Death Anniversary: Motilal Praised by Gandhi & Patel, Master of Villain Roles

Sitare: Actor Motilal received praise from Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel, he used to put his heart and soul into the role of a villain.

By Bollyy
New Update
Death Anniversary Motilal Praised by Gandhi & Patel, Master of Villain Roles
Listen to this article
0.75x 1x 1.5x
00:00 / 00:00

Actor Motilal: Motilal, one of the great actors of Hindi cinema, was born on 4 December 1910. He died on 17 June 1965. Talking about his nature, he was very easy-going. Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, and almost every big artist of Bombay cinema have praised his talent. The Shimla-born actor acted in more than 60 films, in which he played at least 30 lead roles. But his short roles are also no less in any sense. 

The villain's character was also famous

The flamboyant Chunni Babu who leads Devdas to drink, dancing girls, and doom could easily have played a negative role in the hands of a lesser actor. Motilal brought charm to him, presenting him differently, earning him his first Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. He played villainous roles equally well. Perhaps his best performance came in the title role of Mr Sampat (1952), based on a story by the author R K Narayan. As a charismatic crook who can sell ice to Eskimos, Motilal blended cool and slyness in a way that is impossible to improve upon.

He started his career with this film 

Motilal began his career as a 24-year-old hero in Sheher Ka Jadoo (1934). In the following years, he became several box-office winners, however, very few remember anything about this phase of his career. Whether it was a sharp-witted swordsman (Silver King) or a millionaire (300 Days and After) - the actor played the roles with ease, which is evident from the slanted hat he wore. Among his first hits was Mehboob Khan's early serious romance, Jagirdar (1938).

Praise was also received from Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel 

In those days, KL Saigal dominated the box office. Film historian Firoz Rangoonwala explains how the two were different. "Saigal was a singer-star of heavy subjects and much bigger than Motilal, the lighter counterpart of fun-loving Bombay and its answer, Calcutta," he says. However, by the early 1940s, Motilal was choosing bold plots too. He played an untouchable in Achhut (1940), a progressive film that won praise even from Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel."

did romance 

Unfortunately, more stories were made about his flamboyant lifestyle than his art. His romances with Shobhana Samarth and Nadira. His love of racing, gambling, flying, and cricket. One story goes that Motilal named one of his horses Gaddar because it looked back just before the finishing line and lost. Also known for his quips, he once told a journalist, "I have survived three heart attacks, an air crash, a drowning - and many rotten films."

Saira Bano was called the daughter 

Saira Banu, who acted in Motilal's last release, Yeh Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai (1966), remembers him as a kind gentleman and a talented actor who gave good suggestions to improve a scene. She also recalled how the actor was troubled by a severe cough during the shoot. She said, "I remember giving him a herbal medicine Joshanda and it gave him a lot of relief. I am grateful that he once told me, "I wish I had a daughter like you."

This film was made before his death 

Shortly before his death, Motilal also acted in his only Bhojpuri film, Solho Singar Kare Dulhaniya (The Bride is Decorated, 1965), a film that has faded into history. He also managed to complete his labour of love, Chhoti Chhoti Baatein, which he wrote, produced and directed. Motilal enjoyed gambling and racing and died almost penniless in 1965. But till the end, he lived with his dignity intact. He never borrowed a penny from friends. But what he left behind in terms of acting was a legacy that others had to carry forward. In 2013, celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema, the government brought out a postage stamp in his honour. But Motilal, an independent radical in his own right, needs to be considered more seriously.

Read also:

Latest Stories