Divya Kapoorwrote on Aug 11 2008 7:11PM
Gulshan Kumar was the son of a fruit juice seller in Darya Ganj market in Delhi. Twenty-three-year-old Gulshan, son of a Punjabi refugee family, moved up from selling fruit juice in a roadside shop when his family acquired a shop selling records and cheap audio cassettes. Excited by the possibilities, he started producing cassettes himself. Gulshan proved to be a born businessman. By the time he was 30, he was a millionaire. Gulshan founded Super Cassette Industries Ltd., a small videocassette pirating operation which soon grew to be very big. Later he started a music production company in Noida, near Delhi. To counter exorbitantly priced poor-quality audio tapes which used to be marketed by reputed music companies, Gulshan introduced in the late 1970s music cassettes with adequate quality at cheap rates. He exported quality music cassettes when his business grew. Gulshan Kumar, having risen to the top of the music business, believed he could do the same in Bollywood and moved to Bombay.
Gulshan Kumar produced his first film Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka in 1989. The film was quite popular, mostly due to its romantic melodious songs which became quite a rage.
Gulshan’s Aashiqui (1990), starring Rahul Roy and Anu Agarwal, was a big musical hit. Its music is remembered even today as one of the most romantic albums. Sumeet Saigal-starrer Bahaar Aane Tak (1990) and Jeena Teri Gali Mein (1991), directed by Tinnu Anand, didn’t do well at the box-office, but they had some nice music as well. In 1991, Gulshan produced Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, starring Aamir Khan and Pooja Bhatt. The movie was quite a nice romantic, but did average business. Its music was a huge success. Gulshan became even more popular in the film industry.
Gulshan then made a couple of movies like Ayee Milan Ki Raat (1991) and Meera Ka Mohan (1992), with Avinash Wadhavan playing the main lead in both. Unfortunately, both films failed to do well. Jeena Marna Tere Sang (1992), starring Sanjay Dutt and Raveena Tandon, was a nice entertainer, but again didn’t gather good collections. Gulshan then decided to launch his younger brother, Krishan Kumar. He made two films with Krishan, viz., Aaja Meri Jaan (1993) and Kasam Teri Kasam (1993). Both films flopped. Despite all the discouragement he received, Gulshan produced Bewafa Sanam in 1995, starring Krishan and Shilpa Shirodkar. It was a massive hit, especially its music. This film brought Sonu Nigam, one of the most talented singers, into limelight. Gulshan’s last production was Papa - The Great, starring Krishan Kumar and Nagma, which released in 2000. Super Cassettes Industries Ltd. also released the soundtracks of some big hits like Nagina (1986), Dance Dance (1987), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Nigahen (1989), Chaalbaaz (1989), Dil (1990), Sadak (1991) and Dil tera Aashiq (1993), besides others. The company still continued to bring out good albums such as Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega (2000), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam (2002), Chalte Chalte (2003), Tere Naam (2003), Khakee (2004), Muskaan (2004), Kyon Ki… (2005), Ankahee (2006), Krrish (2006), Don (2006), Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007) and many others.
Gulshan Kumar also introduced religious music cassettes at highly subsidized prices with the idea of promoting religion among fellow Hindus. He produced some movies and TV series which covered Hindu mythology. Gulshan introduced young talented singers to the music world like Sonu Nigam, Anuradha Paudwal, and Kumar Sanu. He also introduced some new actors and music directors. Gulshan established a bhandara, serving free home style food to pilgrims who hiked to the Hindu shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. He set an example for Indian businessmen by sharing his wealth with the community. Gulshan was said to be the highest tax payer in India in the financial year 1992 - 1993. Gulshan spent lavishly on the marketing of the film Aaja Meri Jaan. A free audio cassette was given with every copy of Cine Blitz, etc. As a movie producer, Gulshan became involved with the Indian Mafia (known as the Mumbai Underworld), which was a fixture in the financing of Bollywood movies. On August 12, 1997, he was assassinated outside the Jeeteshwar Mahadev Mandir (a Hindu temple) in the Juhu suburb of Mumbai. The police accused Nadeem of the music duo Nadeem-Shravan of having paid for the assassination. However, on January 9, 2001, Abdul Rauf confessed to being the assassin. On April 29, 2002, Sessions Judge M L Tahilyani sentenced Rauf to life imprisonment (stating that he was not imposing death penalty because the prosecution had failed to prove that Rauf was a contract killer). Gulshan Kumar’s son, Bhushan Kumar, is now in charge of Super Cassettes Industries Ltd.