Monday, March 3, 2008

Balraj Sahani – the elegant character actor of bollywood.

Balraj Sahani – the elegant character actor of bollywood.

Balraj Sahani
Balraj Sahani
is one of the most gifted character actors of bollywood films of 50s, 60s and 70s. He performance used to be absolutely natural, without mannerisms. He was sublime in his performance in Do Bigha Zameen, where he portrayed the character of a villager who had come from his village and settled in Kolkata and earned his livelihood by rickshaw-pulling. It was a classic film of Bimal Roy and Balraj Sahani expressed the different emotions of the peasant in style.

In Seema, he played the role of superintendent of a home which cured women suffering fro mental disease. Nutan, who was depressed due to family disturbances was admitted there, and Balraj Sahani taught her to be positive in life and make life meaningful. He gave very quality lips in the songs composed by Shankar Jaikishan which included “tu pyar ka sagar hai” sung by Manna Dey and “kahan ja rahe ho” sung by Rafi.

Balraj Sahani
In Kabuliwala, he played the same role which was plyed by Chabi Biswas in the Bengali film, which was baased on the classic literature of Tagore involving an Afghan father who left his country and came to Kolkata to sell mewa, pesta, etc. He loved the daughter of a bengali middle-class family, which reminded him about his own daughter in Kabul. He got involved in a violent affair and was imprisoned for life. When he came out of prison, hee entered the house of the Bengali family and saw the little girl named Mini getting married. The savings that was available with the father of Mini was given to Balraj Sahani so that he can return back to Kabul. Tagore had portrayed that the love of a father towards his daughter is uniform across the world. Balraj Sahani brought out the emotions very well. Manna Dey’s song “ai mere pyare watan” composed by Salil Choudhury was well appreciated by filmlovers.

Balraj Sahani
Balraj Sahani’s other notable films include Lajwanti, Waqt, Izzat, etc. In Waqt, he played the role of the father of Raj Kumar, Sunil Dutt and Shashi Kapoor, who were lost during an earthquake with their mother and he spent his entire life in search of the children whom he met at the end of the film. He even acted in a negative character in Dharmender’s Izzat. For more than 30 years he maintained a respectable image in bollywood films and his film should be restored for new generations to learn the art of realistic, natural performance.


By: CR Chatterji.

2 comments:

A S MURTY said...

Undoubtedly the greatest actor ever that the Hindi Film Industry ever produced. Balraj Sahni. He was the perfect example of acting. No showmanship at all. No overacting whatsoever. Just plain acting, submerged in the character that he portrayed. A very humble person in real life, Balraj Sahni never got into any controversy and was not bitten by the glamour-bug that just started around the 1960s. Most heroes and heroins were glamour-bitten and would love to have their names appear on "Screen" and "Filmfare" and other gossip magazines. But not Balraj Sahni. He never got the media attention that he deserved for his acting skills, because the Indian media too only follows the already famous and rich. It still does. Other great actors of his time for e.g. Gurudutt got more limelight because they were also good story tellers and directors. His acting in "Do Bigha Zameen" and "Kabuliwala" are simply out of this world. One unusual role was also in "Ek Phool Do Maali" with Sanjay Khan and Saadhana. Good article on a fine actor and a good human being.

vinay kumar said...

BALRAJ SAHNI WAS VERY COPLETE ACTOR OF HINDI CINEMA,SOME FILMS ARE VERY MEMORABLE:
1.DO BHEEGA ZAMEEN(1953)-MEMORABLE ROLL OF RICKSHAW PULLER WITH LEGENDERY ACTRESS NIRUPA ROY.
2.GHAR SANSAAR(1958)-MEMORABLE ROLL OF ELDER BROTHER OF ACTOR RAJENDRA KUMAR & HUSBAND OF ACTRESS NARGIS.
3.KABULIWALLAH(1961)-MEMORABLE TITLE ROLL WITH ACTRESS USHA KIRAN.