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Rufy Khan was born in one of the most beautiful places on earth, Kashmir. He grew up in Srinigar and later earned a degree in engineering from Aligarh University in Uttar Pradesh state. His real ambitions, however, steered more toward the creative arts, so with his good looks and muscular physique he found steady work as a model doing print ads, commercials, and music videos. He also decided to try his hand at acting, something he had been interested in for a while, taking parts in small, independent productions which helped him gain experience and get noticed.

 

Rufy Khan is featured in this music video for Sunny Saleem’s song JA BAEMANA

 

As an actor, Rufy’s big break came when he was cast in a supporting role in Subhash Gai’s melodrama YUVVRAAJ (2008). He then went on to receive good reviews as Pooja Savli’s philandering ex-boyfriend in the comedy NAUTANKI SAALA! (2013). Since then, he has played mostly leads in films such as the disturbing “based-on-a-true story” feature KALA SAACH: THE BLACK TRUTH (2014) and in the action-packed crime drama DHARA 302 (2016).

More recently, Rufy has taken to working behind the camera, and his hard-hitting short film WHO DIES…?, which he wrote, produced and directed, has been making the rounds, and winning awards, at film festivals in India and internationally. It will next be screened at the Al-Nahj Film Festival in Karbala, Iraq.

Having enjoyed his work as an actor, and having been fortunate enough to recently see WHO DIES…?, I was very curious to know what led Rufy Khan to expand his show business horizons. And although he was quite busy getting ready for the latest showing of his film, the actor-turned-film maker was kind enough to take time out to provide answers to my many questions.

 

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Mike Barnum: When did you first realize that acting was something you wanted to pursue?

Rufy Khan: It happens that when I was doing my engineering degree we went on a college tour to Mumbai. During that tour, I was actually being offered to act in films by some film directors who met us while we visited different locations to see film shoots. But at that time, I couldn’t leave my schooling half way.

MB: Growing up, did you have any favorite films or performers?

Rufy Khan: Yes, I was amazed to see Amir Khan in JO JEETA WOH SIKANDAR (1992) and QAYAMAT SE QAYAMAT TAK (1988), and also I used to dream on Salman Khan’s film songs from JAB PYAAR KISISE HOTA HAI (1998). These things gradually made a place in my heart, but I didn’t know how to actually choose films as a career.

 

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MB: You started out as a model, is that correct? What kind of modeling did you do?

Rufy Khan: Modeling was the perfect thing to start with. In modeling, acting stuff is less, and you keep learning from every small modeling shoot.  I was lucky to get started with modeling assignments, and within one year I had worked with almost every advertisement director and appeared in prominent TV commercial works alongside stars like Priyanka Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, and Hema Malini.

 

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MB: You also have quite an athletic background, as can be seen in your show reel. What kind of athletics are you involved in?

Rufy Khan: I was in all type of sports in my academic life. I also played some sports till national level, like cricket and football. I was also involved with martial arts in my school and college days, and that helps me today to keep fit. Also, martial arts skills help you stand out from other actors because you have a skill to perform as an action character. Athletics and martial arts support you everywhere.

 

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MB: YUVVRAAJ, with its all-star cast, was a big boost to your career.

Rufy Khan: I was a beginner when I did YUVVRAAJ with super-star Salman Khan.  I played his stepbrother in that, and learnt a lot during the film shoots.

 

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MB: NAUTANKI SAALA was your break-out film. What was that experience like?

MB: It was a lifetime learning experience! Mr Rohan Sippy, who is the director of NAUTANKI SAALA, took 15 day workshops to all his actors for this film, and that workshop was a turning point for my career. I learned all the aspects of film making during those 15 days. That was the point where I started really thinking that I can try to direct my own film, and then WHO DIES…? happened, which is the award winning short film that I directed and acted in.

MB: Is there more pressure for an actor working on a big picture such as, say, YUVRAAJ or NAUTANKI SAALA, as opposed to working on a smaller budget film?

 

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Pooja Salvi, Ayushmann Khurana, and Rufy Khan in NAUTANKI SAALA

 

Rufy Khan: Yes, the pressure is to keep that trust which the director has shown on you. But once your director is convinced that you can deliver, then there is no pressure, then there is more fun. The director and other crew will be very supportive if you win them over through your acting skills

MB: DHARA 302 put your athleticism to very good use. Was it difficult to do such an action packed film?

Rufy Khan: I was looking for a film which can show my action skills, as I am very good in gymnastics and martial arts, so I grabbed the opportunity through DHARA 302 and I lead the film. It was an awesome and thrilling experience, and we shot in 50 degree temperature in Jaipur, Rajasthan [note: For those of us in America, that is equal to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit!!!]

 

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MB: What can you tell me about KALA SACH?

Rufy Khan: KALA SACH was a film based on a true story. It was mostly made for festivals, but we did a release in theatres in Mumbai and all over India. It was a low profile release as the film was on a social awareness.

 

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MB: As an actor, do you have a preference between comedy, action or drama?

Rufy Khan: I love comedy and humor. Action is my favorite subject, and drama has to be there whether it is action or comedy. Actually, I prefer films of any genre, but it should create curiosity in its screenplay

MB: You wrote and directed WHO DIES…? What made you choose to work behind the camera?

Rufy Khan: I had a few ideas which I turned into film scripts; WHO DIES…? was one of them. So, after NAUTANKI SALA I started working on my ideas and trying to put them on screen. It took me 1 ½ years to create 10 mins of short film for WHO DIES…?, but when I received the accolades and awards for my film, internationally and nationally, then I felt that the 1 ½  year’s work was worth it.

MB: Who or what was your inspiration?

Rufy Khan: My inspiration is Mr. Rohan Sippy. He was my teacher when we took those 15 day workshops for NAUTANKI SAALA. There I was groomed as an actor, and as well, I kept a close eye on the making of the film. So, Rohan Sippy is my inspiration. I love his films also, which he has made. Apart from him, I get inspired by Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino; both are the cause for me to be a director. I also want to be like them, inshallah.

 

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MB: You also act in WHO DIES…? Was it difficult to juggle acting and directing at the same time?

Rufy Khan: Yeah, it was, but I did my homework for this film, so everything was kept in mind. I couldn’t skip anything which I was supposed to direct in WHO DIES…? But if the pre-production is weak, then it is very, very tough to do both things, directing and acting.

MB: What did you learn, working as a first time director and producer?

Rufy Khan: I learnt economy as a producer, and as a director I learnt how to take advantage of the situation and get the performance done. A director has to be selfish sometimes for what he wants from the artist.

MB: WHO DIES…? has been making the rounds at film festivals worldwide. How has the reception been?

Rufy Khan: When I completed the post production of WHO DIES…? I kept showing the film to people. I showed to every section of people, whether it be a film guy, businessman, student, teacher, laborer, watchman of my building, doctor, house-wife, illiterate person, film critic, senior director, army chief …I showed it to everybody, and the reply I got from them was “Wow, what a film!” and that was the moment I felt good about my efforts.

 

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Rufy Khan in a scene from his short film WHO DIES…?

 

MB: Have you had the opportunity to meet other film makers at the festivals you have attended?

Rufy Khan: When I showed my film in festivals I used to get a standing ovation and audiences used to say to get the director on stage, as they wanted to ask questions about the film. Then I’d get a flood of questions from all the film makers, which I would answer. Those questions also matured me as a film maker.

MB: Long before you made WHO DIES…? you were cast in a short film titled THE PINK MIRROR. Did working on it help at all when you made your own film?

Rufy Khan: That was my first short film with director Sridhar Rangayan. At that time I was a newcomer and I had no idea of acting and performing. But it was Mr Sridhar who extracted that skill in me, and for a film which was on a very sensitive subject. But at the end, it was an awesome film. You can watch THE PINK MIRROR on Netflix.

 

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MB: Do you have any other projects coming up?

Rufy Khan: I am working on a script for a feature film which I want to direct or maybe act in, also.

MB: So you plan to continue with directing?

Rufy Khan: I love directing! I have a lot of wonderful ideas which I want to put on the screen, but at the same time I am doing modeling and am still open for acting assignments.

 

Rufy Khan and Simran Kaur Mundi in scenes from the television film PICTURE PERFECT.

 

MB: What film makers or performers do you most admire?

Rufy Khan: Christopher Waltz is my favorite actor, especially in INGLOURIOUS BASTARDS, and Quinton Tarantino is my most admired film maker.

MB: What hopes do you have for your film career?

Rufy Khan: The film business is a very creative thing. The more you are involved in this business, the more you grow. So, my future depends on my creativity, like with WHO DIES…? It was a piece of creativity, so it works all over the world, and still is performing in many parts of the globe.

 

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Rufy Khan and director Mayank P. Srivastava on the set of KALA SACH: THE BLACK TRUTH

 

MB: Is there anything else you would like people to know about Rufy Khan?

Rufy Khan: Rufy Khan is an engineer by profession, but sacrificed his profession for his passion. I thank the almighty for this and that I chose what I loved.

 

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DANCING GIRL (aka GUTTER NU GULAB)

Imperial Film Company (1927)

Director: B.P. Misra

Cast: Sulochana, Madanrai Vakil, Putli, K.P. Bhave, Elizer, Sakhu.

 

Scenes from DANCING GIRL (aka GUTTER NU GULAB)

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CHASHMAWALI

Mohan Pictures (1939)

Director: K. Amarnath

Music: Pandit Bhagatram Batish

Cast: Indurani, Ashik Hussain, S. Nazir, Lobo, S.M. Sadique, Anvari, Shirazi A.M., Baby Indira, Shanti, Balabhai, Azar Ansari, Harun, Rafique, Varne, Nawaz, Garibshah, Pandit Kaul.

Plot: The city is terrorized by a mystifying, sword wielding woman who is plundering the wealthy citizens and distributing their riches among the poor.

 

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The police department mobilizes to end this reign of terror known as “Chasmawali”, and office Kumar (Ashik Hussain), in particular, promises to do his utmost to capture and bring her in.

 

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While on duty one day, Kumar hears the singing of a beautiful melody. He investigates and finds it coming from Lata (Indurani), a lovely young lass from a well-to-do family. He falls head over heals in love.

 

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On another day, without Lata knowing, Kumar follows her to a strange cave where he is shocked to discover that the girl he loves is none other than the master criminal that he has been hunting, and had vowed to bring to justice!

 

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Note: Indurani (June 22, 1922 – February 18, 2012), sometimes billed as Indu, began her acting career in a small un-billed part in a Marathi film. After moving from Poona to Bombay she found plenty of work in stunt films and fantasy pictures, especially those produced by Mohan Studios. She is the sister of fellow stunt film actress Sarojini.

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Too learn more about Indurani check out the 2017 book Indurani: An Unsung But Unforgettable Heroine Of The Early Talkies by Professor Surjit Singh.

 

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Another amusing caption from the pages of Filmindia, this one for the 1951 film HUM LOG.

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TIN-TIN-TIN

Kirit Films/Circo (1959)

Director: B.J. Patel

Producer: Dhanpat Rai

Music: Bulo C. Rani

Dog trainer: Jimmy Bharucha

Cast: Caesar, Nilofer, Samar Roy, Mirajkar, Tun Tun, Habib, Rajen Kapoor, Vishwa Mehra, Devchand, Moolchand, Bhudo Advani, Abdul Satar, Munni.

I’m a sucker for a movie about a dog, and the idea of a 1950s era Bollywood movie about a dog fascinates me no end.

That TIN-TIN-TIN is directed by B.J. Patel, the man who brought the movie-going public films like MISS TOOFAN MAIL (1958), RIFLE GIRL (1958), LADY ROBINHOOD (1959), HAWA MAHAL (1962), ROCKET TARZAN (1963), MAGIC BOX (1963), MARVELMAN (1964), and LADY KILLER (1968), intrigues me even more. And with a cast that includes Nilofer, Tun Tun, Habib, Rajen Kapoor and, of course, Dog Caesar…well, it has to be at least a little bit entertaining. Right?

 

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I wish I could tell you more about this film, but unfortunately, the plot, as listed in the film booklet, is strangely vague (and somewhat unintelligible): “Ever since the exclaim of humanity, tale[s] of human weaknesses and [the] insecurity of men are an everyday affair, but those we know are the legends about the constant and silent friend of mankind, dog. This understanding animal has those stories of its sincerity to its credit [more than] any living soul can claim. Tin-Tin-Tin is a story of such a faithful dog.”

This is, as far as I can tell, a movie about a dog…but, is it a comedy? A stunt film? A thriller? A drama? All the above??? Who knows, and maybe it doesn’t really matter. Perhaps the fact that it ever existed at all should be enough.

Mr Jhatpat

MR. JHATPAT

Harishchandra Pictures/Asha Harish Productions (1943)

Director: Harbans

Music: Wahid Qureshi

Cast: Radha Rani, Harishchandra Rao, E. Billimoria, Dalpat, Bibi.

Plot: Jhatpat (Harishchandra Rao), a recently fired crime reporter, heads to a village where Jagdish, a hotel owner, produces illicit liquor and has committed murder.

Although no longer working for the paper, he is in love with the editor’s daughter, Asha (Radha Rani), and is keen to prove the criminal activities of Jagdish, and thus get his job back.

During Jhatpat’s investigation he discovers that Jagdish and the editor know each other and that Jagdish is  holding Asha prisoner so as to keep the editor from reporting on what he knows.

M.H. Douglas was a well known stunt coordinator in countless films, but did you know that he tried his hand playing the hero, also? Here is the proof –in Mohammad Hussain’s 1947 stunt film SHER-E-BENGAL costarring Rajkumari, Arvind Kumar, and Dalpat.

 

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A unique event will be taking place in the Silicon Valley  — The Festival of Globe (FOG), an annual cultural extravaganza that will run from August 5th through 13th, featuring film, music, dance, celebrities, a parade, and a health fair, to be held in Fremont, California and at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park.

 

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Gavie Chahal stars in YEH HAI INDIA which will be shown at this year’s Festival of Globe film festival.

 

Among the many events at FOG will be a weeklong film festival featuring an exciting line-up of movies including Welcome to Willits, Yeh Hai India, Buddha in a Traffic Jam,  Mojo, Enlightenment NowTinker and many more. Celebrities scheduled to be in attendance include popular ’90s leading ladies Pallavi Joshi and Ashwini Bhave, veteran Tamil actress Jayashree, actors Manoj Bajpayee and Prashantt Guptha and directors Lom Harsh and Vivek Agnihotri.

 

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Shad Gaspard and Dolph Lundgren in WELCOME TO WILLITS, one of many films that will be showing at the film festival.

 

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Vivek Agnihotra and Pallavi Joshi will be on hand to present their film BUDDHA IN A TRAFFIC JAM starring Arunoday Singh, Mahie Gill, and Anupam Kher.

 

Dr. Romesh Japra, the founder of FOG as well as the Chairman of the Federation of Indo-Americans of Northern California, was kind enough to share information about this marvelous endeavor which promotes artistic talent as well as cultural and social awareness, both locally and across the world.

 

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Dr. Romesh Japra, the founder of Festival of Globe 

 

Mike Barnum: For those who are not familiar with the Festival of Globe, how would you describe it?

Dr. Romesh Japra: Festival of Globe’s (FOG) mission is to empower and integrate global cultures and communities through film arts, performing arts, visual arts, and folk arts. FOG creates various platforms and activities to champion social causes such as women’s issues, child advocacy and the prevention of child abuse, youth development,  elderly and senior support, ending hunger and homelessness, free health care, supporting the physically challenged, supporting disaster and relief efforts, and promoting individual freedom. The sense of mobilizing and empowering immigrant communities to give back to our local communities is a vital component of our goal of working with all ethnic communities towards these objectives. For the last 25 years the Festival of the Globe has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to building collaboration and creating opportunities for ethnic communities to work towards solving some of the most complex issues facing the United States. Through various events FOG has worked towards promoting art and culture as the common theme by which we create greater awareness amongst each other.

The effort of the Festival of the Globe – Silicon Valley has been in recognizing the need for communities to work together for a larger good. Through film, culture, dance, and art, we plan to be the largest festival that aims to engage global participation. Festival of the Globe will provide participants, brands, and audiences interacting with each other. Also, through the Global Movie Festival we want to amplify some of the burning issues of the day to a larger audience. Another goal is to introduce the global talent pool of movie makers to Silicon Valley investors.

 

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Bappi Lahiri gets a red carpet welcome at 2015 Festival of Globe.

 

MB: How did the idea for this festival come about?

RJ: I take pride in being a cultural and social entrepreneur.  I have been empowering the Indian-American community for the last 25 years by hosting the Festival of India and Parade here every year. It grew from 5,000 to 150,000 people during this time. Now we are engaging other ethnic communities and going from local to global and aiming for a million people. Besides performing arts, visual arts and folk arts, I jumped into film arts and entertainment as well, to integrate diverse communities of the globe through FOG.

 

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Sushmita Sen at the India Day parade in the 1990s.

 

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Dr. Romesh Japra with Dharmendra when he appeared for the India Day Parade.

 

MB: As an opportunity for filmmakers, are there any guidelines for getting a film shown at the festival?

RJ: At this point there are no specific guidelines. All submitted films by independent filmmakers are reviewed by our jury with a point system and then selected. In general, we favor films with a social message.

 

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PENGUIN ISLAND, a documentary film which will be showing at this year’s FOG film festival.

 

MB: Each year FOG has a theme. What is this year’s theme?

RJ: The festival’s theme is usually to promote a social initiative. This year it’s “Celebrate Diversity.”

 

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Filmmaker Eddie Griffin and actor Prashantt Guptha were guests at Festival of Globe in 2014. Here they are with Dr. Romesh Japra.

 

MB: What are some of the other events to be found at FOG?

RJ: We have multiple cultural events. There will be a dance competition, FOG Idol singing contest, Freedom Fighters Reflections Contest, Youth Innovation Contest, Fashion Fest, Music Fest, FOG Awards, FOG Summit, a fair with arts, crafts and food stalls and a Grand Parade to celebrate freedom and democracy through India’s Independence Day festivities.

MB: How has the festival evolved over the years?

RJ: It has been a wonderful journey. In 1993, it started with the parade and fair with 5,000 attendees. Last year, we had 150,000. FOG Movie Fest was added in 2014 and now we have 12 different verticals as part of FOG Extravaganza.

 

 

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A  float from a previous parade.

 

MB: Will there be celebrities in attendance?

RJ: Yes, film celebrities do attend and participate in many events including the parade. Last 25 years the parade had hosted legends like Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Dev Anand, Dharmendra, Vyjaynthimala, and younger actors like Sushmita Sen, Sonu Sood, Aftab Shivdasani, Jimmy Sheirgill, Ayushman Khurana. With FOG, we have had the likes of Rajat Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Richa Chaddha, Divya Khosla Kumar, Krishika Lulla, Bappi Lahiri, Gulshan Grover, Randeep Hooda, Deepti Naval, Guneet Monga, Prashantt Guptha, Prosenjit Chatterjee and Raima Sen in attendance.

 

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Guneet Monga, Richa Chadda, and Divya Khosla at the 2015 Festival of Globe

 

MB: Actor Prashantt Guptha has taken on the duties of ambassador. What are those duties and how did he become involved?

 

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Prashantt Guptha and Dr. Romesh Japra

RJ: We have been blessed with his association with Festival of Globe since 2014. He first came as an actor with the film Identity Card and bagged an award as Best Actor in Supporting Role. He saw an opportunity to get involved right from the growing stage and we were more than happy to have him on board. Since 2015 he has been our India Ambassador. He has the passion, dedication and commitment to take the Festival to the next level. He is not only a great advocate and brand of the Festival but also gets engaged in details of it.

 

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Filmmaker and actor Rajat Kapoor attended FOG in 2015.

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Actor Prashantt Guptha, whose films include the thriller 6+5=2 and last year’s highly acclaimed Neerja, and who I had the pleasure of interviewing recently about his film career, has been an integral part of FOG, acting as a mediator between the USA and India, assisting with marketing and in locating films and talent for the festival. I’ve asked Prashantt to give some info on one of the big events taking place at FOG, the FOG Summit.

 

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Prashantt Guptha (far left) presents an Q&A at last year’s FOG.

 

MB: Prashantt, what can you tell me about the FOG Summit?

Prashantt: The FOG Summit is basically a tie-up with the Headquarters of Facebook in Menlo Park. I like to call it the place where Mark goes to work (laughs). It was initiated last year with the purpose of addressing core issues that revolve around entertainment as a whole. I was the moderator last year, and will again moderate it this year. The main subject line this year is Emerging Trends in Entertainment. Last year, it was more about celebrities and social media and I was able to have a very in-depth chat with Bengali superstars Prosenjit Chatterjee, Raima Sen and veteran Indian actor Gulshan Grover about this subject. The audience loved it, it went live too. In essence, Facebook is an attractive location and it helps that the audience is engaged into the Q&A of notable speakers and celebs.

 

I want to thank Prashantt for bringing this festival to my attention and Dr. Japra for creating this wonderful event and for  taking the time to chat with me about it. If you have the opportunity to attend, please feel free to post here about your experience. I’d certainly love to hear from you!

 

 

 

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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.

 

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PYAR KI RAAT (1949)

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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Rooplekha (1949)

 

 

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ACHHAJEE (1950)

 

 

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.

 

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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).

 

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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.

 

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

 

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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.

 

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

 

 

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

 

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JOKER (1949) co-starred comedian Shyam Sunder.

 

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BHOOLE BHATKE (1952)

 

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

 

 

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Diamond Queen (1940) is a Wadia Brothers stunt film starring Fearless Nadia as a woman who helps a the local “Robin Hood” (played by John Cawas) battle gangsters.

Sardar Mansoor, Radha Rani,  Sayani, Dalpat, Master Chhotu, and Boman Shroff round out the cast, along with non-humans Rolls Royce Ki Beti, and Punjab-ka-Beta.

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