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(1906-64) Aka Mehboob Khan.

Hindi-Urdu director regarded as one of the most important influences on post-50s cinema. Born as Ramjan Khan in Bilimoria, Gujarat. Ran away to Bombay to join film industry. Started as extra and factotum in Imperial Studio? where he met director R.S. Choudhury (later scenarist for Roti and Aan) and cameraman Faredoon A. Irani. Acted as one of the thieves in Alibaba and the Forty Thieves?. Directorial début at Sagar (1935). Worked in National Studios? (1940-2) along with Kardar?. Founded Mehboob Prod.? in 1942 (established as studio in 1952) using a hammer and sickle emblem even though formally unassociated with the CP. Acclaimed first as heir to Imperial’s historicals (Judgement of Allah, Humayun); he continued its trend of merging DeMille? with the conventions of the Urdu stage but brought to the formula a greater self reflexiveness (Roti). His Mother India (a subcontinental equivalent of Gone with the Wind which has been declared India’s most successful film ever) also evoked Dovzhenko’s lyricised socialist-realist imagery. Immensely successful on an international scale, Mehboob’s films often derive from a clash between pre-capitalist ruralism (with its blood feuds, debts of honour, kinship laws etc.) and an increasingly modernised state with its commercial-industrial practices and values. His elaboration of political themes within popular generic conventions provides the bridge between the pre-Independence cinema of e.g. Bhavnani (Mazdoor, 1934) and the social critiques attempted by Raj Kapoor in the post-1947 industrial mainstream. With Andaz he made what was regarded as the first Indian film set in ‘modern times’ among an affluent middle class, exerting an enormous influence on later films (e.g. Awara, 1951).

Mehboob was often called the Cecil B Demille of India

FILMOGRAPHY (* only act): 1927: Alibaba and the Forty Thieves?*; Allah Ka Pyara?*; 1929: Shirin Khushrau?*; 1930: Mewad No Mawali?*; 1931: Raj Tilak*; Dilawar?* (all St); Meri Jaan?*; Veer Abhimanyu?*; 1932: Bulbul-e-Baghdad?*; 1933: Chandrahasa?*; Pandav Kaurav?*; Mirza Sahiban?*; Premi Pagal?*; 1934: Grihalakshmi?*; Naachwali?*; Sati Anjani?*; 1935: Vengeance Is Mine?*; Judgement of Allah?; 1936: Deccan Queen?; Manmohan?; 1937: Jagirdar?; 1938: Hum Tum Aur Woh?; Watan?; 1939: Ek Hi Raasta?; 1940: Alibaba?; Aurat?; 1941: Bahen?; 1942: Roti?; 1943: Najma?; Taqdeer; 1945: Humayun?; 1946: Anmol Ghadi?; 1947: Elaan; 1948: Anokhi? Ada?; 1949: Andaz; 1952: Aan; 1954: Amar; 1957: Mother India; 1962: Son of India?.

Actor Director