The Great Balraj Sahni

Since the starting, Indian cinema understands their responsibility towards society and pioneered many social changes by injecting the thought provocative ideas. After independence, the Indian cinema got the first-time freedom to express what they wanted. The contributors were immensely talented and visionary in terms of creating the impact.

The Greats: Balraj Sahni

Balraj Sahni, who inspired the generations of cinema, was a stalwart of the Indian progressive cultural movement. An avowed Marxist, he outlined his thought about the cultural preservation and its impact.Sahni was always interested in acting and started his acting career with the plays of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA). Incidentally, his wife Damayanti became well-known as an IPTA actress much before Sahni made a name for himself in films. He started his film career in Mumbai with the film Insaaf (1946), followed by Dharti Ke Lal directed by KA Abbas in 1946 (Damayanti’s first film), Door Chalein in 1946, and other films. But it was in 1953, with Bimal Roy’s classic Do Bigha Zameen, that his true forte as an actor was first recognized. The film won the international prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

He followed it up with an encore in the 1961 classic Kabuliwala penned by Tagore.

Smita Patil- Rare & Unseen Photos

His role as the angst-ridden but stoical Muslim man who refuses to go to Pakistan during partition, in his last film Garam Hawa, has often been called his best performance by critics. Balraj, however, could not see the completed film to rate his own performance, as he died just the day after he finished dubbing work. The last line he recorded for the film, and hence his last recorded line is, Hindustani:- “Insaan Kab Tak Akela Jee Sakta Hai?” 

One of his rare Radio interviews, where he talked about the then existing educated class, who possessed “Highly artificially intellectualism” based on their personal biases for foreign cinema. He outlined the need of changing this phenomenon in order to develop the Indian cinema. Partly it worked, partly not ..what do you think?

Courtesy: All India Radio

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