1946 - So many firsts!!!
This was the year of the firsts. Nirupa Roy, Geeta Bali,
Geeta Roy, K. A. Abbas, Ravi Shankar, Balraj Sahani, Damay-
anti Sahani, Mina Kapoor, Sudhir Phadke, P. L. Santoshi, Dev
Anand, Rahaman, Rehana, Chitragupt, Ram Ganguly, Abhi Bhat-
tacharya, Chetan Anand, Uma Anand, Kamini Kaushal, Hans Raj
Bahal, Majrooh, S. D. Burman, and, Kishore Kumar started
their career in Hindi movies in 1946.
Here a summary of the various firsts of Hindi cinema that
happened this year. Some of the details will be provided
This was the first Hindi movie to be released, starring
Nirupa Roy, the goddess of the silver screen. She was
born as Kokila on Jan. 4, 1931 in Bulsar (Gujarat).
She married Kishorechand Lallubhai Bulsara in 1945 and
they came to Bombay. She was so successful in the
gujarati picture, "guNasundarii" that she soon became a
top-notch gujarati star. Her husband gave her the
screen name, Nirupa Roy, and changed his name to Kamal
Kishore Roy. After the monumental success of "har har
mahaadev" (1950) in which she played paarvatii to shiv
played by Trilok Kapoor, Prithviraj's younger brother,
she was a goddess in dozens of movies.
A solo dance in this movie introduced Geeta Bali. She
was born in Amritsar on Nov. 30, 1930 to Sardar Kartar
Singh, a well-known Sikh missionary preacher. Geeta,
whose real name was Harikirtan Kaur, took dancing les-
sons and did stage shows and sang on the Radio as a
child artiste. She shot to fame in Kidar Sharma's
"suhaag raat" (1948) with bhaarat bhuushaN as the hero.
She hit the headlines after her marriage to Shammi
Kapoor and their son Mickey (aadityaraaj) made his
debut at the age of four months in the arms of Prith-
viraj Kapoor in the popular stage production, "kisaan".
Geeta Roy (later Dutt) made her debut in a song in this
movie, under the musical direction of Hanuman Prasad.
She was 16 at the time. She became famous with her
songs in "do bhaaii" (1947) with S. D. Burman (a god)
as MD. She married Guru Dutt (another god) in 1953 and
died in July 1972.
dharatii ke laal
K. A. Abbas (director), Ravi Shankar (MD and a god),
Balraj Sahani (hero) and his wife, Damayanti Sahani
(heroine) got a break in this movie, although Balraj
had a small role in "insaaf" (1946). Was the first of
the three movies backed by Indian People's Theatre
Association (IPTA), a leftist drama company, this year.
Abbas, a grandson of the well-known Urdu poet, haalii,
was born in Panipat (Harayana) in 1914. Was a journal-
ist who ran the longest running weekly political
column, the Last Page, in the Bombay Chronicle and
Blitz (1941-86). Sold his first screenplay "nayaa san-
saar" (1941) to Bombay Talkies. He brought Amitabh
Bachchan into Hindi movies.
Ravi Shankar, the famous sitarist known all over the
world, also gave music for "niichaa nagar" (1946),
"anuraadhaa" (1960), "godaan" (1963) and "miiraa"
(1979). Other well-known classical musicians who gave
music for Hindi movies include, Panna Lal Ghosh, Ali
Akbar Khan, Alla Rakha Qureshi, Ustad Vlilayat Khan,
Professor Nararayan Rao Vyas, Gyan Prakash Ghosh,
Vijaya Raghav Rao, Anand Shankar, Raghunath Seth, Shiv
Kumar Sharma and Hari Prasad Chaurasia.
Balraj Sahani was born at Rawalpindi (Pakistan!) on May
1 (!), 1913 to a staunch Arya Samaji Harbans Lal
Sahani. At D. A. V. College Rawalpindi, two things
happened. One of his teachers, Prof. Jaswant Rai,
transformed him into a leftist and, secondly, he
started to play female roles in college dramas. (Don't
laugh, one of my uncles, Om Prakash Rahi Jamalpuri, a
keshadhari Sikh, despite the name, played female roles
in his drama club as late as 1956.) He married Jaswant
Rai's daughter, Damayanti, who may have been one of the
first few girls in Panjab to act in dramas in those
days [Check!]. He took no interest in the family business and
became a writer of short stories in Hindi. Later, in
1937, he and his wife landed in Calcutta in search of a
suitable career. He ran out of money. His father sent
him a hundred rupees (like lakhs now) and ordered him
to come home. He went to Shantiniketan and landed a job
as a teacher of Hindi and English. Here, Tagore (also a
god) told him something that he never forgot. He said
that if you, a panjabi, do not care for your mother-
tongue, nobody else will. In 1940, he took up a job in
the Indian service of BBC in London. He came back to
India in 1947. Damayanti died in 1947. More later.
Mina Kapoor, who married Anil Biswas (also a god), made
her debut by singing a solo,"kisii se merii priit lagii
ab kyaa karu.N", written by Gopal Singh Nepali and MD'd
by S. D. Burman.
Sudhir Phadke's first Hindi movie all by himself as an
MD. Produced by Prabhat, lyrics by Qamar Jalalabadi,
had five songs, sung by G. M. Durrani, Mohanatara
Ajinkya and Manik Varma.
hum ek hai.n
Pyare Lal Santoshi (director), Dev Anand, Rahman,
Rehana debuted with this movie. Santoshi started his
career as an assistant to Jaddan Bai and later esta-
blished himself as a lyricist in "basant" (1942). He
also wrote a Hindi qavaalii, " mai.N musaafir huu.N
merii subah kahi.n shaam kahi.n" in the Marathi movie,
For Dev Anand, see Intro to Chitrahar 8, coming soon.
Rahman was a popular hero at one time, changed to char-
acter acting later. Rehana did not act in too many
movies, I will mention some later.
The first Hindi movie as an independent music director
by Chitragupt. He used to entertain his friends by
singing songs when he was a college student in Bihar.
After finishing his M. A. he came to Bombay vowing to
himself that if he did not get work in 365 days, he
would go back to Bihar. He sang in a chorus under Hari
Prasann Das and acted as assistant to S. N. Tripathy
before landing his own film. His complete filmography
is available from the RMIM automailer maintained by
Prince and Satish.
Music director Ram Ganguli made his debut in this
movie. Songs were written by Swami Ramanand and sung
mostly by Khurshiid. He became famous with Raj Kapoor's
"aag" (1948). He was born on Aug. 5, 1928 and learnt
music from Ustad Allaudin Khan. At age 17, he played
sitar in an All India Congress Function. He was assis-
tant to R. C. Boral and gave music for many dramas of
Prithviraj Kapoor's theater comapny.
Abhi Bhattacharya's first Hindi movie, was also a turn-
ing point in Dilip Kumar (another god)'s career. He
says that before this movie, acting for him was, 'turn
this side', 'smile', 'heave a sigh of relief', 'laugh
heartily' etc. Nitin Bose taught him a new conception
of acting which Dilip has not forgotten to this day.
Another IPTAbacked film, launched the careers of Chetan
Anand, his wife Uma, and Kamini Kaushal. Chetan, the
elder bother of Dev, and of the young kid of the family
Vijay (nicknamed Goldie), was born in Lahore (like so
many other famous people) in 1915. He worked for BBC,
played the leading man in Abbas's "zubaidaa", a stage
play directed by Balraj Sahani. "niichaa nagar" was the
first Indian movie to be given the prestigious Grand
Prix (French for Grand Prize) at the first Cannes film
festival in 1946. More about him later. Kamini Kaushal
(real name Uma Kashyap) was also born in Lahore on Feb.
24, 1927 to Rai Bahadur S. R. Kashyap, Dean of the
University of Punjab. She played leading roles in col-
lege dramas and married B. S. Sood, an Engineer with
Bombay Port Trust. Chetan, who was an old family friend
from Lahore, asked her to play an important role in his
first movie. She did. She shot to fame in Filmistan's
"shahiid" (1948) with Dilip Kumar and Bombay Talkies
"ziddii" (1948) with Dev Anand. Kids may remember her
as the mother of Manoj Kumar (one of a number of people
who, early in their carrer, were influenced by Dilip
Kumar's acting) in many movies.
Soon, I will post Part II of this post, where references
will be provided.
Posted by SS=Surjit Singh, a movie fan period.
and formatted by SS=Satish Subramanian
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