RAJ KUMAR

Various artists named Raj Kumar
(left to right) Dr. Rajkumar, (Jaani) Raaj Kumar, Raj Kumar, Raj(u) Kumar & Raj Kumar Gupta

Raj Kumar (राजकुमार) is a popular first name meaning Prince. We know of as many as five actors who started their acting career in the 1950s with the screen-name Raj Kumar. The most well-known among them are Kannada Superstar Dr. Rajkumar and Bollywood Legend Kulbhushan Pandit better known as (Jaani) Raaj Kumar. Raj Kumar who prominently appeared in costume drama films, played leading and supporting roles. Raj(u) Kumar, a junior artist, whose work is largely un-credited can be seen doing two bit roles in films like Shree 420 (1955), Jagte Raho (1956), Dilli Ka Thug (1958), etc. Some of his prominent roles are in Aaj Aur Kal (1963) and Ziddi (1964). Last but not the least is Raj Kumar Gupta who played the protagonist in Satyen Bose directed Jagriti (1954). This may be his only on-screen appearance, we aren’t aware if he participated in any other film. When artists active around the same time share the same screen-name, their filmography are often overlapped. Individual contributions can only be found with the help of visual evidence but with Bollywood loosing numerous films in fire casualties, this becomes almost impossible to accomplish.

Tulsidas (1954)

About two years ago we were looking for a particular film based on Sant Tulsidas. We had no idea about the cast and crew, just a faint image of a scene from the film seen ages ago on Doordarshan. We came across two movies, the first one was Tulsidas (1954) which had actor Mahipal in the title role. Shri Ram mainly appears twice on-screen as this story progresses, first when he gives darshan to his devotee Tulsidas and then when small scenes from Ramayan are shown while Ramcharitmans is being composed. We could not help but notice the young boy, who played the role of Shri Ram. He looked just about 15 years old, had a pleasant calm face with a lovely smile. This was possibly the first time we saw such a young actor play Shri Ram on-screen.

Goswami Tulsidas (1964)

Next we saw, Goswami Tulsidas (1964, Awadhi) which had actor Shahu Modak in the title role. In this Shri Ram was played by a young man who seemed to be in his twenties, had a boyish charm, calm face, a lovely smile. Just then we realized that the actor we had seen in the 1954 film had now grownup into a handsome young man but we had no idea who he was till then. Unfortunately we haven’t found the movie we were looking for yet.

Having deep interest in mythology, we are avid mythological film watchers. We have been seeing a lot of films made in this genre, from classics to mediocre, we have seen them all. We believable that no matter how good or bad these films are made in totality, there is always something to take back from them. In almost every second film we saw, we seemed to notice this actor playing supporting characters. He was so adorable and endearing that we could never miss him on-screen. Our curiosity and liking for him was increasing. One day we finally checked the opening credits of almost 6-7 films we had seen featuring him, like, Sant Tukaram (1955), Badrinath Yatra (1967), Maya Machhindra (1975), Har Har Gange (1979), Chintamanee Surdas (1988), etc, to find that one common name in the cast list of all these films. The common name was Raj Kumar (राजकुमार). Since then we have become habitual of checking the cast credits of every mythological film we watch. This post is a photo and video blog to take a look at Raj Kumar ji work and our impressions about him.

Raj Kumar ji was a fine actor, not extraordinary but there was something special about his screen presence. Apart from his boyish good looks, he had an unspoken charm and emanated an inherent goodness. We did not even realize when we started admiring him. We started checking films that had ‘Raj Kumar’ in the cast list but did not feature the better known Raaj Kumar. Its only when we watched films like Aaj Aur Kal (1963), Ustadon Ke Ustad (1963) and Ziddi (1964) did we realize that there was another actor with the same name we were not aware of (referring to Raj(u) Kumar).

So far we know of 32 films in which our Raj Kumar ji played leading or supporting parts. The earliest being Shuk Rambha (1953) till the latest we have seen, Chintamanee Surdas (1988). Among these, 25 are mythological / devotional films. He seemed to be a favourite with Basant Pictures & Babubhai Mistry and regularly appeared in their films. He played the leading man opposite Nalini Jaywant in Neel Mani (1957), Anita Guha in Maya Bazaar (1958) and Laxmi Chhaya in Veer Ghatotkach (1970). He acted with legendary actor Jairaj in three Historical films, namely, Amar Singh Rathod (1957), Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan (1959) and Jai Chitod (1961). Just when we thought he worked only in costume dramas, we got to know of two social films – Sautela Bhai (1962) and Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal (1965). In both these films he has a parallel role of the leading man’s younger brother. In his acting career spanning more than three decades, we are sure he has appeared in many more films. Our search is on.

We have observed that Raj Kumar ji was usually cast in roles like a younger brother, a young warrior, a young disciple, etc. In other words he would be seen playing one of the youngest characters in the film, most likely due to his physical frame and boyish looks. The natural goodness he exuded on-screen possibly made filmmakers often cast him in their mythological / devotional films. One role which he has played umpteen times is that of Lakshman, Shri Ram’s younger brother. We have seen as many as seven films based on different stories associated with Ramayan where he has played Lakshman, namely – Sampoorna Ramayan (1961), Ram Bhakt Hanuman (1969), Sati Sulochana (1969), Bhagwan Parshuram (1970), Hanuman Vijay (1974), Mahabali Hanuman (1981) and Sati Naag Kanya (1983).

Prabhu Ki Maya (1955)

One of Raj Kumar ji’s early films is Prabhu Ki Maya (1955) where he played young Shukdev. Interestingly he has been credited as Master Raj Kumar for this film. He may have done more films as a child artist. Hence going by genre, we feel it may be this Raj Kumar who featured in films like Janmashtami (1950) and Jai Mahakali (1951) which were released before the more famous Raaj Kumar’s debut film Rangili (1952). However we could not find a visual proof to confirm the same. Going by how he looks in this film, we assume he must be born around 1940.

Veer Ghatotkach (1970)

Us Pratham Pratham Parichay Mein Hi sung by Mukesh is our most favorite song featuring Raj Kumar ji. B D Mishra’s lyrics are composed by Dilip Roy.

Sautela Bhai (1962)

In this film Raj Kumar ji playes Guru Dutt’s younger brother, Vinod. In the adjoining scene he is repenting for his deeds & asking for forgiveness. Its one of our favorite scenes.

Shuk Rambha (1953)

We learnt about this film after we had finalized the content for this blog. Raj Kumar ji is so adorable in this one, the youngest we have seen him so far. This sweet song, O Meri Maayi De De Bidaai sung by Master Gopal & Asha Bhosle is composed by Manna Dey and written by Bharat Vyas.

Some more clips featuring Raj Kumar ji can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY

Shuk Rambha (1953), Tulsidas (1954), Prabhu Ki Maya (1955), Sant Tukaram (1955), Ayodhyapati (1956), Amar Singh Rathod (1957), Mohini (1957), Neel Mani (1957), Maya Bazaar (1958), Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan (1959), Maya Machhindra (1960), Jai Chitod (1961), Sampoorna Ramayan (1961), Sautela Bhai (1962), Dooj Ka Chand (1964), Goswami Tulsidas (1964, Awadhi), Mahabharat (1965), Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal (1965), Shree Ram Bharat Milap (1965), Badrinath Yatra (1967), Ram Bhakt Hanuman (1969), Sati Sulochana (1969), Bhagwan Parshuram (1970), Veer Ghatotkach (1970), Brahma Vishnu Mahesh (1971), Hanuman Vijay (1974), Maya Machhindra (1975), Har Har Gange (1979), Mahabali Hanuman (1981), Sant Gyaneshwar (1982), Sati Naag Kanya (1983), Chintamanee Surdas (1988)

 

In the past two years we have interacted with some of Raj Kumar ji co-stars, namely – B M Vyas, Bela Bose and Rakesh Pandey. Raj Kumar ji was also referred to as Chhota Raj Kumar (छोटा राजकुमार). He used to live in Chembur but later shifted elsewhere. With fewer acting assignments coming his way, he joined filmmaker Prakash Mehra as Assistant in the 1980s. We scanned through Mr Mehra’s filmography and checked the opening credits of almost all his films made post-1980.

In the opening credits of Zindagi Ek Juaa (1992) we found P.A. to the Director credited to Raj Kumar Khatri (राजकुमार खत्री). We happen to contact Prakash Mehra’s longtime associate Ram Sethi who confirmed that this was indeed the same Raj Kumar we had been looking for. He had assisted him (found the name Raj Kumar credited as Assistant for Ghungroo (1983)) and Mr Mehra for many years. Sethi ji however could not tell us more. But we were elated; finally we had made some progress towards knowing our Raj Kumar. From a teen-aged boy to a middle-aged adult, we have seen him grow through his films. We hope that this blog will reach people who will help us know more about this actor, who touched our hearts.

– Maitri Manthan

* We would like to thank Shishir Krishna Sharma, Harish Raghuvansh​i, Mool Narain Sardana, Surjit Singh, B M Vyas, Bela Bose, Rakesh Pandey, Ram Sethi, Priya Lakshmi, Edu Productions, Cineplot and film-collector Trinidad for their input and assistance.

* Sautela Bhai (1962) is available in great print and can be downloaded from here. If any one comes across more films (not listed in filmography) featuring our Raj Kumar ji, please let us know.

* The information provided in this blog is to the best of our knowledge, if any discrepancies are found please let us know. Thank you.

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14 responses to “RAJ KUMAR

  1. A outstanding write-up and well researched by your Team. I hope this write-up can reach his relatives and we can get some info on him.

  2. Well done Maitriji! Excellent research and wonderfully put together. I hope your quest will bear fruit & get you more info on Raj Kumar ji. Someone should be able to give you the right direction to follow. Good job!!!

  3. Great job. We the film goers are thankful to you for such treasure of information about this lesser known Raj Kumar. I am sharing the link to this blog on my Facebook account. Special thanks to my dear friend and film Historian Harish Raghuvanshi who sent me this link. Much obliged.
    -Salil Dalal

  4. There are many such artist in film world who have worked hard and strong but are kept in isolation, not new in any field though.

  5. Hindi Cinema ke sunahare ateet ko lekar aapke passion aur satat Shodh ki misaal hai Rajkumar par yeh aalekh. bahut BADHAAI aur Saadhuwaad! Shashi Kapoor-ji ki tarah Satish Vyas ko bhi khojne ki koshish keejiye. -MD Soni / Film journalist & Historion, Jaipur

    • Rajkumar-ji ke baare mein kuchh jaankaari de raha hoon. unka asli / poora naam hai RAJENDRA KUMAR S. KHATRI. 24th NOV. 1938 ko LAHORE mein janme RajKumar-ji ki pehli film thi- JANMASHTAMI (1950).

  6. Good research indeed. Video songs/Clips/Movies of Raaj Kumar aka Jaani’s earlier movies are also missing on YT. Someone needs to upload for people must be dying to view his look in his earlier films i.e. before Nausherwan E Adil/Mother India. Thanks for the good job.

  7. Pingback: Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music – June 2013 | The world is too small? or Is it?

  8. Unfortunately due to the nature of IMDb, many people with similar names get misdirected. Kudos on such thorough research.

    As a fan of the Hindi mythologicals, I myself was curious about this fellow and other key players of the genre.

  9. Really excellent research Maitriji,

    In fact, I was also searching Rajiv after watching the song “Sapne zare ful se”. Finally I landed on your blog, but I do not see one more Rajeev in your list/photos.

    He appeared in “My Friend 1974”. A less popular, but sweet song from this movie is “ Naiya meri chalti jaaye”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovGJZTJRQiI.

    Unlike you, I am not fortunate enough to thoroughly search this hero. Again, I am not sure, but this Rajeev is the same hero of many Gujarati movies like “Mena Gurjari”. Or, is the same actor of whom this blog is about? They all are really handsome to recognize one from the other.

    Please check him on the posters of “My Friend 1974” at:

    http://muvyz.com/moviepage/ye639538

    http://bollywoodmovieposters.com/shop/old-indian-movie-posters-for-sale/my-friend/

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