Kamal Amrohi

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Kamal Amrohi
कमाल अमरोही
کمال امروہی
Kamal Amrohi (28553611573).jpg
Kamal Amrohi in the 1950s
Syed Amir Haider Kamal Naqvi

17 January 1918 (1918-01-17) [1]
Died11 February 1993 (1993-02-12) (aged 75) [2]
Burial placeRahmatabad cemetery, Mumbai
Other namesKamal Amrohvi, Chandan.
Occupationfilm director and producer, screenwriter, dialogue writer [3]
Spouse(s)Bilkis Bano,
(died 1982)
Meena Kumari
(m. 1952;sep. 1964)
Awards1961: Filmfare Best Dialogue Award: Mughal E Azam [4]

Syed Amir Haider Kamal Naqvi (Urdu : سیّد امِیر حَیدر کمال نقوی ), popularly known as Kamal Amrohi (Urdu : کمال امروہی ), (17 January 1918 – 11 February 1993) was an Indian film director and screenwriter. He was also an Urdu and Hindi poet. [5] [3]

Indian people Ethnic group

Indians are the nationals or citizens of India, the second most populous nation in the world, containing 17.50% of the world's population. "Indian" refers to nationality, rather than a particular ethnicity or language; the Indian nationality consists of dozens of regional ethno-linguistic groups, reflecting the rich and complex history of the country. Due to emigration, the Indian diaspora is present throughout the world, notably in other parts of Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Oceania, and Africa.

Film director Person who controls the artistic and dramatic aspects of a film production

A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.

Screenwriter writer who writes for TV, films, comics and games

A screenplay writer, scriptwriter or scenarist is a writer who practices the craft of screenwriting, writing screenplays on which mass media, such as films, television programs and video games, are based.


His Hindi films include Mahal (1949), Pakeezah (1972) and Razia Sultan (1983). He established Kamal Pictures (Mahal Films) in 1953 and Kamalistan Studio in Bombay in 1958. [4]

<i>Mahal</i> (1949 film) 1949 Indian Hindi film directed by Kamal Amrohi

Mahal is a 1949 Indian Hindi film directed by Kamal Amrohi and starring Ashok Kumar and Madhubala. It was India's first reincarnation thriller film.

<i>Pakeezah</i> 1972 film by Kamal Amrohi

Pakeezah is a 1972 Indian cult classic film, written and directed by Kamal Amrohi, who was known for his perfectionism. The music is by Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad Ali. The film starred Meena Kumari, Raaj Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Nadira, D.K. Sapru and Veena. Meena Kumari's performance as a golden-hearted Lucknow nautch-girl drew major praise. However, this was to be Meena Kumari's last performance.

Early life

Kamal Amrohi was born in Amroha, United Provinces in British India (present-day Uttar Pradesh) and later took on the name Kamal Amrohi (or Amrohvi). [6] He was a first cousin to Pakistani writers Jaun Elia and Rais Amrohvi. [7]

Amroha City in Uttar Pradesh, India

Amroha is a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh state in India. It is located north-west of Moradabad, near the Sot River. It is the administrative headquarters of the Amroha district.

Uttar Pradesh State in India

Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India. With roughly 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populous state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950. The state is divided into 18 divisions and 75 districts with the capital being Lucknow. The main ethnic group is the Hindavi people, forming the demographic plurality. On 9 November 2000, a new state, Uttarakhand, was carved out from the state's Himalayan hill region. The two major rivers of the state, the Ganga and Yamuna, join at Allahabad (Prayagraj) and then flow as the Ganga further east. Hindi is the most widely spoken language and is also the official language of the state.

Jaun Elia was a Pakistani progressive Marxist Urdu poet, philosopher, biographer, and scholar. He was the brother of Rais Amrohvi and Syed Muhammad Taqi, who were journalists and psychoanalysts. He was fluent in Urdu, Arabic, English, Persian, Sanskrit and Hebrew. One of the most prominent modern Pakistani poets, popular for his unconventional ways, he "acquired knowledge of philosophy, logic, Islamic history, the Muslim Sufi tradition, Muslim religious sciences, Western literature, and Kabbala."


In 1938, he left Amroha to study in Lahore, now part of Pakistan, where singer K. L. Saigal discovered him and took him to Mumbai (Bombay) to work for Sohrab Modi's Minerva Movietone film company, where he started his career working on films like Jailor (1938) [8] , Pukar (1939), Bharosa (1940), A. R. Kardar's film (Shahjehan 1946). He made his debut as a director in 1949, with Mahal , starring Madhubala and Ashok Kumar, which was a musical hit, with songs by Lata Mangeshkar and Rajkumari Dubey. [9]

Lahore Metropolis in Punjab, Pakistan

Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab. Lahore is the country's second-most populous city after Karachi and is one of Pakistan's wealthiest cities, with an estimated GDP of $58.14 billion (PPP) as of 2015. Lahore is the largest city, and historic cultural centre of the Punjab region, and one of Pakistan's most socially liberal, progressive, and cosmopolitan cities.

Pakistan federal parliamentary constitutional republic in South Asia

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

K. L. Saigal Indian actor

Kundanlal Saigal, often abbreviated as K. L. Saigal, was an Indian singer and actor who is considered the first superstar of the Hindi film industry, which was centred in Kolkata during Saigal's time, but is currently centred in Mumbai. Saigal's unique voice quality which was a mixture of baritone and soft tenor was the benchmark for most of the singers who followed him. In fact it remains the gold standard even today shining through very early and practically primitive recording technology.

He directed only four films; of these were Mahal (1949) for Bombay Talkies, Daera (1953) with Meena Kumari and Nasir Khan, Pakeezah , which was conceived in 1958 but was not brought to the screen until 1972. He also wrote the screenplay, lyrics and produced the latter. Film Pakeezah (1972) has been called one of the extraordinary musical melodramas ever made in India, although flawed but noble. [10] Meena Kumari herself, in her public comments to the press, after seeing the movie, said that it was Kamal Amrohi's tribute to her. [8] This was followed by Razia Sultan (1983), his last film. Though, he started a film, Majnoon with Rajesh Khanna and Rakhee Gulzar as leads, however the film got shelved. [11]

Bombay Talkies Movie studio

Bombay Talkies was a movie studio founded in 1934. During its period of operation, Bombay Talkies produced 40 movies in Malad, a suburb of the Indian city of Bombay.

Rajesh Khanna Indian actor, film producer and politician

Rajesh Khanna was an Indian actor, film producer and politician who is known for his work in Hindi cinema. He is referred to as the "first superstar" of Indian Cinema. He starred in 15 consecutive solo hit films from 1969 to 1971, still an unbroken record.

Rakhee Gulzar Indian actress

Raakhee Gulzar is a former Indian film actress who has primarily appeared in Hindi films, as well as in many Bengali films. In four decades of acting, she has won three Filmfare Awards and one National Film Award, apart from many other awards. At Filmfare, Raakhee has been nominated 16 times in all, making her the most-nominated performer in the female categories, alongside Madhuri Dixit and Rani Mukerji. Her first hindi film was in Sharmeelee where she acted as her own twin

Kamal Mahal, Mumbai in 1940 Kamal mahal in 1940.jpg
Kamal Mahal, Mumbai in 1940

He wrote scripts for the movies made by Sohrab Modi, Abdul Rashid Kardar and K. Asif. [4] He was one of the four dialogue writers for the latter's famous 1960 movie, Mughal-e-Azam , for which he won the Filmfare Award. [4]

Sohrab Modi Indian film actor, director, producer

Sohrab Modi (1897–1984) was an Indian Parsi stage and film actor, director and producer. His films include Khoon Ka Khoon (1935), a version of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Sikandar, Pukar, Prithvi Vallabh, Jhansi ki Rani, Mirza Ghalib, Jailor and Nausherwan-E-Adil (1957). His films always carried a message of strong commitment to social and national issues.

K. Asif Indian director

K. Asif, born Asif Karim, was an Indian film director, film producer and screenwriter who is famous for his work on the Hindi epic motion picture, Mughal-e-Azam (1960).

<i>Mughal-e-Azam</i> 1960 film by K. Asif

Mughal-e-Azam is a 1960 Indian epic historical drama film directed by K. Asif and produced by Shapoorji Pallonji. Starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, and Durga Khote, it follows the love affair between Mughal Prince Salim and Anarkali, a court dancer. Salim's father, Emperor Akbar, disapproves of the relationship, which leads to a war between father and son.

As a director, he developed a style that combined a stylised direction with minimalist performances. This style was different from the one with expressive acting that was common in Indian cinema of his period.[ citation needed ]

In 1958, he started Kamaal Studios for his banner Mahal Films, though it closed down after three years and later changed hands to become Natraj Studios.[ citation needed ]

It was mentioned that the last movie he wanted to make was called Aakhri Mughal. He had written a substantial portion of the script. But it went into oblivion after his death.[ citation needed ] Noted film maker J P Dutta was to revive the film in the late 1990s which was supposed to have been Abhishekh Bachchan's debut movie. But later Dutta scrapped the project. He was again planning to revive the film in 2007 after the debacle of his costume drama Umrao Jaan (2006) remake from the cult film from the 1980s.[ citation needed ]

Personal life

Amrohi married three times: His first wife was Bilkis Bano (who was a maid to Nargis's mother, Jaddan Bai). His second wife was Sayeda Al-Zehra Mehmoodi, daughter of Jamal Hasan. She died on 9 April 1982. [12] He met Meena Kumari during the filming of Tamasha . Veteran actor Ashok Kumar introduced them. [8] They fell in love and married on 14 February 1952, on Valentine's Day in a much private ceremony. Only Amrohi's friend Baaqar Ali and Meena Kumari's younger sister Madhu were aware of this development.

The couple then made Daera (1953 film), a film based on their love story, however the movie tanked at the box office. During the filming of Azaad in 1954, both of them planned another movie, Pakeezah.[ citation needed ] The film went on studio floors by 1956, but as the craze of colour films increased, particularly after the release of Mother India (1957), the black & white scenes were re-shot to colour sequences. After the release of Guru Dutt's classic Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959 film) which marked the arrival of Cinemascope technique, the film was again shot, this time in Cinemascope.[ citation needed ] By the 1960s, Meena Kumari was at the peak of her career which caused tensions between the couple and ultimately led to a mutual separation in March 1964. Film Pakeezah got shelved. In March 1969, the film was revived with an ill Meena Kumari, (due to her alcoholism) in the lead. They lived together for a total of 11 years. [10] Raaj Kumar was roped in, as by that time, Ashok Kumar- the original lead was too old to portray the hero of the film. [13]

Pakeezah was released on 4 February 1972, 14 years after it first began. Unfortunately, it received a lukewarm response from the critics. Although the film received warm reception from the audience, it was Meena Kumari's untimely death on 31 March 1972 which acted as an ultimate push and made it one of the top grossers of that year. The film is now considered as a cult classic and has a status much similar to K. Asif's 1960 magnum opus, Mughal-E-Azam . [13]

Kamal Amrohi had three children with Mehmoodie: two sons, Shandaar and Taajdaar, both of whom worked with him in Razia Sultan (1983 film) , [14] and a daughter, Rukhsar Amrohi. [15] He had no children with Meena Kumari. Shandaar died on 21 August 2011 in Goa. He was survived by his wives, Shahida Amrohi and Khursheed Naqvi Amrohi. He was laid to rest in Mumbai the following day. Amrohi's grandsons Mashhoor Amrohi and Bilal Amrohi are also actors.[ citation needed ]

Kamal Amrohi Studios

Kamal Amrohi Studios (Kamalistan Studios) was established in 1958, spread over 15 acre, it is situated in Jogeshwari East, off Jogeshwari – Vikhroli Link Road in Mumbai. It continues to run, managed by Amrohi's son, Tajdar Amrohi; despite 2010 news reports of it being sold, [16] [15] and continued litigation thereafter. Over the years, it has been venues of films like Razia Sultan (1983) Kamal Amrohi's last film as a director, Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and Kaalia (1981), Khalnayak (1993), Koyla (1997), and recently the first schedule of film, Dabangg 2 was shot there in 2012, apart from the television shows are also shot at the complex. [15] [17]

Death and legacy

Amrohi on a 2013 stamp of India Kamal Amrohi 2013 stamp of India.jpg
Amrohi on a 2013 stamp of India

Amrohi died on 11 February 1993 in Mumbai [6] , twenty one years after his wife Meena Kumari's death and ten years after making his last film, Razia Sultan (1983). He was buried next to Meena Kumari in Rehmatabad Qabristan, an Indian-Iranian graveyard in Mumbai.[ citation needed ]

Kamal Amrohi's only daughter from his second wife, Mehmoodie, Rukhsaar Amrohi (fondly called 'bitiya' as a child by Kamal Amrohi) gave a newspaper interview describing her version of life-events, which she witnessed, between her father Kamal Amrohi and Meena Kumari. [3]


TitleYearCredited asNotes
Jailor1938Green check.svg
Chhalia1938Green check.svg
Pukar 1939Green check.svgGreen check.svg
Prem Ki Jyot1939Green check.svg
Main Hari1940Green check.svgGreen check.svg
Bharosa1940Green check.svg
Pagal1940Green check.svg
Mazzaq1943Green check.svg
Phool1945Green check.svgGreen check.svg
Shahjehan1946Green check.svg
Romeo & Juliet1947Green check.svgGreen check.svg
Mahal 1949Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg [18]
Directorial debut
Saqi1952Green check.svg
Daera 1953Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai 1960Green check.svg
Mughal E Azam 1960Green check.svgWon-Filmfare Best Dialogue Award [4]
Zindagi aur Khwab 1961Green check.svg
Pakeezah 1972Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg [18]
Nominated-Filmfare Award for Best Director. [19]
Also Songwriter of the film
Shankar Hussain 1977Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgAlso Songwriter of the film
Majnoon1979Green check.svgGreen check.svgIncomplete film
Razia Sultan 1983Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg [18]
Last film


1998 Such a Long Journey (writer: "Thare rahiyo")

Awards and recognition

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