The Barjatyas have released their Jaana Pehchana this week in just one cinema in the whole of India – and the cinema chosen is Liberty of Bombay. And why only Liberty? The Barjatya brothers (Kamal Kumar, Rajkumar and Ajit Kumar) wanted a cinema which would give their film time for a free run as they were quite sure, it wouldn’t take a flying start and were hopeful that it would pick up by positive word of mouth, if it were given the time to grow. In these times of new releases every week, and many of them, big releases, it was difficult to find a cinema which would treat a film with the love and care desired by the Rajshri banner. But Liberty was more than willing to go with the Barjatyas’ confidence. And why so? There’s a back story to this.
Years ago, in 1994, to be precise, it was the Rajshri banner which had pulled Liberty cinema out of the rut of sex films and made it an ‘A’-grade cinema it used to be once upon a time. That was the year in which the Barjatyas released their all-time blockbuster, Rajshri’s Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, which everyone knows, wrote box-office history. This film may not have been released in just one cinema of the country but it was released with the bare minimum prints (30 in all India). In Bombay, the choice of the singular cinema for releasing the film fell upon Liberty. Point to note is that at that time, Liberty was known as the cinema for sex films, but the Barjatyas opted to release their family film there. The film did such great business all over as also at Liberty, Bombay that the cinema’s profile itself changed after that and it once again came to be recognised as a family cinema. What’s more, the Barjatyas had decorated the screen at Liberty (as they did some other screens throughout the country) with tiny light bulbs which used to be illuminated during the wedding songs in the film. Those lights became such a rage that people used to repeat the film at Liberty three, four… ten and fifteen times just for the experience of watching the bulbs light up during the songs. Nazir Hoosein, owner of Liberty cinema, has, obviously, not forgotten the favour which the Barjatyas did to him and his cinema. Little wonder then that he willingly agreed to screen their Jaana Pehchana at his cinema and assured them that they could run it there for as long as they wished.