15 facts about Khal-Nayak that you may not know

Ramya Krishnan, Subhash Ghai and Sanjay Dutt in Khal-Nayak. Photo: Instagram / Subhash Ghai

Cinegoers are back in the movie halls with consecutive releases like Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani (heading for the Rs. 150 crore nett mark), Gadar 2—The Katha Continues (which opened reportedly at Rs. 40.10 crore) and OMG2 (opening-day collection at Rs. 10.26 crore). But it’s also time the people have to be reminded that in 1993, 30 years ago, a blockbuster was released in August. On August 6, to be precise.

The Subhash Ghai-produced, directed and co-written film featuring Raakhee, Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff and Madhuri Dixit, with Ramya Krishnan, had music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and lyrics by Anand Bakshi. It was the second biggest hit of 1993, next only to Aankhen, the David Dhawan crime caper.

Here are 15 facts that you may not know about this film.

  • The music went to Tips after Subhash Ghai’s unbroken association with Saregama (HMV) from Kalicharan as director and Karz as producer. When his previous film, Saudagar, hit a jubilee, Tips Music’s chairman, Ramesh Taurani, sent him a cake with the words, “Saudagar, sauda kar,” the words of that film’s hit title-song. And for those days, he made a huge offer for the music rights!
  • And Tips was bang-on! The music sold over 10 million cassettes and CDs and the music label has stated that it remains their highest-selling music album ever. It was the first (and only album) to sell in the black-market! Not only that, a popular brand sponsored the cassettes too!
  • Of 11 Filmfare nominations, Khal-Nayak won only two awards, and again for the same iconic song, Choli ke peeche kya hai—for Alka Yagnik and Ila Arun as Playback Singers and for Saroj Khan for Best Choreography. The song was not only the top song of the year in the Cibaca Geet Mala—the only radio countdown, but also topped all three TV countdowns in their debut year—Philips Top Ten on Zee TV, BPL Oye! on Channel [V] and Super-Hit Muqabla on national channel, Doordarshan.
  • A.R. Rahman admitted that he composed Ringa ringa for Slumdog Millionaire with the same two singers as a tribute to this iconic song that marked the ethos of the 1990s.
  • The song was inspired by a small boy playing the iktara (a single-string instrument) that Subhash Ghai heard on the way to Mount Abu for location scouting. He had “I tipped the boy, recorded the tune and Laxmi-ji (Laxmikant) worked around it. Later Anand Bakshi wrote the lyrics. I objected to the first line, until I heard the next: Choli mein dil hai mera yeh dil main doongi mere yaar ko (Within my blouse lies my heart, which I shall give to my lover). And though over 30 organizations protested and All-India Radio and official TV channel Doordarshan banned it, today it is a cult song. The courts refused a stay on the song and today, it is even sung by children and is a part of every dancing class!”
  • Singer Ila Arun was asked to also enact the song with Madhuri Dixit. Ila refused and now regretfully calls it “the biggets mistake of my life”, complimenting Neena Gupta on the way she made the song her own, The song is also considering among the Top Five most popular chartbusters of all time, a list that also includes another Madhuri-Alka-Laxmikant-Pyarelal song, Ek do teen char from Tezaab.
  • Very few know that Khal-Nayak was originally planned as a small art film with Nana Patekar in the title-role. Subhash Ghai’s co-writers Ram Kelkar (Hero, Ram Lakhan) and Kamlesh Pandey (Tezaab, Chaalbaaz et al) made him change his mind and go full-blown commercial.
  • Remade in Telugu as Khaidi No. 1 and in Tamil as Hero (a Hindi title of another Ghai blockbuster), the film was a Golden Jubilee (50-week runner). It proved to be his last of 9 films as director with Laxmikant-Pyarelal and his first of 12 that did not have Lata Mangeshkar as singer.
  • By a coincidence, Sanjay Dutt was arrested in real life on the same day that his sequence of being jailed within the movie was shot. However, later, a lot of the promotional budget was actually saved because of the natural controversy that arose, especially since Khal-Nayak meant ‘villain’! When the film was released, the line, “Haan! Main hoon khalnayak!” and the song Nayak nahin khalnayak hoon main were hyped during the film’s promotion.
  • This was the first film that Sanjay dubbed for after his release from jail, and ironically, the abovementioned scene of the film, shot earlier, came at the film’s end, and was of his going to jail.
  • Saawan Kumar cashed in on the hype and announced the release of his film Khalnaikaa on the same day. While Ghai lost the dispute to him in the filmmakers’ association over the film’s title, the latter film was a washout.
  • A sequel has been planned and being written for years. Ghai told Bombay Times that it will feature Sanjay Dutt in the same role and a young actor as a new-age Khal-Nayak.
  • After Rocky, Zameen Aasmaan and Kshatriya (released earlier in 1993), this was the fourth consecutive co-starring film of theirs in which Raakhee played mother to Sanjay Dutt!
  • Aamir Khan was the first choice for Jackie Shroff’s role but wanted the title-role instead, and so he was not a part of the film. As of today, he is the only top Khan who has never worked with Ghai.
  • As per IMDb, Khal-Nayak was the first Hindi movie to do massive business theatrically in Canada and America, a year before Hum Aapke Hain Koun!… and two years before Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. The collections on the opening weekend exceeded some Hollywood movies released around the same time.




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