Remembering Motilal, one of the all-time great actors of Hindi cinema, on his 113th birth anniversary (04/12/1910).

BollywooDirect
2 min readDec 4, 2023

Remembering Motilal, one of the all-time great actors of Hindi cinema, on his 113th birth anniversary (04/12/1910).

Motilal Rajvansh was a famous actor born on December 4, 1910, and passed away on June 17, 1965. He won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award twice, for his roles in the movies ‘Devdas’ (1955) and ‘Parakh’ (1960). He was known as one of the earliest actors in Hindi cinema to act in a natural style.

Motilal also directed a movie called ‘Chhoti Chhoti Baten’ in 1965 but died before it was released. This movie later won an award at the 13th National Film Awards. He also received an award for being the best story writer after his death. He once jokingly said that in his film career, he got ‘married’ a hundred times, ‘died’ almost twice but was never ‘born’ and always entered scenes by parachute.

Before becoming an actor, Motilal tried to join the Navy but fell ill and missed the test. He then accidentally got into acting. One day, he visited a film shoot and got noticed by director K. P. Ghosh. In 1934, at 24, he got his first lead role in the film ‘Shaher Ka Jadoo’. He acted in many successful movies after that, including ‘Dr. Madhurika’ (1935) and ‘Kulvadhu’ (1937). He worked with famous directors and in popular films like ‘Jagirdar’ (1937), ‘Taqdeer’ (1943), and ‘Paigham’ (1959).

In 1965, Motilal also acted in a Bhojpuri film called ‘Solaho Singar Kare Dulhaniya’.

He was especially praised for his role as a charming crook in the movie ‘Mr Sampat’ (1952). But he is most remembered for his role as “Chunni Babu” in the film ‘Devdas’ (1955), which earned him his first Best Supporting Actor Award. Actor Naseeruddin Shah once said that Motilal was one of the three best actors in Hindi cinema, along with Balraj Sahni and Yakub.

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