Divya Kapoorwrote on Aug 20 2008 6:14PM
Chandramauli Chopra, known as Ramanand Sagar, was born on 29th December 1917, in Lahore. He first published a piece of prose-poetry, Pritaam Pratiksha, in 1933 when he was just 16 for the Srinagar-based Shri Pratap College magazine. The editor was impressed but was not convinced. Ramanand had authored the work and so wrote as a footnote that 'the editor could not vouch for the originality of the article.' Sagar went on to work as a Journalist with the Daily Milap and Daily Pratap in the period from 1936 - 1942. During the British Rule itself, Ramanand began his film career with a silent movie called Raiders of the Railroad (1936). He also obtained a degree in Sanskrit in 1942. The same year, he caught tuberculosis and fought for his life in a sanitarium. It was there that he wrote Diary of a TB Patient, which was serialised in Adab-e-Mashriq, a highly rated magazine in the 1940s. It caught the fancy of the literary world, including the writer Krishen Chander, and won him great acclaim. Other Prose stories he wrote included Jawar Bhata (1943), Aine (1944), Jab Pehe Roz Barf Giri (1944) and Mera Hamdam Mera Dost (1945). Sagar moved to Bombay in 1947 on Partition. He later recorded the communical holocaust in his classic Hindi novel - Aur Insaan Mar Gaya (1948). The novel was translated into several Indian and foreign languages. The English version And Humanity Died was published in 1987-1988. Sagar also wrote the stage play Gaura part of which the great Prithviraj Kapoor staged at Prithvi Theatres as Kalakaar (1951).He began his career in Bollywood by writing for films like Barsaat (1949) and Jan Pahchan (1950).
Ramanand Sagar made his debut in Bollywood in the 1950s when he launched his own Production Company, Sagar Arts. His maiden film was Mehmaan (1953), and he followed it up by another film Bazooband (1954). Unfortunately both films failed to do well. Sagar then continued with writing dialogues for films like Mem Sahib (1956), Raj Tilak (1958), and Paigham (1959). He made his directorial comeback with a hit film Ghunghat (1960) starring Pradeep Kumar and Bharat Bhushan. In 1964, he produced and directed Zindagi, which was a hit as well. He then made the romantic film Arzoo (1965) starring Rajendra Kumar and Sadhna, which was a superhit, and thus completed his hat-trick of hits. He also wrote the dialogues and screenplay for the hit Shammi Kappor film Rajkumar in 1964. Ramanand Sagar, thus became one of the most popular figures during that period. In 1968, Sagar made his next film Aankhen starring Dharmendra and Mala Sinha, which became a blockbuster. Sagar’s next film Geet (1970), starring Rajendra Kumar and Mala Sinha, didn’t do as well as expected, but still gathered enough collections. Lalkar (1972) starring Rajendra Kumar and Dharmendra, was an average. The lone flop in this period was Jalte Badan (1973), made specially for actress Kum Kum. Charas (1976), starring Dharmendra and Hema Malini, was a big hit. Prem Bandhan (1979), starring Rajesh Khanna and Rekha, failed to do well. Bhagavat (1982), again starring Dharmendra and Hema Malini, gained mediocre success. Romance (1983), starring Kumar Gaurav and Poonam Dhillon, was a good movie but couldn’t do too well at the box-office. Sagar’s last film Salma (1985), starring Salma Agha and Raj Babbar, bombed at the box-office, despite good performances.