Long before Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Rajshri made some beautiful movies.
Long before Yash Raj and Dharma Productions began their reign, Bollywood swore by founder Tarachand Barjatya’s prestigious Rajshri banner.
Some of our biggest stars like Raakhee, Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Anupam Kher owe their success to film industry’s most stable and professional production house.
Known for their squeaky clean brand of entertainment propagating traditional values and family ties, since its conception in 1947, the canvas of their projects has escalated from modest to mega but the ideology remains unchanged.
Their Diwali offering Prem Ratan Dhan Payo reunites Rajshri’s most fruitful combination of director Sooraj R Barjatya and superstar Salman Khan along side Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Swara Bhaskar.
Here’s a look at some of Rajshri’s landmark movies:
In this Phani Majumdar-directed love triangle, Meena Kumari and Pradeep Kumar play a like-minded husband wife. Ashok Kumar’s manipulation disrupts their marital bliss providing Aarti its mandatory troubles and twists.
Thanks to its engaging, well-acted content, Rajshri’s first production garnered handsome box office returns and critical acclaim.
Unlike Aarti, Dosti didn’t feature any big names. Yet this moving tale of friendship between two handicapped youngsters, played by Sushil Kumar and Sudhir Kumar, the challenges they face in an environment of apathy and deprivation went on to achieve blockbuster success.
Not to forget the coveted National Award for Best Film.
In Satyen Bose’s successful reworking of The Count of Monte Cristo, leading man Dharmendra goes on a revenge spree against his perpetrators by masquerading as a moneybags Sardar.
Most significantly, Jeevan Mrityu marked Raakhee’s debut in Hindi films.
Piya Ka Ghar
Life in Mumbai is no cakewalk, is what Anil Dhawan and Jaya Bachchan discover in this simple romance about a newly married couple struggling to seek privacy in their cramped matchbox abode.
Imbued in Basu Chatterjee’s disarming realism and Jaya’s natural grace, Piya Ka Ghar works seamlessly.
The talented combo of Nutan and Amitabh Bachchan come together to play a married couple in Saudagar, a compelling parable of greed and remorse. One of the rare films where Big B plays a villager and an unlikable character exploiting his first wife to accumulate enough money and marry another.
Based on Narendranath Mitra's short story Rus, Saudagar boasts of a lilting soundtrack from Rajshri regular -- the late composer Ravindra Jain.
In Anil Ganguly’s adaptation of Ashapurna Devi’s Bangla novel, Raakhee, only in her late 20s, paints a picture of unconditional sacrifice giving up her personal happiness to single-handedly raise her ungrateful younger siblings.
Besides earning a Filmfare Best Actress trophy for Raakhee, Tapasya won the National Award for its melodramatic appeal.
Later remade as Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, also a Rajshri production, Chitchor regales through the raw charms of its cast -- Amol Palekar, Zarina Wahab and Vijendra Ghatge.
A romance of mistaken identities high on Ravindra Jain’s mellifluous compositions, especially Gori Tera Gaon Bada Pyaara, Chitchor is the second of several Palekar-Basu Chatterjee collaborations following the actor’s debut in Rajnigandha.
Ankhiyon Ke Jharoke Se
A desi take on Eric Segal’s Love Story featuring a chocolate-faced Sachin and ravishing Ranjeeta, Ankhiyon Ke Jharoke Se’s college romance between a spoilt brat and a dying girl aims for the tissue boxes.
Although it came out at a time when Amitabh Bachchan’s angry young man craze was its peak (Don, Trishul, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar), the modest confection had no trouble drawing an audience to the theatres.
Anupam Kher’s 28-year-old newbie plays a bereaved senior citizen protesting against the rampant bureaucracy and corruption in Mahesh Bhatt’s hard-hitting Saaransh.
High on poignant drama and emotions, Saaransh established Kher’s calibre as an actor and paved the way for future projects with Bhatt like Daddy, Kaash, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, Papa Kehta Hain and Chaahat.
Maine Pyaar Kiya
Tarachand Barjatya’s soft-spoken grandson Sooraj made his directorial debut most memorably in the iconic young romance, Maine Pyaar Kiya catapulting its unknown leads Salman Khan and Bhagyashree into instant superstardom.
Barjatya’s lively and hip treatment, full of fun antakshris and friendship fundas, of a ‘rich boy meets poor girl romance’ infused new life in a stale genre and visibly influenced future filmmakers like Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar.
Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!
Barjatya made history and the banner its biggest success with the family drama, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! starring its golden boy Salman Khan and Rajshri discovery Madhuri Dixit (she made her debut in Abodh).
As the screen sparkled of their breathtaking chemistry through a series of wedding songs and rituals, leading many to dub it a shaadi video, HAHK won its audience through the power of sheer celebration and celluloid magic.
Hum Saath-Saath Hain
Sooraj R Barjatya borrows the joint family and festive narrative of HAHK in his modern-day Ramayana -- Hum Saath-Saath Hain. Despite its starry line-up of Salman, Saif Ali Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam, HSSH doesn’t quite recreate HAHK’s euphoria.
The wedding trilogy concludes in Vivah wherein city-based businessman Shahid Kapoor gets engaged to a small-town beauty Amrita Rao. Their demure interactions, the envy it generates and the eventual trial their affections will face forms the crux of Barjatya’s Vivah.
Mostly though, Kapoor’s lackluster career got a new lease of life following back-to-back hits -- Vivah and Jab We Met.