The presence of top senior film celebs at the ‘Prayer Meeting’ last Sunday evening of ‘late’ Rajkumar Kohli ( who passed away on Nov 24th) was a tribute-testimony of the tremendous amount of goodwill and respect that the legendary ‘late’ filmmaker had and will always have in the Hindi film-industry The senior film celebs who came to offer them sincere condolences Raj Kumar’s s bereaved actor-son Armaan Kohli and his family, included Shatrughan Sinha, Sunny Deol, Vindu Dara Singh, Jackie Shroff, Raj Babbar, Reena Roy, Riteish Deshmukh, and producers like Pahlaj Nihalani, Ratan Jain, Ganesh Jain, Manish Goswami and many more.
Although grieving Armaan ( with tears in his eyes) was yet recovering from the tragic loss of his illustrious film-maker father, he met each one of the senior actors and producers, at the Prayer Meeting, to personally thank them for their moral support and take their blessings.
Producer-director Rajkumar Kohli whom I knew personally from the days of his hit comedy film Naukar Biwi Ka (1983) release, wore spotless-white shirt and trousers most of the time. “Although I wear fully white, my movies are very colorful and entertaining, “ he had told me in one of his witty replies. A fitness freak who loved fast-walking on the Juhu beach, Kohli-jee was also fond of outdoor games ( like hockey) and was a sports-lover
Personally, I have always felt that Rajkumar-jee was a true ‘showman’ ! Because most of his blockbuster movies like ‘ Naagin’, Jaani Dushman, Raaj Tilak had a mega-multiple star cast of all top stars names and melodious chartbusting songs. Just to share an example, movie Naagin (1976) the star-cast boasted of Reena Roy ( as ‘Naagin’), Sunil Dutt, Feroz Khan, Sanjay Khan, Rekha, Mumtaz, Jeetendra, Kabir Bedi, Vinod Mehra, Yogita Bali, Prema Narayan, Neelam Mehra and Anil Dhawan, Ranjeet, Aruna Irani, Roopesh Kumar and Premnath (as Sapera). when Kohli made ‘ Jaani Dushman—Ek Anokhi Kahani (2002) the multi-star cast comprised Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Armaan Kohli, Sunny Deol, Sonu Nigam, Manisha Koirala, Rambha, Raj Babbar, Aditya Pancholi, Aftab Shivdasani, Arshad Warsi Amrish Puri, Kiran Kumar, Raza Murad and some more.
Explaining how he manages to bring together ( that too in the ‘80s-- when there were no mobile phones) such a huge ensemble of top star-cast names, the modest Rajkumar-jee had explained “ There is advance proper planning and co-ordination-commitment of shooting dates especially the ‘combination-artistes-dates’. By God’s grace, the star artistes respect my abilities and have full faith in me. Because I also make them aware of the length and strength of each role, while narrating the story-script and payments are also made as per the contracts. Sometimes there are unexpected delays in the shooting schedules, but overall its always been a mutual-support-cooperation and cordial discipline like an extended family. Which is why I have been successfully able to repeat most of my star-artistes in my forthcoming movies,” explained Kohli-saab who had a fantastic music sense and so many of his movies-songs are evergreen chartbusters, even today. .
The melodious songs in Rajkumar Kohli's Nagin (1976) still resonate with retro music fans even today, especially Lata-Didi Mangeshkar’s s “Tere sang pyar mein, nahin todna”, the song which made Reena Roy's snake-woman character very popular and made her a super-star. Or the title 1983 song ‘Zamana toh hai Naukar Biwi ka’ sung by Kishore Kumar supported by Nishi Kohli. Or even the soothing romantic song Mukesh-Lata duet ‘Dheere Dheere Bol, Koi Sun Na Ley’ from ‘Gora Aur Kala ( 1972) produced by Kohli whose first film was Lootera (1965) in which actor-wrestler Dara Singh was paired opposite Nishi, who was to later become his real-life caring wife
Like most film family film-maker fathers Raj Kumar-jee also put in his maximum efforts to launch and later cast his tall, handsome talented son Armaan Kohli in leading roles in Virodhi (1993), followed by Aulad Ke Dushman (1993), Qahar (1997) and Jaani Dushman--Ek Anokhi Kahani (2002). The talented Armann also acted in various outside banner movies like Dushman Zamana and Anaam, also was appreciated in Bigg Boss 7 (2013) and later on in Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015) where he played a negative role.
Currently, the bereaved Armaan is yet coming to terms with the tragic grief of his iconic father's demise... In due course he is expected to carry forward the legacy-banner of his iconic father, by possibly getting back into production-direction-acting. Meanwhile the Kohli parivaar will soon be looking into options on how best they can perpetuate the fond memory of the great, benevolent film-maker ( Raj Kumar Kohli), whose contribution to the craft and filmography of Hindi Cinema is truly phenomenal !