Oct 30 marks the departure of two greats from the world of cinema. Today is the 19th death anniversary of V Shantaram and Vinod Mehra.
Born on February 13, 1945, Vindo Mehra debuted with film Ek Thi Rita in 1971 in which Tanuja was his co star. However the film flopped and did nothing much for him and it was the film Anuraag in 1972 with Mausami Chatterjee, which established him as an actor.
He was seen in many multi-hero films playing supporting roles from 1970 to 1996 with actors like Amitabh Bachhan, Sanjeev Kumar among others.
Most of his leading ladies were Nutan, Rekha and Bindiya Goswami. Some of his prominent films are Amar Prem, Swarg Narak, Khuddaar, Anurodh, Bemisaal, Sabse Bada Rupaiya and Ghar.
He was rumoured to have married the gorgeous actress Rekha. He had turned director with the film Gurudev, but died of heart attack at the age of 45 in 1990 before the completion of the film which was later completed by his wife. He had two children named Sonia and Rohan. Sonia made her film debut in 2007 with the film Victoria No. 203.
Born as Rajaram Vankurde Shantaram on November 18, 1901, the renowned producer-director-actor is most known for his films like Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Amar Bhoopali (1951), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1955), Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957) and Navrang (1959), to the path breaking Duniya Na Mane (1937) and Pinjara (1973).
Those who have seen Do Ankhen Barah Haath can never forget the moving scene of prisoners singing the bhajan, Ai malik tere bande hum. And who can forget the sexy, sinuous, gravity-defying dances of Sandhya in Navrang and Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje? And Aadmi, the remake of what is arguably his finest film, Manoos, where he used nights and shadows to enhance the narration, a pioneering technique at the time.
Technique played a big part in Shantaram's films and he was one of the earliest filmmakers to realise the potential of the medium as an instrument of social comment. Among the firsts to his credit are the first children's film (Ranisahiba, 1930), first use of the trolley (Chandrasena, 1931), first colour film (Sairandhri, 1933), first to use telephoto lens (Amrit Manthan, 1934), first to use animation (Jambukaka, 1935), first to use back projection (Amar Jyoti, 1936), and the first films to be shown abroad were his (Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani and Shakuntala).
It is not bad for someone who had no formal education and started his career at 12 as an apprentice in a railway workshop and then as a curtain puller at the legendary Bal Gandharva's Gandharva Natak Mandali. His first brush with cinema was with Baburao Painter's Maharashtra Film Company. It was Baburao who taught him the basics and cast him in his Savkari Pash (1925) as a young farmer.
A couple of years later, Shantaram had picked up enough to direct his first film, Netaji Palkar. He then moved on to found the Prabhat Film Company along with VG Damle, KR Dhaiber, S Fatelal and SB Kulkarni.
(With inputs from News Tomorrow)