar and he went on to establish himself as a popular writer-director-producer churning out hit after hit. Though he did have odd failures like Kartavya, Itihaas, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke etc by and large his films did quite well commercially. His hits included films like Deewna, Laadla, Jaan,Jeet,Judaai, Daag : The Fire, Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega, Andaaz etc. In the recent past of course Raj Kanwar seemed to have lost his Midas touch and after Humko Deewana Kar Gaye which was noticed more for the music and the pairing of Akshay Kumar with Katrina Kaif, he had almost taken a long sabbatical before returning with Sadiyaan in 2010 ( debut of Luv Sinha ) which was a colossal failure. Before his untimely death he had completed writing the script of a film called Mad which he intended to direct himself and alas that was a wish that went unfulfilled. One of the key features of Raj Kanwar’s films was the attention paid to music. You might like or dislike his films but you cannot shy away from the fact that his films had songs which were extremely popular. Here is a look at some of the wonderful songs from his films and these remain some of my personal favorites as well. Here is a revisit to these songs as a humble tribute to Raj Kanwar-
1. Payaliya Ho Ho Ho and Aisi Deewangi- Deewana- Raj Kanwar’s 1st film as director had Rishi Kapoor and Divya Bharati and marked the debut of Shah Rukh Khan ( his 1st theatrical release ). While Rishi Kapoor had the meatier role and the bulk of the songs, it was SRK who gained maximum attention with this film. Nadeem-Shravan‘s music was extremely popular those days and its tough to single out tracks from this film. But still on a personal note I think the 2 songs which really stood out and still remain popular are Payaliya sung by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik and Aisi Deewangi sung by Vinod Rathod and Alka Yagnik.
2. Yaara O Yaara and Tu Dharti Pe Chahe – Jeet- This was a re-interpretation of Mukkadar Ka Sikandar by Raj Kanwar and had Sunny Deol, Salman Khan and Karisma Kapoor in the lead. Sunny Deol was the brooding angry man and Salman played an excellent foil to him. Nadeem-Shravan’s music was also one of the highlights of the film. My personal favorites are Yaara O Yaara ( sung by Vinod Rathod and Alka Yagnik ), a song which probably made Sunny Deol feel he should try his hand at dancing too with hilarious results and Tu Dhari Pe Chahe- a lovely romantic number sung by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik.
3. Haan Mujhe Pyar Hua - Judaai- Judaai was a family drama and a remake of a Telugu film Subha Lagnam ( also remade in Tamil as Rettai Roja ). An interesting tale of a wife ( Sridevi ) allowing her husband ( Anil Kapoor )to get married to the other lady ( Urmila Matondkar ) in order to get rich herself, this was Sridevi’s last notable movie appearance before she took a long sabbatical. Though primarily a Sridevi show with Anil Kapoor giving good support, in terms of the music by Nadeem-Shravan it was Haan Mujhe Pyar Hua which went on to get noticed all over. A seemingly foot tapping number with vocals by Abhijeet and Alka Yagnik, this is a guilty pleasure song even now to look at a hot Urmila in form
4. Na Milo Humse Zyada – Badal- The desi adaptation of Devil’s Own ( Harrishon Ford-Brad Pitt ), Badal had Bobby Deol and Rani Mukherjee in the lead. This was a period where Bobby Deol still managed to get away with solo starrers and Badal was no exception to this period. One of the better aspects about the film was the music composed by Anu Malik and the songs really had a lot of variety. My personal favorite is Na Milo Humse Zyada, a lovely romantic number sung by Sonu Nigam and Kavita Krishnamurthy.
4. Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega- Title Song- A remake of Priyadarshan‘s Malayalam hit-Chandralekha ( originally inspired by Sandra Bullock‘s While You Were Sleeping ), this film had Salman Khan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukherjee in the lead roles. Anu Malik’s music more than played a vital role in the film’s success. Songs like Piya Piya ( sung by Preeti,Pinky and Prashant ) and Ek Garam Chai Ki Pyali Ho ( sung by Anu Malik himself ) were outright hits. In fact my younger brother used to wake up our mother early in the morning those days by playing Ek Garam Chai Ki Pyali Ho loudly . Judging by the crowd at Payal Talkies, Jamshedpur I guess everyone who saw the film had fun. But my personal favorite is the title song, a lilting romantic number sung by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik.
5. Kisi Se Tum Pyar Karo- Andaaz- Andaaz launched 2 beauty queens in the same film-Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta. Though a typical love triangle with lot of emotions at play, the star cast and the music helped the film become a success. Watching the film at Deepmandir Cinema, Mulund-Mumbai ( now defunct ) was an interesting experience indeed. The song that I still remember from the film though is a trademark Nadeem-Shravan composition, Kisi Se Tum Pyar Karo sung by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik. The song is the typical Kumar Sanu hit which can still be heard in the auto rickshaws of Mumbai or in some DTC bus in Delhi
6. Title Song and Tum Sanson Mein-Humko Deewana Kar Gaye- While the film wasn’t a runaway commercial success it definitely did get noticed for the pairing of Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, a pairing that has then gone on to be successfully repeated in many films. Another redeeming feature about the film was the music. While Anu Malik had composed all the songs, Himesh Reshammiya was drafted in almost after the film got ready to come up with just one composition, Tum Sanson Mein. The title song sung by Sonu Nigam and Tulsi Kumar and Tum Sanson Mein sung by Himesh Reshammiya and Tulsi Kumar were both extremely popular. Both the songs even had multiple versions. Here’s a look at both the videos-
These are just some of the memorable songs from the films of Raj Kanwar and I’m sure if he was alive he would have made many more films with some good music. His early demise is certainly a loss for Hindi Cinema but I’m sure he will live on through his films and the music from the films. May his soul RIP.