31 Years of Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman
Written by Swaati on November 22, 2023
Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992) was the third theatrical release of Shah Rukh Khan. But it was the first film that the superstar signed. One man who played a prominent star in the birth of the superstar was Viveck Vaswani. As Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman completed 31 years on November 13, the actor-filmmaker spoke exclusively with Bollywood Hungama about how he met Shah Rukh Khan.
Viveck Vaswani began by saying, “Shah Rukh Khan used to live in my house. When he returned to Mumbai after his mother died and he said ‘Let’s do a film’, I had to say ‘yes’. Until then, he preferred to work only in TV. He was against films. When I asked him the reason, he said, ‘I can’t do films because I’ll have to hug girls in films. And Gauri (wife Gauri Khan) has said no’! I told him ‘Ok. You come and stay with me. We’ll figure out life’.”
Viveck continued, “But after his mother passed away, he decided to work in films as it was his mother’s dream that he should become a superstar. Every night, we would sit at the Taj President Hotel, Cuffe Parade, which is next to my house and brainstorm on what we should make. I was very clear that the film should be a Shah Rukh Khan vehicle. It has to be Shah Rukh Khan in and as Shah Rukh Khan.”
When asked when and where he met Shah Rukh Khan for the first time, Viveck revealed, “He was hanging around the last day of the shoot of my film Patthar Ke Phool (1991). I met him by coincidence. He asked me where I was headed. I told him that I was going to Sterling to watch James Cameron’s The Abyss (1989). He expressed the desire to join me. He had no money. We went to the theatre in my car. I bought the tickets in black. I also bought popcorn and cigarettes. When it was time to go home, he asked me for Rs. 100 so that he could hire a cab. I didn’t have 100 bucks as I had spent all my money. I offered to drop him in my car. But there was no gas in the car. I asked him to come to my place so that we could borrow money from my mother. My mother was fast asleep. Hence, I told him to stay for the night. He ended up staying for two years!”
It is reported that Shah Rukh Khan got married during the shoot of the film and borrowed suits from the film’s costume department for the wedding. Viveck confessed that this indeed happened and added, “Once we got the budget, we went to Darjeeling to shoot the song ‘Dil Hai Mera Deewana’. I suggested, ‘Tell Gauri to come to Darjeeling. You guys can celebrate your honeymoon’.”
When remarked that it was sweet of him to do so, Viveck Vaswani remarked, “Uss waqt hum insaan the. We lived by human rules. If someone needed a house, I gave it to him. If there was a problem, Shah Rukh would come forward to help me. If I was hungry, I’d go to Juhi Chawla’s house and eat a nice meal. We didn’t live like robots and didn’t rely on sending text messages to one another. There was no internet, no cell phones and no computers. We had to talk to one another as we were human beings!”