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Bhagwan Aabaji Palav
1 August 1913
|Died||4 February 2002 (aged 88)|
Bhagwan Dada (Marathi,1 August 1913 – 4 February 2002), also credited as Bhagwan, was an Indian actor and film director who worked in Hindi cinema. He is best known for his social film Albela (1951) and the song "Shola Jo Bhadke".
Bhagwan Dada was born in 1913 as Bhagwan Abhaji Palav in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra. He was the son of a textile-mill worker, but was obsessed with films. He worked as a labourer, but dreamt of films. He got his break with bit roles in silent films and got totally involved with the studios. He learned film-making and at one stage used to make low-budget films (in which he arranged for everything including the design of costumes and arranging meals for the cast) for Rs. 65,000.
Bhagwan Abhaji Palav, popularly known as Bhagwan dada, mainly due to his love for wrestling, made his debut in the silent era with the film Criminal.
He co-directed his first film Bahadur Kisan with Pawar in 1938. From 1938 to 1949 he directed a string of low-budget stunt and action films that were popular with the working classes. He usually played a naive simpleton. One of the notable films that he made during this period was the Tamil film Vana Mohini (1941) that starred M. K. Radha and Sri Lankan actress Thavamani Devi.
In 1942, as part of a scene, he had to slap actress Lalita Pawar hard. He accidentally slapped her too hard, which resulted in facial paralysis and a burst left-eye vein. After three years of treatment, Pawar was left with a disabled left eye.
He turned producer in 1942 with Jagruti Pictures, purchased some land and set up Jagriti Studios in Chembur in 1947. On advice from Raj Kapoor, he turned to making a social film called Albela, starring Bhagwan and Geeta Bali, and featuring music by his friend Chitalkar, or C. Ramchandra. The songs of the film, in particular "Shola jo bhadke" are still remembered. Albela was a huge hit. After Albela, Bhagwan got C. Ramchandra and Geeta Bali together again in Jhamela (1953), where he tried to recreate the formulaic success of Albela with little success. He also directed and acted in Bhagam Bhag in 1956.
After that, Bhagwan did not have any more hits and eventually had to give up producing and directing films, and sell his 25-room waterfront bungalow in Juhu and his fleet of seven cars (one for each day of the week). He took whatever roles he could get, but apart from Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje and Chori Chori, none were roles of note, and he eventually took on bit parts in which he did his famous dance (made even more famous by Amitabh Bachchan using it as his default dance step).
Most of Bhagwan's associates left him in his time of need, apart from C. Ramchandra, Om Prakash and lyricist Rajinder Krishan, who continued to meet him even in his chawl. Bhagwan died of a massive heart attack at his residence in Dadar on 4 February 2002.
In popular culture
- The Hindu (5 February 2002). "Bhagwan Dada". Chennai, India. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
- Guy, Randor (28 May 2011). "Blast from the Past - Vana Mohini 1941". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- "Lalita Pawar – Memories". cineplot.com.
- Sanjit Narwekar (12 December 2012). "The Image Manipulators". Eena Meena Deeka: The Story of Hindi Film Comedy. Rupa Publications. pp. 165–. ISBN 978-81-291-2625-2. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
-  Bhagwan Dada profile on Cineplot.com
- "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India". Arts Tribune. 8 February 2002. Retrieved 21 March 2017.