Jun 20 2016

10 things you didn’t know about India’s first dancing star Bhagwan

by   Our Correspondent

Full of life, the talented Master Bhagwan will always be remembered as Hindi cinema’s first dancing and action star. His was an extraordinary journey of a common man who went on to become a cinema legend. Manglmurti Films, Kimaya Motion Pictures and Dr Monish Babre’s Ekk Albela is the untold story of the man and his journey to fulfil his dreams. The biopic features award-winning actor Mangesh Desai as Bhagwan Dada and Vidya Balan as yesteryear actress Geeta Bali in her debut Marathi movie. Ahead of Ekk Albela’s release on 24 June, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Bhagwan:


Master Bhagwan's first talkie was Himmat-E-Marda (1934) in which Lalita Pawar was his heroine. During one scene, Bhagwan unintentionally slapped Lalita so hard that she was in a coma for a day and a half.


Bhagwan Dada was a fan of Chevrolet cars and owing to this obsession he also acted in a film titled Chevrolet!


Secularism was his biggest quality as an individual. During the 1947 riots after the Partition of India, Bhagwan protected all Muslim artists and technicians of the film industry staying in the Bhendi Bazaar area, near Byculla, Mumbai.


Bhagwan made India’s first horror film, titled Bhedi Bungla, in 1949.


Bhagwan was a fan of Hollywood action star Douglas Fairbanks and like him used to perform all his stunts himself without using a double. His stunts were so good that Raj Kapoor used to call him the Indian Douglas.


In one of the films he directed and produced, Bhagwan suspended real currency notes on a tree to show a shower of money!


Bhagwan Dada had a warehouse of his film negatives at Goregaon, then a small village outside the limits of the Bombay Municipal Corporation, which caught fire, destroying all his films made until the 1940s.


Music director C Ramchandra was Bhagwan's friend and the actor gave Ramchandra his first break in the movies.


Due to the lack of availability of good dancers in the film industry, Bhagwan made fighters dance in the famous song, ‘Shola Jo Bhadke’, from Albela.


Though he had a bungalow at Chembur in the Asha Studio campus, adjacent to the RK Studio complex, Bhagwan stayed there for just a month as he always preferred to stay at his old house in Dadar till his last breath in 2002.