Balraj Sahni – Biography



The famous actor and writer,
Mr. Balraj Sahni! 'This is what happens to
people who call for a war.' Balraj Sahni hailed from Bhera
in Punjab which is now in Pakistan. He was born on 1st May, 1913
and was named as Yudhishtir Sahni. When he marked his debut in silver
screen, he changed his name to Balraj. 'Good going, boys!
There is nothing to worry.' It is really surprising that
such a wonderful actor and writer.. ..was never felicitated
with any award. He was quite inclined
towards education and.. ..he completed MA in English
literature from Punjab University. He then went to Rabindranath Tagore's
Shanti Niketan as a lecturer. "You are an ocean of love,
I just want one drop of your love.." Later he went to England. From 1940 – 44, he worked there
as a radio announcer with BBC. He then returned to India.. ..and got associated with Indian
People's Theatre Association, IPTA. There he met Khwaja Ahmed Abbas
whom we know as K. A. Abbas. In 1945, Abbas gave Sahni a break
in his film 'Dharti Ke Lal'. "Hail, motherland." But his performance was noticeable
in the film 'Humlog' in 1951. 'It's better to leave
this jinxed world.' After that was released
his film 'Do Bigha Zamin'. "The earth is calling out to us.." The story behind how Sahni got
the film 'Do Bigha Zamin' of 1953.. ..is really surprising. It so happened that someone referred
Sahni to the renowned director, Bimal Roy. Bimal Roy called for Sahni to see if
he fits the role of 'Do Bigha Zamin'. Balraj Sahni went to see Bimal
in his office, well dressed. He had even applied a
little make-up on his face. The moment Bimal Roy saw him,
he got disappointed. He asked his staff in Bengali if he is
the guy whom everyone was talking about. Because the role
wouldn't suit him at all. Bimal did not know
Balraj followed Bengali. Bimal told Sahni that he'll find
someone else for his character. Sahni asked him what
the character was. He was told that the character
was of a Rickshaw driver. The character is a poor man who is
struggling to meet both ends.. ..and fighting with
poverty and suffering. On hearing this, Balraj Sahni told him
about his role in 'Dharti ke Lal'.. ..which also had people from IPTA. Bimal was very impressed
with the artists of IPTA.. ..and so, he offered the role in
'Do Bigha Zamin' to Sahni.. ..which created history
in Indian cinema. 'Son, hit me! C'mon, hit me!
– Dad!' It's worth a mention that he used to
really pull a rickshaw.. ..while playing that character
and his children sat behind. After lot of rehearsals, the pain of
poverty started showing on his face. 'Do Bigha Zamin' thus created history. I will somehow manage
to earn Rs 3 every day. I'll work day and night. He played prominent roles
in films like 'Seema'.. "Where are you going away.." ..and 'Sone ki chidiya'. "However dark the night may be,
day will be as bright and colorful.." "Don't be sad on
seeing the cloudy sky" "No one can stop
the dawn from breaking" The song in his film
'Waqt' is an evergreen hit.. ..in which he sang he
was still young by heart. "I shall lay my life for you,
my sweetheart" Balraj Sahni not only
worked in commercial films, ..but also proved himself
in parallel cinema. Film 'Garm Hawa' proved this fact. 'Please come in..
– Hello.' Talking about his personal life,
he got married to Damayanti, ..who was his female
lead in the film 'Gudiya'. But she passed away
at a very young age. After that,
he married Santosh Chandok. Balraj Sahni did not stop
raising social issues even after.. ..India got its independence. He was even put in jail due to this. For the shoot of 'Hulchul',
he had to take leave from jail.. ..to complete the shooting. Balraj's brother Bheeshma Sahni
was also a renowned writer. His son, Parikshit Sahni
also attained remarkable success.. ..in cinema and television. "My son will make me proud.." In 1969, Balraj Sahni was felicitated
with the 'Padmashree' award. Gurudutt and Dev Anand created history
in the script written by Sahni. The film 'Baazi' was made in 1951. "If you have faith in yourself,
go for it.." Balraj Sahni was among those artists
who saw Indian cinema growing. Be it black and white cinema or color, ..radio station or theatre, his
performance was remarkable everywhere. On 13th April 1973, he suffered
from massive heart attack.. ..following which he passed away. He had just finished
his film 'Garm Hawa'. Critics said that it
was his best film ever. But Balraj Sahni didn't
live to see the film. The last line that he dubbed for
the film was.. ..'How long can man live alone?' 'I am tired of leading a suffocating life.
– What?' Balraj Sahni would be remembered.. ..with great pride in the
history of Indian cinema. 'To know the stories of
famous people.. ..subscribe to 'People & History'.

22 thoughts on “Balraj Sahni – Biography

  1. Balraj Sahini's home in Rawalpindi is now converted into a shopping plaza. He visited his home in 1962.

  2. Balraj Sahni is the most respectable, highly educated and talented actor of Hindi cinema. His role in the film Do Bigha Zamin and Garam Hawa is a mile stone. His performance in the Hindi film Waqt is also great. His acting is very solid and impressive. I salute him.

  3. What a great character artist, a Legend, a historic figure, all way wonderful , we enjoyed his movies, unke role mein woh apni jaan daal dete the.

  4. Wonderful !!! I had a pleasure to see him personaly and play in his house with Ajay at Juhu, (Mumbai) Bombay…

  5. An actor of wide range but couldn't get accolades as others.I would rate'Do Bigha Zameen' as his best film.

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