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K.Amarnath in 1978
1 December 1914|
Mianwali, Punjab, British India
14 May 1983|
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
|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.
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" 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"  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.
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.
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.
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). 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".
Four of the Hindi movies directed by K.Amarnath: Village Girl-Gaon Ki Gori - 1945  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.
|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|
|1940||Tatar Ka Chor (a.k.a. Thief of Tatar)||Fantasy/Action/Stunt Thriller||Director/Story|
|1941||Bulbule Baghdad||Action/Stunt Thriller||Director/Story & Scenario|
|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|
|1951||Sarkar||Costume/Action Drama||Director/Story & Screenplay|
|1953||Laila Majnu||Legendary Romantic Tragedy||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|
|1971||Woh Din Yaad Karo||Romantic/Family-Social Drama||Producer/Director/Story & Screenplay|
- Ashish Rajadhyaksha; Paul Willemen; Professor of Critical Studies Paul Willemen (10 July 2014). Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Routledge. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-1-135-94318-9.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 May 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2007.
- Anupama Chopra (2000). Sholay, the Making of a Classic. Penguin Books India. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-0-14-029970-0.
- Jerry Pinto (2006). Helen: The Life and Times of an H-bomb. Penguin Books India. pp. 223–. ISBN 978-0-14-303124-6.
- Tilak Rishi (5 June 2012). Bless You Bollywood!: A tribute to Hindi Cinema on completing 100 years. Trafford Publishing. pp. 107–. ISBN 978-1-4669-3962-2.