The man who changed cinema on-screen and off-screen, Satya Narang, died today!
Died on 25th Jan 1986
Born in 1918, Satya Dev Narang would be among one of India’s little recognised but still quite famous directors of Bollywood Films. Born into a family of film producers, his father BD Narang being one of them, he was initially not attracted to the cinema for his career. Instead, he would focus his student life on becoming a doctor, graduating from Government College, Lahore, and then King Edward Medical College, Lahore, from where he completed his MBBS.
At this time, in the 1940s and 50s, talkies were still a very new thing in Bollywood. He soon became attracted to filmmaking and decided to forego his career in medicine, and instead, started to act. He would act in Khazanchi in 1941, which became the first Golden Jubilee hit in India. Furthermore, he continued to act as a hero in movies like Patwari and Ravi Paar, two Punjabi movies of that time. His Hindi movie career gained momentum with movies like Durban and Zamindar in the 40s. It was during this time when he decided to switch to the life of making films and not merely starring in them. Unfortunately, the tumultuous realities of partition would shut down his newly established film studio in Lahore.
Gathering himself back up again, he established another studio in Calcutta, directing movies in Bengali. He would make films like Chattogram Astragar Lunthan, the first film to be made on the legendary raid on Chittagong armoury conducted by Indian revolutionaries. His movies would not be successful in Bengal, which made him close his studio and eventually move to Bombay in 1952.
The New Oriental Pictures, his magnum opus, would be where his dreams fully came to fruition. He produced multiple hits like Yahudi Ki Ladki, Dilli Ka Thug, Kismatwala, and Shehnai (being the first film to depict the Indian Air Force), Anmol Moti (being the first to feature underwater sections) and Bombay ka Chor (the first ‘holiday on ice’ movie). With these path breaking themes under his belt, he would pass away on the 25th of January, 1986, leaving behind 50 years of pioneering work in Bollywood.
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