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Translated from original
Hindi to English by : Aksher Apoorva
Posters provided by :
For the golden era of
Hindi cinema, to be precise the films made up till the 1960’s
decade and especially for the fans of black and white cinema, the name Jawahar
Kaul is not unfamiliar. Through his entire
career he worked in only a few selective films but he very efficaciously
enraptured the attention of the audience. His name may have faded
from the memory of the current generation of audience but at the age of 85 he
is still very hale and hearty and resides in Mumbai itself.
Jawahar Kaulstarted his career by doing very small roles. He was first seen onscreen
as hero Kishore Sahu’s younger brother in ‘Veer Kunal’ which was made in 1945 and
in the same year he was also seen playing Humayun’s Mahawat in Sohrab Modi’s
film ‘Ek Din Ka Sultan’. He got the chance to be the main lead with the film ‘Khidki’, made in 1948, where
his heroine was Rehana.
Born to the Nehru family
on 27th September 1927 in Srinagar, Kashmir, Jawahar was merely 6
days old when his paternal grandfather’s sister adopted him for her son. And
subsequently as he became part of a new family his second name changed from
Nehru to ‘Kaul’. Jawahar tells us, “Jawhar
tunnel was not made then and the only road connecting Kashmir and the rest of
the country was through Rawalpindi. I did my Intermediate from PunjabUniversityand then went
to Rawalpindi. After spending almost a
month in Rawalpindi I decided to go to Mumbai. My father was against it but I convinced him by saying that I’ll do my
graduation from Pune University. But the truth was that I wanted to try my luck
in films. Actually since a very early age Hindi films had a deep effect on me and
my deepest desire was to become an actor”.
In those days Dadar used to be the epicenter of all film related
activities where three big studios ‘Ranjit’, ‘Shri Sound’ and‘Supreme’were situated. During mid-1940’s Jawahar Kaul reached Mumbai and
made Dadar his address. He would go from studio
to studio during days and in the night he would sleep in the office gallery of ‘Prabha Pictures’. He would receive a money order of 150 rupees from home every month
because they were under the wrongful impression that their son is studying at
Pune University. Being a Kashmiri Jawahar’s looks and features as well as his
height and personality were impressive and hence it wasn’t long before he
started getting work. He debuted with ‘Veer Kunal’ and soon started getting small roles here and
In Dadar Jawahar met and became friends with actor Radhakishan (Mehra) who used to live in Lallubhai Mansion. Dada
Bhagwanand production managerof films Prabha ShankarYagnik also used to stay in the same building. Prabha Shankarwas Navin Yagnik’s brother who was the hero of Sohrab Modi’s film‘Mai Haari’ (1940). Jawahar and Prabha Shankarbecame such good friends
that after a while Prabha gave him a place to stay in his own house.
dekh kabira roya
says, “I, Radhakishan and Prabha Shankar became such good friends that our trio became very famous
in and around the film circle. Pyarelal Santoshiwas also good friends withRadhakishanand he would visit us
very often. Filmistan Company’s film‘Shehnai’ (1947)directed by Santoshibecame a hit and so Santoshi himself decided to
become a producer. Film ‘Khidki’ was the first film to be
made under his banner and he cast me in the lead role of the movie. The heroine
was Rehanaand the composer was C.Ramchandra. The film did average business but a song that was filmed on
me ‘kismet hamare saath hai...’became very famous during that time. “
In the next approximately one and a half decade Jawaharessayed important roles in films like‘Azadi Ki Raah Par’(1948),‘Gharibi’(1949),‘Apni Chhaya’(1950),‘Sheesh Mahal’(1950),‘Ghayal’(1951),‘Daag’(1952),‘Pehli Jhalak’(1954),‘Kathputli’(1957), ‘Dekh Kabira Roya’ (1957),‘Bhabhi’(1957),‘Laal Batti’(1957),‘Ek Shola’(1958),‘Adalat’(1958),‘Batwara’(1961)and ‘Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam’(1962). But he wasn’t satisfied with his career
trajectory. He says, “I used to often feel
that I am not able to attain much success as an actor.
with his wife
On the other hand in the
mid-1950’s I had married and hence family responsibilities had increased as
well. My wife was well educated and hailed from a well-known family in Mumbai. She was a
national level badminton player and we had met at the Cricket Club, of which I
was a member. Her father DattatreyaPradhan, was a close
associate of Baba Saheb Ambedkarand was asenior corporatorin MumbaiMunicipal Corporation. Dadar (east)’s famousD.V.PradhanMargis
still known by his name. When I realized that my
career is not gaining much momentum, then, my fascination with acting started
to wane away. On the other hand due to my increasing age I was getting only character
roles. And so as soon as I got the chance I bid acting
As a character artist Jawahardid a few films like‘Paapi’, ‘Mukti’, ‘Pyar Ka Mandir’, ‘Pyar ka Devta’and‘Akhiri Badla’. Of these ‘Pyar Ka Mandir’and ‘Pyar ka Devta’ were made by his daughter Shabnam
Kapoor. After retiring from acting, Jawahar Kaul became the
production manager in director Sandeep Sethi’scompany‘Jwala Pictures’. At this time he met MithunChakravortywho was a good friend ofSandeep. On Mithun’s request Jawahar became his secretary. Jawahar was
his secretary for the next 17 years and during that time he also made a film ‘Agniputra’ with Mithun.
The film ‘Agniputra’ was completed only after
facing a lot of hiccups and was finally released with great difficulty in 2000.
absolute flop, this film caused great financial difficulties for Jawahar,
although by this time his son and daughters had become so successful that they
together cleared all of his financial debts.
Today Jawahar Kaul stays atAndheri (West)’s posh Yari
Road area.He has completely broken
all his ties with the cinematic world. Father to 4 daughters and a son, it has been 13 years since the demise of
his wife ClaraKaul.His son takes care of his school and collage called ‘Children Welfare Centre’ at Yari Road. Though Jawahar’s nature is very
warm and hearty, he hesitates to talk about the yesteryears of the film
industry. Even to be interviewed by ‘Beete Hue Din’ he had to be cajoled and
persuade. He had said, “There is no such sweet memory that I can talk about
with fondness, that’s why, it’s better to forget that which has already passed.
Like they say, let bygones be bygones and think of the future….” !!!
: We are thankful to Shri Harmandir Singh ‘Hamraz’, Shri Harish Raghuvanshi,
Shri Biren Kothari and Shri S.M.M.Ausaja for their valuable
suggestions, guidance and help.
thanks to Ms.Aksher Apoorva for the English translation of the write up.