Remembering P. Jairaj actor, director & producer on his 17th death anniversary.

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Paidi Jairaj (born Paidipati Jairula Naidu — 28 September 1909–11 August 2000) was a film, superstar, director, and producer known for his works primarily in Hindi cinema, Marathi, Gujarati language films, and Telugu theatre.

During the talkie period, from 1931 onwards, he started with Shikari in Urdu and English languages. Subsequently he became one of the leading actors for about two decades along with Shantaram, Prithviraj Kapoor, Motilal etc. He was starred in about 170 feature films in a variety of roles. He directed a few films like Mohar, Mala (1943), Pratima, Rajghar and Saagar (1951) which he produced. In 1980, He was honored with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award the highest award for films in India, for his contributions to Indian cinema.

Jairaj was born in Karimnagar, Hyderabad State (of which the present day Telangana State was a part) on 28 September 1909. A close relative (Nephew) of Sarojini Naidu, They were three brothers — P.Sundarraj Naidu, P. Deendayal Naidu ( Artist), P.Jairaj was the Youngest. Jairaj developed interest in theatre, and films during his graduate studies at Nizam College and left for Bombay in 1929. He made his acting debut in 1929 with the silent film Star Kling Youth, and subsequently he acted in about eleven silent films including Triangle of Love, Mathru Bhoomi, All for Lover, Mahasagar Mothi, Flight into Death, My Hero etc.

Jairaj’s effective dialogue delivery, and experience in Telugu theatre made him an instant choice to play the roles of the sword wielding Rajputs. He played the characters of Amar Singh Rathore [1957], Prithviraj Chauhan[1959], and Maharana Pratap[1960] among notable films. He also essayed the roles of Shah Jahan [1947], Tipu Sultan [1959] and Haider Ali [1962] with equal aplomb. His other memorable portrayals have been in the films like ‘Sassi Punnu’ [1947], ‘HatimTai’[1956], ‘Chandrashekar Azad’[1963] ‘Durga Das’[1964] among others. Jairaj did six films with Suraiya in 1940s and 1950s, five of them, viz. ‘Humaari Baat’ (1943), ‘Singaar’ (1949), ‘Amar Kahani’ (1949), ‘Rajput’ (1951), ‘Resham’ (1952) as her hero, and one of them, ‘Lal Kunwar’ (1952} as second lead. In 1952, he produced and directed his own film, Sagar, which was not very well received by the audiences. But his commitment to cinema remained undisputed.

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