K. Amarnath

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K.Amarnath in 1978
Born 1 December 1914
Mianwali, Punjab, British India
Died 14 May 1983
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Indian Film Producer/Director

K. Amarnath (1 Dec 1914 – 14 May 1983) was one of the earliest film makers of Indian Cinema. His career as a movie producer and director spanned over four decades in the film industry.

Early life[edit]

Amarnath Gelaram Khetarpal was born in Mianwali, Punjab, British India. He spent his childhood in Mianwali and college years in Lahore. Inspired by Hollywood and British movies, Amarnath left home at a young age of 17 to join the film industry to become an actor.


Initially, K.Amarnath struggled for 4 years, first in Calcutta and then in Mumbai since he got to act in only minor roles. While working as a junior artiste, he realized that the director played a very important role in the making of a movie. So from acting, his interest switched to directing movies.

After assisting various directors such as B.R.Patel and Dhirubhai Desai, he finally got his first break in 1936 from Metro Movietone for the direction of "Matwali Jogan"[1] aka "A Girl from Lahore". He was only 21 years old when he directed his first movie.

However, his major break came in 1937 when Ramaniklal & Mohanlal Shah, founders of Mohan Studios, Mumbai, gave him his first big break when they offered him the opportunity to direct "Danger Signal" in Tamil.

At first, he directed 5 Tamil movies for Mohan Studios; two of them, "Minnalkodi" [2] and "Veer Ramani" - both released in 1937 and both starring K.T.Rukmini and B.Srinivas Rao became big hits.

From 1937 to 1951, he directed 14 movies for Mohan Studios and its sister concern, Ramnik Productions.

Excepting for "Village Girl", mostly all of them were stunt movies.

During the same time span, being an independent director, he also directed 6 movies for different banners.

In 1952, K.Amarnath created his own production company, "K.Amarnath Productions" and in 1953 released "Alif-Laila" - the first movie under his banner.

From 1936 to 1971, K.Amarnath produced and/or directed 35 movies.

His office was located at Ranjit Studios, Dadar, Mumbai.

K.Amarnath was a very versatile man. He not only produced and directed movies but also wrote the story & screenplay of many of his movies. Over the course of his career, the genres of the movies he directed ranged from action/suspense thrillers to family/social drama, legendary romantic tragedies, semi-musicals, costume drama to magical/fantasy movies. (See Filmography below).

Many well-known artistes and music directors, worked in movies produced/directed by K.Amarnath. Some of them were - Ajit, Jayant (father of Amjad Khan), Murad, Pran (actor), Yakub, Gope, Mukri, Sajjan, Kishore Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee, Sanjay Khan, Bharat Bhushan, Mehmood, Madhubala, Geeta Bali, Meena Kumari, Vyjayantimala, Nutan, Nimmi, Nalini Jaywant, Nanda, Nigar Sultana, Noor Jehan, Kum Kum, Kamini Kaushal, Shakila, Helen, Cuckoo, Indurani and also K.T.Rukmini & B.Shrinavasa Rao in the Tamil movies directed by him. Some of the music directors who gave their most memorable music in his movies were Nashad, Chitragupta (composer), O.P.Nayyar, Shyam Sundar, Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Ghulam Mohammed, Sardar Malik, and the brothers, Pt.Amarnath, Husnlal & Bhagatram.

Ajit (Ajit Khan) acted as a hero in 7 of the movies directed by K.Amarnath – Beqasoor, Meharbani, Sarkaar, Bara-Dari, Bada Bhai, Baraat and Kabli Khan. In fact, it was K.Amarnath who had suggested that he change his long name of "Hamid Ali Khan" to a shorter name. The first movie with his name changed to Ajit was "Beqasoor" -1950.[citation needed]

Shyam Sundar composed many unforgettable melodious songs in 3 of the hit movies directed by K.Amarnath – "Gaon ki Gori"- 1945, "Bazaar" - 1949 and "Alif-Laila" 1953.[3]

Mohammed Rafi always "considered" the song "aji dil ho kaaboo mein to dildaar ki aisi taisi" with G. M. Durrani and chorus in "Gaon ki Gori" to be his first Hindi Film Song.[4]

Noor Jehan was the heroine of 2 of the movies directed by K.Amarnath – “Gaon ki Gori “– 1945 and “Mirza Sahiban” – 1947. Both of them were super hits. Mirza Sahiban was her last movie in India before she moved to Pakistan.[5]

K.Amarnath was well known for promoting aspiring young individuals. He introduced Salim Khan to the movies. (Salim of Salim-Javed fame and father of Bollywood superstar, Salman Khan).[6] The first movie Salim acted in was K.Amarnath’s " Baraat" – 1960.

Sanjay Khan's first movie signed as a hero was for "Woh Din Yaad Karo".

Helen (actress) [7] got her first break as a main/solo dancer in K. Amarnath's "Alif-Laila" - 1953.[8]

Also, Minoo Mumtaz, sister of the famous Bollywood comedian Mehmood,[9] made her film debut in K.Amarnath’s "Bara-Dari" - 1955.[10]

Four of the Hindi movies directed by K.Amarnath: Village Girl-Gaon Ki Gori - 1945 [11] Mirza Sahibaan - 1947 - Beqasoor - 1950 (List of Bollywood films of 1950) and Bara-Dari - 1955 (List of Bollywood films of 1955) were among the top-grossing films of those years.


K.Amarnath lived in Shivaji Park, Mumbai, was married and had 4 children – 2 sons and 2 daughters.[12]


Year Title Genre Credit
1936 Matwali Jogan Director/Story
1937 Danger Signal (Tamil) Action/Stunt Thriller Director
1937 Pucca Rowdy (Tamil) Action/Stunt Thriller Director
1937 Minnalkodi (Tamil) Action/Stunt/Suspense Thriller Director/Story
1937 Veer Ramani - (Tamil) (Veera Ramani) Action/Stunt Thriller Director/Story & Scenario
1938 Bhagya Leela (Tamil) Director
1939 Midnight Mail Action Director/Story & Scenario
1939 Bahadur Ramesh (a.k.a. Volunteer) Action Director
1939 Chasmawali Action Director
1940 Tatar Ka Chor (a.k.a. Thief of Tatar) Fantasy/Action/Stunt Thriller Director/Story
1940 Captain Kishori Action Director
1941 Bulbule Baghdad Action/Stunt Thriller Director/Story & Scenario
1942 Zevar Action Director
1943 Chhed Chhad Social Director
1944 Bandukwali Action/Stunt Thriller Director
1945 Gaon Ki Gori (a.k.a. Village Girl) Romantic/Family-Social Drama Director/Story & Scenario
1947 Roop Nagar Costume Drama Director
1947 Mirza Sahiban - (Mirza Sahibaan) Legendary Romantic Tragedy Director/Story & Scenario
1949 Bazar - (Bazaar (1949 film)) Semi-Musical/Social Director/Story & Scenario
1949 Shoharat Social Director/Story
1950 Beqasoor Family-Social Drama Director/Story
1950 Meharbani Social Drama Director
1951 Sarkar Costume/Action Drama Director/Story & Screenplay
1953 Laila Majnu Legendary Romantic Tragedy Director
1953 Alif-Laila Magical/Fantasy Adventure Producer/Director
1954 Mehbooba Costume Drama Producer/Director/Story
1955 Bara-Dari Romantic-Costume Drama Producer/Director
1956 Naya Andaz Semi-Musical/Social Producer/Director/Story & Screenplay
1957 Bada Bhai Family-Social Drama Producer/Director
1959 Kal Hamara Hai Social Drama Producer
1960 Baraat Romantic/Family-Social Drama Producer/Director/Story & Screenplay
1961 Bada Admi Social Drama Producer
1963 Kabli Khan Costume Drama Producer/Director
1964 Ishaara Romantic/Family-Social Drama Producer/Director
1971 Woh Din Yaad Karo Romantic/Family-Social Drama Producer/Director/Story & Screenplay


External links[edit]

  • .[1] K.Amarnath at Internet Movie DataBase
  • .[2] Bara-Dari - 1955 at Internet Movie DataBase