Harmesh Malhotra was born on 14 June 1936. He hailed from Khusab region in Pakistan, and had later migrated to Agra after partition. After his graduation, he moved to Bombay to embark on a career in films.
Harmesh marked his directorial debut in Bollywood with Beti (1969), which starred Sanjay Khan and Nanda. He then launched his own HM Productions in 1972 and directed the movie Gaddar (1973), featuring Vinod Khanna and Yogeeta Bali.
Patthar Aur Payal (1974), starring Dharmendra and Hema Malini besides others, was directed by Harmesh. The film was quite successful. He then made Lafange (1975), starring Randhir Kapoor and Mumtaz. It didn’t do too well at the box-office. Shatrughan Sinha-Reena Roy starrer Sangram (1976) was quite entertaining and a mediocre success too. This films had somewhat made Harmesh popular in the industry.
Phaansi (1978) had failed to do well. His next few films like Amar Shakti (1978), Ashok Kumar-Shatrughan Sinha starrer Bagula Bhagat (1978) and Raj Babbar-starrer Raaz (1981) had all failed to create an impact as well. Mangal Pandey (1982), starring Shatrughan Sinha as the main lead, didn’t live upto its expectations. Khazana (1984) and Phaansi Ke Baad (1985) had also failed to do well. Rishi Kapoor-Sridevi starrer Nagina (1986) was a massive hit. Encouraged, by the huge success the film acquired, Harmesh also made its sequel Nigahen in 1989, which starred Sunny Deol and Sridevi. But this one wasn’t quite successful. Amiri Garibi (1990) and Banjaran (1991), both starring Rishi Kapoor besides others, had flopped. Paappi Devataa (1995) and Kismat (1995) also couldn’t gather much collection. Govinda-starrer Dulhe Raja (1998) was a mediocre hit, while Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare (2002) had flopped. Harmesh’s last film was the much delayed Khullam Khulla Pyar Karen (2005), starring Govinda and Preity Zinta.
Harmesh was on the Oscar jury that nominated Shah Rukh Khan's Paheli (2005). He had a career spanning over thirty years and over twenty-five films. Harmesh expired on 22 November 2005, in Mumbai, owing to a cardiac arrest. He is survivied by wife Manju and daughters Kajal Banerjee and Payal Malhotra.