Shri Nathji and Mahamatshwariji was very fond of watching movies and liked all the bollywood actors of yesteryears. But their most famous heroes were Saigal, Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand
Kundan Lal (K.L.) Saigal (11 April 1904 – 18 January 1947) was an Indian singer and actor who is considered the first superstar of the Hindi film industry, which was centered in Calcutta during Saigal's time. In a career of fifteen years, Saigal acted in 36 feature films - 28 in Hindi, 7 in Bengali, and 1 in Tamil.
Saigal was born at Jammu where his father Amar Chand was a tehsildar at the court of the Raja of Jammu & Kashmir. His mother Kesar Bai was a deeply religious lady who was very fond of music.
In the early 1930s, classical musician and music director Harishchandra Bali brought K.L. Saigal to Calcutta and introduced him to R. C. Boral. R.C. Boral took an instant liking to his talents. Saigal was hired by B. N. Sircar's Calcutta-based film studio New Theatres on a contract of Rs. 200 per month. There he came into contact with contemporaries like Pankaj Mullick, K. C. Dey and Pahari Sanyal. The first film in which Saigal had a role was the film Mohabbat Ke Ansoo, followed by Subah Ka Sitara and Zinda Laash, all released in 1932.
It was in 1933 that his four bhajans for the film Puran Bhagat created a sensation throughout India. Other films that followed were Yahudi Ki Ladki, Chandidas, Rooplekha and Karwan-e-Hayaat. In 1935, Saigal played the role that would come to define his acting career: that of the drunken title character in Devdas, based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel of the same name and directed by P.C. Barua. Saigal picked up Bengali very well and sang Bengali songs and acted in seven Bengali films,
In December 1941, Saigal moved to Bombay to work with Ranjit Movietone. Here he acted and sang in a number of successful films. Bhakt Surdas (1942) and Tansen (1943) were hits during this period. By this time, alcohol had become a predominant factor in Saigal's life. He survived ten years of drinking; however, his alcoholism was too advanced for even a single attempt at abstinence, and Saigal died in his ancestral city of Jalandhar on 18 January 1947, at the age of 42. However, before his death, he was able to churn out three more hits under the baton of Naushad for the film Shahjehan (1946). These are Mere Sapnon Ki Rani, Ae Dil-e-Beqaraar Jhoom and Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya. Parwana (1947) was his last film, released after his death, in which he sang under the baton of Khawaja Khurshid Anwar.
Raj Kapoor was born in Peshawar. His family moved to Bombay after few years. At the age of eleven, he appeared in films for the first time, in the 1935 film Inquilab. After acting in several other films the next 12 years, Raj Kapoor's big break came with the lead role in Neel Kamal (1947) opposite Madhubala in her first role as a leading lady. In 1948, at the age of twenty-four, he established his own studio, R. K. Films, and became the youngest film director of his time making his directorial debut with the film Aag. Aag marked the first of many films in which he and Nargis appeared together. In 1949 he co-starred alongside Dilip Kumar in Mehboob Khan's blockbuster Andaz which was his first major success as an actor.
He went on to produce, direct and star in many box office hits such as Barsaat (1949), Awaara (1951), Shree 420 (1955), Chori Chori (1956), Jagte Raho (1956) and Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960). He produced, directed and starred in his ambitious film, Mera Naam Joker which took more than six years to complete. When released in 1970, it was a box office disaster.
Raj Kapoor is also known to have had a longtime romantic relationship with the renowned actress Nargis during the 1950s. The couple starred in several films together, including Awaara and Shree 420. Nargis. Raj Kapur and Nargis were Mahamateshwariji's favorite onscreen couple.
In the latter half of the 1970s and early 1980s he produced and directed films which focused on the female protagonists: Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) with Zeenat Aman, Prem Rog (1982) with Padmini Kolhapure and Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985) which introduced Mandakini. He acted in fewer films by the late 1970s and early 1980s and focused on producing and directing films. He starred alongside Rajesh Khanna in Naukri (1979) and played the title role alongside Sanjay Khan in Abdullah (1980).
Raj Kapoor's last major film appearance was in Vakil Babu (1982) wherein he appeared with his younger brother Shashi. His last acting role was a cameo appearance in a 1984 released British made-for-television film titled Kim.
Raj Kapoor suffered from asthma in his later years; he died of complications related to asthma in 1988 at the age of 63.
Ashok Kumar (13 October 1911 – 10 December 2001) also fondly called Dadamoni in Bengali, was an Indian film actor . Born Kumudlal Ganguly in Bhagalpur, Bengal Presidency he attained iconic status in Indian cinema. The Government of India honoured him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the Padma Bhushan in 1998 for his contributions to Indian cinema.
His father Kunjalal Ganguly was a lawyer and his mother Gouri Devi came from a wealthy Bengali Kulin Brahmin family. His brothers Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar also acted in films. The three brothers worked together in the comedies Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi and Badhti Ka Naam Dadhi.
He started his career in Bombay, albeit accidentally, with the Bombay Talkies production Jeevan Naiya in 1936. However, it was his subsequent venture with Devika Rani in Achhut Kanya in the same year that set him up for the big league
He was one of the first anti-heroes of Indian Cinema with his role in Kismet in 1943. This movie went on to create a record for the highest grossing film in India at the time of its release. He produced several films for Bombay Talkies during the final years of the company including the famous Mahal in 1949 in which he co-starred with Madhubala.
In the late 1960s he switched to character roles playing the parent, grandparent, dirty old man and suave criminal, being careful never to be typecast. He acted in fewer films in the 1980s and 1990s and occasionally appeared on television, most famously anchoring the first Indian soap opera Hum Log and appearing as the title character in the unforgettable Bahadur Shah Zafar. His last film role was in Aankhon Mein Tum Ho in 1997. Besides acting, he was an avid painter and a practitioner of homeopathy. Altogether, he starred in over 275 films. Ashok Kumar died at the age of 90 in Mumbai on 10 December 2001 of heart failure at his residence in Chembur.
Dilip Kumar was born as "Muhammad Yusuf Khan" on 11 December 1922 in Peshawar, now in Pakistan. He is an Indian film actor and a former Member of Parliament. He debuted as an actor in the movie Jwar Bhata (1944), produced by Bombay Talkies. He is known as Tragedy King, and was described as "the ultimate method actor" by Satyajit Ray. Dilip Kumar's career has spanned six decades and over 60 films. Critics acclaimed him among one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi cinema. Dilip Kumar holds the record for winning three consecutive Film Fare Best Actor awards,sweeping them in 1955,1956 and 1957. No other actor has attained such feat in the history of Hindi Cinema. Dilip Kumar was appointed Sheriff of Mumbai (an honorary position) in 1980, the Government of India honored Kumar with the Padma Bhushan in 1991 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994. The Government of Andhra Pradesh honored Kumar with NTR National Award in 1997. The Government of Pakistan conferred Kumar with Nishan-e-Imtiaz (a highest civilian award in Pakistan) in 1997. He was honored with CNN-IBN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
He starred in films of a variety of genres such as the romantic Andaz (1949), the swashbuckling Aan (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955), the comical Azaad (1955), the historical Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and the social Ganga Jamuna (1961). In 1976, Dilip Kumar took a five-year break from film performances and returned with a character role in the film Kranti (1981) and continued his career playing central character roles in films such as Shakti (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991). His last film was Qila (1998). Dilip Kumar has acted with actress Vyjayanthimala the most, where they both had acted seven films together including the former's home production Gunga Jamuna resulting in great on-screen chemistry and an alleged affair between them.
In 1943, actress Devika Rani, and her husband Himanshu Rai who owned Bombay Talkies spotted Dilip Kumar in Pune, and cast him with a lead role in their film Jwar Bhata (1944), which marked Dilip Kumar's entry into the Bollywood film industry. Hindi author Bhagwati Charan Varma gave him the screen name Dilip Kumar. It was Jugnu (1947) which became his first major hit at box office. He went on to appear in many hit films including Mela (1948), Andaz (1949), Deedar (1951), Devdas (1955), Yahudi (1958) and Madhumati (1958). These films established his screen image as the "Tragedy King". Together with Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand he was the biggest star in Bollywood in the 1950s. He starred alongside Raj Kapoor in Andaz (1949) and with Dev Anand in Insaniyat (1955). He formed popular on-screen pairings with many of the top actresses at the time including Nargis, Kamini Kaushal, Meena Kumari, Madhubala and Vyjanthimala.
In 1960 he portrayed Prince Salim in the historical film Mughal-e-Azam, whicj is his most memorable role. In 1981, he returned with the multi-starrer Kranti which was the biggest hit of the year. He went onto play character roles in hit films including Shakti (1982), Vidhaata (1982), Mashaal (1984) and Karma (1986). In 1991, he starred alongside veteran actor Raaj Kumar in Saudagar which was his last successful film. His films Mughal-e-Azam and Naya Daur were fully colorized and re-released in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
After graduating in English Literature from the Government College, Lahore (then in British India, now in Pakistan), Anand left his hometown for Bombay in the early 1940s.
He tried his luck in films and was soon offered the lead role in Prabhat Films' Hum Ek Hain (1946), paired opposite Kamala Kotnis.
In the late 1940s, Anand was offered a few roles starring as the male lead opposite singer-actress Suraiya in woman-oriented films.
While shooting these films, he became romantically involved with Suraiya. The two of them were paired in seven films together: Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Shair (1949), Afsar (1950), Nili (1950), Do Sitare (1951) and Sanam (1951), all of which were successful at the box office. As both Dev Anand and Suraiya were favourite film stars of Mahamateshwari and Shri Nathji, it is most likely that they saw these early movies of Dev Anand, co-staring Suraiya.
Anand was offered his first big break by Ashok Kumar in Ziddi (1948), co-starring Kamini Kaushal, which became an instant success. In 1949, he launched his own company Navketan Films (which means "newness"), which, as of 2011, had produced 35 films.
A rapid-fire style of dialogue delivery and a penchant for nodding while speaking became Dev's style in films like House No. 44, Pocket Maar, Munimji, Funtoosh, C.I.D. and Paying Guest.
In the sixties, Dev Anand acquired a romantic image with films like Manzil and Tere Ghar Ke Samne with Nutan, Kinaare Kinaare with Meena Kumari, Maya with Mala Sinha, Asli-Naqli with Sadhana Shivdasani, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai and Mahal with Asha Parekh and Teen Deviyaan opposite three heroines Kalpana, Simi Garewal and Nanda. In the film Teen Deviyaan, Dev Anand played a playboy.
His first colour film, Guide with Waheeda Rehman. Dev Anand tapped his friends in Hollywood to launch an Indo-US co-production that was shot in Hindi and English simultaneously and was released in 1965. Guide, directed by younger brother Vijay Anand, was an acclaimed movie.
He reunited with Vijay Anand for the movie Jewel Thief, based on thriller genre which featured Vaijayantimala, Tanuja, Anju Mahendru, Faryal and Helen. Their next collaboration, Johny Mera Naam (1970), again a thriller, where Dev was paired opposite Hema Malini was a big hit. It was Johnny Mera Naam which made Hema Malini a big star.
He tasted success with his 1971 directorial effort, Hare Rama Hare Krishna which talked about the prevalent hippie culture.He delivered commercial hits again with young heroines Yogita Bali and Raakhee in Banarasi Babu (1973), Hema Malini in Chhupa Rustam (1973) and Amir Garib (1974), Zeenat Aman in Heera Panna(1973), Warrant(1975) and Darling Darling(1977) and Parveen Babi in Bullet(1976). The presence of his discoveries in the 1970s—Zeenat, and later Tina Munim, in films and his good onscreen chemistry with beautiful young stars like Raakhee, Parveen Babi, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman in various films boosted Dev's image as the evergreen star even though he was well into his fifties.
Later his films were he played as the lead hero like Hum Naujawan (1985), Lashkar (1989) continued to be box office success and was appreciated by critics. His films Sau Crore (1991) and Censor (2000) were critically acclaimed. His last film Chargesheet (2011) was panned by critics across the board. Dev Anand died in his room at The Washington Mayfair Hotel in London at the age of 88 on 3 December 2011 of a cardiac arrest.