Way before Ekta Kapoor, there was Sooraj Barjatya. For decades, he has shown us the importance of family values and sacrificing things for your family. Madhuri Dixit gave up her Prem (Salman Khan) in Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Mohnish Behl gave up a cushy job in Hum Saath-Saath Hain, and Amrita Rao gave up her good looks for the evil stepmother-figure (Seema Biswas). Audiences have paid time and time again to go shed a few tears at these moving moments, and join in the vibrant celebration of Indian-ness that is a Sooraj Barjatya film. So, how does he do it? We have narrowed it down to a few key points, for those who want to replicate his success.
1. Ask Sallu bhai when he’s available.
While SB has made an extremely successful film without Salman Khan (Vivah), everyone breathes easier when Salman is in the film. Oh, and his character must be called Prem. As in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (PRDP).
2. Round up ‘The Usual Suspects’.
Namely, Alok Nath, Anupam Kher, Reema Lagoo and Mohnish Behl. They have been in almost all of Rajshri’s films, because you can’t make a sanskari film without a sanskari cast. We are sure PRDP will be the poorer for the absence of Alok Nath and co.
3. Build a larger-than-life set.
A lavish, opulent mansion is the usual set for a SB film. Even college professors live in huge houses, complete with chandeliers and banisters (check out Anupam Kher’s house in Hum Aapke Hain Koun). And a garden is a must- for any song sequences featuring the whole family.
4. Get a sanskari script.
The story should reinforce the importance of family, traditions and sacrifice. It should also be replete with moments that make you think of your grandmom, and have a happy ending. Because everything ends well if you love your family.
5. Compose a wedding-friendly soundtrack.
In a country with a multi-crore wedding industry, the surest formula for a successful soundtrack is to put in music that people will want to play at wedding functions. If they can dance to it, nothing like it! (Please note: Item numbers are a strict no-no. The music must be wholesome.)
(Disclaimer: This article is meant as a light-hearted tribute to Sooraj Barjatya’s resounding success. No offense is intended towards him or any of the great people he has worked with.)