It is hard to believe that producer-director Raj Kanwar is no more. After working as an assistant to Shekhar Kapur and Rajkumar Santoshi, the man directed 16 films in all. He was very filmi (in the positive sense, of course) because he ate, drank and slept films. There was a time in the nineties when his films did very good business and, therefore, he was never short of work. For a person who had no filmi background, it was creditable that his very first directorial venture, Deewana, proved a hit, more so, because it dealt with a sensitive story which could’ve gone completely wrong if it hadn’t been handled well. The story was about a girl (Divya Bharati) getting married for the second time (to Shah Rukh Khan) when her husband (Rishi Kapoor) goes missing and is presumed dead. After she is married, her first husband resurfaces, putting her in a fix. Raj Kanwar was very good with emotions and films about relationships. Like Deewana, his latter films such as Judaai, Laadla, Jaan, Jeet, Daag – The Fire etc. also dealt with human relationships in a very mature way. In fact, his Andaaz, which he directed for Suneel Darshan, was the first of its kind as it sensitively handled the delicate relationship of two sisters-in-law, played by Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta. As for Judaai, it tackled an unthinkable topic – a wife (Sreedevi) selling her husband (Anil Kapoor) for money! It was, of course, remake of a South hit, but before release, the trade had been skeptical about its success. However, Kanwar proved all the industry people wrong. The news that Kanwar is no more refuses to sink in… one could never imagine that the man who assisted Shekhar Kapur in Mr. India would himself become Mr. India (invisible) so soon.
More by Komal Nahta