Filmmaker Onir, in his tribute to Raj Kaushal, right after the filmmaker’s sudden demise on June 30, hailed him has one of the producers of My Brother Nikhil, a film that brought to the fore themes of AIDS awareness and homosexuality 16 years ago. It is hailed as one of the films on LGBTQ issues that was ahead of its time.
In his short filmography, Raj Kaushal explored various subjects – romance musical in Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi (1999), comedy in Shaadi Ka Laddoo (2004) and mystery thriller in Anthony Kaun Hai? (2006). Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi’s romantic songs like Woh Pehli Baar and Musu Musu Haasi resonate with the youth still today.
The writer, director and producer had a career in Hindi feature films and advertising films for over 22 years. A Bachelor of Science graduate, Kaushal wanted to be a commercial pilot and pursued a career in aviation. After graduation, he began his career in 1989 as a copywriter with Contract Advertising India Private Limited for three years.
Between the years 1992- 1996, Kaushal worked as an assistant director with MAD Films helmed under the Late Mukul Anand. Assisting on over a hundred commercials and one feature film – Trimurti (produced by the veteran director Subhash Ghai); Raj learned the nuances of telling a story over both a 30 second format and a three hour feature film.
In 1998, Kaushal set up his advertising production company - Fuel. He directed over 800 commercials, shot in 19 countries, for most of the leading advertising agencies and brands in India. He had the knack of writing the scripts for the commercials too. He coined popular tag lines like “iss cement mein jaan hai" for Birla Plus Cement and “Desh ki Dhadkan" for Hero Honda.
In 1999, Kaushal directed his first Hindi feature film Pyaar Mein Kabhie Kabhie. The film was the launchpad for over 183 first-timers, from actors to singers to music directors to technicians to spot boys - Dino Morea, Sanjay Suri, Rinkie Khanna, music directors Vishal and Shekhar, Salim and Sulieman, Singers Shaan, Mahalaxmi, Sunidhi Chauhan, KK, Suraj and Oscar winning choreographer Longines Fernandes.
In 2004, he directed his second feature film Shaadi Ka Laddoo starring Ashish Choudhary, Sanjay Suri, Mandira Bedi and Samita Bangargi. In 2005 he produced My Brother Nikhil alongwith Sanjay Suri, Vicky Tejwani, and Onir. And in 2006 ‘Anthony Kaun Hain?’ was his third feature film starring Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi. Kaushal also produced Ruburu for Percept Picture Company and Meerabai Not Out for Pritish Nandy Communications.