Gulshan Kumar

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Gulshan Kumar
Gulshan Kumar.jpg
Kumar in 1995
Born(1951-05-05)5 May 1951
Died12 August 1997(1997-08-12) (aged 46)
Cause of deathAssassination[1]
Years active1972–1997
Known forFounding T-Series
Sudesh Kumari
(m. 1975)
Children3, including Bhushan Kumar and Tulsi Kumar

Gulshan Kumar Dua (5 May 1951 – 12 August 1997),[2] was an Indian businessman, film and music producer who was the founder of the Super Cassettes Industries Limited (T-Series) music label[3] in the Bollywood industry. He founded T-Series in the 1980s and established it as a leading record label in the 1990s.

After his death, T-Series has since been run by his younger brother Krishan Kumar and son Bhushan Kumar.[4] His daughters Tulsi Kumar and Khushali Kumar are also playback singers.[5][6]


Born in 1956 in a Punjabi Hindu family, Gulshan Kumar Dua was the son of a fruit juice vendor who worked the streets of the Daryaganj neighbourhood in the heart of Delhi. His family came as refugees from the Jhang province of West Punjab after the anti-Hindu riots during the partition of India in 1947.[7] Dua started working with his father from an early age. Gulshan Kumar was a devoted worshiper of Shiva and especially Vaishno Devi. He sung many religious and traditional songs in favour of almost all major deities in Hinduism. Due to traditional faith, love and respect towards Vaishno Devi, he ran a free of cost meal assistance service in which free meals are offered as 'Prasad' to all the devotees visiting Vaishno Devi Temple. It was first started in 1983 at Baan Ganga location which is situated in between of the Vaishno Devi Temple's pilgrimage. Even after his demise in 1997, the service still continues till today and is widely revered all across India.[8][9] His son Bhushan Kumar now manages the service.

Dua changed career paths when his family acquired a shop selling records and inexpensive audio cassettes, which foreshadowed the onset of a vast music empire.[10]

Music business and film career[edit]

Gulshan Kumar started his own audio cassette operation known as "Super Cassettes Industries," which turned in to a profitable business. He began a music production company in Noida. As his business started growing, he moved to Mumbai.[11][12]

His first movie in Bollywood was Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka in 1989. Next was the big hit Aashiqui in 1990 which is remembered for its music by Nadeem–Shravan. His other movies included Bahaar Aane Tak, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, Ayee Milan Ki Raat, Meera Ka Mohan, Jeena Marna Tere Sang and Bewafa Sanam.[12]

T-Series music label[edit]

T-Series emerged as one of the top music labels in India with the release of Aashiqui in 1990.[13] In the early 1990s T-Series was largely responsible for sparking a boom for the Indian music industry.[14] With its music and film production, the annual earnings of T-Series grew from 20 crore ($16 million) in 1985 to ₹200 crore ($88 million) in 1991,[15][16] and by the time of Gulshan Kumar's death in 1997, had reached ₹500 crore[17] ($140 million).[18]

It continues to be a major label.[19] and controls more than 60% share of the Indian music market. In international market, T-Series enjoys a turnover in excess of $4.2 million, and exports to 24 countries across six continents. In India, it has the largest distribution network of over 2500 dealers.


Year Film Credited as
Director Producer
1989 Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka No Yes
1990 Appu Raja No Yes
1990 Aashiqui No Yes
1990 Bahaar Aane Tak No Yes
1991 Ayee Milan Ki Raat No Yes
1991 Jeena Teri Gali Mein No Yes
1991 Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin No Yes
1992 Meera Ka Mohan No Yes
1992 Jeena Marna Tere Sang No Yes
1992 Sangeet No Yes
1993 Shabnam No Yes
1993 Aaja Meri Jaan No Yes
1993 Kasam Teri Kasam No Yes
1995 Bewafa Sanam Yes Yes
1995 Suryaputra Shanidev No Yes
1995 Satyanarayan Ki Virat Katha No Yes
1997 Char Dham No Yes


Gulshan Kumar Dua died in a shooting outside the Jeeteshwar Mahadev Mandir, a Hindu mandir dedicated to Lord Shiva of which he attended daily in Jeet Nagar, Andheri West suburb of Mumbai,[20] on 12 August 1997. He was shot 16 times.

On the day of the assassination, his bodyguard, provided by the Uttar Pradesh government, was sick. Although he had received two threatening calls, on 5 and 8 August 1997, Kumar refused to pay the extortion money. The hired killers, including Rauf and Abdul Rashid, conducted reconnaissance for a month, but did not proceed because of the armed bodyguard. At 10.40 am, while returning from the temple, he was confronted by one of the assassins who said: "Bahut puja kar li, ab upar ja ke karna (you have done enough puja (prayer), now do it up there)." Initially, Kumar survived and sought shelter in nearby huts, but residents shut their doors. His driver Suraj was shot in both legs as he tried to shelter Kumar.[21]

A Mumbai underworld organisation called D-Company is considered to have been responsible for this assassination.[22][17] The police also accused film composer Nadeem Saifi of the music duo Nadeem-Shravan of having paid for the murder due to a personal dispute and fled the country after the murder. However, on 9 January 2001, Abdul Rauf Merchant (known as "Raja") confessed to being the murderer. On 29 April 2002, Sessions Judge M. L. Tahilyani sentenced Rauf to life imprisonment, stating that he was not imposing the death penalty because the prosecution had failed to prove that Rauf was a contract killer. The police alleged that Saifi paid Abu Salem, a known associate of Dawood Ibrahim, to assassinate Dua and assigned Rauf to the job, but it just so happened that Ibrahim and Abu Salem were already planning on murdering Dua as he had refused to pay protection money to D-Company as part of an extortion attempt. As per his family's wishes, Gulshan Kumar Dua was cremated in a shamshan (cremation ground) in Delhi.[23]

Abdul Rauf alias Daud Merchant was convicted in 2002 for the murder of Gulshan Kumar. He fled India after he was granted furlough by the Bombay high court in 2009. He was extradited from Bangladesh in 2016.[24] He is currently in the high-security Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.[25]


T-Series is still running and operated and has a widespread base across India. In 2017, T-Series announced plans to produce a biographical film about Kumar titled Mogul – The Gulshan Kumar Story.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Koppikar, Smruti (25 August 1997). "Killing of Gulshan Kumar Reveals Mumbai Underworld's Nexus with Bollywood is Turning Nasty". India Today. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  2. ^ "'सर, गुलशन कुमार का विकेट गिरने वाला है', हत्‍या से पहले पुलिस को मुखबिर ने दी थी प्‍लान की खबर". Navbharat Times (in Hindi). Retrieved 17 September 2022.
  3. ^ Indian film financing comes of age, 29 May 2004
  4. ^ About Us Archived 5 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine T Series Official website.
  5. ^ "The daughter of the legendary Gulshan Kumar of T Series Tulsi Kumar comes out with her maiden solo album]".
  6. ^ "Watch: Gulshan Kumar's daughter Khushali makes screen debut with revived 'Mainu Ishq Da Lagya Rog'". DNA India. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  7. ^ Khan, Danish; Khan, Ruhi (22 March 2021). Escaped: True Stories of Indian Fugitives in London. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. ISBN 978-93-90914-73-9.
  8. ^ "Devotion of Gulshan Kumar towards Vaishno Devi". Business Standard India. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Death of Gulshan Kumar (1997)". Amar Ujala (in Hindi). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  10. ^ Gulshan!, 12 July 1997
  11. ^ "बॉलीवुड का सबसे विख्यात और 'कुख्यात' म्यूजिक मैन, जिसे मार डाला गया [Bollywood's most famous and "infamous" music man, who was murdered]". The Lallantop (India Today Group). 30 December 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Gulshan Kumar Biography – Gulshan Kumar Profile, Childhood, Life, Timeline". Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  13. ^ Nihalani, Govind; Chatterjee, Saibal (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. p. 20. ISBN 9788179910665. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2017. Songs made a triumphal return to mainstream Hindi cinema with the success of the music of a low-budget Mahesh Bhatt film, Aashiqui, which was produced by T-Series, a small-time company that had begun life peddling pirated Hindi film songs.
  14. ^ "Top 25 films between the years 1985–1994". Filmfare. 18 February 2018. Archived from the original on 10 December 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  15. ^ Bhargava, Simran (15 January 1991). "As music market expands rapidly, India becomes one of the largest producers of cassettes". India Today. Archived from the original on 10 December 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Official exchange rate (LCU per US$, period average)". World Bank. 1991. Archived from the original on 10 December 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  17. ^ a b "The Mafia Calls The Shots". Outlook. 25 August 1997.
  18. ^ "Official exchange rate (LCU per US$, period average)". World Bank. 1997. Archived from the original on 11 December 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Bollywood Cinema News | Bollywood Movie Reviews | Bollywood Movie Trailers – IndiaGlitz Bollywood". Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  20. ^ Gulshan Kumar shot dead, scare in filmdom Archived 5 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine The Indian Express, 13 August 2001.
  21. ^ Koppikar, Smruti (25 August 1997). "Killing of Gulshan Kumar reveals Mumbai underworld's nexus with Bollywood is turning nasty". India Today.
  22. ^ Prakash, Aryan (September 2017). "Gulshan Kumar murder mystery: Recalling the day when 16 bullets were pumped into him". Inuth. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  23. ^ Stunned silence at Super Cassettes' Delhi factory The Indian Express, 13 August 2001.
  24. ^ "Dawood aide Abdul Rauf to be sent back to India: Bangladesh minister". Hindustan Times. 18 January 2016.
  25. ^ "Daud Merchant lands in jail after deportation". The Daily Star. 11 November 2016.
  26. ^ "Mogul first look: Akshay Kumar to play Gulshan Kumar. Who was Gulshan Kumar?". The Indian Express. 15 March 2017.

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