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Sohrab Modi

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Religion
  
Zoroastrianism

Spouse
  
Mehtab (m. 1946–1984)

Died
  
January 28, 1984, Mumbai


Role
  
Film actor

Name
  
Sohrab Modi

Siblings
  
Keki Modi

Sohrab Modi httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons44

Born
  
November 2, 1897 (
1897-11-02
)

Notable work
  
Movies
  
Jhansi Ki Rani, Sikandar, Prithvi Vallabh, Pukar, Raj Hath

Sohrab modi


Sohrab Modi (1897–1984) was an Indian Parsi stage and film actor, director and producer. His films include Khoon Ka Khoon (1935), a version of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Sikandar, Pukar, Prithvi Vallabh, Jhansi ki Rani, Mirza Ghalib, Jailor and Nausherwan-E-Adil (1957). His films always carried a message of strong commitment to social and national issues.

Contents

Sohrab Modi Sohrab Modi The Lion of Minerva film ka ilm

yahudi dilip kumar meena kumari sohrab modi dramatic scene


Early life

Sohrab Modi Sohrab Modi The Lion of Minerva film ka ilm

Sohrab Merwanji Modi was born 2 November 1897 in Bombay. After finishing school, he became travelling exhibitor in Gwalior with his brother Keki Modi. At 16 he used project films in Gwalior's Town Hall and at 26 set up his Arya Subhodh Theatrical Company. Sohrab began as a Parsi theatre actor with some experience in silent films. He earned quite a reputation as a Shakespearean actor, travelling throughout India with his brother's theatrical company and enjoying the tremendous sense of fulfillment every time the curtain came down and the audience applauded. However, with the advent of the sound film in 1931, theatre was declining. To rescue this dying art, Modi set up the Stage Film Company in 1935. His first two films were filmed versions of plays. Khoon Ka Khoon (1935) was an adaptation of Hamlet and marked Naseem Bano's acting debut. The second, Said-e-Havas (1936) was based on Shakespeare's King John. Both films failed.

Personal life

Sohrab Modi 100YearsofIndianCinemaSohrabModijpg

Sohrab Modi was married to Mehtab Modi, an actress born into an aristocratic Muslim family from Gujarat, who began her career in his movie Parakh. They married on her birthday on 28 April 1946. They had a son Mehli, from this marriage who settled in USA. Mehtab had a son, Ismail from her first marriage, who lived with them.

Biography

Sohrab Modi SOHRAB MODI Films Division

He launched Minerva Movietone in 1936. His early films at Minerva dealt with contemporary social issues such as alcoholism in Meetha Zaher (1938) and the right of Hindu women to divorce in Talaq (1938). Though the films did well, what attracted Modi was the historic genre. Minerva Movietone became famous for its trilogy of historical spectaculars that were to follow - Pukar (1939), Sikander (1941) and Prithvi Vallabh (1943), wherein Modi made the most of his gift for grandiloquence to evoke historical grandeur.

Pukar was set in the court of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir and is based on an incident, perhaps fictional, that highlights Jehangir's fair sense of justice. Many of the key scenes were filmed on location, at the magnificent courts and palaces from the Mughal era, which gave the film an authenticity that studio built sets could never achieve. The charisma of its stars, Chandra Mohan and Naseem Bano, and Kamaal Amrohi's oration, with its literary flourish and innate grace, ensured the film's popularity.

Arguably Modi's greatest film was Sikander, which immortalized Prithviraj Kapoor playing the title role. This epic film was set in 326 BC when Alexander the Great, having conquered Persia and the Kabul Valley, descends on the Indian border at Jhelum and encounters Porus (Modi), who stops the advance with his troops. Sikander's lavish mounting, huge sets, and production values equalled Hollywood's best, particularly in its rousing and spectacular battle scenes. The movie was rated by a British writer as "well up to the standard of that old masterpiece The Birth of a Nation." Its dramatic, declamatory dialogue gave both Prithviraj Kapoor and Sohrab Modi free rein to their histrionic proclivities.

The release of the film coincided with World War II at its peak and in India the political atmosphere was tense following Gandhiji's call to Civil Disobedience. Sikander further aroused patriotic feelings and national sentiment. Thus, though Sikander was approved by the Bombay censor board, it was later banned from some of the theatres serving army cantonments. However, its appeal to nationalism was so great and direct, it remained popular for years. It was revived in Delhi in 1961 during the Indian March into Goa.

Prithvi Vallabh was based on K.M. Munshi's novel of the same name. The film's major highlights were the confrontations between Modi and Durga Khote, the haughty queen Mrinalvati, who tries to humiliate him publicly but then falls in love with him.

Although Modi went beyond Parsee theatre with such themes as illicit passion (Jailor (1938), remade in 1958) and incest (Bharosa (1940)), his formal approach still remained tied to the theatre. He re-created the look and sound of Parsee theatre by using frontal compositions and staging the narrative in spatial layers with copious use of Urdu dialogue.

In 1946 after his relationship with Naseem had run its course (though she continued to work with him in Sheesh Mahal (1950) and Nausherwan-e-Adil (1957)), he married Mehtab, an actress 20 years his junior whom he had directed in Parakh (1944).

In 1950, when Sohrab Modi's Sheesh Mahal was being screened at Minerva Theatre in Bombay, the actor was present at the hall. Mr. Modi noticed a man sitting in the front row with closed eyes. Upset with such a reaction, he asked an attendant to let the viewer out and to return his money. The employee came back to say that the person was blind but had come just to hear Sohrab Modi's lines.

For Jhansi ki Rani (1953), India's first technicolour film, Modi had technicians flown in from Hollywood. Mehtab starred as the young queen of Jhansi who took up arms against the British during the Mutiny of 1857 with Modi playing the role of the Rajguru, her chief advisor. The film was notable for its authenticity in creating the right period and delineating historical events, its spectacular battle scenes and Mehtab's stirring performance though she was far too old for the role. She achieves stirring dignity in the role as she vows to protect Jhansi from all enemies both within and outside. The ball sequence in Jhansi's palace was superbly shot and Modi's characters held great emotional appeal. The film failed to connect with the audience and was a costly misfire for Modi as a box office crash.

Modi however bounced back with Mirza Ghalib (1954). The film, based on the life of the great Indian poet who lived during the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last of the Mughal Emperors, won the President's Gold Medal for Best Feature Film of 1954. The film beautifully captured the mood of the period, its hedonistic pursuits and the fading magnificence of the court of the last Mughal, where poets like Zauq, Momin, Tishna, Shefta and Ghalib assembled to recite their verse. Mirza Ghalib also saw Suraiya's finest dramatic performance as she embodied the role of the married Ghalib's lover, a courtesan. Ghalib also saw some of her finest singing - "Aah ko Chaihiye Ek Umar," "Nuktacheen Hai Gham-e-Dil," "Dil-e-Nadaan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai," "Yeh Na Thi Humari Kismet,". Her singing is to date regarded as the definitive portrayal of Ghalib. In fact India's then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru paid her the ultimate compliment by telling her she had brought Mirza Ghalib to life. ("Tumne Mirza Ghalib ki Rooh ko Zinda Kar Diya").

Though Kundan (1955), Nausherwan-e-Adil and Jailor (1958) had their moments, particularly the latter in which Modi gave a chilling portrayal of a rational man turned into a tyrant, Modi's later films did not reach the heights of his earlier work.

Later life

Even after he stopped making films, Sohrab Modi never actually gave up the idea of making one. Even as late as 1982 (when he was 85 years old) and was hardly able to move around, he had the muhurat of ‘Guru-dakshina’. As per his wife, people took advantage of his weakness for making a film and they lost a lot of money by way of advance payments etc., since two days after the muhurat Sohrab Modi fell sick and then never recovered.

Sohrab Modi received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1980. He was the tenth recipient of the award. He suffered from cancer of the bone marrow and succumbed to the disease on 28 January 1984.

Trivia

  • In 1960 he was a member of the jury at the 10th Berlin International Film Festival.
  • In 2005, the Phalke medallion and some ceramic pieces from Modi's Cuffe Parade home were sold to Mumbai's most resourceful and notorious antiques market, Chor Bazaar.

  • Filmography

    Actor
    1983
    Razia Sultan as
    Vazir-e-Azam
    1982
    Rustom
    1982
    Daulat Ka Nasha
    1981
    Ganga Maang Rahi Balidan
    1979
    Ghar Ki Laaj as
    Jamnadas
    1975
    Tanariri
    1971
    Ek Nari Ek Brahmachari as
    Raisaheb Surajbhan Chaudhary
    1971
    Jwala as
    Anoop Sing
    1971
    Veer Chhatrasal
    1970
    Murder on Highway
    1969
    Samay Bada Balwan as
    Uttam
    1967
    Woh Koi Aur Hoga as
    Professor
    1967
    Noorjehan as
    The Mufti / Judge
    1965
    Bharat Milap as
    Raja Dashrath
    1960
    Ghar Ki Laj as
    Judge
    1960
    Kala Bazar as
    Sohrab Modi
    1960
    Mera Ghar Mere Bachche as
    Indrajit(Bade saab)
    1959
    Pehli Raat
    1959
    Minister
    1958
    Farishta as
    Dayal
    1958
    Jailor as
    Dilip
    1958
    Yahudi as
    Ezra Johari
    1957
    Nausherwan-E-Adil as
    Sultan-e-Iran Nausherwan bin Kavad
    1956
    Raj Hath as
    Maharaj Daljit / Raja Babu
    1955
    Kundan as
    Kundan / Seth DinDayal
    1953
    Jhansi Ki Rani as
    Raj Guru
    1950
    Sheesh Mahal as
    Thakur Jaspal Singh
    1943
    Prithvi Vallabh as
    Munja
    1941
    Sikandar as
    King Porus
    1939
    Pukar as
    Sardar Sangram Singh
    1938
    Jailor as
    The Jailor
    1938
    Meetha Jahar
    1937
    Atma Tarang
    1935
    Khoon Ka Khoon as
    Hamlet
    Director
    1981
    Meena Kumari Ki Amar Kahani
    1969
    Samay Bada Balwan
    1960
    Mera Ghar Mere Bachche
    1958
    Jailor
    1957
    Nausherwan-E-Adil
    1956
    Raj Hath
    1955
    Kundan
    1954
    Mirza Ghalib
    1953
    Jhansi Ki Rani
    1950
    Sheesh Mahal
    1949
    Dawlat
    1949
    Narasinha Awtar
    1947
    Manjhdhar
    1945
    Ek Din Ka Sultan
    1944
    Parakh
    1943
    Prithvi Vallabh
    1943
    Dharti
    1942
    Phir Milenge
    1941
    Sikandar
    1940
    Bharosa
    1939
    Pukar
    1938
    Jailor
    1938
    Talaaq
    1938
    Meetha Jahar
    1937
    Atma Tarang
    1937
    Khan Bahadur
    1936
    Said-e-Havas
    1935
    Khoon Ka Khoon
    Producer
    1981
    Meena Kumari Ki Amar Kahani (producer)
    1960
    Mera Ghar Mere Bachche (producer)
    1958
    Jailor (producer)
    1956
    Raj Hath (producer)
    1955
    Ghar Ghar Mein Diwali (producer - as Sohrab M. Modi)
    1955
    Kundan (producer)
    1954
    Mirza Ghalib (producer)
    1954
    Waris (producer)
    1953
    Jhansi Ki Rani (producer)
    1950
    Sheesh Mahal (producer)
    1945
    Ek Din Ka Sultan (producer)
    1943
    Prithvi Vallabh (producer)
    1941
    Sikandar (producer)
    1939
    Pukar (producer)
    1938
    Jailor (producer)

    References

    Sohrab Modi Wikipedia