Tribute To Champak Jain
Alas. Two days ago, my dear good old young friend Champak Jain of Venus Music Company breathed his last after a severe brain hemorrhage of his brain, leaving behind all his friends and relatives including his brothers from Venus in a state of daze and bewilderment wondering what on earth has hit them. One of the ownerd of Venus Records and Tapes and producer of films like Main Khiladi Tu Anari and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Josh, Champak Jain was just 52 when he died. According to family sources, Jain passed away at 7 pm after suffering from a cardiac arrest. His funeral was held at Santacruz Crematorium in Mumbai; Friday.Jain had backed movies like Khiladi, Hulchul, Humraaz among others and was one of the seven Jain brothers of the Venus group- Ratan, Girish, Ganesh, Umed, Ramesh, and Bhanwar Jain.
I have fond memories of the man whom has been a good friend of mine since the 90’s when Venus was making its presence felt in Bollywood. There were real parties held during those days unlike these days when producers have a red carpet party to keep the media at bay. A young producer in demand, Champak was sought after at every party though he was a staunch tee totaller who shunned drinks of any kind, though it was Champak Bhai who introduced me to the white rum Green Island which is available only in Mauritius and in the in flights of Air Mauritius. It was at the instance of both Champak as well as my yet another friend Ratan Jain of Venus that I was whisked away by the unit of Venus to Mauritius to cover a 5 day shooting schedule of their film Main Khilari Tu Anari. The film starred Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty in the main lead and was directed by Sameer Malkan.
This was even before Venus had launched their film Baazigar with Shah Rukh Khan who was their blue eyed boy after Akshay Kumar, who they had launched with their film Khiladi. Shah Rukh was seen in all their films including Baazigar, Badshah, Josh etc. The PR person of Baazigar was Ajit Ghosh who is no longer a PR person nowadays. When Ratan Jain asked him to join the unit of the film to look after myself, Ajit refused to agree because he did not like the idea of Ratan and Champak taking only me, thus enraging the rest of the media in Mumbai. And in turn, not the mind of a person who likes being told no by his PR person, Ratan asked me to deposit my passport in his office and promised to take me to Mauritius all alone, because Ratan and Champak knew for a fact that I was the only journalist in Mumbai who knew both Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty ( who, incidentally were seriously in love with one another then in 1994)even before their first films had been launched.
An action freak and prank maker even in those days on location , Akshay asked me to join him on a car drive one fine morning when the shooting had not begun , especially since he had the habit of rising at the dot of 5 am even then. I joined him on the drive but unfortunately the car skidded and crashed against a wall in the bank of the beach. Thankfully both of us survived without even a single scratch or else Ratan would have got angry for encouraging a new comer like Akshay Kumar to ride a car when he was there in Mauritius to shoot for his film. When I told Ratan in the evening when we used to sit together for drinks and dinner, with Champak who was the official producer for the film Main Khilari Tu Anari and director Sameer Malkan , who incidentally was married to actress Vijayta Pandit earlier, Ratan was angry and reprimanded Akshay and told him not o touch the car till the shooting schedule was over. And in turn I was at the receiving end of all the abuses that Akshay chose to give me after Ratan finished his dinner and left the hall of the hotel where we were staying.
I just cannot forget the night when the director duo Abbas and Mustan celebrated the birthday of Abbas ion the hotel by the swimming pool and al the stars who were staying in the hotel attended the intimate birthday party where by virtue of being a top free lance journalist in those 90’s, I was the sought after star journalist of the evening. Not realizing that Akshay had joined hands with Ajay Devgan who was shooting for a film with Tabu with Abbas Mustan as the director duo to make me a bakra for having done a chugli of him to Ratan, I went over to Ajay and Akshay when they beckoned me to the edge of the pool to tell me a scoop and the next thing I knew was that they had thrown me into the pool and I nearly sank since I did not at all know swimming. When Tabu, Shilpa etc started crying, Ratan Jain, Akshay and Ajay jumped into the pool to save me from drowning and took me out. It is an incident that I cannot ever forget till date. Needless to mention, it was Champakbhai who decided to be with me and nurse me back to normalcy that evening.
Though we hardly used to meet one another after we came down to Mumbai since the Mauritius trip, our bond of friendship continued, though Venus was no longer as active as earlier when it came to producing films and concentrated on music videos. Champak who concentrated all his time and attention to promoting his new music videos and groom new talent, however had one dream. He was very keen on grooming his first son (Champak is survived by his wife as well as two sons) for a career in films as a hero. It is time that Ratan Jain and his product ion company should spare no effort to launch Champak’s son as a leading man in films so that Champak up there is happy that his dream is becoming a reality. Nothing can be a batter tribute to Champakbhai!
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