Early Life of Kidar Sharma
Kidar Sharma was born on 12th April 1910 in Narowal, then situated in the Punjab region of India. He grew up in poor financial conditions. His two brothers named Vishwa and Ragunath died as infants whereas his sister named Taro died at an early age owing to Tuberculosis. His one younger brother and a younger sister survived. His brother Himmat Rai Sharma worked with Kidar Sharma on films and later established himself as a prominent Urdu poet. Kidar did his schooling from Baij Nath High School in Amritsar where he also gained interest in photography, painting, poetry and philosophy. On completing high school Kidar Sharma ran away from home to join the film industry in Mumbai. However he failed to find employment and returned to Amritsar where he joined the Hindu Sabha College. There he founded a College Dramatic Society that later paved the way for his first break in films.
Career of Kidar Sharma
One of the plays of Kidar Sharma was attended by the head of the local Temperance movement and the latter hired him for producing a silent film portraying the evils of alcohol. The money which he earned from this project helped him to earn his Masters Degree in English at Khalsa College, Amritsar. Later he joined a local theatre group gaining a little success in this arena. In 1932 he got married and used to paint for earning his living. He went to Calcutta (now Kolkata) after watching an early talkies film titled Puran Bhagat directed by Debaki Bose with the hopes of joining New Theatres Studios where the director used to work. His unemployment continued for many more months after which he managed to meet Prithviraj Kapoor who was then an unknown actor. There he also met his eight-year old son Raj Kapoor for the first time. Kidar Sharma was then introduced to Prithviraj Kapoor’s neighbour, the then-unknown Kundan Lal Saigal. Saigal through an acquaintance introduced Kidar to Debaki Bose.
Subsequently Kidar Sharma was hired by Debaki Bose initially for the movie stills photography for the film Seeta in 1934 but later Kidar also contributed in the making of the film by painting the backdrop screen. He also worked as a poster painter for the film Inquilab along with playing a minor role. Kidar Sharma continued his work with New Theatres for films like Pujarin and Dhoop Chhaon. However he got his first major break for the 1936 film Devdas starring Kundan Lal Saigal for which he worked as a dialogue writer and lyricist. The songs of this hit flick like ‘Dukh Ke Ab Din Beetat Naahi’ and ‘Balam Aaye Baso Moray Man Mein’ became immensely popular across the country rendering fame and recognition to Kidar Sharma.
As a director Kidar Sharma got his big break in 1940 when he completed the movie Tumhair Jeet following which he directed his own screenplay for Aulad which attained some success. Subsequently he directed Chitralekha in 1941 which not only became a smashing hit but also established him as a director. Later he also began producing his own films. He cast Raj Kapoor and Madhubala in Neel Kamal which was the first film of the actors. He also launched Geeta Bali with the movie Sohag Raat. He also teamed up with Raj Kapoor in 1950 for Bawre Nain. In the same year he also directed Jogan featuring Nargis and Dilip Kumar.
Kidar Sharma, in the late 1950s, was summoned by Jawaharlal Nehru who had heard his lyrics, for becoming director-in-chief of the Children’s Film Society. Kidar Sharma had worked on several flicks of Children’s Film Society among which Jaldeep garnered international acclaim. Being an extraordinary poet, he had penned some of the most memorable songs of Bollywood like ‘Teri Duniya Mein Dil Lagta Nahi’, ‘Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Bhi’, ‘Khayalon Mein Kisike’ and many more.
Achievements of Kidar Sharma
Kidar Sharma won the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film in 1956 for his film Jaldeep. In 1957 at the International Film Festival held at Venice he received the Best Children’s Film Award for Jaldeep. He was honoured with Indian Film Directors’ Association Lifetime Achievement Award and Gold Award from Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982 for his contributions in Indian cinema. He was also honoured with Government of Maharashtra’s Raj Kapoor Award in the year 1999 after his death. Kidar Sharma was also a part of the Indian Delegation which travelled to England and Hollywood and met with Cecil B. DeMille, Walt Disney and Charlie Chaplin in 1945.
Death of Kidar Sharma
Kidar Sharma died on 29th April 1999 in Mumbai at the age of 89. He died a day before receiving the Raj Kapoor Award. His autobiography titled The One and Lonely Kidar Sharma was published in 2002 after his demise. It was edited by his son Vikram Sharma.
Filmography of Kidar Sharma
Filmography of Kidar Sharma for Children’s Film Society of India
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