Remembering Kamal Amrohi on his 31st death anniversary (11/02/93).
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 the Indian cinema of his period.
Kamal Amrohi was born in Amroha, which was part of British India and is now in Uttar Pradesh, India. He changed his name to Kamal Amrohi later. He was related to two Pakistani writers, Jaun Elia and Rais Amrohvi, as their first cousin. In 1938, Kamal left his hometown to study in Lahore, which is now in Pakistan. There, a singer named K. L. Saigal found him and brought him to Mumbai to work in films. He started his film career at Sohrab Modi’s film company, Minerva Movietone, and worked on movies like “Jailor,” “Pukar,” and “Bharosa.”
Kamal Amrohi became a film director in 1949 with his first movie “Mahal,” which had famous actors Madhubala and Ashok Kumar. This movie was known for its music. He directed only four movies in total, including “Daaera” with Meena Kumari and Nasir Khan, and “Pakeezah,” which took a long time to make and was released in 1972. “Pakeezah” is considered a special movie in India, even though it had some flaws. Meena Kumari, who was a famous actress and Kamal’s wife, praised “Pakeezah” as Kamal’s tribute to her. His last movie was “Razia Sultan” in 1983. He also started making a film called “Majnoon” but it was never finished.
Kamal Amrohi also wrote scripts for other directors and was one of the writers for the famous movie “Mughal-e-Azam” in 1960, which won him an award. His style of directing was known for being different and unique, focusing more on the visual style and less on dramatic acting.
In 1958, he opened a studio named Kamaal Studios, but it closed after three years. He had planned to make another movie called “Aakhri Mughal” but it was never made. Film maker J P Dutta wanted to make this movie in the late 1990s and again in 2007, but it didn’t happen. Kamal Amrohi died on February 11, 1993, in Mumbai, 21 years after his wife, Meena Kumari, passed away. He was buried next to her in Mumbai.
Six days after he died, a newspaper in the UK called The Independent wrote about him, saying he was a big figure in the Hindi film industry for over 50 years.