bhagwan movie Madadgar

MADADGAR (1947) 


Known to film fans as a comedic sidekick in countless Bollywood films of the golden era, Bhagwan (full name Bhagwan Abaji Palav) played the lead in (and sometimes also directed) numerous B-grade comedy-action films throughout the 1940s and 50s.


bhagwan movie Pyar ki Raat



Bhagwan often worked opposite former Wrestler Baburao (sometimes billed as Baburao Pehalwan). With Bhagwan’s short, tubby stature, and Baburao’s handsome physique, they made a popular pair.


Bhagwan movie Bahadur Kisan 001


Bhagwan entered films during the silent era. After a  few years doing bit parts and supporting roles he tried his hand at directing with the 1938 stunt film BAHADUR KISAN starring popular action star Chandrarao. Bhagwan co-starred in the film along with Hunsa Wadker, Sunetra, and Vasantrao Pehalwan, another former wrestler who was often seen in Bhagwan’s films.






BAHADUR KISAN was quickly followed by CRIMINAL (1939), VANMOHINI (1940), and RAJA GOPICHAND (1941) in which the comedian again acted and directed.


Bhagwan movie Roolekha

Rooplekha (1949)



Bhagwan movie Achhajee




Bhagwan’s comedy-stunt film combination became quite popular, but are little remembered today, mostly due to the fact that no prints seemed to have survived.


Bhagwan movie House of Mystery 001


Along with the stunt genre, Bhagwan took his brand of comedy and incorporated horror in HOUSE OF MYSTERY (1949), and spoofed Tarzan pictures with JUNGLE MAN (1950).


Jungle Man 001


While the masses enjoyed these little B-films, it wasn’t until ALBELA in 1951 that Bhagwan managed to impress the critics. This little musical-comedy ( produced under his banner Bhagwan Art Productions) also starred Geeta Bali and Baburao Pahelwan and it struck gold at the box office.  Bhagwan tried to duplicate ALBELA‘s success with RANGILA and JHAMELA (both 1953), but both films flopped.


Albela - Bimla and Bhagwan 001

Bimla Kumari and Bhagwan in ALBELA, one of Bhagwan’s few starring films available on DVD (and it’s a film I highly recommend!),


Bhagwan movie damad (2)

DAMAD (1951) co-starred Krishan Kumari, Protima Devi, and Cuckoo.


Sadly, of Bhagwan’s dozens of starring roles, only ALBELA and the comedy DAMAD are currently available to view on DVD or Youtube. Thankfully, we can at least enjoy the ads and posters from many of his lost or missing films….and who knows, maybe someday a few of these old classics will be unearthed for all to see.


Bhagwan movie Actor

ACTOR (1951) co-starred Ramola, Indurani, Sulochana, Cuckoo, and fellow comedian Sunder.



Bhagwan movie Bhole Piya 001

BHOLE PIYA (1949) featured Bhagwan’s frequent leading lady, Leela Gupte.


Bhagwan movie Joker 2


JOKER (1949) co-starred comedian Shyam Sunder.


Bhagwan movie Bhoole Bhatke (1)



Bhagwan movie Dushman

Dancer Cuckoo was often cast in Bhagwan’s films, including DUSHMANI (1950) which also starred Sarla Devi and Usha Shukla.