Born On: May 5, 1956
Born In: Delhi, India
Died On: August 12, 1997
Career: Businessman, Film Producer
While the music industry was still lacking the much-needed appreciation to get popular amongst the masses, an ordinary man named Gulshan Kumar entered from nowhere and raised the industry to its unbelievable heights. By presenting the general public what it wanted, Gulshan Kumar successfully infused life and energy into the music industry. Beginning with selling of audio cassettes and later, producing them at cheap rates so that they were made available to all classes of people, Kumar established a vast music empire, only to rule Bollywood. As if this was not enough, Kumar got involved in producing movies and launching several new faces to the Indian cinema that have turned into distinguished celebrities today.
Gulshan Kumar was born as Gulshan Dua into a Punjabi Arora family in the heart of the capital city, Delhi. His father was a fruit juice seller in the Daryaganj market in New Delhi. That’s where Gulshan started earning his life in his early days. At the age of 23, he, with support from his family, acquired a shop and started selling records and cheap audio cassettes. This was just the beginning of the career of a music baron. With the music business producing fruitful profits, he started producing cassettes himself.
Gulshan Kumar then started his own audio cassette operation known as “Super Cassettes Industries”, which turned into a profitable organization later on. To add on, he began a music production company in Noida, near Delhi. To cover up the overpriced poor-quality audio tapes marketed and sold by reputed music companies, Gulshan Kumar started selling the 1970s music cassettes with a decent quality at cheap rates. As his business started growing, he began exporting good-quality music cassettes to abroad. Soon, he became a millionaire and rose to the top of music business. With an aim of ruling Bollywood just as he did with music, he moved to Bombay. He introduced religious music cassettes at extremely low prices with the aim of promoting religion amongst Hindu fellows. He had even made and produced movies and serials pertaining to Hindu mythology.
His first movie in Bollywood was “Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka” in 1989. The film had romantic melodious and catchy songs which declared the movie a great hit. Next came the big musical blockbuster “Aashiqui” in 1990, starring Rahul Roy and Anu Agarwal, which is still remembered for the romantic and harmonious music. Although his next two movies, “Bahaar Aane Tak” and “Jeena Teri Gali Mein” didn’t fair well, the music of both the movies was highly appreciated. His 1991 “Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi”, featuring Aamir Khan and Pooja Bhatt, grossed an average overall earning, but its music was a big success. With this, Gulshan Kumar established himself as the music tycoon in the film industry. His other movies included “Ayee Milan Ki Raat”, “Meera Ka Mohan”, and “Jeena Marna Tere Sang” which failed on the box office.
Introduction of New Talents
Gulshan Kumar was known not only as the ruler of music in Bollywood, but he also introduced several new talents to the film fraternity. He launched his younger brother Krishan Kumar in the 1993 movies “Aaja Meri Jaan” and “Kasam Teri Kasam”. However, both of them proved to be major duds. Despite the discouragement received from both the movies, Gulshan went ahead and made a third movie with Krishan “Bewafa Sanam” in 1995, which became a massive hit, particularly for its music. This film also brought the, then, struggling singer Sonu Nigam into limelight. Apart from Sonu Nigam, other young talented signers introduced to the music world by Gulshan Kumar include Anuradha Paudwal, Vandana Bajpai, and Kumar Sanu, amongst several others.
Launch of T-Series Music Label
Established by Gulshan Kumar, Super Cassettes Industries Limited (SCIL) became the topmost music company in India. He founded the T-Series music label, under the same music company, which eventually turned into one of the top music labels in India. Today, T-Series is the largest producer and publisher of music and videos in the country. It runs the business of publishing original soundtrack from movies, remixes, old devotional songs, new-age albums, melodies from the 1960s, and pop hits of the 1990s. It not only covers over 60% of the Indian music market, but also exports music to 24 countries across six continents. With over 2500 dealers in India, T-Series has the largest distribution network.
Apart from being a prominent personality in the film media, Gulshan Kumar set an example for Indian businessmen by donating a part of his wealth to the community. He established a bhandara, serving free food to the pilgrims who visited the Hindu shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi. He was the top tax payer for the financial year 1992-93. Word has it that he got involved with the Indian Mafia, or the Mumbai Underworld, known for financing Bollywood movies. He refused to succumb to the extortion demands, which was why it is believed that he was shot dead.
Gulshan Kumar was shot dead outside Jeeteshwar Mahadev Mandir, a Hindu temple in Jeet Nagar in Andheri West suburb of Mumbai city on August 12, 1997. Although the police accused Nadeem of music-director duo Nadeem-Shravan for planning the assassination, on January 9, 2001, Abdul Rauf confessed on receiving money for assassinating Gulshan Kumar. On April 29, 2009, Rauf was sentenced to life imprisonment, rather than death sentence, on the grounds of failing to provide evidence of him being a contract killer. Gulshan Kumar was later cremated in Delhi, as per his family’s wishes.
After Gulshan Kumar’s death, his son Bhushan Kumar took over Super Cassettes Industries Limited. His daughter, Tulsi Kumar, is a celebrated playback singer.
Laal Dupatta Malmal ka, 1989
Bahar Aane Tak, 1990
Jeena Teri Gali Mein, 1991
Aye Milan Ki Raat, 1991
Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, 1991
Meera Ka Mohan, 1992
Jeena Marna Tere Sang, 1992
Aaja Meri Jaan, 1993
Kasam Teri Kasam, 1993
Bewafa Sanam, 1995
Jai Maa Vaishanav Devi, 1995
Char Dham, 1998
Papa - The Great, 2000
1956: Born on May 5 in Delhi
1979: Started a music shop selling records and audio cassettes
1989: Produced first Bollywood movie “Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka”
1993: Launched younger brother Krishan Kumar with “Aaja Meri Jaan”
1995: Introduced singer Sonu Nigam with “Bewafa Sanam”
1997: Shot dead in Andheri West, Mumbai on August 12, aged 41