Just last week, there were talks that Sanjay Dutt is planning a remake of his memorable 1993 flick Khalnayak and that too with Tiger Shroff. Sanjay Dutt was the lead in this movie and he wants the young Tiger to step into the shoes of his character. Incidentally, it also starred Tiger’s father Jackie Shroff in an important role along with Madhuri Dixit. The film revolves an attempt by the cops to capture a dreaded gangster and how the latter’s girlfriend gets involved in this madness. The film opened on August 6, 1993 amidst lot of brouhaha. Bollywood’s capital Mumbai had just witnessed violent riots. One of its consequences was Sanjay Dutt getting arrested. On the other hand, a song was deemed objectionable and it further added to the film’s negative publicity.
In this Bollywood Hungama special feature, we bring to you some of the unknown and not-so-known trivia about the film, its making, the craze it had generated and a lot more.
1. Subhash Ghai’s loyalty to the HMV audio company was a known fact. Many producers had walked out of their association with HMV but not Ghai. Hence, it was a shocker to see Subhash Ghai joining hands with Tips for Khalnayak. Subhash Ghai reportedly was paid a sky-high price by Tips, reportedly around Rs. 1 crore for the music rights. Ghai usually gave away the rights of his music to HMV on MG (Minimum Guarantee) royalty basis but he sold the rights to Tips outright. It was said that Subhash Ghai was upset with HMV and also because the music company didn’t pay him a single rupee of royalty for his earlier hits Saudagar and Ram Lakhan and also didn’t provide the statements for the years, 1990, 1991 and 1992. It was said that Ramesh Taurani had sent a huge cake with the words – Saudagar, Saud kar – inscribed on the cake to Ghai along with the request to close the deal.
2. Ramesh Taurani of Tips was so overjoyed after bagging the music rights of Khalnayak that he sent a box of chocolates to his near and dear ones. He is believed to have stated that the number 9 played an important part in his association with Khalnayak. He explained by saying that Khalnayak had 9 alphabets, he bagged the rights on 29-4-1992 which totalled upto 9. Khalnayak, moreover, was the 99th film acquired by Tips since its inception in March 1988. Coincidentally, Ramesh Taurani had then just shifted to Khar from Colaba in a building called Mukta Apartments, which was also the name of Subhash Ghai’s banner!
3. Song recording usually takes multiple shifts. But a song of Khalnayak was done in record three hours. The day of the recording was January 7, 1993 the day Mumbai witnessed communal riots and tension. The musicians and other staff were in a hurry to reach home and as a result, they completed the work nicely but at a lightning speed.
4. A dispute arose between Subhash Ghai and Saawan Kumar Tak over the titles of their respective films. While Ghai made Khalnayak, Saawan Kumar Tak directed a film called Khal-Naaikaa. The matter reached the Film Makers Combine (FMC) and to resolve the problem, they scheduled a meeting on January 6, 1993, that is, a day before the recording was done in three hours. Here, it was decided that Khal-Naaikaa should release four months after the release of Khalnayak. But if Khalnayak doesn’t see a release by January 1994, then Khal-Naikaa would arrive first. Saawan Kumar Tak however wasn’t happy with the decision as he felt that distributors won’t touch his movie if it comes after the release of a film with a similar sounding title.
5. Not just the titles, even a song in both films had almost identical lyrics. While Khalnayak has the iconic song ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai‘, Khal-Naaikaa boasted of a track called ‘Choli Ke Andar Kya Hai‘!
6. Film tickets being sold in black were quite common. But in case of Khalnayak, it’s the audio cassettes that became a hit in the black market. In Kolkata, the music of the film was sold at a premium rate. Good Knight, the makers of mosquito repellents sponsored the music cassettes.
7. Khalnayak‘s audio cassettes selling like hot cakes came under the scanner of Income Tax (IT) department. They carried out the raids in the Delhi and Mumbai office of Subhash Ghai. Similar raids were conducted in the offices of his distributor-partner Tolu Bajaj, his Mumbai distributor Bharat and that of Tips, on May 4.
8. Subhash Ghai while explaining the difference between the functioning of Hollywood and Bollywood noted that in foreign films, it’s the background score that served as the important music score. But in Bollywood, one needed to have six or more songs in a movie or else, the music company would compel to add tracks to fill its audio cassette. He also revealed here that he was forced to incorporate a track in Khalnayak just for this reason.
9. Sanjay Dutt’s arrest on April 19, 1993 over illegal possession of arms was a harrowing time for the industry. The actor was immediately arrested once he landed in Mumbai after returning from the shooting for G P Sippy’s Aatish in Mauritius. As a result, the release of Khalnayak, scheduled for May 14, was postponed indefinitely since the shooting was pending. Other incomplete films that faced the heat were Sahibaan, Gumrah, Zamane Se Kya Darna and Namak. When Dutt was nabbed by the cops, his film Kshatriya, directed by J P Dutta, was running in theatres, and it was discontinued from various centres in Maharashtra and also other parts of the country. The banners of Khalnayak were already up and they were pulled down in Mumbai.
10. With Khalnayak being pushed ahead indefinitely, makers of some 10 films announced their releases on the vacant spot of May 14. As per records available, ultimately, three films then made it on the said date – Saif Ali Khan–Aamir Khan starrer Parampara, Govinda-Karisma Kapoor starrer Muqabla and Aaj Ki Taaqat.
11. Sanjay Dutt’s arrest was not the only reason why negativity had engulfed Khalnayak. The double meaning in the song ‘Choli Ke Peeche‘ was criticized not just by a section of citizens but also by the government. Arvind Trivedi, who played Raavan in Ramanand Sagar’s television series ‘Ramayan’ was then the Member of the Parliament and he, at a meeting on film censorship held by then I&B Minister K P Singh Deo on May 11, remarked, “Today, they are merely asking what lies behind the choli. Tomorrow, they will actually show what lies behind. What will we do then?” BJP MP Uma Bharti too made her displeasure clear. Even the role of CBFC came under the scanner. The then CBFC Shakti Samanta justified by saying that vulgar songs like ‘Choli Ke Peeche‘ or ‘Meri Pant Bhi Sexy‘ from Dulaara had already been aired on television before these films came up for certification. Hence, Shakti Samanta proposed that CBFC would now censor songs before they got aired on TV and that such objectionable songs won’t be permitted henceforth.
12. Khalnayak was expected to be Sanjay Dutt’s first film after his release from jail on May 5. However, Ramesh Talwar’s Sahibaan, co-starring Rishi Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit, bagged the honour. It released on July 16, 1993, three weeks before Khalnayak. As for Khalnayak, Sanjay Dutt worked on the patchwork on July 4th and 5th and the final copy was ready only by July 12.
13. At an event at Hotel Centaur, Mumbai held by an association of all-India plastic surgeons, Subhash Ghai was felicitated. The cast of Khalnayak was also present and so were some people from the trade. Ghai treated everyone with a clipping from Khalnayak and it led to a lot of excitement among people. After all, this was a time when video clips of movies were not easily available anywhere and moreover; Khalnayak was a piping hot film then.
14. Subhash Ghai kept the territorial ratio of Khalnayak lower than that of his earlier film, Saudagar and this move made the distributors happy.
15. The CBFC had initially played spoilsport for ‘Choli Ke Peeche‘ fans as they offered Subhash Ghai a ‘U’ certificate for Khalnayak only if he deleted the chartbuster track. Subhash Ghai however went to the revising committee and he managed to retain not just the song but also the ‘U’ certificate.
16. This was a time when all big films had their premiere in Mumbai. But with Khalnayak, Subhash Ghai made an exception. Instead of Mumbai, the filmmaker organized 11 premieres in Delhi on August 5 and one premiere in Kolkata on August 6 and the proceeds were donated to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. Charity premieres, however, were held in the financial capital.
17. Subhash Ghai said in an interview that outside each of the 11 theatres where the Delhi premieres of Khalnayak were held, a crowd of 10,000 were present to cheer for Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit. Ghai admitted that he had never witnessed such a response for his film before.
18. The Kolkata premiere of Khalnayak was held for the aid of India AIDS Foundation.
19. Khalnayak was hailed as the ‘fastest money spinner of the year’ by the trade. Even in Overseas, it did unprecedented business. A premiere was also held in Los Angeles, USA and here too, record number of people was in attendance. Such was the response that cops on horses were called to control them. The locals were baffled since an Indian film had never led to such madness. In a way, its success was a hint that the foreign territories would also become a huge market for our films.
20. Despite the negativity due to the arms case and his role of the anti-hero in Khalnayak, Sanjay Dutt’s fan following remained intact. In fact, it soared and continued even after Khalnayak‘s release! A rally was held in Mumbai on October 10, 1993 to collect funds for the September 30 Latur earthquake victims for which Sanjay Dutt came all the way from Kerala specially. He was the star campaigner as fans went crazy on seeing him. The plus was that they donated generously for the cause. 15-20 days before the rally, he attended the premiere of his film Gumrah, co-starring Sridevi, and even here, thousands of people waited outside Maratha Mandir cinema in Mumbai despite extremely heavy rainfall just to catch his glimpse. Sanjay finally came out during the interval to wave to his fans.