The Shah Rukh Khan-Anu Malik bond

Shah Rukh Khan enacts the hit Baazigar o baazigar from Anu Malik’s Baazigar, the 1993 film that consolidated big-time success for both. Photo: Trailer Video Grab 

They are both Scorpios, born on November 2 in different years. Shah Rukh Khan and Anu Malik was a hit pair together in so many musicals from Chamatkar in 1992 to Main Hoon Na in 2004.

Shah Rukh and Anu both originated in decades prior to which they first became famous. The actor, known as King Khan, made his debut on television before Hema Malini beckoned him from Delhi to Mumbai to play the male lead in her debut film as producer-director, Dil Aashna Hai. However, it was Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman that took off first, and a third film, Deewana, that released even before, All these movies came in 1992, with Deewana being the biggest of them at the box-office, and Shah Rukh making a mark despite the powerhouse Rishi Kapoor.

The fourth SRK film that year was Chamatkar, a rehash of the Walt Disney classic, Blackbeard’s Ghost, which had some popular songs by Anu Malik.

However, for Shah Rukh Khan to really reach stardom, he needed to do the negative leads in Baazigar, again with Anu Malik’s hit songs, and Darr, both 1993 releases.

Anu, too, actually made his debut in 1978 with comedian Mohan Choti’s small stunt film, Hunterwali 77. It took a long while before Harmesh Malhotra signed him for his second film, Poonam (1981) starring Raj Babbar and Poonam Dhillon, for which Anu recorded three songs, among others, by the peerless Mohammed Rafi.

But while the music was quite popular, it took Ek Jaan Hain Hum (1983) and Sohni Mahiwal (1984) for Anu to make a mark. Both films were respectively presented and produced by F.C. Mehra, the man who also presented the first Shah Rukh-Anu film, Chamatkar.

Anu Malik did have a busy 1980s, but signing too many films and the resultant toll on his creativity made him face a low in the early 1990s, during which he confessed to me that “both my phone and doorbells ceased to ring”. At struggling singer Sonu Nigam’s behest, he dropped an ‘N’ from his first name and became ‘Anu’ Malik from Annu Malik, which was his screen name (his real name is Anwar Malik).

The trust the F.C. Mehra clan, music label Venus and Mahesh Bhatt (with whom he had already done Awargee and Marg), led to a newfound confidence, and a change in musical style and fortunes, got him his three comeback vehicles in 1993—Sir, Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Ayee and Baazigar—the last one a film turned down by Nadeem-Shravan!

Note the Hema Malini connection common to both the actor and the composer—Awargee and Marg (also starring Hema) were both produced by her brother-in-law, P. Raghunathan, also actress Madhoo’s father!


Shah Rukh Khan, like Anu Malik and also composer Laxmikant, was born on November 2. Photo: Publicity Photo

Shah Rukh Khan’s initial film performances had definite influences of both Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, but he soon evolved into an original. A romantic star in the mould of our musical romantic heroes, he inspired all his composers and filmmakers to create timeless songs all the way to Om Shanti Om in 2007, after which music generally went for a toss, despite stray songs for him here and there.

Anu Malik had a major influence of Shankar-Jaikishan in his songs and music—note in particular the Poonam song, Paas aa mere humnasheen. However, he later began to say that R.D. Burman was his inspiration and confessed that it was “trendy” to say that!

The SRK-Anu bond

In 2001, I met Shah Rukh Khan on the eve of the release of Asoka—The Great and asked him why he had chosen Anu as the composer for this historical drama set in the B.C. era. His answer had more to do with Anu’s talent than the genre: “I think Anu is the equivalent of R.D. Burman.” But unlike the senior legend, who quirkily never accepted any historical or mythological film, Anu excelled in Asoka.

The list of films SRK did with Anu Malik also included, besides Chamatkar and Baazigar, Ram Jaane  (1995—again from the Mehras), Chaahat and Dushmun Duniyaa Kaa (in which SRK did a cameo), which came in 1996, Duplicate (1998), Baadshah (1999), Josh and a cameo in Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega (2000), Asoka—The Great (2001), Shakti—The Power (2002) in which SRK did a cameo in the only song guest composer Anu scored, the hit Ishq kamina, and Main Hoon Na (2004).

The special relationship Shah Rukh had with the composer extended to his reciting a few lines along with his on-screen playback voice, Abhijeet, in Main to hoon paagal in Baadshah and actually recording Apun bola with Hema Sardesai—a unique brother-sister duet.

Other than the actor, and Anu himself, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Abhijeet, Vinod Rathod, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Bali Brahmbhatt, Mano and KK sang for the actor under the composer’s baton.

Anu scored two films in which SRK was involved—Asoka—The Great as co-producer (with actress Juhi Chawla and Aziz Mirza) and Main Hoon Na, officially produced by his wife Gauri Khan under their then-new banner of Red Chillies Entertainment.

Anu Malik and Shah Rukh Khan had a mutually fruitful combination from 1992 to 2004. Photo: Publicity Photo

Needless to say, the music of Baazigar (Yeh kaali kaali aankhen, Baazigar o baazigar, Kitabein bahut si, Chhupana bhi nahin aata, Ae mere humsafar), Baadshah (Main to hoon pagal, Woh ladki jo sabse alag hai, Mohabbat ho gayi hai), Duplicate (Mere mehboob mere sanam, Katthai aankhonwali, Ladna jhagadna), Asoka—The Great (Roshni se bhare bhare, Raat ka nasha abhi, O re kaanchi) and Main Hoon Na (Main hoon na, Tumse milke dil ka hai, Gori gori, Tumhein jo maine dekha, Yeh fizayen), remain memorable scores in the superstar’s career.

The catchy Ram Jaane duet Chori chori chal o gori (Ram Jaane) and Iss pyar se meri taraf  and O meri neendein churanewale  (Chamatkar) added to the SRK-Anu Malik roster.

However, for one of those inexplicable reasons, Anu’s career went into a decline after 2005, and a combination of filmmakers and music labels saw to it that Shah Rukh and Anu never came together again.

After 2004, just a handful of films have boasted of great and lasting melodies and we music lovers are waiting for the time when the baadshah Khan will come back together with the music composer who happens to share his birth-date and enjoyed a special melodic rapport with him.

An interesting sidelight

The late Laxmikant (of Laxmikant-Pyarelal) also was born on November 2. L-P did just one film with Shah Rukh Khan—Subhash Ghai’s Trimurti, a box-office dud. But Shah Rukh Khan still had a hit song composed by them in Duniya ri duniya very good. And for Shah Rukh’s home production Om Shanti Om, Pyarelal arranged a song (after Laxmikant’s exit) that was created for the film in the L-P mould of compositional phrasing and orchestration—Dhoom tana!




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