SIKANDAR, JHANSI KI RANI, PRITHVI VALLABH, MIRZA GHALIB, etc. Do these movies tinkle anything extraordinary? Well, yes! All these movies are based on historical heroes of Indian history and are laced with patriotism. The younger generation may not be aware who made these milestone movies.
In our ‘Independence Day’ Special Glamsham.Com enlightens about the legendary actor-filmmaker Sohrab Modi, known as the Cecil B. DeMille of India, and pioneer of patriotic movies.
Born in Bombay in 1897, Sohrab Modi was a Parsee stage actor and was renowned for his Shakespearean plays. However with the decline of theater and emergence of cinema, he plunged into cinema and established his own film company ‘Minerva Movietone’ in the mid-30s. The roaring lion, emblem of his banner symbolized the actor’s forte in delivering dialogue in a rhetorical and dramatic style. His first production PUKAR (1939) was based on the upright justice of Mughal emperor Jahangir. The movie was a huge hit. Soon followed SIKANDAR (1941) and PRITHVI VALLABH (1943) and the success of these films established him the ‘Father of Patriotic Cinema in India.’
In 1946 he made his career’s most ambitious and expensive movie, JHANSI KI RANI (1953). The movie was India’s First Technicolor film. Modi had flown in technicians from Hollywood. The film was notable for its authenticity in creating a realistic period and defining historical events excellently. The spectacular battle scenes were the major highlight of the movie. The title role was played by Mehtab, whom Modi later married. Tragically the movie failed to click at the box office. Later Modi made a comeback with MIRZA GHALIB (1954).
Sohrab Modi received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1980. He died of cancer in 1984 at the age of 86.
Kavi Pradeep, ‘Monarch of Patriotic lyrics’