Rajjat Barjatya, cousin of Sooraj, passed away on Friday. He had been suffering from leukaemia for some years, had recovered and then suffered a relapse.
It’s a frightful blow for the Barjatya family, personally and professionally. Rajjat was much loved by Sooraj and he once said to me , “Sooraj-ji is always there to fall back on. I come from the administrative side of the Rajshri Company. I think creative and corporate sides go hand in hand in filmmaking these days.”
All the Barjatyas live in separate flanks of one sprawling house.
Years ago, Rajjat had told me, “We get the best of both the worlds in our family. We function as family and we also get complete space to exist as separate units within the family.”
Rajjat’s wife and two daughters would never have to worry about their future. The Barjatyas know how to take of their own.
Rajjat was a man of many new ideas. He spearheaded the digital revolution in the Barjatya film production, took the Barjatyas’ business dragging and kicking from the 1990s to the new millennium.
When Sooraj’s Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon had bombed badly, Rajjat had not minced words when he said, “Whatever we now make, it will appeal to the family as a unit. The women and children are Rajshri fans. That’s the audience we missed in Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon. We’re proud of the film. But the flak surprised us. We underestimated the power of the Rajshri brand. Even when we made Hum Saath Saath Hain the feedback was, we had become too preachy and needed to get younger.”
But he felt the Rajshris had certain standards to uphold. “Why should we move away from our tradition? It’s our USP. Audiences come to see our films for their values and ‘sabhyata’. We will never move away from that.”
Having contemporized the family banner substantially, Rajjat had many big plans in the digital space for the Rajshris. All cut short by the cruel hands of fate.