Motilal (actor)

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Born Motilal Rajvansh
Died 1965
Years active 1934–1965
Awards Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award: Devdas(1955) ; Parakh (1960)

Motilal (1910–1965) was an Indian film actor and the winner of Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Devdas (1955) and Parakh (1960).[1][2] Motilal Rajvansh is credited with being among Hindi cinema’s first natural actors.

He also directed a film Chhoti Chhoti Baatein (1965), however he died before its release, and later at the 13th National Film Awards, it won the award for Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film and he posthumously won Certificate of Merit for the Best Story Writer.[3][4]

Early life and background[edit]

Born in Shimla on December 4, 1910, Motilal came from a distinguished family from Delhi.[5] His father was a renowned educationist, who died when Motilal was one year old. He was brought up by his uncle who was a well-known civil surgeon in Uttar Pradesh. At first, Moti was sent to an English school at Shimla and later, in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Thereafter he shifted to Delhi where he continued with school and college.

Acting career[edit]

Motilal Rajvansh said of his screen career with characteristic humour:[6]

After leaving college, Moti came to Bombay to join the Navy, but he fell ill and could not appear for the test. Fate had other choices charted out for him. One day, he went to see a film shoot at Sagar Studios, where director K. P. Ghosh was shooting. Motilal, even then, was quite the man about the town and he caught Ghosh’s eye. In 1934 (aged 24), he was offered the hero's role in Shaher Ka Jadoo (1934) by the Sagar Film Company. He later featured in several successful social dramas alongside Sabita Devi, including Dr. Madhurika (1935) and Kulvadhu (1937). He later switched to Ranjit Studios, where he worked with Mehboob Khan's Jagirdar (1937), Hum Tum Aur Woh (1938), Taqdeer (1943) and Kidar Sharma's Armaan (1942), Kaliyan (1944)). He also acted in S. S. Vasan's film "Paigham" (1959) (Gemini Studios), and Raj Kapoor's "Jagte Raho" (1956).

Perhaps the role for which he received the most critical appreciation was that of the gentleman crook in S. S. Vasan’s adaptation of R K Narayan’s book Mr Sampat (1952). He is most remembered for his role as ‘Chunni Babu’ in Bimal Roy’s Devdas (1955), for which he won his first Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award. Actor, Naseeruddin Shah once described him as one of three all time best actors of Hindi cinema, others being Balraj Sahni & Yakub.

Mehboob was never associated with Ranji Studio.He was with Sagar Movotone that had later become National Studios.Later Mehboob formed his own production company to make Taqdeer with Motilal and Nargis.

Personal life[edit]

Though he was very suave and polished, and moved in high society, towards the end of his life he was in financial difficulty. Although a thorough gentlemen, he enjoyed gambling and races, and died almost penniless in 1965.

He had a very intimate relationship for several years with the actress Nadira. He was involved with actress Shobhana Samarth after she separated from her husband, he played the role of Samarth's real-life daughter Nutan's father in Hamari Beti, Shobhana's launch movie for Nutan. He also played her guardian in Anari, though this time the role had a villainous touch to it.



  1. Yeh Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai (1966)
  2. Chhoti Chhoti Baaten (1965)
  3. Waqt (1965)
  4. Ji Chahta Hai (1964)
  5. Leader (1964)
  6. Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke (1963)
  7. Parakh (1960)
  8. Anari (1959)
  9. Paigham (1959)
  10. Ab Dilli Dur Nahin (1957)
  11. Jagte Raho (1956)
  12. Devdas (1955)
  13. Dhoon (1953)
  14. Ek Do Teen (1953)
  15. Apni Izzat (1952)
  16. Mr. Sampat (1952)
  17. Hamari Beti (1950)
  18. Hanste Aansoo (1950)
  19. Ek Thi Ladki (1949)
  20. Lekh (1949)
  21. Gajre (1948)
  22. Mera Munna (1948)
  23. Do Dil (1947)
  24. Phoolwari (1946)
  25. Dost (1944)
  26. Mujrim (1944)
  27. Raunaq (1944)
  28. Umang (1944)
  29. Aage Kadam (1943)
  30. Taqdeer (1943)
  31. Tasveer (1943)
  32. Armaan (1942)
  33. Pardesi (1941)
  34. Sasural (1941)
  35. Achhut (1940)
  36. Holi (1940)
  37. Aap Ki Marzi (1939)
  38. Sach Hai (1939)
  39. Hum Tum Aur Woh (1938)
  40. Teen Sau Din Ke Baad (1938)
  41. Captain Kirti Kumar (1937)
  42. Jagirdar (1937)
  43. Kulvadhu (1937)
  44. Kokila (1937)
  45. Dilawar (1936)
  46. Do Diwane (1936)
  47. Jeevan Lata (1936)
  48. Lagna Bandhan (1936)
  49. Do Ghadi Ki Mauj (1935)
  50. Dr. Madhurika (1935)
  51. Silver King (1935)
  52. Shaher Ka Jadoo (1934)
  53. Vatan Parasta (1934)


  1. Chhoti Chhoti Baatein (1965)


  1. ^ Filmfare Awards
  2. ^ Sukanya Verma (September 25, 2014). "Classic Revisited: Bimal Roy's satirical gem, Parakh". movies. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  3. ^ "13th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  4. ^ "13th National Film Awards (PDF)" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Motilal". Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  6. ^ Acting career

External links[edit]