Remembering Kidar Sharma, a multifaceted film personality of Hindi cinema, on his 108th birth anniversary today.
A painter, photographer, story-writer, poet, lyricist, dialogue-writer, director, editor, producer and above all a Masters in English literature from Punjab University; the genius of the last century cannot be other than -the one and only — Kidar Sharma.
While he had great success as a director of such movies as Neel Kamal (1947), Bawre Nain (1950) and Jogan (1950), Kidar Sharma is often most remembered for starting the acting careers of many stars of Indian cinema like Raj Kapoor, Geeta Bali, Madhubala, Mala Sinha, Bharat Bhushan and Tanuja amongst others.
Kidar Sharma’s contribution to film music was bigger than the songs he wrote. Kidar Sharma helped many music directors to establish themselves in the industry including Roshan and Bulo C. Rani. He also introduced talents like composer-singer Snehal Bhatkar and singer Mubarak Begum.
The success of Chitralekha led the late Chandulal Shah of Ranjit Studios to invite Sharma to Bombay in 1941 to make films for him.
Sharma wrote and directed movies for Shah with some of the biggest stars of the time, like Motilal and Shamim in Armaan and Prithviraj Kapoor inVishkanya and Gauri (where he cast the unknown Monica Desai in the lead). This was also Raj Kapoor’s first break as assistant director.
Sharma also made Mumtaz Mahal with Khorsheed and Chandra Mohan,Bhanwara with Kundan Lal Saigal and Arun Kumar (present-day actor Govinda’s father), and Duniya Ek Sarai, where Meena Kumari got her break as a child artiste.
Finally, for Ranjit Studios, he made Jogan, a film starring Dilip Kumar and Nargis that is considered an all-time classic. Buloo C Rani blossomed as a music director in this movie.
In 1945, Sharma was chosen for the first film delegation to Hollywood and the United Kingdom. On this trip he met Cecil B DeMille, Walter Disney and Gabriel Paoal and stars like Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard.
On his return, he began working as an independent producer-director and signed two unknowns in the lead — Raj Kapoor (who had been working as an assistant to him) and Madhubala, who was still a teenager — for a movie called Neel Kamal.
In the late Fifties, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who had heard Sharma’s lyrics, summoned him and asked him to become director-in-chief of the Children’s Film Society. The first movie he made for the society, Jaldeep, won the Venice Film Festival award.
An outstanding poet, Sharma wrote most of the songs sung by the great K L Saigal, including ‘Balam aayo baso more man mein’, ‘Main kya jaanu kya jaadu hai’, ‘So jaa raaj kumaari’, ‘Dukh kay ab din beetat nahi’ and ‘Panchhi kahye hot udas’.
His other memorable songs include ‘Teri duniya mein dil lagta nahi’ and a song that Madhubala once asked him to dedicate to her before she died: ‘Radha ko no tarsa, Shyam pachtayega’.
Kidar Sharma’s talents also encompassed scripting and dialogue, making for deep appreciation of the total visual and auditory impact that cinema truly is.
Kidar Sharma died on April 29, 1999 in Mumbai after a brief illness.