Filmmaker Raj Kaushal passed away in the early hours of Wednesday at the age of 49. He suffered a massive heart attack, and succumbed to it before he could get medical aid.
Onir took to Twitter expressing his grief over the loss of a supportive producer who was among the few who believed in the vision the director had for his debut venture 'My Brother... Nikhil'. In an interview with Bombay Times, he spoke of how Raj supported the film about gay characters when several big producers refused to.
Gone too soon. We lost Film maker and Producer @rajkaushal1 this morning. Very Sad. He was one of the producers of my first film #MyBrotherNikhil. One of those few who believed in our vision and supported us. Prayers for his soul. pic.twitter.com/zAitFfYrS7— অনির Onir اونیر ओनिर he/him (@IamOnir) June 30, 2021
"He was extremely excited about the idea, a subject, that wasn't explored much then. So he showed support at a time when nobody was willing to," Onir told BT about Raj.
In 2005, it was the first Bollywood movie to have a lead pair that was gay. Instead of using the LGBTQ+ community for comic relief, it dealt sensitively with the relationship dynamics of the characters as well as HIV/AIDS. The story itself was based on real-life incidents that took place in Goa with activist Dominic D'Souza who was the first Indian to contract HIV, and his subsequent ignominy.
Several others from the industry including lead actor of the movie Sanjay Suri also took to social media, calling Raj a 'Yaaro Ka Yaar' (friend of friends). They all expressed shock over the sudden demise of the filmmaker.
Shocked and heartbroken! My friend's gone too soon. Just dont know what to say ! We will miss him forever. His energy was magnetic, his enthusiasm for life was admirable and he was always a 'Yaaro Ka Yaar'. You will be missed brother...so many memories! #RajKaushal— sanjay suri (@sanjaysuri) June 30, 2021
Raj is survived by his wife actress Mandira Bedi, son Veer and daughter Tara.