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Name Rajesh Rathi
Biography Born in Kolkata to Mr Gopikishan & Mrs Gawara Devi in a traditional Marwari Family (a business community originated from the State of Rajasthan in India), he was the 5th and youngest offspring with two brothers and two sisters. He was a premature baby, who always saw his father as a retired businessman. His eldest brother Suraj Ratan Rathi, who was about 30 years elder to him, was practically the head of family. All his nephews and nieces were elder to him. So he grew up with a subconscious feeling that he was not living in his parent's house, but in his brother's house always.Life in Kolkata was wonderful. His mother was very religious and she often used to sing devotional songs in the evening as a part of her daily routine. In summer vacations, the family often used to visit an Ashram in Ramchandrapur (Nabadwip, District Nadia, West Bengal) near Kolkata - which is known for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the famous devotee of Lord Krishna. One night in the Ashram, after devotional song session was over, he stealthily went to the temple and started playing on Khol Drum at the age of five, trying to copy the rhythm player. The feeble sound coming from the temple drew everyone's attention and his interest in music came to surface. Thereafter, his fingers started rolling on Tables and Almirahs at home. One day, his father introduced him to a Tabla tutor, who happened to be his own uncle Gowardhan Kaka. His interest in music caught on and he started playing Harmonium besides all the rhythms like Dholak, Tabla and Bongo. In Primary School Gyan Bharti Vidyapeeth, his Class Teacher was very fond of music and he encouraged him for singing. In 6th standard, he gave his first stage performance in school on the Republic Day Function and sang a popular patriotic song from Hindi Film Sikandar E Azam (1965) 'Jahaan Daal Daal Pe Sone Ki Chidiya.....'Till the age of 8 years, he used to drink milk from bottle. Whenever he would lie down on the floor to feed himself milk, the beams of light filtering into the room through a ventilator would always mesmerize him. In 1969, at an age of 11 years, when Armstrong hoisted the American Flag on Moon, he made a small projector at home - fixing a Lens and Bulb in a Wooden Box. He sketched Apollo-11, Columbia and Eagle along with Armstrong in Space Suit on a strip of gelatin paper and projected it on the wall of their living room with a running commentary.After 7th standard, his family shifted to Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh State of India because his big brother was transferred as a Vice-President of an upcoming nylon & polyester yarn manufacturing company. He completed rest of his education there, doing Graduation in Science and Post Graduation in Economics with a degree of B.Sc. and M.A. from Vikram University.At Ujjain, he won many singing competitions at School and College levels and started his own amateur orchestra group. Besides music, photography became his favorite hobby. His interest started shifting from Still photography to Movie photography when his brother bought an 8mm Movie Camera with a Projector for him. Then he started making Home Movies covering important family functions and marriages. He would try to save one or two 8mm reels from the given quota and do experiments in trick photography. Buying and reading books on film making became his favorite pass time.By the time he finished schooling, he had made-up his mind to pursue a career in films. Initially, he wanted to get into the field of music, but he stepped back, since he lacked a formal training in it. Then he decided to be a Cinematographer. He thought he would go to Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune after graduation and take a proper training. But his big brother was dead against his film career. He wanted him to go to USA and take an MBA degree. But he refused.After graduation, he appeared for FTII entrance exam without telling his family. Unfortunately, out of 12 seats, he was selected 15th and came 3rd in the Waiting List. This news, somehow, broke into the family. And a cold war began between him and his big brother after this incident. Although his big brother was a connoisseur and he always encouraged his hobbies in music and photography. But when Rajesh decided to choose art as a profession, his brother's attitude and behavior changed.All through this process, his 'powerless' father remained a silent supporter. Years before his birth, his father used to do Amateur Hindi Theatre in Kolkata performing mythological and historical plays at Elphinstone Theatre. Legendry actor Prithviraj Kapoor also used to perform there.While doing Post Graduation, he started planning how to enter film world without any Degree, influence and God father. He decided to make a short film on 8mm format to show his skills and take it to Mumbai as a 'living' certificate for a break in Hindi Film Industry. To raise money for this, he started making Ad-Designs for local print media, did some photo shoots and shot a few marriages with his movie camera as a professional photographer. Some of his friends also came forward for financial help.In 1980, after doing M.A., he started making a documentary on the lifestyle of primitive Bhil Tribe who inhabited Jhabua region at the border of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat State. It took him two years to produce, direct, write, photograph, edit and compose background score, all by himself, for his first professional attempt called 'Glimpses of Bhils', a 30 minute documentary film on Super 8mm in English. He also got it censored from Censor Board of Film Certification, Kolkata to have an A to Z experience.Incidentally, around the same time, there was a 'Super 8mm Film Festival-1983' in Kolkata, organized by Jadhavpur University and Chitra Chetna Society. He sent his documentary in this festival, which received 4th Best Audience Choice Award and great reviews in prestigious dailies like 'The Telegraph'. This recognition assured him that he had chosen a right path and thus prepared him to take a leap in the dark to make a career in films against his family wishes.His nephew Kishore, who was studying MBA in USA, introduced him to then an upcoming film maker Jag Mundhra from Los Angeles, who was visiting India to plan his second film Kamla (1984). One night in Mumbai, he went to Mundhra's house with his projector and film. Mundhra saw the film on his bedroom wall and got so impressed that he saw it twice. Same night, he flew back to LA and Rajesh came back to Ujjain.In August 1983, Mundhra returned and telephoned him with an offer to work as an apprentice in 'Kamla' which was starting three days later. On such a short notice, Rajesh had no time to think twice and he left for Mumbai with a strange fear.On the Set, the language of film and basic technique was not new to him, because he had already made a documentary film. So, he started picking up fast and got easily tuned to Mundhra. After the first shooting schedule, Mundhra called him and said he won't keep him as an apprentice. Mundhra was so pleased with his work that he signed him as an Assistant Director in Kamla. This is how his journey in Bollywood began. His association with Mundhra lasted till he took his last breath in 2011. They worked together in 9 Hindi and English feature films for Bollywood as well as Hollywood. He always addressed Mundhra as 'Bhaisaheb' meaning Big Brother.
Height 5' 4' (1.63 m)
Movies of Rajesh Rathi
Chase
Chase
as associate director

Apartment: Rent at Your Own Risk
as associate director
Bawandar
Bawandar
as chief assistant director
Bawandar
Bawandar
as Clothing shop Attendant

Naughty @ 40
as associate director

Naughty @ 40
as Shopkeeper
 
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