Article Hindi

6 notable films directed by Pyarelal Santoshi — birth anniversary special


For multi-talented filmmaker’s 101st birth anniversary, a look back at some of the memorable films he directed.

Sonal Pandya

Filmmaker, Pyarelal Santoshi (PL Santoshi), born on 7 August 1916, was also a successful lyricist for four decades. However, in the mid-1940s, he got the chance to write and direct his own films as well. His works were popular with audiences and they could always expect a spirited, catchy score to go along with the films.

Pyarelal Santoshi worked with newcomers and top talent alike until the 1960s, when he mostly wrote lyrics. His son, Rajkumar Santoshi, followed his father into filmmaking with films like Ghayal (1990), Andaz Apna Apna (1994) and The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002).

We revisit some of the significant films made by him during the 1940s to the 1960s.

1. Hum Ek Hain (1946)

Pyarelal Santoshi’s directorial debut about religious unity above all strife opened the doors for its young actors, Dev Anand and Rehman. A Prabhat Film, Dev Anand was cast in his lead role at the insistence of its founder, Babu Rao Pai. Durga Khote's character adopts three children — a Muslim and Christian boy, along with her daughter who is a Harijan. Dev Anand played Shankar, her only biological son. Santoshi wrote the film’s dialogues and lyrics. Interestingly, Guru Dutt, who first met Dev Anand at Prabhat Studios, was the choreographer on the film.

2. Shehnai (1947)

In the year of India’s Independence, Pyarelal Santoshi, along with composer C Ramchandra, created a popular soundtrack that featured the lively jazz-inspired number ‘Aana Meri Jaan, Meri Jaan, Sunday Ke Sunday’. Featuring a right mix of English and Hindi words, the song was picturised on comedian Mumtaz Ali and the actresses Dulari and Rehana. The social drama from Filmistan focused on a father, a music teacher, raising four headstrong daughters with cast that included Kishore Kumar, VH Desai, Rehana and Dulari. The film was one of the top grossers that year.

3. Shin Shinaki Boobla Boo (1952)

Rehana was a frequent star in Pyarelal Santoshi’s films as he was quite infatuated with her. It is said that when she turned him down, he went off and wrote the heartbreaker song, ‘Tum Kya Jaano, Tumhari Yaad Mein Hum Kitna Roye’. Rehana played Shin Shinaki who wants to take revenge for on her father’s death. She teams up with Boobla Boo (played by Ranjan), a bandit who she loves. The unusually titled film was briefly banned for its ‘low moral tone’ by the Cinematograph Act of 1952 and dance-inspired production never recovered.

4. Sabse Bada Rupaiya (1955)

The actor-comedian Mehmood’s father Mumtaz Ali was often a part of Pyarelal Santoshi’s films. During his struggling period, Mehmood drove Pyarelal Santoshi’s car. Years later in 1976, he produced Sabse Bada Rupaiya, possibly in honour of the man who had supported him during his tough times. Pyarelal Santoshi’s 1955 version starred Shashikala, Sunder, Nana Palsikar and Achala Sachdev.

5. Barsat Ki Rat (1960)

With timeless classic romantic numbers written by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by Roshan, Barsat Ki Rat starring Bharat Bhushan and Madhubala was a big success at the box office. The film’s music featured a number of hit qawwalis which inspired Pyarelal Santoshi. A few years later, Santoshi co-directed Kawali Ki Raat (1964) with Durgesh Kumar.

6. Dil Hi To Hai (1963)

The Muslim social, Dil Hi To Hai, brought back the team of Barsat Ki Rat — Sahir Ludhianvi and Roshan who, once again, delivered on the music front. Raj Kapoor played Chand, a singer trying to make it big, while Nutan, played Jameela, a wealthy heiress who falls for him while supposedly engaged to another. Here, Santoshi co-directed the film with CL Rawal. After this, he largely focused on writing songs than directing films.