Bhagwan Dada (1 August 1913 – 4 February 2002), also credited and mononymously known as Bhagwan, was an Indian actor and film director who worked in Hindi cinema. He is best known for his social film Albela (1951) and the songs "Shola Jo Bhadke" and "O Beta Ji O Babuji Qismat Ki Hawa Kabhi Naram".

Bhagwan Dada
Bhagwan Aabaji Palav

(1913-08-01)1 August 1913
Died4 February 2002(2002-02-04) (aged 88)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Early life edit

Bhagwan Dada was born in 1913 as Bhagwan Abhaji Palav in Amravati, Maharashtra. He was the son of a textile-mill worker who worked in Mumbai textile mills and was obsessed with films. Bhagwan dada hailed from a Marathi family. He worked as labour, but dreamt of films. He got his break with bit roles in silent films and got totally involved with the studios. He learned film-making and at one stage used to make low-budget films (in which he arranged for everything including the design of costumes and arranging meals for the cast) for Rs. 65,000.

Career edit

Bhagwan Dada

Bhagwan Abhaji Palav, popularly known as Bhagwan dada, mainly due to his love for wrestling, made his debut in the silent era with the film Criminal.[1]

He co-directed his first film Bahadur Kisan with Chandrarao Kadam in 1938. From 1938 to 1949, he directed a string of low-budget stunt and action films that were popular with the working classes. He usually played a naive simpleton. One of the notable films that he made during this period was the Tamil film Vana Mohini (1941) that starred M. K. Radha and Sri Lankan actress Thavamani Devi.[2]

In 1942, as part of a scene, he had to slap actress Lalita Pawar hard. He accidentally slapped her too hard, which resulted in facial paralysis and a burst left-eye vein. After three years of treatment, Pawar was left with a disabled left eye.[3]

He turned producer in 1942 with Jagruti Pictures, purchased some land and set up Jagriti Studios in Chembur in 1947. Because of advice from Raj Kapoor, he turned to making a social film called Albela, starring Bhagwan and Geeta Bali, and featuring music by his friend Chitalkar, or C. Ramchandra. The songs of the film, in particular "Shola jo bhadke" are still remembered. Albela was a huge hit. After Albela, Bhagwan got C. Ramchandra and Geeta Bali together again in Jhamela (1953), where he tried to recreate the formulaic success of Albela with little success.[4] He also directed and acted in Bhagam Bhag in 1956.

Later life edit

After that, Bhagwan did not have any more hits and eventually had to give up producing and directing films, and sold his 25-room waterfront bungalow in Juhu and his fleet of seven cars (one for each day of the week).[5] He took whatever roles he could get, but apart from Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1955), Chori Chori (1956) and Gateway of India (1957), none were roles of note, and he eventually took on bit parts in which he did his famous dance (made even more famous by Amitabh Bachchan using it as his default dance step).

Most of Bhagwan's associates left him in his time of need, apart from C. Ramchandra, Om Prakash and lyricist Rajinder Krishan, who continued to meet him even in his chawl. Bhagwan died of a massive heart attack at his residence in Dadar on 4 February 2002.[6]

Filmography edit

Year Film Role Notes
1951 Albela
1956 Bhagam Bhag
1964 Magic Carpet Sultan
1967 Chhaila Babu

In popular culture edit

In 2016, a Marathi movie Ekk Albela released which was a biopic of the actor.[7]

References edit

  1. ^ "Bhagwan Dada". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 5 February 2002. Archived from the original on 11 October 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  2. ^ Guy, Randor (28 May 2011). "Blast from the Past - Vana Mohini 1941". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 14 June 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Lalita Pawar – Memories". Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  4. ^ Sanjit Narwekar (12 December 2012). "The Image Manipulators". Eena Meena Deeka: The Story of Hindi Film Comedy. Rupa Publications. pp. 165–. ISBN 978-81-291-2625-2. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 3 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine Bhagwan Dada profile on
  6. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India". Arts Tribune. 8 February 2002. Archived from the original on 22 April 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Ekk Albela Movie Review, Trailer, & Show timings at Times of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.

External links edit