The genius of film-making named: Kidar Sharma
painter, photographer, story-writer, poet,
lyricist, dialogue-writer, director, editor, producer and above all
a Masters in English literature from Punjab University; the genius of the
last century cannot be other than -the one and only -Kidar Sharma.
which was a complete replica of distress, neglect, shattered economic
conditions and mental agony in his early days; could not discourage him
from his will to join films; which was his first and foremost
passion. The film ‘Pooran Bhagat’ produced by New Theatres of Calcutta
and directed by Debaki Kumar Bose in early 1930s made some perpetual
impact on his psyche.
recalled in a memoir- “I have nothing to recommend me. My voice was
horrible and my face was average. My health was poor and my purse empty
besides there was nobody to help me. Only my sense of humour and my faith
in God goaded me on to
continue the struggle.” Of Debaki Bose he wrote’ “He expressed his
ideas through symbolism. He was the greatest movie maker. Even today no
one can match his subtlety and mastery. He was the supreme guru and all
subsequent directors have learned a thing or two from him”.
tiring rail journey in third class compartment from Amritsar took young
Kidar Sharma to a totally unknown place called Calcutta in search of
Debaki Kumar Bose. He did not have the train fare to Calcutta but his wife
Raj Dulari produced the money that she had saved. It was just Rs.25. Consequently for his survival
occasionally he pasted film-posters on the walls of Calcutta
repeatedly attempted to enter the gates of the studio of New Theatres (the
then mecca of Indian film industry) and forbidden by the watchman at the
gate, Kidar Sharma approached
two Punjabies- Prithviraj
Kapoor and Kundan Lal Saigal, who were associated with New Theatres for
their help for his desired introduction to Debaki Kumar Bose.
As the destiny would have it, Saigal introduced young Kidar Sharma to Debaki Kumar Bose through Durga Khote, the well known face of Indian cinema of those days. Thus commenced the journey of Kidar Sharma, which proved to be the beginning of a golden phase in the history of Indian silver screen.
Debaki Bose hired Kidar Sharma initially as a still photographer for the film- Seeta (1934) and he continued working in photographic department for the subsequent films ‘Inqilab’ & ‘Dhoop Chhaon’ (1935) and Pujarin (1936). But, he came to limelight with historic film ‘Devdas’ (1935) starring his life long friend K.L.Saigal & Jamuna. It was directed by legendary P.C. Barua. In this film Kidar Sharma got his first major break as a lyricist and a dialogue writer and Bimal Roy as a photographer. Its two immortal songs- ‘Balam aye baso mere man mein’ & ‘Dukh kea b din beetat naahin’ (sung by K.L.Saigal) were penned by Kidar Sharma. These two immortal and ‘Down Memory Line’ melodies are still alive in the head and heart of millions of ardent music lovers..
A few lines about the persona of Kidar Sharma, who was born
on 12 April, 1910 at Narowal
(now in Pakistan) in what was then the Punjab region of India and grew up
in a life of poverty. His two brothers, Ragunath and Vishwa had died as
infants and sister Taro too died of tuborclosis at an early age. A younger
sister Guro survived as did a younger brother Himmar Rai, who would later
work with Kidar Sharma in films before establishing himself as a
successful Urdu poet.
Kidar Sharma attended the Baij Nath High School, Amritsar
where he became interested in painting, theatre, photography
besides philosophy. While he was studying in his primary class, as his
family could not afford his initial education, he did book-binding for the
school library, thereby he could earn four annas (a quarter of a rupee) a
day to sustain livelihood and continue his education. After completion of
his High school education, he ran away from his home to pursue a career in
cinema in Bombay but was unsuccessful in gaining any employment. He
returned to Amritsar and continued
his studies. He attended Hindu Sabha College where he founded a College
Dramatic Society which would later gave him his first break in films.
early days, while struggling for his living he also used to paint the
portraits of luminaries, religious idols and film personalities. On a
Diwali day, the young Kidar Sharma sold his captivating painting of
Lord Rama at a footpath in Hall Bazaar, Amritsar for a mere sum of
nine rupees (which included four rupees incurred for its framimg), so as
to purchase crackers for his younger sister and sweets for the family.
joining the films, he continued his passion for creating images. He
painted the portraits and made sketches of Uma Shashi, Kanan Devi, Pahari
Sanyal, Robindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee and in his later
days that of Jawahar Lal Nehru.
these fabulous paintings, in the midst of his large number of fascinating
still photographs, there is a prized portrait of young Kundan Lal Saigal
with a solo-hat, which has been published time and again in different
magazines and journals. He remarkably utilized the art of still
photography in his directional attempts. One such example can be
visualized in one of his immortal films-
‘Jogan’ (1950) wherein close-ups of emotionally charged Nargis
and Dilip Kumar depict some classic examples of human sentiments.
lyricist in Kidar Sharma needs no introduction to the film-music lovers.
As stated here-in-above, he came to limelight with the lyrics of film- ‘Devdas’.
A list of some of his other
most unforgettable lyrics
include- ‘Deewana hoon’, ‘Hum apna unhein banaa na sakey’,
‘Jagat mein prem hi prem bharaa hei’, ‘Kya humney bigaraa hei, kyuun
humko satatey ho’, ‘Miskuratey huyey yun aankh milaya na karo’,
‘So jaa rajkumari’, (sung by Kundan Lal Saigal). ‘Khayalon
mein kisee key is tarah aya nahin kartey’, ‘Teri duniyan mein dil
lagta nahin’, ‘Mujhey such such batado, kya’, ’Sun bairee balam
mat bol, ib kya hoga’, ’Sapna ban saajan aye’, ‘Muhabbat ke maron
ka’, ‘Farishton ki nagri mein main’, ‘Gokul se gayey girdhari’,
‘Kabhee tanhaiyon mein yun hamari yaad ayegee,’ and
‘Ankhon mein teri yaad liye jaa raha hoon mein’ –just
to name a few.
his earlier days of financial crisis, Kidar Sharma wrote some of
Saigal’s immortal non-film songs for a petty sum of five rupee each viz
‘Panchhi kahe hot udas’, ‘Suno suno hey krishan kala’ and
‘Shamma ka jalna hei’.
It may be
observed that most of his lyrics are generally worded at a distinct
ease, with superb simplicity, a unique style which is
close to dialectical prose, spontaneous, effortless
and apparently coming from the core of
his heart. For instance, if it is ‘Dukh ke ab din beetat nahin’
or ‘Mujhey such such bataa do, kya’ and
’Khayaoln mein is tarah aya nahin katrtey’. There is a large
number of such lyrics written
by the maestro.
appears that saying of Mathew Arnold that- ‘Poetry
is overflow of spontaneous thoughts’- has come alive from
the pen of Kidar Sharma.
dialogue and a screen-play writer’s role of Kidar Sharma (for some of
his films viz
‘Devdas’, ‘Vidyapati’ and later on for ‘Jogan’) must be
appreciated for their in-depth appeal and passion. Then there were other
enduring movies like ‘Suhagraat’, ‘Bawre Nain’, ‘Shokhian’,
‘Gauri’ and ‘Hamari Yaad
A hard task master and having
a deep understanding of mental conflict of human nature and above all an
uncompromising character as a director; Kidar Sharma resigned from ‘New
Theatres’, Calcutta when he
could foresee that his conviction and logical determination was getting
hurt. This accelerated his financial problems, he therefore moved to
Bombay alongwith his lifetime friend Prithviraj Kapoor, where he was
introduced to Seth Chandulal Shah of Ranjit Movietone.
he scripted and directed his first film ‘Aulad’ starring A.S. Gyani
and Romola, which was an off-beat dealing with human conflicts. The film
marked the beginning of new wave cinema.
major entrant to Bombay cine production,
Kidar Sharma directed a film ‘Chitralekha’ (1941) starring A.S.
Gyani and Mehtab in the year-1941. It was based on Bhagwati Charan
Verma’s (Hindi laureate) all time eminent novel having a classic story
line and a conflicting theme. In this film he as well wrote the theme song
‘Tum jao jao bhagwan bane’ sung by Ramdulari. The music for the
film was composed by Jhande Khan (the mentor of Naushad). Kidar Sharma yet
another time directed another version
of -‘Chitralekha’ in 1964, starring Meena Kumari and Pradeep Kumar.
Though himself a lyricist of eminence, he
preferred to suggest Sahir
Ludhianvi to write its theme
song ‘Sansaar sey bhagey phirtey ho’ which
was composed by Roshan and sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
Nargis’ role in film ‘Mother
India’ produced and directed by Mehboob Khan is generally considered as
her best. However, Nargis could not restrain herself, when in one of the
interviews she said- “Though I touched my best in the
movie Mother India__yet, I think I gave my best ever performance in
Jogan”. It was perhaps due to the reason that Kidar Sharma, the director
of film ‘Jogan’, could extract better performance from the actor than
Mehboob Khan in ‘Mother India’.
An exciting facet on the making of
all time classic ‘Jogan’. Once Kidar Sharma observed: “The producer
of the film- Chandulal Shah told me that I will have to
finish the film ‘Jogan’ with in a month.
I love challenges so I agreed on two conditions- I said. I’d
shoot during the day and edit at night provided he give me a room at the
studio to sleep, and a man to make me cup of tea any time of the day or
night. The stars were Nargis and Dilip Kumar. On the first day of
shooting, I asked Dilip Kumar if he was ready and he said “Yes Boss”.
Lekh Tandon gave me clap and the camera start rolling, bur Dilip Kumar
would’nt concentrate. This happened again and again, and finally I told
him, ‘you are a prize horse which will run the race, no doubt, I’m the
jockey who controls you with the reins to make you win’. He co-operated
fully after that and we finished the picture in 29 days”. Thus a history
was made in the ambit of Indain cinema with
the classic film- ‘Jogan’.
The film was one of the four highest box-office earning movies of the year 1950. The gross sale of tickets was over Rs.1.20 crores. The other three were ‘Samadhi’, ‘Babul’ and “Dastan’. The present day generation of cine-goers perhaps will be amazed to learn that maximum rate of ticket in a urban cinema hall used to cost Rs.2.50 and a semi-urban and rural hall’s ticket was for Re. 1.25. Very few people could even afford a lower class entry costing five annas and or ten annas (thiity one and sixty-two paise).
Back to music of the film ‘Jogan’,
which was composed by Bulo C. Rani (a former assistant of Khemchand
Prakash). Most of its fabulous
melodies were sung by Geeta Roy, which
are still alive in head and heart of ardent music lovers. Each and every
song was a glittering gem. Just listen to a few of its Meera bhajans
sung by Geeta Roy (nee Geeta Dutt) ‘Ghunghat
ke pat khol re’, ‘Mein to girdhar ke ghar jaaoon’, ‘Aye ri mein to
prem diwani’, ‘Jogi mat ja’, ‘Pyare darshan dijo aaj’ &
‘Uth to chale awdhoot’. Owing
to the voice quality, choked with emotions of Geeta Roy, it became a
milestone in the
history of Indian cine-music. She was perhaps at her best in ‘Jogan’.
While listening to these sublime melodies; at times, the singer reminds
the listeners, the sublime bhajan singing of some of the other
greats like Juthika Ray and M.S. Subhalakshami.
The fact remains that Kidar Sharma
had a brilliant sense of lyrics and music, right from the days he wanted
to enter the film-world and stirred by musical-hit film ‘Pooran Bhagat’
(1933) in which Saigal sang some heart-throbbing melodies- ‘Bhaju
mein to bhav se shree girdhari’, ‘Ausar
beeto jaat pranee tero ausar beeto jaat’ and ‘Sumiran kar piya
raam naam’. He complemented
his fulfillment through these sublime melodies of film ‘Jogan’.
Prithviraj Kapoor himself a doyen
of theatre and cinema had firm trust and reliance in his life-long friend
Kidar Sharma. When his eldest son Randhir Raj Kapoor failed in his
matriculation examination, he requested Kidar Sharma to accept his son as
his assistant. Thereby Raj Kapoor joined Kidar Sharma as his clapper boy.
As an assistant, he even swept and mopped floors before he actually became
the hero that he was.
Then came a day, when Kidar Sharma
decided to launch Raj Kapoor as a hero in his next film- ‘Neelkamal’
in the year 1947 along with another newcomer as heroine called Madhubala
(known as Baby Mumtaz). Though this was against the wishes of the producer
Seth Chandulal Shah; yet, conviction and firm determination in the psyche
of Kidar Sharma could not deter him from making this film and creating
legendary actors. Besides, these illustrious stars, Kidar Sharma also
introduced Geeta Bali in film-‘Suhagrat’,
Mala Sinha in ‘Rangeen Ratien’, Rajender Kumar in ‘Jogan’
and brought to limelight Tanuja in his film ‘Hamari Yaad Aayegi’.
Roshan Lal Nagrath (later on known
as Roshan) left Delhi for Bombay in search of an opportunity as a
composer. He came across Kidar Sharma at Dadar Railway Station. The
meeting gave Roshan an opportunity
to provide music for the film ‘Neki aur Badi’ (1949) directed by Kidar
Sharma. Though it proved a box-office failure, yet Kidar Sharma could
foresee the hidden talent in him.
Kidar Sharma gave Roshan another chance in his next film
‘Bawre Nain’ which was a turning point in the career of Roshan, as the
film came out a smashing-hit and a momentous chapter was created.
The haunting melodies of yester
years composed by Roshan for ‘Bawre Nain’
‘Khayalon mein is tarah aaya nahin karte’- sung by Geeta
Roy and Mukesh, ‘Teri duniyan mein dil lagta nahin’-sung by
Mukesh and ’Sun bairi balam mat bol’ and ‘Kyun mere dil
mein’ -sung by Rajkumari proved their worth. These songs will be remembered
by the music lovers not for years but for ages.
In myriad roles of a story-writer,
lyricist, screen-play writer, dialogue-writer, editor, photographer and or
a director; Kidar Sharma in his career in the film industry was in one way
or the other, associated with some immortal films. Just have glance of a
few renowned films, wherein he was closely associated- ‘Devdas’.
‘Vidyapati’, ‘Aulad’, ‘Mumtaz Mahal’, ‘Zindagi’, ‘Vishkanya’,
‘Jogan’, ‘Bawre Nain’, ‘Suhagraat’, ‘Gauri’, ‘Shokhian’,
‘Neki Aur Badi’, ‘Rangeen Ratein’, ‘Pyase Nain’, ‘Mumtaz
Mahal’, ‘Chitralekha’, ‘Hamaari
Yaad Aayegi’. The list
In the later half of his career, Kidar Sharma was associated with Children Film Society and produced and directed some classic films like- ‘Jaldeep’, ‘Chetak’ and ‘Dunia Ek Sarai’. The film -‘Jaldeep’ won an award at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Kidar Sharma died on 29 April
1999, dreaming till the last of the films he wanted to make. He always had
a subject ready or a script waiting to be financed. It never happened. And
the strange it may seem, he was, I think, the only film-maker who was not
adequately honoured in this country in his lifetime”- noted critic Saeed
Akhtar Mirza has pertinently observed after the maestro’s demise.
Award or no award!
In the present day over-all scenario in our country, now that every
one understands, how the capability of a person is being evaluated;
thereby it is lesser said, the better.
Yet, the fact remains that as and
when a dispassionate history
of Indian cinema will be written, one name amongst the greats of
‘Silver-Screen’ will be
that of –Kidar Sharma; and
what he wrote and Mubarak Begum recited ‘Kabhi tanhaiyon mein bhee,
hamari yaad aayegi’ for his film -‘Hamari Yaad Aayegi’ will find
its meaning for various reasons.
It will also continue to haunt millions of zealous lovers and ardent
critics of Indian cinema.
Chopra, BA/26B Ashok Vihar-I, Delhi-110052